Living the Expat Dream….

Last evening, the entire gang (J, Mr H, Nu and Lil Z) visited their local supermarket. They cavorted amidst the crowds and aisles, had popcorn and muffins, raced with the shopping carts, made funny but surreptitious comments on fellow shoppers and somehow managed to get some grocery shopping done in the process.

At the end, like always; they decided to split tasks to hasten matters. Mr H wanted to look at some car accessories, Nu was given the task of stowing the bags in the car and of course J (with Lil Z in tow) headed for her donut fix. They decided to meet back at the car.

J gobbled her donut; packed some for the next morning , dusted the icing sugar off her face and headed to the parking area. As J walked to the car, she saw Nu busy chatting up a “cart- boy”. One of those people who help pack the groceries at the billing counters or locate and bring back the heedlessly discarded carts….

He was a snappy, young, smart -looking, diminutive Nepali chap. Educated enough to speak more- than- coherent English. Well- mannered.

He spoke in halting but good English. Was shy and almost stopped talking when J arrived. But J was curious to hear what he had to say. She half expected it to be some new scam. Some method to make a few quick Rials. To milk some sympathy and guilt them into giving some money maybe.

But there was something about the almost boy- man which told her this was not a scam. He did not feign misery. He seemed to have a dignified mien.

He was voicing his woes. Looking for a sympathetic ear. He did not want money or favours. He was not hassling them for anything. He just wanted to be heard. Noticed.

J’s not sure as to how Nu got him talking. He has his ways….

Let’s call our Nepali friend Rupen. That was not his name, but it is close to his real name. Names give people an identity. Makes them more humane. It is better than calling him “that Nepali” or “that guy” or even “that man”.

Rupen earns 800 QAR per month he told them. There was no wretchedness in his demeanour as he mentioned this. No spitefulness against fate or malice towards life. He seemed to be stating a mere fact. Nothing more.

He spends more than 600 of those to eke out a living in this distant desert. He has family back home- frail, old parents, a young but lonely wife and even a little one about Zoe’s age. He has not seen them for a couple of years now. He scrapes up every last Rial he can save and wires it home. Rupen manages to send home a grand sum of about 150 QAR per month. Even with the current inflated conversion rate, it comes up to about 2500 INR or 4000 Nepalee Rupees. About 40 USD, per month!

To put things in perspective, J’s shopping bill for last evening amounted to 427 QAR. Just some milk, eggs, vegetables, snacks, meat, cleaning supplies ….you get the drift. Another 30 QAR for the donuts. That is more than half of Rupen’s monthly salary.

Sobering facts.

A humbling encounter.

This isn’t s novel story. It is a way of life here. The haves and have nots have always co-existed. But the chasm between them is so vast here that it can be unimaginable to someone who has not experienced it first- hand.

The boundless wealth at one end and utter impoverishment at the other. The wastefulness, excessive indulgence and fancy lifestyles gloss over the dusty, downtrodden lives of the Rupens in town. There are thousands of Rupens in this country. Many are worse off than him. He at least works in an air- conditioned store and can even hope to make some extra cash in the form of tips. The construction workers and the labourers do not have such pamperings. The country is built on the backs of such people, yet they reap none of the benefits.

Everyone comes to a place like Qatar with one purpose above all. To make money. Pure and simple. That is the expat dream, after all. Nurse, engineer, doctor, manager, CEO; doesn’t matter who you are or what you do for a living- the primary reason for moving to a country such as Qatar s is better monetary compensation. Rupen too, sold all that he had; greased the palms of a seedy “agent” and landed here with hope of a better life. For him, and his family.

His dream is startlingly basic- for his family to go to bed with a full stomach, under a solid roof, with warm clothes on their backs. And yes, to send his daughter to school. The simplicity and earnestness of his aspirations shamed and humbled J.

