“Saudi Arabia! Learn from UAE. See how they improve their living standard, enhance opportunities, provide social entertainment, invest money in public interests and recreation activities. When will you join the other countries this millennium? You don’t even let women drive on the roads. How backward you are? Grow up!”
“Alright alright! We will allow women to drive but will allow them to drive by next year because we have to establish driving facilities for the women and train them first. Also, we will try our best to adopt general measures to avoid traffic accidents. We will further allow women to work in the shops and offices, even on stalls, fairs and as cashier too. Let’s add some entertainment for your amusement. We will decide to bring WWE wrestlers including John Cena and Big Show for your best luxury because most of you are fond of wrestling. But our sincere apologies, we will not add wrestling divas, we cannot go that far. I hope you understand.
In addition, considering your enthusiasm in comics, we will plan to stage a globally recognized international convention like Comic-Con. No no no you can wear costumes and fashion accessories in love of your favorite characters. Yes, you can become cosplayers. And don’t worry, we will invite well-known celebrities who will mesmerize you all. You will have the moment to meet and greet them, shake hand and even take a selfie with them. This is just a beginning, and we do realize how music has been a significant part of our culture. So we will treat our locals to listen and watch the performance of their favorite, Mohammad Abdu, to your cities. We will experiment some other musical interest in the future. How about Jazz music? We can organize that for you in an industrial city. And how about inviting the world-famous musicians? We can start from Yanni and bring the musical phenomena of team Yanni near to your cities. Why not? We can bring him and his team.
Indeed all you people are fond of watching the Western and Arab films but do you know that our Saudi people are not behind of cinematic talent. There are many talented filmmakers and actors. We shall consider organizing film festivals and bring theatres close to you.
We never focused on attracting tourists to enrich our history and culture before. Like other countries, we are not behind in attracting the tourists and we will earn the global reputation. We do realize there are numerous sites which can attract millions of visitors. Let’s work on few of these. We will invest heavy money in such places. If things work as per the plan we will begin issuing tourist visas too. Just wait and see.”
“Astaghfirullah bro! How can you allow women to drive the car? This will bring fitna and raise the opportunity for gender mixing. The woman will have every chance to drive by herself all alone which will lead the men’s society to stare her and raise concerns about the reasons for her driving.
She will be at ease to hang out with other girls (or maybe boys) and walk on the streets like stray dogs.
No need to let them step out of home for huh work? Why does she want to work when her brother, father, and husband is earning? What could be the reason for going out for ‘work’? And what kind of ‘work’ does she want to do? They should stay at home, learn to cook food, produce offsprings, teach their children and obey every word what her husband or parent wishes or commands. How can you consider inviting kuffar and their inventions to the holy country? Wrestling discourages peace and encourages viewers to fight. So what if you didn’t invite wrestling divas due to the obvious reasons as hellfire is already approved on them, the male wrestlers also promote nudity and shamelessness.
Comic books lead the readers towards mental illness and make them think and develop a theory that superheroes actually exist. By believing the fictional heroes, they will stop believing in our beloved messengers, their message and the true warriors of Islam. Do you know there are nauzubillah (I seek refuge in Allah) so many Gods in comics? How can you let them wear improper dresses and make them shake hands of the famous kuffar people? May Allah guide you.
Music? The voice of Shaitan? The world is near to end. Oh, Muslim Ummah! Do you know you are fulfilling the needs of Western countries? Do you know you are inviting evil by encouraging people to listen to their music? Seems like you have lost your credibility as a Muslim country.
You should realize that they are enemies of Islam and by investing your money in advertising their culture and fashion, we will be manipulated and one day they will occupy our holy land. They will marry our Muslim women and produce offsprings who will tweet/retweet their false religion. Auzubillah Auzubillah. May Allah have mercy and guide you to the right path. Amen.”
I happen to notice a small fire in the woods by a few scores of lumberjacks in the forest where I live as an expatriate. This is an incident occurred in the heritage village of Ushaiger which is situated 200 km from Riyadh. Ushaiger is one of the oldest towns in the Najd region. According to social media and few websites including Okaz, a model named Khulood walked the village in a short dress breaking the strict dress code implemented by laws in the Kingdom.
Although I see nothing wrong with a girl wearing a short skirt and traveling to any sites (besides religious places). But I have to forward few of the points towards the incident happened in the heritage village.
1) KSA’s strict dress code on women has to be applicable and under such law, she should be treated as per the law. And let me clarify that this is not my opinion.
2) Like seriously, who wear short skirts on historic places??? This is absolutely silly and beyond any common sense! Tourists in Arab countries like KSA and Jordan wear track suits, track pants, long shorts etc. Even the female Westerners travel to such places wearing an abaya (loose over-garment) to maintain the dress code as per the law.
3) The reactions on the social media sites are mixed. Some have demanded to arrest her or kicking her out of the country. Few considered her act as brave and there is some number of people who consider it welcoming with freedom of expression. Those who want to read the reactions on Twitter can hashtag with the name Ushaiger in Arabic.
