Qatar 2022 – The challenges

2nd of December 2010, there was talk of little else in the office apart from the voting for world cup hosts for 2018 and 2022. After all Qatar, my country of residence at that time was bidding and we were interested to know what happens. In my heart I gave Qatar no chance. Just not going to happen, there are too many problems, FIFA will never go for it, yet there was a sense of expectation. What if…. What if Qatar pulls it off? Everything will change for Qatar and I will finally be able to tell my family that this is where I live, not in Dubai (Which was the only Middle Eastern city they knew about. I left Qatar 2 months later anyway so didn’t really matter personally)

 At around 5, I packed my bags and left for home. In case Qatar wins it, I didn’t want to get caught in the celebrations and spend hours in the traffic. Reached home, kicked away my shoes, opened the laptop and started following the event again. Few minutes before 7, it came, the most stunning announcement. Qatar had indeed done it; they were going to host the greatest sporting event in the world. Of course you didn’t need a TV or the internet to tell you that, the sound of car horns from outside was enough to tell you that Qatar has done the impossible.

A lot has been said about the bidding process since then. Most of it by people who have never been to Qatar and have no clue what its like. Questions have been raised about Qatar’s ability to host the event and the wisdom of giving the tournament to the gulf nation. I am just going to run through some of the problems raised and how Qatar can best resolve those issues (Just my opinion, you are free to disagree)

  1. Temperatures – This is of course the biggest issue. It is really hot during June/July and playing in those temperatures is going to be really difficult. I am not sure whether the cooling technologies will work for stadiums that size though it remains to be seen. Even if they get the stadiums, practice pitches and dedicated fan zones air-conditioned, it will be really difficult for visiting fans to move around. I doubt many will appreciate staying indoors and only in certain areas to avoid the heat.

           Ideal solution is to shift the world cup to winter 2022. The weather is perfect from               November to February and you can have a great event. Of course this will                           require a             lot of rescheduling from European leagues and their cooperation               is an absolute must. They have to move their dates around to create a window,                   November-December (Ideal) or even April-May when it is cooler than what people               experienced in USA-94. January-February will clash with Winter Olympics so that             has been ruled out.

  1. Human rights of workers– For the labourers working in Qatar, a global event like this is the best thing that could have happened. Construction boom has been there in Qatar for quite a while now but nobody bothered much about the conditions in which laborers are working. All of a sudden everyone is focusing on them and their working conditions, which has put a lot of pressure on construction companies to provide better working conditions.International scrutiny has meant that conditions for them have improved. Stricter laws and punishments for violators are being planned and improved working/living conditions for workers. Of course it is still not an ideal situation and I hope Qatar government cracks down on any human rights violation most strictly.
  2. Infrastructure- Qatar is building everything from scratch so there have been concerns over their ability to get everything ready in time. I think this should be the least of the worries. There is no shortage of money or ambition and they have a long time period ahead of them thanks to the decision to award 2022 tournament 12 years in advance. Stadiums, hotels, accommodations, metro, airport should be ready well within time unless someone screws up really bad.
  3. Alcohol – As of now alcohol is available in select hotels and through a Government authorized wine shop, QDC where you can buy if you have an alcohol license (Not hard to obtain). They have promised alcohol in fan zones as well during the world cup. I do hope they open more outlets like QDC for the duration of the world cup where visiting fans can buy alcohol. I lived in Qatar for over 2 years and never really had a problem getting a drink or 2 or 10 as I used to during that time. Of course you can’t drive around drunk or create any public nuisance but that is just the basic law. I wonder whether any country approves of that.
  4. Legacy– Qatar doesn’t have the strongest football team and doesn’t play too many high profile matches so what happens with the stadiums after the tournament. Most of the stadiums will be modular and will be shipped out to other countries after the tournament. As for Qatar national team, looking at the investment being done in the game through Aspire academy, I doubt Qatar will be pushovers come the 2022 event.

Just my random thoughts after reading about all the criticism of Qatar 2022 in recent days. I don’t think that is going away till 2022. We will see regular articles on that. This world cup will be different, one way or another 😉

*I lived in Qatar from 2009 to 2011

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स्वच्छ भारत अभियान

छुट्टी का दिन हो तो एक सुख तो होता है, सूरज सर पर आ जाए तब तक तसल्ली से सो सकते हैं, दो अक्तूबर को हमने भी अच्छी तरह नींद का आनंद लिया, फिर हाथ मुँह धो कर हमने अपने मोहल्ले के मशहूर हज्जाम रामलाल की दुकान का रुख़ किया जो आम के पेड़ के नीचे अपनी दुकान सजाता है.

