Saturday, May 17, 2014

Things begin to look up - but still carless.

Yes, I am still without my car, and as the days pass, I am beginning to think of it as a has-been. There will be some sorrow, of course, as I used this car extensively during the 17-odd months it was in my name. I did overpay for it initially, and I had to spend a lot more to keep it ship-shape, but it had already cost me more than SR 18000, and for this kind of money, I could very well have purchased a much more recent car at that time. The other thing is that as I am not planning to stay for a longer time (perhaps a year more as I write this), this car would have served me well for the remainder of my time here in Saudi Arabia. So, yes, it does pinch. Then again, on the flip side, the loss of this car has made me walk a bit more (not a lot more, though, as I do get someone to give me a lift every day). Also, the way it kept having problems makes me think that if I had continued to use it, it might have had more problems, translating into more expenses. 

So, I say to myself: whatever happens, happens for the good. And I move on. I have short-listed an American car owned by a colleague of mine who is leaving Saudi Arabia for good within a few weeks. It is a 1997 model car, a Crown Victoria (Ford), and having driven it myself, it seems to be a good car, but the asking rate is a bit stiff. Let's see how this deal goes over the next week.

Coming now to other news. I am still working alone here, and it has been over 4 weeks since my colleague resigned and left Saudi Arabia. In these 28 days, I have not taken a single day's relief, as I am all alone. The work has been average, but last week, there was a surge in delivery cases, so I was called several times to attend to the newborn after it had been delivered. Even today, there was a delivery and I was called to take a look at the slightly preterm baby. 

On Thursday evening, our friend Dr. John the dentist called up at my home. He has been here in the Kingdom since over 23 years, and had a few tips for me on how to go about searching for the car. It seems that if you know someone strong in the police, they can activate GPS tracking on your car as the number plate is GPS compliant. I do not know anyone so strong, so I probably will not get access to this facility. He also agreed to help me to go around Al Muwayh one evening (we agreed to go on Friday evening) to see if we could spot my car somewhere in the desert. I served him dinner at my place, which he accepted. 

Dr. John is well-connected in the Kingdom. His family stayed with him the first fourteen years, but later, they left so that his daughters could complete their high school and university education in Mumbai, India ... yes, he is a Mumbaikar like me. Only, his roots in Mumbai are deeper than mine as he is a direct descendant of the Koli tribe, and an East Indian, to boot. Over the past two days, I have learned more about him and I have no hesitation in saying that he is highly educated, kind, generous and very intelligent. 

On Friday evening, he called over to my place and we both went around Al Muwayh, and then drove on to a place called Badriya, which is over 60 km away from the hospital.  On the way, as well as at Badriya, I left my car number and my cell number with several people - locals who could well act as eyes and ears for me and bring me news if at all they saw my car. The road to Badriya was not all asphalt, though, as certain sections had been closed and rough roads led out from the road into the desert, to join the asphalted road from time to time. In the event, we returned to Al Muwayh after sunset. We returned to Dr. John's house, and then went to Hotel Zamzam for a dinner of tandoori chicken with rice.

He also helped me to coordinate with a courier company with whom a parcel of mine had gotten stuck. Eventually, on Saturday afternoon, the courier company's Taif worker, a Hyderabadi gentleman by the name of Mr. Azharuddin, drove all the way to my place from Taif to hand-deliver the courier an Indian bank had sent to me. We all had lunch together, with Dr. John eating quite less. However, Azharuddin enjoyed my serving of rice with chicken curry very much. And, of course, he agreed to keep in touch with me.

Yesterday night, I once again started my Skype sessions with a small group of doctors. I hope and pray that I am ready for the exams when the time comes ... the date is 10th September 2014 and the venue will be Hyderabad, India. 

Times Now continues to be telecast in the background as I write this. The reality of the oncoming Modi era is sinking in. Jubilation is now giving way to pujas and aartis in homes as well as outside in the community all over India. A special puja is being held in Varanasi. Rather unnecessary, don't you think ... as Narendra Modi has already had Mother Luck smile on him since he decided to become the PM of India.

Do let me know your comments and thoughts on today's entry. Thank you and have a great weekend.

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