In a country where the women are not allowed to drive, the coming years can meet the demands of change and accept the freedom of expressing. But will take a lot of time to accept this.
Being a staunch supporter of personal freedom, my opinion is that the local sharia laws have to cut loose the grip, ease the environment and make it welcoming. There was a time back in the 80s and 90s when the ladies in the Kingdom have to hide their hair and wear plain abayas. Now it has become a fashion and has nothing to do with the religion. Gender mixing is already seen in the public places. So the social environment is not to be confused with Islamic principles. You cannot judge on the basis of the dress if the lady is provoking and abusing her religion or if she is a Muslim or not. What about the mannequins in the shopping malls displaying much shorter dress than the one in this incident?
What happened in this incident was a silly display of show-off but this act will raise a lot of eyebrows on the Ifs and Why-Nots across the Kingdom.
Click the link above and read the article. This news is presenting the precise situation of the construction of depressed multinational circumstances in an economy struggling to escalate employment opportunities among the citizens in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
University Of Business and Technology (UBT) organized a job fair where 40 companies offered some 3000 employment and training opportunities. To utilize the chance, Saudis, as well as expats, reached the door knocking but while they entered and arrived at the fair, the non-Saudi job applicants realized that the offers were limited to the Saudis only.
UBT didn’t bother to mention in their event program that only Saudis will be considered for the jobs. Result? 1000 non-Saudis or expats showed up who were eager to work with the recruiting companies within 48 hours! 48 hours!!! I didn’t witness the show but like other readers and observers, imagine the peak of misunderstanding. The non-Saudi candidates would have been in the queue and when their turns finally have come, they would have been immediately rejected or informed on their faces that they are not entertaining the offer to you expats! Now read their faces and do the maths yourself. After this, the expats would have become a hurdle or an obstacle on the path of job-seeking Saudis going towards the recruiters.
With the growing tensions among the expats who are students or seeking jobs, this event can be observed in many ways:
1. There is a tremendous demand of expats from the field of business & technology who are willing to join and boost the economy. If one job fair can unintentionally fetch 1000 CVs in total from two different companies then imagine the total numbers.
2. At the very same time and location, 4000 Saudis are reported to show up which again shows how much is there a potential to generate the economic measures.
3. The article repeatedly records that the representatives of the recruiting companies in the job fair were ‘surprised’ and ‘shocked’ to see so many expats applying for the job. Their state of getting shocked and surprised is the sign of negligence and ignorance which falters the people responsible in the ministries and the administrations that they fail to notice/observe that the sweat and the blood of the expats are playing the most dynamic role in the economic progress of the country.
4. Another very important point which should be in focus after being surprised and shocked, most of the developed and developing countries who progress in their economy, do not consider the color, race, religion and the country where the job seeker belongs to. Because the candidates of any diversity are welcome to join the firm, considering the impression that they will benefit the company and the economy of the country overall. And that is how the teamwork is done.
Considering or prioritizing one national over the other in KSA or any part of the world builds disputes and rifts, brings cultural and ethnic misunderstanding, causes depression and theorizes a protest for the justice. Ignoring an individual on his/her nationality instead of considering his/her qualification, experience, work efficiency and compatibility will always bring a wrong impression. How would an expat aim to stay in the kingdom and think for the goodness if he/she is rejected for his/her not being a Saudi? And if being Saudi is must then the nationality should be granted after a minimum stay of 5 Islamic or Gregorian years. There are thousands and thousands of cases where an expat like me is born and raised here. On my 33rd year, a guy like me, after all the life spent here, is clueless about his future after reading and listening all the rules and observing the tensions created by those rules for the expats.
That is not how the country is led by prioritizing the locals and completely ignoring the expats or firing them from the jobs. A wrong example is created globally to the observers because of most of the people in America, Europe, Australia or even in India, are working and studying together as a job seeker who is eager to fulfill his/her dream/ambition to become something and a student who is aiming high with no distinction and divergence.
5. With the state of being shocked and surprised also indicates the hatred when one stated in the article, “We don’t know how they got in and who let them in”. This sounds like if the organizers forgot to fix the notice board outside the job fair that “No Beggars And Dogs Are Allowed”. Shoo Expat! Shoo!
Being born and bred here in this country, being a son of my city, Jeddah, I advocate for the employment of the Saudi men and women who hold a lot of promises in their chosen fields. I do wish that the citizens, like the expats, should boost the economy by their contribution. But but but not by cutting or firing the expats from their jobs to replace us with the Saudis but by creating employment opportunities, so the citizens and the expats can together help and stabilize the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In the kingdom where I breathe a confound alfresco, the personal and working life of the born-and-raised expats like us are at a question mark; and being the custodian of our fates, us millennials borrow some time to think on the brink because the bettering dreams turning into shattering dreams is a realization that the hope is hopped in our recession.
Although, beneath the line of soliloquy, an expat like me try to focus on plethoric theories to heal the gashes of the unwanted past and favor the time to catch a train of well-wishes. No matter how cruel how pollute the world becomes, do good and have good and leave it on God.
