UMM O+N is now at

Umm has moved to Wordpress.
And those of you kind enough to list me on your blog, please update the link:
Let's go...

Friday, December 23, 2005

rationalist, me!

people think i am a rationalist. so do i. and i guess i am. but still unrational fears creep into me time and again. i am a strong believer of the evil eye. i believe a person's envy (not jealousy, mind you) is far more dangerous than her action or words. why do i say her? because women probably will hold back their tongue and actions, and so channel all their envy into the evil eye. so they are a far more formidable opponent.
i believe that people's discontent can rub off on you. and i do seriously believe grouchy friends should either be converted or dropped. you can stick it out and be a friend for as long as it takes. but if the friendship is meant only for need, then chuck it.
and now, one more from the repertoire of the rationalists. i am psyching myself into believing even number years are not so great for me. i am fool. this i know. so often i have willed myself into making things better... so what is it with even numbered years? i guess, i have found far too much idle time in the last few days and have found little to keep me occupied, so i come with this mad calculations.
but a voice inside me whispers, are you sure you are just being stupid? that there is no grain of truth in it?
i am not sure, oh, no, i am not sure.
and rationalism or insanity? not sure about that either.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bad apples keep turning up

This is what I have realised. Bad relationships always come back to haunt you. You can never really put it behind you and forget. You will learn to probably look at it objectively and will realise that it wasnt really as grave as it felt then, at that moment.
I have worked in three organisations for long stretches of time.
I had one bad work-relationship at the first job. However, there was no venom, just a clash of personalities. If I were to meet him today, I can be cordial with him.
But I havent been lucky at the two after that. At my second workplace there was this absolute bitch -- she had this whole load of personal baggage, and was convinced that no one liked her, and she assumed that was because of how great she was, and how people could not digest that.
Well first of all, most people were indifferent to her, and those who didnt like her, had a good reason to -- and it had nothing to do with her talents either!!!
And those who liked her, did as a favour to her family who were rather likeable.
She continues to haunt me.
And then the ex-boss in this place was a snake -- and his parents had wisely named him so too!!
To add to the woes, he neither had the skills that the bitch could boast off, or the pleasantness that most human beings show at some point in their life.
He haunts me too.
How you may ask? They haunt me because they are petty people. Not because they are evil. They are petty and can't digest another's happiness or success. The first guy -- he was ok. He was ambitious. And as long as he was getting his due, he didnt mind others doing well.
But these two were different. No amount of personal success satisfies them; happiness? They kill it for themselves.
They scare me. My worst nightmare is their ire, that I may have to interact with them again in the future, that destiny has inexplicable plans and their role in my life may not be completely finished. They scare me.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

little miss logic

ok, how do i answer her?

Me (31): Stop talking non-stop
Oviya (4): Then why do I have a mouth?
Me: No, I am not buying you any of those toys
Oviya: All mummies buy for their childrens (sic).
Me: No they don't
Oviya:Then why are they selling it?
Oviya: (pointing to a poster of sexy Arab singer Nancy Ajram) You don't want to be like her?
Me: No, I am happy the way I am
Oviya: You want to be fat?
Me: Yes, it is nice to be fat. And you like it when I hug you, because of all that fat.
Oviya: oh ok, it's nice to be fat
Spotting the next big lady, and loud enough for her to hear it --
Oviya: That aunty is also fat and nice is it?
Now you know why kids get hit by their parents!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Back from Beirut

