Friday, March 07, 2014

Why this blog?

I mean, what is so special about this blog? This question was posed to me by someone who is an occasional visitor to the blog, but her opinion counts. As does everyone else's. Hence I chose to ask this question to myself to seek an honest answer. 

And the answer, my friends, is (roll of drums): because I am. That's it. Because I am, therefore I write, I share, I discuss, I seek comments and opinions, I socialise, I interact, I eat, I sleep, I ... ya, I know, by now, you've got the drift. It is something I HAVE to do. It is something as natural to me as my daily activities. Well, perhaps I do not blog daily, because of mood shifts, lack of time, lack of inspiration, lack of energy, or simply, because I am. I am not perfect. I am not a conformist. I am not obsessive about writing a blog entry EVERY SINGLE DAY. In the end, it turns out that the best way to say all that is to simply use the three magic words: Because I am.

I began writing at a very early age. Even if you discount the cow and If I were ... kind of montessori and primary school essays, I began early. I wrote my first novella at the age of 11. This is the time by which I had already finished reading Enid Blyton (Famous Five and Secret Seven series, plus stuff like Noddy, Enchanted Wood, etc.), Hardy Boys and comics from the Harper group (remember Casper, the Friendly Ghost, or Three Little Ghosts, or Spooky, or L'il Jinx, or Jumbo, or Sad Sack?). They say, and very rightly so, a good writer is, and must be, a prolific reader. And so it was with me.

Internet happened just about 15-18 years ago, but I continued to write. Only, now it was mostly online, and as I wrote, my use of the pen/pencil/eraser/etc. stopped completely and was substituted by writing with the keyboard on to a luminous screen. 

I began my first blog about 8 years ago, and I wrote regularly in that. Then, that blog sort of disappeared and I shifted to blogger.com and started a series of blogs, each on a different theme. My blog on Pediatrics is still the one with the most eyeballs, while this blog fetches me the second highest views. I used to contribute regularly to a general blog, occasionally to a blog that describes feelings and emotions, and rarely to a Nature blog, a Travel blog and a Poetry blog. 

So, it all comes back to the first question: why THIS blog? Well, because this was the easiest way for me to share my unique experience of working in a country that Indians (my largest reader group) know so little about, and perhaps don't even care to. I feel that after writing about Saudi Arabia for over two years, their perceptions have altered to some extent. My friends still think it is a socially backward nation, but they have come to appreciate its advance in technology, in science and in environmental conservation. 

What environment, you ask. I agree that there isn't much green to protect here. I was, however, surprised to see that desert environments can be beautiful beyond one's imagination. There is hardly any pollution here, at least none in small villages and peripheral areas. The weather changes dramatically from time to time. The winters and summers are both extreme. The rains come rarely, but when they do, they refresh the body and the mind in ways that cannot be written about. The skies are usually clear, with an occasional cloud or two, but when the weather changes, clouds appear as if from nowhere, and darken the sky, send rains and then, just as abruptly, dissipate.

Governance is as per the Islamic traditions of the Qur^an, the Shariah, and the teachings of the Hadiths. The thing is, however, that for a law-abiding resident, life is smooth and trouble-free. You do need to get permits and licenses to live, to practice and so on, but their acquisition is hassle-free. You don't have to bribe anyone, stop anyone from interfering, butter anyone's palms, or do anything illegal. Most of the work can be done through bank ATMs. The rest can be done online through specific websites. Appointments can be obtained by fax. Visas can be printed out online. The registration of a vehicle, payment of fines, renewal of residence permit, etc. can all be paid through the ATMs of a bank. No visits to the respective offices are needed to procure any of these. Not ever. Isn't that like a dream for Indians?

So, back to the question: WHY this blog. Have I answered it, fair and square? Perhaps half of my readers are convinced. For the other half, I need to add that many people want to work in Saudi Arabia and they need a blog like this to evaluate whether it is gonna be worth it or not. I know that I provide only one aspect of life ... but if you are a professional like I am, such as a doctor or an engineer, reading this blog by scanning the labels at the top and selecting an appropriate label is the way to go. 

Happy reading! Thanks for the visit, and may Allah bless you. Do leave a comment or two ;-P

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