दुकान पर पहुँचा तो देखा एक टीवी डिबेट वाला माहौल बना हुआ है, राम लाल किसी टीवी एंकर की भूमिका निभा रहा है और कुछ गरमा गरम बहस चल रही है. एक बार तो लगा कि कहीं मैं अपने टीवी सेट के अंदर ही तो नहीं घुस गया हूँ. राम लाल का ध्यान आकर्षित करते हुए मैने बोला “भाई शेव बना दे”

“अरे सिंह साहब आइए आइए, बस दो नंबर और हैं, फिर आपकी बारी, बैठिए” राम लाल ने जवाब दिया

ऐसे शाही दुकानों पर लकड़ी का बेंच ही वेटिंग रूम का काम करता है तो हम वहाँ जम गए और पड़ोस वाले कुमार और गली के आख़िरी घर मे रहने वाले मित्तल साहब के साथ बैठ गए.

अभी हमने सामने पड़ा पंजाब केसरी उठाया ही था कि राम लाल की आवाज़ कानों मे पड़ी “सिंह साब आप ही बताइए इससे फ़र्क पड़ेगा या नहीं?”

“शेव से? भाई उम्मीद तो है कि संदीप सिंह से सीधा हृतिक रोशन बन जाऊँगा, बाकी देखते हैं”, मैने उत्तर दिया.

“अरे नहीं नहीं सिंह साहब, इस स्वच्छ भारत अभियान से”, मित्तल जी ने बात थोड़ी स्पष्ट की.

“फ़र्क तो पड़ेगा भाई, हम सब अपना अपना कचरा सॉफ करेंगे तो देश सॉफ होगा या नहीं”, कुमार मुँह मे दबाया गुटखा बाहर थूकने के बाद बोला.

“बिल्कुल, और देखिए, आज सुबह ही नई कचरा डालने की पेटी भी रख गए हैं गली मे. बहुत ही बड़ी लोहे की पेटी है. रोज़ सफाई कर्मचारी खाली करेंगे”, रामलाल ने कुमार की बात को आगे बढ़ाया.

अब हमसे भी रहा नहीं गया और लगा कि हमें भी इस बहस मे कुछ योगदान देना चाहिए तो राम लाल से पूछ बैठे, “तो तुम ये रोज़ जो बाल सड़क किनारे छोड़ जाते हो, वो पेटी मे डाल जाया करोगे?”

“अरे नहीं नहीं, वो तो सफाई कर्मचारी का काम है ना, हम तो सारा कचरा इकट्ठा कर सड़क किनारे रख देंगे, आगे जिसका काम, वही करे. इस पेड़ के आस पास कचरा नहीं छोड़ेंगे, इतना पक्का है”, राम लाल ने जवाब दिया.

इतने मे कुर्सी पर बाल कटवा रहे सज्जन बोल पड़े, “यही तो मैं कह रहा हूँ कि दिक्कत है. सफाई कर्मचारी होता है सरकारी. सरकार काम करे तो बात ही क्या है. वो कुछ करेंगे नहीं और हम तुम क्या कर लेंगे. सब बेकार की बातें हैं.”

मैने एक आह सी भारी और वापिस पंजाब केसरी मे छपी दीपिका पादुकोण की तस्वीर पर ध्यान लगा लिया लेकिन मित्तल जी हार मानने के मूड मे नहीं थे. वो बोले, “अरे भाई हम सब अपना कचरा उस पेटी मे डालेंगे तो गली तो वैसे ही सॉफ रहेगी ना. सफाई कर्मचारी का काम उस पेटी को अपने ट्रक मे खाली भर करना रह जाएगा. कहाँ गली गली, घर घर वो कचरा इकट्ठा करता फ़िरेगा?”

कुमार जी को ये बात शायद कुछ पसंद नहीं आई, नाक सिकोडते हुए बोले, “भाई फिर हम टैक्स क्यूँ देते हैं. इन सफाई कर्मचारियों की पगार हम आप जैसे लोग ही देते हैं. और इसके बदले मे उन्हे कुछ काम तो करना पड़ेगा ना.”

