Okay, so this is how the life of an ‘expat-wife’ looks like! And I always thought the idea to be so glamorous!
Here, I have just recovered from some breathing problem, allergy of some kind that happened after Wednesday’s sandstorm. And right now, I’m waiting for another similar one to blow over Qatar, as they are predicting in news.
Wednesday was bad. And we were totally unprepared for, as there was no prediction. At least none that had come to our notice. Strong wind and whirling of dust had started since evening. But such is a common occurrence here, and till then that is what I knew to be ‘sandstorm’. I slept sound – blowing caution to the wind. I slept more comfortably because I was in a super comfy bed of a nice hotel room.
Why am I in a hotel room in Doha, you are puzzled, I understand. Well, that’s because our apartment’s rent contract had ended. My farsighted darling husband had predicted that by this time he would manage to move to a new job location, and hence extending the contract would be unnecessary. Then we both had forgotten all about the matter, conveniently. We were brought to our senses only after 25th of last month by the property dealers. Umm, well, I would still give plus marks to Arijit for finding this awesome suit to stay for another month or so, in such a short notice. Ignoring the frustration of not getting to go anywhere out of Doha (at least for the time being) and yet packing and then unpacking, I liked the new place. It felt rather a welcome change to come to this well-lit suit, with three floor-to-ceiling glass windows, two of which were overlooking two broad roads. If you remember how I always complained about the closed suffocating planning of my earlier apartment, you would understand how happy I was. How was I to know the reason behind the windowless, balcony-less practical purpose of the residential buildings here?
Anyways, I digress. I’m here to tell you what happened with me that night, when the infamous dust storm hit Qatar and other regions of Middle East at 50 km per hour. Media is saying that such storm has not occurred in past seven years.
Yet only 10 months for me in Qatar, I had to experience it – such is my luck ! Why media is naming it as ‘dust storm’ catches my fancy though. Is it because, in a dry country like Qatar, with construction work going on all over the place, cement has replaced sand?
That was around 2 am or 1, I don’t really know – I woke up choked, and started coughing furiously. I was smelling cement. I wanted to breathe, but each time I was inhaling the sandy air, I was coughing even harder. I felt I was dying, I felt I was lying right in the middle of a dessert, amidst the kind of sandstorm shown in movies. And all these things happened before I could wake myself up fully, and turn the bed lamp on. It was difficult for me to wake Arijit up. Thankfully the howling noise of wind hitting the glass panes and a sharp sound from somewhere we were yet to discover did job. Even he appeared distressed, but seemed more tolerant to the smoke that had built round us inside our room. The windows were all tightly shut, and ac was on in full swing when we had slept. Now, there was smoke and sand whirling inside our bedroom, making it all smoky and bleary. We discovered the large gap between the glass panes, through which wind was coming, making that piping noise.
My reflex was making me to turn my head from one side to another in search of fresh air. That’s what I had always done, when a truck blew smoke on my face. Or if in kitchen, I would open the window to bring in the fresh air, and let the smoke pass. But this time there was no escape from it. The realisation that no matter where I turn, I have cement and sand to breath – inside my room, and outside, made me panic and further breathless.
Later, the hotel people let us move to the smaller room adjacent to ours for that night.
Today they are repairing the gaps of the window, and thus I’m once again removed from the room to the adjacent room. The hotel is good as is, only the ‘free’ wi-fi is not free enough, rendering me a perfect excuse to read more and blog less !