On Making a List and Looking Back at Doha – 1

I have never been a list writer. Not a bucket list, not even new year resolution. I mean, I can’t really make a specific list of anything. It feels as if making a list will make me confined to it, and what if I change my mind later. And that, I do quite often. The things I love or I don’t quite enjoy will get restricted by making a list.
Although I did once try to make a grocery list for a month. But then the whole grocery shopping lost its charm. It turned into a chore, a boring drab errand. Going to the store, taking the list out of pocket and starting to load the cart – where’s the fun in that ! I would rather browse through the racks, read every offer, every label, wonder how better they could have colour coordinated all the items in each rack, and so on. Only then I will start looking at each

'I did make a 'To-Do List.' The first thing I put on it was, 'Make A To-Don't List.''
‘I did make a ‘To-Do List.’ The first thing I put on it was, ‘Make A To-Don’t List.”

product and contemplate whether we have run out of that at home, or if we need it really. It takes a little longer though, yes, and sometimes I end up getting late for dinner, but then well, it’s once a month favorite pass time of mine. What’s the rush !
Anyway, enough diggression. Let me tell you then why I have brought this topic in the first place of How and why of my list making. It’s the second day task of writing 101 challenge that I’m taking, and I really want to do it thorough. For I figured that writing down a list is not something I want to put in my list of things I’ll never do. Bungee jumping I won’t, ever, but that’s different. So here I’m with some lists of mine…hope you will enjoy 🙂
My last year in Doha was tougher than I thought it would be. Yet, I enjoyed some part of it. Here are some random Things that I liked in Doha: Continue reading “On Making a List and Looking Back at Doha – 1”

The Fall

I write because…well, well, now do I really ! When was the last time I wrote ! Ages it seems now.
I thought I had nothing left in me to say. I felt as if all the words have drained out of me, and that I will never write again.
But this room ! This writing desk next to this huge window! It seemed this house was meant for me. So when Areej wanted to take the other house on rent, the one closer to City Center, I insisted on this one. This house is a little away, somewhere right in the middle of Manchester Airport and Piccadilly, if you would. The place is so calm and quiet. The window from my room overlooks this serene backyard with six giant trees – two maple, one that I presume to be fig, and rest I don’t know; and lots and lots of bushes.
When I first came here three months back, the place was all green. So much green, like I had never seen before. And the sky, oh the Sky ! Stark blue. We don’t get such clear sky in India. Not so much green either. Although it should have been, in Bengal at least. But now everything is so grey, so dusty back there.
I had seen leafy trees and leafless trees, but had never seen trees shading their leaves. Like a nostalgic gradual process, the passing of time becomes so palpable, you can feel it. Behind the trees there are the radiant English cottages standing in perfect harmony, at ease. Mine is an apartment, but of that same romantic terracotta red colour, with chimney and fire places and…you know. What else could I have done, sitting here, all alone, but write.
Yet, it didn’t come easy. Words were with me when I had no one, nothing. In that solitary studio in Qatar, confined, I had turned to them. I made Sandcastle my best friend. Came good times, and how conveniently I had forgotten all about it. Continue reading “The Fall”

A Hand full of Awards

It rained today after fifteen days of melting, sweltering heat. Only a little though, but rain it did, nevertheless. And I told myself to start making excuses for writing, instead of the other way around, for a change. Anyway, I want to apologize for this extreme delay in posting the award mail, to all those who had been nominating me from the start of the year. download (1) I had been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by The Atul’s, and also by That Chick Piggy. Another Liebster Award from The Rainman and The Day Dreamer Award from The Champa Tree. Please visit their wonderful blogs, and also convey my thanks to them, would you ?

Now, in response to Atul and Chick Piggy’s nomination, I must give you seven random facts about me. This in a way might also become the response for The Champa Tree’s Day Dreamer Challenge – “Describe yourself. Tell us what you have been meaning to tell the world about yourself..” Ah, what a smarty slacker am I !

And that, definitely is the very first fact about me. Secondly, I am a secretly introvert person, meaning, you won’t be able to tell ever, and to you I will always come across as a jolly good girl, but I feel uncomfortable whenever the spot light is on me. It wasn’t like this always, however. It seemsdownloadto me now, that the more we grow up, the less extrovert we become.

