Here’s another Nerdy Sunday! Girls of Riyadh- Rajaa Alsanea.

Hella folks!

How have you all been?

Today’s post has been festering on my browser as a tab for three days now. I just can’t seem to come around to finishing it.

I even considered just ditching this post altogether.

But then, what of my word?

All the hoo haa about what was to come next.

And all that “STAY TUNED” cheesiness?

Sigh..

So here I am. The unapologetic, fickle, bored J being bullied and black- mailed by the prim, molaristic, woman-of-her-word J into seeing this stale, mouldering post to completion.

Apologies if this review is sub-par. Or downright doltish!

 

GIRLS OF RIYADH- Book review.

You live a life of segregation. Under the heavy veil of yards of fabric and endless regulation.

You are bound by tradition, religion, society, family and by generations of men and women before you who have sacrificed all in the name of moral obligations and religious righteousness.

You are to only interact with the gender that you are born as.

As a woman, your only purpose in life is the upkeep of a man’s honour and home. And to bear and rear his children.

Love is not is not a beautiful thing.

It is a mephistophelean act; blasphemous and uncouth. A cause of shame and embarrassment. A slight on the family’s honour and standing. Something that has no place in society. It’s is frowned upon, and held in utter contempt. Choosing the path of love makes you a pariah.

Imagine such a world.

Imagine a world where a “religious” police- an actual, official version with legal powers in hand; exists.

Yet, the men and women of this rigid, rules- bound society love, live, shop, joke, learn, work, play and enjoy their lives.

From the outside, their lives seem difficult and secretive. It may be hard to comprehend.

Yet, to the people who live this way- it is a way of life. THEIR WAY OF LIFE!

 

Source- www.independent.co.uk
Source- http://www.independent.co.uk

 

Saudi-1-blog480

 

If the last review, got you intrigued about the UAE, you should be far more mystified by the strict and shadowy world of KSA. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Girls of Riyadh” is a product of this wonderful and strange (for those who do not comprehend such societies) land.

 

9780141030616

 

 

1.How/Why/Where did you buy the book?

I won’t bore you folks with the story again.

I tend to do it, go on a kinda-similar-books-reading-spree.

In fact, I have several such books lined up for the coming weeks!

2. What is the book about?

This may seem annoyingly similar to my previous post/ book- review. But here too we have four women and an account of their very arab, very “gulfy” lives. But this time, there are no expats or immigrants in the story.

The book was written in Arabic (Banat al- Riyadh) and published in 2005. It was later translated to English (by Marilyn Booth) and released worldwide in 2007. The book was originally banned in Saudi Arabia (similar to what happened to “Desperate in Dubai” in UAE ) but was later permitted to be sold in book stores in Saudi.

Do not get excited by this “ban” though. If you are not a citizen of a very strict, Islamic country, you will not find anything in the book that is even the least bit controversial or rabble- rousing.

It tells the tale of Sadeem, Gamrah, Michelle (Americanised version of Mashael) and Lamees, four young Saudi girls living in Riyadh, the capital city. The books runs in the form of a series of emails, sent to groups of people in Riyadh, recounting the lives of these young girls.

The emails usually start off with a quote or poem by a famous author/ poet (or sometimes penned by the author herself). The story mostly revolves around the love lives of these women with sporadic glimpses of other aspects of their “Saudi life”.

3. First impressions?

Starts off with promise. I even overlooked the juvenile sounding narration (I guess the “translation” was to be blamed), hoping the story will get meatier as it progresses. Some of the poems, I did enjoy. I was waiting for the author to get us in deeper, into the psyche of her modern yet traditional women.

I kept waiting. And hoping.

4. Final evaluation?

Excellent premise.

Interesting setting.

Promising characters.

Decent plot.

Faulty fruition.

Unimaginative translation.

Unlike what The Independent says (check the picture of the cover above), I did not find the book “chilling”! But then I come from a land of honour killings and arranged marriages! So yeah…

5. How long did it take to finish?

Two hours or so.

6. Critique?

My waiting and hoping bore no rewards. Sadly, I got the feeling that this book was never meant to be read in English. Or rather, in any other language other than Arabic.

Arabic is a notoriously hard language to translate. And this book pays the price for it.

On the story front, it gets a tad repetitive and ho-hum after a while. The male characters are all the same. They come and go. Nobody shines. Or stands out.

