" Stumbling upon people and their retrospective take on progression. "
“ Back in the day we were the only exporters of Japanese and German products in Doha. I moved between three store locations until a French client took interest in me and introduced me to cameras and photography almost three decades ago. Starting out in camera sales, I moved onto taking studio portraits, ad and inventory photographs as I progressed as a photographer. I went on to buy my first camera, a Minolta XD7 in the mid 80s. Never having time to travel, I mostly took photographs of family and friends. Learning about build quality, number of lens elements, light metering and the other aspects of creating a photograph lead to me befriending clienteles from the Qatar Photography Society. As the demand grew I started to progress that interest in the studios, processing films and setting up lighting and backdrops. As my passion for photography grew so did my arsenal of primes, zooms and macro bellows. I now wait for my 15 year old to pick up her camera so that I can treat her to Vivitar series one’s, MD Rokkor’s and several other gems I hold dear. ”
August 28th, 2015
“ Football runs in my genes. My father and uncle were professional footballers, that’s how I picked it up, from a very young age. Getting into the U-14 national team of Croatia was one of my biggest achievements. My time in the limelight was short lived as soon after, the war broke out, and my training in Dinamo Zagreb ended. I trained by myself with local groups and focused on getting back into the league. My first real break was when I moved to Slovenia, I played professional football and then I went off to Malaysia where I played for PKNS. After I moved back to Croatia, The team I represented won the Northern Croatian Cup. Soon after which I studied for a year to be a UEFA coach and now seven years later I’m here in Doha, coaching local and expat kids for Al Ethihad Sports Academy. Such a thrill to see such young talents. Taking inspiration from my guru Tomislav Ivic, giving my very best to the sport. ”
September 30th, 2015
We rushed to his place after spotting an ad for silver and golden age comic books. Three hours in and still sorting through his enormous collection of marvel comic books, we knew this wouldn’t be our only visit. “ My brothers and I have always been passionate about collecting comic books. However, my brother hastily unloaded our DC collection to a local comic book store to pay for a date. Realizing his mistake, we hustled back to the store only to find that it was all gone.” Now he keeps a complete set of XMEN and Spiderman for himself including his latest purchase a CGC Amazing Spider Man #1 which set him back over $4500. “Spiderman will always be close to my heart and I hope to hand over my collection to my children someday. I have waited for over four decades to realize this dream. ” A man of many talents, he even played a tune for us. “My music takes up most of my free time now. ” (1/2)
October 3rd, 2015
“ I was about six years old at that time, happy to see my grandmother I ran up to hug her only to have a rock hard feel hit back at my chest. I was too young to react to that by anything except bewilderment. Couple of years later, she was admitted to get a mastectomy as the cancer had advanced to Stage III. She was very old school and still believed in the spiritual healing of it all. Her reassuring smile would never let us capitulate to the oncologists. She never understood the fatality of the disease and fought through for a good seven years after until she succumbed to it, while continuing to live a zesty life of selfless service, love and care. ”
October 30th, 2015
Back in 1988, we put together Vital Signs, which ended briefly when I chose to pursue a solo career. Dil Dil Pakistan remains to be one of my favorite compositions, considering very few know my contribution to its success. During my time with Junoon, I started working on Amrit, which is when I got the opportunity to join an aviation academy in Pakistan, it paused music career for almost a decade and releasing Kaho was quite challenging as I had been working for it since late 90s and with the support of my family and friends, I released Kaho this year and I couldn't be any happier with how it all turned out. (2/2)
November 16th, 2015
“ I hadn’t gone home in ten years while working in Saudi and after losing my mother to a long and expensive ailment, I have come to appreciate the things that really matter in life and that isn’t just money. Its been a year since I moved to Doha and I’ve already travelled home twice for holidays. Recently married and very much in love I wish to move in with my wife here soon. Hopefully being the ‘fahm’ guy does the trick. ”
December 30th, 2015
