Posted in world cup FIFA 2022 doha

(MCC x LORDS)² = World Cup FIFA 2022 Doha Qatar

Every cricket fan’s dream is to watch world cup T20 at Lords in London, England or MCC in Melbourne, Australia. Even if we are members of the cricket club in Chepauk and having attended a world cup match eons back in the MCC stadium Chennai, I don’t really get to see matches live any more when played. Plus there is genuinely not that killing interest. That kind of fan interest even for IPL matches has faded for me. Would want to go to the Lords or MCC but chances are remote I know. So imagine setting my foot into world class football stadiums here in Qatar for FIFA matches. I haven’t attended the Tennis grand slams in Doha. I did not attend the Arab league football. I haven’t watched the F1. I have to admit I never had the drive. However, having the World cup FIFA foot ball 2022 here is a different story. I used to feign interest in football because my son is a diehard Arsenal fan. So sometimes I would force myself to watch the world cup matches. I did catch up with world cup last time as well. Cricket I watch only if India is playing. Tuned into world cup T20 final this month that England won. But watching world cup football live in the ground is another level. Was one among the 41000 strong crowd watching the Japan vs Costa rica match at Ahmed Bin Ali stadium near Mall of Qatar. Reached the venue far early anticipating heavy crowds. But things were so beautifully streamlined that I never felt uncomfortable. Airy breezy setting. Pleasant chill. The Japanese fans were drawing something like a Rangoli in front of the stadium and for my part I signed it saying it ‘with love from India.’ I told the Japanese guy who handed me the red marker that India loves Japan! Small happiness! His face lit up like a thousand watts bulb! Both sides’ flags were distributed and I got Japan. I am not really a football person at all so I was wondering whether I would get the game. But there it was, clear before me and I could enjoy every minute of the sport. Japan played an excellent game and dominated the field completely but failed to convert some 10-20 opportunities to goals. Costa rica played bit of defensive game yet managed to carry the ball to the goal post that was closest to me. The moment watching the goal kicked keeps replaying in my mind now. That was godsend! And how the crowds erupted springing to their feet with loud chants! Electrifying seconds! Very neat and nice and easiest goal. It reminded me of how life is really. The hardworking talented Japan lost the match but in spirit, by merit to me they were the winners. Its more about how the game is played. How good you are in the sport. How professional and thoroughly well versed you are. The goal execution did not materialize but that does not mean the side is loser. Costa rica played a not so offensive side but lady luck was on their side. Japan is a very industrious side, that was straight away apparent. I don’t mean to underwrite Costa rica but even the amateur me may have seen better sides. Its okay. All in the game as they say. When India is not playing any sport, we can truly enjoy a game as I discovered watching Pakistan take on England in the final of the recently concluded world cup T20 cricket at MCC. England was a consistent team throughout the championship. I would have hated it had India reached the final because, every single match in the runup was won by India by one run or slender margin when the game could have gone either way. Nobody becomes world champ by fluke. You have to have the spark in you and your record must speak for you. A championship must be well deserved and honestly earnt. I do hope Japan will do better in next round. Disappointment was writ large on the faces of Japanese fans. It was exhilarating experience taking the metro rail to the stadium with a mix of international fans who had done body painting, who wrapped their bodies with their national flags and who were tattooed and with some of them carrying drums, trumpets and guitars slid across their shoulders. There has not been a train ride without someone breaking out into foot tapping music. Americans especially. Nobody is as boisterous and loud as them. Humanity is one. This is what world cup underscores. Everybody is happy. There is so much of goodness in this world that we must focus on, leaving the dirt behind. Humanity wins. It doesn’t matter to us who wins. Both the winner and the loser are family. That’s the spirit of world cup.

Posted in world cup FIFA 2022 doha

sheikh in shorts!

Fan zones are the only areas where liquor flows free in Qatar for the world cup FIFA 2022. To me it all resembles the temple festivals of India. I am so used to these lightings and music still in Qatar this is the first time I am reveling in the carnival air. Doha is not exactly pedestrian friendly as everyone drives. Only the beaches and malls can find anyone on foot. So it was a rare sight seeing mixed nationalities walking down the Corniche and downtown Lussail. Back in the metro a European was giving me a strange look. I finally figured out that he was curious about my bindi, the dot. I wasn’t exactly dressed for the fan zone. We originally wanted to go elsewhere. Otherwise I would have avoided dressing up typically Indian/Hindu. Not that anyone noticed. Everyone was soaking up the FIFA mood. I struck up a conversation with an American from California. The Americans are the loudest and most boisterous with painted faces and carrying guitars etc., everywhere with them. Light music everywhere pulling a circle on onlookers. Noticed many national flags and no more sure what goes with who. Quite a few Europeans were wearing the Arab headgear over shorts! There were even a couple of Japanese girls wearing the arabi men head gear that is the red and white checkered cloth with a circular black band to hold it in place. The festivities will have a profound effect on local nationals I am sure as they set to discover the joy of celebrations with all the fanfare like we do in other parts of the world, especially my India! Qatar is as such cosmopolitan. I wear daring clothes more freely here than in India where even a 15 year old boy to 75 year old man will not resist sizing you up if you expose even a square inch of your skin. Qatar is far liberal than it is projected world wide. Anyway, we are enjoying this beautiful season which is starting to be pleasantly cold. I must make sure to pull on a pair of boots and a full sleeve shirt but I guess the shrugs can wait as of now. It will be December end when I will have to take out my sweaters even at home as minimum night temperature can hit 3 c or 4 c. So many unfavourable reports get planted in the media as I see. Qatar is benevolent and is doing a great job as I can see. So muted, laid back and not at all flashy. I really love this low key and grounded celebratory style. A statement of sheer elegance. Understatement always is powerful. How sweetly these guys have pulled the impossible feat but how modest yet. Still a long way to go, but my adoration for Qatar will be infinite after I see the way they go about this world cup. I am proud to be resident of this small but great nation that is home away from home for hundreds of thousands of expatriates from all corners of the globe.

