I knew she was apprehensive when she joined our department. She didn’t have any background in Pharmacy. She was a dark, petite lady from India who came to Riyadh to be with her husband.
I befriended her without any hesitation and she was so thankful to me. She often praised me for being so gracious and accommodating to her. Whenever she sees me in the hospital or near their accommodation, she used to introduce me to her friends and relatives, saying that I am the kindest and probably the best Filipina she ever met in her life. Indeed, she was so proud of me that she even took our pictures together to India and showed it off to her family and friends.
When she heard the news that I was leaving the hospital we were working at, she approached me and held my hand tightly, her hands were cold. I felt slightly awkward when she started to cry, telling me that she will miss me terribly and that she felt I was leaving her alone at the workplace. If it was for any consolation, I assured her that I’d stay in Riyadh and she could always call me anytime of the day.
It was an ordinary friendship- the kind you make with people at the workplace but you keep even after you transferred to another job…but it was special because our differences in color, race, beliefs, and religion made us both interested to learn more from each other and appreciate what we both have in common.
It is not very often that we meet people in our lives who believe in us, accept us for what we are, trust what we say, and love us like a family. It is through those seldom meetings that we learn how to value people and what difference they make in our lives.
Yesterday, I was shocked when I heard the news that she passed away. My hands felt numb… and I sensed a splash of cold wind all over me. The sad part was that the consultant doctors from the hospital where we both worked at, failed to identify her heart disease so she was not treated in any way.
Wherever she is right now, I hope and pray that she finds relief and happiness—that kind of bliss she never had in her life before.
To Shahida, I will always remember you, and I will miss you. Thank you for being a friend, for calling me a sister, and for looking up to me as a mentor.
What makes me happy?
People. Everyone around me who believes and inspires me.
Life itself is a happy experience. The world is a happy place.
I had my own share of struggles, life was not easy for us back then but my Dad taught me how to believe in myself, work hard , be kind and to be strong. He inspired me to go out of my comfort zone. He used to tell me that the possibilities in life are endless and so I believed him.
l Iost him quite a few years ago but he has left me with so much inspiration to follow my dreams - to visit places I have only dreamt of or have seen in the movies when I was little and to do things I thought were only for the privileged few.
Wherever I go, I always remember my Dad, wishing he could see me from afar and somehow be proud of me as I have always been so proud of him. Life is short and I promised him that I would make the most of mine.
Travelling makes me happy and in all other things, I choose happiness. We all should- always..