this is my problem. i start off something without assessing if i had enough time for what i have committed to earlier. so overload. and that's the reason the blog has been ignored.
not that it matters really!
but while i was away, i was doing something far more interesting.
at Beirut.
ok -- first impression of Lebanon -- ASSHOLES!!
The immigration guys apparently are not used to too many Indian tourists. Sri Lankan maids yes. But Indian tourists -- no! And they seemed a tad insulted that one of us would actually dare to come to their country for leisure.
So i fight, tell them I was there on the Tourism Ministry's invitation to write about their bombed out country, and if they had a problem, I will go back.
With that first impression I entered the City. Well, since it couldnt have gotten worse, it got better.
met some officials and realised that Bureaucrats were Bureaucrats and they all went to the same Global school for Jerks and Megalos.
Despite them, Lebanon is a beautiful place to visit. And everyone -- I mean everyone -- is in a party mood 24x7.
Went to this Moulin Rouge-ish night club called Musichall. And one of the performers was this vibrant 84 year old woman, singing and swaying well past midnight. Some folks have real hep grandmas.
One note: if you are particular about how your smell, then get ready for a huge laundry bell. People smoke everywhere, all the time. so your clothes always have that lingering smell of second handing smoking. not too pleasant.
What is really freaky about Beirut is the bombed buildings, with bullet-holed walls, that still stand next to newer Hariri-built constructions. Some of these ruins are still occupied.
But one thing I should give these Lebanese, they have grit. They've been running and hiding from bullets and bombs, but nothing keeps them down.
They dont care if they have nothing to eat, and hold to stay in -- they all look ready to take on the Milan ramps.
Appearances to them is all that matters.
Here is an instance -- a Lebanese colleague here in Doha was complaining of severe stomach pain. she said she would go to the doc after salary day. but the next day she landed at work with one of those fancy manicure jobs, with gel nails and all. which cost her about $50.
She laughed an explanation: People dont know i have stomach pain, but they will know i have bad finger nails.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


ok, since ive quite a few people know about this blog, where do i go with my darkest secrets?
another blog...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Parents are Cruel

Children are cruel. But that's a different post.
This is about parents. All the screwed up children of the world, blame your parents. Too much expectations, no expectations, too pushy, too laidback, ALWAYS there, NEVER there. Parents really fuck up their kids.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Heil PMS

Not the monthlies -- but Pre Marital Sex.
Those of you from India/TN will be aware of the Khusboo-premarital sex comment, and ensuing scandal!!
I am rather sure that everyone of those protestors have either had premarital sex or had desperately wanted to.
Now this is my take -- I am all for it. I think it's great. I think even those who are going in for arranged marriage should do it with their spouse-to-be.
Simple reason -- sex is great. And with someone you are committed too, it becomes even greater. But marriage brings with it certain inconveniences -- that's the truth. And once kids get into the picture -- forget it!! No naked frolicking in the middle of the day, experiments, etc etc.
There is something absolutely seductive about sneaky sex... and you can have that only before marriage.
I am not advocating open free sex with every person you meet. No sir. I am far too conservative for that. Just advocating fun with someone you love, without worrying about whether or not he/she will love you 10years from now.
And yes, it pays to be safe. No two ways about that.
And Khushboo, Suhasini, whoever... keep talking ladies. You speak more sense than those hypocritical, moralistic morons who probably have 10 mistresses in anycase. And the protesting women for sure are those married to such men.


"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" -- Voltaire

Friday, November 18, 2005


Just seconds ago I wrote that I loved my job. And I do. Really do.
But I am terribly insecure about it. I am not insecure about my work, but my job.
The year has been unbelievably good, but I worry how long that will last.
Should I believe in the evil eye, on envy, my own lack of luck...
Or should I JUST BELIEVE in myself and get on with it. Thinking is not always such a good thing.

love my job

Missed Scorpions. But I could have met them if I wanted to.
Met Bryan Adams yesterday.
Maradona today.
Maybe Pele morrow and Nadia Comaneci the day after.
I love my job. I love it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

other lives

it is past midnight, child and husband in bed, and I am blog-surfing. an extension of my college days when gossiping about people we didnt know was always more interesting than gossiping about people we did know. probably it is easier not to feel guilty.
guilt... that is a whole other thing i need to think about. but another day, another blog.
the interest we take in a stranger's life, where we complete their stories, name their dogs, break-up their relationships.
the similarities we find in a nameless person and the disdain for some faceless blogger.
peeping toms, hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.
cowards, who envy other people's boldness/frankness.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Get a Life

You know how some people live their jobs. They are trying to get ahead, are so ambitious and are willing to do anything it takes. Fair enought. The problem is when they can't turn off their ambitious self, and be human at least with family and friends. You have to live a lie at work. You dont have to live a lie 24x7. take a break, be a friend, wife/husband or whatever. dont be a jerk and think its ok to be that way, cos it helps you professionally.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

the gate crasher

money and wealth, they don't believe in invitations. They are gate crashers.
You beseech them with invites and they are likely to turn their back on you. Money and Wealth they are real snooty folks. You ignore them and they will party crash, and insist on following you around.
Money and Wealth, don't like to be forced into anything. The more you chase them, the faster they will run, away from you.
Walk away from them, and they may decided to walk with you and keep pace with you.
Money and Wealth -- funny folks. So popular, so loved and yet so scared.

