I am being sworn by some one every day except Monday.
In fact though he does it internally with out a trace of annoyance showing in his face, I know it well.
The one who swear at me is Ali
His full name is Ali Jallaludin. I fondly call him Ali Thoweel.
Thoweel is the Arabic word for ‘tall’.
I call him that name because I have one more Ali here. So it becomes easy if Thoweel is added when anyone ask about him.
He is a very tall man with a warm smile.
He is my driver.
No... he is not my driver as I prefer driving alone.
He is one of our company drivers who is to drive minivans which transport the trainees.
In fact we have four drivers as we have four mini buses. One driver is spared always for us if anyone wants to use his services.
Soon after I came here on this job, I am the one who has to take responsibility of the vehicles, so naturally they have to report to me every day morning.
Initially they hated my shadow too, as I had to use a bit of rough tactics for the sake of the discipline of the vehicles.
Driver’s in general and here, as I observed, has a bad habit of a rough style in their work. Most of them don’t care about the vehicles they drive as they drive different vehicles every day. I made it a point to assign specific Vans to drive, to make them responsible.
It clicked though they cringed.I made it a point to check all the vans every Monday. It worked like magic, as ours is one of the best looking vehicles in the Company.
It had initial drawbacks. Tempers flared as I had to act like Hitler. But later when they know that I mean business and also that I care for them, they became sterling drivers.
I have gone far from the subject.
This one is about Ali Thoweel, whom I keep as the spare driver when ever I am here. The spare driver is allowed to stay away from routine jobs.
He is the one who has the responsibility to check, clean and wash my truck every day morning. In the morning when I leave, it is a sparkling white, but in the evening when I come back, my truck is a wreck. See for yourself.
Caked mud and dust covers the sides and it looks horrible.
Ali swears at me, of course not in front of me. Because it is his job to make it sterling off-white next day when I leave.
I don't blame him.
It is not an easy for me too; driving almost 150 kilometers... six days a week through the pot holed, dusty, sandy and wet roads. My back aches when I am back.
Ali must be around sixty years old with a lovely smile with salt and pepper hair. He has three daughters and a son.
He brings sweets prepared by his wife when ever he returns from vacations saying that she sent it especially for me because I am his blood brother.
He calls me his blood brother. He has a silly reason for that and it goes back to a year and a half when I was here almost eight months.
One night, Ali got sick in the middle of the night.
His fellow driver woke me up in the middle of my sleep and told me that Ali is dying.
I got scared.
I was really scared and ran to his room. He was in pretty bad shape with spasm after spasm from his stomach. His chest was heaving high and he was crying loud.
I am no doc and I suspected that he has an appendices problem.
I used the 'walkie talkie' from the training room and called the doc. He came fast and told me that he should be taken to the field hospital.
I didn’t wait for any, took him in my Prado but left a message in the desk about Ali who was taken to hospital.
He was operated immediately to remove his appendices and I waited outside the operation room.
After one hour, two docs from thr surgery room came out and asked if there was anybody with B+ blood as he lost some blood and needs to replenish.
As I am a natural B+ I went in for checks to test mine.
Thirty minutes later we were lying side by side and I became his blood brother with out him knowing about it.
The doc was my friend and he told me that everything is perfect and that I can leave with out a worry.
The time was 4 AM.
He was discharged only after three days as he had a diabetic problem. I used to visit him every day morning and evening. The second day when I went visiting him, he was sitting up in the bed and tried to get up. I reminded him that he is still sick and to sit calmly.
He motioned me to come near him and I went closer.
He held me close to him in a practical bear hug and started to weep saying a word again and again.The words that almost means a ‘blood brother’.
I didn’t know what that meant but my eyes become full.
I didn’t know what he meant by blood brother at that time, but I consoled him and laid him on the bed. While coming out of the hospital I asked the other driver who came out to see off me about the blood brother. He said that I have become his blood brother by allowing him to have my blood.
I went back in the hospital to Ali again and told him in Arabic that even with out that blood I am his blood brother.
Tears were falling from his eyes when I left him.
He went back home in two days to his wife and children in Khartoum city.
When he resumed his work after his medical leave, he brought a big box of sweets and told me that it was sent by his wife for the blood brother. I don’t like sweets but I shared one or two pieces.
This continues till now too when ever he returns after the holidays.
He says every time, that his wife would like to meet me and I always tell him Baadein Insha Alla. ('Later on, if God willing' in Arabic)
See my blood brother Ali Jallaludin aka Ali Thoweel.