My best friend Liza and I are devoted cat lovers since childhood. Being sensitive to the most innocent and loving creatures in the world, we have lost our pets in front of our eyes but strived to make the better of few of the cats who caught our attention. I have come to various incidents in serving, rescuing and paying my last respects to the cats in my life. Once my family pet 21 cats at home due to the birth of few of the cats helping in multiplication but we didn’t give up during our never-ending financial crisis. We gave our pets a combined respect and sent each of them to a German lady who served animal welfare and care. May Lord bless that lady. It was a decade ago, now who knows how many of them are…
Liza with her family moved out from the kingdom for good. She has settled in the Pacific and eight months later has returned back for mere a month to meet her parents and kins. My sin is that when she was leaving, I couldn’t meet her. But when she returned, she was busy to schedule our reunion for the sake of our old friendship saga which originates since we were hardly a year old.
Yesterday night (18.04), when Liza had an outing with her family, spotted a pair of beautiful adult cats in their cat tree but to a major surprise, there was no individual on the street keeping the pets. Which clearly meant that someone dropped such adorable cats in their tree on the street and left for God knows what reason. Liza was agitated and mutilated at the same time due to the fact that she herself cannot do anything about the cats because she herself is staying with her family.
Liza messaged, sent the pictures of the poor and sought if I can look after these but I excused for having 10 cats at my own home; the numbers enough to refuse the others. She was very perturbed and distressed repeatedly thinking about the fate of those cats. The cats were silent and weren’t leaving more than few inches from their tree. I advised her to ask someone at this hour of time if anyone, by any good luck, can foster these.
It had been hours and during midnight, at my usual routine of playing FIFA17 at PS4, Liza messaged me and asked for help all of a sudden. My eyebrows grew more hair to learn what on earth had come up as late as 1.30 am. She responded that she want to drop those cats to someone who has agreed to foster the cats at this hour of time. *Yawn*
When the world is sleeping to wake up early for the prayer, for the work, for waking up the kids for the school, there are some rare breed of inhumans, I mean humans, in some very interesting part of the world who are eager to rescue the cats and drop them at the safest place possible.
Being a huge comic books reader, I realized that I have learned more humanity and aimed to do better things in life than I was ever taught in school. Serving for good has boosted my enthusiasm and helped me follow my omens. At such a time when I used to lie on my bed, I decided to help her and rescue the cats.
To reach as quick as possible, I drove the car in haste and completely forgot that there was a speed breaker in one of the area streets where I use to drive daily towards my office every morning. The car badly hit the speed breaker and the reason of installing such thing was completely fulfilled. I cursed myself and patiently drove the next moments. In 15 minutes, I collected her from her cousin’s residence and this is how Liza and I reunited and saw each other again.
My car is driven on the sleeping streets occupied by the sound of silence. The city of Jeddah gives you freshness when you drive towards the seaside especially at midnight but here the rescuers were very fresh for the purpose. Unluckily, she forgot the spot where she was hanging with her relatives an hour ago as the place was very unfamiliar to her plus she had no internet on her cell phone. Also, was I having the luxury of losing the lifeline of the cell phone as I didn’t charge the battery due to an unexpected twist at the eleventh hour. All she knew was that the place is nearby the seaside. After a 15-minute drive, Liza called someone and collected the instructions of heading towards the destiny where we realized that we were going precisely opposite.
At King Abdul Aziz Road, I was supposed to take u-turn just before Al Manar Car Wash but instead, took u-turn after Stars Avenue Mall and drove towards Tahliya Park and Salaam Park situated in the Andalus district. The time was running and so were our heart beats because the presence of the scared cats at the spot was at risk.
I drove back and reached the spot where she had witnessed those cats. To our utter good luck, the cats were there in their tree. The pair were so scared that they weren’t popping out of their tree and had severely low cries. When Liza lifted the tree, the cats neither popped out nor hit the paws to her. They were lying inside the tree, no movement. She easily dropped the tree in the back seat and we left the spot.
We thanked God that they were safe and had no sign of abuse. I don’t know the class or the breed but the cats were very beautiful. The rescue attempt was half done and there was every possibility that while I drive the car, the cats may release themselves from the prison of the tree and get panic. The whole destiny while returning back, the cats made not a single attempt of escaping from the car again indicating how frightened these creatures were.
Now that ‘someone’ who agreed to foster this ongoing midnight was never met by Liza nor did she know where was she living. She had the coordinates but had no internet. I had the internet but didn’t have enough battery in the cell phone to follow the next coordinates. So she was unable to send me the coordinates, nor was I able to match the address on my app. There was no shop nearby and I was still expecting a razor paw or a love bite on my neck coming from the back seat.
The madness prevailed us to type every single unit, letter, and punctuation to form a coordinate on my app which was very bizarre. The idea didn’t make any sense but we had to act swiftly because the time had crossed 2 in the morning, the foster lady was waiting, the petrol of my car was alarming, and the paws on my neck was anytime incoming. Soon as we typed the whole address and clicked for the directions, the mobile lost its life and slept.