Monday, November 07, 2005


why are we mean to people we like and nice to people we don't like?
messed up, messed up, messed up!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


A Heritage village... deserted, random sweet stalls, horse rides, bored looking pearldivers and fishermen glaring at visitors.
A huge shopping tent, trash from across the world, a real fun shopping experience... and you can also feel nice about your good deed for the day. paying the salaries of at least a couple of chinese factory workers!
(Aside: Friend of mine returned from the Iskon temple in Bangalore with a Krishna statuette made in China!!)
and then the big top... a circus tent. manned by some nincompoops who couldnt help squash a fly, barring the sweet smile reserved for white skinned single women. Hail QTA's social service.
But an enjoyable Eid. The City gets more festive for Bakrid -- Eid Al Adha.
Two months to go for that!
So basically if you are in Qatar, you spend one month having fun during Ramadan. Then a week for the Eid. Spend two months in expectation for the next one. And one more week of that. So basically you need to work only for 8.5 months. Of which you dont work fridays and saturdays. sundays is a global weekend, so you kind of are still in the spirit. three days gone from the week...
And in most Govt and certain pvt organisations, women get 5 days off a month to deal with their personals. This is what I've heard. and most conveniently combine it with their weekends.
5 days a month! worth the embarassment to go and tell HR "Sir, I am bleeding, so 5 days off!"
Guess you've got the idea already about what it is to work in Qatar... you don't slog!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

money, money

Any one who says they are in the Gulf for the adventure are lying. simple. Big fat liar!
But you may in the course of your greed learn to love the place.
So I should not feel bad about going in for AdSense. Still I THINK. should I commercialise what is meant to be a pure bitching mission. should one's vitriolic thoughts be commercialised. Should one's grouse around the whole world be a tool to make money?
The answer is a clear yes. So AdSense it shall be... very soon.

taking it light or kick them in their balls

here is some manly banter in the marketing department... she is still a girlfriend (a new client), so give her a lot of attention, once she becomes a wife (like the regular clients), we can start taking her for granted!
Now which marketing Guru wrote about this in his bestseller, I wonder?
Must be that guy who wrote the book "How to be a chauvanist jerk and spread the joy."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Intolerable intolerance

It was diwali. the neighbours got together, picked up some harmless party poppers and sparklers, took the landlord's permission and had some diluted diwali fun.
some palestinian neigbours complained that there was too much noise. intolerant bastards, party poppers are noisy? what about the bombs that keep going off in their homeland. or probably they just meant it wasnt noisy enough, or they were feeling nostalgic with all the bombs!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

bitching fun

it is so much fun to bitch. only wish didnt have this overwhelming desire to be liked... I would then have been a pro at it

Monday, October 31, 2005


besant nagar beach. 1996 through 1998. Was being courted, was dating. but that wasn't the only reason we went there. tamil selvi. the little flower girl. he would buy 10bucks worth of stringed jasmines, and insist that she wear it. The little flower girl got flowers as a weekly gift. even when we were broke, he would set aside 10 for her.
she would sit smiling, too shy to speak to him, but rather gregarious with me. on his visits alone, when I wasn't around, she would sit next to him. no flowers were gifted then. but she would still sit next to him and watch him read. and then on my next trip would report to me about him.
tamil selvi, our first hint of a child. nearly 2 years passed and we went back on a holiday, and went searching for her. we asked about her. 'no, she no longer sells flowers -- ippo periya ponnu -- she has come of age.'
that was nearly 5 years ago. where is she now?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

peer pressure

i hate to cook cos i have to... but diwali and peer pressure so i mess around in the kitchen. achieved nothing but a whole load of waste. will head to the nearest sweet shop.
let the matrons cook and sweat!