Worse still, even the female characters- the protagonists are not clearly characterized. Except Gamrah to some extent, the others are all  almost interchangeable. After a while, if are not paying attention, you aren’t even sure who it is you are reading about.

I wished the author had more clearly defined personalities and  character for the ladies.

Also, there is too much emphasis on the “finding love” aspect of the story. If it were presented in a more interesting manner I wouldn’t have complained. But it is not. Education, independence, rebellion are all topics that she touches upon; but for the briefest of brief moments.

All I can say is, SO MUCH PROMISE…

7. Who would you recommend the book to?

Even with my critique and complaints, I would recommend this book. To everyone.

The main cause being- it’s is written by a young, brave, Arab woman!

We definitely need to hear more of them. And from them.

And it is a decent read which will not take up much of your time.

8.  Would you read it again?’

Nope.

On second thought, maybe I would. In Arabic…someday. If I ever get that good at it. I have a feeling this book would make far more sense in Arabic.

9.  Do you regret purchasing it?

To be honest, I do. Some books I wished I had borrowed. Like watching a not so good movie on cable TV. You wouldn’t stand in queue, pay and watch such movies in the theater. Do you get my drift?

10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?

The very last paragraph …

“As for love, it still might always struggle to come out into the light of day in Saudi Arabia. You can sense that in the sighs of bored men sitting alone at cafes, in the shining eyes of veiled women walking down the streets, in the phone lines that spring to light after midnight, and in the heartbroken songs and poems, too numerous to count, written by the victims of love unsanctioned by family, by tradition, by the city: Riyadh.”

 

Till the next book…

Dr J.

 

P.S. I am just too tired to bother editing. Kindly ignore the typos and any bad sentence construction/ grammar and forgive me for the same. I wanted this post to be up before I hit the sack tonight. Don’t ask me why. I am strange like that.

As for the tiredness; Lil Zoe is unwell, that is my excuse.

Nerdy Sunday! Desperate In Dubai- Ameera Al Hakawati.

 

Desperate in Dubai.indd

 

Let’s get straight to “The Ten Questions”…

1.How/Why/Where did you buy the book?

The book has been lying in my Flipkart ebook library for a while now. Timeout Dubai dubs this book as the “UAE’s answer to Desperate Housewives”.

I read about it, more than a year ago; at some random Dubai based style and fashion forum (don’t ask me what I was doing there, a week before my exams!).

I then visited the blog (the book was once a blog!) and liked what I saw.

I wanted the book- then and there.

This was more than a year ago. While I was still a MAxFAc resident, living the hard life in a small university town in central Karnataka. I had no access to a decent bookstore, and Messrs Filpkart and Amazon were my knights in shining armour! The only way to instant gratification was purchasing an ebook.

So I did.

And read it that very night.

Fast- forward to 15 months later. I come across a similar book while on a routine (ahem ahem!) visit to Jarir (one of the few places to get books in Qatar). It was called Girls of Riyadh (review coming up next). The book was insanely priced (duh!), so even though the blurb piqued my interest, I let it go.

Two days ago, I bought the ebook on Flipkart at a tenth of the price. (Smug expression. Self-pat on the back.)

After finishing that book, I felt like re- reading this one.

So I did.

Till 4 am. 🙂

2. What is the book about?

About women.

About love.

About the travails of being a woman, and worse- a woman in love.

Worse still- in love with the wrong man.

About freedom.

About religion and culture dictating lives and choices.

About rebellion.

About friendship and the lack there-of in today’s world of deceit and self- preservation.

About women trying to live in an unmistakably man’s world.

Four women- Lady Luxe, Leila, Nadia and Sugar are all fighting their personal battles. With the men in their lives, fate and society. Their backgrounds, lives, circumstances, social standing are all very different. Yet their path collide. In the shiny, crowded, exciting new land- Dubai.

Ameera Al Hakawati is a nom de plume. It keeps us guessing if the author is really a native of the UAE. It keeps thing mysterious, and adds to the charm. I am hoping that Lady Luxe is an exxagerated version of the author herself! 😉

3. First impressions?

I would not call it UAE’s answer to Desperate Housewives. Partly because there is only one “Desperate Housewife” in the book. To me it is more like an Arab/ Dubaized version of Sex and the City. There is a generous peppering of designer name dropping and luxury brand references on almost every page of the book.

The first few pages did not impress. It sounded “wannabe” ish and pretentious. Almost as if the author was trying hard to make her character sound cool and “upmarket”.