The third random fact in my list is that I love rules, and I love following them too. A small catch however – I love only those rules that I make, or those that makes sense to me. I hate authority. I don’t like to be authoritarian either.

I’m most comfortable in boyfriend jeans, and love wearing Sarees too. I have a big sweet tooth, and I dig on Indian sweets more than anything. (Anything excluding chocolates, ofcourse. Chocolates are not just sweets, they are heaven). Continue reading “A Hand full of Awards”

Castle News : March – May ’15

I have recently learnt that life imprisonment equals to 25 years of jail in Doha. (Reminded me of Shaw Shank Redemption) And the suspected Philippine spies has got their life saved, apparently, as the sentence has been reduced from the more popular – death penalty, reported by Doha News.

The last few days are always tough. It was, and how ! I have come across Indians to whom Doha is a better living choice any day. To me it was out of this world, to put it mildly ! Whatever, I don’t care. Not any more. I had felt caged, suffocated and stifled. Nonexistent – in Doha. (Imagine you asking the priUntitled10ce of something to the shop owner, and he is replying looking at your husband standing next to you!)

Now, with Arijit gone to join his new job in Manchester, I have this entire month for myself. I have this entire month to bask in those nostalgic summer evenings, the frequent Nor’westers, and the yellow taxis.

I am in Calcutta !

And as it seems I can write again, I can think ! Continue reading “Castle News : March – May ’15”

To Storm Out of Doha !

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.

20150401_215559_LLS
From my bedroom window – before the actual storm could begin

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. Continue reading “To Storm Out of Doha !”

Orchids and Sand

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “We Built This City.”

20141206_175657
Artificial turf in front of Doha Sheraton

When I first came to Doha, it was a hot month of June. I remember the first impression of the city on my way from airport being many people working on the roadside construction, under sun. The blazing Sun  was making me feel uncomfortable by just looking at it from inside my air-conditioned car. I couldn’t even begin to think how and with what superhuman power these human beings were spending so much time under bare sun, toiling to turn a desert into a city. A city, a country which is not their own! Arijit explained me that the whole of Doha is getting ready for the Football World Cup 2022.

Over the months I watched how these men have taken care of the sand on the road dividers, watering it incessantly, and by what magic I don’t know it gradually started turning into something that looks very much like soil.20150211_193932This Winter I saw beautiful flowers of so many variants on both sides of the roads, planted in a designed pattern to beautify the city. In some places real grass have been grown creating thin layer of soil bed over rocky surface.  Trust me, when I say such perseverance to bloom an orchid on sand, turn a desert green, is not just construction work. These workers are from various parts of Asia. I hear, once they get into the labour contract, their employer keeps their passport with them. They are not allowed to leave Qatar on their free whims. 20150201_205111

20141103_131829
A part of Lusail City work in progress: February ’15
20150319_134524
A part of Lusail City work in progress: March ’15

They are not allowed to leave Qatar, even if they fall sick. Their toiling here under Doha Sun feeds their family back at home, I understand. However, I read in newspaper recently that the Kafala labour law is soon going to change. And by all means, I’m totally happy about men getting some kind of employment to earn rice and hygiene (bread and butter sounds luxurious, isn’t it?). Any employment is better than no employment at all. And if a country can afford to spend, and has vacant land to spare, why not beautify and redesign itself! Afterall, Qatar has its big brothers Saudi and UAE to match steps with. I am truly all for development, for everything constructive and creative.

What I can’t support is the unnecessary demolition of fresh constructions only to redesign them again.

20150315_111203
View from my kitchen

Now, there are many traffic roundabouts in the city. One very close to my apartment was particularly looking beautiful after the flowers had grown on them. And the flowers had just begun to grow on them. Now it is getting broken, because it has come to notice, that roundabout was causing traffic distress. The same workers who were struggling to grow orchid on sand are now struggling to eliminate it all. It would not have been my point of discussion, had it not been a common happening, but a singular faulty road plan that needed changing. No, it’s very common here. First they think to create something, they build it overnight with huge cranes and labour force. A few months later, again they think of breaking it and doing something else on its place. And yet, the underground train is still not made, there is no fly over and the traffic congestion is maddening in the city.

