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Run for your life p10

Perfectionist first borns p52

FREE Fortnightly

Walk on fire

p24 Muharram - Shafar

Vol.5 Issue 64IIDecember 2013- January 2014

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Notes from a misfit By Adarsh Madhavan

I know I will be a misfit back home. A total misfit scribe. This is one of the main reasons that I take care not to lose my job here. If I do, what will I do back home? I will stand out like a sore thumb. I know I cannot match the thunder and rage whipped up by scribes back home when they are on a story. They are like raging bulls. They hunt in packs. They prey on the hunter. They are the police, the jury, the judge and the hangmen. They have the license to ‘kill’ and now journalists are the new mob.

can I put in, may I, please allow me to speak, while s/he gleefully outshouts you with a volley of words that has no sense or meaning but serves its purpose in shutting you down.

They don’t care if their a & d (attack and destroy) media stampede might trample on innocents. So what? They have lynched the criminal. Innocents can be sacrificed on the altar of a witch – sorry media – hunt.

I cannot go back because I know I cannot survive such media onslaught. I am not going back because I know I will lose it; I will have a breakdown and I will end up a criminal and I will not have the means to recuse myself to atone for my sins. I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to do something reprehensible; I don’t want to lift my chair and smash it on the head of the executioner – sorry questioner.

All about X, Y & Z

Scribes are the new thing. They are it. They are multidimensional. They are the government and they are the law. They are the FBI, CBI, RAW, IB, FB (sorry, that is Facebook), lawyers, judge and executioner – et al. They float like ghosts and sting like wasps. They can make a Jerry out of Tom and chase that mice from here to eternity until it shrivels in its hole and die. But, even in its death it won’t be spared. Rest assured that they will dig out every piece of information – right down to the dirtiest salacious bit – forcing even parents abandon their offspring. They can make monster out of angels and the reverse and yesterday’s heroes into today’s villains, so mind it! And believe me you will not be able to match the power of their lungs. They will invite you to a TV panel, ask you a question and before you make a point, they will stomp you down and you will be seen trying in vain -- in your squeaky voice -- to put your point across while the know-it-all scribe-cumpresenter smashes you with his hammer words. You will end up saying but, no, but please let me,

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Yes, they can punch you left, right and centre and still hurl you bleeding down the silent dungeon of your principles. But, then, you will be pushed to a point where you would be consumed by the desire to leap out of your chair and wring that word bully’s neck.

Prime time news in India is no longer news, but a cyclone, a hurricane, a storm or whatchamacallit! Storm news hit you at prime time and instead of learning something new, you are drowned by the roar and blare of Mr Not-SoGreen Hulk so much so your kids might ask you pa who is fighting on TV and the next door neighbour might ask you to turn the volume down. Since when have journalism reduced to shouting and screaming? Uh oh, you didn’t know?! Since when have the power of the scribes been determined by the power of their lungs and their ability to drown all reasoning in an uproar of words? Today’s journalism is something that is forced down the throat of the reluctant viewers/readers and they are made to swallow it or choke. And you can’t question them baba because they know all the answers! And that is why I harbour this great fear of fate ousting me from my comfort zone and hurling me into the company of this thunderous. Sorry, I refuse to be a cannibal among cannibals!

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Xclusive 24 Walk on fire Fire walking is something that can transform your life for the better and it is a personal journey where most of you may experience varying levels of surrender, trust and faith, to ignite a vision from the depth of your being. It is indeed a lifechanging experience.


Bitter Batter

Half full or half fool? Now, there is this lady who drives a 4WD who claims that she is quite often bamboozled by the petrol bunk guys.


10 Run for your life Running is an excellent way to escape the pressures of work and family life. By ridding yourself of all the negativity that a day in the office entails, you’re doing yourself and your family a tremendous service.

Published by: Muscat Press & Publishing House SAOC Black & White Postal address: P O Box 86, PC 115, Madinat Sultan Qaboos Office location: Hatat House A, II Floor, Suite No: 212, Wadi Adai Ph: 24565697 Fax: 24565496 Website: Editorial: Printed at Oman Printers December - January

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Headache is… driving Ms Daisy crazy

Stress headaches are irritating, but not debilitating. If you experience a headache that is sudden, severe, or grows worse over time, it’s important to seek medical help.

Editor-in-chief Managing editor Work editor Editorial Design & production Photography Advt. & marketing

Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Priya Arunkumar Adarsh Madhavan Khadija Al Zadjali Beneek Siraj Haitham Al Balushi Priyanka Sampat

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Mail your views and opinions at

Kudos to winners Congratulations to the three winners of the Omani Song Festival. Many thanks to Black & White for coming out with a feature (issue 63) on the event. Such encouragement will go a long way in not only bringing awareness about the wealth of Omani talent here, it also helps the singers get an additional limelight. Kudos to Aisha Al Zadjali (Golden Nightingale), Munthir Al Ma’awali (Silver Nightingale) and Issa Al Balushi (Bronze Nightingale) for winning the well contested competition. And all the best to the other singers too. All in all, it was a well attended, well conceived and executed programme. Congrats to the organisers too!. Anisa Al Harthy, Seeb

Readers column

Make more outlets for talent There is some kind of talent in everyone. It can be of any nature, any character and in varying degrees. But then there can be some out there with great talent waiting to be discovered. Now, how do we discover this talent? How do we discover talent that is sometimes hidden in some remote corner of the world? That is where we come to the talent fests like the one Oman organised (issue 63). The Omani Song Festival is a brilliant way of finding out raw singing talent and also giving them a platform to sing and discover themselves too. We should have more of such talent finding sessions as well as offering more opportunities to artists so that they showcase their talent to the world. I am of the firm belief that every country has talent that could compete with the best that exist in the world and all that matters is to discover December - January 8 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

them. You never know there could be some extraordinary talent languishing in some corner of the world, hoping and waiting to be discovered. Our job is to give them a platform, an exposure, and if possible, a leg up on their way to success. Sudhir Rajagopal, Al Khuwair

Pat on the back to winners, organisers I congratulate all the winners of 10th Omani Song Festival. I am sure that you will reach every height that you all see shining in the destination and I hope you achieve all the success that you desire in the whole world. All the best and congratulations to the organisers of this brilliant and successful event!! Nasser Al Harthy, Seeb

Waiting for the 11th edition I have never had the opportunity to witness the Omani Songs Festival. In fact, this is the first time that I am hearing of this festival and wonder how, a song festival, which has been there for the last 20 years or so, did not catch my attention. It is a good effort of Black & White to bring this story to the public so that all sections of the public get to know. Maybe, it is my ignorance that I did not hear about the song festival, but, I am going to make amends and promise that I will be there for the 11th edition. Sanjith Aaron, Al Khuwair

Breast cancer affects men Yes, it is a clear fact today that men also can get breast cancer (issue 63). My close friend in the US has been diagnosed with the same and is undergoing care at a well known hospital there. Although I had read of it before, I never expected one of my male friends to be a victim of it. However much I tried to say what I heard was untrue, the truth of it finally hit me and laid bare my fears. We always

tend to believe such things happen to others and I was in denial when I heard that my friend was affected. However, my friend was more open to it and perhaps that is why he is responding well to treatment. God bless him and I hope he recovers soon. Nithish Damodar, Qurum

Sleep deprivation is harmful Sleep is of utmost importance and anyone saying anything to the contrary does not know the facts. Or, have not slept properly in his/her life. I know many youngsters would beg to differ on this, but then ask themselves why they ‘crash’ on some days of the week, when they are basically out of bounds, out of contact with the world when they go on a sleep spree for 10 to 12 hours or more. A person who has a regular seven to eight hours sleep everyday would not go on such an abnormal sleep crash mode at any time because they would have had their fill. What youngsters forget to understand when they indulge in such sleep deprivation is that they are slowly cutting the years to their lives, or rather, cutting short on their health. Why would they knowingly indulge in such activities is something I really do not understand.

Your article (issue 63) speaks of the damage done to the skin. I would like to add that the damage is far worse and the youngsters who live in the fast world of today should better take notice. Dr (retd) Ramamoorthy Panicker, Muscat

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By Haitham Al Balushi

That is what I did. I was losing out on life on all fronts and instead of sinking into a morass of self pity and depression, and instead of jumping off the roof, I started running.

Men read

I admit that at the outset, it was a bit symbolic. It felt like I was running away from everything, my troubles, my depression; it was an escape. And I am not a runner. I never used to run. I never used to do any form of exercise. And it showed. I not only had weight, but I also had diabetes. Moreover, some other personal problems, including a relationship that went sour and no job satisfaction put me in the pits. I never thought I would see the light at the end of this darkness and then slowly I got into running, towards the light. Before I embarked on my running therapy, I was a social and medical misfit. I was basically down both mentally and physically. Then slowly, the dark clouds parted. The sun shone down on me. Day by day I began to improve on my running and as I ran, my confidence increased and by the end of a week, I really began to feel fantastic. On top of the world. Since then I have not stopped running. And in some ways you

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can even say that I have managed to run away from all my problems. So, I feel that if I can do it, so can you. Today, I have not just lost weight (no, of course, I don’t look anywhere near those young hunks seen in the ‘before and after’ exercise ads) but I have also managed to get a major weight off my shoulders. I don’t feel like I am under a depressive cloud anymore. I feel better off mentally and physically. I come back from a run and feel as though I can do anything; tired yes, but my heart would be on a song, my mind would be like crystal clear. Slowly the hopelessness that I felt my life was spiraling down into began to disappear; the more positive that I became, the more confident and the more successful I was in work and all other dealings, personal or otherwise. Running does all this to you? Well, then we should all stop everything and start running, you would say. You bet. Running does all of this and more. So, now, stop questioning me. Just run.