I have to mention a word about how compartmentalized the city of Doha is. There is absolutely no inconvenience to common man. The civilian life is left undisturbed. The residents can go on with their work leading normal lives. Totally hassle free. Two stadiums are closer to my residence. One is 974 which is the container one that can be dismantled at a later date. Qatar wants to donate this stadium for assembling in an African country. The second one is at Al Tumama. Otherwise the rest are in the outskirts. Yet the maximum distance between any two stadiums is not over 30 km reportedly. Which means, Qatar has the highest density of football stadiums for the world cup. Generally, the nations that host the world cup FIFA have the venues fixed at different cities all around their country. Fans would have to spend heavily on transport and travel between cities. Doha having it all at one place eliminated the tiring and expensive exercise for the football fans. Football fans are notoriously unruly and they need management. Tickets for the FIFA matches are entirely sold out and the crowds are descending down the Doha airport in droves. Excellent streamlining and travel and hotel arrangements see to that the crowds are handled efficiently. The spread of the metro rail network ensures that the areas remain decongested and linear without the crowds spilling into the other segments of the city, leaving Doha peacefully to the residents. Having a cluster of foot ball stadiums for world cup matches in a span of one month within 30 km radius is no mean feat. It means all the resources of this tiny nation get stretched to maximum. Qatar has earlier hosted Asiad in the year 2006. Doha is now poised to hosting many more international sports championships from near future. Qatar has Qatar open tennis, F1 racing among other prestigious world events already in the calendar.

Actions matter over words. Its easiest to create an impression with words. But living up to our words is what matters. Qatar wastes no words with world media. The winning lies in achieving in real life.

Posted in world cup FIFA 2022 doha

FIFA WORLDCUP 2022 DOHA

World cup FIFA 2022, Doha. Qatar. A small picture gallery of some ‘sumaar’ photos!

I don’t have a great cam. I shot these pix only with my Android phone. My other one Note 8 also is not upto mark. So whatever I could manage to click I have. Sharing some FIFA memories. Videos cannot be loaded here so I leave them out. Shall try to update.

Posted in Food For Soul

Inside the mind of a narcissist.

When the narcissist is calling himself ‘Ghajni’ you have to have alarm bells ringing. Who is Ghajni exactly. He was someone who invaded India, ransacked our ancient temple, razed it to the ground and pilfered our riches. So when someone calls himself Ghajni it means he has been studying you for a while, contemplating moves, educating himself on your connections, weaknesses, lifestyle, family, finance etc., with hacking tech so that he can finally swoop down on you knowing that his prey is within his grasp. The same narcissist may have attempted calling himself Sabyasachchi to some strong woman indicating that he was in the habit of identifying his victims and paying them detailed and special attention bombarding them with complements. One hint at the designer opened her eyes to the fact that he had a queue of conquests that put her on alert mode. So it is imperative to listen to the vocabulary of the narcissist.

If the narcissist is a celebrity, you can trust the matter to be even a family affair. Over 90% you can be sure that at least half of what you share is no news to the spouse. The missus is aware of what is afoot. The families are aware how this kind of thing works. In the art field, family cooperation to secure sponsors is basic. When the narcissist pulls the brake on your relationship, it means that the family has stamped down on the control saying enough is enough. It means, enough has been done for you to secure you steadfast that you won’t slip away and it is time to concentrate on next target. This bit of information I gleaned from a friend who is an avid follower of the narcissist’s art. Except for some very private or personal exchanges in the relationship, the narcissist could be already sharing your info with his wife and may be with you with her permission. This is pretty common in the life of stars that the public miss. Filmy lifestyle exactly works in this fashion as we are aware of. So right away this is for your understanding: your relationship is not privy or sacred. Every word passes on to the wife and sometimes even the social media handles especially whatsapp/signal messages may be texted by the better half of the artist. The wives allow some space to the performing artist because they would like to believe that this diversion is essential for their creativity. A very fine act of manipulation put to you to win your sponsorship. If you notice, normally the narcissists may have beautiful, gifted and blessed family life unlike yours and they may have no reason to stray. Relationships are a lie because there is no intent in the first place. They are securely and emotionally invested in their own families. This is ‘sampradhaaya’ for them. That is the exact name this practice goes by. Sponsors form the backbone for artists and the family involvement is key to achieving their financial goals.

So how to disengage from the narcissist systematically:

First of all admit to yourself that you have be misjudged issues and read people wrong. Coming out of denial is one major step when it comes to healing. Its okay for your closest circle who have been aware of the developments to be appraised that you have been shamed. You accept and move on. That admittance to self is key to resolve conflicts at mind level. We all make mistakes and no mistake is not retractable. All you have to is question the motive of the narcissist. Any financial interest already betrays the reason for the relationship that straigth away suggests manipulation.

Secondly engage yourself productively and remove yourself from petty cheap thrills and focus on actual happiness. Write more and get into social activities. For instance, even a visit to an orphanage can make you change your perspectives. Prioritize yourself. Make your happiness top on the list and the narcissist should figure nowhere in the list.

Thirdly it may come as a surprise to you that the narcissists do not even leave the reluctant ones free. Once marked, they will pursue their targets to the end of this earth. When in a relationship you suffer, there may be those who suffer without getting entangled. The constant stalking by the narcissist can also at times send you to depression. This is the way the narcissist would like to ensure that the marked person is not getting attached somewhere else. This can throw spotlight on the way a typical nar mind works.

Fourth, you will still be pursued long after leaving the relationship but keep going. Learn to take it in your stride but pay no attention. Don’t be fooled that you are exclusive or someone special. As of this moment, the narcissist may be doing this to multiple women. Whoever takes the bait falls prey.

