Issuu on Google+


contents

summer 2011

Let every morsel hold a meaning The art of mindful eating

Of all the relationships we have in life, one of the most complicated is the one we have with food, says Jacki Woodworth.

34

33

Diet Debacles

Food Fetish 38 Feed your mood

Did you know that moods have a lot to do with what we eat daily? Check out Woman Today’s food guide.

40 busted – 5 Food Myths The truth behind commonly held fallacies

41 Eating etiquettes

Woman Today scoops up some tips to help master the art of eating neat!

42 Grab a bite

Woman Today has turned foodie for the month. To satiate our appetite, we took to the streets of Doha, capturing candid moments of the gastronomical world....

What turns diet plans into fads leaving behind an altered metabolism and a resentful mind? Shalinee Bharadwaj brings an insight into the diet debacles and ponders over the ways to make it happen!

36


WT TRANSFORM 16

Highs, lows and off to the retreat…

This month Alyson had the pleasure of having a consultation with Lynette Cowie, an image consultant. She also experienced a detox and cleanse at The Spa Resort in Thailand. Watch her transform as she works with Nicole Van Hattem and a host of other trainers in her fourth month of training.

22 world wide women

12 work wise

From Here to there Navigating the maze that is our life

There are some who seem to gracefully glide through all the major decisions in life. The rest of us are not quite sure where we are says Susan Lansing.

Demystifying Traditions

Challenges and constraints galore! Victoria Scott meets expat families in Qatar who are raising children with disability.

72 thinking aloud

Ladies of Harley

No more a pillion rider

Maria Styffe, Margarita Zuniga and Dinky Willoughby arrive on their beautiful beasts, the Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The trio share with Cassey Oliveira their love for bikes and their passion for riding.

“We must be the moms and dads who tell daughters and sons that they can be any superhero they choose to be,” says Nofe AlSuwaidi in her inspiring graduation speech at the Carnegie Mellon University Qatar.

58 style stop

Disabled in Doha?

What didn’t kill Al Jazeera journalist Rosie Garthwaite strengthened her to help others who found themselves in a volatile environment, writes Rory Coen.

Be the Superhero you wish you were!

48 Filial fix

Sindhu Nair talks to Dr Rachel Hajar about her book My Life in Doha: Between Dreams and Reality that has made her a public figure.

Bang, Bang…That Awful Sound…

70 qatar musings

How the thobed tick...


VOLUME VI / ISSUE 07

summer 2011 Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Yousuf Jassem Al Darwish Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Vice President Ravi Raman

Managing Editor Vani Saraswathi Deputy Editor Sindhu Nair fashion & lifestyle correspondent Orna Ballout Editorial Co-ordinator Cassey Oliveira correspondents Ezdhar Ali Contributor Shalinee Bharadwaj Art Director Venkat Reddy Asst Director – production Sujith Heenatigala assistant Art Director Hanan Abu Saiam Senior Graphic Designers Ayush Indrajith Sampath Gunathilaka M D Graphic Designer Maheshwar Reddy B photography Robert Altamirano

Managers – Marketing Mohammed Sami Zulfikar Jiffry Senior Media Consultant Chaturka Karandana Media Consultants Victoria Ferraris HASSAN REKKAB Marketing research & support executive amjeth ali

Accountant Pratap Chandran

sr. distribution Executive Bikram Shrestha Distribution Support Arjun Timilsina Bhimal rai

Published by Oryx Advertising Co WLL P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, 44667584 Fax: (+974) 44550982 Email: wtoday@omsqatar.com website: www.omsqatar.com Copyright © 2011 Oryx Advertising Co WLL

Address all your correspondence to Woman Today, Oryx Advertising Co WLL, P.O. Box 3272; Doha-Qatar Tel: (+974) 44672139, 44550983, 44671173, Fax:(+974) 44550982, email: wtoday@omsqatar.com. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for advertising contents. Licensing/ Republishing WT content: To obtain permission for text syndication in books, newsletters, magazines, newspapers and web or to use images/pictures carried in Woman Today, please contact our syndication and licensing department on the numbers given above. Permission is also required to photocopy a WT article for classroom use, course packs, business or general use. Custom reprints: Published article/s to be used as stand-alone pieces can be reprinted by us on special request. The reprint cost is based on the length of the article and the quantity ordered. Contact our custom publishing division on the numbers given above for more information.To subscribe to Woman Today call our subscription department on the numbers given above.

8

Summer 2011

FROM THE EDITOR

Have you heard of the Slut Walk? The Slut Walk protest march started in Toronto in April, following a police officer's comment that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised." That comment is a typical excuse to justify or explain rape and abuse of women - "She asked for it!" Nobody asks to be violated, and a rapist or abuser most definitely doesn't wait for an invite. The Slut Walk is now a global 'movement' – Sydney, London, Los Angeles, Amsterdam... I am for the fundamental idea that is being protested, but somehow am not comfortable with the idea of trying to 'normalise' or take the sting out of the word. There is a certain connotation and meaning attached to the word 'slut' and even if it is used wrongfully or without thought, or in an attempt to violate, we cannot disassociate the meaning of the word from the intent with which it's used. Arguing over this with a few other women, I remembered something else I had read. While interviewing the R&B Mogul, Jay-Z (Beyonce›s husband), Oprah Winfrey objected to his liberal use of the ‹N› word in his songs. According to Jay-Z, he was only neutering a hurtful word. To Oprah it was disrespecting the history of the African-Americans and their struggles. Labels are a dangerous thing to endorse – be it negative or the supposedly 'positive' – because when you start labelling people, you start discriminating and excluding too. While we can't totally do away with them, we most definitely can choose not to be stuck with the ones that disrespect us. As a mother of a pre-pubescent, much of my convictions and beliefs on such issues stem from what I want for her. Would I want her to be part of a Slut Walk? No. But I most definitely would want her to be empowered enough to handle slights and fight for what she believes in. I am sure there are different voices and opinions on this, and I sure would like to hear them, so do feel free to write to us. Here is food for thought of a different kind: this month, Woman Today explores our food fetish, and the rather complicated relationship we share with what we chew. Ramadan Kareem, Eid Mubarak and have a safe summer.

Vani Saraswathi


GO GREEN

Nokia C05

Woman Today invites readers’ feedback Share your views on the magazine or any issue connected to Qatar. One lucky reader will win a Nokia E63. Write to: The Editor, Woman Today, PO Box 3272, Doha Fax: (+974) 44550982, email: wtoday@omsqatar.com

Woman Today reserves the right to edit correspondence. Views and opinions expressed in the published letters may not necessarily be that of the publication’s. Prizes sponsored by:

10

Summer 2011

letters to squeeze time from work for your family when it should be the other way round. Hani Mallari

Mind reading I have always wondered what it was to be a hypnotherapist. What goes on in their minds, when they are actually getting into the minds of others? I was glad that Woman Today successfully managed to feature one in its June issue. The interview with Gabrielle Turner was fantastic, and she seems to be a woman who loves to support and empower other women. She is right when she talks about how we condition our minds, and repeat negative suggestions rather than positive ones. The truth is every person has a solution to their problem, we simply chose to ignore it. Woman Today, the next time you feature interesting women such as counsellors or therapists, it would be handy if you could also mention their contact details. I would love to visit Gabrielle some day! Tanya Rooney

Holiday Wonders It's amazing how the thought of 'holidays' drowns out all your anxiety for a moment. I loved the June issue of Woman Today, it was brimming with holiday ideas. The A-Z planner was fun; I would like to visit all of those 26 places. The travel handbook was interesting too. When it comes to women, travelling alone can be risky especially when you don't speak the local language. Once, my girlfriends and I almost got lost in our holiday destination because we didn›t understand the language. Luckily a generous shop owner came to our rescue and led us back to our hotel. I hope to not encounter a similar problem on my next trip. asma imam

Switching off Ask me two things that I never forget to carry on a holiday, and I would promptly say my mobile and laptop. After all, I am a work-a-holic. Flipping through the pages of Woman Today, my eyes stopped at the headline that read 'Bin the Berry?', and I asked myself "Could I ever do that?" As I continued my read I found the tips very interesting, but I am unsure if it will be effective on me. I am planning a trip soon with my family, and I plan to stick on these rules. Let's hope this time I sit down with my kids and play with them, rather than sitting down with my laptop. It's a pity though that you have

Science matters The article on 'Cord Blood Banking' in the June issue of Woman Today was very informative. Science has progressed drastically over the years, the umbilical cord stem cell therapy being an example. It is nice to learn that Qatar has embraced this life-saving concept with hospitals now having provisions to collect these important precursors of life. Recently, there was a conference on introducing biobanking in Qatar. This is yet another amazing feat in the country's science and technology aspect. I do hope we continue to make such progress. Nasreen Rasheed


short

in

A carnal relationship

Head over heels

T

he change in posture? The way they transform an outfit? Or even a power rush that sweeps through your body when you put them on? Experts, fans, designers, and celebrities try to explain their love for heels in God Save My Shoes. Director Julie Benasra set out on a quest to talk to everyone from burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese to the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie, from Christian Louboutin to Manolo Blahnik, and to all imaginable kinds of shoe fetishists around the globe to look at the phenomenon from a 'psychological, sociological, historical, cultural, and erotic perspective'. Judging from the just-released trailer, many of them have trouble putting their passion into words, with designer Pierre Hardy saying, for instance: "I don't know where this thirst for shoes comes from,

but it doesn't go through reason...for some girls, the shoe is a compulsive thing," and marketing consulting company Just Ask A Woman's Mary Lou Quinlan agrees: "This is about want, it isn't about need, you don't need 60 pairs of shoes." Hardy's colleague Louboutin even goes as far as claiming that "women have a carnal relationship with their shoes". One of the most eloquent explanations, at least in the trailer, comes from an American Vogue editor: "One element that goes on your feet can actually change the mood of your entire look, your entire behaviour. I mean, that's power." The documentary is set to launch during Paris fashion week this fall. In the meantime, short teasers can be found on the film's Facebook profile. A 'production diary' about Christian Louboutin is already live.

Too much sun can give you the blues?

Y

ou've heard of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, when dark, cold winter days trigger the blues. But recent reports point out to another depression trigger: too much sun. The Daily Mail cited up to 600,000 Britons suffering from "summer SAD", which is linked to a sensitivity to heat and hormonal imbalances that can lead to lethargy and depression. An estimated 1.5 million Americans may suffer from summertime SAD as well. MSNBC also reported on the phenomenon, noting that those affected with summer SAD sleep less, eat less, and lose weight, and may be extremely irritable during the long days of summer. For wintertime SAD, the reverse happens: More sleep, weight gain, and intense high-carb cravings often accompany a low mood. WebMD cites that about 10% of people with SAD in the wintertime also get it in reverse in the summertime. The website also notes that some studies have found that in countries near the equator, such as India, summer SAD is more common than winter SAD.

12

Summer 2011


One in five divorces blamed on

Facebook!

Socialnomics author Erik Qualman's latest video in his Social Media Revolution series is packed full of interesting social media facts and figures including these gems of wisdom: If Facebook were a country it would be the world's largest. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of Sweden, Israel, Greece, Chile, North Korea, and Australia. 69% of parents are "friends" with their children on social media. Groupon will reach $1 billion in sales faster than any company in history. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations (while only 14% trust advertisements) The most interesting of course, is the header.

TV before bed a

bad idea

L

etting young kids watch television before bed interferes with their sleep, according to a study published recently. Researchers surveyed the parents of about 600 preschool-age children, from three to five years old. Children who were allowed to watch violent television during the day (meaning children's programming that contained violent scenes) increased sleep problems, and watching TV after 7pm was linked to sleep problems, regardless of whether or not the programmes contained violence. The researchers advise that doctors ask parents to limit late-night television and media, and violent programs in general, for young kids. Be mindful of children's programming –

some shows are more suitable for seven – or eight-year-olds, not preschool children, the researchers said. Kids with TVs in their rooms watched more TV and were more likely to have sleep problems; also, the more television children watched, and the more violence they were exposed to on television, the more problems they had sleeping. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, adds to the growing body of research that finds children who watch violent TV, or even too much TV during the day, may struggle with bedtime and naptime schedules, including one from 2008 from the University of Washington that yielded similar findings.

Did you know about OA?

O

vereaters Anonymous (OA) is a programme of recovery from compulsive eating. They use the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA as adapted from AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). Meetings provide a fellowship of experience, strength and hope where members respect one another's anonymity. Here is what the Doha chapter shared with Woman Today: OA charges no dues or fees; it is selfsupporting through member contributions. OA is not just about weight loss, weight gain, obesity or diets. It addresses physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing to help relieve compulsive eating behaviours. It is not a religious organisation and does not promote any particular diet. OA members differ in many ways, but we are united by our common struggle with food obsessions and the solution we have found in the OA programme. We welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively. To learn more, see http://www.oa.org/ In Doha OA can be contacted at: Phone: 3390-1207 Email: oainqatar@gmail.com Meetings are Wednesday nights at 7:30pm. Please call or email for directions to the meetings. Please note that due to summer travel there may not be meetings in July/August.

Mind over matter

Remember the interview with Gabrielle Turner, hypnotherapist in the June issue of Woman Today? She can be contacted at thaigab@hotmail.com.

(AFP Relaxnews)

2011 Summer

13


wise

work

to

h T

e

From

Here

By Susan Lansing

14

Summer 2011

e r


Some people actually have an internal GPS ...I am sure you have seen these people who seem to gracefully glide through all the major decisions of school, marriage, career and relationships.

You are

here. I looked at the big red dot on the map of the Dubai Mall and realised that I was on the second floor in section H. As I stared at the interactive screen, I entered the first letter of the supermarket I was looking for and every shop beginning with W appeared. I pressed where I wanted to go, and magically red arrows appeared guiding me from the second floor to the ground floor in section B. I knew where I was, where I wanted to go and how to get there.

If only life were that easy. Some people actually have an internal GPS that guides them not only through shopping malls but through life. I am sure you have seen these people, who seem to gracefully glide through all the major decisions of school, marriage, career and relationships. They know who they are and where they are going. The rest of us seem to struggle with the big red dot, and on some days we are not quite sure where we are. In Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling novel Eat, Pray, Love she shares in intimate detail her personal journey to find herself. Even though I don't believe that we need to travel to Italy, India and Indonesia to figure out where we are, I am a sucker for a good read and appreciate her journey.

Who am I? In our careers and in life, defining where we

are is the first step to moving forward. This involves defining the "here" not only by what we see but by how others see it too. My business card has 'Director of Corporate Development' under my name, which is humorous since half the time I have to look at the thing to remember what my title is. It is a lot of words that really do not define what I do or who I am. z To my clients I am (hopefully) that nice blonde woman that "understands what makes learning stick". z To my peers I am probably that not-sonice blonde woman who is always challenging what they are saying and can be a real pain in the neck. z To my team I am that blonde woman who is constantly piling up the work on their desks. z To the guy who serves tea I am the blonde woman who drinks too many double espressos. But this is my impression of how they see me. In order to have a clear understanding of where we are we need to get feedback from the people around us. The only problem is that as human beings we tend to accept feedback that is consistent with our self-image and reject feedback that is inconsistent. A few years ago I attended a leadership programme where I had my boss, peers, direct reports, clients, family members, friends and house pet complete a 360-degree feedback form on me. For the

most part I agreed with the findings. The "Aha!" for me was discovering that everyone (well, everyone except me) thought that my work-life balance was off. I viewed myself as a hard-working 'get the job done' type of person. I was the one who could juggle my career, four kids, marriage and social life and never drop the ball. Others viewed me as an unhealthy workaholic. In order to move forward we all need honest and helpful feedback, which is often hard to find. We need to constantly solicit this constructive criticism by asking the people around us "how can I do better?" and gain insight on where we are in the maze of our life and career.