We are aware of all that happens around us. Yet we choose to ignore the things that make us even the least bit uncomfortable. We see these Rupens every single day. In malls packing away things that they can never afford themselves.  Watering the grass at Corniche while the haves eat, run, lounge, laugh and make merry beside the water. Cleaning cars at the stifling parking lots in City Centre while shoppers squander their time and money inside the climate controlled mall. Ripping down roundabouts into signals while obscenely- expensive cars zip by….

Slave labor in Qatar raises FIFA concerns


Yet, we don’t see them. We choose not to. To us, they are part of the scenery. Like the replanted palm trees along the medians. We make them invisible. It’s easier that way. We don’t have to feel the pangs of guilt that way. Guilt for having the luxury of sitting in an air-conditioned sedan, or being able to buy weekly grocery worth 427 QAR, of eating donuts worth 30 QAR when the belly is already full with a sumptuous dinner….

Let us stop this charade, please. Let us stop pretending these people don’t exist. Let us stop telling ourselves that we have nothing to do with them. That nothing we say or do can help them. They allow us to live the lives we do. They do the tasks that we will never do and yet are essential to our very existence. They make our lives easier. Our lifestyles are all thanks to these ignored, nameless, faceless people.

Let us please acknowledge their existence. Stop making them invisible. Stop being immune to their predicaments. Only then can their plights be amended. After all, we are all here in pursuit of living the expat dream…..


Till next time….

Dr J.

Back to work? Hang on, my “feminist” buddies. And thanks for the free advice!

I am on an extended maternity break. Not advisable for someone in a male dominated domain with high career aspirations, I’m told.

But the choice has already been made.

Now I face the consequences.

Of lagging behind my peers. Of being judged as not being “hard-core” enough. Of being a “low-aimer”. Of not being ambitious enough.

Blah blah blah….

I go from being the ‘one-with-great-promise’ to the ‘one-that-got-way led’. Ha.

Years ago, I was also told I wouldn’t land a residency spot. That marrying when I did  (a long, long time ago), was akin to career suicide. That long distance relationships do not work. That a non- Doctor husband would never understand the hours and demands. That taking a year off (to enjoy marital- bliss) before getting into a post-graduate program was stupidity.

More blah…

Sure…..Bite me!

I will not lie to you, my dear detractor cum envious discouraging “well-wisher”…My hands itch to wield a scalpel again. To palpate a mass…To explain a procedure to a befuddled, unsuspecting patient. I would even love to do the things that I once thought I disliked- empty surgical drains and urobags, pass urinary catheters, deal with a nagging post- op patient….

Do not worry my feminist fellow womankind, I have not traded in my scrubs or my aspirations. I’m still the hardest, craziest,  most ambitious nut on the block. The nut’s on time-out, that’s all.

The nut almost cracked a few months ago, it needs to recoup and replenish itself.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Running full throttle for a few metres will get one nowhere.

Except maybe collapsed on the ground.

Feminism and career do not mean neglect of family or giving up on family altogether. No. I chose to not travel that path.

I have no illusions of “having it all”. I do not dream of being a superwoman. A super- mom or a super- surgeon or a super- anything.

Superlatives are not my goal. A full and happy life is.

A life where I can tire myself in an OR and then come home at a decent hour.

Home to a loving family, not to a flat- screen and take-out food. Okay…maybe a giant flat-screen would be a nice addition to the family…

A life which involves travel and reading and music and books and all things I love…

A life of meaning and purpose…

A life of doing the best that I possibly can…

A life of moderate yet balancing sacrifices….

A life in pursuit of passion and perfection…knowing full well that perfection is an unattainable mirage.

A life of few regrets…

A life of my own…

Not dictated or foretold by anyone.

Do not tell me what should be or can be…

Do not mock, judge, criticise or  vilify my choices if they do not match yours…

My life is mine to live, friend…

So kindly, just let me be!

The fun lies in doing what no one else has done before….

Of bucking the trend…

Of breaking the mould,….

Of defying the norm….

Of forging a new path.

So please, let me just forge mine.

And thank you!

For the unnecessary, unwarranted, unsolicited advice my friend…

Till the next rant…

Dr J.

Applying for a Qatar visit visa for family members.

