Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sharing lots of news and views

Returning to this blog after several months, I find that I need to share a lot of stuff. First of all, Facebook has transformed the way I surf the net, post news, post photos, share interesting things and so on. Little time is therefore available to do anything else. Indeed, this blog post is also written while I wait for some recent photos to upload to my page on facebook!

However, I agree that blogs have their place in cyber-space and cannot be totally replaced by facebook. While blogs offer creativity, facebook apps do, too, but within the parameters set by the applications themselves. Also, Facebook is a social platform, while a blog is a mouth-piece to air one's own views and shares.

I appeared for, and cleared, an interview for the Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in late April, 2011. Following this, there has been a long wait as the agent sorts out my application, and now, as I write this on the 18th of October, I am still awaiting my visa to travel to that country and join as a specialist pediatrician in Taif city, a hill station in the country. A lot of my well-wishers do not want me to leave my practice and go, but it is only I who realises that going there would improve my family's finances tremendously and also allow me to pursue my own hobbies of photography, nature watching and international travelling ... all pretty expensive and out of reach at my current income levels. As of the contract that I signed, I would get paid 150% more than what I make here in India, and it would all be tax-free.

Thus, as of now, the idea of going there is on, and I am waiting for it to reach its logical goal of success. As to what kind of life my  being alone in Taif brings, Allah alone knows ...

My elder daughter Inas joined Hotel Leela near the airport as a Hotel Operations Trainee in July, and is busy with this since the last 3-4 months. A stipend of over 10K per month has kept up her spirits, and only last week, she did a major splurge and bought a blackberry curve phone for herself. Her duty hours are so long she barely finds the time to do any other work than travelling to and fro (each way, the journey takes over an hour and a half), working at the front desk for anywhere between 9-12 hours (although the duty is stipulated at 8-9 hours) and sleeping for 6-8 hours. Food and other routine tasks take up most of her other free time, and it is only when she has a day off that she is able to surf the net, go and buy things or visit with her friends. As a family, we all respect her hard work, but it sometimes makes her testy and short-tempered when socialising with us; also, she regularly makes excuses and avoids doing not only some household work which we keep for her, but also her own personal work ... which is a pity.

Hannah, my other daughter, is busy with her XIIth standard studies, and she is constantly running to one tuition or the other ... and mind you, she is doing commerce, not science. She does, however, have the time to chat for long periods on the home's landline number, and with her Whatsapp and free internet, she is forever busy chatting with her friends on her mobile phone. Aside from this, Hannah has become a good eater of food, and it is interesting to see her eat well and opt for designer foods.

Nishrin is very much busy with her own salon work, and there is nothing much to report about changes in her life. She did lose her paternal uncle last month, and this made her a bit morose and serious for a week, but things are back to normal now.

My parents and brothers and their families are all right, and there is nothing new to report there.

My nature trips continue, and I try to go at least one, and possibly, two trips each month. In October, I went to the Ovalekar wadi butterfly park on the 16th. I have added photos of that trip to my facebook profile and you may visit the photos here. There is a chance that an account of this trip may get published on http://www.ghumakkar.com, an Indian travelling site.