Fifth, if you truly have an emotional need it is not wrong to go for a safe, steady, consistent, decent and lowkey soul mate but to have someone like that you must be prepared to bide your time. At least now you learn that there is no such thing called ‘love at first sight.’ Plant a seed and watch it grow slowly taking its own time. Do not work at it. When it is ripe, you will know in your heart without a declaration. Nobody in love professes love. Your situation must create the love and YOU MUST NOT BE FOUND. This is what is true love.

One dead giveaway about a narcissist is that, he would never dump you or upset you for no reason. The true love of our life will never emotionally abuse us. Someone capable of hurting us women that way can never hold love or warmth ever.

Sixth, do not feed the narcissist’s ego. Do not sponsor. Do not have common links. Do not respond/react. This shall solve 50%. the problem right away. If the victim card is played by the narcissist, IGNORE. Save your sanity and do not succumb to emotional blackmail. Lovebombing is crude and easiest way to down a weak person. Decent men never resort to this low level. If you are following a celebrity narc, switch over another artist of similar calibre to maintain your art interest. That way you sustain and nurture your art interest and stand to lose nothing.

Finally become your old former self, heal and live a happy life in front of the narcissist not giving him the satisfaction of making you sad. If you find new love, flaunt it. Even if you don’t, be happy and wear your happiness in your sleeve for the whole world to see. Regain all that you lost because of the narcissist: your self esteem, your friends, your enthusiasm, your cheer, your spirit, your ENERGY, your peace, your happiness. Make an attempt to stay real positive and put it in your daily practice.

There are women who are undergoing stress silently because of nonstop pursuit by narcissists. They are fighting a bold, brave battle for no fault of theirs. But may we become stronger with each passing day. I read somewhere that, it is not that we women lack the strength, it is just that we lack the will. NARCISSIM IS TOXICITY. Have no two thoughts on that.

But whatever it takes, do it today because our family deserves our best version. Our former natural normal self must return. We must not stay a damaged piece, carelessly hacked to bleed to death by a sadist manipulator. We owe it to ourselves and to our family our original buoyant self.

YOUR HEALING IS IN YOUR HANDS. But if you are a willing victim, be ready to sacrifice your entire energy reserves for the sake of the narcissist and lose your mind slowly. You will never be happy again in your life and that is it.

Posted in Food For Soul

Energy Vampires.

Energy vampires are narcissists who feast on your energies and decamp with all that you have to offer, leaving you high and dry. The sooner you identify the patterns and get rid of them, the better for you. Otherwise you will be footing a heavy price that can leave you shattered and take months to heal. Our energies must be reserved for our families first and our dearest friends. Love and affection don’t normally start from day three with you first brush of online sex and blossom into full relationship in three months. Anyone lovebombing you is stealing your energy. Narcissists typically identify and zero in on high energy women. Your enthusiasm is something they can draw, benefit and grow from. However narcs also get bored easily once the initial chemistry wears off. Their interests will be always short lived. You will tire them soon and they will already be looking for other preys to continually feed and fire their own ego. They will have justification for every misdeed of theirs. The self serving creative or artistic men may say that this is what keeps them going. But what about the destruction they leave in their wake. Why should gullible women be bearing their brunt when they go on and enrich their own self centered lives. You can see that the pattern will repeat itself every now and then so that the narcs hold on to you by the threads never allowing you to leave. You are a source of great energy for them and if you can supply them with free online sex and finance, it is all the more better, a blessing for them. The narcissists are not fools to let go of the goose that lays a golden egg everyday at their whim and command. If you are vulnerable and weak, you play right into the hands of the narcissists. It is upto the women to break the cycle and liberate themselves from these brandishing chains. The narcissists can leave you devastated, breaking you and making you believe that you are loved. They can emotionally abuse you. They lie, play double games and never have remorse for dumping you like soiled toilet tissue when they have no temporary use for you. They know that you are theirs whenever they may want to claim you back because they hold you by hook. In their eyes you are still trash not worthy of respect and you are too psychologically dependent. To anyone reading this I suggest, be bold and strong enough to say a big NO and walk off these killing traps. Just think of all that you have lost over months: your positive vibes, your energy, your happiness, your self confidence, your self respect, your friends, your feel good and upbeat mood. Nothing is worth our natural carefree and happy state of existence – that we took for granted before the narcissist turned our world upside down. Some damaged women can not easily return to their precious previous self. It will take them months or years to heal completely. Even so you will know that, something about you has permanently changed. You become less trusting. You become a little less happy and you brood a lot. YOU ARE NO MORE SOMEONE YOU USED TO BE THANKS TO THE NARCISSIST. Some women even get into depression. If you already booze, you are done in. This is why boundaries are important. Narcissists target women with no boundaries because it is easiest for them to steal energy from unlocked hearts.

SAY NO TO NARCISSISTS. THEY ARE TOXIC. THEY ARE ENERGY VAMPIRES. THEY DRAIN YOU AND ALTER YOUR PERSONALITY FOREVER THAT YOU CAN NO LONGER RETURN TO YOUR PREVIOUS HAPPY GO LUCKY SELF. REMEMBER YOU NEVER FELL IN LOVE WITH THE NARCISSIST BUT THE ILLUSION OF WHAT YOU WANTED THE NARCISSIST TO BE.

In today’s online world, you need to be a lot more wiser. I thank my stars for the guiding light I got keeping me away from trouble. I haven’t lost my sanity and neither am I for sharing my precious energies with unworthy kind. MY ENERGIES ARE FOR MY FAMILY AND FOR CONSISTENT, LOYAL, HONEST , DECENT AND WORTHY FRIENDS I HAVE EARNED OVER YEARS not days/weeks/months. Having said that, I still believe in Soul Mates but beware, it takes eons to form that kind of deep meaningful bonds. If you find one that grows on you quiet without having to dance and sing around trees filmy style, then you are lucky. We are all entitled to that kind of meaningful company, I don’t deny. It can do us a lot of good and improve the state of our mental health. And may be sometimes such a soul mate already exists in your life but you haven’t figured it out yet. Don’t trust the FLASHY avalanches that can excite you but carry you to deep depression. Women in late 40s and early 50s also have to factor in the menopause mood swings. This could be a reason for women to fall easy prey to narcissists. Truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

Posted in Drops Of Life

Gold Standard.