Finding moving targets As women, I believe that we sometimes struggle with our internal GPS due to the constant changes we experience both physically and emotionally. We are the ones who experience hormonal changes on a monthly basis as well as going through major physical changes, whether it is childbirth or menopause. Not only is the "you are here" constantly changing but often so is the place we want to go. When I first arrived in Qatar two years ago I kept a map of Doha in my car that was always in shreds due to me turning it around and around. It wasn't my lack of orienteering skills or the mapmaker's fault that this

2011 Summer

15


wise

work

large atlas of Doha resembled future confetti within a month's time. The problem was that I had moved to the fastest growing city in the Middle East and was always seeking a moving target. In less than two years I have changed offices three times without changing company or position. I have seen skyscrapers pop out of the sand and a beautiful cultural village emerge by the sea.

Defining goals Often our goals for our lives and careers are the same. We are in desperate need of defining where we want to go in order to be able to find the right path to get there. One of my

professors in university used to always say, "If you aim for nothing you will hit it every time." So how do we avoid aiming for nothing and decide where the "there" is in our career and lives? In the book, Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career, INSEAD Professor Herminia Ibarra presents a new model to help those who have invested years of time and effort in building a successful career make the leap to another that they'll find more fulfilling. Going from here to there. Career counsellors tell us that successful career change happens in a linear process that begins with first knowing what we want to

do and then using that knowledge to guide our actions toward the one "right" job or the "right" there. Based on her in-depth research on how people from all professional walks of life make career transitions, Ibarra outlines a three-part process of career change that differs from conventional wisdom: experimenting with new professional activities, connecting with new social networks, and working and re-working the story we tell ourselves and others about who we are. Based on this I would suggest three things that would and should define both our personal and professional destinations...

The company we keep What we do

Secondly, the company we keep will influence where we are going. As a mother of four I am I am an artist but as I mentioned before constantly observing my kids' friends and acquainmy business card reads differently. I studtances because I know that they will have an impact ied fine arts and even taught at a university. in shaping who they are tomorrow. In the same way, the This was my starting point for my career. people I have had the privilege to meet over the years have When I worked as Art Director of a graphic also influenced my choices of where I am today. I have lived and design firm in Boston I discovered that I was worked on four different continents. The fact that I work for a good with clients and enjoyed helping them to learning institution where there are 12 different nationalities and think through their design needs and analyse only 23 positions says a lot. If I had what they were trying to communicate. Fast stayed in the USA and never left forward and you find me in Africa, married with I would not be the same perfour kids, working for an NGO and helping women son or in the same place The stories to think through important life decisions. Touch that I am today. we tell the fast forward button again and you find me in France working at a business school organising The stories we tell will also influence our goals international programmes for executives. You can of where we want to be. By stories I mean the way we keep pushing the fast forward button but I think you describe ourselves to others. When I was in my early get the point. Where I am today is a result of experi20s I lived and worked in Mombasa, Kenya as a teacher (or menting and trying out things that I like to do. I like in Swahili "mwalimu"). I would introduce myself to people I people, creativity and academia. My 'there' career met in Mombasa saying "mwendawazimu". Unfortunately my wise is a result of trying out different things Swahili was a bit weak and until I received proper feedback I that I was already doing. did not know that the story I was telling people was not that I was a teacher but that I was a crazy person. In our professional lives how we see ourselves and what we convey about ourselves to others tends to define us. It is not the title on my business card that will define who I am to others. It is the story that I am telling about myself. We are the stories that we tell To get around in my daily life I am thankful for GPS systems and maps that about ourselves. Therefore key to defining where we are take a beating. To manoeuvre in my career I need to identify where I am and going is finding a new, more meaningful story to tell where I am going about who we are and who we are becoming. We must tell and retell our story, allowing it to evolve. Susan Lansing is a Corporate Development Consultant. She strives to develop strong, long-term and valuable relationships with the corporate world while leveraging faculty expertise.

16

Summer 2011


Measurements: down a total of 16cms or 6.3 inches

Weight: down 3kg

highs, lows and off to the retreat Alyson embarks on the second part of her transformation. She writes of the many successes and the few setbacks this past month‌

18

Summer 2011


Body Fat: down 2%

his month has been a difficult month with lots of highs and lows. the highs have made my transform journey easy and exciting. However, the lows have made it difficult to remain focused on my transform and motivated, but Nicole has always been close by to encourage me and remind me to breathe. Without her support it would have been so easy to lose focus and not get the results I have achieved this month. The lows are the same things that every woman goes through on a daily basis. Sometimes it just seems to happen all at the same time. The stress of the wind-down of the school year – writing reports, sorting out my classroom, finishing tonnes of work – coupled with moving house at short notice reduced me to a very stressed individual and at times the last thing I wanted to worry about was whether I was eating the right food or if I was going to make it to exercise. But every time I put on a pair of pants and it was loose on me, and every time a friend made a comment on how great I am looking, I was reminded of how far I have come and how terrific I am feeling. Then I would stop feeling sorry for myself and visualise what I want to look like and I would make that effort to make myself a green smoothie, phone my exercise buddy and meet her at Curves, and boy, did I feel better for having done it.

Mirror, mirror... The highs have been really fantastic highs. I have had the pleasure of having a consultation with Lynette Cowie, an image consultant. She showed me what colours suit my complexion and draw out my natural colours by holding swatches of different shades against me. It is really amazing to see how two colours that are almost identical can change one's appearance, one giving a yellow tinge to my skin and making me look ill, while the other makes my eyes pop and look totally gorgeous. I now know that I am a win-

Perfect Hues It's time for Alyson to embrace the many tips, ideas and visual tricks a stylist can offer. Who better to assist in her wonderful rediscovery than Doha's own Image and Clothing Revivalist, Lynette Cowie. "Alyson's new wardrobe should send out a clear impression of the vibrant, loving and dedicated person Alyson is today," believes Lynette. Long-since trained as both stylist and fashion designer, Lynette has the eye and knowledge of proportion, balance, colour and garment suitability, all vital ingredients in Alyson's first consultation teachings. Colour being the spice of life, Lynette served up a spicy appetiser of sound colour advice. The colour-coding analysis is all about warm and cool undertones, and identifying the correct hues based on a client's complexion. "We also tackled how Alyson can embrace and celebrate her womanly curves in terms of colour, fabrics, style lines and prints," adds Lynette. "Being fairly short and fuller-figured, I've advised Alyson to keep her garments tailored and monochromatic. These two style 'rules' will help her appear slimmer and taller by creating an uninterrupted ner with cool colours. I also seem to favour more of the classic style of clothing, leaning towards the romantic with a dash of the dramatic. We also looked at the shape of my figure and I really learned something here. I have a triangle shape (I always thought I was more pear). This means that I must be careful of wearing two different colours. I should try and wear a more monotone colour and use accessories to break the outfit. I should wear more fitted pairs of pants and stay away from wide pants and long wide skirts. Lynette also pointed out that a shift dress and

bodyline. "Accentuating Alyson's best full-figured feature, her bust, is our starting point," explains Lynette. "We'll veer away form high necklines, which can make one look bigger-busted, shorter and heavier, opting for styles that allow for a generous but modest décolletage." Working with this season's runway trend of monochromatic jewel tones, Alyson was shown how to mix and match in the same colour family. By playing with different garment textures and tone-ontone prints, Alyson's look can become streamlined and fresh, with a fashionable edge. Alyson – equipped with a purse-sized colour chart, personal styleboard plus a variety of tantalising tips, ideas and wardrobe tricks – can't wait for Lynette's hands-on wardrobe consultation. "After all, personal style begins with a healthy serving of knowledge!" concludes Lynette. For more information or to contact Lynette visit www.lynettecowie.com. cross-over style would definitely enhance my figure. I cannot wait for the next part of my journey with Lynette, a total clean-out of my wardrobe, and then shop with my own personal image consultant for a new wardrobe!

Thai escape The most exciting part of my journey which has kept me VERY focused and motivated, is my trip to Thailand to The Spa Resort for a detox and cleanse. I am really looking forward to this time and I plan to use the 14 days to cleanse my mind, body and soul. My

2011 Summer

19


Measurements: down a total of 16cms or 6.3 inches

Weight: down 3kg nine-year-old son Craig will be going to South Africa to visit family and my 15year-old, Matthew, is in England with good friends, so I know that they are being taken good care of and I can just focus on myself for the 14 days I am in Thailand. I am a little nervous about the colonic cleanse, but I am keeping in mind that it's very good for me and everyone who I have spoken to who has experienced it say that you feel fantastic afterwards – and I am hoping I will lose a few more kilos. I will give you all a full update in the next edition.

The icing When I went to weigh in, I was very nervous because of the difficult month I had experienced. I really did not feel that I was going to do well. I was very pleasantly surprised and more than

Health Journeys are what Nicole specialises in. It's a holistic approach to wellness that empowers and transforms lives in a way that is individual and sustainable. Nicole created WT Transform to inspire everyone with the "I can do it" attitude to health and wellbeing, and to showcase a holistic approach to creating your best life. Along with Transform, Nicole has created More Raw – a facebook group that is guiding participants through detox and cleansing, and also regularly takes individuals and groups to detoxing retreats in exotic locations worldwide. Nicole van Hattem is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach, Master NLP Practitioner, writer, speaker, presenter and Corporate Wellness Consultant. Nicole is also the Founding Director of Art of Abundant Living and runs a thriving health coaching practice. Contact Nicole by email: nicole@ artofabundantliving.com Nicole transformed her own life and as a result her body transformed too. To read her story and view the before and after pictures, please visit www.artofabundantliving.com -Success Stories.

22

Summer 2011

Coaching updates Session 5: More celebrations at the first session of the month (fifth in total). Alyson is truly shrinking and looking wonderful. Her confidence levels and energy are up – her weight, overall centimetres and body fat percentage are down. With changes happening in her mind and body daily now, it was time to begin the transformation of Alyson's personal style. As Alyson still has several months to go on her wellness journey and further body changes will occur, we agreed that it would increase Alyson's motivation levels further to have a fresh perspective on her style and celebrate her body while it is transforming. Step one is to meet with Lynette Cowie, Doha's Image and Clothing Revivalist. We reviewed her overall goals for her wellness journey and discussed areas that were working and those that could be put on hold or adjusted slightly. We also reviewed the various retreat package options she can choose from at The Spa Resort. Alyson will be enjoying two weeks in Thailand in July at The Spa Resort in Chiang Mai. In the first week of her retreat she will do the "You've changed my life" package, which includes juice cleansing and colon hydrotherapy, sauna, steam, daily massage, yoga, nature walks and healthy lifestyle classes. This is then followed by a week of gourmet raw food, meditation, yoga, raw food classes and daily massages. A fantastic way for Alyson to clear her mind of all of life's stress, clean her body of toxins and reconnect with nature and her spirituality.

Session 6: This month is a huge one for Alyson at work and home. With all the activities and commitments, it's time to start getting her body prepared for the July detox retreat in Thailand. A simple way to fit this in with Alyson's current lifestyle challenges as a full time working mum, is through the Facebook group More Raw. More Raw is a fun, easy, detox cleanse designed to give the digestive system a break, remove stored toxins from the body and fast-track the move towards increasingly healthy food choices. More Raw is an online community of people who have committed to a monthly juice cleanse where the cleanse process is guided by me each day. Once Alyson has joined this group she joins other participants who support each other, share successes and challenges and receive daily tips and recipes to super-boost their cleansing and their journey to More Raw. This session we discussed at length the importance of bringing in more green leafy vegetables into Alyson's diet, especially important before, during and after a detox. A quick, fun and tasty way to do this is by adding green smoothies to Alyson's daily food intake. A green smoothie is a mixture of water, leafy greens and fruits. The ingredients are thoroughly blended with water in a blender. It is important to note that a green smoothie is a blended drink and not a juice. You do not need a juicer to make a delicious green smoothie drink. A blender is used to break down the cellulose structure in the greens, thereby unlocking their valuable nutrients. Smoothies are fast and easy to make and will compliment Alyson's diet or lifestyle perfectly – and the family can enjoy them too!


fitness

wardrobe

wellbeing

beauty & spa

partners

Body Fat: down 2%

Benefits of Green SmoothieS Feel Better! We all know that adding large amounts of leafy greens and fresh fruits to our diet will only have us feeling better.

Get Valuable Nutrition Green smoothies combine an excellent unprocessed source of fibre, minerals and vitamins that are very easily digested and absorbed by the body.

Balance the Body's pH The Standard American Diet (SAD) of processed and packaged foods, breads, pastas, cheese and meat creates an over-acidic condition in the body which can be a breeding ground for disease. Green smoothies help to alkalise the body and bring our overacidic bodies back into balance.

Increase Energy According to the teachings of Dr Ann Wigmore, consuming chlorophyll is like receiving a blood transfusion of pure, clean, natural energy. The leafy greens in green

pleased with my results. My shining moment this month had to be when Matthew came and stood next to me while I folded washing and he quietly said "Hey Mom, I can really see you are losing weight. It is really starting to show. I am so proud of you, Mom!" I got a huge lump in my throat, but I felt so proud of myself and how far I have come. I still have way to go but I know that I am going to get there and at the end of this road the reward is health, both inside and out. I feel like a caterpillar who has been in her cocoon for a long time, but now the butterfly is starting to emerge slowly but steadily. I am looking forward to seeing the fully emerged butterfly.

smoothies add a regular 'infusion' of chlorophyll into the diet.

Lose Weight When your body starts to get the nutrition that it so desperately needs, you will instinctively start to crave more healthy foods as your body comes back to its own natural, healthy balance.

Save Time Green smoothies take less than five minutes to make. And a blender is fast and easy to clean (unlike a juicer). You can even make them in advance as they keep for up to two days in the refrigerator.

Much Easier than Salad Have you ever tried eating a whole head of spinach, a basket of blueberries, a banana and two apples in a day? Blend it all up and you will be saving time and effort, and no matter what else you eat throughout the day you will still be getting so much more nutrition than before.

Foot Care Centre

Get Fibre! Green smoothies, as opposed to juices, are considered to be a complete food because they still contain fibre. Consuming fibre in the diet is essential for proper elimination.

Digest Well Green smoothies are easy to digest. A blender is a perfect set of teeth! Smoothies are full of digestive enzymes. Many people experience better digestion and elimination just from adding 500ml of green smoothie to their diet daily.

Plenty of Protein! Really? A cow living in a natural environment eating green grass will grow to weigh hundreds of pounds. Where do cows get their protein? Yes – from the power of Greens! A leafy green smoothie contains an abundance of proteins and it is easier for the body to digest than meat.

The Foot Care Centre (FCC) showroom houses comfortable foot wear from brands Scholl and Aetrex, as well as foot accessories and foot analysis machines for adults and children. Foot care products include moisturising creams, lotions, specialised plasters and other foot hygiene products. In foot accessories, anti-virus stockings, diabetes socks and gel insoles are available. FCC also has Chiropody services rooms that offer professional manicure and pedicure, foot massages and other foot treatments in a highly sterilised environment. In Qatar, FCC is open at City Center, The Centre, and Lulu Hypermarket at Gharaffa. It has also opened its showroom in Bahrain.

2011 Summer

23


Measurements: down a total of 16cms or 6.3 inches

Weight: down 3kg

Body Fat: down 2%

Why men don't listen and women can't read maps

What's Alyson Reading?

According to authors Barbara and Allan Pease, science now confirms that "the way our brains are wired and the hormones pulsing through our bodies are the two factors that largely dictate, long before we are born, how we will think and behave. Our instincts are simply our genes determining how our bodies will behave in given sets of circumstances." The book explores how these differences affect relationships and shows that understanding our basic urges can lead to greater self-awareness and improved relations between the sexes.