“बिल्कुल सही कह रहे हैं कुमार साहब”, रामलाल ने कुमार के स्वर मे अपना स्वर मिलाया.

अभी मैं सोच ही रहा था कि पेड़ के नीचे दुकान लगाने वाला टैक्स देता है या नहीं कि मित्तल जी फिर बोल पड़े, “भाई प्रधानमंत्री ने बोला है तो हम तो अपना योगदान देंगे, बाकी जिसकी जैसी मर्ज़ी. हम अपनी गली मोहल्ले को सॉफ रखने की कोशिश करेंगे”

तत्पश्चात बात नई फिल्म बैंग बैंग और कटरीना पर मुडी और कुछ हमारे मतलब की बहस हुई.

शेव बनवाने के बाद घर की ओर जाते हुए रास्ते मे हमारी नज़र बड़े से डब्बे पर पड़ी जिसपर पीले अक्षरों मे “नगर निगम” लिख रखा था. कचरा पेटी तो अच्छी बड़ी थी, दो दिन छोड़ कर भी खाली करते रहें तो शायद गली का कचरा निकलता रहे.

अगली सुबह वापिस शेव करवाने पहुँचे तो छूटते ही राम लाल बोला, “इस देश का साला कुछ नहीं हो सकता”

“भइया क्या हुआ, सुबह सुबह किसने मूड खराब किया?”

“साहब जो कल कचरा पेटी रख गए थे नगर निगम वाले, वो कल रात ही कोई चुरा ले गया. लोहा बेच दिया होगा कबाड़ी बाज़ार मे”

7 things to do after an accident on Indian roads

If you ever get involved in an accident in India (Which is inevitable the way we drive), please follow the following set of rules.

 

  1. Do NOT call the police.
  2. Are you at fault? Drive away. Hit and run cases in India drag for decades before police loses the case details. In case of a minor fender bender, police won’t register a case anyway so you are safe. Just drive away.
  3. If you don’t think you are at fault, leave the vehicle in the middle of the road till you settle the issue by fighting with the other driver. (See points 4,5 and 6 for the details on fighting). Any traffic jam caused by this is not your fault. Don’t move your vehicle to the side before you initiate the argument.
  4. If the other driver is physically weaker than you, beat him up for causing the accident. Doesn’t matter who was at fault.
  5. Are there more people in your vehicle than the other vehicle? Start a shouting match; abuse the other driver, his mother, sister and some other relatives. If they shout back, beat them up.
  6. Are there more people in other vehicle and they look physically stronger? Call up your friends and tell them “Panga ho gaya hai, jaldi aao”. Be diplomatic till your friends arrive, after that start showering abuses at the other party.
  7. If you are a VIP (Which in India means you are distantly related to a Politician, lawyer, policeman, journalist), tell the other guy that you will show him/her their rightful place and send them to prison.

 

Similarities between Indian politics and Game Of Thrones

Don’t kill me for this GoT fans…

 

Congress- Targareyns

Brought all the smaller kingdoms together to form one great kingdom. (Post-independence with Congress ruling, all the princely states were brought together to form one country)

Ruled for the longest time.

Have an heir to the throne but nobody knows when that heir will get to sit on the throne.

Trusted but old advisers guide the heir

 

BJP – Baratheons

Overthrew Targareyns. Led by a strong warrior, Robert (Modi). Robert was the lord of stormends (Modi- Gujarat) before moving on to rule Westeros (India).

Robert was protected by old Jon Arryn from Targareyns once and then watched his ward conquer Westeros. (Advani defended Modi after 2002 and then saw him conquer Delhi)

Baratheons backed by rich Lannisters only after Rhaegar died and victory appeared certain. (Rich Jagan Reddy extending issue based support only after Modi has won)

 

AIADMK – Martells

Based down south. Have frosty relationship with the rulers in the capital.

Only ones to maintain their stranglehold on their kingdom as other kingdoms fell.

Females can and do become rulers of the kingdom

 

JDU – Greyjoys

Balon Greyjoy thought of himself as the king. Rose in rebellion against Robert, got crushed. (Nitish-PM dreams- Lok Sabha)

 LJP – Tyrells

Always with the winner. Backed Renly when he had a bigger army, he fell and immediately joined hands with Lannisters (Paswan- UPA-NDA)

Have a young good looking heir (Loras Tyrell- Chirag Paswan)

 

AAP – Sparrows

Common folks upset with every ruler in Westeros after the destruction they caused