My simple dad worked for the central government undertaking that imported gold and silver bars via Madras harbour. He was in charge of the delivery and accounting of precious metals. While it was understood that most before him misused their position, my father had the cleanest hands. Never touched a single coin or bar that was government property. In fact his colleagues would lament how he was blocking others from enjoying life. Remember this was not the computer era. Statements were typed out and erasex was used for typos. Gold bars were easy to be substituted with copper or other metal bars. Committing a fraud was easy and would have gone undetected. And over it all if you refused to ‘cooperate’ there were vested interests who even threatened of implicating the honest staff in false cases or eliminating them from the scene once for all. Only my father’s soft nature saved him from life threatening situations. Even the worst masterminds paused looking at this gentleman who led a puritanical life not wanting to harm him. My father who never remarried after my mother, my father who owned not more than two or three sets of clothes at a time, my father who lived as a vegetarian, a teetotaler, my father who never raised his voice or argued or picked up a spat with anyone all his life – he was one of those from last gen who we would never get to see again. Was he a fool, I wonder because, all around now I see such a corruption everywhere. Did he not figure out how to live happy. How to live a luxurious life. How to have good time. What stopped him in his 40s from marrying again. What stopped him from smoking or boozing or even going to a picture. Why did he always go only to the temple and the market. Why he never left home once after evening 6 or 7. Why did he never take a day off for a vacation. Why did he not own a car or phone that he could have afforded. Why did he sleep on a mat on the floor when he could have had on a comfortable bed. Why did he even not eat in good restaurants. My father who took the same bus route 3A from Mylapore for years to go to work at the same place indeed did not know how to live life. Which is why his life was brutally cut short who knows. I wish I knew my father better, I had spoken more to him, I had given him the confidence and I had told him that I WAS THERE for him always. Sometimes we don’t have parents telling us how to live. They show us by their example as my parents did. My parents had a very short life on this planet. It is in their absence that they raised us mostly. I owe being what I am to my poor parents who were so straight and clean and simple and honest and godfearing. My belief system is like that of my parents. My values are like that of my parents. It is enough I know if I am half good as them. That’s what matters to me really. Long after they are gone, they are remembered for the good people they were. I am someone who benefited from the m m t c scholarships during my school days. My school fees ranged from as little as thirty three rupees in my class 6 to one hundred and fifty rupees in standard 12 in the year 1986. My father’s office gave a cheque in my name for six hundred rupees every year until 1984 which was my high school year when I gave my standard 10 exams. For my higher secondary I received nine hundred rupees. Education was subsidized and/or scholarships given to children of working staff by my father’s profit making organization. Those cheques went into bank account in my name. This was valuable money in those days. My sister too received hers. This central govt undertaking was a good place to work. Hours after my mother passed away, they sent a cheque for her last rites. Health cover. Good yearly bonuses, great canteen (been there many times), airy workplace and generally a healthy place to work in. I have blogged a lot on my mom but I do owe a lot to my father too. He took a housing loan from his office to build our home that is on lease today. How many lives can employers touch. Finally with my father, i still don’t have a closure and it hurts. I was n’t even aware that such a word called ‘depression’ existed in my teens. I hope I can be forgiven for my ignorance. Otherwise my father would have lingered for a lot more years who knows.

Posted in world cup FIFA 2022 doha

Live Love Doha.

Blogging from Doha where right this moment a football match is on for the World Cup FIFA 2022. And what a quiet as I sit here when November brings in the first chills of the season. The West Bay with its tall skyscrapers in the Corniche is closed for traffic but is accessible via metro rail. This end of the city is where the real action is, even if the stadiums are spread across Qatar. Qatar is but a tiny nation, larger than Doha only by sizes. You can summarize, the whole of the country as Doha Plus. The only airport is the Doha International. Airports (the old one is opened up temporarily to handle the crowd) reportedly did see the crowds. Crowds in millions are arriving as of this minute and the hotels are full. The neighbouring countries like the UAE are chipping in with accommodation, with some forty plus flights operating between Dubai-Abu Dhabi and Doha every single day to bring in the football fans who may fly back to other GCC nations after the match. It is one hour flight. Cruise ships and the desert tents make up for exotic stays for the fans who are descending here from all across the globe. As a resident of Qatar for fifteen years now I know we have some of the finest infrastructure here. While the European nations normally would pledge some $5 billion in the world championships, Qatar has pumped in over $200 billion and has left no stone unturned to make the FIFA world cup the grandest success.

I am from India and as an expat living in Qatar I have enjoyed the benefits this government disburses to all the residents even if we are not citizens. I received the booster dose for Covid in the government clinic in Doha when the year started and I am eligible for complete free medical treatment as resident of Qatar. I would not have had the golden chance of viewing the original Picassos exhibited for avid art enthusiasts for an exorbitant price by the government who also let me savour MF Hussain in some of the finest galleries without having to shell out a penny. The latter’s works contained those of the Hindu gods that would have been a big ‘no no’ in India. I have access to finest library and museums and restaurants and malls here and the standard of living in Qatar is par excellence. World media paints the entire Arabian gulf in very bad light which is deplorable. If it is that bad, some hundred nationalities would not be working and living in the GCC nations including in Qatar, from America, Australia and Europe among other world nations.

