Winds of change and change of winds.

Boy oh boy is Doha awake at midnight today! A there-one-minute-gone-the-next shower the previous night; a few degrees drop in temperature, a cool ocean breeze and the eve of the weekend- the perfect recipe for the folks of Doha to rush out onto the roads at night apparently. In droves.

The grills have come out of hibernation, the shishas are seeing the outdoors again. The little girls have whipped out their tasseled scooters and the boys are whooshing past on their shiny skates. The adults are busy trading family gossip and work whines while the kids are still wide awake at hours that will seem insane to people from any other part of the world.

All the convertible tops are down, the colourful Vespas are on full show and the Ducatis are zipping past full throttle. Everyone from the Civics and Corollas to the Rolls Royces and Maybachs, with all the LandCruisers and Patrols in between are on the streets this evening it seems like.

There is not a parking spot in sight at The Corniche, Katara, MIA park or any of the usual haunts of the folks in this town.

Sigh! How quickly things change.

If you are not from around here, or have never lived in such a land, you might have no clue what I’m rambling on about. The weather change, literally and metaphorically heralds a drastic lifestyle change.

You can start to live a life that is not artificially climate controlled. Where you do not feel like your face is burning up as you head to your car in the open parking lot, or where you actually may have to carry change of clothes if you have to walk, or stand outside an air-conditioned building for more than two measly minutes. Where the heat can actually make you reconsider your recent life and decisions. Where children have to start school at ungodly hours, and finish several hours before noon because the heat gets unbearable past 10 AM. Where it gets so hot, that not only cars and buildings, even human beings feel capable of spontaneously combusting.

anyhow, I am not on call this weekend, and that means I can stay out for as long as I want tonight (even though I have no hopes of sleeping in!). The decent weather reminds me of the milder weather of the place I call home and I can’t seem to get enough of it.. The “just- about- cool” winds have brought a tune to my lips and a song in my heart. I feel a lightness in my step and a calmness in my head. At this moment, life seems decent. Good. Even great maybe 🙂

The relentless heat, has finally relented and given us harried souls some reprieve. And I am thankful for it.

Enjoy and cherish everyday of the coming “winter” folks. Soon only the distant memories of breezy morning and cool nights shall remain, while the mercury becomes friends with Mr Forty Odd and Mrs Fifty Can’t- bear again!

Till next time.

Dr J.

There’s no place like “home”!

The weather in Doha was at it’s ficklest.

Erratically cloudy and dusty.

Swelteringly hot and humid one minute and surprisingly un-hot (can’t call it “cool” yet!) the next.

The day Dr J left Doha, the city seemed to be in a glum mood.

Dark and threatening to pour.

Alas, no such thing transpired.

J left Doha without seeing the first rains of winter.

Without getting her knits and cardigans out of the closet.

Without unwrapping her boots from the “shoe cupboard”.

Without putting the water- heater on in the mornings again.

Without switching off the AC before going to bed.

She landed in Bangalore with storms and lashing rain chasing her.

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A week of rain preceded her arrival.

The smell of damp earth and the sight of wet grass welcomed her.

The air smelled of smoke and incense.

And filter coffee.

And slightly musty.

And very familiar.

It smelled like HOME!

Doha is where Dr J’s current home is situated. But Bangalore will always be “HOME”!

A place of comfort and solace.

Unfamiliar at times due to time spent away, yet oddly intimate and familiar.

So, what does J do on her first two days’ home?

Have authentic masala dosa  (Spiced rice and lentil, fermented crepe with potaotes) and filter coffee.

Do not judge the humble steel cup, the beverage within is divine. Better than some pretentious 7 dollar/ 25 QAR/ 400 INR lattes!
Do not judge the humble steel cup, the beverage within is divine. Better than some pretentious 7 dollar/ 25 QAR/ 400 INR lattes!
The Masala Dosa- needs no introduction. At least to any self- respecting South- Indian. To my friends who have never eaten this... well...
The Masala Dosa- needs no introduction. At least to any self- respecting South- Indian. To my friends who have never eaten this… well…

Visit a salon!

Having visited several “parlours” and “beauty centers” at Doha, and having to pay absurd amount of Rials for substandard and sometimes downright atrocious service- it was a welcome change.

Dr J visited an upscale salon, paid less than 100 QAR (1500 INR) for service that would have cost me at least 500 QAR at a not-so-fancy beauty center at Doha!

And yes… She can walk on the streets again!

On the downside though, she achingly misses the sea…….

Wakrah Beach! I miss thee, my love!
Wakrah Beach! I miss thee, my love!

And Corniche…

 

Sigh!
Sigh! See you soon enough …

And someone else…

 

Till next time…

Dr J.

Here’s wishing everyone ….

It was one of those days.

A day when nothing productive happens, and yet there is not one idle moment.

A day when all plans go awry and one gives up on them long before the day ends.

Every Eid- eve is ridden with chaos and peppered with uncommon unpredictability- no matter how much one wills it to be otherwise!

No harm done though, except the trifle matter of losing a few winks of sleep.