Of course it would be great if you could squeeze in a run in the morning, but, if not, stick it to the evening hours. And, I would say it is better that you get outside your home and run, but then if that is not possible, you may get on the treadmill. The benefits of the great outdoors are plenty, but then, still for those who are not able to, a run on the treadmill is equally beneficial. RUN EVERY DAY Try to run everyday, but not if you are starting out. If you are beginner, then stick to a schedule, which is either running on every alternate day and if not at least three times in a week. During the initial period, your body may not be able to cope with it, but then slowly you will get into the rhythm. When it clicks, you will find energy coursing through your body and you will begin to feel great. ANTI DEPRESSANT? I am not a doctor and I don’t think I have a magic wand either. But, then I have learn to run and I have managed to run away from depression and I feel that running is clearly a way out of it. Now doctors will say that running is the cure-all for depression because they will all adopt a medical way of solving it. But, I feel that depression is a natural problem and you can solve it naturally – by

running! Don’t think too much, just run and if it feels alright, keep running and soon enough you would have found yourself a panacea for depression. If not, let me know. I have felt that running can put you in control, you will feel that you are in the driver’s seat! FIGHTS STRESS I guess I am making big claims, but I am not stopping because I want you all to enjoy the benefits of running. You lose nothing if you could just try it. I am saying here that running can also combat stress. You come home from work, stressed and so get into a run and you will find all that knotted feeling disappearing. Running is an excellent way to escape the pressures of work and family life. By ridding yourself of all the negativity that a day in the office entails, you’re doing yourself and your family a tremendous service. There are many who have tried this and reported back on the benefits. I have a friend who was facing trouble at the work front, with his boss and he kept on saying he was going to “beat him up”. I advised him to pound the road instead and now he claims to be happier, lighter and confident of facing his recalcitrant boss without having to punch him.

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Off the wall


Never take your eyes off them

wall he t ff

By Adarsh Madhavan

Maybe she must have been around 70 or 75? Or maybe older? Well, that was not the point. Her age was not an issue. I stared as a young couple steered this elderly woman to the entrance of a popular shopping mall in town. She was not quite sure footed as she would have liked to be and she had to have the support of the couple. She was dressed in a near colourless sari, which almost matched with her hair colour. The way she looked at people – her head tilted to an angle – made me realise that she must have some kind of a problem with her eyesight. She was wearing spectacles. But whatever it was, there was a beautiful smile that radiated from her face and she seemed to be genuinely smiling at everyone, you know, that kind of gentle, amused yet harmless smile. She seemed to be amused by the rush and pace of activity in the mall and how rushed everyone seemed to be, too busy to stop and smell the flowers, as poets would like to say. And the smile was as innocent as a year old baby’s. You know, when we age, we revert back to the age of innocence. Well, at least most of us. Since I was at a close distance and there was nothing much of interest at this mall, I kept watching her. Then someone dropped something on the mall floor; no one saw it, but this grand old lady saw it and asked one of her children (I was not sure, must be her children or grandchildren) to pick it up. I wonder how she saw what no one saw. How did she see that when no one in the mall, young or old, saw it? This lady, surely had an eyesight problem, but yet, she was the first to see something being dropped. There must have been at that moment, over 100 people merely strolling about, window and people gaping and yet, no one saw the notes being dropped. It was actually money and it was dropped by a man who had pulled

his handkerchief from his pocket. I assumed this lady had a sight problem because of the way she walked and the way she looked around her. My mother had the same sight problem and when she used to walk she would by missing a step or two and this lady had the same gait. She missed a step and then found it and then missed the other and so on. The more I looked at her, the more I had to swallow. No two person are the same, yet, some of the traits were similar and familiar and heart stirring. And, these are the type of rare people who cannot see properly yet see everything, they are not in a position to think rightly, yet, they make the right decisions; these are the people who have nothing to say yet say everything. These are the people who are deemed helpless but yet lift you up when you have fallen. I don’t think I could ever match the hidden abilities of my parents. The hidden talents my mom and my dad possess are too numerous to be told here and I know for a certain that I don’t possess them, nor, am I going to possess them. They may look down and out, old and beaten, and virtually don’t fit in with the youth of today or the near oldies like us. But, somehow they are the ones who hold everything together and they are the ones who keep us all going, even though we are not ready to admit it. They may seem to be leaning on us, but it is we who need their support. And they can be stubborn too, like my mom, for we have been trying to get her to Oman for the past 15 to 17 years or so and she has been successfully resisting that. And not because she had any less love, but simply because she couldn’t and she didn’t want to end it all here. I wondered about this grand old lady at the mall…how did she agree to come here? I tried to look for an answer and I tried to look for her but she had disappeared in the crowd there. That is the thing too: you take your eyes off them for a moment and they would have disappeared. December - January 13 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

Ankit Fadia amazes Muscateers


Ankit Fadia, the world renowned young computer expert and ethical hacker enthralled the Muscat audience during his oneday seminar on Corporate IT Security & Ethical Hacking held recently at Barr Al Jissa Resort Muscat.

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The seminar organised by Oman Advertising Agency (OmanAd) – Conferences and Seminars Management Division with the support from Information Technology Authority - Oman National CERT was attended by government entities, corporates, banking sectors and private organisations and individuals. “Plenty of real life case studies, a hands on approach and live hacking demonstrations were used to unravel the fascinating world of computer hacking! Moreover, it was an excellent opportunity for the participants to learn and understand from Ankit, the latest tools, techniques and methods being used by the cyber criminals and how to fight them,” said Mohammed Ayoob, general manager, OmanAd. Bank Dhofar was the sponsor of the event along with educational partner Polyglot Institute.

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ROHM Performances The Silk Road Ensemble with YoYo Ma on January 23 The Silk Road Ensemble draws together distinguished performers and composers from more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Since the Ensemble formed under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma in 2000, these innovative artists have eagerly explored contemporary musical crossroads. Yo-Yo Ma enjoys a world-star status. His incredible career has taken flight from his incomparable mastery of the cello and his personal quest for musical exploration. Yo-Yo Ma’s work on diverse projects that stimulate the imagination and span across a more diverse repertoire than is typical of a classical musician of his calibre brought him multiple Grammy Awards and world fame.

Gustavo Dudamel & Simon Bolivar on January 24 Witness the dynamic conductor Gustavo Dudamel’s passionate music-making in Muscat on January 24. Concurrently serving as Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the impact of his musical leadership is felt on several continents. Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most decorated conductors of his generation.

music, as well as present her most popular songs. Sherine has been a hit throughout the Arab world since her first single, “Ah Ya Leil,” broke out on the air waves in 2000. Over the subsequent course of numerous albums, singles and celebrated collaborations, she has matured as a sparkling singer at the heart of the Arab popular music industry, performing in a style that has been termed poetic, positive and powerful. In concert, she shares her love of performing with her audience, bringing brightness and passion to every note. Sherine's remarkable voice will be accompanied by an excellent Arab orchestra under the leadership of acclaimed Selim Sahab.

Sherine to perform on January 28 Egypt’s songstress extraordinaire will perform for one night in Muscat on January 28, where she will find back to her roots in Arab classical


All-new 7 Seat Mitsubishi Outlander- Test drive and Win General Automotive Company, the exclusive distributors of Mitsubishi Vehicles in Oman, have announced a new promotion, offering those who test drive the recently launched 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander an opportunity to win either an iPad mini, iPhone 4S or even a 32” LED TV. The offer ends on January 31. Mark Tomlinson, General Manager of General Automotive Company, said, “The new Outlander comes with a host of new technology and engine refinements, offering a great driving experience, top-notch fuel efficiency, and neatly packaged in a body that’s a stunning showcase of Mitsubishi’s new design direction. Mitsubishi has always enjoyed a loyal customer base here in Oman and we have already received an overwhelmingly positive response on the new Outlander.” Launched in Oman just a few days ago, the all-new 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander offers breathtaking new styling inside and out, a new engine equipped with nextgeneration MIVEC variable valve-timing, technologicallyDecember - January 16 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

advanced safety features and a lightweight, aerodynamically-enhanced body. It is also one of the most fuel-efficient compact CUVs with 7-passenger seating available to automotive consumers in Oman. In celebration of the launch of the all-new Mitsubishi Outlander, any customer that books a test drive on the Outlander before the end of January will be entered into a draw to win either an iPad mini, iPhone 4S or a 32” LED TV.

Ramada Muscat Hotel celebrates 12 years

Celebrating 12 years of successful operations in Oman’s capital city, the Ramada Muscat announced an interior overhaul as well as additions to a multitude of facility upgrades, towards making guest experiences more favourable while visiting the Sultanate – whether for business or leisure. Al Sayyid Munther Bin Saif Bin Hamed Al Busaidi, managing director of Ikhtiar Group,

commented, “As a part of Oman’s Vision 2020, tourism is expected to contribute 9.2 percent to the economy making it the second most valuable source of income for the country after oil. In line with this purpose, the public and private sector need to do their bit to ensure that the infrastructure is ready and upto international standards – so as to develop as a regional and global tourist hub.”

TBWA\ZEENAH participates in Global Entrepreneurship Week Oman 2013 Showcasing their commitment towards providing innovative branding solutions to clients in the Sultanate, while harboring the philosophy of growing and supporting local talent within entrepreneur and SME sector, TBWA\ZEENAH participated in the inaugural Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Oman 2013. The forum, which brought together entrepreneurs and SME operators with industry thought leaders, mentors and potential

investors took place at the National Business Centre (NBC) premises at the Knowledge Oasis in Muscat. Highlighting the significance of this participation, Mohammed al Farei, managing director at Zeenah Group said: “With more than 8 million brands marketed in the world, it is critical to develop a brand that stands out. The Oman chapter of the Global Entrepreneurship Week is a pioneer initiative and we are pleased to be able to share knowledge

with young Omanis and provide a global perspective to the next generation of future entrepreneurs and business leaders in Oman. We are proud to have worked with the National Business Centre on their brand development and were very pleased to contribute to Global Entrepreneurship Week Oman 2013.”