We observe unruly mobs in football matches normally but the way the sport is enjoyed here in Doha is really beautiful. Even in the countdown to the world cup, I noticed no holdup anywhere, no hassles, no fusses, no glitzy glamorous show-offs. Life went on as usual. I did spot some foreign nationals in the malls and in supermarkets who were grocery shopping. Then there were those walking besides me in the park in the evenings. I always revel in the quiet of Doha; it has grown on me and I soak in its laidback tranquility. It gives me the elusive peace that I cannot even find in my mother country India. Now is no different. It doesn’t look like a global sporting event is afoot just right across the city. We are having our regular day. The 974 stadium is close to my residence. A couple of hours before yesterday’s match, traffic was partially diverted but the plans were very well laid. Qatar is new to this crowd handling unlike mammoth nations like India, the States or even Italy or Saudi. The Catholic and Islamic religious centers draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that the host nations are adept at handling with practice and ample geographic territory. Picture Qatar doing it with local residents (most of who are expats like us) who have taken up the volunteer roles to serve as security personnel, ticketing staff, grounds person, media staff, etc. FIFA world cup 2022 is very well organized event with a lot of thoughtfulness gone into making it a hassle-free and a memorable gala. Remarkable! The fans zones do cater to beer and other beverages and snacks and memorabilia from FIFA. The metrorail has very good connectivity with frequency to transport thousands of fans from one end of the city to the other. The sightseeing tours and packages are best tailored for short visits ideal for small countries like Qatar. My bet is on Desert safari (which is unlike Dubai and a lot more different on a varied terrain) and on Desert camp life. The beaches are pristine and are shallow, suitable for water sports and camping overnight. Some do offer tents for stay. The water scooters and camel safaris and buggy drives on the sand dunes are recommended. I am a museum and art gallery person so I do know Qatar has an impressive collection to cater to our aesthetics if we are that kind of indoors person. The souq is also unmissable with its old world charm. I have loved Doha always for its quaint unflashy lifestyle and those who moved here from the noisy Dubai first were put off by the quiet. Doha takes time to grow on you but when it does, you will never go back to Dubai. My friends who moved here from Dubai can vouch for that. The food is Arabic, Mediterranean, Continental, Indian among others. I am not a seasoned traveler but I have toured a handful of countries. Qatar I can rate as one of the safest havens where law and order is meticulous and shopping is very pocket friendly and great experience. You can never shop the way you can for brands in Europe or America the way you can in Doha.

I was here during the Gulf crisis that saw the tiny peninsular nation isolated as they took on bravely a couple of hostile GCC nations that closed in on them menacingly. Now peace reigns but how in twenty four hours the government made alternative arrangements to see that the residents did not want for anything was amazing. Within a week four thousand Jersey cattle were flown in from down under and thus was born the local dairy farms. Until five years back, even milk and milk produce reached here from across the one land connection from the neighbouring country. No price hikes, no passing on the extra burden to the residents. I have nothing but utmost respect for Qatar for the way they handled the political crisis that had the potential to flare into a serious global crisis. World media in fact was fanning the fire exactly for that. It must have taken all their wit for Qatar not to be provoked when the stoking went vigorous. Their patience and tolerance finally won through. Not a single loose talk to ignite passions. Such a humility is rare to come across. We can take a leaf out of this great nation. The kind of maturity you find in the statesmen here is worth emulating. It was Trump’s time in America. And it always hit me then how the tiny speck of Arab country had such a responsible and grounded leadership when the largest democracy in the world had a loose cannon for the president who shot his mouth out of turn whenever opportunity presented. Diplomacy of this finesse is the real Raj tantra if you ask me.

Qatar since has become a lot more self-sufficient using the crisis as a life lesson. Their airways have more direct flights now to destinations around the world than ever before. Local manufacturing got a boost and Qatar is determined to stay as much independent as possible in all fronts. Organic farming has also caught on in a big way. Doha has received a magnificent face lift and city living has never been this clutter-free and convenient. Every facet of life in the city got upgrade thanks to FIFA world cup. Quality of life for expats in Doha is one of the best in the world.

Qatar has gas reserves for next two centuries apart from oil. Oil wells can dry up and the world can shift to green energies but the LPG will continue to stay in demand. Yet Qatar is prudent and i have never seen wealth splashed carelessly which is pretty impressive. So low key. Not even the Eid is loud and raucous. The islamic festival is only marked by silence with the one sound of the azaan piercing the quiet sky to call for prayers. It always fascinates me how muted even the celebrations are here that normally may bring the roof down in my own country India where we do not know how to enjoy an occasion without playing it up to the hilt with maximum decibels, pomp and riot. In Qatar I see that we can have a good life without having to announce it from roof tops.

Expats love working, living in Qatar not without a reason. We are a family who have prospered with Qatar. I have nothing but absolute gratitude for Qatar. I keep this my second home away from home always in my prayers. Long live Qatar! Congratulations for wonderful master handling of FIFA World Cup 2022! Wishing you many more laurels in future dear Qatar! God bless!

Posted in Political

Perception of popularity also can breed popularity!

That’s my takeaway today from international media. I don’t own this quote. I have borrowed the idea for my own contemplation in this private space of mine where I don’t have readers. So please don’t give it the plagiarist tag.

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I can cite quite a few political and economic developments/fall outs owing to this so-called perception of popularity. And then there is the timing. Ruling governments do advance the general elections if the going is good for them to cash in on their reigning popularity or perhaps the perceived popularity among masses. They probably bank their decision on flash midterm poll wins and local Panchayat (civil body) election seats. Media role also cannot be ruled out. Media invariably become mouthpiece for those in power projecting a false reality with their own opinion polls, exit polls, expert panel discussions etc. The center is always on the spotlight. Sometimes this can backfire as it happened when the BJP government called for early elections in 2004, a good six months ahead of the schedule by December. The Lok Sabha and Rajya sabha (lower and upper houses of parliament) went to polls simultaneously in phases in the April and May months (as it is always in India – in some six or seven phases considering our geographical extent and the mammoth 1.3 billion population – we are the world’s largest democracy) that the ruling party shockingly lost on very narrow margin. Their record was unblemished in that 4.5 year period and they were riding high on the popularity wave. The exit polls and opinion polls were in their favour. Finally the election fiasco was pinned on anti-the incumbency factor. Had the 2004 general elections in India been held by December, BJP could have won the elections hands down. Ironically their constructive term had been rudely cut short by their own making. It was the very first time in modern Indian history that a non Congress government completed a full term at office at the center. The surprise Congress win put the nation’s oldest party back in charge for the next ten years. BJP finally returned to power only in 2014. In 2019, they were reelected to power.

