The First Impression

 It has been three months now, that I have relocated to Doha, and I think that qualifies me a little, if not altogether, to share some of my experiences about this purple land. To start with, here’s the first day…

As it was during the Ramadan month that I flew here, I was under the impression that the airline will not serve food. But they did run a meal service after take off, at the break of dawn. No liquor though. It was a 6 hours flight from India, and after some time, I needed some water. No crew were in sight. Having flown as a cabin crew myself, for a brief part of my life, I particularly distaste the sound of the call bell. So I waited for them to take a walk around with water. They did, with trays full of juice and water. But none of them looked at my direction or stopped near my seat to offer me some. Envying my fellow passengers, who were on fast and getting all the attentions of the crew, I felt a lump of inferiority down my throat and chose to suffer my dejection quietly. It must be something to do with my appearance or my dress, or may be because the other two seats next to me were vacant, I thought, that I have been so utterly ignored.

Nevertheless, moving beyond this exceptionally unexpected treatment of this world-famous airline crew, I aborted the craft with a rather happy note. A new land was waiting for me to explore ! And a long distance husband, too.

So I ran through the aerobridge, I ran till the baggage claim and quickly got hold of my toat. Tut-tut, I ran, ran passed the duty-free and rushed outside. This brand new massive airport is very well signed. Hence I didn’t lose my way, for a change. As soon as I came out of the arrival gate, bam, the desert sun, right on my face ! Before coming here, I had a rough idea that it was going to be quite a hot month of June. Yes, hot it was, and how ! Kolkata is infamous for its humid summer, but this was different. With heat waves burning my ears, the scorching sun dazzling everywhere, I didn’t know which way to look, where to run. I was thirsty since a long time now. Perhaps for all these reasons coupled together, or because I am seeing his face up close after almost 6 months, Mr. Hubby looked ethereal. Thank God, I said, as I get into the car.

And wait a minute there, was that a Sedan ! Why, this is a pale green coloured huge luxury Sedan, indeed. Camry, is it ? Umm, I know nothing about cars, but was that a cab ! The fellow counterpart of our yellow ambassador taxi !? A cab with video screen, chilled water bottles in holders, citrus fragrance, tissue paper box, soothing music, and what not. As we glided out of the airport area, past a tall minaret, there was this very broad and smooth airport road. From inside the frozen cab window, I checked out the concrete city blazing with sun, as I headed to our residence. Unlike in India, there were no street side pan shop, or any shop for that matter. Rows of beige coloured buildings, pretty high, all of them were, interrupted by Date trees here and there. 4 lane broad big roads, but no fly overs I saw.

As we sped towards our residence, which I was yet to discover, with the resonating Arabic music being played in a car FM, lending the perfect mood to travel this long high road, I slowly felt a subtle admiration for this royal desert city of Qatar.



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