Roger Dubuis unveils iconic Excalibur range in Oman Roger Dubuis, makers of fine Swiss watches with unique flair, recently unveiled their signature Excalibur range of watches in Oman, for the benefit of watch lovers in the Sultanate. The iconic collection was launched recently in partnership with leading luxury watch distributors, Mistal, part of the Ajit Khimji Group. December - January 17 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

alizz islamic bank innovative banking products alizz islamic bank, one the first dedicated Islamic banks in Oman, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel). Acting CEO of alizz islamic bank, Jamal Darwiche and VP Human Resources at Omantel, Dr. Ghalib bin Saif Al Hosni signed the MoU that will provide Omantel employees with innovative Shari’a compliant financial solutions. Commenting on the signing,

Darwiche said, “The MoU with Omantel is in line with our strategy to offer Shari’a compliant financial solutions to our customers. Through this strategic partnership, employees will enjoy our customer journey and the convenience of technologically advanced banking through our transparent processes. Our business relationship with Omantel goes beyond offering products; as we seek to identify areas of growth by recommending practical and cost-

effective investment opportunities.” “This MoU will help us deepen our understanding of Islamic banking concepts and practices. It further reflects our commitment to offer Omantel employees the best available products and services the Islamic banking sector has to offer. We seek to identify initiatives that enhance the privileges of being an Omantel employee,” said Dr Al Hosni.

Al Jenaibi International Automobiles boosts road safety in Oman In a bid to boost road safety in the Sultanate of Oman, Al Jenaibi International Automobiles, the BMW Group importer, distributed 200 booster cushions to families with children aged between six to 11 years old. The initiative is part of BMW Group Middle East’s ‘Stay Alert, Stay Alive’ campaign and the importer’s weeklong participation at the Oman Traffic Safety Expo 2013.


Bank Muscat extends baituna home finance for new project in Seeb Bank Muscat and Vantage Modern Project company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide attractive baituna home finance for Vantage residential units in the wilayat of Seeb. Said Al Badai, DGM – Branches, and Amur Al Maamari, promoter of Vantage Modern Projects, signed the MoU at the bank’s head office.

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Bank Sohar supports Special Olympics Bank Sohar has for the second year running, extended its full support to the Al Amal Association. The nongovernmental organisation, which is proactively engaged in uplifting people with intellectual disabilities in Oman, will soon be organising a Special Olympics sporting event in the Sharqiya region. A cheque, in support of the event, was handed over by Munira Abdulnabi Macki, DGM of human resources and corporate support at Bank Sohar, to

Saleh Khamis Al Aghbari, national director of Special Olympic and board member Al Amal Association and in the presence of Mazin Mahmood Al Raisi, AGM and head marketing and

publicity – Bank Sohar and Haitham M. J. Al Lawati, board member of the Al Amal Association, at the bank’s premises.

BreadTalk Oman Generation4 BreadTalk, Oman’s boutique bakery launched its Generation 4 ‘Get Talking’ brand concept at its flagship store in Bareeq Al Shatti and at its recently opened branch in Qurum City Centre. The new and comprehensive brand combines a rustic charm with contemporary appeal interior along with a revised menu that consists of over 50 new recipes conceptualized by top international bakery consultant.

Jannat Moosa, Marketing Director of Bin Mirza International (BMI) said, “Creativity and innovation lies in the heart of BreadTalk and with that we have continuously tried to reinvent ourselves by introducing better choices for our customers. With the growing popularity of lifestyle trends, our Generation 4 products are much healthier and include chia, soya, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds.”

Intercon Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony InterContinental Muscat held a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony during the month of December. The event was held to symbolise InterContinental Muscat uniting with the rest of the world to show peace, love and care. H.E James Bowden the British Ambassador of Oman attended the ceremony and did the honors of lighting the tree. The British School Muscat Junior Choir preformed the Christmas Carols during the event. December - January 19 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

Chrysler Cup 2013 Oman’s team golfing event, the Chrysler Cup has proved, once again, to be an exceptional tournament. Organised annually by Dhofar Automotive – the official dealer for Chrysler in Oman in association with the Oman Golf Committee (OGC) and was conducted at Oman’s championship course, Al Mouj Golf, The Wave, Muscat recently. This event witnessed, over a two day period, an intense level of competition, combined with great camaraderie,

strategy and skill from all participants – the hall mark of any top level sporting competition. In the end, the Almouj Golf Club proved victorious, winning the Chrysler Cup 2013 from last year’s defending champions, Ghala Valley Golf Club.

Outlining the vision for the 2013 edition of the Chrysler Cup, Chris Edwards, general manager of Dhofar Automotive, shared his insights on the tournament and its role in promoting the game of golf in the local and regional arena.

Nawras ‘Join and Win’ grand prize winner! Nawras announced that Hashil Hamed Al-Malki has won the ‘Join and Win’ grand prize of a brand new 2013 GMC Yukon. Hashil was the lucky winner to be randomly selected from the overwhelming number of Nawras customers who entered the draw. He attended a ceremony at Muscat Grand Mall, where the car was on display, to collect his new car keys from Nawras CEO, Greg Young. Khadija Al-Kindi, Nawras proposition manager – mass markets, said, “Congratulations to Hashil Everyone in the Nawras family was very excited for him and we hope that he enjoys this amazing prize. Our aim is to be the most

customer-focused communications provider, and so we always seek to give customers more value by rewarding them for their loyalty with innovative promotions and exciting rewards throughout the year.”


The Box Appeal 2013 distributes over 700 boxes

The Box Appeal, organised by the Radisson Blu Hotel in Muscat, concluded its second successful year recently. The efforts of a two-month campaign culminated in the collection of over 700 boxes where residents of Muscat came forward to fill the box with a ‘shopping list’ of everyday items. The charity campaign created and run by the Rezidor Hotel Group in the Middle East, officially December - January 20 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

concluded on the 30th of November. The boxes were distributed to Oman’s construction workers and street labourers by a team from the hotel, an enthusiastic group of students from the Indian School Al Ghubra, charity partner ‘I-Care Initiative Oman’ members and representatives from partner companies. The Box Appeal asks people to give back to those who need it most, in this case, the unsung heroes who work hard in the sweltering heat to making the country beautiful and comfortable for everyone. This was the second time the Muscat

hotel participated with organisers citing that the response from the local community was ‘overwhelming’. Several other local companies supported the campaign including Gulf Agency Company, Renaissance Services SAOG, Snowhite LLC, Oman United Agencies, Al Wisal 96.5 FM, Merge 104.8, Carillion Alawi and I-Care Initiative.

omanoil customers win prizes Oman Oil Marketing Company (omanoil) awarded six lucky competition winners with a host of coveted prizes as part of its customer service week celebrations. The ‘Share & Win’ and ‘Capture & Win’ Facebook competitions were designed to reward customers for their loyalty throughout the years. During the week, omanoil’s official Facebook page received over 4,000 participant entries and 5,000 new ‘friends’. An iPhone 5S was awarded to Abdullah bin Saif Al Hinai, whereas Abdullah bin Matar Al Mayahi won the Galaxy Note 3 and Nassir bin Saif Al Saidi received an iPhone 5C in the ‘Share & Win’ competition. Participants shared the Facebook page with friends on other social networks as well as blogs and accumulated points whenever a new referral registered via their link. Rohinton Dumasia,

Prasad Karunakaran and Diana Dumasia took the best photographs representing customer care at omanoil’s filling stations in the ‘Capture & Win’ competition and were rewarded with photography equipment gift vouchers ranging between 100 Omani Rials and 350 Omani Rials.

The Zubair Corporation hosts forum The Zubair Corporation hosted a forum entitled “Institutional Practices in Corporate Governance and Transparency”, recently at Bait Al Zubair Museum. The forum was organised in partnership with the Pearl Initiative, the leading independent, not-for-profit, bybusiness for-business institution working to improve corporate governance and transparency in the Arab world. In association with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, the Pearl Initiative is a regionally-

focused network of business leaders committed to driving joint action, exhibiting positive leadership and sharing knowledge and experiences across sectors and regions. The Zubair Corporation is the only Omani company currently participating in

the initiative, which aims to foster competitive economic growth and sustainable social development in the Arab world. The chairman of The Zubair Corporation, Rashad M. Al Zubair, commented: “Governance is an integral part of our vision and we have aligned ourselves with The Pearl Initiative since its inception. Hosting the forum is an extension of The Corporation’s commitment towards enhancing the spread of good governance culture in both public and private institutions.”

Khimji Ramdas inks deal with SPAR SPAR International further expanded its network of partners in the MENA region by signing a new SPAR License Agreement for Oman with Khimji Ramdas recently in Muscat. Khimji Ramdas is a leading business conglomerate in Oman with diversified interests in trading, distribution, retailing, restaurants and manufacturing. Khimji Ramdas will add SPAR to its portfolio of the world’s leading brands. “SPAR is targeting the Middle East

for growth in 2014”, Dr. Gordon Campbell, managing director, SPAR International said at the signing in Muscat. “We are delighted to add Khimji Ramdas to our network of

prestigious partners in the Middle East. With the combined knowledge and support of SPAR, ADCOOPs and Khimji Ramdas, SPAR will expand rapidly in Oman”. December - January 21 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

Hi...Have a Great Career By Dr CK Anchan

Career decision-making is not magic, and it does not happen quickly. No one else can make the decision for you, and this may scare you at first. Always remember to discuss your thoughts freely as this helps you to clarify your own thinking. You must be actively involved in the process - no use letting someone else do the research. It is never too late to start – but is easier if it is not left to the last minute. Whether you’re looking to enter the work force for the first time or contemplating a career change, the first step to choosing a fulfilling career is to uncover the activities that get you excited and bring you joy. If you are unsatisfied with what you do every day, it takes a toll on your physical and mental health. You may feel burned out and frustrated, anxious, depressed, or unable to enjoy time at home knowing another workday is ahead. What’s more, if you don’t find your work meaningful and rewarding, it’s hard to keep the momentum going to advance in your career.