“ I spent my summer last year volunteering for KRMEF in Khahare, which is known for its unique Bottle House project. The earthquake in april left number of families homeless. And I went in hope to help them regain their livelihood by building houses. It was a cathartic event in my life, something I’ll remember for a life time. We were building this shelter house for an old lady from morning 9am. The weather was unpredictable and absolutley insane. It would shift from shimmering sunshine to stormy rain within minutes. We were soaking wet with no shelter. We were shivering cold. After the rain stopped, I could smell fresh soil of mother nature blending with the sweet aroma of cardamom black tea. The old lady of the house was kind enough to make us tea. She said it was the least thing she could do. We successfully completed the house. The feeling of working together entwined us as one to make some one’s life better is overwhelming. With no walls dividing people, everyone hand in hand, united, supporting each other is what gives me the joy to volunteer, made me wonder and realize aspects of life. We are after all a pale blue dot, trying to make a difference. ”
January 13th, 2016
“ I’m a scientist in my own right. The celestial bodies fascinates me to the extent that I am here everyday at the souq square to admire the cosmos. It gives me immense pleasure to let the passerbys take a peep into my telescope. Their exultant reaction to the white wonderball is all that takes to make me happy. I strongly believe that the only branch of science that’s going to hold out in the future is astronomy. ”
February 20th, 2016
“ Ever since I was a toddler I’ve always wanted to get my hands dirty. I’ve tried everything from gardening to decoupage. I was constantly experimenting on everything in the house, my interest for baking started here in Doha, I was new and it helped me meet people and socialize more. Next thing you know I was cooking for friends and their friends. I enjoy cooking for strangers, they provide feedback and critique that family don’t. I never realized my parenthood, because of the overwhelming security my parents gave me. Losing my father seven years ago changed my perception of life and faith. Cooking has been my therapy of choice, even when I didn’t know it was, taking a few ingredients and turning them into something others can enjoy is truly a privilege. ”
March 16th, 2016
“ I grew up in a neighborhood of car lovers, most of them drove custom tuners, falling in love with cars came naturally to me. Unlike most tuners who prefer Japanese cars, I’ve always been keen on American muscle. There are very few thrills that stimulate me more than the rumble of my 6.4L Hemi V8. I pay close attention to the finer details of my car and realise immediately when it skips a beat. There is a growing community of car enthusiasts in Qatar, more than an accessory or utility my car has become part of my lifestyle and personality. I have a lot planned for the future and can’t wait to get started. ”
April 3rd, 2016
“ Only by controlling the minor details, can you truly achieve perfect results. One might find red baseball caps and jeans odd aboard a private jet, but that was Andreas Nikolaus "Niki" Lauda. Being a flight attendant for his private aviation, I flew at most 800 hours a year. He had the most cordial relationship with the crew, and gave us a sense of family. When you work for someone like him you aspire to be as good as him. We aimed to be the best groomed, best dressed and gave a truly tailored experience to our passengers. ‘Service is our success.’ He said. Niki was a star even thirty thousand feet up in the air, passengers would queue to have him take them on a tour of the cockpit. Looking back twenty years, I miss the job, the life style, but I’m very aware that I’m missing something that doesn’t exist anymore. ”
April 30th, 2016
“ A student, a professional, a home maker, irrespective of our current locus we all have the need to belong, to be a part of something greater than ourselves. Working together towards a common goal is never frictionless and being head strong doesn’t make it any easier, something I realized the hard way ten years ago. I met someone, a professor who taught me to think clearly, maintain focus and pull off the improbable. Mission20 is an example of one such improbability, a group of students who got a years work done in twenty days. Although we’ve moved on from High School, the name stuck and unites our motivation for a cause. Why setup a firm to do good ? Because we love to procrastinate and blame the lack of resources & time. ”
May 23rd, 2016
“ I know how daunting it can be, to pick what you’d like to do for a living. At 16, I started living with my aunt in the UK and she ventured me into a whole new world of possibilities. Time spent with her taught me to believe in myself no matter the conflict and that the biggest obstacle that I’d have to clear, was me. I know it's a cliché, but if you seek true passion in life, you have to believe in yourself as others may not. Take little steps towards your dream and not compromise on anything. ”
June 22nd, 2016
“ I have always been fascinated by robotics, my unsolved curiosity as to how one controls lifeless beings, drew me towards engineering and mechanics. During freshmen year at university, I started to work with Lego Mindstorms and robot programming. Lego's plug and play approach gave me an introduction to basic robotics, but left me yearning for more. I needed something more advanced, and such a program simply wasn’t available. I did what every resolute engineer would do and looked for answers online. I was able to amass knowledge rapidly, and after a couple of stops at online stores, I was putting together intricate designs at home. I wanted to share the resources that I had acquired and make it easier for beginners to robotics.
