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.

Qatar Today - - TAKE TWO -

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.

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