A galaxy of fun!
Eid at Wadi Sahtan p9
Villy Doctor – a beacon of light p48
p30 Shawwal – Dh-Hijja
Vol.4 Issue 62IISeptember - October, 2013
When sharks smell blood… By Adarsh Madhavan There is someone out there who is worried sick about something. When this man’s business took a big hit and almost leaked to death, he plugged it by borrowing quite a substantial amount from a ‘private’ money lender. Of course, he had never borrowed such a big amount from anyone before, and in fact, many years back, when he had to leave to a foreign land from his home, he had sought a loan from a friend of a friend. He managed to pay that amount back but it took almost a year before he could fully return it, paying monthly interest. He had heaved a huge sigh of relief after repaying and had then vowed to himself that he would not indulge in any loans. But coming to his dreamland away from home in order to earn something more, become someone and live a life of fulfillment, he was suddenly caught in two minds: should he or shouldn’t he? It was not better sense that prevailed of course, for according to him, he had little or no choice. It was a question of whether he should shut down his business and plod back to the country he had escaped from or grab an opportunity out there and still fight back. He took the easier option and plugged the leak with borrowed money and things went on fine until he realised that the plastic rose he held was full of real thorns.
All about X, Y & Z
He is now in a living hell for not only is he unable to pay the loan installments, but he is also unable to focus on his business. Work was suffering, his family, who had little or no clue as to what the poor man was undergoing, were worried and sad about the sudden change in a once lovable family man who was now irritable, angry and fearful of something unknown lurking out there. Things were horribly wrong because the loan sharks smelt blood and were after him. They had a job to do of course. He had borrowed their money and he was now defaulting on the installments. How dare he not lift the phone; they have been calling him
constantly and he was not lifting his phone. Calls and messages to his office were left unanswered. He wasn’t in his office since a week, it seems and now the office phones were going unanswered! Time now to settle the issue, send along the guys who knew what to do and how to coax such borrowers who played hide and seek when payment was due. That’s right! And where was he going to run anyway? His passport was safe with them. There were personal cheques… Deposit one cheque and file a case, plus, make a firm announcement that the passport was going to disappear and even if an emergency happened back home, he would not be able to go. And…and if he still did not seem to buckle under such simple pressures, well, there are other methods. For this is not a business for the fainthearted or the fool. If he managed to abscond and even found his way back to his home country, they had already set a net back there and then the methods employed to get their ‘rightful’ due would be, in theatrical terms, quite difficult to describe. It happened, sometimes it happened that a borrower tend to panic and absconded only to miserably realise their mistake for they would all pay a heavy price, something best left unspoken. And so this man was worried sick. He had already defaulted on two counts, and the calls were coming in a flurry and he had shut down his business for couple of days, giving a lame excuse of a viral fever and had asked the existing staff to take some days leave…but as is the nature of such dealings, where could he hide, where could he go, and what would he do even if he managed to escape their clutches momentarily…for he was going to be finally nabbed and the consequences he would have to pay would be too huge…he had a family, he had children…and he was bleeding… (Disclaimer: The above is a fictional account of a reality plaguing some unfortunate expats in various parts of the Gulf.) email@example.com
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Mail your views and opinions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good music should be like this Now we know why Sami Yusufâ€™s albums sell by the millions! His concert at the Sultan Qaboos University Grand Hall was mindblowing! It really took my breath away! I have never witnessed a singer like this in my entire life; to see Sami Yusuf sing live is an experience that I would give my life to. The whole hall was reverberating with his music and we were also quite enamoured by his team, especially the young and talented Hesham, whose masterly command over his songs was quite amazing. Black & White has given us a treat that we will never ever forget. Good music should be like this! All the best to B&Wâ€™s future events and we promise to support you with our presence for all the events! Nasser Al Zadjali, Seeb
Enjoyable time We had quite an enjoyable time at the Sami Yusuf concert. Although we reached late, we still managed to be a part of almost three quarters of the show and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Hatim and Sara, Al Khuwair
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Silent efforts bearing fruit Sil Blac & White’s attempt at highlighting the Holy Quran Black schools in Oman and the fact that these schools played sch and still play a great role in moulding the minds of young impressionable children made good reading. I must say imp that it is a commendable effort from your side to bring
about such stories that give all readers an insight into the silent efforts of the government of the Sultanate of Oman in raising true leaders of the future! Kudos to you B&W and keep up the good efforts! Salim Rashid, Muscat
A ccrime called overeating! Ove Overeating kills and overeating during the Holy Month is surely a crime to themselves. I truly believe in this and I have sure seen many of my friends commit this crime on themselves. see Even during the last holy month, I have witnessed my Eve close friends engaging in greedy iftar atrocities, which I clos wholly condemn, but also report in whatever form so that who the public also gets to know this belly aching approach of well heeled, properly educated, ‘decent’ people in town wel who act as they have been starving for days when they attack and devour food during the break time. I also enjoy atta good food, but this was the season of austerity, this was goo the season of giving and not a season of feasting and
mindless hedonism. Of course, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that these folks are indulging in any real crime, but, somehow their mindless actions, which of course pose more harm to themselves, are unpardonable. Why can’t they realise that overeating is dangerous; or, if they could at least spare a thought to the thousands out there who are unable to get a square meal a day, they could at least cut down on their gluttony? At least during the next holy month, I hope my friends would spare themselves the agony of overeating! Abdul Arub Abu Backer, Wadi Kabir
Inf Infin8 clicks with all It is important to have a professional photography studio set up (issue 61) in the country. Oman clearly lacked suc such a facility and it is great to hear that we have, finally, a fantastic fa new set up: Infin8. Looking forward to their acti activities and hope they start off their workshops and/or
informal photography classes. A photography lover. (Name withheld)
A ffitness milestone I ha had made a special fitness goal for myself last concluded Ramadhan and I must proudly say that I have achieved it. Ram Although I am not a Muslim, I still fasted like any faithful Alth during the Holy Month and I also took great pains to have duri strict diet that comprised of just one meal. That a very v is to say, I broke with juices and fruits during iftar and I had one proper dinner. Throughout the month I continued
exercising – of course, nothing heavy duty – and I made sure that I did it without fail every single day. I have not only lost weight, but I also felt great! The benefits of fasting during the holy month are one too many to be enumerated here. Joyce Rebello, Al Khuwair
Aw wish for I Wish It is not easy to die and it is never easy to die young. Imagine the fear in the minds of these young ones (issue Ima 59) who are on death bed and have virtually no time left. Imagine the plight of the parents who know that their child Ima will not live for a long time and are putty in the hands of fate. It is a tragedy of life and not quite digestible. But, when an
initiative such as I Wish brings a smile on the face of these children and their families enduring such emotional and physical hardships, it is a commendable effort. We all wish I Wish all success in their endeavour! Roopani and Anitha, Muscat
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30 The fun galaxy
Majarat Oman â€“ the first ever theme park of its kind in Oman -- is slowly taking shape in Al Sawadi Beach Resort compound. And it is all set to woo all fun lovers and amusement seekers, regardless of age, top officials of this exciting project commented recently
No honking please! Muscat does not suffer honkers lightly; especially the blatantly noisy ones. So, it was a surprise when a bit noisy man pumped his car horn at literally everything that moved recently in a quiet neighbourhood
12 So be(ard) it! You may want to grow a beard because you may want to find out how you look with a beard and may feel that you need a change of appearance and your are right, a beard will give you a totally different look. Now, are you men going to be better looking, handsome etc with a beard?
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: www.blackandwhiteoman.com Editorial: email@example.com Printed at Oman- Printers September October
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Villy Doctor â€“ a beacon of light
Fully into a world where her altruism and her humane nature stood out, Villy Doctor started the non-profit organisation Light of Life (LoL) Trust that looked into unveiling the true potential of rural India
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
Every Eid, or any holiday in Oman, Nasser bin Humaid Nasser Al Dahli, a senior official of the Muscat Municipality, would quietly head to his home in Wadi Sahtan, Rustaq.
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Nasser bin Humaid Nasser Al Dahli
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“Yes, be it Eid or any holiday, I never go anywhere. Why should I? My family and I can’t wait to be in our beautiful village,” he recently told Black & White. In fact, he claims it is not just him, almost every one in his green-draped village preferred to stay put there. “Our village is a treasure trove of natural beauty and adventure possiblities and I would say almost everyone in the village feels the same way and would love to stay here instead of running away to other destinations outside Oman – home is sweet home for all of us,” Nasser Al Dahli enthused. Wadi Sahtan in the Rustaq region is lined with plantations and small settlements. There are many villages at the bottom of this mountain bowl as well as high up along the escarpment. “A tourist or a nature lover’s dual interest can be satisfied if they come to Wadi Sahtan as it offers good possibilities for strolling and walking around and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the area,” Nasser Al Dahli said, adding that the locale offered endless possibilities of exploration, hiking, trekking, camping and simply nature gazing. “I am proud of Wadi Sahtan and as the name suggests, our village is a little Mandoos… filled with natural treasures. The wadi gets filled when the rains come and for us, the villagers, our village beckons us on all holidays and occasions.”