Using a start-up grant from my university, I started my own robotics education program in 2013. We began with a batch of four students, who followed a curriculum that I put together. Before each class I would gather all the basic building blocks required to put together a robot. I would experiment by first assembling self-designed robots, test their working and later disassemble them for the students. We started with one-off workshops where students spent 2-3 hours focusing on sub-sets of robotics, either mechanical, electronic assembling or programming. The program was very well received and grew exponentially. Now we are a team of five which includes my younger brother and my friends. We have since expanded our curriculum, moved to a full course instead of short term workshops incorporating all modules. Getting here wasn’t easy, financial aid from the university was limited and I wanted my students to have the best experience possible. This project belongs to my family as much as it does to me, and as I embark to pursue my master’s degree I leave the progression of QRID to my brother. ”
July 15th, 2016
“ I have been a Pokéholic since I watched the pilot in 1998. I’d watch every episode and could name all 151 Pokémon at any given time. I spent my allowance on Pokémon Trading Cards, they were easily available and cheaper to buy back then, in the GCC. I put in a lot of time sketching the art work from these cards, and threw a fit when my parents got me a bike instead of Gameboy. Getting back from university to discover that my mother had given away my collection was upsetting, and rebuilding my original deck would have been expensive. I did occasionally splurge on them and attend battle events, but it wasn’t the same. Playing Pokémon GO since the launch tweet, has been amazing. It’s brought back all the excitement of trying to catch 'em all. Yes, I had to use a fake address to even download the app, Pokéstops are rare, it’s hot and humid outside, but the digital epiphany is worth it. ”
July 17th, 2016
“ I was 17, when I got introduced to the culinary sciences in Bombay. I worked there for a year after which I returned to Nepal, where I ran my own restaurant for a brief period, after which I joined the local police force for a year. I went off to work as a chef in two different restaurants before a local restaurateur contacted me for a job. I spent the next 16 days catering for various events as an extended practical interview. My cuisine was versatile and much loved. I started working as a sous chef, but was never confined to cooking. I was involved in everything from cleaning dishes to managing finances. A couple of months later, the head chef had retired and my employers entrusted me with running the entire restaurant. I was always concerned about hygiene and hired a person with the sole task of ensuring the quality of food, I take pride in the fact that we have not received a health violation in over a decade, considering the stringent health code standards here. By then I had tweaked the menu to cater all our customers, irrespective of their palates. I was able to streamline our operations from procurement to delivery, in two months we were able to double our profits. One of my accomplishments, that I take great pride in, was my contract with Bilfinger SE, where I catered for 800 employees over a period of four years. Having to serve over a million meals and never compromise on quality was a herculean task that made me capable of taking up any culinary challenge. ”
July 24th, 2016
“ When I zone out in thought episodes involving my inane friends, bring me back smiling. We were heading out to watch a movie and half way through, he starts to hyperventilate, twitch and turn in pain, finding him unable to breathe I start to freak out and dial for an ambulance in despair. Emergency services are on route. I park the car and do all I can, to comfort him. I chase after the ambulance, watching them head the wrong way, all this while fearing the worst. I wave them in and they rush to his aid. The area surrounded by curious onlookers. Minutes later a furious paramedic walks up seeking the one who called for help? Bemused, I nod my head, to which he yells ‘what kind of person calls help for gas?’ ”
July 27th, 2016
“ Growing up, getting paid to breach cyber security was the greatest job I could think of. Movies rarely portray Blackhats as felonious deviants. Post engineering, I met an instructor during a class on ethical hacking. A brilliant man incapable of keeping a job, as he would get bored almost instantly and quit. What enticed me more than the course itself, were his personal experiences with cyber security, he taught us to be responsible with what we had learned and showed us the distressing amount of damage one could do to another using a keyboard. As an exercise, he had asked us to extract information from an android device connected to the network. Thrilled on completing the assignment I approached him, ‘what would happen if the same thing happened to your cell phone?’ he asked, and only then did I realize that someone could be receiving periodic screenshots of my screen, read every private conversation, have complete access to all my files and emails, eavesdrop on everything the microphone could pick up, know my exact location at any given point of time.