* Disclaimer- All  the information is to the best of our knowledge and is based on our experience and those of our friends.

After going through the “gruelling” process of getting a spouse RP stamped, applying for visit visas seemed like child’s play. (To know our interesting RP story click here

We have had several family members visit us here in Qatar. Usually in batches of two! We have till date, applied for visit visas for parents and in laws (including brother in law). These are the steps we followed :-

STEP 1 – Getting the documents in order

Download, print and fill the requisite application form (

To fill the form in Arabic- Take it to the nearest “typing” centre and get it done for a nominal fee.

We also obtained a letter from the sponsor’s (in whose name the application is) company stating his/her position, salary and “no objection”.

Other documents submitted

  • Copies of passports of individuals who intend to visit
  • Copy of sponsor passport
  • Copy of the sponsor RP page
  • Copy of the Qatar ID (and carry the original during application)

The first time, we also obtained a statement from the bank (six months). But it was returned to us at the counter, apparently it is not necessary. Possibly because, we were already here as a family (with a valid RP) and therefore were in the 10,000 QAR and above salary bracket. This is just a presumption.

STEP 2 – Applying

Visit any of the immigration services centres ( and submit the documents with the typed application form. No fee needed at the time of application.

STEP 3- Visa granted!

Each time, the visa was granted within 24 hours. Your can check online (by typing in the application no. and the passport details at ).

Once the visa has been approved, a 100 QAR fee has to paid (visit a service centre)- 100 QAR per person, per month.

STEP 4- Extension and Medical Commission Testing

If the visitor intends to stay for more than a month, he/she will have to visit the Medical Comission for blood tests and Chest X-Ray. Once the results come in, visit the immigration service centre to pay a 100 QAR fee to extend for another month. Upto three months, things are fairly straight forward; any extension beyond that seems to be up to the discretion of the “captain”.

Easy, peasy!

All the best, folks!

Hope your family comes in soon…

Kindly note– I do not claim to be an expert or an official spokesperson. All this information is to the best of my knowledge. Rules change every day. So, please do cross-check. This is how we did things. I remember being frustrated because we could find any information online. That is the only reason I am doing this- to help fellow expats.

Till next time…

Dr J.

Mr Fragmented Genius.

A new challenge. Here’s a completely unedited, roughest of rough drafts (so “rough” that you might even find spelling errors!) of a story unfolding…. Let’s see where we head to…

A true test… Only type and publish… No proofreads….No edits….

Mr Fragmented Genius.

The demons are back in full force. They unleash their full fury on Zun’s already fragile and buckling mind. He staggers under its sheer ruthlessness. He knows it will pass. This feeling of utter hopelessness and despair. This time, at least. He knows it will pass.

He seeks solace in the familiar motions of a mundane activity. He turns the water on and lets it whoosh into the gleaming sink. For a moment. For a brief moment, there is nothing but the whooshing sound in his head. He takes in a deep breath.

The kitsch walls of the upmarket restaurant are covered in graffiti. Not the carefree , spontaneous, chaotic markings of a rebellious mind; but the paid- for, carefully construed strokes of an amateur, struggling artist. The colors and patterns offend him. They seem to compound the chaos in his head. He knows he should go back. He washes his hand for the fourth time, pulls out a wipe and leaves.

He returns to the dining area. They have rented the banquet hall for the evening. The party seems to have gone rogue. Everyone seems to have had a drink too many. All his colleagues, friends and even borderline- foes seem to be having a swell time. They deserve it. It has been three years. Three years of toil and torture. For Zun, it has been three, very trying years. Everyday testing his sanity some more. Pushing its boundaries farther. Changing him. For the worse.

He settles into his chair and pokes around his food. He wonders if he has snapped. If he will ever be “normal” again. Can he ever be a fully functional “family- man”? Work never bothers him. He knows he can do it even if he is stark, raving mad. Of that he’s sure. In fact his unhinged mind makes his work easier. He is better for it.