ALL CELEBRATIONS AT WADI SAHTAN “I don’t remember a single Eid, be it Eid Al Fitr or Eid Al Adha, when our families were not in the village. All of us in the village share a very close bond and on every occasion or celebrations, we get back to our village. We don’t feel the need to fly out to a summer or winter destination. All our special memories are at Wadi Sahtan. The sad part is most of the time there aren't any direct black top roads to our village and we all need a 4WD to get there. The village is self
sufficient and it has four schools and a health centre. “The forts, hot springs and the souk are really very famous, but not many know of our little village,” Nasser Al Dahli said. Nasser, who joined the Muscat Municipality 16 years ago is today in a senior post. “Ever year, during Eid and other holidays I drive back to my hometown to be with my family and relatives. I wish the domestic tourism thrives and the locals and residents get to know more about our village and its beauty.”
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Men read September Se SSep eptem ep mber be err - October Octo ctobe ct ob o be er 12 2 B 22 00 11 33 B&W &W
He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man… So said the bard. But, is this true? Is this right? What will a bit of hair on the chin or on the jaw make us? Are we going to declare ourselves as men just because some hair is spouting from our chin? While this may be a subject of discussion, the overriding factor remains that men do look good with a beard, with some of them even looking quite decently mature and distinguished. Growing a beard is not like growing a moustache. It is an entirely different ballgame. But, why grow a beard? One good reason: because it is there and well, it grows. Whether you want to grow it or not is an entirely different point, but then if you chose to, it is also equally important that you learn to maintain it well and not let it untended like some of the gardens you might see that spoils your morning walk. You may want to grow a beard because you may want to find out how you look with a beard and may feel that you need a change of appearance and your are right, a beard will give you a totally different look. Now, are you men going to be better looking, handsome etc with a beard? Well, leave that to viewers’ discretion! But, rest assured it will change your appearance. And in many quarters, it will make you look more distinguished. The flip side to this is that a beard may not suit some men. Somehow, it may have the opposite effect among a small section of men. But, for those whom it fits, there are some valuable tips to keep it well. Let us say that your beard has just sprouted and people are slowly noticing it: “Hey, Arnold, you growing a beard or not?” Or, to the more lame, “Your barber is on leave?” You may have to surmount such unwanted
comments and moments to reach your peak. Do not give up if indeed you are planning to grow a beard. For, you cannot cut or shape or trim a beard unless you grow it to a certain length. Let it grow to an inch, or an inch and a half, and that is the time you can give it a shape. Ok, now, assume you have a beard, but how are you going to take care of it? The first thing to understand that whether it grows on your chin or whether it is just a small craggy growth, it doesn’t mean that it is not hair. And like you take care of your hair, you also need to take care of your beard, properly. A beard has to be washed always. And not with a bar soap, you have got to shampoo it. If you are able to use a mositurising shampoo, well and good as it will help prevent the hair from getting brittle. You may also use a conditioner. Now, when it has reached a certain length and you are already in the ‘bearded’ league, where others brand you as “that man with a beard” etc., it is time that you take care of it a bit more. And that is also ‘snip snip’ time. Time to trim it. If you are doing it at home, then take extra care. If you have an electric trimmer, it will help. But for shaping you need proper scissors and a comb. Over the period of time you will learn to shape it well. Now, like we have said before: there are men who can grow a beard and there are others who simply can’t. If you belong to the second category, then give up the hairy pursuit because if, after even two or three months, it is all but scraggly, just shave it and move on. One can still live without a beard!
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SAMI YUSUF’s music bowls over Oman fans
Sami Yusuf arrives at Muscat International Airport
Music mogul Sami Yusuf’s live and spirited performance at the Grand Hall of the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) drew in a multitude of his fans, both locally and a few even from outside Oman. The British singer-songwriter, composer, producer and musician’s music won the hearts of the audience who called for an encore, which the artist obliged to thundering applause. Audi was the presenter of the show. Platinum sponsors were Merge and Al Wisal, gold sponsors were Oman Oil, Khafeef. The official airline was Oman Air, while Times of Oman and Al Shabiba were the official newspapers. The silver sponsors: Assarain, Oasis Water, Amalia Perfumes. Official host: Radisson SAS. The concert was organised by Black & White in association with Bandera Events LLC.
Photos: KJ George
Attends Press Conference with sponsors of the event at Radisson Blu Hotel
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Oman watch September - October 16 B&W 22 00 11 33
September September--October October 17 17 B&W 22 00 11 33 B&W
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Off the wall
By Adarsh Madhavan
“I am Christian,” I heard a tiny little boy saying, his shrill voice rising above the splashes in the children’s pool of a hotel near my home. “What are you?” the boy asked my son, who was perhaps a year older than this kid. Elder he was but not old enough to handle such a query. Plus, he was far less worldly, in these aspects, perhaps even than his younger counterparts. So, my poor son looked a little nonplussed. He had no clue. He made some guttural sounds, the kind he often uttered when he had no idea as to what reply he should give to questions, especially questions like this. My son was totally uneducated to such theories of life; such labellings; such brandings, such truths. In fact, we were at fault, we never taught him to say what he was -- Christian, Muslim or Hindu. I never wanted him to think about all that at his age; he was going to find out, anyway. He stopped splashing in the pool and turned and looked at me a little bit bewildered. I made a weak smile and waved at my son. I was a bad father, who had no clue to the answer he sought. I did not want to say anything. I did not want to brand him. Let him grow up to what he wants to be is how I felt his life should be. And in these last five years, I have not tampered with that belief. I wanted my son to grow up into a man. Other aspects, other brandings, he could take it up as he grows into the role he has to play, I always thought. I am his dad, but, who am I to tell him what he is; even I did not know clearly what or who I am. Besides, I am not in any way ideologically inclined; I am not part of a cult; I never believed that that men should hobnob only with their kind (whatever that was) and I never wanted to be part of a culture that promoted divisions between people; I did not want to be together with only my sect of people; or play only with my type (again whatever that means). Imagine, if I was born into someone else’s household other than mine, I would have been a different person, perhaps of a different nationality. I could have become anybody. That I was given a role to play; that I was born into my household, of parents that are mine is all a matter of fate; I never wrote the script of my life and even as I hold a pen and try to make sense of these things, I know that I will never ever make full sense of it. No point in trying. I could pretend that I was someone, but deep inside I knew that I could never ever be what I portray to the outside September - October 20 B&W 2 0 1 3
I am just a number
wall he t ff
world; I am, as you may soon find out, dumber than I look. “What are you?” the little boy insisted to my son who apparently was more sensible than I, for he settled the matter splashing the pool water on to the boy’s face, drowning further queries. But my son’s splashes were not enough to drown the queries, the doubts, the incessantly raging theories that played within me. They burned in me, an undying meteor, disappearing from sight, but still simmering in doubt. This query by a little boy in a pool to my son had a totally different effect on me because it raised more questions in me and sunk me into a bigger pool of uncertainty. I knew perfectly that one day I would rise from this whirlpool with a clear head, but somehow I have my misgivings. My head is usually among the clouds and therefore such pertinent questions always befuddled me. Of course I know what to write in official forms that made such queries and I know what to say most of the times, but then, there are occasion when this query, what/who are you, catches me off guard. I suddenly felt like my five-year old son who had no clue as to what he was. Of course, he knew who he was. And I heard him telling that to the other kids later on in their pool innings. He was asked by some other kid what his name was and I heard him say: I am Anirudh Adarsh. YB2A! And yes, that answered the first question the other boy had asked. Of course, that is what he was! And, I think I better follow suit. Why should I bludgeon my head with doubtful queries as to who I am, what I am etc, where I am from… I am Adarsh Madhavan… Or better still, let me get an Adhaar (*) card, it would be better if I was just a number… (*) Unique identification card from India firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeep Launches Ultimate Wrangler ‘Rubicon’ Never before sold in Oman or indeed anywhere in the Middle East, the top of the range Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is now finally available at Dhofar Automotive Showrooms throughout the Sultanate. The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon enjoys several unique engineering features which differentiates it from its siblings, including Diff-locking and sway-bar disconnect, delivering the absolute ultimate in off-road capabilities and performance. Commenting on the launch of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Chris Edwards, general manager of Dhofar Automotive - the official distributor for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles in the Sultanate noted, “We’re thrilled to finally be able to offer the Wrangler Rubicon to Jeep enthusiasts here in Oman. The engineering prowess of the Rubicon allows drivers to tackle the big off-road
challenges with ease, and the high level of specification and interior fitment will bring a smile to every Jeep fan.” The newly launched 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is available now at Dhofar Automotive showrooms across the Oman. Call 2458 4530 or visit your local Dhofar Automotive showroom from Saturday to Thursday, between 8am and 1pm or 4pm and 8pm.