There are a lot of things we take for granted including our privacy. Our dependence on smart services grows each day and so does our vulnerability. At any point in time a single service is capable of knowing where you live, where you work, where you shop, where you jog, who you talk to, the languages you speak, the amount of money you have in an account, your best friend’s birthday, this incomplete list continues to grow each day. Users not only comply to the terms of service blindly; they adopt these ‘conveniences’ into their lives and demand them if denied. A recent incident that comes to mind, is a social phenomenon that did not witness a significant drop in users, even when it had absolute control over the user’s email account. Events involving whistle blowers in government agencies, truthful depictions of malicious hacks in media and the numerous adverts to better one’s security practices have helped with raising awareness among new users. I continue to educate myself as a glider in the game of life. ”
August 7th, 2016
“ The bond between a master and his pet can be invaluable, almost symbiotic, but the animals here were abandoned and left to fend for themselves in the desert. They require attention and reciprocate with affection, once you put in the time. You have people bringing in exotic pets into a region difficult for it to adapt to and once the novelty wears out, they are ignored, ill-treated, discarded. Pets are not the only animals we encounter, older race hounds and law enforcement German Shepard’s find shelter here as well. Spend ten minutes here and it'd be hard for one to believe the above. Be it a vigilant Pitbull or our cutest Saluki puppy, every animal here is full of life and compassion. It's an endless struggle to keep the lights on and the animals healthy, but the volunteers and staff have been nothing but amazing. Volunteers are always welcome here. Simply taking the dogs out for a walk, helping with administering the vaccinations or giving them showers goes a long way, you can even foster pets for a short period and ready them for adoption. It's therapeutic for many to spend time here, a place where you can relax and unwind. ”
September 30th, 2016
“ I lost my mother when I was eight months old and was adopted by my maternal uncle and his wife. They’ve cared for me no less than my own parents would have and mean the world to me. I went in and out of schools for a couple of years, but I was homeschooled most of my life. The flexible timings let me indulge in music, ballet, poetry and decisively sail 14 hours a week, travel abroad for swim meets. It led me to start my own business ‘Faith water works’ where I taught people to swim.
Sailing isn’t for the faint hearted, but letting the wind and wave command you is a rush like no other. I remember being caught in a storm on the way to Bahrain, with waves 10 feet high, rain, thunder, lightning and a wind speed of 50 knots. All of us hiking, hooked onto the sails shifting our weight on either side just to keep the sail upright. You know you are in trouble when a team member is terrified and texting his parents. Our skipper decided to pull down the main sail before the wind before the wind got any stronger, he was bruised and battered but managed to get us through the night. We took turns resting, which is incredible on its own, managing to sleep when you are in a storm such as this. I woke up on day break to find our fiber glass jib split in half. It was a few hours before we could sail back to shore.