Wellbeing – the Ultimate Indulgence Album

What's playing in her ears?

The album comprises 70 tracks of the most beautiful relaxing music designed to let your mind drift in to a sense of calmness and wellbeing. The album CD features a beautifully illustrated 16-page booklet with detailed tips and notes on how to de-stress and relax in order to achieve the sense of wellbeing.

sponsored by

Following Alyson

... As she shares her personal journey on her Wordpress and Twitter

June 9, 2011: Back on track The reason I got overweight and unhealthy in the first place was that I stopped looking after myself. I would put everybody and everything else first and me and my needs just fell by the wayside because when I got around to me I was just too exhausted to do anything and to quote my husband "it would go into the too hard basket." And so over the years I got bigger and more unhappy with myself and unhealthier... What is it with women that we forget to put ourselves first and take care of ourselves? June 14, 2011: Ego boost from a friend This evening a very good friend of our family who we have not seen for ages came over for coffee. When he walked in the door he stopped and stared and looked at me for a few seconds and then said "WOW, Alyson what have you done? You look different! You have not only lost

weight but you are glowing too, you are looking fantastic!" June 30, 2011: Out of the mouths of babes Craig said, "I am very proud of my mom, She is looking beautiful and she has lost lots of weight." He then added, "But I don't care how fat my mom is, I will always love her, she is the most beautiful woman in the world." His statement has just made me more determined to lose the weight and get my body healthy... July 2, 2011: Thailand here I come Although I have never been on a detox before it sounds incredible but also a little scary. The part that is scary is the colon hydrotherapy. Yes I am going to have my insides cleaned out, but I believe the benefits are great, such as, the quick release of body toxins, increase of energy and vitality, natural weight loss and one I really love – a flatter stomach!!!

Mobile partners :

24

Summer 2011

ON Twitter #@AALNicole #wttransform @WomanToday 9 more sleeps till Thailand. Had delicious veggie stir fry for dinner with rice yum. @AALNicole @WomanToday going shopping to stock up on healthy veggies and fruits so I can get back on track after move. @aalnicole #wttransform 1st move over, totally exhausted wonder how many calories burnt unpacking boxes. Need retreat2 relax @AALNicole #wttransform@WomanToday had info meet 4 spa retreat info can't wait to go. Next stage of transform total detox mind body and soul. Looking forward to facial today at dados. Finding it hard to exercise, very busy time of year at work Follow her on: wttransform.wordpress.com wttransform


women

worldwide

Demystifying

traditi

By Sindhu nair

Finding Dr Rachel Hajar in the Hamad Hospital maze is indeed a herculean task. But once you enter her haven within the Cardio Block – she is the Director of non-invasive Cardiology – the chaos outside dissipates.

P

otted plants, medical brochures, shelves lined with books, paintings and some personal photographs – the room is a reflection of the person who occupies it. Serene and soft-spoken, Dr Rachel manages admirably the family life she loves and the profession she is dedicated to. But it is not her profession that has put her in the media spotlight; it is her recently published memoir; My life in Doha: Between Dream and Reality, that has made her a public figure. The irony is that even with a published memoir, Dr Rachel is very much a private person, someone who hates to put her family under

26

ns

Summer 2011

public glare. Her memoir is therefore a sensitive, 'culturally correct' account of a woman who embraces a foreign religion and explores the customs and new surroundings she was made part of following her marriage. In 1974, a young Filipina doing her residency programme in Trinity Lutheran Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri met the Qatari resident whom she would eventually marry and set up a family with. In this book, she probes the many differences, challenges and opportunities this union extended to her, with a curious and tolerant mind. Woman Today talks to her about her book, the country and the people who inspired her...


You have given an insightful peek into a Qatari household. How difficult or challenging was the process? I did not set out to portray a Qatari household. Some friends who were familiar with my writing style suggested that I write a book. My Life In Doha: Between Dream and Reality is a memoir of my life in Doha in the context of Arab Islamic culture. In this book I wrote about my personal experience and how I met my husband and came to live in Qatar; getting to know my in-laws; recollections of my early experiences, such as my first encounter with the black face veil worn by the women; and my observations and insights into another culture. I wrote about the social changes, what it is to live within the heart of a culture not your own. I have written about the evolution of my perspective about the region and its people and how the experience has enriched my life. The book has multilayered themes, contrast of cultures, not only Arab and Western but also Christian and Islamic, and science and tradition. It also has a medical angle, since both my husband and I are physicians. You have loads of information on Qatari customs and habits in the book. Did you have a diary to assist you? I started my book in the early part of 2008, and it took me 18 months to complete. My sources were my diary, letters to friends, and articles that I've written on certain aspects of Arab culture which have been published in magazines before. Many details on the topics I wrote about are accumulated information I gleaned through my years of living here. What is the one tool that became indispensable as you started the process of writing? Was it fortitude, patience or insight? I have to say patience and humour! Humour allowed me to get through a particularly overwhelming day. As they say, "laughter is the best medicine" – and it is! What encouragement did you get from your family members? My husband was always very supportive. He was patient in explaining many local social customs. In addition, he gave me very interesting information and was always willing to explain and clarify many local and regional customs and traditions whenever I had questions. What is the one custom that you hold dear? There are many practices here that I have come to treasure, such as fasting during the month of Ramadan. Since my first Ramadan in Qatar, I have spent all subsequent Ramadans in Qatar. For me Ramadan is not quite the same outside Qatar. Ramadan is different from the other months. It is a month filled with rituals: fasting from sunrise to sunset, preparation of special foods such as harees and thareed, breaking of the fast with dates and reading the Qur'an daily, among others. I especially take pleasure in breaking the fast with dates, feeling a kinship with other Muslims. My husband grows date-palms in our garden, and a day or so before the start of Ramadan we distribute dried dates to relatives, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. I know that Muslims read the Qur'an during the month of Ramadan, and I also try to join in this activity by reading the English version of the Qur'an. I also enjoy listen-

I love

I was immediately drawn to the adhan al maghreb (sunset call to prayer); I feel its magnetism. There is a chapter in my book "describing its beauty and my fascination with the adhan. Listening to the adhan enabled me to reflect. For me, it is a small window to spirituality that I cherish.

Segregation works in schools

"Single-sex education in many cultures is advocated on the basis of tradition, as well as religion, as in Qatar and the Arabian Gulf; it is also practised in many parts of the world. In fact in the USA there is a move to single-sex education, as the students seem to perform better. The number of public schools offering single-sex classrooms rose from 11 in 2002 to 540 in 2009. A study in the UK involving more than 700,000 girls revealed that those in all-female schools did better than those who attended mixed schools. The conclusion was that pupils of all abilities are more likely to succeed if they go to single-sex schools."

ing to televised readings of the Quran from mosques. I love the rhythm, tone and tempo of it. You had a beautiful relationsip with your father-in-law, Sheikh Ahmed bin Hajar, who was a very eminent personality in the country. I loved my father-in-law. I called him Abui, just like his children did. Abui passed away nine years ago. I still miss him. He was a remarkable man, intelligent, fair and just. He was a keen observer of human nature. He was an Islamic scholar as well as a judge in Qatar. He was very tolerant. He had an inquisitive mind and he was always interested to know my views on various topics. He had a healthy sense of humour, and my husband must have inherited that trait from him. My habits amused him, like how I would sling a bag over my shoulder, perhaps because he found it unusual. What I kept inside my bag was a source of wonder and amusement for him. I can truly say that my father-in-law liked me and regarded me with affection. You seem to be mystified but never uncomfortable with the traditions around you. What do you attribute this to? Mystified implies confused and bewildered, which I was not. I admit that some customs, such as the full face veil, were initially puzzling, but I always tried to understand a particular custom by seeking its historical origin. There is wisdom in history. Looking into the history of a social custom or tradition gives us better understanding and insight on the practice.

2011 Summer

27


Women in Qatar

Oyster Fund has been set up by Dr Rachel to financially assist cardiac patients in need, and the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to this Fund. The book is available at Virgin Megastores, Jarir and Abu Karbal.

Education and exposure to the outside world are responsible for the social changes, especially in the role of women. Education has changed the role expectation for women in society. Few Qatari women pursued a career 20 years ago. Nowadays, more and more Qatari women are joining the workforce. This is a positive change, but only if the woman is able to juggle motherhood and the demands of a career. However, if the mother-role is compromised by working, then the effect is negative, for the family becomes dysfunctional. I think that if a woman is a mother, her primary role is to bring up well-adjusted children who grow up as responsible adults. If she can fulfil this role and still work, that is laudable and I would encourage her. Around the world, the home and raising children are still the responsibility of the woman, while the man's role is to be the breadwinner. There are instances where the roles are reversed, depending on the circumstances and needs of the family, but such role reversal is not usual. I am not an admirer of the western model of single parenthood. You need a father and a mother to bring up children to be responsible and happy adults.

How did you fit into the system of segregation in the traditional household? Do your children still follow the rules? This system of segregation is also followed in many schools and work places. I have no problem with segregation of the sexes, and my children follow what is the norm of Qatari society. I see nothing wrong with the concept. I'm a very private person, and I find that this practice gives women a lot of privacy. I went to a Catholic university in college (premedical school) where classes for boys and girls were separate. When I was a student, the exclusive universities and colleges in my country were single-sex schools. In the workplace, such as in Hamad Medical Corporation for example, women and men physicians are evaluated according to their qualifications, their degrees and experience. For the same post or job, men and women enjoy the same privileges. I would not say that men and women are equal, for the two sexes are different and society's expectation of roles is not the same for both sexes. Healthcare and Qatar, where do we stand? What are the changes that have taken place? I'm a cardiologist. I have been involved primarily in patient care. However, my husband, Dr Hajar Ahmed Hajar Al-Binali, was the Undersecretary of Health from 1981 to 1993 and Minister of Health from 1999 to 2005. Therefore I am aware of the changes that he implemented during his term. I am proud to say that my husband was responsible for catapulting medical care in Qatar into the 21st century. He upgraded medical care services to keep up with modern progress in medicine, with a resulting decline in child mortality (from 107/1000 live births in the 1970s to 14/1000 in 2000), and an increase in life expectancy (from 58.7 years in the 1970s to 73.6 years in 2005). He implemented an appointment system for the hospital; built satellite health centres; recruited highly trained senior physicians; improved the health infrastructure and implemented health strategies to enhance the country's healthcare system such as the adoption of a nationwide vaccination programme; put into operation screening of the labour force in Qatar for major communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS; and raised the public's awareness of health risks such as diabetes, and risky health habits such as smoking. These are just some of the reforms he undertook. Many of his strategies are still in place. Many of his ac-

28

Summer 2011

complishments in the health sector were realised with the support of HH the Emir. There is no doubt – and no one can dispute – that Qatari and non-Qatari citizens benefitted from his health reforms. His term in office was the Camelot of healthcare in Qatar. How would you describe yourself? Filipina, Qatari, Muslim? I am ME – Rachel. A passport is a legal document issued by a government which certifies, for the purpose of international travel, the identity and nationality of its holder. Identity is closely linked to an individual's heritage, culture, upbringing, social class, and religion. A person must know who he is to find his place in society. You've embraced new traditions – some for the sake of your children (as mentioned in your book) – and your life has changed dramatically. Does this make you feel as if you have taken on another persona? Has that ever confused or grieved you? No. I have never felt I have taken on another persona. I have always been "myself". I've never had an identity crisis. I know who I am: "This above all: to thine own self be true." Did you convert? Ash-hadu ann la ILAHA illa-ALLAH. Ash-hadu ann Muhammedan Rasul-ALLAH. How did Qatari women welcome you? Qatari women – and Qataris in general – are warm, generous, hospitable and welcoming. I have always been welcomed into their homes with open arms. Qatar is my home now. Living here and learning about the customs and traditions of the country has enriched my life


women

worldwide

that awful sound... What didn't kill Al Jazeera journalist Rosie Garthwaite strengthened her to help others who found themselves in a volatile environment, writes Rory Coen.

30

Summer 2011


"You really have to listen to the locals... you actually need to listen to them more than your editor!"

F

irst glance at Rosie Garthwaite, and she wouldn't strike you as the kind of person you'd want beside you in a trench. Nor did her compatriot Florence Nightingale, I suppose – and she was credited with saving many lives during the Crimean War – so I began chatting with an open mind regarding her book, How to Avoid Being Killed in a War Zone. Her loquacious nature prompted me to feel she had real affection for reporting in dangerous terrain. I didn't need to surface much during the conversation, as she described candidly the meaning and force of the book, before detailing some of her own experiences. However, she was quick to dismiss these as trivial compared to those of more senior war journalists. "I didn't write this book from the point of view of experience; I wrote it from the point of view of naivety," she said. "I'm naive enough to think that this book has to be written, whilst it's just any other day for a war journalist twenty years down the line. "I have very little experience really, just a few months here and there in Basra and Baghdad. I interviewed 150 people, so without them the book would obviously be very weak. All I have are my early mistakes." Mistakes which she didn't want others to make. After graduating from college, she immediately took up the challenge of working for the Baghdad Bulletin, as green as ivy, and this is how the book is premised. She made these obvious errors of judgement at critical times, but lived to perpetuate the tale. "I wanted a book that would tell people what

to expect. Living in a war zone is practically about living in a terrible environment, with very little access to food, transport, medical supplies, and water," she exclaimed. "In Basra, every day I would have to wait for the UNICEF truck to come down the road before charging at it with all the other locals. "There's possibly a perception that these wars are fought in trenches – like World War1 – where it's all action, day after day. This can't be further from the truth. People have to rest at some stage; they can't keep running!" she laughed. "The reason we have all those letters and poems from earlier wars is even back then there was a lot of waiting around. Things haven't changed in that regard." So how did she survive in these war zones? What were the most poignant nuggets of wisdom she learned? "You really have to listen to the locals. They live this life you are experiencing every day – it's normality for them – so if you can show empathy, you will better understand the situation you face. You'll automatically make better decisions. They think long-term as they still have to be around in three weeks' time to look after their families. You actually need to listen to them more than your editor!" The realities of war reporting and journalism are never too far away however, for all the waiting and wondering that's encountered. There's a bloody and deadly conflict ensuing and there's always an air of inevitability that it will spark up again in your locality, and you must be prepared. What you see can often be too much. "I used to work for Reuters – who are very fact based – so I had to do actual body-counts for my report, which meant going into the

morgue to see these bodies. "Now I can't actually remember doing this, but I know I did, so I kind of imagine myself doing it, even though they're not quite accurate reflections. The brain is a very clever thing – it can phase out things that aren't so pleasant sometimes." Indeed. But thankfully, it retained enough to help her propagate her advice – and that of dozens of other war journalists – to those who feel conscious of where they might be going, be it an environment of war, or just rough and inconsistent terrain. There's advice in it for everyone. "It's obviously not just for journalists – it's written mostly by journalists, alright – but there's a passage from a Somali pirate and an Afghan captain in there too – it's for everyone! Some people think it's romantic going into these situations with just an apple and a windup radio, but that's just ridiculous. It's better to be prepared and, thinking back, I wish it was something I took more seriously." The book covers war topics such as coping with gunfire, bombings and missiles, as well as surviving landmines and chemical perils, but also such general, but often misjudged, items, as staying fit and beating stress, and keeping safe in a crowd. It's your one-stop-shop for surviving a war zone!

