Sunday, May 25, 2014

A mix of good and bad news ... as usual

I must begin with the good news: I have recovered my car! 

How did it happen? On Monday, I received a call from one of the doctors working in our hospital ER. His name: Dr. Effat. He told me that one of our ambulance drivers had called him to tell him that my car had been spotted by him in the desert about 15-20 km away from Al Muwayh, just off the main highway that goes to Ta'if. I did not believe him at first, but I called up the driver myself (a Saudi by the name Nawaf). He spoke in Arabic, and I could not really understand what he was saying. However, I surmised that he wanted me to go to the local police station and ....(I could not understand the rest). I requested him to pick me up from in front of my residence to take me to the station. He agreed, and was there to pick me up within the next few minutes. From what I learned from him, and later from my conversations with the policemen, Nawaf saw my car off the highway about 1 hour before he called the ER doctor. He saw the car partly submerged in the sand. He then called up one of the policemen who was his friend. The police had then started off for the spot in the desert where the driver had seen the car, and they would, if all went well, bring the car back. 

I had some questions in my mind ... a whole lot of them, actually, but the uppermost was: they did not have the key, so how did they plan to open the car and bring it back to Al Muwayh. However, the police seemed quite confident, so I simply kept my mouth shut and sat amidst them like a non-person. After half an hour or so, Nawaf, too, left. I sat there for another 45 minutes, by which time it was nearing 9:00 p.m. I was feeling a bit worried, since over an hour had passed since I had reached the police station. However, to my relief, the policemen soon announced that my car had already arrived, and was being removed from its link to a police jeep that had towed it in. I rushed out to see my old car once again. I had never thought I would see it again! I soon learned that the thieves had stolen the battery of the car. We pushed the car (one of the cops and I) into a parking slot outside the police station. 

At that point, another cop from Al Muwayh who has recently befriended me through some work I helped him with in the hospital came up to me to congratulate me. He and I opened the hood, and then the trunk to take a look at what else was missing. The following things were missing: my shades, my hydraulic jack, some car tools like a spanner, a screw-driver, etc., a car mobile charger, some of my Hindi movie audio-cassettes, a front-glass sun-shade and one of the new tyres (they had replaced it with an old tyre). This cop then took me in his own car to a car-parts shop where we asked around for a battery. After searching for a battery at the right price, we finally got one, which we took back to my car to discover that it was the wrong sized battery (it was one that was bigger than the one we needed). So, he took me back to the shop, where we exchanged the battery for another one that was the right size. We then drove back to the car, placed the battery in its place, connected the wires, and checked to see if my car started. It did, almost instantly! 

I was pleased. I met with the senior policeman inside the station. He informed me that the car would have to stay with them overnight. They would take pictures and make out documents the next morning, after which my car would be handed over to me. My friendly cop then escorted me back to my home. I invited him in for a drink and dinner, but he refused. 

I got back my car the next day, as promised. I took it to the mechanic, who examined the machine etc. and pronounced that the car was good, with no major parts missing. The engine oil was intact as well, and the petrol was there too. The next thing I did was to get the old tyre out and replace it with a relatively better one that was inside my trunk (the stepney, of course). The next evening, I went to a car electrician to add an extra switch that will stay hidden. This switch, once turned off, will prevent any future thief from starting my car even if he has a master key. 

This, then, was the story of the return of my car.

On Wednesday, I received the bad news. The London office of RCPCH (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) informed me by email that my seat for the India exam was not granted to me, and I would have to wait for the next time. The reason for this was that as I stay outside India, they could not give me a high priority for the India exams. (This explanation I got from the London office when I placed a call to them the next day.) I was dejected, but realised I couldn't do anything for this. 

This, then was the mix of good and bad news I received last week. I hope you enjoyed this write-up.

Do leave your comments. Thank you.

P.S. I gave a small token of my appreciation to Nawaf, who found my car. It seemed like the fair thing to do.

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