Nawras’ first female radio network design engineer wins international award Nawras family member Dalia Al Hassani was honoured with the Women at Work Leadership Award at the 4th Asia’s Best Employer Brand Awards 2013. The ceremony, held in Singapore, saw Dalia receive one of many awards of her career, which has progressed rapidly with Nawras since joining the company in 2005. She also won Al Mar’a Excellence award for Technology in 2012. Dalia is Oman’s first female expert radio network design engineer and has
recently been promoted to radio solution design section head. Dalia said, “I am inspired and motivated to grow and develop with Nawras, as they continue to offer more innovative services in an everchanging market. The opportunity of being in management has made me set more new goals to fulfil endless possibilities in the industry and personal development. I am completely focussed on thriving and improving to see just how far I can go
in this market and with Nawras.”
The show featured Harisree Ashokan, Mamtha and Siddiqe entertaining the crowd with their
signing talents along with renowned play back singers Naresh Iyer, Biju Narayanan, Gayathri and Sayonara. Archana, a leading TV actress electrified the stage jointly with the young talents of Oman ‘Strings’, choreographed by Rajesh Master. The show also includes hilarious comedy skits by comedians from the reality show “Manorama Comedy Festival Team”.
Mohanlal in Oman Oman witnessed show featuring Lt Col Dr Mohanlal titled Laalettante Onakkahzcha, which was held at Qurum Amphitheatre recently. The highlight of the programme was honouring Padmasree Mohanlal, with a Pravasi Keerti Award -2013 for his contribution to Indian Cinema. Mamta Mohandas was also honoured with Pravasi Best Actress – 2013 award.
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The Best Western premier brand debuts in Oman With the official opening of the Best Western Premier Muscat, Oman has incorporated yet another international hotel chain in its portfolio. The four-star property, strategically located in Al Khuwair, Muscat, is a seamless blend of international and local characteristics offering guests luxury at an affordable price. The 10 storey hotel embodies all the unique highlights of the Best Western Premier brand and has in place professional staff to deliver the trademark Omani hospitality to its guests. The team is comprised of a majority of Omanis in accordance with the government’s emphasis on hiring nationals in the hospitality sector. Distinct styling, personalised service and plush amenities and facilities are some of the primary features that are sure to leave a lasting impression on the guests
ensuring return visits. “We are proud to open the doors of the first Best Western hotel in Oman for guests to the country to experience our unique brand of hospitality while conducting their business and exploring the country. ‘Premier’ brand hotels are properties specifically developed to focus on the needs of a specific market by offering amenities and services that differentiate and set the hotel apart from others,” said Glenn de Souza, vice president international operations - Asia and Middle East, Best Western International.
Alfardan Motors inaugurates the new Ferrari showroom in Muscat Alfardan Motors, the official importer of Ferrari in Oman, has opened the doors to a brand-new, modern 428 m2 Ferrari showroom in Muscat. Embracing Ferrari’s corporate identity, the showroom provides an elegant and welcoming environment for customers. The new showroom was officially opened by His Highness Al Sayed Taimour bin Asa'ad Al Said at an exclusive gala event for customers and VIP guests. Conveniently located on Meydan Al Azaibah in Muscat, the new showroom will be able to display up to six cars and features a fully-detailed 'Atelier', an intimate environment which stimulates creativity and imagination, with décor and a choice of materials that are designed to reflect Ferrari’s craftsmanship.
New India Assurance chairman in Oman G. Srinivansan, chairman-cum-managing director of the multi-national general insurance giant, The New India Assurance Co Ltd, was on a two-day visit to Oman. During the course of his visit, Srinivasan met various dignitaries of the insurance regulatory at capital market authority, Indian ambassador and embassy officials, insurance intermediaries, corporate heads of New India Assurance’s long-standing clients in Muscat. This is the maiden visit of Srinivasan to Oman after taking up the chairman position of the 95 years old international insurance giant, The New India Assurance Co Ltd. under the dynamic and pragmatic leadership of Srinivasan, The New India Assurance recently secured several coveted awards like, BFSI – Best General Insurance Company (India) Best Claims Initiative of the year, Best Underwriting Initiative of the year, Africa Leadership Award for Best Claims Initiative of the year, Outlook September - October 22 B&W 2 0 1 3
Award for Best Health Insurance Provider 2012 and most significantly Srinivasan was elected as the best Ceo, Golden Peacock Awards for Excellence in Corporate Governance (2012).
NBO Golf Classic at Almouj Golf At a recent press conference held at Almouj Golf, The Wave, Muscat, Oman, Mohammed Mahfoudh Al Ardhi, deputy chairman of National Bank of Oman, welcomed the attending media and guests ahead of the forthcoming NBO Golf Classic to be played at Almouj Golf on October 24 to 27. “We are proud and honoured to be the title sponsor of the first professional golf tournament to be held in Oman and to be breaking new ground in hosting the first European Challenge Tour event to be played in the AGCC,” said Mohammed Mahfoudh Al Ardhi. Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International Dubai Office, explained to the press conference that for the first time Omani golf fans would be able to see the future stars
of The European Tour in action at close quarters. “Many of last year’s Ryder Cup Team made their names on the European Challenge Tour, players like Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts, plus Major winners such as Louis Oosthuizen, Trevor Immelman and Michael Campbell.”
Travel City is the new partner of FCm travel solutions in Oman Travel City LLC, has recently been introduced into the rapidly expanding global network of FCm Travel Solutions, which is one of the world’s leading corporate travel and expense management consultancies. With this new partnership agreement, Travel City will represent FCm in Oman to provide end to end corporate travel and expense management solutions, blending FCm’s global presence locally, flexibly and in a personalised manner. The new agreement takes the global travel management
company FCm’s network to 83. In Middle East and Africa (MEA) FCm has a presence in 19 countries with regional network director Ciaran Kelly reporting there are further countries FCm will add to its MEA operation over the coming year. Ciaran said FCm’s newest affiliation in Oman brings into operation group travel network of 36 offices throughout the country including seven business travel centres, that are a part of Travel City’s nationwide retail network employing 250 staff across the group.
Malabar Gold & Diamonds - six months interest free for Bank Sohar cardholders With the festive season round the corner, it’s definitely going to be a time of giving to loved ones. To make the selection and buying process as easy as possible for Bank Sohar credit card customers, the bank has associated with one of the most trusted jewellery brand names in India and the AGCC - Malabar Gold & Diamonds. By joining hands with Malabar Gold, Bank Sohar credit card holders can now make jewellery purchases and pay the total amount over six months in equal installments, with no interest being charged.
Highlighting the great benefits for cardholders, R. Narasimhan, DGM - retail banking at Bank Sohar said, “We are pleased to announce our tie up with Malabar Gold, one of the most popular jewellery chains in the Sultanate. As a part of this scheme, for any purchase above OMR 100, customers using Bank Sohar credit cards to purchase jewellery are able to choose an exclusive scheme on their credit card transaction, which is repaid in equal instalments over six months with zero percent interest
rate. This scheme will certainly make the forthcoming festive season delight for many of our customers!” Najeeb. K, regional head Malabar Gold said, “We are very pleased for associating with Bank Sohar, one of the leading banks in Oman. We also take this opportunity to invite everyone to visit our outlets here to showcase our extensive jewellery collection, impeccable after-sales service and world-class facilities, along with uncompromising dedication to personal attention to our customers.” September - October 23 B&W 2 0 1 3
Second generation Panamera reaches new heights in Oman The arrival of the new Panamera to the Middle East and Africa region has been marked in true Porsche style, with a two-day press launch and road trip through the highest mountain range in the Eastern Arabian Peninsula. Christer Ekberg, managing director of Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE, said: “The second generation Panamera represents another milestone in Porsche’s on-going legacy. With new design enhancements and state-of-the-art technology, the new Panamera is more beautiful, efficient and powerful than ever. The breadth of range is truly astonishing; it is a first for Porsche to launch such a model variety right from the start.” The new Panamera’s tightened design and greater
efficiency show the model’s unquestionable advancements. New technologies mean fuel savings of up to 56 per cent and – with the exception of the diesel model – more power. The standard version offers a blistering top speed of 259 km/h, 310 hp and fuel consumption of just 8.4 l/100 km, proving efficiency need not mean a compromise in sporting performance.
