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.