Opinion polls and exit polls are but about a selected sample and they cannot be used to extrapolate general predictions about a future outcome. This is especially true of India where the electorates are huge. A slice of sample is hardly representative of a vastly varied and diverse and populous electorate typical of the Indian subcontinent. There are variations to consider and it is entirely possible that the sample collected and analyzed could be that standard deviation. However, in favour of TRP ratings, the media houses miss this simple logic. No wonder their projections are skewed and are drastically different from ground reality. The media did predict rout of the BJP once again in 2019 that the party went on to win on a massive scale unprecedented in history.

There is this take on our EVMs, the electronic voting machines which have come under introspection. It is ironically always the opposition that is weary of the EVMs. When Congress was at the center, the BJP blamed their losses on EVMs. Now when the BJP is at the center, the congress party would like to attribute their dismal rout on the EVMs that they found to be faultless and defended when they were elected to power. INdia’s population makes it advisable that the EVMs are operational in our general elections. Battalions of election officers are enrolled all across the country and the actual election exercise in India starts two years prior to the election date. Mooted by the Election commission of India, the classroom hands-on training for official staff kicks off months earlier, and the materials and the EVMs are prepared and plans devised with a roadmap for the upcoming elections finalized accordingly. Its a gigantic national exercise worth a Phd for interested political studies candidates. I would recommend foreign journalists to study our case with our government written consent. Last elections in 2019 were held in seven phases over two whole months for both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha across our 29 states and 6 union territories. I have been casting my electronic ballot for over 20 years now. Its a great indigenous democratic exercise that India has perfected that even some first world nations have lost. Its not that easy to rig the EVMs and there are foolproof checks at every stage to rule out manipulation. Finally the manual voting is punched for the electronic vote that can be counterchecked for rigging if any party contests results. Even I have to agree that no one hundred percent foolproof system may exist when it comes to voting process. The EVM debate hots up every year before elections and there are the two sides for and anti EVMs as expected.

Sometimes the masses are taken for granted when it comes to their voting preferences or rather prejudices, which will not serve any purpose. Today in India, even the lowest middle classes or the BPL (below poverty line) families are politically aware and know the differences between the Lok sabha/Rajya sabha polls for the lower and upper houses of parliament as against the State assembly polls. You can see the way the public vote for the two. When it comes to Lok sabha elections, the masses vote for a strong center sometimes bypassing state interests. When it comes to state elections, they go for performing governments. Linguistic and regional politics take a natural precedence. If you are non performer, you will stand to lose your constituency in reelections. Modi is reelected not because of his BJP party or Hindutva alliance. Modi is winning because he is good for India and he has pushed for economic development raising our living standards. He has passed on benefits to rural India, the business community, to the common man and the industrial sector all at the same time never neglecting any quarter. Typically you can see the anti-government or pro-west or the left media focusing on nonperforming areas whereas his track records in reality may speak of a different story.

Perception of popularity breeding popularity sounds interesting! This is especially true of conspiracy theories. Brainwashing was happening all around in India during and after demonetization and GST introduction that without a shred of statistical evidence, based on media reports and on the rants and raves of the influential and opulent elite stashing black money, the public who willingly bore the brunt were made to wonder whether they were put to suffering to serve vested interests. The sacrifices of the common Indian on the street in this phase of time was phenomenal. Grudgingly the aam aadmi chugged along serpentine queues until the stroke of midnight for those freshly minted notes of currency in lieu of the old rendered useless overnight. The timeframe for tendering the old notes back to the reserve bank in exchange through commercial banks was limited. The lower middle classes I spoke to were happy participants in the exercise not grumpy always as made out by the media. The familiar leftists were on the discussion forums downplaying all that was received well in reality by the general janata. I am seeing how GST works only too very well and can recall the stiff opposition it met with. Now for whole of India, just one point tax and no more queuing up in the borders for our trucks: remember we are a 29 state country with trailers running on all-India permit. This saves time, precious oil, manpower and over all that double billing or double taxing.

As in Biden’s case, actions speak louder than words. The benefits realized will outweigh the criticisms.

Which is why I have totally stopped reading the Indian print media and don’t watch our mass media anymore. I directly discount our social media propaganda posts as well. Like fellow citizens I watch for translation of bills and/or legal statutes and accords and pacts into actual benefits for the public. I watch for the social development indicators. I will not gauge my country with the imported Audis. I measure my country with the locally made drab Ambassador which is the true indicator of my nation’s economic health. I don’t go by the stockmarket boom that can have no correlation with actual industrial growth and output. I go by the bonuses dispersed based on quarterly results booked by an FMCG corporation for instance. I go by the books. I look for the export quantum of wheat over imports. I keep tab with the varying interest rates. I watch for the infrastructural developments and how that directly affects my life. Metrorail saves the day for us and any government that mooted the project can hope for reelection. Not surprisingly the next state government is only adding more routes and further many kilometers to the viable project to win the popularity match. Today in India, whichever party is to form the government at the center or state level, they have got to perform. We cannot rule out bribes and red tape entirely from my country but the strong governments see to that this social corruption does not weaken the momentum of their economic engine.