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Do not be put off by the beginning though. It is not as jejune as you think it might be.

Initially, the four central characters are all very familiar, yet interesting enough to continue reading. If you like Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, Lipstick Jungle and the like, DID is right up your alley.

4. Final evaluation?

A good read. Light- hearted, yet touching upon several social and cultural mores and customs that are very relevant to our times. Dubai is a throbbing, fast- paced, cosmopolitan city with a shiny, rich, sparkling exterior along with a dark underbelly of shattered dreams, lost values and an unquenchable thirst for success and wealth. The book skims over all this, albeit in a superficial, glossy manner.

Dohaites will also be able to relate, as Doha seems to be heading the Dubai way.

The language is easy and conversational. Considering it started off as a blog, the book tries to remain true to its “bloggy” roots.

5. How long did it take to finish?

A couple of hours.

6. Critique?

Nothing really.

I mean, it is what it is.

A light, kill-time-on- a-plane-ride sort of book. It does not claim to be a literary marvel or a fanciful, thought-provoking tale.

I wish Lady Luxe had a better ending though. At the end, I almost felt like the author was hastliy trying to “finish-up” the story. Just my feeling….

7. Who would you recommend the book to?

If have have every lived in the middle- east you may be able to associate with the characters and the book.

If  you ever wondered about the uber- rich lifestyles of the Emiratis, Qataris, Kuwaitis etc., this may interest you.

If you are a Westerner curious about the mysterious, hijabied/ abaya- clad women- the book will tell you that basically women are the same everywhere, with the same problems and issues. And the same love for designers, shoes, bags, cars, shopping and everything luxe!

8.  Would you read it again?’

Urmmm…Have read it twice in the span of a year. So, maybe not.

9.  Do you regret purchasing it?

Nope.

10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?

Capture

 

These few paragraphs encompass all the vastly contradictory tones of the book. Islamic traditions, middle- eastern mores, western education, disproportionate wealth….

An abaya clad woman in a little black dress- DID in a nutshell!

(P.S. The traditionalists will scoff at the book and find it insulting and derogatory….;-). And it is by no means entirely reflective of life in Dubai, UAE or the middle- east. But there is a generous dose of reality in it. Okay. I shall halt my confused, pointless ramble here)

Till the next book…

Dr J.

 

Helpful links.

DID blog.

Ebook on Flipkart (for readers in India)

Kindle edition on Amazon.

 

Coming up next- Girls of Riyadh!

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Nerdy Sunday! Curious about the veiled Arab world?

Hella Folks!

It’s been a while since I did a book review.

Not that I haven’t been reading. Quite the opposite actually.I just don’t seem to get a moment to sit down, fire up Mr Lappy, click cutesy pictures, copy excerpts from the book and then give my not-so-worthy two cents on the book!

Are you folks the same as me? The busier you get, the more you want to read?

In the car, on the plane, in the loo, in doctor’s waiting rooms, on the phone, on the dining table, while waiting for an auto, at the coffee shop, while watching TV, while the baby sleeps on you, at odd hours- at ALL HOURS!

Mr H thinks I have lost the plot. Again!

I complain to him about lack of sleep, but I stay up late and into the wee hours of the morning reading.

It’s a phase. I know that. So does Mr H. It comes and goes. And comes again. This darned, out-of- control bibliophilia.

The book- monster within is hungry. Gobbling up everything that comes in it’s wake.

A restless mind is an evil fiend. It ensares you with it’s malefic designs and never- ceasing mutterings.

It can be a curse.

And a gift.

It’s best if IT is kept occupied. Hence, the books. The endless rows of them.

Here are the two that I intend to review this week. There will be three “Nerdy Sundays” this week, Insha Allah.  (Or five! Who knows…) At first I thought I’d review them together. Mainly because, they have a very similar theme.

A womanly peek into the Arab/ Gulf world.

The forbidden, mysterious world of  floaty, designer abayas and seemingly unfathomable wealth.  Of a unique, highly regulated, religion/ male dominated society that is often not understood or misunderstood by the rest of the world, especially the West.

So different, yet so alike all of us are.

Two women dare to write about their societies. One boldly, and the other with some reserve.

 

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And yes, I still am a hardy- copy/ actual- paper- and- cardboard- book, kind of girl. But I am not averse to the occasional ebook, especially since I lead a nomadic existence these days!

Stay tuned….