Management Talk

There is an old saying that if you’re trying to choose a career, you should think about what you would do if you didn’t have to work. If you had a million dollars and you could do anything, what would you do? Your answer to that question, while maybe not literally the best career choice for you, may give you insight into what you should do. Many hobbies correspond to real world needs and positions. Consider what you like to do and how that might fit into a career. Figuring out what you should do with your life may sometimes require you to get to know yourself better. If you want a career that will really make you happy, you have to have a very good understanding of what you want and what you enjoy. One of the most important things to consider is if the career path you’re choosing will provide you with an acceptable level December - January 22 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

Dr Anchan C.K. managing director, World Wide Business House

of financial security. In other words, will you be able to make enough money to support yourself and your family. It is also important to consider a future career’s stability. Job markets fluctuate as society needs different things at different times. You will need to consider if the career you choose is stable enough for you and your desires for the future. Consider what career options are available for you to easily move into. Examples would be working for the same company as one of your parents, working for a family business, or working for a friend. If your options are limited, choosing a career in which you can quickly enter may be your best option. If you’re still confused, consider doing more research on this topic. If you don’t like your career, change it! Sometimes it takes more work, especially if you’re older, but it’s possible for anyone. People rarely know right away what career they should be in and it takes most people several years to settle into the path they will follow. It’s not the end of the world if you choose a career that isn’t something you dreamed of doing ever since you were little. If you have a job that doesn’t make you miserable but which securely provides for you and your family’s future, you will be surprised how happy you feel about your life and career. As Steve Jobs states “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. “ Wishing Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to make it Great...

Fear is in the mind, once we cross that, we come out bright and successful. And so will all of the fire walkers of this world. Fire, as someone said in the article, is a metaphor for the hurdles that we face and walking over it, is like climbing over that obstacle

CLIMBING OVER THE FEAR FACTOR Fear, they say, is a survival mechanism, a means to survive by pulling away when danger threatens. A natural tendency all humans are born with. We can attribute various reasons, from traumas to experiences to psychological inhibitions to the fear factor. However the best way would be to face, expose ourselves to our personal demons and move past them! Now, how do we do that? There is no one common solution for all people. Each one of us has our own way of de-stressing ourselves, facing challenges and moving ahead. I cross deserts. Not for pure adventurist fun, it is to me a way of taking my tired mind off the daily routine schedules and tasks. The trips make makes my mind and body alert and makes me a new person, full of energy and courage. Oman has beautiful stretch of sand dunes and no one has ever put a track on it. Every trip becomes a challenge, mysterious in its own way.

In Black & White

In Black...

Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Editor-in-chief

Then there are a few who attempt extreme sports, mountain climbing, trekking etc. all these are mere paths to face challenges and bring out the best in you. Recently we came across a few people who walked over hot charcoals as part of a personality training seminar. Fire walking is just another example of fighting the fears of the mind and facing challenges. Like I mentioned earlier, fear is in the mind, once we cross that, we come out bright and successful. And so will all of the fire walkers of this world. Fire, as someone said in the article, is a metaphor for the hurdles that we face and walking over it, is like climbing over that obstacle. The B&W team met a few of the fire walkers who did this daring feat and realised the fact that facing challenges upfront is what makes a man a true human being. For a true man is not one who is without fear, but one who overcomes that fear.

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Ameena’s (not real name) stomach felt a bit queasy with anxiety and anticipation. She did not feel this scared, when she had first decided to take that plunge -- to walk on fire. But with just moments away from the real thing, Ameena was in two minds – to walk or not to walk (on the fire)? She was in two minds: It looked easy and it looked a bit scary too. Couple of her colleagues walked over the five metres stretch of burning coals (upto 1700degrees Celsius) without a hitch and it looked too easy. Then, her eyes fell on the fire that slowly flamed about in the patch prepared for them and it looked like an invitation to pain. “This is insane, this is not happening to me,” she thought as she slipped behind her other colleagues. But, suddenly her trainer came close to her and said she wanted a word with her. “Everything okay?” she asked Ameena. For a moment Ameena dithered. Should she tell the truth or should she just mouth some inanity like yes, great I am feeling great! But she blurted out the truth: “I don’t want to get burnt!” The trainer studied her and asked: “Have you ever walked on fire before?” No, said Ameena. “Then how do you know you will get burnt?” the trainer asked with a smile. Then it hit Ameena. Of course, the fact that she believed she was going to burn her feet was just an assumption. She was living in a world of assumptions. She had assumed that fire would burn her feet, but how would she know if she have never walked on it? Her mind dulled itself to the actual event and when her turn came, she just did what all her predecessors did: she just walked over the fire. Like it was just another patch of land, probably a bit hotter than the rest! Her feet went all black, but once the coal was washed off and thoroughly inspected for any burns or injuries, Ameena felt rejuvenated. A sudden spark of realisation sprung within her and a volcano of deep, infinite feelings welled in her. Ameena felt as though she had undergone a major transformation, as though a huge weight had shifted off her shoulders and the fire seems to have awoken something deep within her. Ameena did it. She walked on fire. It was an achievement beyond imagination, but what she felt after that was beyond that little notch on her shoulder.

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Of course, those who have had bad experience while walking on fire may beg to differ on the above anecdote, but, largely, almost everyone who has gone through the experience of walking on fire has not only come out unscathed, but filled with a new purpose.

B&W Xclusive

Fear would be replaced by a new sense of confidence and power. Of course, fire burns, but then if you have walked over fire without getting burnt, then it was time to take a pot shot at all the old theories that have been holding you down: maybe failures are not bad, they are just stepping stones to success; maybe getting old did not mean becoming stiff, slow and weak; maybe falling sick did not mean you were going to die the next day; maybe losing a job doesn’t mean that your career has come to an end; maybe failing in a relationship does not mean that you are going to be without love all your life; maybe catching a cold didn’t mean the end of the world! Maybe we are not the weaklings that we have been led ourselves to believe; maybe within us lie an inner strength that we only need to give wings. And all of these are not mere flights of fancy; there is a reality out there which is as fascinating and as exciting as any fantasy. It is this December - January 28 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

fantasy that we should make a reality! Fire walking is something that can transform your life for the better and it is a personal and sacred journey where most of you may experience varying levels of surrender, trust and faith, where we are able to ignite a vision from the depth of our being and somehow we are able to invoke the fire’s energy to purify and heal ourselves. It is indeed a life-changing experience. NOT SOME DAREDEVIL, STUNT SHOW This has to be stressed because there is a quarter who believe that fire walking is some daredevil stunt show where the participants get their adrenaline fix. “The fire is a metaphor for the hurdles we face in our lives,” says Carol Talbot, a professional speaker, fire starter, master trainer and this aspect is echoed by Mitesh Khatri, Ceo and lead facilitator, Guiding Light Consultants, from India. Both have held seminars and workshops on this pathbreaking phenomenon here in Oman and elsewhere. “Fire-walk is simply a metaphor for the problems we face and the message here is to deal with the problems with full faith, rather than doubt and panic,” Khatri said.

The fire starter They say in the realm of motivational speakers, there is one lady, who when she speaks, the audience listens. Yes, when Carol speaks, the audience listens, and even after she has left the stage, the audience is changed – forever! It is not easy to ignore the carefully crafted and honed messages, which Carol leaves behind. This is what most in the audience, who have gone through Carol’s path breaking fire-walking events, have experienced. Carol Talbot is considered to be one of the top NLP female experts in the region and she has had great success with her seminars, especially the fire walking ones in Oman. Noting that fire was a metaphor for hurdles, Carol noted how people are not ready to take on life’s challenges just like their hesitancy in walking over fire/hot coals. The problem with this was that such people would doubt themselves and thereby limit their abilities. But such seminars helped in breaking the barriers. CAROL’S TAKE ON FIRE WALKING… “Fire-walking demonstrates the impact thoughts have on our life. It affects the human psyche and creates a shift in many people; mentally, physically and emotionally. When we do something that we once believed to be virtually

impossible, it shifts our way of thinking about what is and isn’t possible, allowing us to overcome our limiting beliefs, fears and doubts. Most people find the fire-walk to be an amazing, if not a life-altering, experience.” FIRE-WALKING IN OMAN Having run fire-walks all over the globe for individual groups and corporate clients it’s wonderful to work with teams in the region and be able to follow up on the experience. Earlier in the year I was working with a 100-plus management team, over a two-day conference. The company’s targets for the year ahead were shared with the delegates – and they were given the challenge to identify solutions to achieve the revenue goal. Boom! The room immediately filled with an air of negativity as the team ‘pushed back’ in a collective uneasiness at the thought of taking what they seemed to perceive as a responsibility which was not theirs. Within three hours, every team member had walked the coals. Everyone was highly energised. The collective mind-set had shifted. The general consensus in the room was one of ‘collaborative appreciation, coupled with anything is possible’. Indeed, the revenue goals were embraced and there followed an outpouring of relevant, realistic solutions.” December December- -January January 29 29 B&W B&W 22001133- -22001144

14 fire-walking events in five years

B&W Xclusive

The first time that she was about to walk on fire, Yesha Kanabar, business head, Areej T&C, was in two minds: “I must say that I was quite apprehensive and I was thinking what if I burn my feet when I was about to fire walk,” reveals Yesha. But, luckily for her, Carol Talbot, her trainer was at hand. The latter prodded her with one simple query: “Yesha, did you ever walk on fire before?” When Yesha replied in the negative, Carol asked her again: “So, what makes you think that fire will burn your feet?” That was enough for Yesha to propel herself into the fire and since then she has never felt any fear. “Now, I ask the same question to my prospective delegates and we laugh over it after the event,” says Yesha, who, in the last five years, have, through Areej T&C, organised 14 fire-walking events. “What I have understood is that fire walking is indeed one of the most difficult tasks to perform for a normal man. But, once he/ she does that, there is a great sense of achievement, which spurs one to break any barrier!”