Bank Sohar hosts VIP event in Salalah Following the recent opening of their new ‘Sohar Islamic’ banking window in Salalah, Bank Sohar organised an exclusive dinner gathering for VIP customers and honoured guests to celebrate the occasion. The event was held at the Hilton Hotel Salalah and was presided over by Al Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, minister of state and governor of Dhofar. Commenting on significance of the occasion, Dr Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, Ceo of Bank Sohar noted, “The heart of Bank Sohar’s vision for growth has always been its customer focused strategy. As a result, we regularly organise interactive activities and events to engage with various segments of our growing customer base. These have contributed significantly to the bank’s recognition as one of the fastest growing banks in the Sultanate.” “This VIP dinner was organised to celebrate the launch of our third Islamic banking branch and to enhance the culture of dialogue and good relations between our customers in the region and the bank management. The event also gave us a perfect opportunity to explain
the proper and distinct practices which apply to Shari’ah compliant banking and in particular our new Islamic Banking window – Sohar Islamic.” added Mohammad Haris, AGM, head Islamic Banking. Representing the bank was a large contingent comprising Bank Sohar’s Ceo, Munira Abdulnabi Macki, DGMhuman resource and corporate support; Abdulali Abdullah Al Lawati, senior AGM – corporate support; Mazin Mahmood Al Raisi, AGM and head marketing and publicity; and Mohammad Haris, AGM - head Islamic Banking as well as senior management of the Dhofar branches and employees.
Al Mazyona customers celebrate RO 300,000 monthly prizes Al Mazyona savings scheme from Bank Muscat celebrated the monthly draw offering prizes worth OMR 300,000 in the head office under the auspices of Soud bin Ahmed al Nahari, Ceo of Port Services Corporation. Thirty customers, including three priority banking customers, were rewarded with OMR10,000 each in the prize draw, also attended by Abdullah Al Hinai, DGM – investment banking and FIG. Al Mazyona customers maintaining a minimum balance of OMR1000 get a chance to win OMR10,000 every month. September - October 24 B&W 2 0 1 3
Swarovski now at Salalah Mall Visitors to Salalah Mall can now enjoy shopping at the newly-opened Swarovski boutique located on the ground floor. The boutique’s opening coincides with the launch of Swarovski’s Fall/Winter 2013 collection “Secret Treasures” which features a skillful blend of modernity and sophistication. Designed by Nathalie Colin, the collection is reminiscent of a journey that is inspired by the Silk Road, and is built around four legendary locations: China, the Himalayas, India and Venice. From purity to exuberance, the “Secret Treasures”
collection delivers a range of offerings that allow women to mix and match their accessories, for a special occasion or for an everyday look. Swarovski established in 1895 and has always been synonymous with craftsmanship, precision and innovation. The world’s finest collection of crystals from Swarovski is housed with Khimji’s Luxury and Lifestyle. The division offers a diverse mix of international fashion, lifestyle and adventure brands to suit every mood and occasion. Call KR Toll-free 800-75000.
Oman debut for Barney Barney, the lovable huggable purple dinosaur makes his debut performance in Oman with an all-new show packed with excitement for the entire family! Sabco Art Events, in association with Sabco Media, Sunshine Events and HIT Entertainment have announced that Barney Lets Go! Live on Stage! will perform exclusively, and for the first time in Oman at the Qurum Amphitheatre for a total of four consecutive shows on October 25 and 26. The first-time show will offer fans of the dinosaur in Oman a unique opportunity and a range of fun and excitement for the whole family
to enjoy and be part of. To mark the occasion, Vikram Nagar, associate event director at Sabco Art Events said, “We are really excited to be the Omani event management company who are bringing this fun, educational and creatively-driven international children’s show to its many fans in Oman, and we are looking forward to a truly great show.” Eihab Abutaha, Ceo of Communications at Sabco Group added, “We are also looking forward to effectively supporting the promotional efforts of Barney Lets Go! – Live on Stage!, at Sabco Media through our dynamic
cross-platform channels of media including our popular radio stations, publishing arms and outdoor media, to maximise awareness and communicate various information to the public.”
Emax announces the winners for their Eid promotion Emax, recently concluded its month long Eid promotion and announced the names of 30 lucky winners. The names were chosen with a lucky draw conducted at their Muscat City Centre outlet. The 30 winners took home the latest home appliances from Siemens. Apart from the exciting prizes, the three week long promotion also included fabulous deals and over 4000 gifts across major categories of electronics likes laptops, tablets, cameras, home
appliances etc. Also on offer was the first of its kind deal – an exchange offer on old LCD and Plasma televisions. Television has become a segment that continuously witnesses new product releases and improvements. This offer proved to be a big hit with the customers for the same reason. Many entertainment aficionados used this opportunity for upgrading to the latest television while getting instant discounts on their old ones. September - October 25 B&W 2 0 1 3
The 2013 Mazda CX-5 receives prestigious J.D. Power APEAL award!
The J.D. Power 2013 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study rated the 2013 Mazda CX-5 as the highest-ranking vehicle in the Compact Crossover Utility (CUV) segment. The all-new Mazda CX-5 has been earning praises from across the automotive
world. Launched in Oman recently, the 2013 Mazda CX-5 is admired for Mazda’s ‘KODO’ design language and exceptional performance. The CX-5 is the first model to have fully incorporated Mazda’s SkyActiv technology, including the gasoline engine, transmission, body and chassis. Its excellent driving performance coupled with its innovative engine is internationally recognised. It is also one of the best-looking compact crossovers with sweeping lines and a sculpted body. A spokesperson from Towell Auto Centre (TAC), the sole distributors of Mazda vehicles in Oman, says:
“The J.D. Power APEAL award only validates the fact that the CX-5, with its stunning design, unparalleled handling, top notch safety features and class leading fuel economy is an outstanding vehicle. In the Compact Crossover Utility Vehicle class, the Mazda CX-5 ranked among the best in overall performance and design, the features and instrument panel attribute, and managed to outdo competition in the comfort and style parameters also. Having won 43 prestigious international awards in last one year, globally, the J.D. Power APEAL award adds another feather to its cap”.
The Zubair Corporation support Omani youth The Zubair Corporation recently announced the sponsorship of Omani students’ for a cultural exchange visit to Japan. Engineering students Hisham Salim Al-Hadrami and Walid Musallam Al-Sulaimani of Sultan Qaboos University will participate in a special exchange programme organised by the Japan-GCC Association of Students (J-GAS) in Tokyo. Commenting on the event, Khalid M. Al Zubair, managing director of The Zubair Corporation noted, “Our commitment towards supporting the Omani youth is resolute. We always take the initiative
and do everything we can to enhance their abilities and develop their skills. Thus, we were keen to sponsor Hisham and Walid’s trip to Japan and we will support them to assure their trip is a success. This will not only add to their experience, but will also bring in tremendous benefits to their
future contribution of the continuous development of the Sultanate.” Held under the purview of Japan-AGCC Association of Students, who aim to develop the relationship between Japan and AGCC by promoting mutual understanding among the students, this programme envisions a better understanding of cultural aspects. Over a week, Hisham and Walid will engage in a workshop-style exchange programme which will not only enhance their understanding of Japan as an international business environment, but also experience a multi-cultural work environment.
Designer Brands For Less at Markaz Al Bahja Muscat’s newest retail experience opened its doors recently at Markaz Al Bahja. Brands For Less, the discounted brands retail chain, opened for the first time in Oman and is set to revolutionise the way that people shop. Based on a quality for less concept, the store offers a first for shopping in Muscat: buy top of the range designer brands from US stock September - October 26 B&W 2 0 1 3
for a substantial discount. A unique feature of the store means that every time you visit there will be new items to browse, try and buy. New stock arrives in every day and the shelves are replenished every morning to ensure that today’s items on display replace yesterday’s, so that shoppers get a new retail experience every time they walk
through the doors. The wide range of brands on offer, from Ralph Lauren and BCBG to Calvin Klein, Fossil and more, means that the stock has a great variety of items – both style and size – for women, men, children and babies.
