Jan 27, 2007 - 0 Comments - Uncategorized -

Abdul Rahman

I play tennis and when i go home to Dhahran, i play a lot of tennis! There’s this one person who i’ve always seen at the courts for years and years upon end who always greeted me and I always greeted him in kind! He’s not a tennis player he doesn’t even work for aramco… His name is Abdul Rahman and he’s the janitor at the hill tennis courts.

I can’t remember the first time i met him it must have been around 2000 or 2001 i guess. But i remember that whenever i’d see him he’d greet me with a great big smile and i’d shake his hand and his hand was strong and tough but a weathered hand which was coarse and rough. But I always noticed his eyes when i shook his hand, because he was always genuinely happy to see me. His eyes had history and character behind them, they probably could tell some story. I think it was as if throughout his whole day he saw something familiar a good familiarity and it gave him some respite for the rest of his day.

We had communication problems he was bangali (i think) and he couldn’t speak urdu that well, and my arabic sucks so we conversed in english and his broken english was just fine. On the many occasions I got to meet him he told me his story and i don’t know why people tell me they’re stories from old men on the bench to people on planes or trains, i guess i’m just supposed to just listen, which i do. As all these labour contractors that come from abroad he has a family back home and his life here was poor. Many times i’d sit and listen to him and his troubles and i’d always try to find a way in which i could help him some how, but when we finished i think he just needed someone to listen to him and his worries, and he found that solace in telling me. He’d always say to me “brother too much tension, too much tension… i go…. i go now back home….”. He always talks about going home. He told me once that they used to get payed even during their holiday but he told me they stopped doing that. He also told me he only gets payed 350 riyals a month and he says it barley can feed himself with that much for a month. It just makes you wonder about all the money you spend when you go the mall. So his contract is ending and he said he’s going after that, he’s been here for about seven years i think.

I wanted to write about him because he’s leaving in september and i don’t think i’ll see him again unless inshAllah i get to go back to Saudi before then. And also because he’s been such a good memory in my life through all my troubles i’d go to the courts and thrash away my worries on that wall and i’d always be met by that familiar face, smile, eyes and a shouting hello from a far followed by a salaam. Always the same no matter what we have both gone through in our separate lives we both respected each other deeply and I really liked that.

The day before i was leaving i went to see him, he sits in the club house next to court 10. I caught him finishing his wudu with the bottom half of his coveralls rolled up to his knees his feet all wet. He’d been telling me about the new wooden floor they were going to put in the club house, it was finished. I said to him “you must like your new floor” he smiled and said “yah it’s very good”. I told him that i was leaving tomorrow and he asked when i’d be back and I said to him i don’t know but I think it’d be after a very long time and that’s when he told me that’d he’d be leaving in september. He asked me to sit down but I couldn’t because there were no chairs because they moved everything out to do the floor, the chair he sat in was the only one in the room. I smiled and appreciated his offer but humbly declined because I had to go. I had to say goodbye so I went to give him a hug, he gave me a good hug. You know there’s those people who give you a hug for the sake of giving you hug and then there are those people who really mean it. His hug i really felt it and afterwards we just stood their looking at each other. What he said to me next kinda touched me because this is a man who i only see sparingly here and there every few years for a few minutes at a time. He said “You a good man! A good person!” I really thanked him and i said the same bout him and he nodded and said “yah!” and pointed to me as if to confirm again what he just said. I looked at him and i said “I don’t know when i’ll see you next brother but inshAllah you and I we’ll meet in Junnah!” he smiled that big smile and those eyes acknowledged what i’d said he said “yah Junnah! inshAllah!” and we gave salaams and with that thought I left him.

He’s a good man! I love him as my brother! I don’t think they’re are many people like that left on this planet, but it really means a lot to me and makes my life just that little bit more worth while when i get a chance to bump into people like him :)_