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Excerpts: How many fire-walking seminars/workshops have you arranged so far? We have organised 14 fire walking events in Muscat in a span of five years. Most of them were in-house training sessions for corporate or motivation evenings for employees of companies. We have also conducted public events wherein individuals paid the delegation fees and attended this very inspiring NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) activity. I used to work for Gazelle International earlier and since the last three years have a set up of my own – Areej T&C – and it is under this banner that the events have been brought to Oman. Do Omanis also take part in these fire walks? Yes. Fire walking is appreciated by everyone -- Omanis and expatriates. Some people have an apprehension when we tell them that it is an actual fire walk that they have to undergo. It is entertaining to see the looks on the faces of the participants prior to the event. But once the NLP trainer talks to them, employing a ‘can-do strategy’, the hit rate of the attendees doing the walk would peak at 98 to 99 percent, with some of them even repeatedly walking. We generally request Omani nationals to wear casual clothing, which is a safer option. The whole fire walking sessions are quite informal and in a way, the attire also plays an important role here as the objective would be to keep the formal, everyday routine, out of our lives. How do you think the participants (of such fire-walking seminars) benefit? Walking on fire seems to be one of the most difficult things to perform for a normal man (or woman). However after he/she actually walks on the fire, things like sales targets, market slowdowns, non performing team members, high stress levels, personal or professional troubles all seem small and insignificant. They gain confidence to overcome the hurdles ahead and most importantly with smiling faces! At the end of the day, the feeling of “If I can walk on red hot fire, then I can do anything as I am an achiever” is always observed. The smiling faces and the sense of satisfaction that we, event managers, get to see on our delegates’ faces is an awesome selfrewarding experience! Have you walked on the hot coals yourself? Oh yes! I have done it each time we conduct the event. Of course, the first time I was a little apprehensive and had the “what if I burn my feet” question in my mind, to which Carol asked me a simple thing: “Have you ever walked on fire to assume you will burn your feet?”! Today, I ask a similar question to our prospective delegates and we laugh over it after the event. Walking on fire makes you feel like an achiever and it opens your mind to the ‘iff’s & but’s’ of day-to-day life. Have you always done your fire-walking sessions with Carol Talbot? Yes, Areej T&C is exclusively tied-up with Carol Talbot for all her events in Oman. Our clients speak highly of her and we are proud of the association. In the past two years we have observed that corporate(s) are aware of the importance of this activity and are more perceptive towards it. It’s not a boring seminar where one sits and just listens to the speaker. Carol makes the whole experience interesting, interactive and it is always highly energised. December December- -January January 31 31 B&W B&W 22001133- -22001144

Walking on fire can transform your life Fire walk expert, Mitesh Khatri, who had recently conducted a fire walking seminar for Al Dastoor Contracting and Trading LLC, explains the phenomenon and says it is the best example of “mind over matter”. “Fire walk is also an excellent metaphor to create new belief, confidence in one’s self,” adds this corporate trainer, who is the Ceo and lead facilitator of Guiding Light Consultants.

B&W Xclusive

Excerpts: Fire walking has become such an important ingredient of corporate and team-building seminars and self-help workshops today…could you explain the phenomenon? Corporate and team building seminars are usually full of theories which have been failing in bringing long term change in people. Activities like fire walk are important because it takes people beyond theories and gives them an ‘experience’ that everything is possible. This is an unforgettable experience that brings long term change which makes the corporate workshops a grand success in terms of time and investment both. What is the ‘other’ factor of walking on fire? It is certainly not walking on water…? It goes without saying that when faith is the foundation of any actions, those are more fruitful than the actions taken with doubts. Fire walk is simply a metaphor for the problems we face in our life. In fire walk the message is to deal with our problems with full faith rather than doubt and panic. Why is fire walking used as the best example of ‘mind December - January 32 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

over matter’ principles by experts like you; is it being overused in such seminars? It is one of the best examples because most human beings are inherently scared of fire and the thought of fire walk is definitely terrifying. Once they walk over fire they start questioning the validity of a lot of their fears for many others areas of life. Thus I feel fire walk is not yet used to its fullest potential as 90 percent corporate executives have not yet experienced the transformation that it creates. Is there a hidden danger to novice practitioners of fire walking? Has anyone been hurt in such walks? Yes I believe anything practiced with lack of professionalism or incomplete knowledge is dangerous. But when done with complete knowledge and enough experience, activities like fire walk can be life transforming. What is the smallest and biggest damage possible on the feet after a fire-walking session? With experienced fire-walk experts the smallest and biggest damage is just a small blister which is healed in a matter of a few hours. We are talking about a blister

of a similar intensity that you get with a hot cup of tea or coffee. How many such fire-walking seminars have you conducted and how successful have they been (in terms of really building a team)? I have done hundreds of such seminars covering over 20,000 people so far with a track record of creating 100 per cent results so far in terms of motivation and team work both. Some case studies are available on my website Are newcomers to the walk, quite reluctant to take this ultimate test? Yes most people are reluctant until they go through my one hour power talk, after that they are unstoppable in walking on fire or to achieve any difficult goal in life. If only a few (out of a whole team) participate, then how will it build a team? You are absolutely right! However in my workshops there is a more than 98 percent participation level including the one we did for Al Dastoor. How did you get into fire walking and how was your first experience? I learnt about fire walk from an international trainer called

Anthony Robbins. My first experience was completely life transforming because I was scared to death in one moment and full of awe and surprise after I had walked on fire. The whole experience of walking over your fears and coming out unharmed is an unforgettable experience and since then I have been passionate to spread this experience to as many people as I can. I would like to record my thanks and appreciation to Srijit Nair, the founder of Skills Search, who is my partner in the Middle East, who helped create the first fire-walk experience for Al Dastoor in Muscat. What is the latest in the world of corporate team building – anything that can beat fire walking? Identity transformation activities is something that goes beyond even activities like fire walk which we do in a lot of our team building workshops. For an example one of our activities helps employees to change their identity from being an employee to being an entrepreneur which takes their ownership levels to a completely new level. When a wife becomes a mother there is an identity transformation in her that brings radical changes in her behaviour and the same happens with a man when he becomes a father. Through a scientific method we bring such an identity transformation in people which create long-term changes in the way teams work with each other after our workshops. December December- -January January 33 33 B&W B&W 22001133- -22001144

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Participants speak: “if you can walk on fire, day to day challenges of life seem a cakewalk” Nahid Al Zadjali, Naranjee Hirjee Co SAOG:

B&W Xclusive

I was very keen to see if and how people walk the actual fire. Honestly, I thought it was a gimmick. But when I actually saw people walking on red hot fire, I was stunned. And then I thought “I can do it too”. It is an amazing experience as in life if you can walk on fire, which is almost the ultimate thing, day to day challenges of life seem a cakewalk. I would love to do it again. It is not at all a scary experience. In fact it boosts your self confidence and makes you an achiever from within. I would definitely recommend firewalking and rate it as a 'one time life experience' of my life.

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A sense of winning! Ahmed Al Harthy, PDO I had done a similar activity in Russia while there on a business visit and hence I knew what I was heading for. I had loved it then and loved it in Muscat too. In fact was surprised to see that it is very well accepted and appreciated amongst the locals. Once you walk that fire, you feel a sense of conquering, a sense of winning! For people who are new it might look scary, but Carol is a very good speaker and she tells you exactly what they are getting into and believe me its not at all scary or dangerous. Yes I would whole heartedly recommend to everyone.

Text: Adarsh Madhavan & Priya Arunkumar Photos: Supplied

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the best medicine‌

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Laughter is believed to have its origins in rough and tumble play, evolving from the panting behavior of our primate ancestors (when tickled, chimpanzees and gorillas pant).

Children laugh about 400 times a day. Adults laugh an average of 15 times a day.

In groups, women laugh more than men. Women also laugh more at men more, than men laugh at women

Laughter is good exercise.

Laughing 100 times has the same effect on the body as being on a rowing machine for 10 minutes or a stationary bike for 15 minutes

Laughter is infectious, which is why most TV sitcoms have a laugh track.

Laughter is so contagious, it can even reach epidemic proportions.

In 1962, in the African country now known as Tanzania, a few schoolgirls began laughing uncontrollably. Their laughter soon spread to people in neighbouring communities. Schools were closed to keep others from catching the laugh bug. The epidemic subsided after six months.

Laughter isn’t just about jokes and funny stories. One researcher eavesdropped on conversations in malls, noting why and how often people laughed. Less than 20 percent of the laughter followed a joke or humorous story.

Most laughter took place as people were greeting one other or saying goodbye

The sound of laughter is so common and familiar, it can be recognised if played backwards on tape

He who laughs last laughs last

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We have been thinking of it since quite sometime now. Finally, we have taken the plunge to bring home to you some offbeat stuff. Here goes, if you like it, give us the green signal for more; if not, just take it with a pinch of salt. For this fortnight, here is some nitter natter for the B&W Bitter Batter:

‘No passes’ culture have become passé No passes, no passes, no passes, absolutely no passes! Don’t even think of it! We will not give a single pass! We’d rather keep the seats empty than give passes! We’d rather die than yield to the pressure of giving away passes to the freebie lovers! So there! Humph! These are the usual quotable quotes of the event organisers, including us, when we give out formal announcements in the press before an event we are organising. Right upto the last few hours to the event, we tend to stoically maintain this stance until we are forced to throw open the floodgates when we discover that those on the stage are more than the people who came to watch the show… Okay some of us may beg to differ. But, this sad yet funny stance is getting us nowhere. Of course, when we organise events, it is with the intention to sell tickets. Arrreee make some money, at least to pay for the tickets of the artists, yaar! But, off late, the truth is that neither are we making money, nor are the shows getting anywhere. The only ones who benefit are the freeloaders who beg and pressurise the event organise to give them passes. Of course, this is the sad truth but when the shows are

running half empty, isn’t it better that someone sees, even if they happen to be viewing it free, than to leave it empty? The truth is whatever the claims; those who organise events will give out passes. Come what may! So, isn’t it high time that everyone stops this ‘no passes’ nonsense? Of course, one should not encourage the pass culture, but at the same time making silly claims that no passes will be given for an event and then we see that even the front rows (of that event) are occupied by the freebie pass holders, don’t we all cut a very sorry figure?