By Dr CK Anchan
Most people are expected to maintain peak levels of mental and creative performance for at least eight hours each day, but then they realise that it simply can’t be done. As a result people are continuously burnt out, stressed and functioning far below their peak capacity. Energy works in a similar system as a currency like money. In other words, after you’ve spent it, you need to regain some more before you try to spend again. Otherwise you end up going into a deficit. Energy deficits aren’t pretty. You know you are in an energy deficit when you are tired, irritable, stressed, frustrated and generally unenthusiastic. Ultimately a check and balance must be made. The cycle of perfect energy management is one where you are fully engaged and using all of your resources for maximum productivity, followed by a period of intensive recovery where you regain all of your energy for the task ahead. When your body, mind, emotions and spirit finally declare bankruptcy, you crash and burn out as the eventual price of poor energy management. The key to effective energy management is to install habits into our life that promote cycles of deep engagement followed by recovery. Without this balance in the cycle, the system becomes unstable. Creating these habits means developing a ritual for recovering your energy. This could be as simple as sitting back and relaxing for 15 minutes or doing some light exercise. The key to energy management is more than just managing the energy you currently have, it is in increasing your supply of energy. Being able to devote more energy, concentration and flow to an activity is the primary goal of energy management. To increase your energy, you must stretch it beyond its current capacity, and then recover it. This stretching of capacity is what most people refer to as stress. Energy is more than just the physical energy you use from exercising. There are other levels of energy that work in similar fashion but are equally important. PHYSICAL – Physical energy is still incredibly important. This is the primary and most fundamental source of
Stressed out? Check on energy management
Dr Anchan C.K. managing director, World Wide Business House
energy. Physical energy is regulated by diet, exercise and sleep. This energy is tapped regardless of whether the task is physical. Most of us do not do particularly physically demanding jobs. MENTAL – I believe that mental energy is essentially the focus or direction of the energy we have. Mental energy can be increased through the stress and conditioning method, through challenging mental study and tasks, deep learning and creative activities. Mental energy is our ability to concentrate, analyse and be creative. These higher level faculties basically describe the quality and clarity of your thinking. Mental energy is necessary for all of us, despite our career or hobbies. EMOTIONAL – Emotional energy is our ability to control and maintain our emotions. People with a high amount of emotional energy will be positive, enthusiastic and happy. Low amounts of this energy are the manifestations of anger, despair and frustration. If physical energy represents capacity, mental represents direction, then emotional represents quality. A high degree of energy that is directed in a negative manner with hateful or angry emotions is incredibly draining and destructive. SPIRITUAL – Spiritual energies not as being a religious or metaphysical type of energy but the energy we get when we are associated with purpose. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, purpose seems to be a necessary ingredient to live successfully. With a strong sense of purpose, energy can be created even when there is barely any physical, mental or emotional capacity. Spiritual energy represents the power or force of energy. Energy management continues to be a subject that will fascinate many. By undertaking conditioning and progressive increments of stress followed by deep restoration we can even expand our capacity for energy. I am quite confident that, by recognising the multidimensional aspects of energy we can really take control of a force that guides our life. Take a break... And get back with cash rich energies. September - October 27 B&W 2 0 1 3
In Black... When the world struggles in economic recession, natural disasters, tourism sector is affected. But when a country can boast of a healthy domestic tourism sector, the economy growth remains unaffected Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Editor-in-chief
In Black & White
ALL WORK AND NO PLAYâ€Ś As kids, we relaxed with football and meeting up with friends. Our choices were limited and so were our wishes. But, the younger generation is different today. They live in an age of speed where wishes are realised in a click of a mouse. And, so are their wishes, so are their needs and therefore their mode of entertainment. This generation will not be satisfied with just football alone. Yes, they meet friends but in virtual reality. So, after months of slogging on the school and college front, it is only natural that they get an amusement and entertainment outlet. As adults, we owe this much to the youth and the young ones. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy! But, where do they find this outlet here? With no means of entertainment and amusements centres in Oman, most adults are forced to take the whole family abroad to enjoy the entertainment facilities there. This is a burden for the adults. But, if we patiently wait for some more years, we will be having our own dream amusement/theme park that will cater to the needs of the locals and residents alike.
A NEW THEME, A NEW DESTINATION Domestic tourism is a major factor that pushes the revenue wheel forward in any country. When the world struggles in economic recession, natural disasters, tourism sector is affected. But when a country can boast of a healthy domestic tourism sector, the economy growth remains unaffected. It is a matter of pride to mention the upcoming Majarat Oman project, one of Omanâ€™s first ever theme park project, schedule to be completed in 2016. While we wish the investors and the team behind the project all success, B&W team took a virtual trip to the galaxy of facilities and games available for the family in the park. The venue being Al Sawadi beach makes this theme park more exciting for kids and adults alike. Let us wish that Oman retain its rials right here in the country and accelerate the domestic tourism sector with many more projects.
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B&W Xclusive September - October 30 B&W 22 00 11 33
SPACE PORT – space station family theme
FUZZIES WORLD – delightful cute alien planet for kids
ALIEN COLONY – space port for teenagers and adults
NEPTUNE WATER PARK – indoor and outdoor water park
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Ahmed Mohammed Al Jabry
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Looking for a one point fun destination for the whole family? Looking for a personal adrenaline high? Well, jump into your car and zoom off to Al Sawadi. But, whoah, hold on! We may have to wait for some more time, maybe couple of years more, though. But, that is all! Fun, excitement, thrilling escapades and a chance to soak in a whole new experience of family fun and frolic will be just a hop, skip and jump away when the first-ever mega indoor theme park emerges above Al Sawadi skyline in the first quarter of 2016. So fasten your seat belts for the ride of your life into a veritable galaxy of fun and frolic because Majarat Oman -- the first ever theme park of its kind in Oman -- is slowly taking shape in Al Sawadi Beach Resort compound. And it is all set to woo all fun lovers and amusement seekers, regardless of age, top officials of this exciting project commented recently. “Majarat Oman, strategically located at Al Sawadi, halfway between Muscat and Sohar, will offer visitors the excitement of an unforgettable journey with full of fun, thrills, speed and adventure,” Ahmed Mohammed Al Jabry, one of the key officials behind this theme park project, told the Black & White. Ahmed Al Jabry, a partner in Arab Malaysia Development Company (AMDC) LLC, which has signed an agreement with the FBF (Fatik bin Faher) Group of Companies to develop Majarat Oman, was full of zeal when he spoke about his dream project. “Majarat Oman will offer unforgettable hours of entertainment for all ages, 3 to 93,” Ahmed Al Jabry enthused. “We would like to woo in all of those who are young at heart – juniors and seniors,” Syed Asad Ali, managing partner, added. The approximately OMR40 million project, which is spread over a built up area of 25,000 square metres, is a superior, technologically advanced, theme park, the officials explained. WH HY FLY OUT OF OMAN N? Before we get into the project details, let us take a quick stroll back into the past to find out how all of this came about. The idea basically stemmed from the common desire of a group of Omani friends, who, tired of the lack of proper theme parks in Oman (where they could take the whole family for an outing) to look for something new and exciting in the country itself. “Then our friend, Adil Al Lawati, hit upon a brainwave: why not have a theme park right here in Oman?” revealed Ahmed Al Jabry. Well, why not, they all chorused, with the idea hitting them like a good bolt of thunder. “’Why do we have to fly out of Oman to take our kids to an exotic park or fun destination?’ we wondered out aloud…In fact, we dreaded summer breaks because then the heat was upon us to take the whole family to some exotic destination as a much-needed respite after school and a major workload,” Ahmed Al Jabry said. Summer breaks posed a real problem in many a household as both children and adults who are stuck at home got bored and became inactive.
From problems came solutions and from such vacuums came the desire to fill in the gap. “This common desire germinated in our minds and soon we decided that we had a solution right within our grasp – we could bring about a fully integrated theme park right in Oman. And thus, the seed of this exclusive mega indoor theme park was sown!” RE EAS SON FOR MAKIING IT IN NDOOR The reason for opting for an indoor park was simple: The harsh climate necessitated such a move. “Moreover, we did not like the idea of a seasonal theme park that is six months active to six months inactive schedule. We wanted a full-fledged theme park with all amenities, open 365 days a year!” Ahmed Al Jabry and Asad said. “All said and done, we, the adults, also need a break, at least some family time, where we can be together and have fun with our loved ones,” they added. A FEE ELIING G OF DÉJÀ À VU U “As a kid, I personally had no place to go in Oman during our school summer breaks. We travelled to outdoor destinations during the break. After many years, today, I am facing the same situation where I have to take my kids out of Oman for their summer breaks! Why can’t we have outings, theme parks and other facilities that can keep our families in Oman during holidays?” Ahmed Al Jabry queried, outlining the reality that faced them since years. Oman did not have a full-fledged theme park that could offer an exciting time for the whole family. This was evident because, it is not just this group, but, many in Oman faced the same daunting task of packing the whole family off to some expensive destination abroad during the holidays and other breaks. September September--October October 33 33 B&W 22 00 11 33 B&W
Official signing of Majarat Oman project: His Highness Sayyid Fatik bin Fahr Al Said of the FBF group and AMDC company officials
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“Majarat Oman will offer all type of exciting rides, speed, fun elements and more,” the duo noted.
