Monday, December 03, 2012

How the last month has passed

My visit to India was rather short, and followed immediately after my exams at Jeddah. I stayed in Mumbai for just over a week, and was back in Al Muwayh just 4 days before my departure for Hajj, i. e. around the 21st October. After the completion of Hajj, my co-Pediatrician Dr. Yasser immediately proceeded on leave ... and eventually went to Egypt on his annual holiday. Since then, therefore, I have been totally alone. As I write this, I have been working alone for over 4 weeks, and managing both, the out-patient department as well as the calls and emergencies. It's never been hectic, but the OPD has seen a constant flow of patients with cough and cold ... almost 15-20 patients daily. This can perhaps be attributed to the change in climate: winter has set in, and how. Just three days ago, it rained torrentially, and following this, the next few days were marked by strong winds and extremely low temperatures. It was only today that the temperatures became a little more comfortable and allowed me to go on my evening walk. 

The last month saw me experimenting, purchasing, and generally enjoying myself. As my first year in the Kingdom neared completion, I began to spend some money on my own comforts: of course, my Indian colleague Dr. Narendra exited last month, and I ended up buying his car (a 1993 model Toyota Corolla, white), his mixer-grinder (Maharaja), his vacuum cleaner and his double blanket. I also received a few freebies from him, including some utensils, a bed with a cot (that needed a little welding) and so on. I also bought a micro-wave oven (Samsung), and recently, a carpet for my study room. With these purchases, my life is a lot easier, especially w.r.t. the purchase of the car, because of which my commuting within the village has become so comfortable. Not just that, I am now able to go to the garden more easily to do my walking. 

The experimentation mostly occurred with my cooking: in the past month, I made several new dishes and items, such as Adai dosa (a Tamilian recipe) with the accompanying potato bhaji, chutney and sambar; veg. hakka noodles; a dry chicken dish that turned out absolutely delicious; potato wada; cauliflower bhajiya; strawberry milk shake; chutney/boiled egg/chicken/kheema sandwiches; etc. The unique thing about my experimentation occurred when a Chennai-based anesthetist doctor joined me for dinner. He (Dr. Bala, from Mizan) was in Al Muwayh on substitution duty. He helped me make the dosa, and also rated my cooking thus: 8 for the dosa, 6 for the sambar, 0 for the chutney and  7 for the potato bhaji. The ratings have emboldened me further, and I plan to continue experimenting with my cooking. 

In addition to the above, I also purchased a new 21" television set. I am now able to watch over 350 channels on Nilesat; unfortunately, over 330 of these channels are in Arabic and I cannot understand them! I am therefore limited to watching the English language news channels (BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera International and France 24), Zee Aflam (the Hindi movies channel), English movies on MBC 2 and MBC Action, and a few others. In any case, this has been a welcome change from my continuous net surfing and watching of English serials and movies on my laptop. My net surfing has also reduced as a result of the TV viewing.

Yesterday, with the start of December, I have also started studying for the next phase of my exams - I am planning to appear for Part 2 of MRCPCH in May 2013, Inshallah. I even purchased an online examination resource package from Pastest, one of the best learning websites. I have already begun to solve questions from this site.

A few other things also happened: in addition to Dr. Narendra, our Egyptian radiologist, who had just completed a year in Al Muwayh also went back to Egypt; our Pakistani resident Dr. Sadiya (whom I have mentioned earlier in my Hajj posts) has also decided to leave after just one year; two new residents from Sudan and a new Orthopedic surgeon from Tunisia have joined - the last one being Dr. Mohammed Hattab, with whom I have become quite friendly; there have been some exits and some new entrants among nurses as well; in fact, four Indian nurses left in the last three or four months, in addition to a few Filipinos; Al Muwayh keeps growing, with new buildings coming up in several places; I have applied for the renewal of my Iqama (the residence permit that all non-Saudis have to keep with them); we are planning to come out with a monthly newsletter for the staff of the Hospital, and I have been appointed as its executive editor; since the Hajj pilgrimage, I have become absolutely punctual in praying all the namaaz (except the morning one, where I keep defaulting as I cannot wake up at 5 a.m.); I have begun writing my child-care book again, with the intention of completing the second edition as soon as possible; my website http://drtaherforkids.com has now gone public and my child-care book is now available for sale through the site; and finally, I have started learning pencil-shading in my drawing books.

I have been in regular touch with my family and my mom; all are fine; my mom is still in iddat, and will remain so till mid-February; Inas continues to work in Juice; Hannah is enjoying herself even as I write this; Nishrin is busy with her work at the salon, in much the same way as before; shortly, my Mumbai home will start undergoing some needed renovation work; and, my family is considering buying a car for local commuting and I have suggested that they buy a second-hand car from Maruti True Value at Phoenix Mills (Sai Service Ltd.).

That's about it for now. 

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