Saturday, March 01, 2014

A new month begins ... what I am planning for the years ahead.

Slowly but surely, I am nearing the end of my tenure in Saudi Arabia, and yet, the more one stays here, the more one begins to think of staying a little longer. The reasons are not too difficult to surmise. There is the attraction of a good salary with the best potential for savings, as the cost of living is not as high in the Kingdom as it is in other Gulf countries. Plus, the fact that I stay in a rural area helps me stay away from going out to expensive restaurants and malls. Add to that the fact that I stay alone ... without family, and you will begin to understand why I can really save more here.

The other reason is a little difficult to understand. The thing is that I have practised for a long, long time in Mumbai ... for nearly 24 years. Most Mumbaikars will know what I mean when I say that life in Mumbai is really hectic. There are daily pressures of the kind even rich people cannot escape. Add to that the huge problems related to overcrowding, poor administration, corruption, the need to visit various municipal and governmental offices every now and then, the problems of hygiene, living standards, environmental pollution, etc. etc. etc. I guess life here in the Kingdom is bereft of several freedom-related conveniences, yes, but look what you get: you get a country that is free from tax worries, an efficient administration, problem-free stay (as long as you are legit and avoiding things that are proscribed), a clean environment, sparse population, and so on ... and you might, just might, start thinking of staying on. 

In my case, there is a third, more personal reason. The fact is that I have not really saved much in India, and have arrived in the Kingdom at a relatively late age of 51.8 years. I know that old age, like time and tide, does not wait for anyone. At my current age, I am trying to get a British qualification - a M.R.C.P. C.H. certificate, and if I do succeed, I can take a shot at employment in some other, more advanced, more free country. But the chances of these people wanting a 54 year old Pediatrician is a bit slim, as they would need to pay an age-commensurate salary for a person of my experience. This would increase their CTC, and they would definitely hesitate to take me on. Plus the fact that I would retire in about 6-8 years' time after they appoint me - this would certainly discourage me from appointing my own self if I were the employer!

I have therefore decided, much against my earlier wishes, to perhaps stay on for another half contract, and to exit by May 2015. At that point of time, I hope that I would have cleared my last exam for the MRCPCH, and have found another employment elsewhere. Or, I would have identified an observer course in another country to specialise in a Pediatric sub-speciality, and to join that course and advance my career further. For this to happen, I would need to research available courses on the net and through my friends based in developed countries. If that option works out, I would end up spending a lot of cash towards the course fees and the stay in that country, but I would emerge better qualified than I am at present. 

So, that's how the thinking goes at the moment. I would appreciate if you, dear readers, are able to help me select the right options and to suggest whatever you wish to. 

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Dear Doc T,

I cannot advice you about KSA since I don't know the feeling of living in this country.
In all the things you said, you didn't mention the possibility of bringing your wife/ kids to live with you in the Kingdom. Is this an option ? I think you would be much happier and have a feeling of accomplishment if you are all together.
If this doesn't suit you well, I think that you shouldn't care about your age at all . You are as old as you think you are ! You are as old as your dreams !
I am not a doctor but I know that once you cancel your plans for self-improvement , once you consider yourself old and you don't plan anything else but your death .... you start to begin your journey to it.
My father start attending his dreamed University of Art at the age of 55 and finished at 58, now he will be 61 this year.

I can also understand you that you might get tired of practicing medicine . It's not about pursuing only your life career , it's about always thinking about self improving , learning a new language, learning something new.

My best wishes for you Taher,
your e-friend Cristi from Romania

drtaher said...


Thank you so much for taking out the time and for sending in your (in)valuable comment. I agree with you about mortality and thoughts of dying being a dissipator of one's dreams. I am aligned towards self-improvement, but I needed the kind of encouragement you have so candidly provided to me. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Congratulate your father on achieving his academic dream. I am truly inspired by his story and the stories of others like him and I hope that one day I am a similar beacon of inspiration for others too!

Be blessed. Give my love to your children and say hello to all your family members and to your wife as well. I still dream of the day when my family and I can visit your beautiful country ... your travel itinerary is still with me, and if Allah permits, I will, one day, embark on a journey to Romania.