The revellers around him start to lose the plot. The racket reaches a crescendo. Too much joy is sickening. Especially if one is witness to it but cannot partake in it. Zun can take it no more. He decides to leave.

He is just about to get into his car. He feels the urge to look to his right. The parking area is dimly lit. He can barely make out silhouettes. He sees a couple walking towards the entrance of the restaurant. They are still engulfed in partial darkness. But he knows it’s her. It is an almost palpable, physical feeling.

As they appear into the halo cast by the fluorescent lights, he sees she’s all dressed-up. Not in her ignore-me- I’m- almost-a-man garb. But in a far more feminine avatar.  Her hair; carefully constructed, falling in loose curls framing her impish face. Her smile uninhibited. The kind he dreams about. But for another man. Her husband.

Zun follows the couple with his eyes. Till they are nothing but a speck in the darkness. Till they disappear. He shakes his head. Another battle that he will never win.  Another fight that was fought and won, even before he entered the ring.

This is not a love story. Or a story about love lost. Nor does it romanticise and exalt unrequited love. Love is an emotion for those who can understand and feel. Who are capable of feeling emotions. Not for those who are not in command of their own mind. Not for those who are fragmented; confused about their very existence.

Who carry monsters and demons in their head…


Continue reading

Of imminent changes..

Just when new becomes normal.

Just when the dust settles….

The storms of change arrive….Again.

Yet again!

We are but helpless, flapping, flailing, falling leaves…

At the mercy of the saturnine winds of change.

Incapacitated. Lost.

Aah! time to swither and ponder is long past.

Time to dust off and get moving. Again.


A new move..

A new life..

A new separation….

Tis often told that things get easier…

The often they are done..

Aah…they are but masters of words

Who know not the verity of life.

Who know not the lugubriousness…

It never get easier, my friend…

It never does!


You repel, you resist.

You fight, you oppose.

You push against…

As severely as your frail mind can manage.

The recoil tires you…

The backlash numbs you.

The ricochet kicks you in the gut.

You double over.

It’s futile.

Wasted breath.

Squandered energy.

Fighting change is a fool’s errand, my friend.

It only get’s harder!


Accept and embrace.

Make change your master.

Let her winds get your back.

She may be a vicious fiend, as a foe…

But she a fine, fine friend.

Let her unpredictable manus mould your life…

For you have no choice, my friend.

No matter what they say…

You are not the master of your destiny…

Nay, my friend…

Not always…

She is!


Till the next….whatever…

Dr J.

What’s in my diaper/ changing bag?


Mr H, J and Z are heading out for the evening

 J is still getting ready…. Okay…I am almost ready…. If only I could find my watch…

Oops, need to switch the living room AC off…

Aah! Better get the laundry going…It will be done by the time we’re back…

Now to fill some water…

Z might need extra- socks. She always manages to get them off… Now…where is the other of this pair…


Argh, where’s that darned lipstick. The one I got last week….

Eeks… The scarf does not match… Do I change the top?

She is running around in circles.


Mr H hovers. He is carrying the little one. He conspicuously looks at his watch. Repeatedly. With an exaggerated motion.

J tells him she’s almost ready. Just another couple of minutes. Why don’t you buckle up Zoe in her seat hun? I’l be out in a moment….

He is more than happy to get going. He knows she WILL NOT be “out in a moment”…

He is almost at the door when J hollers…

Honey! Please take The Bag with you as well…

The Bag.

Aaah! The Bag….

The Bag that weighs almost as much as J does…

The mystery of which, Mr H shall never comprehend…

The so called “diaper bag”!

There have been several discussions, arguments, accusations and denials pertaining to The Bag. Mr H thinks J needlessly stuffs it with “junk” and lugs it around, inevitably ending up with shoulder and back ache at the end of the evening.

J begs to differ. She can cite a dozen or more instances (in the recent past) where The Bag and its constituents have come in handy. Have been their saviour. Have helped them kill time in waiting rooms and airports. Have been helpful in cleaning up spit ups and poop explosions. Served as a pillow…..

