This will most likely be a long post. Some of you might find it boring and irrelevant. Most might not have the patience to go past the first few lines. But someday, someone will look this up and find solace. Misery finds solace in misery. I am not saying it was horrible but it was not great either. The move, I mean.
Upcoming posts will be more be specific. Like “how to”, “where”. “when” types. But for starters… It will be a pointless “vent-ogenic” rant.. So folks, kindly bear with me.
My husband (for now we will call him Mr H) moved to Doha in 2010 .I had to stay back to finish my residency. We were married for 2 years and had spent most of our time apart. We had fantastic vacations and were like newlyweds again after every period of separation, but we missed “living” like a family.
(Note to self : Future post idea- “KEEPING THE ROMANCE ALIVE IN LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS ;-))
So, I was ecstatic when I finished my PG/ residency and could finally pack my bags and get on with my life in Doha. It was just a matter of applying for a spouse visa and whooooosh…. I fly aboard Qatar Airways and into to hubz’s arms…… or so I thought…..
Things panned out quite differently.
For one – I found out I was pregnant.
Not that it would change anything. I decided. No matter what my mothers’ (lawless and in law) or well meaning “aunties” say – I was going to leave and have my baby in Doha- with or without family help. So yeah, we applied for a visa.
It was rejected. Blow number one.
Of course, we will never know the reason for the rejection. Mr H and I mourned over skype. Next morning, we decided maybe it was for the good. I would have the child in India and then we’d apply again. I was pissed. Things like this kept happening to us.
I had an ultrasound appointment that day. And there I was, feeling all alone in the darkened room and wishing Mr. H was there to share the magical moment when I first heard her heart – beat. I made up my mind. Come hell or high water, I was determined to get to Doha. I wanted us to do this together.
Mr H went around Doha, gathered info from his threadbare contacts while I spent nauseous hours online looking for answers.” How to get a spouse visa for Doha after a rejection?” I write all this in one sentence but in reality it was weeks of frustration and helplessness.
Finally, help came in the form of a PRO (public relations officer) who reapplied on our behalf with some extra documents. We waited with bated breath.
Two days later- APPROVED!
Hoooorrayyyy! Kid you not, I packed my bags in less than an hour. I would soon not fit into most of my clothes anyway. I left within twenty four hours of my visa being granted.
Downside to all this urgency was that I could not catch a direct flight. I had to fly Etihad. Stopover at Abu Dhabi. I did not mind. I love airports and had not been to Abu Dhabi airport before. Moreover the layover was only an hour. Just enough time to get off one plane and board the other.
Or, so I calculated.
(Note- My calculations ….hmmm….never mind…you’ll see)
I was still in my first trimester. Every member of my family who came home to meet me before I left had a list of do’s and don’ts. I have almost always travelled alone. So being alone was not the issue, being pregnant was.
Do not lift weights.
What about airport scanners?
Nausea mid air?
What if you need help.
I thought everyone was over reacting. I really did not think it was that big a deal. I did not anticipate any real problems.
Hahaha… me and my anticipations… (The last thing I did before leaving for the airport was- RETCH. I should have seen it as a sign!)
I had issues with baggage.
My first flight was delayed.
I HAD to lug heavy cases.
No one helped me anywhere (I’m sure everyone would help a heavily pregnant woman who I was not at the time).
I had to deplane and literally run for about 20 mins (like how they do in airport scenes in movies!) to catch my next plane. Still, I missed it by about 5 minutes. You see, only two us from that Bangalore flight was travelling to Doha, so we weren’t important enough I guess. The airport was super crowded and I had to run around to get re assigned to another flight. And…oh yeah…they could not locate my luggage, so I missed my next flight as well. Buhahhaaha…Seriously….
Etihad was “kind” enough to give me a meal voucher and a calling card. My family back home and Mr H were anxious. He infact was leaving for the airport to pick me up when I called him from Abu Dhabi.
After going around in circles at Abu Dhabi airport- I finally got news about my luggage and a boarding pass to my flight to Doha (The third boarding pass!). So me and my foetus sat down.We had a cup of tea and a soggy doughnut and waited. And waited….
Just my luck…. This one was delayed as well. Not for long though. About an hour or so. Finally, the gates opened and we boarded. And again, we waited.
The captain announced that we would be taking off soon. I had this eerie feeling that the it wasn’t the end. Yet.
I was right. He then announced that apparently Doha airport had shut down for an hour. And so we had to sit in that tiny stationary aircraft for an hour and twiddle our thumbs. Crazy kids were running up and down the aisle. There were loud Indian aunties and talkative German uncles. Gassy British grandpa and itchy Arab granny. And one very nauseous pregnant Indian woman.
Well I could go on. To cut things short- I reached Doha airport after 12 hours. A direct flight would have taken me less than four! My family went crazy with anxiety and Mr. H was in despair. At arrival, the immigration counters were choc-a-bloc. Thanks to the one hour backlog. I stood in queue. I should have fainted or something- that would have helped cut the queues. I stood in them for over an hour. And I was so exhausted that I did not bother contacting anyone during that time. And when I finally got out- I found a fuming, stark raving mad husband at the arrival gate. Apparently, there was no information put up about my flight. Somehow, it was completely missing from the arrivals board. Smarty pants me, did not bother to switch on my phone.
We had a fairly quiet car ride home. Just some formal, essential enquires from ze husband and some terse replies from me. He was pissed and I was just bone-tired. Not quite the meeting we had expected. Me and my expectations….
I reached home, fed and watered myself and once I came back to my senses I realised that I HAD FINALLY REACHED “HOME”. MY HOME. Not my mum’s or my husband’s mum’s. And I thought, “Okay, now let’s get on with our life”. Well… I should just stop thinking I think. Because things NEVER go the way I ‘think’ they will!
This was just the beginning….
* The next post would be helpful to anyone moving to Qatar and getting an “RP”…….and for the others…well… if you have time to kill, why not….