Liza suggested stopping the car at any shop so she buys the card to charge the internet because we had no other option. The card was bought, the internet began working on her cell phone, so were the coordinates. I drove on Liza’s directions and guess what! the destiny was a couple of kilometers away from my own home.
We reached the destiny and I parked the car on the corner. The cat tree was removed from the car and one of the cats did panic and struggled to pop out and escape the situation. She controlled and carried the weight; and disappeared into the building. Ten minutes later, she returned with a huge smile on her face and the rescue attempt was complete. We together declared “We Did It”. It was a joyous and emotional moment. We felt extremely, immensely, and supremely blessed. No matter how many bad deeds we have done in our life but there are some good deeds we are manifestly proud of.
God is the witness that in the humming chore of sleeping homes where the residents borrowed time to fulfill their dreams and wake up for their offices, schools, prayers and different purposes, there were two passionate cat lovers who considered no unwillingness and gave the pair of poor cats their new guardian who may/will treat them better than their former guardians. They were not our pets nor were we anything to them but it was the concern which clouded with the chance of rescue.
I dropped her back home and the time was around 3 in the morning. It was an unforgettable night. Perhaps if I had not helped her, she would have increased her blood pressure or killed her brain in developing theories or over thinking all the possibilities and plausibilities over the situation on that street; and at the same time, I may have felt guilty not to help her and the cats while struggling to sleep. Our nights were abnormally lengthy and we surely slept in our homes in peace after a very long time.
The place where I open my eyes… The place where my father was allowed to earn his livelihood, to bring his spouse and make his family…. The place where their people allowed to have my own national school and complete my education….
The place where Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.) was born… The place where Islam was born and the God’s message revealed… The place where earth’s two of the three holiest mosques Masjid al-Haram and Masjid an-Nabawiare protected by those who call themselves it’s custodians…
The chosen nation whose chosen leaders not only serve their people but the entire Muslim brotherhood by providing you the best possible service in your Umrah and Hajj… Whose leaders invest billions and billions of dollars in holy mosque expansions to facilitate our prayers and worships…
It has been 85 years when King Abdulaziz announced the country as a kingdom. There is no such example where the religion and its followers are served in that massive capacity with token of respect… And today we celebrate this day with love and respect…
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on” (Robert Frost)
Chasing the Time…
The title says it all. We all earthlings are chasing the time, questing for happiness, hiding our tears, hoping for peace, begging for mercy, seeking a justice, digging our graves, listening to the whispers, silencing the outcry, watching the cruelty, praying the pardon, facing the warned….
But above all…
We are chasing the time…
And this chase continues and time keeps defeating us again and again and again.
There was a home where I came to my senses, and I began completing my tenses. I began learning how to eat and wear the clothes, I began reading how to become able to life by …….. passing your academic exams. I began searching the lost soul of wisdom. I began dreaming high where the guardians forbid. There was a home where I celebrated my birthdays as the years went by and never realized that a year of my life existing on earth had its final say. There was a home where I came to an age of enticement and abide.
But there was a home where I never came to understand, I never came to realize that all my life was a ‘bloody LIE’, deceived by my own, humbled by a beast within me, truth never exposed or juxtaposed, cries never listened but heard… Yes… there was a home, missed by miles. Held my nerves, breathed and carried on. There was a home I lived for two decades, where I began to talk, where I began to read and write my name, grew up, succeeded and lost….. Then all of a sudden in 2004, I lost my home… I lost my world… I lost my shelter… My eyes saw it destroyed, had no power to stop… Held my nerves, breathed and carried on.
“The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed” (Eminem)
Indeed justification of life is unpredictable. And that is what happened when I lost that 20-year-old home. I had never expected what was coming in next 10 years. My family in the Kingdom then faced the most expensive outcry of breathing the alfresco i.e., the home I lost was not the last I moved. We were bound to change our residence three more times in next 8 years.
It was 12,000 SAR yearly rent of my 20-year-old home, a decade later I recently moved to my 5th home with a yearly rent of 26,000 SAR… For the first time in 30 years, I left the area where I grew up because of recent house-shifting crisis. And for what reasons?? Lemme blog out…
It was a perfect FML script written by someone above the rainless clouds. So allow me to speak a chapter of a turnaround in one expat family.
For years, we fed a cat since the day it began shouting from the back base of our building. It began climbing the stairs and sensed the familiar scent at doorsteps. It became a routine and soon all neighbors realized the cat-human real-life bond in their building. It became a disturbance, kids of our neighbors got scared and routinely began shouting all over the building.
Time passes by and natural phenomena began to reveal from the cat’s belly. It became a threat for us as we knew from our old experiences that cat never bore less than two kittens at a time. She gave birth to six kittens down the backyard of the building. Three of these died earlier but the rest also began to tweet the mother. Neighbors blamed the running circus on floors of building on us and warned they would kill all of these creatures if we didn’t manage to keep these stay away from the stairs. So we were bound to pet four kittens last year and they grew to adult age. This re-state of keeping cats as pets was not that expensive like before but of course, money talks.