2011 Summer

31


women

worldwide

Ladi e No m s of

ore a p Harle illion r y ider

You hear the roar of the engines from a distance and you know they have arrived – Maria, Margarita, and Dinky – sitting smart and proud on their beautiful beasts, the Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The trio share with Cassey Oliveira their love for bikes and their passion for riding.

r ; or k ng e tro ted w s ria mina ny in Ma d e al e -d o o m pa a m c , as a m ant li n g ily h ing in nsult travel m fa co ys or k ffee H.O.G s of w eering e enjo y t n S f th n g e n g i , sh ria part o challe I, an e d riding . a e e M ng a s th COW g an anc Bei enjoy nt at orkin atin d e L she ironm ides w and s g v e n i n d e ar. B k ri Qat sebac hor

Ride safe

Things to remember on the road

Wear your protective gear – boots, helmet, leather jacket and gloves. Don't underestimate the traffic. Always be alert, as most drivers don't realise the speed of the bike. When you are unsure of what the person ahead of you is doing on the road, go past him. Always carry water and a Swiss army knife with you.

32

Summer 2011


Tips for maintaining bikes Check the tyre pressure. Make sure you have oil and gas in your tank. Regular services. When cleaning, don't use excessive water; the water here is aggressive towards metal. Start your engine frequently, otherwise the oil and grunge will settle at the bottom and pass through your engine when you start it after a long gap.

Margarita Zuniga

The three bikes that Margarita owns – a 120 Suzuki, a 2009 Sportster XL Low and a 2011 Deluxe Classic – only prove her passion for riding. A single mother of four, Margarita is an administrator at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also the Alliance Leader for the Qatar Professional Women Network.

Quick takes To ride or be ridden?

Ladies, why do you love your bikes? "Bikes are more reliable than men," says Dinky, and the others snigger in agreement. Jokes apart, she continues: "My best time to commune with God is on the motorcycle, as you can't hear anybody else. It's only Him that I talk to on a long road trip." For Margarita, the Harley helps her connect with the elements of the universe. "Feeling the wind hit my face and sing to me; riding in the rain with its wet kisses dropping all over me; stopping on the side of the road to light a bonfire in the winter; seeing the shiny stars while riding in the evenings – it's amazing!" Maria says it's the smell of freedom that she loves and that the bike bestows upon her. "It's just you controlling the horsepower; you feel stronger." Initially, Maria was a nervous wreck when it came to bike-riding. "I always wanted to ride a bike, but felt it was dangerous, especially with the traffic in Doha. It was only when my friend got a bike that I felt like getting one too. After much practice my fear

was defeated." Margarita too overcame her fear of bikeriding when she learnt that her younger sister was riding as well. "I realised that if my younger sister could ride, so could I. "It's easy now. I determine the speed and the right gear, plan the line through the corner and keep looking ahead as much as possible." "Riding a bike also depends on a person's attitude," adds Dinky. "There is something about a person's character that tells you if he/she can ride a motorbike." And she notes the same in Margarita and Maria – the attitude of believing in oneself. "We all are strong women. To survive a motorbike you must be strong." Not just a bike; a lifestyle When the Harley owners group – popularly termed H.O.G – was first created in Qatar, it comprised merely 30 members, most of whom were expats. The family has now grown to nearly 150 members with many nationals joining in too. Since most live with their fami-

Dinky: I don't care as long as I am on a bike. Maria: To ride. I prefer having my own control. Margarita: To ride. I don't think I would ride pillion again.

Best Harley moment

Dinky: Taking new riders one on one for a ride and teaching them the signals. Maria: When I take off my helmet only to find people surprised to see a lady biker. Margarita: When you take the lead, especially from a group of male bikers.

Message to other ladies

Dinky: Don't be afraid to ride. Your confidence will soar and your social life will take off. Maria: It just takes a step to put yourself out there and you will love it. Margarita: Don't fear the fear, just do it. Believe in yourself.

2011 Summer

33


To be a H.O.G. member visit the Ladies of Harley (LOH) Qatar page on Facebook or walk in to the Harley-Davidson showroom in Wakrah.

Biking terms Sweeper:

The most experienced motorcyclist, who rides at the back of the group to oversee any danger.

Road captain or lead bike:

A motorcyclist who rides at the front and relays information to the group via hand signals. He/she determines the group's direction, speed, choice of lane and formation.

Grab a handful: Speed up.

Parade formation:

A formation in which all the motorcyclists in a group ride two abreast.

Staggered formation:

A formation in which the lead bike rides on the left side of the track, the next bike on the right side of the track, the next bike in the left side of the track, and so on.

Dinky Willoughby

Dinky doesn't own a car; she has been riding for 36 years and has never been without a bike. Working for Road & Dust Solutions, she has been educating people about protecting the environment and reducing dust when building roads. She calls herself a rebel.

Hand signals

Stop

Point to the tank.

Left arm straight out, move up and down.

lies, the H.O.G. meets early Friday mornings for a group ride so that by 10 am everyone gets home. It's not just the Qatar Chapter; H.O.G members share a strong bond with their counterparts from every other country. Members meet up during international rallies just to ride together. The H.O.G. is also committed to spreading awareness through rallies for several causes – Say No To Drugs, breast cancer awareness, autism, blood donations and fund-raising. Last year the group raised approximately $75,000 (QR273,000) from the region to support cancer awareness. Maria was always aware of the H.O.G. family, but never guessed its size. "I didn't know the fam-

34

Summer 2011

Slow down

Single file:

A formation in which all the bikers ride on one side of a track.

Ready-toride Thumbs up.

U-turn

Left hand circles in air above helmet.

ily would be large, friendly and helpful. I am happy to be a part of this huge network, being together and doing things together." "It's the only organisation that I know of where people of all ages, classes and communities are treated equally. The person next to me could be a millionaire and I would never even know it," adds Margarita. "It also doesn't matter which bike you own; anyone with a two-wheeler will start a conversation with you," says Dinky. "You would never see people in cars doing that." On bikes the trio have explored the many treasures of the country – little towns on the outskirts of the city, military camps, a beautiful beach off Abu Samra road with no sand,

Single file formation

Finger above the helmet, pointing to the sky.

Staggered formation

Index and little finger above the helmet, pointing to the sky. Also known as "Hook 'em, Horns" sign.

but only shells and herds of camels walking towards them. (Camels are frightened by the exhaust sound, they warn.) "Nothing can beat a really fast ride to set right a day that has gone completely wrong," says Dinky. Though most bikers like her are crazy for speed, Margarita and Maria share other preferences. For them it's about the attitude, the chrome, the metal, the sound and a connection with the universe's elements that their respective Harleys provide. The chat ends, helmets on, the engines roar and the trio are back to riding again, each content with her own Harley. It's hard to say, though, whether they chose their bikes or their bikes chose them!


Food Fetish What was meant to be a matter of sustenance has now become a multibillion dollar industry that feeds off our tastes, our insecurities, our health concerns and, oddly, even our biases.

From our hunter-gatherer origins to a canned and processed existence, it's an uneasy relationship that we share with our food. How many of us sit down for a meal and truly enjoy and savour it?

How many of us are capable of walking past a book shelf and not be tempted to browse the fad diets section? How many of us really understand what FOOD means to us?

As always, we have more questions than answers. And what better time to explore our food obsessions than over Ramadan and Eid? 2011 Summer

37


FoodFetish

Let every morsel hold a meaning The art of mindful eating By jacki woodworth

O

f all the relationships we have in life, one of the most complicated is the one we have with FOOD. For those rare individuals who 'eat to live', the relationship is clear – food sustains me, I need calories to generate energy therefore I consume what I need and typically not much more. For those who 'live to eat', it can be like a torrid love affair from a bad romance novel...brief moments of unbridled passion followed by intense feelings of guilt, shame, anger, regret, confusion, sadness and pain. Why is it so complicated? According to a New York Times article published in April 2010, the International Association for the Study of Obesity, ranked Qatar sixth

38

Summer 2011

in the world for prevalence of obesity with the highest rate of obesity among boys in the Middle East and North African region. The same article noted local Qatari health experts predicting that 73% of Qatari women and 69% of the men would qualify as obese within the next five years. The International Diabetes Federation saw Qatar ranked fifth last year in terms of the proportion of people aged 20 to 79 with diabetes. We are well-educated about the risks of overeating, and we have the access and the means to endless approaches to change and yet the problem increases. What is this disconnection that keeps us trapped in our dysfunctional relationships with food. We are so distracted by the hustle and bustle of life that we have liter-

ally disconnected. We eat in ways that are bad for us and feel guilty later – mindless sequence that doesn't make any sense at all if we slow down long enough to really think about it.

Mindlessness Have you ever driven somewhere and then realise you didn't notice the scenery you drove by? John Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness expert and author, calls this mindless phenomenon "automatic pilot". It's when life is passing you by while you are somewhere else lost in thought. When we're lost in thought we're dwelling either in the past, or in the future, either way, we're not PRESENT, in this current moment. We've all read something only to 'tune back in'


and realise our eyes have skimmed the words on the page, but the mind was somewhere else (let's hope you're not doing that now...). When we're living on automatic pilot, life is passing us by and we don't even notice. This can happen in all aspects of life, from reading to driving to having a conversation to eating. Noticing being in that pattern of automatic pilot is the first step to becoming more mindful. As it relates to food, becoming more mindful begins when we slow down and begin to notice our true relationship to food.

Want to learn more about?

Check out the experts in the field, for their books, articles, recordings (websites, podcasts): John Kabat Zinn (his book Full Catastrophe Living is a good place to start) Jack Kornfield Pema Chodrin Tara Brach Thich Nhat Hanh & Dr Lillan Cheung – Savor; Mindful Eating, Mindful Life Try the Apple Meditation as described on Oprah's website at: http://www.oprah.com/ spirit/Apple-Meditation

Are You Eating Mindlessly? Eating past the point of fullness, sometimes to the point of physical discomfort Eating when you are not actually hungry ("emotional eating" means mindlessly eating when sad, lonely, angry, tired resentful etc.) Binge eating (especially on "comfort foods" that are high in sugar, fat, and/or salt) Eating while 'on the run' (i.e. in the car) Disconnected or 'tuned out' eating (in front of the television, computer, book or otherwise distracted from what and how much you put in your body)

Mindfulness Mindfulness is about paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally (Kabat Zinn). This involves developing a regular, 'formal' mindfulness practice by establishing quiet, then consciously focusing awareness on an object of attention (i.e. breath, sound, physical sensations etc.). Mindfulness also involves 'informal' practice, which takes it into the realm of everyday life. Establishing both formal and informal practice helps us become more focused, balanced, alert and present. We become aware of the interconnections between mind, body, emotions and the world around us. This awareness allows us to begin to see how we relate to things both internal and external to ourselves, including that complicated relationship with food. Building a mindfulness practice is much like building a workout regime. In a work out regime we exercise regularly building strength, stamina, fitness and flexibility. When developing a mindfulness practice we strengthen our abilities to focus, concentrate, and be less reactive to inner and outer turmoil. We cultivate an awareness of self, as we begin to recognise pat-

terns of thought and see them for what they really are, patterns that represent our own internal dialogues (mind states), and not necessarily reality. This insight and awareness can help us see the nature of the food relationship, opening our awareness of mindless eating patterns and allowing a new relationship begin to unfold.

Mindful Eating Tips: Just eat. Turn off distractions: TV, computer, iPod, newspaper, book or magazine! Before you take the first bite, close your eyes. As you take your next breath, pay attention to it. Allow your mind to settle by focusing your attention on your breath. Notice that thoughts about food are just thoughts, not actions. There are no calories in a food thought. Begin to see these for what they are and remind yourself that you do not have to act on a thought. Begin to explore that space between thinking about food and actually taking that first bite. Be present in the eating experience. Slow down. NOTICE colours, aromas, tastes, textures, and temperatures. Ask yourself, "Am I enjoying this food"? If the answer is yes, GREAT! If the answer is no, then ask yourself: why am I eating it? Watch for patterns. Ask yourself, "Am I eating because I'm hungry and it is time for me to eat, or is there some other (i.e. emotional) reason"? Watch

for patterns. Take a moment of Gratitude before your first bite. A simple gesture of thanks to all the human efforts involved in bringing this food to you (i.e. people who planted, harvested, processed, packaged, shipped, prepared, served, delivered etc.) Pause between bites. Put your fork down, notice what it feels like to chew and swallow the food. When we eat more slowly we also give the brain a chance to register the sensation of fullness, encouraging stopping BEFORE over full. Be present in the preparing of meals. Notice the subtle nuances of pealing, slicing, chopping, stirring. There's a little mantra that goes: 'Hands busy, head empty, heart open'. Try it. I use it frequently while preparing meals for my family, it helps me stay PRESENT in the actual process of preparing the food, helps keep my mind from wandering off and adds the most important ingredient – love

Join a Mindfullness Course here in Doha. Jacki Woodworth and Tina Mogensen teach Mindfulness courses at Yama Yoga Studios. The next course begins in September 2011. See www.yamayogastudios.com

2011 Summer

39


FoodFetish

Diet Debacles By Shalinee Bharadwaj

Beverly Hills Diet, Atkins Diet, 5-day Miracle Diet, The Cheater's Diet, Dr Bernstein' Diet, Dr Kushner's Diet, Detox diets...the list is endless. Each claims putting an end to our flabby woes, carving our abs to perfection. However, even if we cleverly surpass getting enticed by a Marilyn Monroe figure, most of the diet plans fail to achieve the minimum. What turns diet plans into fads leaving behind an altered metabolism and a resentful mind? Woman Today brings an insight into the diet debacles and ponders over the ways to make it happen!

40

Summer 2011


Gain vs Pain While experts in the field prescribe following a sensible diet strategy accompanied by a fitness plan for a healthy weight loss; most of them feel that fighting the battle of the bulge with dubious diets lead to risky gastric behaviour, eating disorders and metabolic imbalance. Severely slashing calories leads to weight loss but the lost weight includes precious muscle mass. People end up regaining all the weight, plus more. A failed effort? One reason why diets plans fail is that they are created for shedding pounds instantly over a short period of time. They don't bring about sustained lifestyle changes in the dieters who as a result: Hunger for more Diet plans either reduce or completely eliminate the intake of one or more food groups (usually carbohydrates). Over time many susceptible dieters fall prey to the cravings for food they are being deprived of! What started as a weight loss programme ends in the dieter giving in to binge eating and levelling out the effects of dieting. Fall off the wagon When dieters are unable to continue with the rigid diet plans, they are easily derailed. The trail-off pulls them into a period of eating everything 'till they start again'! Such dieters are always on the look out of the new diets hoping for the one that will 'not fail them' when actually there is no such diet! Emotional eating Many people overeat to counter their psychological stresses. Dieting doesn't offer a solution to this. In fact, restricted eating enhances their depression catapulting the dieter completely off the track. Eating habits Too often those old eating habits will creep back in, no matter how much weight has been lost, and in time you'll find yourself back at square one. The only people who lose weight and keep it off are those who make permanent changes to their eating and exercise habits.

Dieting myths Skipping breakfast makes you lose weight. Studies show that people who eat a balanced, complete breakfast eat fewer and better-quality calories throughout the day. Not only can it provide a psychological boost to anyone trying to lose weight, you'll be less inclined to mess up your poundshedding efforts later. Cutting down on carbohydrates can do the magic. At least not the favourable carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables while cutting out highly refined, 'white' foods is healthy. Sure, you can lose water weight quickly, but there's a much greater chance of gaining it back even more quickly. Favourable carbs also provide a steady stream of energy, fuelling your body efficiently so you can exercise and do heavy brainwork all day long. So cut back on portion sizes, not cut out. Depriving yourself of sweets, chocolates is mandatory. Doing so will only make it more enticing, and you'll be more likely to eat in excess when you give into temptation. Allow yourself occasional treats and compensate for the calories through exercise or more scrupulous efforts the following day.

