MY HOME IN QATAR
Qatar Today looks at two expatriates from everyday life, one who has lived here for a significant amount of time and another who has just made Doha his home, for their take on life in this city.
Managing Editor, Doha Stadium Plus Been in Doha since: December 1995 (19 years)
BEING SPORTY IN DOHA
A career journalist, I worked in India till the age of 40. I had reported on sports since 1980 for various Indian newspapers and saw the opportunity to do the same in the Gulf as part of the launch team of the Peninsula in Doha. I also had the opportunity to launch Aspire Zone Foundation's sports weekly, Doha Stadium Plus in February 2006, the year Doha hosted the Asian Games. Qatar has made huge strides forward in the world of sports, both as a competing nation in various international events and as hosts. Several high-profile sports events are staged here annually (ATP Tennis, WTA Tennis, EPGA Golf, MotoGP, ITTF Pro-Tour table tennis, Tour of Qatar Cycling for men and women etc) and over the years, Qatar has also hosted several big events like the Asian Games (2006), World Indoor Athletics Championship (2010), Asian Cup football (2011), Pan-Arab Games (2011) etc., along with the upcoming 2015 Handball World Championship and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, making it an ideal place to work for a sports journalist. My move to Qatar has helped me fulfil many of my dreams like owning my own home and providing quality education for my children. I've no regrets coming here.
ONCE UPON ON A TIME, OUR TAXIS WERE YELLOW
HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who took over as the Emir in 1995, launched a series of developmental projects and programmes and the results were visible from 1996 onwards. As a media person I was excited with the launch of Al Jazeera TV in 1996. There were changes on all fronts – roads, buildings (when I first came to Doha, the Sheraton Hotel was the only big building on the Corniche road), hotels, schools, hospitals, universities (read: Qatar Foundation), shopping malls, various mega oil and gas projects, sports clubs, Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence, golf courses, motorcycling track, tennis stadium and several new sports facilities. I can't say I miss anything about old Doha. Almost all changes have been positive and an upgrade of the old facilities and services. The old yellow-colour taxis have been replaced with a modern fleet of cars, public bus service launched, Souq Waqif given a facelift, health centres and hospitals upgraded, and several new eating joints have come up. Many new hyper/super markets have been opened, making everything available in Doha for all expatriates. Didn't someone say “old is gold, but new is Platinum?”
MEMORIES AND MORE
“Yesterday is but today's memory, and tomorrow is today's dream,” said Lebanese artist-poet-writer Khalil Gibran. I am not prepared to wind up my Doha days and go back, carrying memories. Iam still dreaming of witnessing and being a part of better things to come. But I miss some of my close friends, who have retired and gone back to India. But I still have quite a few great friends and wonderful colleagues in Doha and above all my loving family is here with me.