Mankind, in modern times, enjoys greater ease and comfort than at any point in the past. Today, we get ready products delivered near our homes. When using these, we have little idea of how people have worked hard to transform the raw materials into finished goods and then transport them from manufacturing plants to distribution centers and retailers. All these processes are not without risks and problems. For instance, truck drivers spend homeless days and nights delivering products on time to consumer markets. In this story we look into the life of a truck driver who has driven hundreds of miles every day.
Imran married his cousin when he was 25. He had five brothers and two sisters. He was the only earning hand of his family. He had to support the education of his siblings and his own small family (his wife and a newly born son). He had to increase his income to meet the increasing pressure of family expenses. He discussed this problem with one of his cousins who suggested that he should go abroad and work in some rich country of the Middle East. This suggestion put him in a dilemma. It was a difficult decision for him. On the one hand, there was his family and his friends whom he did not want to leave. On the other hand, there were opportunities of prosperity for his family which he did not want to lose. He was desperate to find work. He thought about it for many days, held consultations with the members of his family and at last decided to take care of the future of his loved ones.
He managed to arrange money for his own air ticket and visa by borrowing money from his friends and relatives. He went to the Middle East within a week. He was a man of good physical strength and stamina. It did not take him long to pass his driving test and started working as a commercial truck driver on a 24-wheeler. In the meantime, his wife gave birth to his daughter. This multiplied his happiness and motivation to work for better days of his children. His new occupation required manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination. It was a tough but lucrative way to earn a livig. He soon paid off his debts.
His happiness knew no bounds when, every month, he would remit handsome amounts to his near and dear ones. He would wait for this hard earned spiritual bliss all month long. Things went on like that for years. He was happy despite the fact that in KSA, he was a homeless person living in a truck. He had to transport products in a timely manner across regions and obtain signatures from the receivers.
He would get up at dawn, inspect the mechanical items of his vehicle and its parts to ensure safety and effectiveness; take a quick breakfast, check weather conditions, plan his routes by means of a GPS and set off on long distances. He had to regularly move between shippers and receivers. While driving for 11 hours a day, he had to eat and sleep in the cramped cabin of the truck.
He had to pass through vast rural areas. He has driven hundreds of miles on highways, freeways, expressways, byways and detours and seen different regions and seasons of the country: rural areas, fogs, mists, the deserts, desert storms, mountains and oases.
His family began to reap the fruit of his hard work. He was happy that he was achieving his objectives. By that point, he was thinking of flying someday back to his native place for a quick visit to his family. But life can appear to be an enigmatic combination of miseries and joys and therefore, we can be taken by surprise by untoward turns.
One day, he was asked to carry goods from Jeddah to Dammam. After midnight, he took a container on his 24 wheeler and set off for Dammam.
On the way, his vehicle crashed with another truck, hit the bordering barrier, or guardrail, and strayed into an off-limits area along the highway. Lying in his badly crushed vehicle, he was praying for his life, entreating for a chance to see his parents, his kids and his wife. Fire-fighters extinguished the fire which the vehicles had caught as a result of the accident. With life-threatening injuries, paramedics brought him to a hospital situated at a distance of 6 km from the place of the collision. His family was shocked at the news of the accident but they could not do anything. His mother was very much anxious about his health. It took him around six months before he got well. The accident had affected his eyesight, therefore, he was unable to resume his driving job. He found employment at a restaurant at a low salary. Now, once again, he had to work hard to pay off the debts incurred by his accident and days spent at the hospital. Sixteen years had passed since he had come abroad for the prosperous future of his family. Now, at last, he decided to fly back. When he reached home, his mother was no more in the world. He was told that she had died waiting for him to return. His eyes got filled with tears when he came to know that his old father had been diagnosed with cancer. He was surprised to see his children who had reached teenage while he was away. Moreover, there was his wife who had born for years the pangs of separation.
I do not know with what conclusion to round off this story. Life entails trials and difficulties. It is a combination of sorrows and happiness. Saadi once said, ‘Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy’. In this piece of advice, Saadi commends ‘patience’. But, he has not specified the duration of said ‘patience’. How much should one have? How long one needs to be patient before things become easy? We know when seasons change but we do not know when our pain will change into joy. What we have in our hands is to work hard for to better our life. This is what Imran realized and resumed his hard work. Now Imran is 52-year-old and runs a store in KSA. He built this business from scratch after the accident and contributed to the well-being of his family. Now, he is planning to hand it over to the young and energetic hands of his son. He wants to spend the rest of his life in his native town.