Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Doha

I live in Doha. I've lived here for over six years and I have never written about it.

Why?

I guess, the simple answer is that I've never felt at 'home' here. Our decision to move to Doha was made purely on economic grounds: to save up and leave once enough had been saved.

Enough? How much is enough? Tolstoy's, 'How much land does a man need' is the reality of expat life caught between the current global economic situation and self-imposed standards.

Friends who know me, know my bi-polar love affair with Doha. I love this place when I can step out, garden, go for long walks or run in the park. BUT, escape is all I can think of when the summer sun starts scorching my spirits.

Lucky for you, I'm writing this post in April of 2016. Doha recorded its wettest March this year. We've had rain almost every weekend. I know. I know. Had I still been living in London, I would've whacked myself for being so happy about the rain. I've changed, you see. Or at least, my perspective. The first week here, in 2009, I would pull the curtains back to reveal a cerulean sky everyday. Everyday, it was the same clean blue canvas and not a threat of a cloud to spoil our BBQ plans.

"Let's go to the beach." I would announce every weekend. The children had not turned, yet. I was still boss. They listened to my ideas and actually enjoyed following them through. They will revolt in about a year. But, we enjoyed many sunny days on the beautiful beaches of Doha in that first year we moved here. The husband and I still do with friends, whenever we can. The children grew up and we grew 'uncool'.

(note: a character in a T.V. drama I was watching used 'cerulean' to describe the colour of the sky and the other one said, "You must be a writer." I decided, then and there, that Doha sky will forever be cerulean from now on -- in all my posts)

Ego trip aside, the sky here never fails to impress me: day or night.

The moon, whether it's high in the sky when it's a slice of silver or hanging low on the horizon, full and swollen, has never been this beautiful in any sky in any place I've called home, Dehradun or London. You have to see it to believe it. Sadly, my camera does not capture the night sky, so I will leave it to your imagination. 

I can, however, share some shots of a rising sun  that I took about 30 km south of Doha, at Regency Camp on the 5th of March 2016.


Long walks and not so long jogs and runs (with Danielle) in Aspire Park make the winter months in Doha a real treat. 
Doha feels like home now. It's still not home, but it's starting to feel like it. Strangely, it's the things we hadn't planned to save up for that have turned this transient address into a home I'm happy to come back to. Pottering in the back yard, yoga, reading, writing, cooking for family, sharing with friends, blogging, going for long walks and (till two months ago) teaching have all conspired to drive me from the over-active, over-worked, over-stressed mother of two to my more gentle-paced self of today. For this, I'm grateful to Doha. Its slow pace has made me mindful of the wealth I truly want to amass. Perhaps, it's not about amassing at all. I had it wrong all these years. I'm beginning to feel that it's all about unburdening, dissipating the unnecessary to find the real me.
"We are slowing down,
but waking up.
We are producing less,
but learning more.
We are doing less,
and experiencing more."
says William Martin in 'The Sage's Tao Te Ching.'  
A handful of harvest from my yard this week: Mulberries (grown in pots). These jewels are tart and juicy. 


I have time in the mornings to stand in my back yard, sip adrak wali chai (ginger masala tea) to witness the tug-o-war that goes on between me and the birds to see who gets to the mulberries first. I eat mine discreetly after washing them, of course. They nibble on them on stalks and leave stains on the floor tiles as evidence-- fearlessly!

If you have time, come over and have tea in my back yard with me:)
http://artismoments.blogspot.qa/2014/05/gardening-in-doha-diagnosis-obsessive.html

17 comments:

  1. Great pictures Arti! I had never heard of Doha and had to Google it. You live in Qatar? That must have been such a shock to your whole family when you moved there?

    "The children had not turned, yet. I was still boss." Lol This cracked me up! We have four kids (25, 20, 18, & 16) the oldest is the only one that ever rebelled, and she more than made up for her siblings lack of rebellion.

    The berries really do look amazing!

    Shelly @ http://hangryfork.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know Shelly, I had to look it up too when my husband was offered a job here:) Luckily the children took to their new school like ducks to water, so we had a fairly easy transition. Sometimes,when I look back, I realize how fortunate we are to have been given this chance to slow down and breathe. London life was exciting but it was super busy, too. I miss my friends, though. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
    2. Arti what does your husband do? The easy transition for your kids sounds like a real blessing.

      My husband is a drilling consultant and he worked the first 10 years of our marriage mostly in Indonesia (rotating between there and Northern California 28 days on 28 days off), a little in the Philippines, and a little working off shore Thailand. In 1998, we almost moved to Jakarta and then all the unrest hit and that was scrapped. He just got back yesterday from consulting 35 days straight in Chile.

      I think it's so cool your kids are getting the adventure of growing up in a foreign country!

      Shelly @ http://hangryfork.com

      Delete
    3. Shelly, my husband works for an airline. I do count my blessings as we get to travel and see the world.
      Your husband's job takes him to fascinating places. I have an insatiable travel lust and I'm always ready to take off:)

      Delete
  2. Very expressive blog and happy to have been in Doha and experienced all by myself, not once but twice. Keep writing like this even without the challenge. The journey is wonderful! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Manu. This challenge has certainly put me back in my writing chair, but household chores are piling up and soon they will revolt:)

      Delete
  3. "We are slowing down .........and experencing more. So true, Arti. Unless people experience major changes that break the routine in their lives and provide them with anchors to retrieve from memory life can become one short timeless sequence of routine inaction. Looking forward for E-?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First of all Sitanshu, welcome to my blog. It's awesome to see you here. And yes, you are right and wise...routine inaction would be such a sad waste of this blessed life, eh?

      Delete
  4. "We are slowing down .........and experencing more. So true, Arti. Unless people experience major changes that break the routine in their lives and provide them with anchors to retrieve from memory life can become one short timeless sequence of routine inaction. Looking forward for E-?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Loving your blogging Challenge Arti! something meaningful to look forward to on FB ebveryday. The mulberries look amazing, have to have that chai with you in your backyard someday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love nothing more than to have you over--and I'm serious. Only among friends can one really show off ones gardening skills:) Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It means a lot.

      Delete
  6. Have been following you quite a while now, love how your pour your heart out in your writting. Every deepest corner is scratched and every detail is elaborated in such a way that one feels being right beside you, be it watching Doha's colorful sky or munching those berries. Looking forward to many more, cheers Pinkz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy you stopped by and left this beautiful and warm comment. Thank you Pinkz:)

      Delete
  7. I'm so glad I found you! I loved reading your post. Amazing quote at the end too. Loved all the photos.
    I've never had mulberries. They look divine!
    One thing though: I have no idea where Doha is! I'll have to go look that up because I'm sure I'll be back!

    Michele at Angels Bark


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michele. I wish there was a button to push for 'taste' and I could offer these juicy treats to you:) Doha is in Qatar- in the GCC. Thank you for stopping by.

      Delete
  8. Loving it to learn the letters of the alphabet again with you, Arti :-) Just went through A,B,C,D at one go. Got tempted and almost booked the tickets (Angkor Wat), felt sad and revisited the sense of loss that tugs at your heart (Brother....I lost my sister in 2003), salivated over and missed Indian food (yummy looking chutney) and looked at goo' ol' Doha with a different perspective.....all in a span of an hour! Thank you for sharing it all. Looking forward to reading the rest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ruchita. I had no idea; I'm so sorry for your loss.
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You know I want to know what you think of E is for ESL.xx

      Delete

I would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts and comments here.