Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Two ends!!!

In India, there is a vast gap between how hospitals work and how corporate offices function. Having worked in hospitals for almost three years, I have realized the fundamental difference between a corporate employee and a hospital staff. Here goes my list of factors which explains how our lives are entirely different.

1. In corporate offices, especially the one with foreign joint ventures, dressing up neatly is a must. That doesn't imply hospital staffs don't dress up well, but their dressing is far more simple as they know nobody is going to judge them by their clothes. As far as employees in corporate offices are considered, the way how they are dressed and how they present themselves becomes the crucial factor in building up their first impression. Even a wrinkle on their shirt spoils their mood, whereas, people in hospital don't care much about all these things. I have come across doctors wearing simple cotton shirts with chappals to hospitals.

2. The extravagant buildings and plush offices are the second home to these corporate employees, on the other hand, most people working in hospitals in India just hope to get a clean toilet in their working place. The added benefits like air conditioning, unlimited internet, laptops are like a dream for people working in hospitals. There have been instances when we have asked for these benefits with the management just to get a shady "no" as if we have no use of them!!!

3. People often believe hospitals are the cleanest place, but that's not true. It is an abode to many viruses and bacteria and literally, we have to take extra measures to keep ourselves safe. Maybe because of this, we are either too worried about health or too casual about it. I take cetirizine even if I sneeze once, whereas, I have come across doctors who treat rabies patients without being too cautious. Look at the luck of people working in corporate offices, they are always in a disease free environment, unless some virus secretly invades their plush office through an electronic door by hiding inside some employee. 

4. Corporate employees normally get free coffee and at places, they even get free food. Look at the plight of people working in hospitals, they have to walk all the way till cafeteria (which is normally in the basement or some remote corner) and drink that not-so-hot coffee amid patients who are continuously coughing or their relatives who are crying non stop. Adding on, the coffee normally sucks!!!!

5. The people working in corporate offices are not only living away from diseases, but also, the pain. Their life wanders around fancy buildings, stylish clothes, frequent vacations, fun filled co-workers, lots of laughter and joy. But the life inside a hospital is totally different. We are feeling everybody's pain and seeing their uncontrollable tears. We are unable to laugh at a joke thinking about the situation of a patient. We are unable to wear stylish clothes when we are submerged in a patient's misery. We are unable to be happy when we see sadness around us every day. 

I am not denying that people working in corporate offices have a lot more work pressure and are always forced to perform better to save their jobs. I am not denying the fact that corporate employees don't have a personal life as they are always thinking about work opening an excel file. The best part about working in a hospital is that we have the luxury to switch off and detach from work once we are home unlike corporate employees except some research or study. 

This post is mainly written to highlight why people working in hospitals behave in a certain way. Why it doesn't matter to them how they dress up, why they take more medicines and always worried about health, why they don't look away at the pain of others, why their evenings are dull!!! The place where we work is completely different. The kind of life we live is very close to reality. We are exposed to pain, death, suffering far more than any population. Hence, we are different. 

PS: This post is inspired from real life incidents as my husband and friends work in corporate offices and they don't seem to understand why I am like this!!!!  I am not saying this is the ultimate truth; this is just based on my observations. Agree or disagree!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Abaya exploration

When we decided to shift to Saudi Arabia, the first thing my husband was concerned about me having to wear an abaya (burkha). Though I had no qualms about wearing one, certain degree of disappointment was lingering around. The disappointment slowly turned in to frustration when I realized I can't show off my fancy clothes in fancy restaurants. However, I had to gulp this fact hard as I am here to stay!!!! 

I had done my abaya shopping in Udupi before my first trip to Jeddah. I had taken the help of a friend and bought a very simple, black colour abaya without a scarf or what they call it here, hijab (covering head with a hijab is not compulsory for expatriates in Jeddah). I had picked up the least expensive one paying 2000 rupees. There were some more cheaper ones but they lacked quality. My first abaya was definitely not stylish, but for me it served its purpose. 

Last year when I was travelling to and fro Jeddah multiple times, my simple black abaya came handy and I just did not feel the need of buying one more. But after I shifted to Jeddah this year, I started observing women in Saudi Arabia and their abaya designs closely. In Saudi Arabia, especially in Jeddah, women can wear colour abayas; not gaudy ones though!!! I wonder what Mutaween (Islamic religious police who makes sure all the rules are followed properly) will do if they spot a fluorescent abaya!!! So, like I was saying, women can wear abaya of different colours like blue, brown, cream, white, grey and some lighter shades of pink, purple, etc. 