But Mr H always complains. Whenever they are out as a family, The Bag serves both as a diaper bag and J’s handbag- it’s bound to be heavy!

So, after ceaseless complaints, J finally decided to give it a thorough look in. She decided to clean it up and size it down.

She decided, she might as well do a “What’s in my diaper bag” post while she is at it. It’s Ma Wednesday after all- PERFECTO!

J has always found peeks into others’ lives fascinating. There are always lessons to be learnt. Information to be garnered. Do let me know if you find such posts entertaining….

So here goes…

The Bag itself is nothing fantastic. J hated all the cheesy looking diaper bags being sold at all the baby stores. She could have used a regular handbag, but she did not want to miss out on the experience of using a “diaper/changing/baby bag”.

She wanted a classy, simple looking bag. This fit the bill…


But the bag’s bill wouldn’t have fit J! Shelling out 1300 QAR for something she would use for not more than a couple of years seemed absurd. After all, it is just a “changing bag”.

She kept hunting for a reasonably priced bag that she wouldn’t cringe being seen with. Finally she had to settle. Function over looks.

This one had a lot of pockets/ compartments, a changing mat, insulated bottle holder and compartment, extra- pouch, detachable pouches, Velcro straps to use on the pram/stroller handle and a decent price tag of a little over 200 QAR. J liked the faux leather trim on the handle and the sides. But hated the “flower explosion” pattern!

Aah! It will have to do….

All the items shown below, came out of that bag. Nothing was thrown away. Even the receipts and bills are shown in their original condition to maintain the authenticity of this “what’s in my diaper bag” post.

Go on, peek….

photo 1 (6)
Wish it were minus the “floral explosion”… Pierre Cardin Diaper Bag
photo 1 (5)
Stuffed with stuff, yet lots more room to spare.
photo 1 (7)
More than sufficient pockets, compartments and pouches
photo 5 (1)
Detachable pouches.
photo 4 (2)
Easy to remove and attach…
photo 3 (3)
Once detached, makes more room inside
photo 5 (4)
Add- ons that come with the bag… Stroller straps, long shoulder strap, insulated bottle holder, changing pad/mat, zippered pouch.
photo 3 (6)
The junk revealed…
photo 5 (3)
Light blanket/ swaddle/ nursing cover/ multi- purpose cloth thinggy!
photo 4 (4)
Spare outfit, socks, mittens (not used). towel, cap…
photo 2 (7)
The absolute basics plus her hardly worn shoes…
photo 2 (6)
Some random “emergency” stuff…for Mr H, J and Z…
photo 1 (9)
Items to keep Zoe engaged…
photo 2 (8)
Items to keep J engaged…
photo 1 (8)
Bits and bobs…
photo 3 (4)
Gum and hand- sanitizer are often used, the hand cream rarely and the pacifiers wipes- NEVER!
Gum and hand- sanitizer are often used, the hand cream rarely and the pacifier wipes- NEVER!
Never know when one might need stink!
Never know when one might stink!
I carry it more for it's "cuteness quotient"...
Carried more for it’s “cuteness quotient”…
photo 2 (4)
Fragrant waste bag dispenser- Super handy!

Also, other items that usually go into this bag are J’s wallet, planner, iPad, mobile phone and a water bottle!

I guess that is almost everything. Not sure if I’m missing something. Will update if I am…

Things will change a bit now since Lil’ Z has started having “food” and “water”… Bibs, bottles, sippy cups….Aah…tis bound to get heavier!

So my lovely mommies …What’s in your changing bag?

Till next time…

Dr J.

P.S. During the course of the evening, Mr H made use of some gum, tissues, wet wipes, pen and lip balm :-). And we used a waste bag as well…. Just saying…

And the “down- sizing” of The Bag never did happen!

Music and Running- Part 2 (My headphones/ear-buds review)

Morning folks,

Thought I’d continue to talk about my “running compadre” this week…

By now we have firmly established my addiction to music. Especially while running. Now let us review the associated gadgetry.

It all started about eleven years ago (Oh please! I am not THAT old….I was still a teenager then!)….