It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, you never know how the ocean is going to surprise you. Everything I learnt from sailing, I relate to my life. I believe everyone has a red thread connected to them, it may entangle, but it never breaks. I motivate myself to be great. Irreversible. As much as it hurts to leave my life behind, I’m heading back to New York. I cannot regret denying myself the freedom of growth. My parents have always pushed me to be better irrespective, of what I have achieved. ”
October 9th, 2016
“ Most parents work long hours, leaving their children under the supervision of either a nanny or a tutor, who may fail in providing the emotional nourishment required by a child between infancy and adolescence. Parents who embrace their role with enthusiasm help the child reach its full potential, but are often exhausted from work or caught up with errands and distract the child with gadgets rather than interact with them. Neglected children exhibit delay in language, physical, cognitive and social growth, whereas consistent, loving care encourage their development. I have been tutoring children since 88, helping them with math, science and english. ‘I found it peculiar when a student of mine would keep grazing my hand every time I walked by, to learn that she spent all her time alone at home in front of the television, away from any meaningful conversation or parental interaction was heart breaking’. By ensuring the child's academic progression, we provide an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children at home. Parents tend to focus on helping their child succeed, and often leave them to deal with failure on their own. ”
October 30th, 2016
“ I was certain I wanted to be an artist, but my parents thought the idea was crazy, as most artists then weren’t even appreciated until after their time. I grew up in Windsor, but we moved often as my father managed hotels, I'd often go down to the kitchen and watch the chefs work. I guess you absorb a lot of what you are exposed to and not even realize it. I used to do day jobs, while studying. I moved to Wales for a few years, and I was working at a well known restaurant at that time, one busy evening, the chef walked out, I walked up to the management and said ‘I can do his job’, at first they laughed but I managed to convince them. This is what pushed me to get formal training and better myself as a chef.
Once you’ve mastered technique the next step is paying more attention to the quality of the ingredients itself. Farmers markets in England, let chefs interact with the farmers directly. They introduced a box scheme, where they would send out weekly produce that could vary from kale to artichokes, it was up to the chef to customize it into a good menu. I personally think it’s a great way for chefs to be more spontaneous and inventive. We also became aware of the constant pressure that supermarkets imposed on the producers, pushing them towards growth hormones and artificial anti-biotic maximizing throughput. This is what got me into organics, I was able to better quality through trials, like using a specific breed of slow growing lamb and ensure that it was served fed organic food. The quality of the the meat was significantly higher and so were the costs associated with the process. Given the choice customers at my restaurant would often pick the better product, choices aren’t always driven by money, they are driven by having something worthwhile or something of value.
It’s not about the money or the travel, I love what I do and like sharing my art, be it to a customer or in the form of training. My style of work gives me the opportunity to do just that, meet people, exchange ideas, create learning experiences for myself and others. I consider myself lucky to be able to share my love for food, standing in front of the camera, performing a demonstration for an audience or showcasing my technical skills in a kitchen. It’s very rare to find a job that gives you all of that. ”
December 27th, 2016
“ I have been a street performer for over ten years, working 14 hours a day and the only constant has been the indifference towards street art in India. I have learnt to ignore jabs like “Get a job” but being called a beggar or being poked at while I stand still is quite depressing. It’s the foreign tourists who appreciate our craft for its creativity and that motivates me to get up each day, mix the aluminum paint with coconut oil, ignore the heat and be able to provide for my family. ”
May 31st, 2017
“ I started out washing dishes and later became a commis, in Sri Lanka. I’ve worked at several restaurants over the years and have been working at Nandos since 2013. You would be amazed at how essential technique is while grilling the chicken, ensuring that the meat is tender, infused with the right amount of spices and the cooking method to retain the maximum flavor after grill. I'm passionate about grilling and have been regular participant in the Master Griller (Annual International Grill Off) and placed second. Unfortunately, I was disqualified during the finals in South Africa, due to a regulation regarding safety shoes. It was a learning experience for me, as to how important the health regulations are taken in the food industry. I take a lot of pride in the progress I’ve made and love sharing my story. ”
July 5th, 2018