Making it work Fighting the flab may appear to be a never ending process. We keep losing our patience till the spark gets ignited by yet another fad diet only to grow faint again. But when the world gets swayed by the 'size zero', can we really contain ourselves in cellulite ridden bodies? So if the goal is obvious and visible, it must be the conduit that needs to be cleared. Keep the goals realistic. Losing weight to achieve a size zero frame can be unrealistic and unhealthy. Recognise and boost your body image before jumping in for the diets. Do you really need to lose weight? If yes, know the healthy weight for your body before embarking the diet regimen. Get active. Begin daily exercise. The exercise doesn't have to be intense – pick activities you enjoy such as walking, biking, or swimming. Get your body moving most days of the week. Make simple eating changes. Don't deprive yourself of foods you love, only eliminate empty calories you don't really like and find substitutes that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. Begin with a 100 calorie change in a week. Perhaps it is by substituting with low fat milk or an apple instead of potato chips! By doing this, you will not have shocked your body with a deprivation diet, but instead have been feeding it appropriate amounts of better food while giving it the exercise it needs for health. Keep a journal. Note your feelings about your food, how much you've eaten, and how much liquid you've had to drink. Looking back over your journal may help you gain insight into the choices you have made. Listen to your body. Your appetite is your friend and worth paying attention to. Think of food as the fuel filling your body's energy tank – healthy choices are the fuel that makes your body operate efficiently and intelligently. Don't lose perspective. Keep yourself focused by establishing short, medium, and long-range goals. And write them down – before you forget how you planned to measure your weight loss successes; otherwise, you may not recognise or remember how far you've come!

2011 Summer

41


FoodFetish

Feed

J

ames Gordon, a clinical professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and a psychiatrist who advocates non-drug approaches to depression, believes that what we eat affects how we think and feel. Nutrition scientists discovered long ago that our moods are linked to the production or use of certain brain chemicals, and they have identified many of the natural chemicals in foods that change the way we feel. Here are some great food ideas that will help you battle your moods...

Chill Out - Try whole grain cereals, legumes, nuts, poultry, fish, meat, eggs, milk and other dairy products, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.

your

What They Do - They contain antioxidants such as vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, copper and manganese, which are also anti-stress nutrients.

Forget it!

mood By Sindhu nair

Have you had days when you felt energetic and some other days when you felt under the weather, for no reason whatsoever? Did you know that moods have a lot to do with what we eat daily? Some food can even battle away your PMS pains? Check out our food guide and feed your mood...

42

Summer 2011

Go slow on butter, high-fat meat, poultry, cheese and alcohol, if you want your memory cells to be active. Why Fat? A diet high in saturated fat has been shown in studies to impair a wide range of learning and memory functions; a possible reason for this could be constricted blood flow to the brain. Why Alcohol? Alcohol's negative effects on the brain have been well documented – prolonged alcohol abuse can cause the brain to atrophy, and it impairs activity in the brain receptors necessary for memory and learning. The Forget-It-All Brunch: A cheese soufflè with crumbled bacon.

Get Energised! - Try green vegetables, peas, pumpkin, broccoli and others, which are rich in minerals. What They Do - They contain minerals such as iron, manganese and potassium, which counter anaemia. Anaemia (common among young women) causes weariness, affecting physical as well as mental health.


Dos and Don'ts Push PMS Away - Try dairy products like milk, curd, buttermilk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese, as well as broccoli and dried fruits especially figs. What They Do - They are rich in calcium, which not only helps bone development but can also prevent those dark moods during premenstrual days, as well as menstrual cravings. Calcium helps the nervous system especially in impulse transmission. It thus helps maintain a balanced and calm mind.

Get Happy - Try green vegetables such as spinach, and meat, seafood and bananas.

Do develop the habit of eating small, frequent meals to avoid weakness caused by the stress of daily routines. Do not avoid fats totally. Fats, especially vegetable oils, provide essential fatty acids which are required for a number of physiological functions including the production of hormones. Hormones influence form, as well as behaviour. Avoiding fat, especially vegetable oils, causes hormonal imbalances that can trigger aggressive behaviour. Do not eat under stressful conditions. Arguments and bad moods while eating lead to digestive disorders.

What They Do - They contain magnesium, which aids in fighting gloominess, misery and confused states of mind.

Be Calm - Try beetroot, cabbage, celery, fruits and fresh vegetables. What They Do - Fibre in these foods ensures a good bowel movement. Irregular bowel movements cause irritability and quick temper.

Food of love As there are foods that boost energy and sharpen memory so there are aphrodisiac snacks that serve a sexier purpose, of boosting your sex life. Feast on these foods, feel friskier and surprise your partner. The two As: Avocados and Asparagus The vitamin E in both these green eats helps

your body churn out hormones like testosterone, oestrogen, and progesterone, which circulate in your bloodstream and stimulate sexual responses like clitoral swelling and vaginal lubrication. Banana: It's not just due to its shape but also to its creamy, lush texture that bananas are said to enhance sexual drive. Some studies show that the enzyme bromelain in bananas enhances male performance.

Oysters: These shellfish are brimming with zinc, a mineral that cranks up the production of testosterone, which has been linked to a higher sex drive. Chocolates: Cocoa contains the chemical phenylethylamine, a stimulant that conjures just the sort of feelings and a tingling excitement that make sex seem like a great idea

2011 Summer

43


FoodFetish

Food Myths busted The truth behind commonly held fallacies Eggs are bad for the heart.

Bananas are fattening.

The Truth: Eggs do contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolks – about 211 mg per large egg. Cholesterol is the fatty stuff in our blood that contributes to clogged arteries and heart attack but labeling eggs as 'bad for your heart" is connecting the wrong dots, experts say. The American Heart Association recommends limiting cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg daily – less than 200 mg if you have a history of heart problems or diabetes or are over 55 (women) or 45 (men) years of age. Since that works out to less than an egg a day, two eggs over the course of the week should be harmless for anyone.

The Truth: One medium banana has only about 105 calories – you'd have to eat at least six to equal one slice of a large pizza! Bananas are a good source of fibre, magnesium, and potassium, all of which can help manage blood pressure. They're also a good source of vitamin B6, which helps boost your immune system. What's more, they're portion-controlled, portable, and don't require refrigeration. Enjoy them sliced into cereal, mixed with nonfat yogurt or cottage cheese, or frozen for a yummy dessert. On the other hand packaged banana chips, which have added fat and sugar and are loaded with calories, are not recommended.

Microwaving zaps nutrients. The Truth: This is misguided thinking, says Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Whether you're using a microwave, a charcoal grill or a solar-heated stove, "it's the heat and the amount of time you're cooking that affect nutrient losses, not the cooking method," she says. "The longer and hotter you cook a food, the more you›ll lose certain heat- and water-sensitive nutrients, especially vitamin C and thiamin [a B vitamin]." Because microwave cooking often cooks foods more quickly, it can actually help to minimise nutrient losses.

Carbohydrates make you fat The Truth: Contrary to the theories of the low-carb/no carb manifesto, Dr Atkins' Diet Revolution, there's nothing inherently fattening about carbohydrates, says Jean Harvey-Berino, chair of the department of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Vermont and co-author of The EatingWell Diet (Countryman, 2007). "It's eating too many calories that makes you fat."

44

Summer 2011

Salads are healthy The Truth: A salad is not always the best calorie bet! A chicken Caesar salad (loaded with salad dressing, croutons, cheese, and chicken) will set you back 1,010 calories and 76 grams of fat. It's the fixings that make the difference when it comes to salad calories. If you're going to pile on the croutons, creamy dressing, cheese, bacon, avocado, mayonnaise-rich prepared salads (like coleslaw), meat, nuts, fried chicken strips, and wonton strips, you might as well order a double bacon cheeseburger and fries.

You can make a healthy one too... So what makes a diet-friendly salad? For a healthy salad, start with a variety of colourful veggies, fruits, beans, and mixed greens. When possible, opt for dark, leafy greens like arugula, spinach, and fresh herbs. (The darker the leaf, the more nutritional goodness it has.) Then add on grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, red bell peppers, roasted vegetables etc. For the filling add small amounts of low-fat cheese or lean protein like grilled chicken, shrimp, or hard-cooked egg. Top off your salad with a small amount of avocado or chopped nuts to add some healthy fat


H

ave you ever wondered why the table is laid the way it is or sheepishly marvelled at the array of silverware surrounding your dinner plate? Years past the nomadic tradition of picking and eating berries or bran, we are living in the world of seven-course meals served with unique cutlery to handle each morsel! Now when humanity is pacing towards detailed sophistication, it›s about time we take a plunge into the 'prim-n-prune' world of dining etiquettes. As with social etiquettes, dining etiquettes or table manners are a function of culture and

Completely unfold it if it is a small luncheon napkin or in half, lengthwise if it is a large dinner napkin. If you have to excuse yourself from the table or at the end of the meal, loosely fold and leave the napkin on the left side of your plate.

Using silverware Follow the golden rules and you will never forget! Rule No. 1: Use the silverware farthest from your plate first, working your way in. Rule No. 2: Eat to your left, drink to your right. Any food dish to the left is yours, and any glass to the right is yours.

eating etiquettes traditions. What's norm in one culture may be shockingly distasteful in another. In spite of such differences, for a generation that is growing and expanding in global unison it is only fundamental to follow a general code of conduct while dining out. Woman Today scoops up some tips to help you finesse the art of eating food!

What to do with the napkin? The napkin stays on your lap right from the start till the end of your dining experience. Spread it gently on your lap as soon as you take your seat. In some formal dinners, the steward may spread it for you.

Hold the knife in your right hand and fork in your left. You can cut bite size pieces and then placing knife on the plate, switch hands to eat with fork in your right hand. Or, eat with fork in your left throughout the course. To pick up your drink, place both the utensils down in the plate, in a resting position, fork crossed over the knife. To signal that you are done with the meal, rest your fork tines up and knife blade in, with the handles resting at five o'clock and tips pointing to ten o'clock on your plate

Your Don't Guide to best table manners Do not shake open your napkin. Don't clean the cutlery or wipe your face with the napkin. Never use it to wipe your nose! Do not neatly refold your napkin or wad it up on the table once used. Never place your napkin on your chair. Once used, your utensils including the handles must not touch the table again. Always rest forks, knives and spoons on the side of your plate. Don›t rest elbows on the table. Keep your left hand on the lap when not in use. Do not talk with food in your mouth! This is very rude and distasteful to watch. Do not hold food on the fork or spoon while talking. Don't blow on your food to cool it off. If it is too hot to eat, take the hint and wait until it cools. Do not 'play with' your food or utensils. Never wave or point silverware. Don't clean up spills with your own napkin and don't touch items that have dropped on the floor. Do not use a toothpick at the table. Do not push your dishes away from you or stack them for the waiter when you are finished. Leave plates and glasses where they are.

Courtesy: whatscookingamerica.net

2011 Summer

45


It's a scorching summer afternoon outside. Three Qatari lads cherish authentic seafood at Al Mahara restaurant in Hotel Souq Waqif. Grilled fish, chips and a glass of cola – perfect lunch on a hot day! While customers start filling into the restaurant, Krishna (one of the chefs) is busy picking the fresh fish that he will cook. "A fish's eyes say if it's fresh or not," he says. The most popular on the menu: Hamour fry, grilled Buri and Kover.

Woman Today has turned foodie for the month. To satiate our appetite, we took to the streets of Doha, capturing candid moments of the gastronomical world....

Qatari families hover around Umm Abdulaziz who has been serving homemade food for the past year and a half at Souq Waqif. The table has pots of hot Harees (meat and coarsely ground rice), Hummus (chick peas) and Magruba (ginger chicken and rice).

46

Summer 2011


Two brothers excitedly watch their favourite Khaboos Rugag being prepared. The lady first fries a thin crisp layer of batter made of milk, sugar and flour. She then neatly spreads a layer of egg, cheese or chocolate according to the customer's preference. For the two kids, it's chocolate, of course.

Three kids dash out from HĂ„agen-Dazs at Souq Waqif, licking their ice-creams. They see the camera and obediently sit in a row. The youngest of them, Ahmed (centre), forgets about his ice cream as he stares at the lens. "Ahmed, lick", motions his parents from behind. And finally he licks!

2011 Summer

47


The meat is roasted to perfection. It is shaved off the stack onto pita bread with vegetables thrown in. Tahina and hummus sauce are squirted before the bread is rolled and bite-ready.

Buffet time at Soy – these rolled sushi wrapped in dried seaweed are a hit. Trays with Ebi Maki (shrimp) and California Maki (Crabstick and avocado) empty in no time.

Meanwhile, a father dotingly watches his daughter eat with chopsticks. She's a pro – there are no signs of food spill on her pristine white top.

48

Summer 2011


A child looks longingly at the array of Indian sweets on display at Aryaas. Soft, sweet and rich in ghee (clarified butter) – they just melt in your mouth.

The waiter places the last dish in the order on the table. Forks and spoons at the ready...the family digs in. Must-have at Al Tawash restaurant – Kabsa (Arabic brown rice cooked with herbs) with lamb or fish .

photography: Rob Altamirano

2011 Summer

49


fix

filial

Victoria Scott meets expat families raising their disabled children in Qatar.

The writer with her mother and sister

52

Summer 2011


W

hen my sister was born, my parents rejoiced at their second healthy, happy daughter. Clare and I were destined to be great friends, only 18 months apart in age. Photos taken at that time show us dressed up in matching outfits, managing to smile despite having to wear our hair in huge, ribbon-adorned bunches. They're precious images, snapshots of a time long gone, but not forgotten. They're particularly precious because 18 months after Clare was born, things started to go wrong. Despite learning to shuffle along the floor and uttering a tantalising few words, her development began to reverse. She never learned to walk, and early attempts at meaningful hand movements gave way to a repetitive wringing that left the medical profession perplexed. Eventually, doctors confirmed what my parents had known from almost the very beginning: there was something very wrong with Clare. They diagnosed Rett syndrome, a rare neurological disorder. Thirty years later, I moved from the UK to Doha with my husband and became pregnant with our first child. Although I knew our baby had no greater chance of being disabled than any other, I had a heightened awareness of what could go wrong. And this got me thinking: what would I do if I gave birth to a disabled child in Qatar? What sort of support would we receive? What kind of education would my child have? Would we have to give up and move back home? It was these questions that led me to seek out parents of disabled children in Doha. From the early stages of my research for this article, it was obvious that getting people to talk about their experiences was not going to be easy. Parents were reluctant for me to

name them, or their children. And as part of my research into educational provision, I sent an e-mail to the admissions department of every major private school in Doha asking about their special needs policies – and received no replies. Not one. You will notice that I have focused here on non-Arabic-speaking families. This is deliberate, as my research suggests that Arabicspeaking disabled people are far better catered for in Qatar than their non-Arabic-speaking counterparts. For those lucky enough, there's the excellent Shafallah Centre in West Bay, which teaches in Arabic. State-run schools are also encouraged to integrate disabled children into their normal school populations. These schools are, however, rarely accessible to expats, and even if enrolment is feasible, expats will often choose to educate their child in a language and curriculum they are familiar and comfortable with.

"It wasn't worth keeping our daughter here, as we'd have had to pay the price later." – Mike, whose wife and daughter had to move back to the UK

Mike and his family came to Qatar from the UK with great hopes. Mike's daughter, who is 9, has Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder which means she suffers from epilepsy, can't speak, and has reduced mobility. Mike enrolled his daughter at Sunbeam, a school with a special needs section. Initially, things went well. "Physically, my daughter came on fabulously in Qatar," Mike says. "The weather meant we could be outdoors more. We took her swimming every day." Mike's daughter was seen regularly at

I sent an e-mail to the admissions department of every major private school in Doha asking about their special needs policies – and received no replies. Not one.