Malaysian partner: Dato' Syed Tajul
A ONE POIN NT AMU USEM MENT SOL LUTION Propelled by this genuine need, these entrepreneurs are trailblazing a path in Oman by setting up this fantastic theme park, the likes of which has never existed before, but will surely make up for the lost time by being a panacea for all type of family amusement seekers in town.
FO OUR FUN ZON ONES S Majarat Oman has four exciting zones - Alien Colony, Fuzzie’s World, Space Station and Neptune Water Park, they added, stressing once again that Oman’s largest indoor themed entertainment facility will be the ideal destination for all: from 3 to 93! 36 65 DAYS OF FU UN “Oman and this region have harsh climates with temperatures soaring upto 50 degrees during peak summer. How can we have outdoor theme parks, when we have to keep it closed or inactive for six months? So, we opted for a huge indoor theme park for a family rather than just kids. When we did market research, we
Gem of an idea: Adil Al lawati
found out that the majority wanted water parks, family food joints, kids’ area, space and aliens/science based centres and play elements, digital games and a lot more. “We made a consensus and conceived the idea of a one family theme centre –Majarat Oman. This theme centre will offer a memorable day out for all the family members! September September--October October 35 35 B&W 22 00 11 33 B&W
Syed Asad Ali
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And most importantly, it will be open all 365 days of the year. “ JO OBS FOR OMA MANIS S The theme park will capture the domestic tourism market and give the local community an opportunity for employment along with entertainment and fun! The officials noted that the project would provide more than 300 permanent jobs for Omanis and plenty of part time jobs for the local community. “It will offer a variety of SME opportunities for Omanis within the local community,” Asad noted. OMA AN THE EME PARK READY Y The project’s Malaysian partner was also gung-ho about its success and said that the country was ripe for such a theme park. “Oman is now ready for a project like this. We believe in Oman, hence our focus on bringing Malaysian investment and expertise into Oman,” Dato’ Syed Tajul Arif, the Malaysian partner in AMDC, remarked. SPE ECIA AL NEED EDS FRIEN NDLY Y “We must add that it is going to be the most special needs friendly theme park ever,” Ahmed Al Jabry and Asad noted. Among the firsts, the theme park will incorporate Oman’s first ever 30 seats tethered balloon ride. “We must emphasise here that this park is designed to world class international quality, safety and regulatory standards,” they added.
project. “With this theme park as the focus point, we created Arab Malaysia Development Company (AMDC) LLC in 2011. The company has interests in real estate development, hospitality and family entertainment centers. Majarat Oman is the first undertaking by the company in Oman, which shall be developed by Amusement Cities LLC, a SPV (special purpose vehicle) formed by the AMDC. Majarat Oman also intends to include conference and party facilities to incorporate corporate events and private parties within the park. The soft opening is targeted for the first quarter of 2016. TH HEME AND DE ESIIGN CON NSULTANTS S OF MAJARA AT OMA AN The Sanderson Group from Australia is the design and builds consultants of the project. The group is an Australia based multinational corporation with an experience of over 21 years in delivering high quality themed attractions. Sanderson Group commenced operations in 1989 and quickly grew to become Australia’s first integrated thematic construction
company specialising in the design and construction of themed tourism developments. In 1991 Sanderson Group was contracted as a part of the Warner Brothers team to develop the multi award winning ‘Warner Brothers Movie World, Hollywood on the Gold Coast Australia’ and they hold the enviable number one position for the past 22 years. In 2000 Sanderson Group established India’s first specialist theme park turnkey solutions company. Expanding their operations into Asia, in 2001 Sanderson Group opened in Macau, then progressively in Hong Kong, then China, becoming the first specialist theme park turnkey solutions company to enter mainland China. In 2006 Sanderson Group expanded into Malaysia, then 2007 Singapore, 2010 Dubai, with their most recent operations established in 2011 Vietnam. The Sanderson Group is internationally considered a world class leader in delivering prestigious themed tourism developments throughout Asia, Middle East, and Australia Pacific with an unmatchable portfolio of 22 years of innovation in turnkey solutions.
ALL L UNDER ONE ROOF F The duo promised a variety of attractions at Majarat. “There will be a family entertainment centre, pre shows, rides, live shows, plus a host of restaurants and much more – all under one roof!” PRO OJECT BACK KDROP Ahmed Al Jabry also further explained the background of the
Text: Adarsh Madhavan & Priya Arunkumar Photos: Ben
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Of Chicks and chickensâ€Ś
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The chicken is the closest living relative of the tyrannosaurus-rex. There are more chickens on Earth than there are humans. It takes a chick 21 days to develop in the egg. It starts developing when it reaches a temperature of 88 degrees F. A mother hen begins bonding with her chicks before they are even born. She will turn her egg as often as five times an hour and cluck to her unborn chicks, who will chirp back to her and to one another. Chicken are pretty fast. The chicken can travel up to 9 miles per hour when it wants to. The largest ever recorded chicken egg weighed nearly 12 ounces, and measured 12.25 inches around. Chicken language has real meanings. The birds give different alarm calls depending on which type of predator is threatening them China has the most people in the world, and also has the most chickens. There are over 3,000,000,000 chickens in China! (The United States has only 450 million.) Chickens can fly, but not for long. The longest recorded flight of a chicken is only 13 seconds. The fear of chickens is called ‘Alektorophobia’. The most eggs laid by a hen in one day is seven. If you make the chickens think it’s daylight, even at night, they’ll lay eggs that are bigger with harder shells. The largest recorded size of a chicken egg was 12 oz and measured 12-1/4” in diameter. The greatest number of recorded yolks in one egg was 9. These birds are omnivores. They’ll eat seeds and insects but also larger prey like small mice and lizards.
"Cheep-cheep," chirped the cheery chick
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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 honking please! Muscat does not suffer honkers lightly; especially the blatantly noisy ones. So, it was a surprise when a bit noisy man pumped his car horn at literally everything that moved recently in a quiet neighbourhood. Yes of course, the area in which he drove was quite orderly, just above the pin drop silence feel and very few people moving around. Since it was almost like a gated property, people felt safe and did not worry about crazy drivers on their four wheels doing crazy and dangerous things with their cars, which would ultimately prove harmful for others. Most often, it is the innocent bystander that gets hurt or killed when a not-so-innocent and wild driver gets into riding heat and drive crazily on the road. But such antics donâ€™t happen in closed areas where there is security and people enjoying quiet walks. But this honker did not seem to bother about all such niceties when he zoomed into the area, wildly honking people out of his path, yelling and yodeling at the shell-shocked people who froze in their paths. One of the affected, an old couple, who were walking to their parked car, said that they were startled out of their wits when the driver suddenly pumped on the horn just inches behind them! The driver went on honking and creating a nuisance and then left as quickly as he came. Maybe he was trying to get some attention, or maybe he just did not care. Whatever, the residents of this enclave could not digest this late morning nuisance!
Anger, raging like a fire Sometimes, our anger can rage like a fire and burn the one at the receiving end. At a recent show, which started off a little bit late than usual, a portion of the audience, waiting for the doors to open, suddenly went berserk with anger. They stormed in when the doors were finally open and vented their ire on the volunteers, not wanting to hear their side of the story, or the actual reason behind the delay. Of course, however much you may plan, sometimes, things get in the way; unusual happenings could threw September - October 40 B&W 2 0 1 3
a wrench in the workings and disrupt it wholly. The organisers had a perfect reason for the delay, but well, some members of the audience were in no mood to listen! They, in fact, wanted to lash out at the volunteers who literally fell back in this fearful display of anger. Their anger was quelled only when they were soothed back to normality by the gentle songs of the singer they were waiting for. But, the volunteers continued to shiver in fright for most part of the show.
Freebies will cost What is with people who want entertainment but would view it only if it is free? Event organisers in town are clearly wondering whether they should continue organising events as the accent with their audience/viewers was only on free entry. Many of them have stopped buying tickets for such shows and are ready to skip seeing even their favourite entertainer because they are so unwilling to pay! It is a trend that is all set to see the downfall of event organisers here who are now forced to understand that a ticketed show will not fetch its desired results as more and more people join the ‘free’ bandwagon.
How will event organisers survive when they bring a show to town and there is no one to view it? There are many who complain that nothing is happening in Oman and yet when it happens, they are too busy finding excuses not to go or telling themselves that it is not going to be good…All because they have to spend couple of rials? The current forced free shows are a death knell to events and real entertainment here. Dear freebie lovers, mind you, your actions are going to cost you!