Now let’s walk the talk. This last residency was a fly drown in a glass of water. In the beginning, the man to whom we signed the contract, left the building in few days and we realized that there is some years-long rift between him and his brothers. We kept receiving threats from his mental brothers to leave the spot but threats were harmless. Once one of them took my brother to the counselor and things were not that same. It was hard to consider another shifting of residence in such an expensive living environment.
A couple of months ago, my mom left to India after a long waiting state of applying for the visa. Soon she left, a couple of cops marched our doorsteps in few days to leave the building asap. It looked alarming situation but we were confirming from the owner of the building. The day came when the owner gave the painful briefing to leave the building in not more than a week. A week!!!!
The owner was in a very sorry state with the explanation that his brother registered the property case on his brother in court and a short notice issued to evacuate the building in a week. The quarrel was blundered between the brothers but the most to a gash and suffer were we the tenants. With heart in our mouth, here began Wacky Races between the tenants of searching their next residency with a global-warming acidic yearly rent to confront.
“Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor” (Sholom Aleichem)
Due to big-money rent pay involve in every ‘House for Rent’, the option to leave our area of 3-decades-stay become mandatory. It was the most disappointing search due to the reason. I was observing where the world is meeting its end, where are we going, how things are getting expensive, how life is getting complicated. With all our efforts to make a flat our home, we somehow began struggling to look for a new flat to pretend it a home and chasing the time again.
Then comes another painful time when we paid our final goodbye to our first ever car. 1982 model of Mazda 929 was our very first car bought back in mid 90’s. My father, myself and my brother learnt driving and the vehicle became the base of our normal routine with millions of golden memories. Last decade, it couldn’t afford the strength enough to stay long with us with many problems. It became a patient with regular medic visits. Later on, we bought Chevrolet Optra 5 years ago. We became used to of it. Then I bought Hyundai Veloster last year and then this Mazda became a history. Dead for a long time, the goodbye was very emotional. The dead car was in such a shape to bring a feeling as if a long-run loyal and faithful horse is finally giving up life to its owners.
As the days passed by, the short notice period came close to our throats. The cruel the nature of terrible fate was the absence of a wife/mother at home which was enough to break us badly. The quest of shelter continued and survival of the fittest finally met in last remaining 120 hours (almost close to Aaron Ralston’s fate).
“Often when we lose hope and think this is the end….GOD smiles from above and says, ‘Relax, sweetheart, it’s just a bend, not the end!’” – Unknown
Living in Faisaliyah district, once questing in Bawadi district meeting a disappointment and returning back with a kind friend helping me in my quest. I was about to take a u-turn to my home with a mourning face to end another day in grief unfinished business, struck a hammer on my brain to take my chance near to Al-Salamah district with few remaining minutes to Maghrib prayers. The questing session in Al-Salamah looked fade with no sign of hope as usual until our eyes met a building with a signboard ‘House for rent’. ’twas like if the most beautiful girl offered me her life…..
Anyhow the location was observed and was far beyond than a level of satisfaction. This home was bought with no waste of time in taking the decision at 26,000 SAR (after bargaining btw). The next challenge was……….. shifting without mother!!!
To our good luck, when shifting was to be done, the weekends were about to began with the most possibility that our friends will help us in such critical situation. And that did happen, saying a humble ‘Thank You’ wasn’t enough nor was I able to make words or phrases to express the support I received from them.
A large vehicle was too expensive and unaffordable. So the camel of a carriage was one of our friend’s pickup. So expectations of numerous rounds of shifting were already expected, and efforts of more the time-consuming on moving and dropping objects at a pace were on the count. We had enough friends to help us on that particular weekend of exhaustion and combustion.
The real session was taking all the home stuff from top floor to base. Plus the packing especially the kitchen accessories required mom’s assistance. In her absence, my father and brothers had to repeatedly co.ordinate with her on Skype, through a video chat she had to view every inch of shifting stuff and decide what to reject or not. Thanks to technology which made it lil easy to co.ordinate our complicated home shifting without her presence but presence.
The interesting scene was of cabinets of the kitchen. The newly bought home had only one cabinet. Buying the new was within our financial reach, the only idea brought things to accept reality was to take the existing cabinets with us. My father proposed this idea and my brother seeking permission from the owner, he gave his consent. Within few minutes, the owner called and gave us consent to take all the cabinets (he did permit to show his anger for sure on his brother’s case filing attempt). Opening the cabinets, you need a special mechanism to un-wall. Our pickup friend helped out, with other friends altogether put the heavy labor of hours to take household shape in our matters.
Under 48 hours my father and our friends had unscrewed all major furniture and fittings, every single piece was poured down from one stair to another. Housing in 2nd floor, a friend proposed an idea that each of us must stand on each corner of stairs down till the pickup and movement of objects can be made faster in different hands at a time. The plan worked, energy saved, morale boosted. In almost three days, the whole of household items was moved. Physical exhaustion had its peak.