Saturday, October 29, 2005


the mind is clay. can really be messed around with. it is not just you who can mess your own mind up. anyone can do it. step on it and smash it, finger it, toy with it, mould it to their desire. the mind, is a messy thing.
depressed one mt, on a high the next. the mind is crazy.
u dont need booze or drugs to get screwed up. just think hard about anything and u will hit the target.
the mind...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

In Need In Deed!!

Ever realised that the friends you stand up or stand in for, rarely reciprocate? And those you least expect atually help?
Living away from home has taught me a lot. Especially an expatriate dominated community like here.
I have learnt that the more you help, and the more you accommodate, the more you are made use of, taken for granted. And the same people will go out of their way not to help you.
While I have realised this, I still have not learnt to be unaffected. I havent learned to to say no. I end up being rude and sweating the small stuff, but ignore the bigger problem.
It depresses me that I should bring up my daughter in this atmosphere.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

haram, haram, haram

Everything is Islamic. Halal. From the food we eat to the money we invest. Halal chicken, halal chick peas. Banks are vying with each other to give shariah compliant products. Halal investments, halal loans!!!
And then the rather religious landlords and his minions go about hiking rents relentlessly. Rat holes for QR5000 a month? Give me a break!!! Haram, Haram Haram!
Sheikh Yousuf Qaradawi, SPEAK!!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Real Qatar

This is the real Qatar. Fire and smoke from the chimneys of a Petrochemical industry that works without a break. A stretch of beach, the dark seas, and a hint of dunes. Real Qatar.
And the you get a glimpse of the wannabe Qatar. All terrain vehicles zipping into the dark, by the shore and up the dunes.
What we see here in Doha is the pretentious Qatar. Glass buildings, speeding vehicles, underworked white skins, overworked brown skins... the rest will remain unsaid, and hopefully understood. The Real Qatar.

The is the real Qataris whom I have met... Aware and open of their humble beginnings, proud of their achievements and ambitious for their future.
The wannabes...Aware of the beginnings, but prefer to hide it, proud of their achievements and ambitious for the future.
And the pretentious lot... Unaware of the beginnings, complacent about the achievements and cocky about the future.

Qatar... Quite Qatar

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Everything is a work in progress

Really, everything is. In my case. There are so many things I have begun and not completed. Earlier blogging included. I don't believe I give up, it's just that everything I begin will always be works in progress.
I started French, am fluent in reading and writing, but can't speak it. Work in progress.
I started Japanese, and can neither read nor write... Work in progress.
I picked up Arabic. My one claim to fame here in Qatar. What I add in a much softer voice is that I can read without understanding, and can't even attempt to speak it... Work in progress.
I begin diets and work-outs, and you can never tell looking at me... because that again is Work in progress.
I struggle everyday to be a better mother, more patient, more relaxed... Work in progress.
I resolve everyday to be a better wife... and that is my husband's Work in progress.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Faithful Hugs

I don’t believe in a God, as is propagated by religions. I don’t believe in a God who is prayed to, and made demands of. I don’t believe in a God that demands routines, strictures and punishes. Naturally, I don’t believe in God-men or women.
I believe in an all encompassing power that has an explanation for every nano-second of every human being’s life. A power that is responsible for all things beautiful. A power that defends itself against our onslaught, and hence is responsible for all things ugly too.
It demands no prayer, only respect. It demands no organised religion. Religion is a brilliant concept, conceived to keep people together, and live in peace. That concept has been molested by those who least believe in it.
But I almost understand why people have a compelling need to believe. To belong to a religion. To worship. They are too busy trying to find an elusive peace of mind, and would rather place the responsibility on an entity they can’t quantify. An entity who can be the fall guy.
It doesn’t work for me.
And God-men/women. That is far more incomprehensible. To place so much trust in another human being who is just like you. Eats, sleeps and shits the way you do. Is as inhibited about sex (talk, action… whatever) as most of us are! And yet there are millions of us who seek them out as our saviours. What is it about them that makes us lose logic.
There is one God-person I almost understand. The person they call Amma. Supposedly illiterate, yet a majority of her followers are the highly-educated. I understand only one of her rhetorics. Her hugs.
Because in any relationship, from the time we are born to the very end, that is what we seek the most. Hugs. Even those of us who say we don’t like to be hugged, are probably only scared by the power it wields.
Hugs – As Tender as a mother’s love, As Secure as a father’s conviction, As Affectionate as a sibling’s jibes, As Sexy as a husband’s passion, As complete as a child’s trust.
It is probably hugs that people seek when they pray.