A diary of a defunct SIM holder in Oman: Problem: User’s application, which is used to transfer credit, recharge net etc mysteriously disappears from his mobile phone. Day1 (Thu): I call the Customer Care number and explain the problem. Customer Care says: Change the handset and see. I do that. But problem still exists. So I call Customer Care again and they advise: Remove SIM and put it back after five minutes. I follow their advice but, the problem persists so I call Customer Care again. They repeat: remove the SIM and put it back after five minutes. Still nothing happens, so I call them again. This time they say that they will update the software and it will take 45 minutes. Forty five minutes later, the problem remains unsolved. Day2 (Fri): Called Customer Care. They said: go to any counter directly. Since it is Friday they will open only at 4pm. No problem, I go to the counter, the personnel fiddles
with their system, but problem still remains. So I suggest: Perhaps if we change the SIM, the problem might get solved. Nope, they know better. The problem is with the software. It’s not getting updated. So, they tell me to call the customer care again and speak to the manager. He can help you. I call Customer Care and ask them to connect me to the manager. I get through finally and he says that he has forwarded the request to the technical department and he will get a call regarding this. But, there were no calls in this regard that day. Note: Each customer care call takes at least 10 minutes to connect to
the call centre employee after going through all the recorded messages. After that they will keep the customer on hold for 5 or 10 minutes. On top of that, each time someone will take the call and I have to explain the whole thing all over again. Day 3 (Sat): Went directly to the counter. They said problem…not yet solved. The technical team has to still look into it. But on Saturday, they are on leave. So, I, hoping good sense will prevail, plead with them: please change my SIM, please. But, they are adamant: Sorry, it has nothing to do with SIM; it-is-softwareproblem Day 4 (Sun): I make a final do-or-die trip to the counter again and explain the whole issue to them. This time the person at the counter is a bit more sympathetic; he finally takes my residence card, makes entry and FINALLY changes my SIM (duplicate one). Problem solved! Whew!
(Note: Readers who have something bitter to chatter about can either email on email@example.com or call 99218461)
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Your ARIES March 21-April 20 (March 21st-April 20th) You know what it takes, and what you have to do, to make the best impression on people, so give it your best shot, especially over career matters. Actions speak louder than words. Once you hit your peak things will move along at a brisk pace.
CANCER June 22-July 23 Getting into the good books of others should bring you closer to achieving some of your treasured objectives. Keep your opinions to yourself at home and at work and keep a low profile across the board. Being both sympathetic and generous of spirit works best.
TAURUS April 21-May 20
GEMINI May 21-June 21
You may need to do something innovative, daring or different to get noticed this week, but with your fertile mind working at warp speed, that wont be too much of a challenge. Relationships have improved across the board, but keep a clear perspective on long term goals.
You can be rather gloomy and pessimistic at times as you tend to look at the flaws of a project as opposed to the attributes. This makes communications difficult with those who are more positive, so try to meet them half way when mapping out plans for the future.
LEO July 24-August 23 Feelings of being out on a limb engulf you today, but maybe if you weren’t so coolly and cruelly objective about your friends and loved ones for their shortcomings as friends or lovers, you wouldn’t feel as you do. Do what you can to make amends this week.
VIRGO August 24-September 23 Your strong sense of adventure coupled with your increased physical courage combine to make this a very interesting week. You need to do something daring and challenging, and you wont rest until you have. Use your inventive streak to expand money and work
THOMAS LEE BASS (BORN OCTOBER 3, 1962), best known as Tommy Lee, is an American musician and founding member of glam metal band Mötley Crüe. As well as being the band's long-term drummer, Lee founded rap-metal band Methods of Mayhem, and has pursued solo musical projects. He has been married to model Elaine Starchuk and actresses Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson. His first successful band Suite 19 played the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles during the late 1970s. At this time he met future bandmate, Nikki Sixx. Casually, Sixx was forming a theatrical band that would specialise in anthemic heavy metal, and was impressed by Lee's drumming. At this time, he changed his name to Tommy Lee and earned the nickname "T-bone" due to his 6′ 2½″ height and his skinny physique. Shortly afterward, guitarist Mick Mars joined the band. Tommy recommended a singer he had met while in high school, Vince Neil, who soon joined the group, and Mötley Crüe was formed.
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stars LIBRA September 24-October 23 Due to recent events youâ€™re feeling more grounded and realistic over love, and are more interested in being with someone whom you respect and can depend upon. Itâ€™s a great week to think about starting a new business or branching out in an existing one.
CAPRICORN December 23-January 20 Errors made in haste, speaking too forcefully, sharp words spoken on impulse, or accidents occurring due to restlessness and impatience on your part, are all possible this week. Youâ€™ll need to be extra vigilant just to stay safe, and to ensure you donâ€™t lose friends.
SCORPIO October 24-November 22
SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22
Your imagination will run wild this week and youâ€™ll be attracted to all kinds of fantasy and mysticism. Itâ€™s fine to be inquisitive, but be careful you donâ€™t go over the top in your quest for something different. Keep it real. Do something more down to earth over the weekend.
Your personal magnetism is strong this week, and youâ€™ll attract appreciation, attention and affection. Sounds like a great combination! Just try to avoid being overly critical of friends and family, as they wont take kindly to your observations here.
AQUARIUS January 21-February 19
PISCES February 20-March 20
Donâ€™t panic if there are moments of confusion, disorientation or mental fogginess this week. Itâ€™s just that you have so much on your mind and youâ€™re finding it difficult to remember your name never mind appointments or social arrangements. Time for some time out.
Itâ€™s a week full of stimulating discussions about controversial topics, unusual or offbeat ideas, or â€œcrazyâ€? schemes. One thingâ€™s for sure, you wont be bored. The tempo of your life accelerates leaving you feeling frazzled so watch you donâ€™t say something out of turn.
For men X SPRAY $IUHVKJUHHQÓ?RUDOIUDJUDQFHVLPLODULQVW\OHDQG LGHQWLW\WR%H'HOLFLRXVE\'.1< Top notesĚžJUHHQDSSOHZDWHUPHORQ FDVLVDQGFXFXPEHU Middle notesĚžURVHZDWHUOLO\IUHHVLDDQGYLROHW Base notesĚžPXVNZKLWHDPEHUVDQGDOZRRG DQGPDULQHQRWHV
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.albahja.com September - October 43 B&W
2 0 1 3
By Dave Green
2011 Conceptis Puzzles, Dist. by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
5 7 4 3 2 9 3 8 9 6 5 6 7 1 7 4 6 9 6 9 1 2 8/16
Sudoku is a number-placing puzzle based on a 9x9 grid with several given numbers. The object is to place the numbers 1 to 9 in the empty squares so that each row, each column and each 3x3 box contains the same number only once.
2 5 1 3 9 6 8 7 4
8 4 7 2 5 1 6 3 9
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6 3 9 4 8 7 5 2 1
1 6 4 8 2 5 7 9 3
3 7 8 1 6 9 2 4 5
9 2 5 7 3 4 1 8 6
5 8 2 9 1 3 4 6 7
7 1 3 6 4 8 9 5 2
4 9 6 5 7 2 3 1 8 8/16
2011 Conceptis Puzzles, Dist. by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
It's my life
September is… B’DAY TIME Vandana, award winning author (‘360 Degrees Back to Life')
By Vandana Shah
12.20 a.m.… September 25...My birthday Hello world! How are you? As I blink open my eyes, my senses are inundated with the stimulations from a world outside. At first I cannot comprehend what, where, when, who... Then as time passes I encounter beauty, ugliness, happiness, sorrow, family, friends, strangers. Experience is the biggest and best teacher. The kisses from parents and mummy ke haath ka khaaaana are top of the pile. Eating an ice cream with friends and holding hands with a lover in the rain... unforgettable. As I go about my life the kindness from strangers overwhelms me and teaches me the good in life and the let down by family teaches me the bad in life. The heartbreak and the “heart make” to be followed by another heart ache teaches you. The heart is the most fragile and yet the strongest part of you, so keep it cushioned and love yourself before you expect others to love you. Nothing is impossible and you can rule the world if you want to because all the barriers are in our mind. It all seems a dizzying roller-coaster of successes and failures where the view from the top is exhilarating yet terrifying but when you are down you achingly long to be back on top. As I continue living my life with designer rose coloured spectacles filled with optimism... the world seems fantastic... I sure am glad that I was born and I celebrate another ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’. With hugs, cakes and love... till we meet again. A special huge hug to all those born in my Birthday Month.
