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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