Nitter natter

Crowds getting lesser and lesser That apart, show organisers are yet to come to terms with the sad fact that their shows are attracting less crowds by the day…Of course, the artists (musicians, singers, comic artists, comedians etc) come and do a great job. But where are the audience; why are lesser and lesser crowds showing up in musical concerts and other events being done here? There was one artist who is known to draw as much as 10 to 20,000 audiences when he performs; in fact, he has the record of having a crowd of 300,000 when he performed in one country; yet, another singer, though not of the same stature, who is know to easily drew 20,000…okay 10,000 alright alright five to seven thousand when he performed in his home country, but here they could not even muster a 1000 (Read: paid tickets)! There seems to be something December - January 40 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

wrong with this clear disinterest among the crowds here. Can someone make sense of all this? Any answers, folks?

Half full or half fool? Now, there is this lady who drives a 4WD who claims that she is quite often bamboozled by the petrol bunk guys. Her fuel meter shows near empty and so she drives to the petrol bunk, fills half or full, pays and heads off to her destination and then perhaps the same day or the next she suddenly realises that she has been allegedly ‘deceived’ by the petrol pump staff and vows to go back and complain to them but never does so because being a genuinely busy lady she gets

tied up in her work. Deceived in the sense, she feels that the petrol pump staff does not fill the required fuel she asks for but still takes full payment and since she does not monitor the filling, she gets deceived like this off and on. She states a recent case where she asked the fuel pump staff to fill for five rials but later found out that the man had filled only for half the amount. Why didn’t she go immediately to the petrol station and question the staff, we asked. She wanted to she says,

but somehow she gets so bogged down in her work to get around to doing it and then it gets too late and it remains a doubt and suspicion in her mind, until well, she finds that she been tricked again. Déjà vu, anyone?

The world is round? And then we went for a recent interview with someone who told us to meet at a petrol pump (oops, we seem to be making too many references to petrol pumps in this piece). It was a bit complicated from the start as most directions to a destination are. The man sounded a bit confused about his whereabouts from the beginning so we decided that we would first reach this petrol pump and then work our way towards reaching his home where we had to conduct the interview. So we asked him once again to give us the directions to reach the petrol pump and somehow we understood how to reach there. We reached there in time and then made a call asking him how we should reach his home. Okay, first tell me where you are, he asked. We told him. The petrol pump. Which petrol pump? Is it near the mosque?

Ummmhhh no, we said, but it was the petrol pump where he had asked us to be, which we had reached after crossing a big vegetable market. He rudely cut us short and said who asked you to come to this pump and what vegetable market? There

was no vegetable market enroute to this bunk so you have come to the wrong place. D-uh, we thought, but we still told him that we will still get to where he wanted us to reach. So, we followed the new directions, and we asked around and finally reached the petrol bunk where he had asked us to reach. The mosque could be viewed from there, though it was entirely opposite, on the other side of the road. We called the gentleman and this time, he said, fine, but this is not the petrol pump again as we still had to go to the next petrol pump, which was just a short drive away. Ok, we said and we drove quickly to the next petrol pump which we discovered, to our dismay, was the same petrol pump we had been before! Er, is this what they mean when they say the world is round?

(Note: Readers who have something bitter to chatter about can either email on or call 99218461)

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Your ARIES March 21-April 20

TAURUS April 21-May 20

Now that you’ve honed a different way of looking at life, you’ll have everything you need to mix business with pleasure, with amazing results this week. If things go a bit off course mid week use your Aries charm to get them back on track.

Practical matters have been put on the back burner and love and passion have come to the fore, but you’ll still keep job and career in your peripheral vision as you like to keep a finger on the pulse. An off with the old and on with the new credo is becoming your motto.

CANCER June 22-July 23 Work matters and plans for the future crank into life then take off at a great speed of noughts this week, making the run up to the weekend joyful indeed. Start to plan a get together with family and friends.

LEO July 24-August 23 Emotional issues need careful handling this week, so think before you speak and be aware of the feelings of others. Seek out the help and guidance of people at work who know the ropes better than you, if you’re thinking about making a stand for changes. Easy does it.

GEMINI May 21-June 21 You need to put more into your emotional relationships if you expect to get more out, so don’t sit and sulk if you think others are having a better time than you. The ball is in your court so take steps to make changes. By the weekend moods lighten and fun returns.

VIRGO August 24-September 23 You’re feeling a bit restless this week, so be prepared to try something different to keep yourself interested. This applies to both work matters and personal issues, but it looks like you’ll get more rewards in your private life if you make more effort than you have been.


ROWAN SEBASTIAN ATKINSON, CBE (BORN 6 JANUARY 1955) is an English actor, comedian, and screenwriter who is best known for his work on the sitcoms Mr. Bean and Blackadder. Atkinson first came to prominence in the sketch comedy show 'Not the Nine O'Clock News' (1979–82), and via his participation in 'The Secret Policeman's Balls' from 1979. His other work includes the sitcom 'The Thin Blue Line' (1995–96). He has been listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest actors in British comedy and amongst the top 50 comedians ever, in a 2005 poll of fellow comedians. He has also had cinematic success with his performances in the Mr. Bean movie adaptations Bean and Mr. Bean's Holiday and in Johnny English and its sequel Johnny English Reborn.

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stars LIBRA September 24-October 23 Your easy come easy go attitude to money matters is what sometimes gets you into bother, and with New Year's looming, red warning lights are flashing all over the place. Do you even see them? Take more time to get to know what makes your partner tick.

CAPRICORN December 23-January 20 Now that you’re getting your world back on track, you’ll need to be careful you don’t veer into an ego trip too quickly. If you think the world cant exist without you, you’re sadly mistaken, but if you give out that very attitude, others wont give you another chance this time.

SCORPIO October 24-November 22 Stop procrastinating. Get plans into action. You’ve been talking about them long enough, so snap to it. Take time to deal with money matters and try to make transactions simple. If you cant afford it you cant have it. See, simple! Don’t let disappointments in love make you splurge.

SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22 Keep your wits about you this week as someone you consider a friend may be quietly stabbing you in the back for their own gains. Treat awkward situations to a liberal dose of good old common sense. You’re stronger than you think you know, so start to believe it.

AQUARIUS January 21-February 19 Grab invitations with both hands this week as somewhere out there is the person who will give you a hand up the ladder at work, or sail into your emotional life and change it for the better. Get out there and see what life has to offer. You miss a lot when you sit at home.

PISCES February 20-March 20 It’s one of those weeks where you should tie up as many loose ends as you can, as over the next few weeks you’re going to be in demand at work and at play. Give yourself enough breathing space to enjoy what’s on offer.


E-MAIL:, Website: December - January 43 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

PICK-UP POINTS MUSCAT WADI KABIR Bait al Zubair Bait al Baranda Marina Bander Al Bustan Palace Hotel Oman Dive club Shangri-La- Barr Al Jissah Sri Lankan School NHI Pencil Building (Stationery shop) Al Maha bunk –Wadi Kabir Ajay Enterprises (Khimji) – (Next to Jingles nursery) Hotel Golden Oasis Sana Fashions Al Maya markets – (Old Rawasco) Scientific pharmacy – Opp to al Maya market ( Arab Udipi Rest)


CBD AREA TO DARSAIT Al Amana Building materials – Opposite Jawad Sultan Al Omaniya Financial Services office Oman oil bunk Khimji mart shopping mall – (Old shopping & saving) Khimjis Bait al Ahlam- CBD area Pizza Muscat (Opposite ministry of manpower) Pizza Hut/TFC – CBD area Centre point-Splash Muscat Securities market Times of Oman Shell petrol Bunk (Next to Sheraton) OCCI Library – Oman Chamber of commerce (OPP MSM) KFC – Ruwi Oman International Bank – Ruwi Palayok Restaurant – Filipino restaurant Ever ready supermarket New India Assurance Office Al Fair – Ruwi high street Lakhoos Money Exchange, Ruwi High street Damas Jewellery/office – Ruwi Oman UAE Exchange – OCC Centre Air Arabia Office- Shanfari Travels Ruwi Hotel Gulf air building – Gulf air office Saravanabhavan Restaurant Sarco – Samsung showroom Khimji Megastore – Swarovski showroom OTE Moosa Abdul Showroom – next to al Jadeed Toshiba Showroom Al Jadeed shopping Badr Al Samaa Samara video (next to Talentz, old bait al ahlam) after 5pm Ministry of Education – Opp Wearhouse – Ruwi Future management consultants -(opp Toshiba showroom) Haffa House Hotel Al Falaj Hotel Muscat Bakery- Near church Pakistan School (after temple & church Darsait) Naranjee Hirjee office (before Hotel Golden Oryx) Hotel Golden Oryx Bank Muscat corporate office (Opposite Hotel Golden Oryx) Kamat Restaurant Uptown Restaurant Turtles Book shop Al Rima Clinic Lama Polyclinic