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

 

The Ladies Lounge! Impulsive, wintry baby buys!

Doha and Bangalore are both heading toward winter. The Bangalore of yore (when I was still in tights and pinafores!) was pretty chilly. Not any more. Winter’s now are barely cool. Chilly for a few days and then pleasantly cool thereafter.

Doha surprisingly is  colder. Last year, I spent half my winter in Doha and half in Bangalore. Must say, Doha beat Bangalore by a mile!

Currently, it is still raining almost everyday in Bangalore. The monsoon is making it’s retreat and winter’s being ushered in. Lil’ Z has been taking in the sights and sounds. All new and exciting. While I have been reacquainting myself with all things Bangalore. The familiar sounds of endless honking and the smell of smoke mixed with rain. Mum’s tea in the mornings and dad’s news summaries. It’s all good folks.

 

The storm gathers...
The storm gathers…

 

Thereafter.
Thereafter.

 

Camera360_2014_10_25_060005
The rains here are very different from those in Doha!

 

WP_20141025_05_52_40_Pro
Testing out the camera on the Lumia 1520..

 

The rains...
Grams’ thorny friends!

 

Lil’ Z and I decided to go on some city adventures, off on our own. We spent a pleasant, lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon updating the little ones’ wardrobe.

I am not daft enough to buy tons of baby clothes- though I am often tempted to. We buy only the bare essentials, since she outgrows them so soon. Zoe spent the first six months of her life in boring onesies and nightsuits/ babygrows. Comfort and warmth trumped style and aesthetics. But slowly, she is getting to that age when “cute” outfits start to fit. And now that she stands and am sure will soon walk, it’s time to phase out the gender- neutral babygrows and put on some girly clothes.

We also intend to travel quite a lot in the coming months. Loads of relatives and family to be met. Weddings to be attended. Interviews. Work related stuff. And the little one will have to bear with me and come along for the ride. So she better be prepared!

Here are some winter additions to her wardrobe. (My friends from actual “cold countries”-  please forgive my audacity for calling your summer wear as so!)

 

The basics- warm, fleecy nightsuits. Turns the little one into a cute, cuddly, live teddy bear!
The basics- warm, fleecy nightsuits. Turns the little one into a cute, cuddly, live teddy bear!

 

Another wardrobe staple.   A dusty pink. light cardigan.
Another wardrobe staple. A dusty pink. light cardigan.

 

No reason for picking these up, except that they were too cute to not buy! Will probably come - in handy when we visit family in Kerala.
No reason for picking these up, except that they were too cute to not buy!

 

To match the cardigan. Found it at another store.
To match the cardigan. Found it at another store.

 

A coat fit for a DIva!
A coat fit for a DIva!

 

I rarely ever put her in dresses. But I guess the time has come. Am a sucker for nautical prints.
I rarely ever put her in dresses. But I guess the time has come. Am a sucker for nautical prints.

 

Though she might wear these over some of the dresses buried in her closet.
Though she might wear these over some of the dresses buried in her closet.

 

Must have- tights in solid, basic colors.
Must have- tights in solid, basic colors.

 

No shopping trip is complete without some boots! Either for Mommy o"'''''''''
No shopping trip is complete without some boots! Either for Mommy or Zoe.

 

Blue, floral canvas.
Denim, floral canvas.

 

Every girl need her ballet flats!
Every girl need her ballet flats!

 

Picked up these random bits and voila, we have a perfectly co-ordinated outfit!
Picked up these random bits and voila, we have a perfectly co-ordinated outfit!

 

Of course, these are a no- brainer.
Of course, these are a no- brainer.

 

And yes, belated Diwali wishes to my Indian friends! To be honest, I did not quite enjoy being here for Diwali this year. Zoe hated the sounds of crackers and I spent a few, sleepless nights with a baby who’d wake up flustered and crying when some really smart person decides to fire up crackers at 1 AM!

 

Happy Diwali folks!
Happy Diwali folks!

 

Till next time…

Dr J!

 

 

 

The choices we make.

 

A decade or so ago, I thought I was invincible.

Fresh out of high school, I was ready to conquer all in sight.

Dreams without confines.

Unadulterated confidence.

Self- belief; unmarred with doubt or fear.

I truly believed that life was about choices.

That we chose our paths and hence are masters of our own destinies.

 

Success was a foregone conclusion.

Excellence was to be a way of life.

Entering the adult world was supposed to be exciting.