Many of my friends post wonderful images in their blogs and Facebook, taken from their kitchen window. I feast my eyes on those images hungrily. From my kitchen window, all I could got to see so long was concrete jungle of slums. I had written about those in one of my very early post, you can find here.  Now the image has worsened, as those buildings are getting demolished.

I think it’s okay to try and beautify oneself. But change should come slowly! As I see Doha, it is made of ninety percent construction work (perpetually in progress) and ten percent beautifully crafted roads and buildings. Overall, it’s looking worse than a long stretch of harmonious natural desert land. Making and unmaking things, randomly, you do, just because you can – well, I’m not asking that the country should donate the excess of money to the third world countries. It would be a farcical rambling, if I do. But at least think about the huge amount of pollution you are causing in your own land! You doing and undoing things, just because you can!?

Continue reading “Orchids and Sand”

Antalya: A Complete Vacation

If you ask me to choose between mountains, ocean and forest and put a gun on my head, I would promptly start rambling ‘Sea, oceans, beach, waves’.  But secretly, I am an ever greedy soul when it comes to travel. Greedy as in, I want to have it all. To me, a perfect place to visit is the one that has mountains – not too high, sea-that is calm and pristine, forest – not too deep, and something more. All in one.

640px-Yivli_Minaret_Mosque_Antalya_crop
“Yivli Minaret Mosque Antalya crop” by Saffron Blaze http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yivli_Minaret_Mosque_Antalya_crop.jpg#/media/File:Yivli_Minaret_Mosque_Antalya_crop.jpg

Are you wondering how I found my perfect man, if so finicky I can get in choosing a perfect vacation? My man, well, let’s not get distracted here, and keep the topic away for another post. But of course, it was a delight to explore this romantic place with him. I believe nature has tailor-made everything as per the whims of each one of us. We just need to know how to look! Am I not right? Continue reading “Antalya: A Complete Vacation”

The Daughters of India And You!

Two years after a horrific crime, a documentary was made. The following dialogues are fictitious in nature and is written in response to Daily Post's prompt - A House Divided

The Daughter: I never criticise a film or novel, or any work of fiction, you know. Because, I feel a lot of hard work goes into producing a work of fiction, and one who is not qualified enough should never attempt a criticism. But, these days I see, everybody has turned into a critic!

And you are on a banning spree of late. How many voices do you want to curb?

The Father: Banning? Hold on! What are we talking about here! ‘India’s Daughter’ is it?  Continue reading “The Daughters of India And You!”

The Pearl Qatar

Last weekend I had been to one of the most noteworthy and beautiful place in Qatar. The Pearl Qatar is a man-made island, to say it in one sentence. With that I had imagined it to be a sandy beach in the middle of the sea. But it is not. Not in the least.  Pearl Qatar is a gorgeous residential and shopping area, a place that makes you forget that you are in Middle-East. The sea here has been tamed and made to look like a backwater canal, and a part,(read four million square metre), has been turned into this gorgeous island complex with shops, residential apartments and marinas. From my place in Doha, the road to Pearl was dusty, with construction work going on all around. Also, we had to dodge the20150221_173144 traffic, an ever-increasing problem in Qatar now. Continue reading “The Pearl Qatar”

Castle News # February ’15

Ok, alright, shh shh shh…

I know, I know I have been away for a long time – 15 days! Yeah yeah, I’m not a good blogger. Alright, I’m no blogger at all. But please do listen to me, before you judge me, won’t you!

I won’t give excuses like my language school exam, or that Doha climate is keeping me unwell often. I won’t bore you saying how I have splashed cooking oil on my face. How? Great cook I am, and a terrible tennis player, if you know what I mean! Was preparing some hurried breakfast omelette, so you get the picture there.  Don’t worry, those were three dots of minor burn marks, nothing much. And I have found a good dermatologist. So, the marks have faded a great deal. But with all these things going on, it gets difficult to concentrate and write. Afterall content creation is not like cramming before exam, which you can force yourself to do. Content, I can never force myself to create. “It depends on my mood” – Haa Haa! Continue reading “Castle News # February ’15”