I wanted to go “jogging” in the mornings. I had run middle distance (400m and 800m) for my school…. So I knew I could run….

But running seemed boring…and downright “uncool” if you did not have something stuck to your ear.

So I started my running journey while being strapped on to something like these….


They were sometimes more trouble than they were worth…

But at least they kept boredom at bay. They also made you deaf to the daft and pestiferous comments and taunts from the pre-pubescent Bangalore boys who haunted the parks ….

Then the mp3 explosion happened. I was overjoyed. I hated lugging that huge thing on my waistband. I begged and cajoled my Dad into getting me my first mp3 player.

My first mp3 running buddy was a Creative MuVo (I think that was what it was called) 256Mb. It was love at first sight. I slung it round my neck and ran hard. I kid you not,- my runs definitely got longer, thanks to the MuVo.

Petite and nifty, just like me- it was a breeze to transfer songs onto it. And at that time 256Mb seemed like an infinite amount of memory.


I used it along with some random, generic pair of headphones for a long time. Years in fact. In the sun and rain, the MuVo stuck with me. At the fag end of it’s life, I upgraded to some decent (for then!) headphones. A  Creative one. Nothing fancy, but way better than any I had used thus far.

The love affair lasted a long time. Until one day when…

The MuVo died a sudden death!

I finished my run one day, wiped off the sweat like usual and put it to charge. The next morning, he did not play. Not a sound. Nothing on the display either. I cried. And cancelled my run to honour his memory.

May his soul rest in peace.

By then, my Dad had already bought an iPod Nano. He is a music lover as well you see. He wanted something small and handy. But when he saw how distraught I was over the death of my trusted MuVo, he bequeathed the Nano to me. One morning, I woke up and found them on my bed.

I cried again! This time with tears of joy.

The Nano was great, and served me well for several years. The only problem was that it’s snap-on soft-case kept tearing. My sweat was corrosive to it apparently. I ended up buying a new one almost every month.

Finally, about 3 years ago I bought the 4th generation iPod shuffle. It was a random, impulse purchase. And one of the best such purchases. It’s self-clipping and miniscule. It’s perfect.

Some may argue that not having a display is an issue. For me, it makes no difference. No display means it’s smaller. The smaller, the better.

I don’t really need a display anyway. I don’t want to be fiddling with my iPod while I run. The whole purpose of using one (to make the run less boring) is defeated if one ends up searching for songs instead on concentrating on the run itself.

The sound quality is not out of this world, or anything spectacular. I don’t need it to be. Enjoying the intricacies of a particular piece of music- I can do it at a different time and under better circumstances. Not when I am huffing and puffing and when the blood seems to be pounding in my head. In fact, the iPod nano (I own the 2nd generation) has far superior sound quality.

The Nano still functions marvellously and I do use it occasionally (when my jacket or tracks have pockets!). I have quit buying the cases.though….

But for the most part, it is the shuffle that I reach for.

That is how I settled into my current music source – The humble 4th Generation iPod Shuffle …

Now, coming to the headphone journey.

Well, I don’t really have a story here. I used a very basic set for the longest time. Only last year did that change.

Last year, Mr H did something rare and utterly surprising. He’s not the romantic, let’s buy roses and flowers and gifts for my dear wife types.

Yet, one day….

He nonchalantly, almost sheepishly gave me a package.It wasn’t my birthday, or our anniversary or any another “occasion”….

I had often seen him examining my battered, old creative headset though…

This is the box he handed to me.Just like that. For no rhyme or reason. With absolutely no associated hoopla….

Mr H! You sneaky romantic!
Mr H! You sneaky romantic!


Needless to say, my runs have never been the same since…

They are insanely priced and I’m sure the sound quality does not merit the price….


Who cares!!!

I don’t have to keep tugging at my ear. Or constantly put back hesistant-to-stay-on earbuds, or constantly adjust bulky headsets…

Or worry about my sweat eating through the wires!