The view of home shifting in the building was an absolute madness. It was expected that moving of tenants within a week will make things look abnormal but one brother’s fight for power and hunger for money messed the whole situation with the funny part that he himself was the tenant of this building. They were four brothers in all once living in this building, the rest you may understand…
The day shifting began, was the day of presenting household items in shape of an open exhibition. Not only were we moving our stuff with a pickup waiting outside, also were three other tenants joining the household labor parade with two trucks parked and congested the place with no cars to move a big space. The 4-tenants open exhibition produced a dozen labors plus ourselves bringing down the items, and a lively atmosphere of children of tenants playing outside. It was an outcry.
“Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life” (John F. Kennedy)
With the beginning of a new week by night, we introduced all of our four cats to the new home. Naturally, they didn’t accept the change. Confound and feeling betrayed, sniffing and wandering. With new home installed on the ground floor, guests of Al-Salamah were about to face their toughest challenge, meet the local cats of Al-Salamah. The local salamah.fm began to invite the outbreak outside our home, as the local cats surrounding outside the netted balcony looked like the White Walkers of ‘Game of Thrones’.
With all the cats struggling to accept the change, one of these could not qualify and met to its disaster. Rebuilding a new enthusiasm of unpacking, screwing and placing all the items, we fell mentally disturbed towards the nature of this cat. Unnaturally it went shouting for 12 straight hours. The next morning my father began shouting that it was hitting his head on the wall and walking like a blind. He was right, that cat dramatically lost his eyesight, he wasn’t able to see or understand what lies ahead of its walk anymore.
In few hours, we met another sign of horror from it, the cat was now not even sensing normally. Shaking, moving its head, lying like a dead, eyeballs getting wide and not attending us like before. We rushed to the vet clinic where the doc stated a temporary brain injury by perhaps a hit on its head allowing blindness. Brain injury meant it would not last for long. We could not hold tears and return home hopeless.
The other story broke in India when I came to know that mom had a terrible sprain on lumbar spine which pulled her nerves. She wasn’t able to walk or sit. Therapy was going for weeks. She didn’t inform us due to our shifting crises. My mother could have completed her therapy in India with a genuine delay, but yet again the local Kingdom procedures of iqama renewals made her return to Kingdom soon. These surely were the hardest times of life at a very wrong time.
My brother and I began cleaning the brain hit cat. It was kept in balcony alone for days due to the fact that it went crazy with other cats and was a possibility to spread its problem in other. The cat wasn’t able to move or walk. It passed its urine on its own body, in addition of bags of dust and litter already occupying its skin. We realized that further dirt will increase chances of increasing the disease or such a massive pain will kill it severely. We put the cat on bath by pouring water on it, lice-shampooed its body, brushed and combed it. Cleaned and washed the balcony. Mom had advised us to manage Zamzam water for its drinking and wiping it while praying some supplications.
Things worked as the cat struggled to survive and tried to bring things back to normality. In these days, Alhamdulillah it is active and can sense normally but lack the eyesight. On the other hand, my mother began walking and returned back to the city. How strange the life can be, she left to India in one home and returned in the other.
More stories and incidents will enter my life. Until now this is one critical chapter really needed to blog off. The reason behind writing this blog isn’t a personal diary to open. My purpose of narrating a sudden panic in life is to tell the reader how a common man in the Kingdom gets hypnotized of a situation when a second person indirectly kicks you and makes your life miserable. How a citizen becomes an expat.
While reading the whole, one will realize a socio-economic issue is persistently prevailing. Being a common man, I am not physically tortured but wounded with a burning fate trying to escape. The man who filed the case was no one to me, and life of the whole family got messed. The one who will collect family iqamas indirectly made mom’s health at risk but with no intention. Had there no such rules, my mother had fully and quickly recovered in India. The doctor who stated the cat suffered the brain injury was incorrect.
Last of all, I would like to thank my friends who helped us in our critical times of home shifting. Although I don’t write names in the blogs but I should mention due to their efforts. I would like to thank Moizuddin Bhai for helping us out in the unstoppable quest for new residency and supported/guided us when required. I would like to thank our friends Faizan, Alpha, Taha, Maroof and Rizwan who helped us in home shifting and worked day and night. In the end, I would like to especially thank Waqas and Umair, without whom this amount of work would neither have been finished nor the shifting would have ever been possible. May Allah bless you all.
It is all about only one person to rely on, cheer, motivate and make him/her powerful to survive the life and make him/her run with time. YOU. Believe in yourself… Time will pass by and will never stop and we all will grow more and more and more. So
It took me three months and four days to finish the unfinished business of completing an incomplete story of my memorable trip to Baha. To the readers of this blog, this is second and last part of ‘Heavenz to Baha-Way’. Kindly read the first part here before you jump to an incomplete story.
The connotation of annotation rhymes with agitation, due to the fact that all our comforts turned into discomfort. Our rest in peace turned into wrest in pieces. Outside the village and beneath the sun heat, here lied our graves of intention. The mood went bood as the car determined never to vroom.