Veil against men

She wears a veil when in town. Though the whole world has seen her without one.
So who is it she doesnt trust? Her own countrymen? Or is it only to them she seems irresistable.
Or is it plain old hypocricy in black?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Crazy stuff: Seen and Heard

A cop chatting on his mobile (not even hands free, though it makes no bloody difference) while driving. Who books him and impounds his vehicle??

A HMC doctor decides to travel out of the country for a minor surgery. The inside dope frightens him, huh?

A man I interact with on work, fasts during Ramadan. He saves his five pegs a day for after Iftar.

My office accountant refuses to issue petty cash for milk powder and tea bags: Ramadan, so fast! But only 30 percent of the staff is fasting!!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Unhealthy Experience

I visited someone I know at a local clinic. She had severe kidney infection, almost went into a coma, and was now recovering.
Why did she choose a private clinic, instead of Hamad Hospital , I asked.
That let loose a torrent -- apparently her severe state was thanks to Hamad's lackadaisical attitude. When she went to them, when the infection hadn't yet spread, they dismissed it off as flu, giving her some painkillers.
And why hasn't she filed a complaint? Because there is no system at Hamad to receive complaints.
What is the use of all this infrastructure investment, when basic health service is a nightmare, and we need to seek treatment elsewhere?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cynicism Expatrius syndrome affects most Qatar residents

Cynicism Expatrius. A sydrome most prevalent amongst expatriates in the region. Particularly amongst expatriates of the Middle to High Income Groups. They are cyncial about everything. From the high temperatures to low salaries, from the abhaya wearing women to the decadent new imports, from wilted vegetables to sour milk. Cynical about real and assumed issues... so Cynical, we can no longer differentiate between what is real and what is assumed.

So is Cynicism a sign of disgruntlement? No, in most cases it's an excuse to be unproductive, it's an excuse to not do our best!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Why Blog

Why am I blogging? I tried briefly once before. And I stopped. I write for a living. I also write to collect my thoughts. A personal diary. I have been doing the first for 10 and the second for 15 years. And then to blog: to sieve my personal thoughts that will go to the grave with me, from those that I can share with the world with little or no embarassment... A tough task. Kudos to those who do it with ease, and those who don't care for the distinction.

So why did I start blogging now? Because I just had to. I realised that there were so many thoughts going through my mind, which I wish to share, but can't during the course of my work.

Today I realised, what a wealth of experience i was missing out on, since I stopped using taxis regularly. Today I also realised how lucky I am for the same reason.

I was waiting outside Sheraton at about 11.45am. I waited for a good 30 minutes, and finally two Filipinas offered to drop me at City Center in their cab. Thank you ladies.

But it was a typical Doha Day -- so no taxis there again. And a long Q too.

Once again a Filipina to the rescue. She was getting off a cab, and put my bags into the cab before getting off, defying a Q jumper. I thought I would pass it forward, the good deeds, and offered the jumper a ride midway, where he can hail another cab.

And then the nightmare begins. The second passenger begins abusing the cabbie for refusing to take him to Old Airport area. The argument turned violent, and the obviously hungry and rather frustrated passenger threw one at the driver, the taxi swerved, and the cabbie lost his temper, and drove us both to the police station, insisting that I be part of this whole fiasco, as I initiated it. He not so politely told me that I should have let sleeping dogs lie, and nasty assholes wait!!

The 'chivalrous' cops asked the cabbie to take me hope and asked the asshole to take a hike.

And I learnt a few things about helping people... next time only Filipinas