Liberating.

Enlightening.

The shackles were finally going to be broken.

Of school, uniforms, rules, regulations, curfews, diktats…

The choices seemed endless.

The freedom boundless.

 

The euphoria of freedom, doesn’t last for long though.

You are gagged, tied-up and stowed away in the boot of a car.

For years.

And one day, you are abruptly set free.

Thrown out of the cramped, dark but secure place onto a hard road.

In pelting rain.

With barely anything on you to keep you warm or shield you from the harsh, stinging drops of rain and harsh winds..

The thunder disorients you further, and the lightening blinds you.

And just as you try to test your long- unused legs and stand up, you are caught  in the glare of a pair of blinding headlights…

Hurtling towards you.

You have no time to process your choices.

Or to make a decision.

What choices do you have anyway.

Stand your ground and be run over? Killed?

Or jump away? Hoping that you won’t harm yourself further in the process.

Do you really think you have a choice?

Doesn’t instinct make you jump out of the way anyway?

 

Every single day- we are met with so called “choices”.

They run our lives.

Even ruin it possibly.

We are made to believe that we are responsible for our joys and woes.

That we CHOOSE our fates.

We are constantly being asked to choose between the rock and the hard place.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Between the frying pan and the fire.

Our lives inhabit the proverbial sea between Scylla and Charybdis.

One is never truly better than the other.

 

We live on.

Move on.

Soldier on.

Making choices.

Sometimes random.

Sometimes thought- out.

Some time heart- breaking.

Sometimes gut- wrenching.

A few happy ones, help us keep the illusion alive.

Of ultimate happiness.

Of the blinding light at the end of a dark, cold tunnel.

Of fruits for our hard- labour.

Of unconditional love.

Of unsolicited riches.

Of second chances.

And to what end? To move on to the next dismal set of choices.

Or be to be miserable with the current one.

 

Life doesn’t seem so black and white anymore.

I do not judge one by the choices they make.

Vulnerability is no more a sin in my eye.

We all have our weaknesses.

Our fallacies.

Invincibility is a false cloak.

Worn by the vain and pretentious.

Ripped away in due time.

By choices!

 

Conquering all in sight is a dream no more.

Fighting each day, to live another; is the goal.

The “another” day possibly shall bear joy and contentment.

Or possibly, a day without choices.

A day where one can just live.

And not chose.

For one, is rarely truly better than another!

 

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

 

A “phone-y” conundrum- An impartial Dr J.

After the pseudo- poetic rant by Mr H, J feels obliged to explain her position.

Her technological loyalties lay nowhere.

She wishes to try all and is partial to none.

They all have something unique to offer.

She is not prone to selection by peer pressure alone.

Nor does hype and hoopla influence her much.

What truly matters is how something “feels”.

To each their own folks!

As far as Dr J is concerned, she LOVES ‘EM ALL!

 

All used. All loved.
All used. All loved.

 

Size comparisons . Impartial to size, color, creed, brand or operating system...
Size comparisons . Impartial to size, color, creed, brand or operating system…

 

Smallest member of the family. Perfect for tiny hands!
Smallest member of the family. Perfect for tiny hands!

 

Don't be fooling by it's size folks. This lil' guy packs quite a punch.
Don’t be fooled by it’s size folks. This lil’ guy packs quite a punch.

 

Mr Productivity. No fuss.
Mr Productivity. No fuss.

 

The do-it- all. If at all J could be partial....
The do-it- all. If at all J could be partial….

 

Mr H' version...
Mr H’ version…

 

Looks and feels better if you are endowed with huge hands!
Looks and feels better if you are endowed with huge hands!

 

Newest member of the family.
Newest member of the family.

 

The Lumia 1520- a behemoth among phablets!
The Lumia 1520- a behemoth among phablets!

 

Swallows Dr J's hands ...
Swallows Dr J’s hands …

 

Size comparison...9.7 inch versus 6 inch.
Size comparison…9.7 inch versus 6 inch.

 

Why Windows?

For a change. To try something new. Windows 8 is a wonderfully easy-to-use OS and J wanted to give it a shot as her mobile eco- system. If only the app developers would catch up…

Why Nokia?

Why not? After all,  for J it all started with one.

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remember this one?

 

Moreover, the Lumia felt great in the hands. Even better than the Note 4 did. Can be summed up in two words- EXCEPTIONAL HARDWARE!