Hamad Hospital. Overall, he was happy with the medical care she received, although promised physiotherapy failed to materialise. Knowing of its reputation, Mike and his wife considered moving their daughter to Shafallah. "The facilities were great, but we could see it was very much aimed at the Arabic-speaking population. We felt that given our daughter's speech problems, surrounding her with people speaking a foreign language probably wasn't a great idea. And we weren't quite sure how she would be accepted, really." Mike and his wife were also told there was a waiting list, and that priority would be given to the Qatari population first. So, they decided to keep their daughter at Sunbeam. At around the same time, his wife applied for a job at the school, and was accepted. "Sunbeam did the best it could," he says. "But as far as we could tell the staff weren't specially trained, and the facilities weren't great. My wife came up with a few new ideas, and the school did try to introduce them. But for us, it was the wake-up call. She saw firsthand that our daughter wasn't getting the education she needed." So, the family made the difficult decision: Mike's wife and daughter headed back to the UK, leaving Mike in Doha to finish his contract, which still had a year to run. "It wasn't worth keeping our daughter here, as we'd have had to pay the price later," Mike explains. "She was getting more and more behind."

2011 Summer

53


fix

filial

" I don't know what we'd have done if we were staying here long-term. Both my kids need more support than they're getting." –Roxanne, mother of two autistic children

American Roxanne Piper-Davis is a mum of two – Patrick, almost 6, and Lulu, 4. Patrick is at school at Compass, and Lulu is at nursery at Starfish 2. Both of her children have been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. "The paediatrician I took Patrick to gave me a diagnosis immediately. She witnessed one of his violent outbursts; he attacked her in her office," explains Roxanne. "With Lulu, we knew something was wrong from early on. At 10 months, she had very low muscle tone – which is just a symptom of something else, so we weren't surprised by her eventual diagnosis." Patrick was already at school in Doha when his diagnosis was made. "Compass had already been very supportive," says Roxanne. "He had difficulty getting used to school, but they dealt with it very well. They were very patient." Lulu's nursery, meanwhile, has placed her two classes below her peers, a decision Roxanne supports. "I think for her ability level, she's properly placed. She's about a year behind, speech-wise." These educational arrangements won't be continuing, however. Roxanne and her family are moving back to the USA. I ask Roxanne whether her children's education is part of the reason they're going. "My husband's company has transferred us, so no, that wasn't part of our decision. But having said that, I don't know what we'd have done if we were staying here long term. Both my kids need more support than they're getting. I honestly never thought that far ahead."

54

Summer 2011

Just because she has special needs, it doesn't mean we have an extra amount of cash lying around to pay for special care.

"Just because she has special needs, it doesn't mean we have an extra amount of cash lying around to pay for special care." – Sapna, whose daughter suffers from Down's Syndrome

Sapna's first daughter was born in Doha, at Al Ahli Hospital. "Just after my daughter was born, they took her to the other side of the curtain to check her," Sapna explains. "Then I heard the doctor saying something about the shape of her eyes and her oxygen level, so they took her to ICU, and my husband went with her. When he came back, he told me a doctor had said there was a chance she had Down's Syndrome." Sapna's daughter was later transferred to Hamad. "The doctors there were good, and they had all the right equipment, but they didn't seem to me to have a lot of empathy," says Sapna. "I feel like there's some sort of prejudice here about disability. In Al Ahli noone was congratulating me on having a baby,

just feeling sorry for me and not talking to me much. And at Hamad, a nurse asked if my husband and I were related. I was shocked." Sapna's daughter will start nursery in September. "When I first started calling nurseries, they said they didn't have the staff to cope with Down's," says Sapna. "Others simply said that they didn't accept special needs children at all. But Creative Child eventually gave her a place when they saw her and realised she was just like any other child. As far as I know, she'll be the only child with special needs there." Sapna's daughter has been seeing a paediatrician at Rumailah Hospital every six months. She also sees speech and occupational therapists there, and has been having physiotherapy. All of the treatment is free. I ask Sapna how her family feels about her daughter's future in Doha. "I'll have to see once she's old enough to start school," she says. "I know Compass may offer her a place, but cost is an issue. When I was looking at nurseries I considered Sunbeam, but the special needs nursery is also very expensive. I was so upset. Just because she has special needs, it doesn't mean we have an extra amount of cash lying around to pay for special care." Sapna also flags up a key issue for parents of special needs children in Doha – a lack of centralised information. "I couldn't find any list of schools which will accept special needs children, and there's nowhere you can go to ask."

"The Learning Center is run like a normal school, and that's what I like about it." – Madeeha, who gave birth to a premature daughter

Madeeha's daughter was born prematurely in the UK at 34 weeks. She has since developed a raft of problems including asthma, eczema, allergies, delayed speech and childhood absence epilepsy, which causes her to lose consciousness for a few seconds at a time.


Victoria and Clara during a recent visit to UK. The family moved to Doha two years ago when she was five, just after she had been diagnosed with epilepsy. Madeeha was nervous. "I didn't know anything about the country. I just wanted to make sure that if something happened, there would be an ambulance there in time." In fact, the family's move to Doha brought about some unexpected benefits. "My daughter's skin cleared up within a few days. Healthwise, she's really improved since she's come here. She likes the hot weather; she's running around much more. It's a blessing in disguise," says a delighted Madeeha. She wasn't prepared for the struggle to find a suitable place at school for her daughter, however. "We tried to get her into Sherborne, where my son had a place. She didn't pass the entry tests. They told me it wouldn't be in her best interests to go there. All the other schools have the same criteria. I just kept saying that she just needs an assistant to help her. But nobody would listen." Eventually, her daughter got a place at the Sylvan Learning Centre, a tuition centre. "They gave her a really good boost," says

Madeeha. "But then they suggested we try The Learning Centre as a school for her." The school is run by Qatar Foundation, and takes children with "academic difficulties". Children with physical problems aren't generally accepted unless they have academic potential. It's fee-paying, and there is a waiting list. "It's run like a normal school, and that's what I like about it," says Madeeha. "I don't think she would get the same attention in the UK. Over here she's getting the learning support she requires, and I've seen a remarkable change in her. She's gone from zero reading to reading books on her own." These stories clearly show a mixed picture. There's certainly excellent healthcare and education available around Qatar if a family is lucky, has the funds, and knows where to look. Opinions on healthcare provision are generally good, but it's clear that schooling is a serious concern. Every parent I spoke to had encountered problems finding a place for their child. Not exactly a surprise, given the chronic shortage of places in private schools for chil-

dren of normal ability. What I did find, however, was that once a school place was found, most children with mild learning disabilities were fairly well catered for. Sadly, it's a very different tale for children with profound disabilities. Anecdotally, many expat families with severely disabled children choose to return home – or simply don't move here in the first place. So, I return to my original question: What would I do if I gave birth to a disabled child like my sister in Qatar? There can be little debate. Despite the best efforts of the authorities, none of my research has turned up an excellent school focused on the care of physically AND mentally disabled students. Bringing up a disabled child is a long and difficult road, and it's particularly hard for expats in a foreign country with a different language and culture. But there's no doubt that better school provision – be it state or private, inclusive or standalone – would make the journey a whole lot easier

2011 Summer

55


&fitness

health

The Down and Dirty on Vit

H

ave you had symptoms of muscle weakness, bone pain or mood changes or suffered from recurrent bouts of colds and flus? If so, you may be vitamin D deficient. If you are, then you are not alone. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a worldwide problem. It is thought that 85% of the American public is deficient, while a study conducted by the Department of Health Sciences at Qatar University showed that 53.5% of Qatari females of college age are severely vitamin D deficient and 43.6% have insufficient levels of the vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated

56

Summer 2011

Could you be deficient? Dr Rajka Milanovic Galbraith highlights the dangers of avoiding the sun.

with a long list of disorders: heart attacks, obesity, depression, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, multiple sclerosis, rickets, osteoporosis, hypertension, certain cancers, and calcium deficiency. A previous study found that women who take vitamin D supplements lower their risk of death from heart disease by one third. The sun is important for production of vitamin D at our skin's surface. Vitamin D is important in the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate and in maintaining bone health. It also plays a role in our immunity, is an antioxidant and is anticarcinogenic. Unfortunately, as the temperature rises in Qatar, the time spent in the sun decreases. Fur-

thermore, the more skin you have covered, the less sun exposure you receive as well.

How much sun exposure is necessary? There are conflicting recommendations. The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends 10-15 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) several times per week. Meanwhile, Dr Mercola, a prominent figure in healthcare in the US, recommends "10 to 15 minutes a day, with at least 40% of your skin exposed, as a general guide of how much you need, although people with dark skin will need to stay out significantly longer." And lastly, the American Academy of Dermatology states,


How do you test for Vitamin D deficiency? A blood test for 25(OH)D, also called 25hydroxyvitamin D, is the best marker of Vitamin D deficiency. It is thought that levels over 60 ng/ml are essential, although only a level of less than 20 is considered deficient.

"There is no scientifically validated, safe threshold level of UV exposure from the sun that allows for maximal vitamin D synthesis without increasing skin cancer risk." With the conflicting recommendations, what is one to do? With the high rate of deficiency, I am a strong proponent of safe sun exposure: avoiding midday sun, when the UV rays are the strongest, and allowing only a portion of your skin to be exposed. One of the controversies of using sunscreen is that it can cause you to be vitamin D deficient. So while it is important to wear sunscreen forego it for the times recommended above.

Sources of Vitamin D The major sources of vitamin D are found in fatty fish and in fortified foods like milk and cereals. High levels are found in salmon, mackerel and sardines and to a lesser extent in eggs (in the yolk). Here are some examples of Vitamin D levels in food: 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil provides 1360 International Units (IU), 3 ounces of salmon provides 447 IU, a

How much vitamin D should one get in a day? This varies on your age and your current level of Vitamin D deficiency. Those who have 25 (OH) D levels of less than 20 ng/ml usually require 50,000 IU per week until they normalise. Infants 0-1 year of age should get 400 IU per day, those 1-70 years of age 600 IU per day and those over 71 years of age 800 IU per day.

cup of fortified milk 115-124 IU and 1 egg 41 IU. If you cannot get enough vitamin D in your diet or from the sun then you will need to take supplements. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) increases vitamin D levels more effectively than vitamin D2. So always rely on vitamin D3. When taking vitamin D, it is also important to consume at least 1000 mg of calcium per day (for people age 31 to 50 years, or 1200 mg per day for people age 51 and older).

Who to Screen? Unfortunately, the only guidelines for screening for vitamin D deficiency are for those who are at high risk: those with chronic kidney disease, liver disease, malabsorptive disorders like coeliac disease, the elderly, and exclusively breastfed infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routinely supplementing these infants. You may not know if you are deficient unless you ask to be screened. With such a high instance of deficiency, I wouldn't be surprised

How long after I begin treatment for Vitamin D deficiency should I have my blood retested? Three months.

if the medical community didn't start recommending vitamin D screening universally soon

Dr Rajka Milanovic Galbraith is an American Board certified family physician, a mother of two and a wife who has resided in Doha for the past 6 years. She has over 14 years of clinical experience and is regarded highly by her patients, colleagues and staff. Recently she launched a website: www.expatdoctormom.com, which provides up-to-date information in a wide variety of areas including: healthcare, parenting, travel, and entrepreneurship. Dr Rajka writes a regular column covering subjects from women and family health to parenting issues. If you have questions you wish answered, please write to wtoday@omsqatar. com, subject line ‘Ask the Doc’.

2011 Summer

57


&fitness

health

I

t may not be what we normally assume but almost three quarters – maybe more – of all yoga poses work on openness in the hips. Think about it. The hips are the connection between the lower limbs and the pelvis and spine so any pose that uses the legs or the torso is also going to use the hips. Name any position of the body that doesn't. The hips are our vital center for locomotion and for grounding yet they are also the base of each articulated movement of the spine as we reach away from the earth and towards the stars. They are our center for creativity, fluidity and pleasure yet they also represent our stability and our readiness to fight or fly. We can twist and shake and dance all on the basis of the six possible movements of the rotators, abductors and flexors. You would think that with so much depended on fluid hips that we would work to maintain their openness but this is precisely what is threatened by our modern lives. If we were sitting on the floor half the day we would be exploring the full range of motion of these vital joints on a constant basis. But instead we sit on chairs which means not only that our rotators don›t get to open but that we spend far too much time with shortened hip flexors which can result in lower back pain. Shortness in the hip flexors, which is emphasised by repetitive movement such as running or cycling also restricts our ability to back bend – which means the upper back as well as the lower back becomes contracted – an upper back that doesn't open can produce tight shoulders and neck and so it goes on... The heat of the Doha summer makes now the perfect time to work on opening your hips. It is useful to divide the hip stretches into three basic categories. There are those that work on stability, those that help to lengthen the hip flexors, and those that work towards releasing the groin and rotators. To start I would recommend that you focus on stability and the standing poses such as standing forward bend, triangle and extension pose. Balance poses are useful here as well. While you are experiencing the poses notice how each one finds a different area of the hip to lengthen. Once you are warm, and standing poses usually do this, I would suggest you move towards poses that focus on the hip flexors especially the psoas muscle. Long deep

58

Summer 2011

Hip Summer It is said by many traditional practices that we store our emotions in our hips, especially our fear, our insecurity and our grief so it may be that emotional releases will accompany the physical release. lunges are good for this and have the advantage of maintaining the heat in the body. After this you can move to the floor and take a more yin approach to opening the rotators. The classic pose here is pigeon pose and you can really never spend too long in pigeon but there are many others - such as butterfly position or wide legged forward bend to name just two. Please remember that these poses should never be forced. Hips are emotional too. It is said by many traditional practices that we store our emotions in our hips, especially our fear, our insecurity and

our grief so it may be that emotional releases will accompany the physical release. If an emotion happens to arise while you are breathing in a hip pose just keep breathing and let it go. As the Doha summer sand storms rage and our cars bake, as our steering wheels burn, and our cold water turns bathtub hot it is good to remember one advantage of our desert home. Heat- heat that will serve our hips, and free our movement. Heat that will increase our mobility and range. Go with it. Make the most of it. Enjoy a hip summer

Valerie Jeremijenko is Director of the Doha-based Yama Yoga Studios, which offers over 25 yoga classes a week.She is the also Director of the Yama Yoga teacher training programme and maintains a yoga blog at www.yamayogastudios.blogspot.com For more information visit www.yamayogastudios.com


&fitness

health

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness. Maria Mitchell

Beauty IS skin deep!

M

any people examine the labels on their food, but how many of us are wise enough to check the labels on our personal care products? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that 884 chemicals used in personal care products and cosmetics are known to be toxic. In fact, many of the ingredients used in personal care products are the very same harsh chemical toxins used in industry. The use of these harsh chemicals would not be such a problem if the skin did not readily absorb them. Some chemicals can penetrate the skin in significant amounts, especially when left on the skin. A recent case that made headline news found traces of 350 manmade chemicals, including residues from personal care products, in human breast milk. Your skin is your largest organ. It covers your entire body and has a surface area of around two square metres. Its thickness varies from 0.5mm on your eyelids to 4mm or more on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. In total, it accounts for around 16% of your body weight.