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Oman Air – CBD NBO- CBD area Bank Muscat Bank Sohar HSBC Standard Chartered Oman Arab Bank Harmony Music Centre – Next to OAB Bahwan Travel Agencies – CBD banks area OTTB – Oman Travels Bureau Air India office – CBD next to Costas Costas Papa John Supa Save – CBD Woodlands Bank Dhofar Horizon Restaurant – (Next to Moon travels) Oman post office Lulu Darsait Khimji Ramdas Head office, Muttrah (Kanaksi Khimji & pankaj Khimji) Majan College – Darsait junction (canteen) Indian Social Club Melody Music Centre – Next to ISM German Embassy – Hamriya roundabout Apollo Medical Centre Computer Xpress – Hamriya Roundabout Atlas Travels (Wadi Adai Roundabout (next to polyglot) Hatat House Passage to India Best cars Hyundai/Subaru/GM showroom Al Asfoor Furnishing Ahli Bank Shell marketing office SEAT car showroom- Wattayah DHL office- Wattayah Honda Showroom Sabco Head office wattayah NTT travels Wattayah Toyota Bahwan Advertising – Ist floor – Toyota showroom Lexus Ford showroom Shanfari Automotive Wattayah Motors- VW showroom Khoula Hospital Institute of Health sciences – opposite Khoula Kia showroom- wattayah QURUM AREA TOWARDS AL KHUWAIR Al Harthy ComplexPizza Muscat – next to Sultan Center in al Harthy complex Sultan Center Nissan showroom BMW showroom Muscat Private School Qurum city centre Pizza Hut – Qurum Capital Store Al Asfoor Plaza KFC Hardees Fono showroom next to Sabco centre Shah Nagardas Sabco Centre- Barista coffee shop only Al Araimi Panasonic Showroom NBO Qurum Al Khamis Plaza Al Wadi commercial centre – Coffee shop Mercedes showroom

CCC- Stand CCC Al Fair Bollywood chat Pizza Hut – Qurum Second Cup Nandos McDonalds Salman Stores Jawahir Oman Hamptons Business Services & Travel Amex office Ernst & Young buildg (OUA Travels) Starbucks Hawthorne institute- ELS Fahud Street, opp Qurum park Mumtaz Mahal Left bank Oman Association for the disabled Ministry of education (20 +20=20) Muscat Intercon Jawaharat Al Shatti complex- stand Oasis by the sea - crepe café stand LNG Office Al Qurum resort Bareek Al Shatti Complex Al Qandeel head office -, Entrance of Bareek al Shatti Al Shatti Cinema - Dunkin Donuts Al Sahwa Schools– principal’s office next to Ramada hotel Hotel Ramada Al Muriya Offices- next to Al sahwa schools Grand Hyatt Muscat Al Masa Mall Radio Shack Al Sarooj Complex Shell Petrol Bunk- Al Sarooj Al Fair Ramee Guestline Rock Bottom Classic Institute of Arts- next to Asas Oman Asas Oman Apartments Crowne Plaza Coral hotel Qurum Pvt school PDO Ras Al Hamraa Club Omanoil head office AL KHUWAIR/MSQ TOWARDS AZAIBA ELS – Al khuwair service road British School Muscat – MSQ British Council Oman oil- Madinat Qaboos Pizza Hut Khimjis mart – MSQ Kargeen Café Al fair Family Book shop- MSQ Tavola – Al Noor Hall buildg Starbucks Hana slimming centre – Ist Floor Fotomagic Al Noor Hall Al Jadeed Eqarat office Above Welcare Clinic – al Khuwair Domino Pizza Oman mobile Safeer Hypermarket Mustafa Sultan Souk Technia Omantel Oman international Bank – Al khuwair main office Ibis Hotel

Park inn Hotel Friendi Office Muscat Bakery Tropical Ice creams Subway Pizza Hut service road Ice Skating Rink National Training Institute Golden spoon Restaurant Shell Select- Al Khuwair Mcdonalds Mct holiday Inn Hotel Oman Bowling Center Halliburton Café Vergnano Khimji Mart – Next to Verganano Safeer suites Axa insurance (opp assarain Al khuwair) Zakher shopping Mall PAN Furnishing Harley Davidson Thrifty Al Amal Medical Centre – Dr Bashir Hotel Radisson Pizza Hut Al Khuwair Ozone Video Shop(Next to Pizza Hut) American British School Omar Khayyam Restaurant, next to V kool Grill House (next door) V Kool TAISM Centre for British Teachers – CFBT Baushar Complex Café Aviation Club Restaurant AZAIBA TOWARDS SEEB Lulu Hyper market – Baushar Oman Medical college College for Business & financial Studies opp Oman medical, baushar Azzan Bin Qais school - Baushar Muscat private Hospital Dolphin Village – Bausher Royal hospital Ghala industrial area – NTI National mineral water – Tanuf ( next to Al Madina Holiday Inn) Oman oil Azaiba Spicy Village – Rusayl Pizza Hut – Ghala Oman oil – Ghala Towell head office – Enhance & Ist floor Mazda showroom Mcdonalds – Azaiba Select shell Azaiba Oman Tribune – Al Watan office New India assurance Azaiba office Safeer Hypermart Nawras head office Zubair showroom and Yamaha corporate office(two places)- Yamaha Showroom – close to Zubair showroom – 1st floor Polyglot Institute GU Tech – Beach road Azaiba Chedi Muscat The wave Muscat corporate office NACA – national cancer Awareness Assn MCC – Crepe Café Al Bahja– Mood Café & food Court Al Maya Super market Oman air Seeb office (Below Flyover, before Golden Tulip) Oman Tourisn College Golden Tulip Hotel Air port Select Shell – Seeb Pizza Hut airport KFC





Muscat golf hills, SEEB KOM SQU – SQUH hospital , SQUH 2- canteen, 3Diplomatic Club, 4 – College of Commerce, 5 – Students banking area) Pizza Hut – al Khoud Sultan School al hail service road – principals’ office Caledonian college – principal’s office Oman Foot ball association

SHOPPING MALLS Lulu shopping center Al- Istaqarar shopping center (Salalah) Dhofar shopping center Bab Al- Salam market Al- Mashoor (Salalah) Al- Mashoor (Saada) Al-Khareef K.M Trading Al-Isteqarar (Saada) Al-Hoq super market Hamdan commercial market Fresh super market (Al-Sarat) Union Salalah Market Family bookshop

Spicy Village Restaurant Lulu Hypermarket Jumeirah Shopping Centre Khimji’s Mart Al Salem shopping Centrepoint Moosa Abdul Rahman – GMC Toyota Nissan Mitsubishi LG showroom Sohar Bakery Sohar University Bank Muscat Habib Bank Bank Sohar Oman International Bank Al Raffah Hospital Badr Al Samaa Oman Arab Bank Bank Dhofar HSBC Travel City National Travels and Tours Universal Travels and Tourism DHL Dhofar Insurance Al Ahlia Insurance Taeeger Finance Co Omantel Al Jazeera Group Narenjee Hirjee (International)

OIB, Nizwa OIB, Firq BankMuscat, Nizwa BM main branch, Nizwa BankMuscat, Firq NBO, Nizwa NBO, Firq Bank Abudhabi Toyota OTE Omantel Nawras Khimji, Nizwa Khimji, Izki Muscat Bakery, Nizwa Pizza Hut Discount centre Family shopping Al Diyar Hotel Safari hotel Al-Nif shopping, Izki Hungery Bunny, Nizwa College of Science College of Technic Nizwa Medical College Busmath Clinic Thalal Clinic Omanoil, Izki Omanoil, Firq Omanoil, Nizwa Omanoil, Marfa Shell, Izki Shell, Firq Shell, Nizwa Al-Maha, Firq Nizwa university -Dept of foreign lang Al-Maha, Marfa

RUSAYL AREA Rusayl Industrial Estate Oman Cables Sadolin Paints Jotun Paints Al waqia shoes Mehdi Foods Areej veg oils MINISTRIES AREA – AL KHUWAIR Ministry of tourism(Ghala, next to ISG) Ministry of social Development(next to Regional municipalities, Bank Mct) Ministry of foreign affairs

SUR Al-Hashar LNG LNG, Club Sur Sur Beach Hotel Sur University OTE, Sur Mitsibushi Rawaya coffee shop Toyota Nissan Sur Plaza Hotel Mazda Khimji Omantel Private Hospital, Sur BankMuscat Sur Hotel NBO, Sur Bank Dhofar, Sur ELS, Sur

HOTELS Crown Plaza Hilton Salalah Hamdan plaza Dhofar Hotel Salalah hotel Haffa House Redan Hotel Al- Hanaa Hotel BAMSIR hotel Al- Jabel hotel Al- Nile suite (Saada) Salalah Mariott MINISTRIES Ministry agriculture & fisheries Ministry of education Ministry of defense Ministry of housing & electricity Ministry of water Ministry of tourism Diwan of Royal court (Salalah) Ministry of primary court and justice Ministry of Commerce & industry Dhofar municipality (Baladia) Ministry of man power PETROL STATIONS, BANKS Shanfari filling Station shell select, al saada Oman oil Shell Salalah Bank Muscat Omantel Oman Arab Bank Pizza hut Dhofar University Al Maha souk

BARKA Lulu hyper market Safeer Centre Al Nahda resort Al Maha Souk Oman Oil Rumais Oman College of management OIB NBO Bank Muscat Shell OTE SARCO Nissan showroom Omantel


20, 500 COPIES (BEING AUDITED) Circulation enquiries: 98675976/24565697

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First Free Fortnightly magazine


all over Oman on 7th & 21st of every month Â&#x2021;0XVFDWÂ&#x2021;6DODODKÂ&#x2021;6RKDUÂ&#x2021;6XUÂ&#x2021;1L]ZDÂ&#x2021;%DUNDÂ&#x2021;,EUD Â&#x2021;,EULÂ&#x2021;5XVWDTÂ&#x2021;.DVDE


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It's my life

Robin Hood… ME AND YOU

Vandana, award winning author (‘360 Degrees Back to Life')

By Vandana Shah

As the year end comes at me with the running speed of Usain Bolt, I try and do a mental checklist of where I am and what I had planned to do and where I should be. I must admit I’ve actually forgotten all the grandstanding promises of accomplishments I had made to myself last year. But one thing that I really did become was ROBIN HOOD! I ‘stole’ from my negative thoughts and ‘donated’ to my positive. Negative thoughts are all powerful and are huge energy drainers and it’s the insistent and incessant spotlight on them that takes away from our belief in our dreams. They focus on ‘what can’t be done and why it shouldn’t be done’ rather than taking a huge leap of faith bridging the chasm between our wants and dreams. As the year progressed my 'Robin Hood Giri' progressively increased and that helped me to just gallop ahead and accomplish things that seemed way out of my league. Sure, like anyone else, I won some and lost some but what I did learn was a blueprint of happiness by convergence of positive thoughts; somewhat like a magnifying glass held under the rays of sunlight which scorch a paper held under it, and all by being a modern day Robin Hood. So my recommendation for the year 2014, go on and destroy all your endless lists and only don your Robin Hood Avatar. See you next year and have a superb New Year.

