Qatar…From Afar: The Last Hour

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I had just about an hour left of the adrenaline-driven day in Doha, Qatar.

I had just gone through immigrations at the airport. After being surrounded by people pretty much all the time since being released from prison the previous afternoon, there I was all alone! But alone and isolated, I didn’t want to feel!

I was on my way out of the country for good; out and away from a country and people that had brought me considerable pain and suffering during my 20-month stint; out and away from a country that had brought a lot of grief to my family, friends and others in the last five days; out and away from a country that brought a lot of pain and suffering on untold number of other Nepalese and Asian workers, and their families. I was anxious, very anxious to leave the country and pretty much every one behind, except for a number of friends and colleagues at QA.

But alone, I was a bit apprehensive too!

I walked over to an area from where I could see the friends who had seen me off just minutes before. Waving good-bye to let them know that I had gotten through immigrations without a hitch, I started on one of the longest hours I had ever experienced!

For “company” and reassurance, I began sending group text messages to them and a whole bunch of other friends totaling about two dozens! I would inform them of where I was at every stage of my progress to my flight, while those friends would respond with well wishes etc.
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I sent the first one from the boarding gate. That the text wrongly states where I was says a lot about the anxiety I felt! (Incidentally, since these screen shots were taken in Nepal, the times stamps are Nepalese. Doha would be 2 hours 45 minutes behind!)
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I followed that up with the following to another group of friends. (Can you read the anxiety?!)
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Ushered through the gate and accompanying the rest of the passengers down the escalator, I didn’t make it into the waiting bus — it got filled by those in front of me. That further added to my anxiety. As the electronically-controlled exit pulled shut, I fired off this text!
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What’s more, the other bus takes its time further adding to my apprehension, and inducing me to send this text.

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After what felt like a very long wait, a little worried if the Qataris were planning something else for me, the bus finally arrived and, as I boarded it, I fired off the following text.

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Not surprisingly, even though I had taken that ride a number of times in the past, this particular time, it felt like a long one! But, as you can tell, I had begun to relax a bit!

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In my seat, buckled up, and ready for take off.

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And the final one!

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No sooner had the plane taken off and reached cruising altitude, the anxiety, the apprehension and the hyper-alert mode dissipating — and very much alone — tears started streaming down my cheeks, tears that didn’t stop flowing…for a long time…tears of relief, hurt, anger and rage!


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