I have already bought two new abayas with hijabs - blue with lace and brown with front zip since this year January. But the interesting part is, in spite of paying in riyals, I have paid lesser money compared to India. For the blue one I paid 65 riyals (1103 rupees) and for the brown one I paid 85 riyals (1442 rupees). Like India, shopping in malls is very expensive. Even a simple abaya would cost nearly 1000 riyals (approximately 17K INR) but shopping in local streets of Jeddah saved me a lot of money. 

Al-Balad is the historical area of Jeddah which flaunts its market along with the UNESCO heritage site. Most of the shops are owned by Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis (or maybe I visited only their shops) and Arabs. As most of the shop owners spoke in Hindi, my first shopping experience in Jeddah was not bad. However, finding a colour abaya with a front zip was a difficult task (as most of them doesn't have a zip) but I enjoyed every bit of wandering around the streets of Balad. 

The different shades and designs of abaya made me feel like buying every single piece!!! I had never seen so many colours of abaya and that too in so many styles. I understand donning an abaya all the time can be less colourful for women from other countries but come and have a look at the vast collection of abayas, you will definitely fall in love with it. Most importantly, wearing an abaya is also very comfortable with an added advantage of going to supermarkets in sleeping pants!!!

I am definitely looking forward to some more abaya shopping and will upload pictures of Al-Balad market then (I did not have enough time to click pictures last time!!!!). 

PS : All the images are downloaded from different sources via google!!!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The "Dementor"

Of course, we all know what dementors are!!! After all being a die hard Harry Potter fan, nothing scared me the most than those foul soul sucking hooded creatures. All my life I have been consciously waiting for the entry of a dementor to suck the soul out of me. I believe, everything depicted in Harry Potter has a real life meaning attached. Starting from Dumbledore to Voldemort, I have experienced my share of "Harry Potter" so far!!! But, it's only been three months since I have become a captive of a dementor and it has sucked my soul, my good spirit so much that I am unable to recognize myself in the mirror. 

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So what happened three months ago? Where did I meet my dementor?  

Three months ago, on January 17th, on the most inauspicious day, I shifted my base to Saudi Arabia. A land where I had been travelling frequently and hence, had no qualms about moving. But things have changed in the past three months. I define KSA as colourless for people who are not very spiritual from within. It is a place which doesn't offer anything to improve the "fun quotient" in life. Definitely, it does provide a lot of options for shopping and eating, however, life becomes monotonous after a while. 

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Being away from family and friends is still manageable, but after a certain age when you can't even make new friends quickly, it gets lonely without them. This loneliness starts hovering over you day and night, slowly taking that ignited spirit away. From day 1 to day 90, I have seen myself regressing from within. On the contrary, physically I have been putting on in all directions due to lack of exercise. I stay very close a street which is meant for walking and jogging. But I am hesitant, thinking about my plight of jogging wearing a burkha!!!! 

Life becomes so comfortable here, that you don't want any challenges or struggle in life any more. What people do here is - eat, sleep, shop and yeah, at times they work. This comfortable life has made me extremely lazy that even ten hours of sleep becomes insufficient for me. I have begun to cook only easy dishes which consumes less energy and time. I spend most of my time crouching on the sofa, looking at my facebook account and doing nothing!!!! The sad part is, I have become too lazy to write (this is my first post in the last one month) and even, read. Three books are half read and I am finding it impossible to finish them. 

Basically, I can't read, write, work or even think properly. All I do is eat, sleep and eat, sleep and cycle continues...  

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Recently, after an hour long discussion with my husband I have realized this country is my dementor. It is slowly sucking out all my positive spirits and turning me in to a stiff. I have no aims or goals, I have no expectations from life, nothing to achieve, nothing to look forward to and if somebody asks me what my future plans are, I have no answer. But at least now I know what was wrong with me and I have decided to ward off my dementor saying "expecto patronum" and regain the spirit I have lost. 

A new country, a new culture can change your life style and thus, affect your overall personality. I always thought, the real challenge is to live and adapt in a new country. But now I have realized, the real challenge is to not lose yourself when you are exposed to a new place, new culture. I am pulling myself together and holding my spirits tight. I am sure, this dementor will return again but this time I will be ready with my magical wand and a spell to throw it out of my life forever.  

PS : All images are downloaded from different sources via different sources.