Suggested Resources: Inform yourself: www.storyofcosmetics.org Inform your family: YouTube Video – "What is Organic?" Investigate: Skin Deep Cosmetics Database search for the list of ingredients in your favourite personal care products: www.ewg.org Make your own – five home-made personal care products: www.care2.com

60

Summer 2011


AVOID top 10

1. Aluminium 2. DEA, MEA, TEA 3. Dioxins 4. Formaldehyde 5. Glycerin 6. Imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin 7. Methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl paraben 8. Padimate O, PABA 9. Propylene glycol 10. SLS, SLES

Long term effects The reality of modern living is that many of us are suffering from the adverse effects of a highly chemicalised lifestyle. Some of these poisons affect delicate organs and glands, whilst others are stored in the fatty tissues of the body. As more poisonous chemicals are absorbed, sensitivities increase in their severity, resulting in often chronic debilitating diseases. Symptoms often include headaches, nausea, fatigue, depressed immune responses and joint pain, to the more severe, such as increases in birth defects and problems, attention deficit disorder (ADD), emphysema, asthma, skin complaints, cancers and multiple sclerosis. The problem is that the process is so gradual that the cause is not established.

Take responsibility for your health I do not believe that it is possible to be 100% chemical-free and live in the modern world. We can however take responsibility for our own and our family's health by following the advice of experts and reading product labels, avoiding those that contain harmful ingredients and instead using safer and ecological alternatives to conventional personal care products. There are many resources available to help you make the best choices and create your own all-natural alternatives. With access to the internet you have everything you need to heal your body – from the outside in. Check the "suggested resources" box to help you get started

Beautiful bathtime recipe:

Mix 2 cups of Epsom salt or Himalayan bath salt crytals, 1/2 cup of raw apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of baking soda and lavender in a warm tub. Soak your cares away.

Nicole van Hattem is an Executive Health Coach, writer, speaker, presenter and corporate wellness consultant. She is also the Founder and Director of Art of Abundant Living and runs a thriving health coaching practice. Satisfy your hunger for life – to find out more go to www.artofabundantliving.com, join Art of Abundant Living on or follow Nicole on @AALNicole and 2011 Summer

61


stop

Style

The Sacred Narghile from Baccarat

Baccarat celebrates the eternal symbol of the Ottoman Empire – the Sultan Narghile – the most exceptional hookah specially manufactured for the Court of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The red gold and the blue silver new limited versions marvel with its handmade olive engravings, a ready to use high-tech burner, a tube and three resin nozzles. A must have for collectors this season!

'Spring Collection' from Damas

Celebrate the Holy Month of Ramadan by unleashing your youthful spirit. The new Spring collection from Damas blends white, yellow and rose gold to create three themes: Nature, Loops and Fusion. The sparkle from brilliant diamonds adds to its youthful elegance. The limited edition collection comes in pendants, earrings, necklaces and bracelets and is available at all Damas stores in Qatar.

Ramadan gifts

Why not gift your loved ones with something special this Holy Month? Woman Today helps you choose...

Home dÈcor ideas from Christofle

Serve your family sweets in a Mosaique Vide Poche tray, arrange sweet dates on a Silver Story Centerpiece or pour steaming hot coffee from a Malmaison Arabic Coffee Pot into a Moka Cup. Christofle offers many more of such beautiful home items for a beautiful Ramadan! Available at the Christofle boutique, Dubai Mall and Tanagra stores across the UAE.

Light up from Baccarat

Let your home be lit with the festivities of the Holy Month. Baccarat offers delicate and stylish lamps and candle sticks that will make your home glow with happiness! Available at the Christofle boutique, Dubai Mall and Tanagra stores across the UAE.

62

Summer 2011

Abyan eau de perfume from Rasasi

In Arabic, 'Abyan eau de' means 'Clear and Distinct' which perfectly signifies this exquisite blend of fragrance from Rasasi. Made in two distinct variations, for men the fragrance is bold with a refreshing burst of citrus with a blend of exotic spices and rich wood. For women, the fragrance turns into a mix of floral and wild berry notes that fuse further with amber, wood and vanilla.


H&M: Fashion for a cause

Pivoine Flora perfume from L'occitane

H&M has launched a special collection of fashionable, covetable clothes for kids as part of its 'All for Children' initiative with UNICEF. The collection comprises cute and playful pieces for girls and boys. Girls have skirts, shorts and gilets, with floral prints, bow-tie decorations and stripe trimmings, all in autumnal colours of nude, mole and coral. For boys, there are check shirts, sweat-pants and hoodies, cord blazers and the parka. Twenty five of all sales from the collection will go to support UNICEF's projects.

The Eau de Parfum from L'occitane is enriched with the captivating scent of peony and the sensuality of magnolia, leaving behind a musky woody trail. The beautifully feminine fragrance is delicately held in a precious rounded bottle. Spray the magic of peony – the symbol of beauty! L'occitane outlets are at Landmark, Royal Plaza Mall and Villaggio Mall in Qatar.

Giorgio Armani: Defining eyes Coach your fragrance

Coach has come up with its first fragrance that is inspired with a unique blend of soft florals. The topnote sparkles with tart green mandarin, guava, lush violet petals and giant waterlily. Middle notes of honey, orange flower, mimosa and a touch of jasmine give way to aromatic woody base notes. The result is a beautifully blended fragrance for a timeless, chic and sophisticated Coach woman!

It's all in the eyes for brand Giorgio Armani who have developed the ultimate weapon in eye seduction – Eyes to Kill Excess mascara. A stroke is enough to voluminise your lashes in the darkest black wet finish, and your eyes is thus accentuated. Flutter those heavy lashes ladies!

Dermalogica: Stunning summers

Worried about the sun? The five products from Dermalogica ensure that summers don't take a toll on your skin. Cleanse off excess oil with Dermal Clay Cleanser, exfoliate with Daily Resurfacer, protect your eyes from UV with Total Eye Care SPF15, moisturise your skin Oil Control Lotion, block out UV with Super Sensitive FaceBlock SPF30. Have a beautiful summer!

2011 Summer

63


town

around

Pampering retreat

Bliss Spa Age attack

Three of us from the Woman Today team played hookie from work to review the services at W's Bliss Spa. Let's just say it was a very well-groomed team that worked on the summer issue!

64

Summer 2011

You always start a facial treatment with hopes of emerging with skin as smooth as a baby's bottom. However, the first look at the mirror will only throw back a slightly greasy, puffy eyed face. It's generally a few hours or even a day before the expected radiance or hint of it emerges. See, the perks of being a female journalist in Doha is that in no time you do become a connoisseur of spa treatments and facials. And with experience of savouring the best, comes a little bit of wisdom, that also show up as fine lines around the eyes. So I lay down for the treatment, and the Bliss therapist started on me with almost clinical efficiency, I knew well enough to not expect a traffic-stopping difference in my skin. Also, at that point, my frail ego was hurt at being suggested a Youth facial! Come again, I was tempted to tell Liliana Matic , the Spa Director. But Liliana is not to be questioned, because she obviously knows her job ("next time the brows," she spoke directly to the fuzz that protects my eyes from the sand storms). So there I was on the narrow bed, smarting at the need to be advised anti-ageing treatment, after all I am still at a tender number well short of 40. Boy, was I glad I bit the bullet. The sand, dust, heat and air-conditioner play havoc on the best of skins; and when you throw in lack of a daily skincare regime, then you most definitely are in need of this treatment - The Youth As We Know It. This anti-ageing treatment targets tone, elasticity, volume, fine lines and wrinkles – all the way to the décolleté. The treatment includes a mushroom enzyme peel, a high-tech cell-regenerating moisturis-


Tips

&

Toes

ing cocktail and a soothing collagen mask. At the end of the hour, still with little expectations, I stepped out of the room. My skin felt instantly tighter, and because of the nature of the products used my skin looked matte – which I love, but felt slightly oily to the touch – the therapist of course warned me against touching my face too much, but you know how it goes when someone says don't... By the next morning, my face felt really soft, and attracted enough comments on how 'fresh' I looked, though the word I was looking for was 'young'. While at the spa, do explore their range of products. I particularly recommend the Elemis sun screen (spf 30) which is tinted and translucent, so apply that over your moisturiser and you really don't need any other make-up. Note: 60 minutes, QR850 (Reviewed by Vee Ess)

I had a reason for opting for the pedicure and manicure session at Bliss. Pedicure because that is self-indulgence I permit myself on every possible occasion. Manicure because my nails would need nothing less than expertise or intense workmanship for the effects to show. In case you wonder, I am a chronic nail-biter, hence have tiny (yet neat, mind you) nails. The staff at Bliss had no clue of the challenge they were about to take on, I thought, smiling secretly as Liliana Matic, the chatty, warm Spa Manager took us through to our respective treatment rooms, explaining why Bliss was one of the most sought after Spas in the country. In the white pristine clean rooms of Bliss I finally exhibited my nails to my therapist, Maria and waited for some reaction from her. But I was thoroughly disappointed! I have to say the staff at Bliss Spa are the professional to the point of being politically correct. Maria was unaffected and looked at my nails as she might have any other long well-maintained hand. Maria donned gloves as she worked on cleaning and pruning my non-existent nails. But here is the one step in her treatment makes Bliss a bit different from the rest: She dipped my hands into a plastic bag which is filled with a warm fluid. The product, Liliana later explained is used for softening the hands. "It is heated Bliss hand cream which contains macadamia oil and grape seeds extract which brighten and soften your skin. It is used under certain temperature as then the cream penetrates deeper in your skin," she said. The hand cream is an ultra-hydrating, non-greasy, antioxidant rich dry-hand soother, softener and smoother. It also has

a light citrus scent and the balm smoothes rough cuticles too. This treatment leaves the hands soft and supple and the feeling lasted for a few days. An algae extract, rich in minerals, was also used to normalise the skin's moisture level and make the hands supple and firm. At the end a hot paraffin pack with rose oil was applied to soften the hands. After all this, my hands with the shiny healthy if short nails were ready for its daily grind on the laptop. Moving on to the pedicure treatment, I climb to a seat, which looks great as a design element but is not so convenient functionally. The space seems constrained and allows minimum movement, even for the therapists especially if the adjacent space is used. Here too, the treatment is excellent, products innovative and service up-to-themark – with a little more warmth, the experience would have been just perfect. I would have loved a treatment where the masseur would spend a good half-an-hour on massage, kneading out the pressure points and energising my tired feet. Liliana spoke about a special ingredient that was used to refresh my feet, the rosemary and lemon foot smoothing balm. She explained the process, "We filed and scrubbed your feet with Dimacel (diamond dust) files, which are the best in the world. After this scrub, the feet and lower legs are scrubbed again with a "hot salt scrub" – a self-heating, oil-free, sea salt body scrub, spiked with eucalyptus and rosemary." Last word: Bliss Spa is indeed one of the most hygienic and professionally run Spas with the treatments and the products adding to its reputation. If it would up its personal element, then there is no beating it! (Reviewed by Sindhu Nair)

2011 Summer

65


name town

Slug around

75 minutes of bliss! I sit patiently in the waiting room of the serene Bliss Spa of W Hotel Doha. A few minutes earlier, Liliana informed me about the treatment I would undergo – Blissage 75. "This massage is an excellent all-over body massage treatment that blends a tension taming massage, a foot massage and a warm wax foot softening pack. It works as a wonderful detox too," she said. The massage lasts 75 minutes, hence the name. While I nibble on the scrumptious chocolate cookies, Khadija – my masseuse, gets the room ready. The bed is warm, comforting. Khadija wraps my feet with 'shrink wraps' – a paraffin bag soaked in South African grapefruit essential oil, great for detox and increasing circulation. "It will also help moisten your feet," she says. She then covers my eyes with a warm cloth. Squirting the oil in her palms she begins circulating her fingers on my scalp, gently massaging it. I start drifting away into a trance; the soft music in the background helps me further. Khadija moves to my neck, it hurts. "That's

Blissage 75 QR550 Returning guests can choose from a massage with super hydrating butter 'Bliss Body' or with slimming body balsam 'Fat girl slim'. A new add-on service to the treatment includes the popular Kinesology tape (QR300) for guests with acute pain problems like arthritis, lower back pain, migraine and muscle pain. For pregnant women, the treatment is modified into a combination of Shiacu and Swedish massage that includes pre and post massage stretching.

66

Summer 2011

because of sitting for prolonged hours in front of your PC," she informs. I agree. She holds my hands now, massaging the greasy oil from palm to arm. My hands are raised, stretched and twisted in turns. My muscles crackle and I endure the minute of strain in silence. When it's done she gently places my hands back inside the warm blanket that enwraps me. Khadija aims for my legs next, removing the wraps. My feet feel soaked. Is it dripping, I wonder. She then massages my feet, gyrating them every now and then, pulling each toe and 'crack' the muscles go again. Her knuckles press into my sole, but it feels like pebbles somersaulting. "Are they your knuckles?" I ask puzzled. (My eyes are covered). Khadija laughs and reassures me. As my feet enjoy the soothing after-effects of a much needed massage, Khadija rubs the oil to the rest of my legs, gently massaging it all the way. I am worried – in a few seconds, my legs would be up in the air, just like my hands were. My legs stiffen. "Relax," she tells me. Leaving apprehensions behind, I

leave my legs at her mercy. One, two, three... my right leg is lifted up, then folded at the knee till my ankle touches my thighs. "Crack, crack, crack" – my muscles pop mockingly, reminding me of the years of stretching that I kept my legs safe from. Confident with the fresh experience of my right leg, I unhesitatingly let my left leg perform similar acrobats. It's been a relaxing experience so far, and I wait impatiently for her to massage my hapless back that I have tormented over the years with my gawky sitting and poor postures. Khadija's greasy palms gently press into my back, I drift to trance again. No sooner she prods my flesh with her elbow, and I wince with pain as the tensions in my back come to a staggering end. "It's done," she says and I open my eyes, gradually coming to terms with the invigorated and relaxed new me. I make my way out from the cosy and serene Bliss Spa. The hot lazy afternoon that awaits me doesn't seem lazy anymore (Reviewed by Cassey Oliveira)


town

around

pigmentation be gone Silver Senses Salon introduces the Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusion, a facial that rejuvenates, hydrates, balances uneven skin tone and improves pigmentation, making you look and feel good

T

he A-listers swear by it. Hollywood does too. It's the secret of stars like Madonna, Eva Longoria, Molly Sims and Justin Timberlake. We're talking of Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusions, a treatment that makes skin feel and look younger. Fine lines and wrinkles virtually disappear; your skin feels rejuvenated, radiant, moisturised and fresh. Here's what it's all about...

Why Intraceuticals oxygen infusions? When we age, our ability to absorb oxygen from the atmo-

68

Summer 2011


sphere decreases and our ability to produce the body's natural moisture factor decreases. The intraceutical infusion of serum and oxygen maximises tissue saturation, helps moisturise and gives a finer, younger-looking outer layer.

How does it work? It is based on the concept that high-pressure therapeutic-grade hyperbaric oxygen could be applied in the world of cosmetic skin care. Intraceuticals and leading Australian universities developed a range of serums that when used in conjunction with oxygen immediately plump out the surface of the skin, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

The benefits It's perfect for any skin type and you will see instant visible results during this cooling, calming treatment. Your skin will look and feel years younger, visibly lifted, toned and hydrated. Intraceuticals Opulence Infusions will

brighten and balance dull, uneven skin tone, minimise pigmentation caused by the sun and make it look and feel brighter, lifted and more luminous. Intraceuticals Clarity Infusions are the ultimate weapon against blemishes and problem-prone skin. Impurities and inflammation are banished, leaving an anti-bacterial environment for calm, clear skin. A treatment targeted to smooth the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles, it firms, lifts and plumps the appearance of wrinkles caused by facial muscle contractions around the forehead, eye, nasal folds and lip areas. And the best part is that it is 100% safe and FDA-approved too. It is recommended for all skin types and for all ages

Go ahead! It's time to give your skin a real makeover! (Will be available at select spas in Doha soon. For more details, contact +971-4-4308422)

2011 Summer

69


La Cigale Hotel What it offers:

Le Cigalon restaurant will serve a delicious Iftar Buffet featuring traditional Ramadan delicacies and a wide variety of Lebanese specialties. During Eid El-Fitr, indulge in a sumptuous brunch. Enjoy delectable Souhour Buffet at the La Cigale Ramadan Tent amid soft live music and aromatic Shishas.