You don’t have to be a literate to factor in the social indictors into your assessment methods to decide on who to vote for. I have seen how the mind of the blue collar workers functions. They are far smarter. They are even better politically aware. Nobody voted for BJP in Tamil Nadu, but the masses all got the Modi app in their phones and have subscribed to Modi health insurance! My maid’s mother received 40-60 radiations without paying a single paisa thanks to the state-central govt sops (still the woman died, can’t help) with the Modi health card and a driver’s aging father got a cardiac bypass surgery done for free at the state of art govt multispecialty hospital in Chennai with the same Modi card. The opinion on BJP is fast changing in the state. There is almost no Indian citizen today without at least a zero balance bank account introduced by Modi and the Aadhar ID is a great leveler.

Perform or Perish: now this is the slogan in India. This applies to any government that gets elected to office. Its not about Modi or BJP or Congress or even the State governments. Corrupt state governments are thrown out in the very next round of general elections. Perceptions can persist but practicality is different.

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I record my gratitude to my Journalist-writer guru who is a big influence on my spectrum of thoughts. I am a housewife and I write for just me myself, still it counts. I am interested in learning anything and everything and this is an offshoot subject from mainstream that has relevance to today’s political-economic scene we have here in India.

A juicy bit of news: General elections date are not fixed just like that in India. Astrological consultations are done in alignment with the birth star of the leader of the political party to ascertain which date is auspicious to contest elections and from which constituency from whatever direction. It reminds of me of how Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia used to fix election dates in consultation with astrologers in Malaysia as the locals would tell us. Mahathir’s grandfather was Kerala muslim who migrated to Malaysia. As far as Indian general elections are concerned, more than anything, believe me or not, the kundalini (birthchart or horoscope) of the PM candidate plays a vital role in deciding dates and even the winning of the polls!

Posted in The Shayaress

Throb

Something so subtle and gentle

Something like the peacock feather

Light and faint

Something that stiffens the bristles of hair in your arms.

Something quiet and laidback

Something deep and calming

Something lightheaded

Something that leaves you dazed.

Something quaint

Something musky

Something that takes your breath away.

Something sensuous.

Something vague,

Something indefinite,

Something ethereal

Something ephermal.

Something ancient,

Something contemporary

Something classy

Something timeless.

Something nonlinear

Something noncomforming

Something immense

Something without contours.

Something that tickles,

Something that rains butterfly kisses,

Something moody,

Something that can be hot and cold at the same time.

Something graceful

Something atypical

Something rare,

Something different

Something aesthetic

Something artsy

Something intrinsic

Something hearty.

Something like dark chocolate.

Something like morning coffee

Something that’s a fantasy

Something that’s a dream.

Something that’s a fairy tale.

Something that’s an epic.

Something that is legend,

Something that is substance.

Something like the well worn sweater,

Something like the dog-eared leather bound volume,

Something like the familiar comforter,

Something that’s your hiking boots.

Something in the shadows.

Something lingering

Something like the wisps of the wind

Something like the chill of the winter.

Something like the mellow sunlight

Something like the clear sky

Something like the balmy noon.

Something that whiffs like the morning mist

Something soothing like the hanging moon

Something tranquil like the stillness of the night

Something dark.

Something like the lengthening silence.

Something like the fathoms of the ocean,

Something like the monsoons,

Something like the dense woods

Something elemental.

Something tangy

Something like the taut wire

Something metallic

Something smooth and hard like the marble.

Something like the autumn leaf

Something like the haunting melody.

Something off the beaten track.

Something like the evening walk.

Something intense,

Something passionate,

Something precious,

Something harmonious.

Something brooding with heaviness

Something whispering nothingness in your ears

Something that never spells

Something laden with meaning.

Something that’s an escape.

Something that’s a holiday.

Something that’s a trek.

Something that’s adventure.

The sepia tinted old photo album.

The remembered fragrance.

Spice wafting from the kitchen,

Something you come home to.

Something mystery,

Something mystical,

Something poetic,

Something like a myth?

Something emotional

Something sensitive

Something profound

Something that’s a gift.

Posted in world cup FIFA 2022 doha

Crowd Management & India.

