Thursday, April 27, 2006

There was nothing in Doha in the 80s - really ?

While blog-hopping some time back , I came across Creative lock II, a photo blog . I liked the pictures posted and left a comment. The blogger replied back

This is the comment exchange

bilbo said...

hi,
came here through om's blog. loved the pics you've taken. Was in Doha from 85-88. Am sure its changed a lot since then . Would love it if you could some pics of it. Especially of the corniche around sheraton. :)


Arroclint said...

bilbo: hello..
what were you doin here in the 80s? there was nothing here in the 80s. im doin a project on images for doha sometime in the next couple of months, ill put up the pics. but trust me its changed over the last 20 years...

While, I was happy that he'll be putting up some pics, what caught my attention was the remark about there being nothing in Doha in the 80s.

Yes, Clint, there was nothing in Doha in the 80s. There were no big amusement parks. There were no big malls. The Centre , Family Food centre and Salam Plaza were the only ones around at that time. But , there was our big house with a garden in the front, an almost jungle on one side and a backyard with gravel in it and shell remnants. We often pitched a tent in the garden and played away many a summer evening. There was the Ramada with its club and its swimming pool.

Doha was my first experience of a south Indian accent. At least the first time I noticed a difference. Doha was also my first exposure to arabic. I got 3 out of 100 in the first exam . 13, the next exam and then 98. I had picked it up. Realised I could do it. Did it again later , back in india, with sanskrit , and am now trying with nihongo.

I wrote my first poem in Doha. Also , got my first, first prize for both poetry and essay writing competition. Doha was a lot of speeches made in front of the assembly. I realised I loved doing it. That I loved word play . Doha then had Young Gulfers and Young Times.

I took my first pic in Doha. In the pic , could be seen a whole lot of carpet and the head of my youngest bro. He was the only one short enough . The rest had gotten beheaded by yours truely. I guess one learns about composition from mistakes such as these.

Doha did not have a gazillion TV chanels then. There was one hindi movie at 9:30 PM, every thursday. We could never stay awake for it. But we made up for it with tom and jerry .

And at that time we could only go to the Al khor garden. Still remember the kites we picked up there and fly only there. We did bring it home and tried to fly it in our garden. We never could. My brothers and I still don't know how to fly a kite.

Doha, at that point of time , did have the world's best zoological garden. Loved going there. Loved all the beaches and to this day , remember the 4WDs that would come and rescue our car. No matter what car we took, which group we went in, one car would definitely get stuck and then had to be helped out.

Doha was the corniche and then walks we took there after dinner every night. I remember our last night there. It was a full moon night and we could see something huge , right above the sheraton. One of us said, it was the water tank, the other said it was a weather balloon. Don't remember what other guesses we made. All three of us were wrong though. Finally mom smiled and said, "notice the water around your feet. What you are looking at , is the moon. It is this close and thats why looks big enough, and thats why the water on the walkway."

So, yes , there was nothing or nothing much in Doha in the 80s. But sometimes, nothing is all that you want, and all that you need.

7 comments:

Apy said...

how cd i resist the temptation of saying .. Me firsttttt

Good ol memories... I rememeber a lot of places by their fragrances. Almost every place where we have lived had a distinct fragrance which has always reminded me of the time spent there... it all still feels fresh in my mind at times....

Swapna said...

I was in Saudi for 3 years during my school years and remember I had a lot of difficulty picking it up. 28/100 - the first year, 50/100 the second year and 75/100 - the third year. Wasn't there anymore after that.

And have forgotten everything i learnt except for the Saudi National Anthem. :-)

I miss Saudi as it was back then in the late 80s-early 90s. We used to visit for 2 months every year in the summer hols.

Oh... those good old days...

cheti said...

billy !!! you have too may memories !!!! lucky you !

bilbo said...

what can I say, chet?
It comes with the territory. You what they say about an elephant never forgetting.
If you saw me, you'd believe that :P

Arroclint said...

very very insightful post man. i must say that i was here in the 80s too and i forgot what it was like then... but i must say that. as much as qatar has grown in the last 20 odd years, it feels like qatar hasnt progressed at all. the new buildings, malls & amusements parks are all facades of hypocracy & shallow dreams.
this is one place no one can call home...

.m. said...

ppl at work have been talking non stop abut saudi lately...

great to read your stories attached to doha! wow @arabic poem :) yu rock!

olive said...

Came onto your blog while hunting out pics and news of Doha today. I lived there when I was a kid, between 1985-88. Reading the comments about the Corniche and the Zoo, and the Center, and everything just brought it home to me how much I loved it and miss it.