So there I was, sitting with the hospital director and our tech director on either side, listening to all those good words about me. We have had frequent farewell get together recently because many of our staff were leaving the hospital. I had always wondered when I would be at the receiving end.
It is a sad and nerve wrecking experience. I had this vague kind of restlessness and embarrassment from weeks before I was leaving. I was reluctant to meet people and say farewell to them. I knew I wouldn’t be a good performer at that. Many would have thought why I had left without saying a word. That was easier for me.
I had made some wonderful friends at the hospital, mostly among the nurses. Being a doctor I know there are some unique qualities in the medical fraternity.. Ego is the one thing that leads us. Every doctor probably thinks he is the best. They usually cannot bear the experience of listening to someone talking good about another colleague. So, I was not at all surprised at the reaction of some of my colleagues. Many were prominent by their absence. Because they wouldn’t feel comfortable listening to all those good words. All that stuff spoken during a farewell are not probably meant. No one talks ill of a person when he leaves. That’s all about it.
The nurses who had worked with me were sad that I was leaving. I have some of my best friends among them.
Fifteen years is not a short span in any one’s life. I have been around Khorfakkan that long. I came to this place as a young energetic man and have grown old in age and profession. I have learned more about life than about medicine.
There are people who can never be happy. They always find reasons to be unhappy. There are some who don’t feel happy if good things happen to them in life. They can only be happy if bad things happen to others.
All through my career, I have taken care not to snatch something belonging to others. Still some are unhappy when you get what ever was over due. I have learned not to trust people with personal matters. They always reach where they shouldn’t.
I feel sad about leaving this hospital. I don’t know why I have made this decision after so long. Changes are inevitable in life. I was getting bored with working at the same place for too long. I know it is going to be difficult to start a new job where every one would be looking at you and whatever you do till they get to know you well. I know I am kept under a microscope, like a bacterium.
I would definitely miss my friends at the hospital. I have spent more time with some of them than with my own family. I would miss the cleaning staff who would say good morning to me all along the corridors, Sr. Fathima who made me the best coffee in the world, the ‘professors’ and ‘preachers’ as I called some of them, and all the rest of them with whom I used to laugh and joke. They had made my life easier. They stood by me during difficult times.
I was reminded of what Paulo had written about Manuel*.
“Manuel works for thirty years without stopping. He brings up his children, sets a good example, and devotes all his time to work, never asking: “Does what I am doing have any meaning?’ His one thought is that the busier he is, the more important he will be in the eyes of the world.
“His children grow up and leave home. One day, he receives a watch or a pen as a reward for all those years of devotion. His friends shed a few tears, and then, the moment arrives… “
“One night an angel appears to him in sleep: What have you done with your life? Did you try to live your life according to your dreams?”
It is a difficult question for those who had dreams to live.For me....it is too late to ask all that. I would rather go to sleep than answering that question. But.. .has he written about me? He doesn’t even know me!
Work is a blessing when it helps us to think about what we are doing. But it becomes a curse when its sole use is to stop us thinking about the meaning of life.
So, at the end of fifteen years I walk out of the hospital, not only with a watch, but with a camera, many more gifts and a heart full of memories.
That is how life is and I am consoled by the verse ( Ecc 3)
" To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..."
* Like the flowing River. Paulo Coelho