Last weekend of mine was kinda out-of-the-world with the live concert of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Sunidhi Chouhan here in Doha. The venue was Lusail stadium, the largest one where the World cup FIFA 2022 is to be held this November-December. So that was a double dhamaka again for me: to look up the grand stadium closeup and to listen to my favourite musical sensations. Needless to say, the event drew thousands and thousands of excited fans, 80% of who were naturally Indians and the rest were perhaps a mix of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Nepalis. It looked the entire subcontinent had turned up at Lusail for the show. The evening saw us taking the metro that was unusually overcrowded for that time of the day. Lusail is closed to vehicular traffic because of the ensuing world cup football matches, so metro became obvious choice with everyone. Right in the metro station I could see the crowds thronging and without saying I knew everyone was headed only in one direction: Lusail. For the first time, in my life I watched and attended an event so huge, huge, mammoth in my living memory in Qatar that saw thousands of residents queue up and gather at a single site. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. But I thought I must get used to the idea. This was a sample. More is yet to come with the world cup commending on November 19th. From the metro, we walked to the stadium in Lusail where there were already lines roped off. The entry to the stadium was through different gates from the nearest vantage point as per your seat number. We had started at least two hours earlier from home. We joined a circuitous queue that took us through security protocols and FIFA event app/ticket checking before we were let into the stadium. Omg, what an architectural marvel is the stadium. I clicked (as expected!) numerous pix and selfies both in and outside the stadium and shot some videos of the musical nite as well. The Bollywood music was befitting gala opening to be organized in the stadium where the screens went up perhaps for the first time. I have never been to a football stadium before and I was more interested about the lightings, the seatings, the rows of seats, the walking corridors, the roof (that was partially open, to be closed fully in event of weather change like rain in a moment’s notice). I could see the hundreds and hundreds of fans in beeline reaching their assigned seats. There was a light snack available in the corridor. The musical was a grand success. Once the screens came down, we were back on our way to the metro station on foot. While we had walked almost 2 km to get into the stadium, we walked over 4 km to reach the metro after the concert got over by 10 pm. It took us one hour or more to wind through the maze of queues and reach the metro rail finally. The crowds had swelled the long and endless lines seemed but kept moving forward all the while in an orderly fashion. But I was really impressed by the way things were handled by Qatar. I am used to crowds in India. But here in this part of the world, this kind of gathering of crowds is something unheard of and unseen. The discipline of the masses bowled me over. And the organization and the methodology were simply impressive. Foolproof security and ID checks at various levels initially had gone very neat. I liked the way the crowds were allowed in batches to the metro station after the show to avoid stampedes. After all, we have just had a stampeding tragedy news coming in from South Korea. Whether it came to security checks or crowd management or the metro rail efficiency, Qatar proved the best in my opinion. I am giving the state the credit because I know, they are new to this unlike us in India. It takes enormous and skilled manpower, patience, meticulous planning, training, dryruns and diligence to manage this so well and keep things flowing smoothly. The execution part is vital. The evening proved that the little peninsula nation is so well run and capable. I became very proud of Qatar where I enjoy residency status. It was a moving experience for me. But why should I be surprised. I have seen how the country fared during the gulf crises a few years back. Overnight the milk and the groceries ran out in the supermarkets but the government imported 4000 jersey cows from Australia in matter of days and started the dairy farm right away in the middle of the desert, milking the cattle in aircon environments. In no time, the groceries and provisions reached the tiny country by sea and none of us ever suffered or lacked for anything. I have to make mention that, the difference in costs was NEVER PASSED ON to us residents. This is such a dear and sensitive thing to do, you know: not passing on the extra burden to the public most of who were expats. For that one gesture I shall remain eternally grateful to Qatar. We continued to live safely and securely the normal life and we never footed extra penny. Through the crisis, there was never a loose canon shot by way of careless talks by officials concerned as they stoically maintained the fragile peace which was their motive. Those in power remained extremely responsible. Hats off Qatar. There is a lesson here for all of us. I do lose my cool so easily and I take out my ire on all and sundry if I have to! Its that easy to provoke me and each trigger sends me trailing further backward. That tight self control and wisdom we saw in Qatar was rare and precious. That maturity is rare. Qatar proved to me once again at Lusail why this tiny dot of nation is respected worldwide and is doing so very well. The unprecedented or perhaps expected crowds were handled professionally without the history or advantage of experience, late that evening by the volunteers who deserve a pat on their backs.

Those like Saudi are used to hosting nations and millions of visitors for Haj like events.

To those who are not well informed on crowd management, even India is a great lesson. In every mandir/temple we have queues. Hindu temple festivals draw crowds in hundreds of thousands. In Tirumala Tirupathi, everyday darshan headcount could be anywhere between 60000 to 120000 devotees. So I am used to chugging it out in serpentine queues for hours. Every single Hindu pilgrimage place round the year records millions of footfalls. After all India hosts Kumbhamela, the largest congregation of human race on planet Earth every 12 years from very ancient times. Even the pandemic did not prove to be a dampener to the Kumbh attendees from across the world. To close the festival eventfree, without the scourge of an epidemic and without or bare minimal casualty is a tremendous feat. Kumbh is not a single day event. It goes on for 12 days. I have always thought that crowd management in India needs applause. Unlike the systematic crowd management that I witnessed in Doha last week, India’s masses cannot be controlled so easily. Our masses are semi literate or totally illiterate which makes matters worse. It takes a lot of voluntary discipline to make any rallying event a grand success in my country. There is the official presence and security network no doubt – by way of para military and police forces apart from health facilities and travel arrangements and lodgings, yet the mammoth crowd managements that is so regular in India is unseen in any other part of the world. Kumbh is on for millennia – from time immemorial.

There are ways to control crowds within limited spaces which is why we have ‘paid darshan’ in temples. Okay, it may not be exactly ethical but sometimes screenings such as these are absolutely necessary to filter masses and regulate crowds. Mob violence is very easy to spark in a nation as diverse and volatile and socially sensitive like India. I felt better to notice that a similar crowd management is practised in the Vatican to regulate crowds with charges introduced at every stage including to the tour of the cupola. The methods devised may always not be desirable but the results are worth sharing.

I did mingle in the crowds at the Disneyland in Florida in the US.

Crowd management is an important lesson in governance. Mostly the third world countries are good at it in my opinion! May be this has got to do with the masses having the practice of queuing up for rations and awaiting their turn with patience! Whatever. In case of India, the queueing, the waiting, the stalling is happening for years, centuries now. Unless there is this inbuilt discipline in the masses, this is just not realizable. Remember the crowds in our trains and buses. The mobs in our festivities. Through all that chaos, something still seems to be working!

When a flight lands, we Indians always would want to disembark first, throwing patience and discipline to wind. Whereas you can see those from the first world nations rooted to their seats waiting for the rest of the air passengers to ease out. I always would wonder why should we Indians be so impatient. But the airplane is a very negligent sample really that cannot be projected on a huge population of one billion plus on a vast subcontinent like ours. I would rather, the inflight psychology is kind of standard deviation or variation to our general crowd management statistical history. Which is why stampedes are more common in more civilized parts of the world than ours. A little more numbers, these foreigners start feeling claustrophobic losing their mind. It doesn’t take much for them to panic and start the pandemonium ending in a typical disaster. Its almost as if such a tragedy would be waiting to strike.

Of the wide range of immunities we Indians develop, survival in crowds is priceless. We are so used to bodies pressed to bodies, sweating, with our hot breaths on each other’s nostrils that not even the pandemic could ravage us the way it did across the globe. We were warned of a catastrophe but we got out lightly barring for a few episodes during the second wave which took a terrible among the world countries.