Mariott Doha Hotel What it offers:

Lavish Iftar buffet will be served at the Corniche Restaurant offering Ramadan juices, freshly prepared Middle Eastern specialties, carving stations and amazing desserts. Sohour buffets include sumptuous freshly prepared Middle Eastern specialties. Enjoy Shisha with a special Sohour menu including Middle Eastern delicacies such as fatayers, mezzahs, and Arabic style light food at the Shisha Terrace. Celebrate Eid Al Fitr by treating yourself to the grand Gallery Brunch and Dinner Buffets offering plethora of culinary delights from around the world on the first and second day of Eid. (Price on request)

70

Summer 2011

Host an impressive corporate Iftar or Sohour at Le Crillon or Al Wajba ballrooms that can accommodate upto 1000 persons seated. Choose your favourable Shisha taste at the Shisha Garden and munch on the best Arabic delicacies in town. (Price on request)

Break your fast Ramadan is back! Woman Today offers you a menu comprising the city's top hotels that have spruced up to welcome a warm, grand and tasteful Holy Month.

The Ritz-Carlton, Doha What it offers:

Amid the sounds of Arabic musicians and entertainers, relish a variety of flavours at the Ramadan tent at Al Wosail Ballroom. There is Shisha, henna and a falconer to keep you entertained. Corporate Iftar: QR 180* Sohour: QR 250* Shisha: QR 75* VIP Tents: QR 3000 including Shisha. (min. 10 persons) Celebrate Iftar at The Lagoon restaurant with a traditional buffet of Ramadan dishes and fresh juices. Iftar: QR 180


Four Seasons Hotel Doha What it offers:

Experience a traditional Arabian Ramadan at the Arabica Terrace Tent. The extensive Ramadan buffet for Iftar and Sohour will feature international, local and traditional dishes as well as freshly baked breads, grilled meats and live cooking stations. Eid Brunch is available on the first and second day of Eid. Sip a cup of aromatic tea or freshly brewed coffee at the Seasons Tea Lounge after Iftar. Also dig into a range of specialty oriental sweets or Ramadan drinks that include everything from Amar Al Din, Tamer Hindi to Jelab. An evening of elegant Italian fine dining awaits you at the Il Teatro while the Pool Grill restaurant serves refreshing Ramadan drinks, an inspired poolside light fare menu and Shisha. Iftar: QR225* Sohour: QR285* Shisha: QR75*

Sharq Village & Spa What it offers:

The Sehr Al Sharq Tent will host an Iftar feast including carving stations, over 45 different dishes from cuisines of the region, fresh salads and tempting desserts. Iftar: QR250* Shisha: QR75 (double head) Chef Ali Hadla will showcase exquisitely prepared traditional dishes including freshly made breads together with mezze, the favourite Ouzzi and sharwarma along with other Iftar delicacies at the Al Liwan restaurant. Iftar: QR205* Satiate your sweet buds at the Arabian CafÈ Al Jalsa that serves a dazzling display of special Arabic dessert buffet in the lobby and exotic teas, including the aromatic Ameerat Al Sharq tea, the signature blend of Sharq Village & Spa. Dessert buffet: QR95* With a bunch of pals, enjoy an evening of Shisha, tea or coffee at the Shisha Diwan at Al Qareb. Shisha: QR125*

W Hotel Doha What it offers:

The Ramadan tent at the Great Room will offer many food stations with rich delicacies from around the globe and an extensive Arabic buffet and special signature sheesha menu. Be entertained by a live band playing traditional Middle Eastern music. Iftar: QR195* Sohour: QR260* (Free for children below 6; 50% discount for children below 12) Savour the most lavish flavours and scents as you sit back and take in the vibes of the traditional Middle Eastern Trio band; enjoy a magical Sohour at Wahm. Arabic a la carte menu & signature Sheesha menu will be available. Sohour: (Price on request)

Grand Hyatt Doha What it offers:

The famous Syrian band ‘Salateen Al Tarab’ will perform the various styles of Syrian folklore daily in the ballroom for Sohour. Menu includes cold mezzeh, hot cuisine such as shawarma and mixed grills, a selection of sweets and an assortment of soft beverages in addition to Shisha. Suhour: QR220* The Grill restaurant offers a sumptuous traditional Arabic Iftar and Suhour buffet. Iftar: QR220* Suhour: 20% discount voucher The Al Silia ballroom will provide the ideal venue for a private or corporate Iftar and Sohour buffets for up to 1000 guests. Iftar or Suhour: QR200* *Price per person

2011 Summer

71


town

around

Summer festival at Hyatt Plaza

Be GLAM Night is back

O

PI, the world’s leader in Professional Nail Care and Winner of Best Nail Product at GLAM Beauty Awards 2010, will be joining GLAM – Qatar’s No.1 fashion title – in hosting its signature event, Be GLAM Night this year. The event, ‘Be GLAM Night with OPI’ will be taking place on September 5, 2011 – the first Monday of the month and ladies’ night at The Pearl Lounge, Doha Marriott Hotel after the Eid Holidays. With recently launched collections such as the Tour America fall/winter 2011, and Serena Williams

72

Summer 2011

GLAM Slam and the Katy Perry with Shatter, OPI will be showcasing its brand to partygoers at the event. The Pearl Lounge Club has been the official host of Be GLAM Night for four consecutive years; while Virgin Megastore has been the Promotional Partner for the past two years. Entry to the event requires the club membership. While ladies enjoy not just a free entrance, but two complimentary drinks if entering before 11.30pm; men have to pay QR150. Further updates on the event will be announced in GLAM’s Group and Community Facebook pages and by GlamQatar through Twitter.

T

his summer, Hyatt Plaza has turned into a perfect family destination with the launch of its 14-day Summer Festival. The launch had popular cartoon characters Sponge Bob, barney, The Smurfs and Luly Caty entertain kids and parents alike with a variety of activities including play, dances and interactive games. The evening concluded with a colorful array of fireworks. Addressing the gathering, Hyatt Plaza, General Manager, Feroz Moideen said, “We believe that the Hyatt Plaza management team has created yet another benchmark by organizing this exciting fun-filled summer festival. We are honoured and delighted that our social obligation to the society is well received as seen by the huge turnout in our mall.” Meanwhile, Marketing Consultant, S.M. Naseem said, “As a responsible family shopping mall in Qatar, we believe it is our responsibility to provide the society with safe and exciting programmes. The Summer Festival is our attempt to make summer in Qatar delightful.”

Summer Camp graduation ceremony at QSTP Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) held a celebratory graduation for the first batch of participants of the Future Scientists Summer Camp 2011 – in collaboration between QSTP and Qatar Scientific Club (QSC). The two-week Summer Camp had more than 160 children participating in a series of workshops and interactive learning experiences linked to science. Several contests were designed to enhance the engaging learning experiences and bring in an element of fun and competition to the camp. QSC, Secretary General, Rashid Al-Ibrahim said, “Fostering a love for science was one of the aims of the camp and QSC is very pleased with the response we have seen. This graduation ceremony is partly to encourage the children and partly to recognise and show them that we value their achievements. We believe that the Summer Camp has inspired many children and some of them will one day enter the field of science as professionals.”


musings

qatar

Be The

Superhero! You Wish You Were

By Nofe Al-Suwaidi

We must be the moms and dads who tell daughters and sons that they can be any superhero they choose to be. We must be the educators who tell their students stories that empower them and set them free."

74

Summer 2011

W

hen I was a kid, the idea of being a superhero thrilled me. For some kids it was Batman or Spiderman; for me it was Superman. Setting aside that they're all male figures, what struck me the most about Superman wasn't only his sense of righteousness, bravery and strength, as much as it was his ability to fly. Without notice, without restraint, he'd take to the sky without a care in the world. For weeks, I wore my little Superman suit everywhere, feeling, living that same spirit of freedom I admired so much. One morning, I wore my Superman suit to school. Stomping the playground with fists on my hips, I made my way to the classroom. For a few brief but wonderful moments, I was the superhero of my first grade class. My reign as a superhero was cut short by the evil Ms Suhair. She was the Kryptonite to my Superman. With one pass of her disapproval ray, in her syrupy sweet, super villain voice, she said, "tsk, tsk, tsk...Nofe, don't you know that a proper Qatari girl can't be Superman?" The sense of power that came along with the suit immediately vanished. She became one of the first of many voices who tried to define my role as a Qatari, Muslim woman. Most often, it seemed, the messages were of things I could not do rather than of things that I could; jobs I could not

hold, choices I could not make and travels I could not take. Superman's boundless power and freedom would not be available to me. I had been born into a place and time where, for me, doors seemed to be closed rather than open. Years later, I understood why my teacher had forced me to take off my Superman costume; she believed that she was preparing me to put on another costume, my abaya. My story of putting on the abaya inverts my story of taking off the Superman costume. This time instead of people telling me who I couldn't be people started to tell me who I had to be. When I made the decision to wear the hijab, my tenth grade friends reminded me that it also meant I got to wear an abaya. Like most Qatari girls, for me wearing an abaya was a lot like wearing high heels. I was declaring to the world that I had grown up. That Thursday night, I followed my mother into the women's majlis proudly wearing my matching sheyla and abaya. I claimed my seat among the women for tea and grownup conversation. In the years that followed, those grownup conversations began to paint a picture of the life I might someday lead. In the stories I heard, societal expectations restricted Qatari women. I started to learn that being a woman meant I couldn't have an equal voice in society. What started out as a positive symbol of womanhood unfortunately began to change. It seemed as


though wearing the abaya was synonymous with disappearing under it. Let me be clear here. I'm not talking about covering my hair; that was a decision I made as an expression of my faith. I'm talking about the abaya as a representation of the limitations placed on Qatari women. As I have grown, so has my world. People throughout the region are asserting their presence, reclaiming their rights and demanding that their voices be heard. In my lifetime, Qatar and the women who guide her have undergone long-awaited changes. Women have emerged as leaders and role models. H.H. Sheikha Moza championed Education City-without her vision, we would not be here this evening. H.E. Sheikha Mayassa, our keynote speaker, drives the philanthropic and arts initiatives in Qatar. Hessa Al Jaber leads one of the most prominent organizations in Doha. They, along with other Qatari women, have begun to change our path. We don't need to take off our abayas to make some startling proclamation of our liberation. We need to strip away the self-imposed and culturally imposed misconceptions of what it means to be a Muslim woman in Qatar. Wearing the abaya should not mean disappearing under it. We can express our cultural pride and actively participate in our society at the same time. Wearing the abaya does not have to mean we can't wear our superhero costumes. We can and should wear them both.

We don't need to take off our abayas to make some startling proclamation of our liberation. Wearing the abaya does not have to mean we can't wear our superhero costumes. We can and should wear them both."

At Carnegie Mellon, we learned to do just that. Four years ago we all came in wearing the costumes we thought we had to wear, each of us acting out the roles that our cultures had prescribed for us. In the years since, we have preserved the best of those traits and shrugged off the worst. Prof. Al-Malki's Writer's Craft and Prof. Kaba's Identity, Statehood and Nationhood encouraged us to express ourselves

and stretch our views, to break through our own barriers. All of our classes dared us to set higher goals for ourselves. As friends and classmates, we've challenged each other every chance we had, whether over a business ethics debate or a competitive game of Taboo, Carnegie Mellon exemplifies what I hope our future will look like: a place where we can create and compete while we celebrate our core values. As we proceed to the next stage of our lives, we shouldn't aspire to be the grade school teachers who tell little Qatari girls stories of limit. We must be the moms and dads who tell daughters and sons that they can be any superhero they choose to be. We must be the educators who tell their students stories that empower them and set them free. From our minds and from our hearts we must tell each other stories of equality. Our work is not yet done. Instead of recreating a past built on restriction, we will help to create a future built on freedom and opportunity

Nofe Al-Suwaidi graduated from Carnegie Mellon University Qatar's business administration program this year. The above is the excerpt of her graduation speech. Nofe broadened her Carnegie Mellon experience by spending a semester at the main campus in Pittsburgh, where she took classes in business and film studies. In her spare time, Nofe is a painter and a writer. Her stories have appeared in Qatari Voices, a compilation of short stories published by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, and The Writer's Craft: Teaching Creative Writing in Qatar, which was adopted and published by Qatar's Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. 2011 Summer

75


aloud

thinking

photography: Rob Altamirano

How the thobed tick...

T

he thing about Qatari men is, despite their big cars and rugged dune trips, when it comes to their thobes, they are as dandy as they

come. The cut is perfect – not too tight, not too flowy. The cuff-links are carefully chosen – Aigner or Piaget for example – to match the Rolex or Omega on the wrist that holds the amber or jade prayer beads. The collar is starched and the pocket is adorned by nothing less than a Mont Blanc. The hem skims the ankle, no longer, no shorter... revealing pedicured feet in sandals, or in case of some, formal oxfords or brogue. And no matter what time of the day or night, the white is always milky (laundry tricks apart, the whiteness involves more than a couple of wardrobe changes through the day.) As a colleague pointed out, look at the SUVs of most Qatari men; it's their car... but it's also their portable wardrobe. Fresh from the drycleaners, several plastic-wrapped thobes hang neatly in the back seat. Though I have not witnessed this, it has been recounted more than once that a quick change in the backseat is quite the norm. Say, at the Four Seasons meeting there was a slight qawha accident, and your next meeting is across the road at BMW, or a rather clumsy colleague decides to give you an orange juice rinse.

76

Summer 2011

Well driving all the way back home to Waab for a change doesn›t quite make sense. Ta-da, the car is your refuge. The washing is done at home, reveals a young Qatari (of the orange spill fame) – who with great amusement answered all my curious queries – but the ironing is always done at the laundry. At a recent photo shoot, when great self-deliberation went into simply sitting on a bench in an open area, I couldn't quite figure out what the big deal was. Till a week later when I placed my white-jeaned derriere on a similar bench at Katara, only to drive straight back home to set right the brown patch. It's definitely not easy being in whites 24x7. No sir, it's not... Now, let's get to the ghutra. We have seen women spend HOURS in the Ladies' room adjusting their sheylas, to give it the perfect twirl, swish and drama. Apparently, the situation is no different in the Men's room, my man tells me. Have you ever seen a gentleman in a thobe pass his reflection on a mirror or a window, and not stop to adjust his headgear (preen)? See, what distinguishes one guy from the next is the fine detail. The brands he sports, the fabric he chooses ....and the way he wears his ghutra. The dandiest wear it slightly lop-sided; the

akal (the black ring) placed at an angle, one side of the head scarf neatly placed across the head. The more serious – 'I look perfect without any effort' - wear it straight. But the little pleat over the forehead will be just right. Two little curves. I personally prefer the red-white chequered scarf, but the plain white seems to be getting more popular I notice, while trawling the malls. The akal again is of different types – its weave and weight vary, some have a very long pair of tassels, some don›t. When we do shoots of people we interview, the women come already made-up, and at most will tuck in a few stray strands of hair into their headscarf. The men on the other hand will adjust their ghutra continuously – "Rob, can I see the preview. Ha, ok. I think I need to..." It's a good thing that here in Qatar we are all casual about time, and we're always ready for some lighthearted vanity. There is even something charming about it. Especially if they won't think twice about rolling up their sleeves and tugging up their thobe to fix a flat tire. After all, what's a little grease or shawarma spill that the right kind of washing fluid and a quick change can't fix? By Vani Saraswathi



Woman Today Summer (July-August) 2011