Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 63, Tuesday, 17th January 2012: Iqama ... AT LAST!

Two months and a day later after I left India to come to Saudi Arabia, my "residence permit" or "Iqama" was finally delivered to me by Dr. Ahmed Taib, the in-charge doctor of ER at AMGH. He had apparently gone to the Muderiya at Ta'if yesterday for his own work, and when our liaison officer Mr. Ali contacted him by phone, he picked up my Iqama from there and came back to Al Muweh yesterday night. Someone scared me by saying that he would not come to the hospital today as he was on leave and would be going to his homeland later this week. I called him up again to confirm whether he would be coming to the hospital or not. He answered in the affirmative, and that, dear reader, must have been the most happy moment in my life since the last 62 days and 10 hours!

He came as promised, and handed an envelope to Dr. Shehab, from which the latter extracted some papers and my plastic covered ID card or the Iqama. I was overjoyed, I took some guidance from Dr. Narendra and other senior doctors; I was told to immediately make some photo-copies of the iqama. Also, I must take my contract paper, a "Shahada Tareef" (a letter from the hospital verifying that I was Dr. Taher and I was working in AMGH as a specialist Pediatrician since ..... and up to the present.) I ran to Md. Nawaf, and after a little humble requesting, he made out the letter and printed it out and gave it to me. Armed with this, I took permission from Dr. Shehab, requested Dr. Yasser to look after the OPD (it was my duty to be there), and went to Al Rajhi Bank to open a new account (Md. Nawaf actually drove me there in his car ... a sweet gesture, if any, from a Saudi).

A person called Abdul Aziz was the officer who helped me through the tedious process. Actually, although he was very polite and helpful, he was clearly overworked and came around to my task only after a long wait of over 2 hours. Finally, he handed me a letter for submission to the Muderiya and also a separate sheet mentioning my account number etc. With all this, I left the bank, and after a visit to my house for namaaz and lunch, I returned to the hospital for the afternoon shift. On the way, I purchased a pack of Mars mini-sweets and gave one each to the nurses and doctors I could find, thus sharing my happiness with the others.

In the evening, I arranged a trip to Ta'if with a radiology technician who would be leaving for Ta'if early tomorrow morning as he was going off duty. He (Mr. Sami Abdul Rehman) asked me to come to the ER tomorrow morning at half past six. The purpose of my visit was to go to Muderiya and submit my account details for them to credit my salary next month. However, many more things happened the next day, but for that, you will have to read my next entry, dear reader.

My chat with the family made them all smile as they saw the Iqama on Skype, and at last, Nishrin's mood also improved. 

That's all for today.

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