Umrah Diaries | Funny Anecdotes #1

24th January  2020

In Madina, most of the guests of the hotel remained seated in the lobby through the day and night as that was the only area with internet access – free WiFi.

So was I, on this eventful afternoon.

A woman walks to me when I was drafting Day 12 post.

She handed me a card and said, “dial this number.”


I accepted the card and looked up for her cellphone. Many people can’t risk numbers, you know, and I have helped them dial numbers plenty of times . Not this time.

She didn’t have a phone. She expected me to dial from my own phone. I would have, except I had no Saudi SIM.


“I can’t. I don’t have outgoing.” I told her in simplest words.


She arched her eyebrows, her voice grew by several decibels, and her hands automatically perched around her waist. She looked all set to attack me. “Why?” she demanded.

I didn’t know how to respond. Why don’t I have outgoing calls enabled? Didn’t I know that some random woman will ask me to dial a number?

“I have not recharged my SIM, that’s why…” I said.


“I am only asking you to call a number within this hotel,” she explained.

Yeah, right. That also needs a local SIM and mobile recharge. But you don’t understand that.

Exasperated, I replied. “Behen, this phone has India’s SIM card and no local connection.”


Before she could object, I also added. “I am only playing games on my phone. It has no connection.”


It has, but you wouldn’t understand.

Anyways, that was when I thought I should share a few anecdotes. More to come!

Shabana Mukhtar

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