Vandana Shah, Author 360 Degrees Back To life, editor of Ex-Files. Email me what you’d like to say on Follow me on twitter Vandy4PM

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Bake a cake:


With lemons and oranges

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Lemon Yoghurt Cake Ingredients View the great selection of wines weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve chosen to complement this recipe. Hide this message 210g plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 240ml plain whole-milk yogurt 265g granulated sugar 3 extra-large eggs 1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence 120ml vegetable oil 80ml freshly squeezed lemon juice Method Preheat the oven to 180°/gas mark 4. Grease a loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk

using light, rapid sweeping strokes to thicken or thoroughly combine ingredients. Whisk together the yoghurt, 100g sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Meanwhile, cook the 80ml lemon juice and remaining 65g sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemonsugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool. For the glaze, combine the mixture of icing sugar and water, butter or cream to a cake or cupcake for a decorative finish.

Orange Cake with Cheese Frosting Ingredients: 1 package (15.25 oz.) yellow cake mix 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 3 large eggs 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest Cream Cheese Frosting: 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice 1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest 4 cups (1 lb.) powdered sugar, sifted

Method Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan. Combine cake mix, orange juice, eggs, oil and orange zest in large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer blend until moistened, beat on low speed for 30 seconds then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 to 32 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Place butter, cream cheese, orange juice and orange zest in medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar.

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Headache isâ&#x20AC;Ś


driving Ms Daisy crazy

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There was no real reason why Daisy was having a headache. But, on second thoughts, there was no reason why Daisy shouldn’t have a headache! She was of course working less than usual and she was home (from work) earlier than before but she still seemed to be under stress. Severe stress! There were problems on her work front and although she tried to keep herself calm and maintain her dignity, the inner storm would sometimes work itself to the head. The other day she came home with a dark cloud in her head and although she breezed through her home chores, Daisy was still unable to cope with her family that evening. Her kids were bickering and her husband was finding fault with her cooking and she had to swallow everything as she tried to focus on her tasks at hand. But then the effects of stress were welling in her and before she knew it, she was having a terrible headache. Health experts say that stress is one of the most common triggers of headaches. “It is kind of a doubleedged sword—stress can cause a headache, which can really stress you out,” they say. But, in this modern time, a headache can be drowned by a pill and a glass of water. “Yet, bear in mind that the headache is trying to tell you something,” the experts say. “Stress is catching up with you!” Women are more prone to headache and migraine because of hormonal changes in their body and the stress and strain of daily life. Also, erratic meal timings and a bad sleep cycle are contributing factors. Majority of migraine sufferers are also found to be women. Although the incidence of migraine is similar in boys and girls during childhood, it increases in girls after puberty. Migraine most commonly affects women in the age group of 20 to 45 years. Fluctuation of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone appear

to increase the risk of migraine and its severity in some women. About half the women with migraine report headaches associated with their menstrual cycle. For some women, migraines also tend to be worse during the first trimester of their pregnancy, but improve during the last trimester. STRESSFUL HEADACHE A stress headache (also called a tension headache) involves both sides of the head and feels like tightness in the forehead or back of the neck. The pain often runs along the tendons at the sides and back of the neck. Sometimes the pain feels the worst at the top of the neck where it meets the head, but it can also run all the way down into the shoulders. Stress or tension headaches are generally caused by stress, as the name suggests. “Although stress headaches can result from a major stressful event such as the death of a loved one, they are typically associated with prolonged daily stress that results from everyday irritants such as sitting in traffic or juggling work and family responsibilities. Many people develop stress headaches after working long hours at a desk or driving for an extended period of time. High blood pressure can also cause stress headaches. Individuals who tend to grind their teeth, tense their muscles, or stiffen their shoulders in response to stress may be more susceptible to developing stress headaches,” reports say. Of course, you cannot worry about a common headache, but when they get severe they will throw a spanner in your works. “Stress headaches are irritating, but not debilitating. If you experience a headache that is sudden, severe, or grows worse over time, it’s important to seek medical help. Headaches that result from a head injury or are accompanied by fever, rash, confusion, impaired vision, or difficulty speaking should always be evaluated by a professional.” December - January 51 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

You are a


â&#x20AC;Śbecause you are a

Shap n sound


There must be some truth to birth order. Check out the personalities of any first born, middle born and last born children and you will see a whole lot of differences. You may quite often wonder how one child grows dramatically opposite to the other despite being born of the same parents and grown up by them. As a mother, it is important that you consider your childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s birth order so that you are in a better position to work on the less desirable traits at a very early stage itself, experts say.

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Since we can’t change our birth order, the only way out is to develop an awareness of birthorder characteristics and appreciate the differences in every one’s life. The factors that can affect your child’s personality includes age, gender, gap between siblings, family income, demographics and more, say experts. In a nutshell, the eldest are able to “identify with parents and authority and support the status quo, while the younger ones rebel against it,” the experts note. THE FIRST BORN They are perfectionists, goal-oriented, self reliant and they usually work in a focused manner. When they grow up, they are the type that follow procedures and generally adopt a conservative approach when interacting with people. They are conscientious, organised, dependable, accommodating, and persistent. Some first borns have a strong need for approval. One common characteristic of many first borns is that they tend to be perfectionists. Tips that mothers can give to their first born(s): Teach them to have high standards and expectations without being a perfectionist. Ask them to loosen up a bit, and make them understand that in life others need not have the same standards that they have and to be easy on themselves and others. Also, there will come a time when everyone tries to push you to do things or take risks, that is time to be responsible to your own calling and understand that you haven’t got into trouble so far because of your cautious nature – stick to it! Lastly, teach your first born to laugh at themselves and make them understand that sometimes they can be wrong. THE MIDDLE ONE Middle children are mediators who like to avoid conflict, are people oriented but at the same time can be free spirited and secretive, a report on birth order said. Middle children tend to be independent but they also feel they are left out being the middle child. Somehow, even in most loving families, the middle children still would somehow feel they are not that important or loved as their siblings. Tips that mothers can give to their middle born(s): Please stop comparing yourself against others. Learn to rejoice in being yourself; love yourself for what and who you are. You must also learn to feel comfortable in sharing your thoughts and feelings with other people. Believe in yourself that you are going to be successful; stop feeling that your freedom and independence will be curtailed by some unseen force. You don’t have to be a friend to everyone. Select a few people who deserve your time and true friendship. THE LAST BORN The last born child is often described as “sociable, charming, loving, and open, but also as temperamental, irresponsible, and self-centered”. The reason that the last born gets good attention is because he/she is indeed the “baby” in the family and is mothered by even their elder siblings. They also enjoy better freedom than their siblings because by the time the last born grows up, the parents have come to terms with child rearing and they are usually more lenient and this carefree growth could also give them a similar attitude when they grow up. Tips that mothers can give to their last born(s): Of prime importance is the need to take responsibility for things and this should be done for major decisions as well as small. Sure, some of us need more attention than others, but please try to share the centre stage with others; you have to learn to live and let live. Many of you have a natural desire to work alone, but then don’t forget to tap into your own strength, which is your ability to work well with other people. Do not entertain just to please yourself; think about how your ability to entertain will benefit others. December - January 53 B&W 2 0 1 3 - 2 0 1 4

But, who said what?


By Priya Arunkumar “She said you are arrogant and unapproachable” “He said you lost the job” “I heard your dog looks big and intimidating” “They said your event was a loss” “Know what, there is a storm brewing” “Someone had posted about that accident, 4 killed it seems, drivers fault” Heavy rains, thunderstorms, epidemics…”! He said, she said, they posted, I read somewhere… it is the latest… Sigh! The information overload has changed our lives, the net, social media... everything! We don’t seem to stick on to one version of anything. Someone is always wrong, and someone always right. And every one has the last word. So what are we living on? Misinformation, perceptions, mind games? The truth is however we analyse and look at it, we are borrowing processed information. Pre cooked ready to eat information meals! All parceled and packaged enticingly enough to chew on, with a universal ownership tag! We see not just with our eyes, our mind plays the trigger. So thanks to all the borrowed information, we have actually started seeing with our perceptions and beliefs. We are living in an information revolution age and there is so much information that our brain finds it difficult to process them all… each day passes by, loading our mind and brains with somebody else’s opinion as information and popular opinion as truth. This is how we perceive beauty and ugliness today; the sad state is no one seems to know where the news originated, no one seems to quote a name, and everyone has information on their fingertips… But, who said what? No one seems to know.

Young kids don’t ask innocent questions anymore, they browse! Parents don’t have to make up excuses anymore, they browse too. Without mobile data and net, live comes to a standstill. If your mobile crashes, you lose your mom’s phone number! If your computer crashes, your actual life of 5 years is lost with the virtual data stored! Can we not go back to that era, when we collected real hard books as libraries, had photo albums that could be flipped through; would last more than a lifetime and would make memories real? When we jogged with just a pair of sports shoes and open mind, when we ate raw fruits without having to think of calories, lifestyle therapies and health jargons? When we posted handwritten letters, post cards and parcels? When we had best pals gate crashing for a sleepover? When your kitchen smelt of bakes, cakes and aromas? When we would stand in a queue to book a movie ticket and watch one at the theatres! When we planned surprise birthday parties and anniversaries at a friend’s home? When we laughed out loud and gossiped, until our neighbours or elders chased us away? When we kept pen pals and wrote to them every week? When our kids ran around and broke things at home and at the back yard! In short, when life was real!

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