Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Preparing for a brief holiday

Under normal circumstances, when we were two pediatricians working in the same hospital, arranging our holidays was a long-drawn process: first, one must prepare a single vacation request, which is received by the HR department's working person. He then asks you to wait patiently while the paper goes to Taif where it is scrutinised by person or persons unknown, and about 2-4 weeks later, you get your "karaar ijaaza" (holiday approval letter). The karaar ijaaza implies that your vacation has been approved and your application for it has been considered bona fide. 

The next step is for you to collect a clutch of documents: I won't list all of them, but they include a letter from your house landlord that says that you have been an ideal tenant and haven't defaulted on payment of rent; another one is a set of signatures you must get from various departments of your hospital saying that you have not damaged any goods in the hospital and/or you have no complaints outstanding against you. The signatures range from pharmacy, to HR, to equipment, to medical director, to hospital director; a third set of documents (to be filled in quadruplicate) affirms your identity and your address in your home country. I do not know where exactly these four copies go (and, frankly, I don't really care or worry about this); yet another letter names the person who will be responsible for any claims made against you in your absence, SHOULD YOU abscond and not return to Saudi Arabia again.

After you have collected these documents, you wait until your liaison officer pays his weekly visit to the hospital to pick up these documents. Thereafter, the effort from your side is over, and you must wait for the same officer to come a week before your holiday with your passport and visa so that you can go on your holiday. 

Easy? Certainly not. Difficult? That is an understatement! It is a torture to get all the necessary papers in time and be ready for the weekly visit of the liaison officer to hand over the papers to him! And then, you have to literally be after him so that he remembers to get your passport etc. well in time. 

I have gone through all of the above, and am now in the waiting phase for Mr. Ali (our liaison officer) to bring my passport and visa well before my proposed date for a fortnight long holiday. My leave will be specifically for me to attend a training course in MRCPCH in Bangalore from 18th to 21st June 2014. In addition, I would be helping my family tie up any loose ends with respect to the hundreds of things that need to be done while charting a normal life in Mumbai. I am hoping that I can meet my friends and family ... I mean I hope I have the time to do so in the brief time that I will be there in Mumbai.

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