And for days when J needs her Android fix, the Note 2 and Xperia are still in pristine condition.

Why not the iPhone 6 plus?

The Apple fanatics may never understand this. J loves her iPad, but it can sometimes get a tad “boring”! Love the simplicity but seeing the same screen and icons everywhere can get a bit weary!

Thought she loved the Note 4?

She still does. But she wanted a change. And a better monetary deal!

Why the giant screen?

Actually, this was the biggest confusion. J now realizes that her phone will never fit in her pocket anymore. It’s a trade- off she is willing to accept. It is also ungainly and near impossible to use with one hand.

That said, reading, watching videos, browsing the web, framing photographs- are all a pleasure now!

Why yellow?

Black looked generic.

White did not call out to J.

Red looked fantastic and appealed to J. But the glossy finish made it a finger- print magnet.

Yellow- it’s “matte- muted” finish won her over. And it will match her yellow beetle 😉

 

Hope J has made her case.

See Mr H, it wasn’t as “thoughtless” as you thought!

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

A “phone-y” conundrum- In the words of Mr H.

Eons ago, she said she wanted a “big” phone.

I nodded.

She said she hated bulky, hard-to- maneuver devices.

I concurred.

She wanted a small, nifty mobile.

I encouraged.

She craved a flip phone.

I “hmmmm-ed”.

She was”done” with touchscreens, when the whole world was gaga over it.

I appreciated the novel and unique thinking.

She insisted on a qwerty keyboard.

I was used to the idiosyncrasies by now.

Android is brilliant, she said.

Android is “blah”, she then said.

Apple is “simply” superb, she told me.

Apple is prissy and pretentious, she then said.

Nokia is dying, she said.

Windows is a “loser mobile OS”, SHE SAID.

Windows looks good again, she then said.

I nod and hum and smile and concur.

The small screen is killing her, she one day said.

The pictures are useless, she whined.

Niftiness is no longer a consideration she told me.

The QWERTY keypad is juvenile, I was told.

I knew not, what to say.

Occasionally I provide valuable, forcefully elicited but rarely followed advice, input and suggestions.

She complains how the humongous phones feel alien and odd in her super small hands.

Unlike most others, she USES her stylus, she says.

I know not the makings and working of her crazy mind.

I can only imagine the storms they hide.

I try to tide over each one, with my sanity intact.

And with the least possible fuss.

But then, even the most patient have their limits.

Oh Lord! please push mine further.

She leaves for the store for the final time- knowing EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS.

I heave a sigh of relief.

This time, I know she has her head in the right place.

Or so I think.

I’m proven wrong.

Yet again.

My insanely crazy, impulsive, unpredictable wife has done it again.

This wasn’t even in the top 5.

Heck, it wasn’t in her list at all.

And now she claims she’s in LOVE.

Sigh.

I am resigned to my fate, folks.

This is the end to the phone-y conundrum- for THIS YEAR.

The fickle creature, is content.

Happy for the moment.

Peace and calm prevails.

The calm before the next storm!

1022201314344PM_635_nokia-Lumia-1520

 

 

 

Mr H.

Vaccinations schedules- Qatar versus …

A few lovely folks have been leaving private messages on Facebook asking about the difference in vaccination schedules- India versus Qatar.

I personally had some trouble early on, when I came home for a vacation in April. Lil Z was 6 weeks old. She would remain here for over a month, and would miss getting her 8 week shots at Qatar.

In India, the first set of vaccinations (after the ones given at birth) are given at around 6 weeks. But in Qatar, they are administered at two months (eight weeks).

The diseases covered are almost the same. There are some differences in brands of vaccinations used. Fortunately, most that are available there, can be bought in India. And in a way, lucky that we were in India at the time, as there were no appointment slots available at the health center that we are assigned to. We would have had to visit a private clinic/ hospital anyway.

And to all those parents who ask/ think/ wonder if one can haggle/ request/ plead/ bargain/ argue and get their vaccinations done on time at the PHCC (if you do not have an appointment)- I am sorry to inform you that IT IS JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! That is how the system works folks. Take it or leave it.

Lil Z also did not get an appointment for her four month shots. We got it done at a private hospital in Qatar.

We did manage to get into the PHCC system by seven months though- for her six month vaccines!

Getting back to business now….

So what are the differences?

For starters, let us look at the prescribed vaccination/ immunization schedules in some countries.

(Click on the individual pictures for a better view.)