I fit them before I put on my shoes….and they stay on ….Till the sweat has dried…Till I reach home…Till I remove them…

They are water- proof. Sweat- proof. And they better be, or they won’t last long on me!

They make my shuffle sound great…

 And most importantly, they have taught me what good quality headphones/ ear-buds can do to your running….

FEATURES (as mentioned on the official website


Flexible earclips are designed to secure Powerbeats earphones in your ears no matter how rigorous your workout. Sweat-resistant materials and ear tips of all sizes keep you comfortable, always.


Powerbeats earphones are the only Beats by Dr. Dre earbuds that come with two speakers inside each bud. That means you get crystal clear highs and deep, rumbling lows in high definition.


Powerbeats earphones are specially designed to pump clear bass at any volume while letting in ambient noise – making sure athletes stay safe while running on the road.


You can adjust your music to find your power song right from the cord. No need to fumble with your MP3 player during your workout.


  • Powerbeats by Dr. Dre™ earphones
  • In-line remote & mic cable (features may vary)
  • Hard case
  • Extension cable
  • Three (3) pairs of ear tip fittings
  • Weight (kg): 0.03
  • Height (mm): 71
  • Length of Cable (m): 1.121
  • Type of Jack: 3.5mm
photo (28)
All my trusted running pals… I switched up the ear-tips on the Powerbeats…I use Mr H’s Bose ones…. The one that came with this set were too big (uncomfortable) for my teeny ears!

What are your favourite running gadgets?

That's Mr H (if the scraggly stubble wasn't clue enough!) being all nice and sporting! Modeling the Powerbeats for me...
That’s Mr H (if the scraggly stubble wasn’t clue enough!) being all nice and sporting! Modeling the Powerbeats for me…

Till the next run…

Dr J.

 Disclaimer- This is DEFINITELY NOT  a sponsored post!

Of unostentatious love and unremembered anniversaries!

Dearest Mr H,

You’ve probably reached office. Or are stuck in traffic.

You are one to keep your word. So you read the blog daily.

These verses are for you to mull over. Let the words linger in your head. As the tiresome workday wears on, let them spread their warmth and comfort.

Let them wane away gently…

Let their sweet perfume gradually fill your soul….

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden. 

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. 

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast. 

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart. 

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love. 

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. 

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

-Kahlil Gibran

Six years, Love!

And we have not once remembered.

Not once have we wished each other. Or celebrated.

Suffice to say our love is pretty self- reliant!

Self- sufficient.

Stripped of all artificiality, chicanery and pretence.

Devoid of ostentation.

Pure. Simple.

Probably because it is built on a foundation of hardship and struggle rather than celebration and exuberance….

Happy Anniversary (belated like always) Love!

Let’s keep trudging on…

Till the next forgotten anniversary….

Dr J.

The Shameless Consumerist.



Mr H calls J a shameless consumerist. The type that advertisers love and capitalistic economies thrive upon. The type that drives minimalistic, sustenance- only, under- the-top individuals like him nuts!

J has always vehemently and vociferously denied the accusation, of course. She believes she only buys what she ABSOLUTELY NEEDS. Nothing more, nothing less.

Why would they manufacture all those things otherwise? If no one needed the things, or did not buy them; wouldn’t the companies go bust?

The problem here is complex, folks. Both Mr H and Dr J truly believe in their economic theories. One vouches for reductivism in life, while the other ardently believes in pampering and rewarding oneself for their everyday drudgery. A necessity for Dr J is an indulgence for MR H.

 Aah! The balance of the universe. The heavens have chosen this pair wisely. Their balance and opposition in beliefs and behaviours keeps them glued and yet drive them crazy!

Yin and Yang.  The Yin being materialistic, impulsive and intense, the Yang being calm, practical and forethoughtful. The Yin with the credit cards and the Yang with the shopping cart.





It would be perfect, if only Dr J was just like “another girl”. If only she craved clothes, shoes, make-up, bags and the like….

She does.


But she also loves quirky gadgets, cool technology, the latest gizmos, the trending contraptions….