Nothing new!

The meat is in it’s marinade. The onions are chopped (hence the tears are done with) and the dessert’s setting (custard and cream, fruit truffle) away gloriously. The customary biriyani shall be assembled and cooked to finality in the morn.

That is all that matters. For now.

What are you folks up to?

Mr H and Dr J wish you all a joyous, sumptuous and blessed Eid! And for those (Ach, Tsk and Pre- all Dubai Nerds) who wonder what one does in Doha during Eid- apparently there is a lot to be done here….

A guide to spending Eid Al Adha in Qatar – 2014 edition (updated)

Have fun folks and keep Dr J in the loop…

Till next time…

Dr J.

Of musical fountain induced introspection…

Fountain-Fun

Have been meaning to write about the “Qatar Summer Festival” that has been on for a while now (since August 4). Had plans of visiting all the designated places, clicking pictures and sharing it with all my friends back home. It is due to culminate at the end of this month and I am yet to click a picture!

The “festival” sounds more spectacular than it actually is. Musical fountains at Corniche, activities such as ski sloping and rock- climbing at Doha Exhibition Center, outdoor adventures at Al Khor and  raffle draws, shows and activities at several malls- the line up seems exciting. But there is a definite lack of interest among the residents. School has started, vacations are over, summer has peaked…. maybe people are not in the “fun- mode” yet. Maybe, such a festival would have been better off during the winter months.

We have been heading to Corniche almost three or four times a week- and yesterday was the first time we caught a show of the musical fountains. Wonder how that came about, especially considering they run every half hour or so from 6 pm onwards! Anyways, better late than never!

We were there for the last show of the day/ night- the 11 pm one (12 am is the last one during weekends). Honestly, it is not the greatest or most impressive fountain/ musical fountain I have seen. But sometimes it doesn’t have to be. The timing, the company, the waterfront, the backdrop, the Doha skyline, the muggy weather, the sweat-lined faces, the music- all combined made it an eerily special 8 minutes. I stood there, right at the edge, hugging the barricade almost, drenched in sweat and hip- carrying my little one with Mr. H right beside us. All three of us seemed to have our faces slightly upturned- to catch the spraying mist. Silent. Each of us in our own heads, thinking obscure thoughts unbeknown to the other. Zoe seemed to be licking the salty spray as she did so!

As the music ebbed and rose, so did the water- stream …and my spirits. There is something magical about water. It calms you. Put things into perspective. I watched the coloured jets of water shooting into the sky and wondered about the future. It’s been a year since I moved here, and just when it starts to feel homey the hands of fate are jerking me away to another place. As the music slowed, the jets of water troughed and I contemplated living life split between two cities which are thousands of miles apart. Being being away from my “rock”, again. Or separating the little one from the man she loves the most.

The moment seemed so clear, so percipient. I frantically scoured my head and the surrounding universe for answers, lest the moment pass. Lest the clarity and lucidity pass when the fountains stop their dance. As the frenzy in my head gained momentum, the music reached it’s crescendo. The answers I searched for seemed to be in grasp. A fingertip away. As the water soared into the air, I almost had it. Just at that moment, happiness arrived. Not the dull, achy, vague kind but the sensational, bright, blissful kind. The kind that doesn’t last for more than a few moments. It blurred all. The worry, the anxiety, the quest for validation for my decisions…. I let it wash over me. And as the water fell and the music stopped, I was left in it’s warm, tingly aftermath. I stood there, right at the edge, hugging the barricade almost, drenched in sweat and hip- carrying my little one with Mr. H right beside us. Mr H had to tap me on the shoulder to break the reverie.

We returned home well past midnight and quickly retired to bed. The little one was in dream land by then. I decided to stop worrying. If only for a night. Life after all is about these teeny- tiny moments of calm and bliss that is stolen amidst hours of worry, frantic- ness and mundanity. Is is not?

When did you last experience your moment of unbridled joy and contentment?

Till next time….

Dr J.

 

The week that was- Ramadan tapers off. Festivities commence.

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I am a very fickle person, prone to mood swings and crazy behaviour.  Most weeks are a mix of happiness, restlessness, satisfaction and discontentment. The past week was unlike any I have had in a while. The usually muddy, stormy waters in my head are surprisingly clear and still. I know for sure this state will not last. But I intend to savour every bit of it for as long as it lasts.

Continue reading The week that was- Ramadan tapers off. Festivities commence.

DOHA- Visitor’s Guide 1

The Adventures of lil Z…

Lil Z loves new places. Mama loves new places as well. Mama taken lil Z to many, many new places both before and after “the great journey” (when Lil Z left her watery home and came into to her new home where she could see Mama and Papa).

Mama took several plane rides when Z was inside her. The last one was when lil Z was 10 cm big and it took longer than others.  After that, lil Z reached her new home. Or rather Mama reached her new home.

The first place that Papa took Mama to after she reached here was near the water. Lil Z loves water. Papa told Mama the place is called “corniche”. Wonder what that means.

Continue reading DOHA- Visitor’s Guide 1