INDIA

 

Source- Indian Academy of Pediatricians. http://www.iapindia.org/IMM%20Schedule.pdf
Source- Indian Academy of Pediatricians.
http://www.iapindia.org/IMM%20Schedule.pdf

UK

 

Source- https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/323504/8807_PHE_Complete_Immunisation_Schedule_A4_2014_11.pdf
Source- https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/323504/8807_PHE_Complete_Immunisation_Schedule_A4_2014_11.pdf

USA

 

Source- http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html
Source- http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html

 

These are the “basic” schedules. Additional “catch- up” schedules and other vaccines prescribed for high- risk categories are available on the source websites (check the picture captions).

Most countries tweak their vaccination programs to suit their needs, but they remain more or less identical in terms of the major diseases covered.

We decided to follow the QATAR program, since we will be here for a while. And honestly, is is very similar to the immunization program back home.

QATAR

 

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Initially, I drove myself (Mr H and his dear brother, who is for all purposes our Pediatrician :-)) crazy, obsessing over minutiae. Not any more. It is not as confusing as people make it out to be. As a doctor myself, I understand that these are merely protocols and guidelines; set in place to standardize and bring a sense of order and uniformity to matters. A week off here and there will not be harmful to your little one- do not worry!

Here are the brands of vaccines that they use at the PHCCs here… I clicked these pictures on my last visit there (Mesaimeer). Hope they help.

20140929_170628

 

20140929_170635

 

20140929_170711

 

20140929_170723

 

 

20140929_170735 (1)

 

These are the 4 month vaccines (Administered at a private hospital in Qatar.)

IMG_1348

 

We were able to find the same brands or suitable substitutes in India.

So, if you intend to travel a lot, the key is to follow one schedule and try to work around it. Hopefully, we will be in Qatar for the next vaccination drama!

Till next time… Dr J.

 

P.S. If you are confused with the whole DTP versus DTaP issue (you will, if you examine the schedules above closely), pm me on Facebook and I will try and explain it to you!

Also, irrespective of where Zoe received her vaccinations, I have them all entered in the vaccination card issued by Hamad. If you get the records from back home, the doctors/ nurses at the PHCC will fill them in for you. This is important as you will need to produce the vaccination record/ card at the time of admission to school here in Qatar.

 

 

 

 

 

A “phone-y” conundrum- Top 5 contenders!

It’s late folks.

And it’s been a long, hard day.

There’s so much to be done.

I feel like I am chasing the clock.

And the clock is whupping my sorry arse!

On the phone front…

I have been tirelessly reading phone reviews, watching “this-versus-that” videos on YouTube.

I have have scoured mobile showrooms and online shopping sites.

I have made calls to friends and neighborhood retailers.

For now, all I can say is that I have narrowed the list down….from a gazillion to FIVE!

 

Here are the top contenders…

The hype is killing me!
The hype is killing me!

 

Much cheaper, yet totally relevant technology...
Much cheaper, yet totally relevant technology…

 

Beautifully crafted. Bravo HTC!
Beautifully crafted. Bravo HTC!

 

Well.. My iPad would love a sibling!
Well.. My iPad would love a sibling!

 

Many "Top 10" lists, claim this is the best. It seems to be one hell of a device!
Many “Top 10” lists claim this is the best. It seems to be one hell of a device!

 

So, which shall it be?

We shall soon know……

Any tips/ suggestions?

Random fact: Mr H finds it ridiculously absurd that I am only looking at giant screens and phablets despite the fact that my hands are the size of a twelve year old’s!

 

Till next time…

Dr J.

 

 

 

 

 

Here and there.

Morning Folks!

This blog is finally going to be true to it’s name.

Shuttling between two countries.

And two fantastically vibrant and diverse cities.

One, an already bustling, crazy metropolis.

The other, just getting there.

The best and worst of both.

So much to come folks…

So much…

 

Let’s start with this morning.

Here.

And.

There….

 

map

 

The basics…

weather doha

 

bangalore weather

 

Just outside…. 7 am!

6

 

FullSizeRender

 

7

 

2

 

4

 

On our way….

9

 

0

 

8

 

99

 

I am sure you folks can figure out which is where….

The weather Here is wet and gloomy, and there seems to be a sniffles- and- sneezes bug in the air.

There, it is sunny and bright, and almost pleasant. Winter is yet to arrive…

Have a lovely day y’all!

Till next time…

Dr J.