I don’t know what it is about packing and un-packing which floods you with reminiscence which doesn’t span days, but years into history. Maybe your intangible attachment with those lifeless pieces of memorabilia which each carries a story with it is the reason.
Today is my last day in this office. No I’ve not quit nor have I been given the bullet/pink slip/or the bangalori “haath”.
No, we’re shifting base to a smashing office in Dubai. The entire team will have moved by the time I return from my short vacation. So everything will change when I’m back.
Rewind to the end of Nov 2007, when Mom dad bade me farewell at Doha Intl. Airport, as I took off to come to UAE, for my first job as an engineer. If I remember correctly, I was more or less a nervous wreck as the company was of German origins, and until then, almost all I knew about Germany was that they built awesome cars, got their backsides whooped in WW2 and their men wear leather pants and ladies dress as farmgirls. Oh and the misconception that their old Football goalkeeper was an Afghani Pathan (don’t blame me, the guy’s name was Kahn/Khan)
December 2007 I began my stint with my company, as a learning engineer. 2 and a half years later, I’m still learning, and growing, and yet I haven’t yet had the urge to scream at the employing powers. So not a bad run for a newbie engineers eh uncles?
A couple of weeks ago, for once I was in the passenger seat of my car, (which is my latest possession and means a lot to me) and my cousin was driving through a downtown suburb of Sharjah, called Rolla/Al Jubail. This is where the bus-stand for Sharjah was situated. And this was the area where I began my life in UAE.
I first lived in a hotel for a while, and then got accommodation with a family in Sharjah, which didn’t last long. I moved to Dubai, and travelled between my office in Dubai and Sharjah (about 30-50 kms) by buses,taxis and walks. For 2 long years I’ve done so. Today, after having a car, I’ve forgotten how it feels to be at the mercy of public transport. That day, as I passed by the bus stand, I got thinking of the seemingly difficult beginnings I had.
Of course, I don’t think I will ever work as hard as dad, coz his hard work has reaped rewards for me and my brother where we have an awesome education and jobs awaiting us. But the initial work we did put in, however infinitesimal, is dear to me.
Looking back, my day would begin at about 5:30 or so, when I got up, dressed and walked to the Dubai bus terminal or took a taxi. Then the bus ride to sharjah, after which I took a taxi to office which was on the outskirts of Sharjah, reaching by about 7:30 or 8 am. In the evenings, same routine in reverse, reaching home at about 7 pm or 8 pm, too tired to do anything else. Today, the same route would take me 25 mins or 30 mins maximum.
Is it a feeling of pride? Or a sense of achievement? Is it legitimate for me to be proud?
I abhor pride as it makes men feel like kings. I’ve seen success change people, and I’ve seen success humble people more. I like the latter. And I would like to be the latter. If I can call myself successful in any sense of the word, I want to feel absolutely insignificant. And that is exactly what I felt passing by the Sharjah bus stop. I asked myself who is really responsible for me being where I was….
The primary thanks goes to my lord and master, Allah Subhanawataala, for everything he has bestowed upon me. And I mean EVERYTHING. Even the trials and heartbreaks. They’ve been my toughest and most fruitful teachers.
Then, Mom and Dad, who I am and where I am, is a fact mainly due to their prayers and sacrifices. I’m incomplete without them.
And last but not least, those friends who have slowly owned my heart with their presence and absolutely adorable love. You know who you are.
And this just doesn’t go for me. Look into your lives; you may be a successful super-engineer, hi-fi doctor, jet setting business person or a highly promoted banker or whatever. You will loose all your credibility if you forget where you came from.
I’ve seen people forget their old friends when they get a better position than before. They don’t carry the images of their past into their present. And that’s just plain unfair, because who you are today, is a person made by the person who you were yesterday, and the people who were With you yesterday. Get me?
If there is one prayer I want to make right now, its that whenever I’m out cruising in my lovely car, Allah should not make me forget those long solitary walks in humid nights whence I arrived home with a shirt drenched in my own perspiration. And if there is one request I make of you, it is; do not forget the moments of sheer helplessness you faced once upon a time, be it in your exams, or episodes in your public or personal lives, or just plain moments when you’ve felt pangs of desperation…Remember those desperate moments.
Remember the time when you couldn’t walk because you were too sick
Remember the time when you wanted to laugh but you were busy crying
Remember the time when you heard yourself branded an utter failure
Remember the time when you cried bitterly amidst your incessant trying
Ambition brings you to greatness, but true humility keeps you there long after you’re gone.
As I pack my favourite coffee mugs and look around this old office one last time, I’m filled with awe at the way Allah has led me on this 2 and a half year old short path, how mom dad have supported it, how my friends have cheered it, and how I, with the little bravado I’ve had, have walked it….with never as much as a tear of regret…
The next time you look into the mirror and smile and are pleased with yourself, and the least hint of vanity strikes you, remember the time when your face had contorted into the most vivid expression of relentless pain and anguish, and in that one moment, be thankful you didn’t falter, be thankful you overcame, be thankful for your happiness. If you can master this, you will be ever so close to the closest you can be to a perfect human being.
Do you want to be remembered for what you are?
Then make sure, you do not forget what you were !!