The street, where the car was parked, was narrow. The only solution was to turn the face of car somehow back towards the ascending slope. One sat in the car and the other two turned things into wings. It was a comical sketch. We moved half way towards the street joining the main road as almost dozen fellow Pakistanis kept staring us moving the car instead of helping -_-
Anyhow one Saudi gentlemen helped us by charging the battery. His son’s face was like a pumpkin brutally smashed sitting in…. Things didn’t work and directed us to ask any driver who could take us to one of mechanic at nearby places. We thanked and wished him. Call to Jummah (Friday) prayers and we rushed towards the masjid (mosque) close to us. The namaz (prayers) had began and I was performing wuzu (ablution) in haste.
Embarrassment began as the masjid was full of worshipers, and I couldn’t find the prayer rugs. At the entrance of masjid, I was about to lose the first rak’ah when I heard the chapter he was reciting was about to finish. The only solution was to open the left gate and make space. As the imam (the one who leads the prayer) finished the surah (chapter), I was still trying to open the gate. The f***ing lever of the door leaf was stuck -_- and the worshippers behind me (who were about to lost the first rak’ah) were slapping my back to move ahead instead of hindering.
It was absolutely embarrassing situation. They were so enraged but were obviously not in position to curse me at the entrance. So one stretched his face like a flamingo to check if space was inviting, then ran behind. But one fat guy was a flusher he just moved ahead of me to look for space as Imam called Allahu Akbar and fell in ruku (moment of bowing in namaz). I was still trying to open the gate and the fatty moved his body by force between the two. He couldn’t bow as his ass hit the wall and it almost tickled my rib but tried to control. I had lost the rak’ah unfortunately, so I gave up and prayed the same place where I stood.
After I finished my prayers, I didn’t see the fatty but my fellow travelers who perhaps performed ablution as faster than me and entered the masjid. I moved ahead, stayed in masjid and prayed to cross this miserable car battery situation. Life was at peace for few minutes. In masjid, I realized many of the worshipers were either Pakistanis or the Arab teenagers supporting their grandpas looking exactly octogenarian. I saw one Pakistani smiling in prayers when he saw a fellow Pakistani crossing him and leaving masjid.
15 minutes later, I left masjid and wished the matter goes solved asap. Almost 100 meters away, I saw my fellows standing at each side of the road. Till I reached to them, they found a Saudi to whom they convinced to help us. The driver left with him and the debutant traveler stayed with me for the next hour.
So the introductory phase of hi-hellos were carried out as it was my first meeting with him. He noticed my book-reading habit in the car and informed me that he has a group of book-readers and embarking the group meetings in cafe to initiate plans to develop the habit into a source of more intellectual community of learning and sharing. It sounded very interesting and fresh but I will ponder to join the group due to my working commitments. Have a lot of things to do and not easy to manage time. But I do wish such initiative proceed and succeed because I don’t see such formation of group on basis of book reading. Rare groups like these will take time to rise and develop but surely will grow because I have faith that there still are people who are loyal to books.
We were standing behind a shop for half an hour when shop-keeper advised us to sit in the shop without any hesitation. In the shop, we saw an old man eating his heavy lunch of traditional rice chicken. The first-timer bothered to inform the old man the situation and requested our comfort in shop for a while. He not only granted us permission but forwarded his lunch to join him. Series of bother words began between us. Then he gave us Ghandooresque chewing gums. The old man told him to open the fridge and chose the drink whatever he wish. We had no answers of such gesture, such humbleness, such height of hosting.
Further hosting was propelled though contacting our poor fellow who told us that the Saudi guy (with him) is trying to reach every unit of mechanic shop as much as possible but are usually closed after Jummah prayers. He further stated that he is calling to his friends and relatives close in the limited circuit for the least possible favor they could deliver. It was beyond our imagination that an Arab will touch the hosting height to such level to the expats living in the Kingdom due to the bitter fact that you cannot expect such behavior from most of the Jeddawi Saudis that he will serve an expat to that level. I am sorry to say but I have seen more rudeness in Saudis of Jeddah as compared to small cities. I tasted the same hosting experience in al-Ula and now al-Baha surprised us well.
He came back with him and charged the battery as we thanked the old man of his humbleness and service. Now we met this Saudi guy. His name is Meshaal and is a well educated guy and chemical engineer by profession. He surely was never a destitute because he was the man with Tahoe. Charging the battery for almost 5 minutes and racing at rpm between 2 and 3, the vehicle was still silent without even a miss call. After couple of minutes, our car showed some sign of survival and all of a sudden, it began working. Phoooff Alhamdulillah, the misery had its last say probably but one thing was sure, the car will be stopped in Jeddah. All the excitement of revisiting the forestry area of Thee-Ain shut the doors of our intentions.