She’s abreast of all that is hot on the techie market. And is constantly pointing at stuff in store aisles while hopping from toe to toe and making her all-too-famous “puppy- face”.

Mr H falls for it every single time…..

If only matters ended there…

What of the books?

The endless, ceaseless, interminable greed for books. The racks are gravid and the cartons are full, but the books keep coming. Mr H dreads the words…” Honey, there’s this book it seems…”. Aah, he knows what the statement entails. A trip to the bookstore.

And he is well aware of the consequence of that…..

And pray, tell me folks….

Which ADULT in their right mind goes gaga over stationary? Really…who does? J does. Don’t tell her I mentioned it though. It’s her embarrassing little secret.

So, that’s another way for the family finances to be siphoned off…

And the home appliances?

The quadruple door matte- metallic, extra-freezer space, cold water dispensing fridge?

The top-shelf Nespresso machine?

The curved, ultra HD, LED TV?

The double- decker oven with grill and broiler function, cum stove with eight burners? The fancy, uber-tech food processor? The blender?

And who wouldn’t want the chic bed linen? The ultra- cushiony couch and the to-melt-into mattress. The cool-as-hell curtains? The whispy, light pillows.

Every half-decent home- maker would want that!!

The fancy china, colour-coordinated and themed pots and pans. The 450 piece dinner set and the exotic table-ware…

The basics my friend, the basics!

And please, don’t ever ask Dr J to scrimp on food.  It blasphemous to her. Food is her one true love (along with books and shoes!) ……..

Dare you stop her from indulging in some quality grub!

The list continues…

Cars, home, vacations…….

It is a disease my friends. An addiction. An affliction with no cure. The more you get, the more you want.

The bucket lists never taper. The wish list never terminates. The desires never cease.  They only recycle and re-form. Old ones once fulfilled give way to new ones…..

That is how a consumerist rolls… Dough is their drug and the smell of “new” is their high.  No one but them shall understand this high. It is self- perpetuating. An exercise in self- indulgence.

It is harmless in moderation, and can give great joy if practiced within bounds.

It can also be destructive, debt inviting and ultimately catastrophic to the family finances. The rule of the game is to always cut your coat according to your cloth. With lesser cloth in fact. 

There is a fine line between a joyous consumer and a miserable debtor. And not crossing it, is an art folks.

One that J seems to have mastered!

Shop responsibly folks!

Till the next purchase…..

Dr J.


Disclaimer-  The above post includes disproportionate exaggeration of people and events for the benefit of creative purposes and reader enjoyment. 

Lil Z’s night trip to the Museum of Islamic Art Park.

Here are some pictures from an impulse trip we took last night!

Entered the Museum of Islamic Campus and Park, only to beat the weekend traffic and the chaos at Corniche….

Parking! Wow.....How come?
Parking! Wow…..How come?
Walkways and Pathways and TREES!
Walkways and Pathways and TREES!
A break from the crowds and city cacophony...
A break from the crowds and city cacophony…
Seems like a movie set...
Seems like a movie set…
The visual displays are out of order at the moment.
The visual displays are out of order at the moment.
A mini- Corniche, sans the crazy, weekend crowd!
A mini- Corniche, sans the crazy, weekend crowd!
Undulating grass in the unrelenting desert heat- well done Mr Gardener!
Undulating grass in the unrelenting desert heat- well done Mr Gardener!
The Museum- will take you folks IN some day...
The Museum- will take you folks IN some day…
The skyline that is photographed ad-nauseum!!
The skyline that is photographed ad-nauseum!!
The lone ranger
Mr Bare but There
The Cafe...with the best view in town?
The Cafe…with the best view in town?
The Cafe’s Panorama
Archway to nowhere.
The Hill!
The Hill!
Views from the hill- 1
Views from the Hill- 2
Views form the HIll- 3
People chillin’ while melting in the stifling heat!
That’s me in three years time!


Mama’s busy folks. She will speak to y’all tomorrow and give you all the details.

Have a lovely weekend!

Till the next adventure….

Lil’ Z!