It was time to thank Meshaal and his generosity took our heart. The hosting and gesture of friendship towards non-Arabs or expats like us imparted that people of such qualities will perhaps be found in small cities and we never bothered to claim to Meshaal that few people in Baha like the old shop owner and he are the best examples of hosting and we will hardly meet any Saudi of his caliber in Jeddah at least. All what he could do was smile. He gave the bandana of his local football team to our friend who own the car. Before he left, we did ask him to do one last favor…….. we asked him “which road shall we take for Raghdan forestry?” :P
After all what happened with the car and the fact that the car had a limited lifeline and will stop breathing anytime, we were eager to take the risk….
Meshaal left the scene and we drove towards al-Baha while keeping in mind that the car will never go off until we reach our home back. Oh boy o boy!!!! to reach Baha city, one has to drive to the most beautiful heights of the mountains. Colors of heaven flowing a sharp contrast on the pile of rocks, henge of stones and blade of grasses. The wonderful nature and a dramatic change in weather was inviting. The temperature which was 33 degrees 10 minutes ago in Thee-ain ridiculously dropped to mid-10s due to reaching the heights.
There are many corners at the heights with a limited space where the cars can be parked and families can have a proper sitting. We also stopped the car… no no no!!! we didn’t off… just kept in on for few minutes, so we can hang out in this cold air and enjoy the weather modeling in front of camera. Baha is located on a tremendous height elevated at over 7000ft. It took half an hour to reach al-Baha.
Ascending the heights of beautiful mountains, we found the noble tribe of hooting baboons from Hamadryas. Like I told you before in my Thee-ain blog “Rocky Doodle in Centuries-Old Ville”, these baboons belong to the baboon species from Old World Monkey family to be mostly found in the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Time to look for the forestry of Raghdan and we followed the navigation. There are many hill stations in the city and by locating the spot, one of hill stations attracted us. It was very cold and the view was hallucinating with the angels riding the dark clouds. I was loving this cold atmosphere in such a beautiful surface of sphere. Then I noticed that there was a route on mountain to climb. The sleepy slept in car and the rest of us decided to leave him with the car on hold, keeping in mind that now if the car stopped… it will be a huge FML to bear. The risk was taken and off we go.
The route on mountain was actually made and I counted like 21 storeys which I comfortably climbed. The kingdom of greenery was installed on the mount reminding me the Hobbiton area of the rural Waikato town of Matamata in New Zealand. My excitement and joys knew no bound, I was like escaped from unbearable chaos or unaccountable babel. Seems like days of glory were back. I feel fresh afresh, pathetically unwounded. We could not hold our patience and efforts to lift our courage to move ahead what was inviting above our heads, plus the fate was lying with the car engine on safe mode without any jerks. We left the spot furnishing a moment to remember for long.
Drove back to modesty, a humble sketch of greenland and darkness of clouds dancing on your heads. But during our driving way back, we did oppose to run straight and were forced to stop at a spot which was quite appealing. A tower of stone shaped like a resting pyramid with a proud history of thousand-year-old myth. Rolled to the other side was more of hullabaloo. A small hole like a cave can deserve and the space inside wasn’t more than couple of meters. All what my eyes saw inside was hmmmm ahmmm a mattress with Saudi national emblems on the cover!! I simply didn’t understand the whole fuss. What the eff is the mattress doing inside a rare tower of stones? But the point to admit is that whoever designed that tower is an architect of remarkable caliber.
Tired and exhausted, descending down the sliding stairs of mountains from Baha till Thee-Ain village with no strength of photo-shoots at any stopping. The driver had gone drunk off his sleepy eyes contesting a showdown on the sliding road at minimum 80kph. Twice I woke him during the coronation of enemies on opposite road (about to kiss you). I threw my words on him to stop and sleep for a short but he had some other dreams on waiting list unapproved -_-
Alhamdulillah we descended safely but we were hungry now and located the desi restaurant where we ate the last time we came . Last time we ate chicken karahi and mutton karahi on that site, and was the delicious karahi I ever ate. After long search of the restaurant’s whereabouts, we found a desi restaurant and showed them the picture of that site from the previous Thee-ain blog I posted. They were surprised of attending such a bunch of special customers with committed hunger reserved for that particular place and so passionate to pic a glimpse of it.
Alas we came to know from this restaurant that it finished the business. We could not hold our strength to defeat hunger and intended to eat the same food at that site. I wasn’t surprised of the quality of deliciousness of karahi we ate later on but it satisfied my zeal and filled my stomach. On this particular moment, I really missed the two of our globetrotters who were with us in last Thee-ain visit.
It took further more hours of wait to reach Jeddah as the vehicle was humbled at mere 120kph, even when there was no sign of flashing meadows. During the returning drive was a short moment of rich black clouds with a lightning heritage of hiding the moon to seduce the earth in an earthly manner. It was very black-and-blue above with a terrific eye-catchy glimpse. Very Godly nature, sparking the beauty on the bearded clouds of wonders. The stars were praying and the clouds were playing. Watching those clouds above, my ear drums were tuned to Enya’s ‘May It Be’. Ah the beautiful scene!! the clouds kept trying to hide the moonlight but the beauty kept exposed, I felt like if Anne Hathaway is about to get undress in front of my eyes. Sumbuddy stop me!