Vandana Shah, Author 360 Degrees Back To life, editor of Ex-Files. www.vandanashah.com. Email me what you’d like to say on email@example.com Follow me on twitter Vandy4PM
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On a sweet noteâ€Ś
No meal is complete without a bite of sweet. And sometimes the dessert becomes the most enticing part of a mealâ€Ś here are a few delicacies with simple coconut, which can be used in a myriad of ways for desserts: in slices, cakes, puddings, bread, biscuits, cupcakes, pancakes and custards
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Coconut and almond custard Ingredients 1 400ml can coconut cream 80g (1/3 cup) caster sugar 2 eggs, at room temperature 2 tbs flaked almonds Method Preheat oven to 200째C. Place the coconut cream, sugar and eggs in a large jug, and use a balloon whisk to whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into four 200ml ramekins or ovenproof dishes or cups. Sprinkle the surface of each custard with two tsp of the flaked almonds. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until set and golden. Remove from water and set aside for five minutes to cool. Serve immediately
Coconut rice with pears Ingredients 60g butter 70g (1/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar 2 William Bartlett pears, peeled, quartered, cored, halved lengthways 80ml (1/3 cup) light coconut milk Ground cinnamon, to dust Coconut rice 400ml light coconut milk 400ml reduced-fat milk 70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar 110g (1/2 cup) medium-grain rice
Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar. Add the pear and cook, turning occasionally, for four minutes or until the sauce is golden and the pear is tender and light golden. Remove from heat. Carefully stir in the coconut milk. Divide the coconut rice among serving bowls. Top with the pear and drizzle over the sauce. Dust with cinnamon to serve.
Method To make the coconut rice, place the coconut milk, milk and caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Stir in the rice and cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes or until the rice is tender and the mixture is creamy. Set aside, covered, for 30 minutes to cool. Transfer the coconut rice to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.
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Eve's drop September - October 48 B&W 2 0 1 3
Villy Doctor – a beacon of light Villy Doctor looked exactly like we had pictured her. A radiant being. She did not look formal, strict or forbearing. Instead, she was a picture of bliss. Clad in a pink kurta, this renowned Indian spiritual healer and social worker looked like an angel with a radiant smile. Without exaggerating, she radiated a peaceful sense of energy. There was a clear element of positivity in the air. She beamed at us and the dimly lit hotel room sparkled to life. Some people look at you like a cornered waif, others at the other extreme behave like they were our long lost buddies, some display various levels of arrogance and impatience, but Villy Doctor was an ocean of serenity. “Some call me mother,” she said and smiled at us as we prepared to ask her about herself.
GUIDED BY THE VOICE IN HER So who was she? She smiled at us as though the smile held all the answers. It did, but we heard it from her: “I am someone who is very simple, my heart is pure and love flows from me. I am very compassionate, loving and deeply spiritual.” Yes, her smile said that. “Every one of us is born simple and full of compassion. I can fortunately say that I am still the same: simple and compassionate. Since my childhood, I have maintained a deep connection with the divine and always had a voice inside me guiding to do what I am destined to. Probably all of us are born with the ability to understand our deep self, but we lose it when we grow up.” TACKLING TWIN EVILS To know Villy Doctor, one has to understand her background. When girls of her age got married and were whisked away into a world of motherhood and family, Villy, after graduating from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, took a master’s degree in psychology, which was followed by a doctoral work on psycho-biological changes through meditation. After a stint at St Xavier’s as a senior lecturer, then a visiting professor at Nirmala Niketan and then head of department of psychology at the Sophia College, Mumbai, when she was just 23, Villy began to show her inclination to help the youth overcome various problems (from drug addiction to emotional problems). With her own awareness of the positive dimensions of meditation, Villy clearly understood the root of India’s problems: illiteracy. And this
was the ugliest head that reared in a sea of poverty in many areas in India. From there Villy began her trek to reverse the negative trend posed by the twin evils of illiteracy and poverty, coupled by the rigid mentality to oppose change. While reaching out to people was in her blood, now, she began to give it a fuller rein. After a decade or so, when she got married, she swung into a different role with her husband as they jointly promoted a market research business. But, she was soon back to her selfless role where she began to pursue the role of meditation in stress relief. Fully into a world where her altruism and her humane nature stood out, Villy Doctor started the non-profit organisation Light of Life (LoL) Trust that looked into unveiling the true potential of rural India. The LOLT s main areas of social improvement are being achieved through its three main arms, Anando, Jagruti and Aangan (*). “The project Anando was launched in 2005 with 25 children to address the issue of out-of-school children, and today has impacted over 9000 rural children covering 426 villages across five districts of Maharashtra,” Villy Doctor said. The initiative proved to be a turning point in the lives of the rural community, bringing forth a multitude of heart warming stories of rural children, who were able to swim across the ocean of ignorance, literacy and poverty. LIGHT OF LIFE In short, the LOLT shone light on the dark areas of life in rural India, but Villy Doctor absolves herself from taking credit for these achievements, maintaining that she was a mere September - October 49 B&W 2 0 1 3
Eve's drop September - October 50 B&W 2 0 1 3
conduit for these achievements. Asked how she managed to rise above all the negativity that surrounded her, she smiled her special smile and said that she never allowed it to seep into her. “True, negativity is all around us, but why give it an audience? When negativity comes knocking, don’t allow it in! Why do you want to let darkness in?” A simple method she adopts, after a grueling session with negative people is to soak her feet in warm water mixed with rock salt. “It works,” she smiles. EXCHANGE NEGATIVITY FOR POSITIVITY “Look around you today, where does all these negativity come from? Why don’t we retain positivity and ignore the negativity part? When you tend to retain positivity instead of negativity, you become calm. We all face stress and strain every day, but we should exchange the positive baggage with the negative. That will make your life better and your heart will retain its compassionate self. One lesson life has taught me is to stay away from stress. I never take stress on my stride. I meet a lot of public, people who come to me with woes and worries. I listen, I understand, but I don’t take it to heart or allow the stress and negativity to pass on to me. There are many occasions when I have gone through bad stretches of life, but then I surrender myself to God and I pray that He takes care of it. I go with the flow. I don’t handle anything; I believe God has prepared me to handle situations, help people in need. When you get matured enough to understand that there are things beyond you, you will learn to accept things as they are. Even when your head says, there might be a way around the situation, your heart will tell you to accept what life offers. Acceptance changes your attitude. When you learn to accept things, you will understand life is not made of stress or strains. Why do
you change people? Why do you change situations? Instead face them, face it, life becomes easier. Each one of us is created with a purpose” Villy Doctor said. YOUTH AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION Commenting on the youth, she said that they reflected life in the fast lane. “From mobiles to television sets to kitchen equipments, all are just a touch away. The youth today is impatient. They need instant gratifications and results. They are not ready to evolve… when you sit down and grasp a situation, a thought, you learn. Without time and thought, no one can learn a thing. We cannot blindly blame the youth though. Effective or rather relevant education is what can change them to become responsible humans. What should a youth learn? From responsibility to tradition to culture, the right education will empower the youth, and the wrong system will tie them down to a bag load of books and information. Education should be set in a way that it helps them in every practical sense. Our projects do that. The three Es – education, empowerment and employability ensure success in our projects,” Villy explained. LOVE IS THE WORD “I believe the most important word today is love. Love others, love nature, love yourself … when you look at the world with love, you get love in return. With love come understanding, tolerance and unity. The one thing that is hurting today’s community is lack of tolerance. A right dose of love will give you the maturity to be tolerant and tolerance will make the world a better place to live in,” Villy concluded with her trademark smile. We leave the room still lit with her smile. (*) full details of Anando, Jagruti and Aangan at www.lightoflifetrustindia. org September - October 51 B&W 2 0 1 3
Shap n sound September - October 52 B&W 2 0 1 3
Why women are
HAPPIER than men…
By Trevor Jose
This is a subject that can be debated till the end of time. Some may say that they have an answer, but, we would like to confess: we don’t. We have a theory here and since there is some awareness on this front, let us state it for the record: women are happier than men. Or, so says a study that was published sometime back. Although the general feeling is that women are more discontent in many areas, the fact remains that for deeprooted happiness, they win hands down. They are much happier than men who put on a lively show about being happy while deep down they are quite disconsolate.
Men, who are largely reticent about revealing their inner feelings and unveiling bitter truth about themselves and their failings are known to either drown themselves at the neighbourhood tavern, or get into miserable physical fights that are more about emotional venting and letting out of steam than fighting for a reason. Eventually such men self disintegrate. RAVAGES OF THE INNER SOUL Women, who have a natural outlet among other women as there is always a significant friend who is willingly to lend a sympathetic ear, quite often escape the ravages of the inner soul. Men, being men have to face the travails of their nature and since women are what they are, somehow, mostly, escape this onslaught from within. The gender differences will always be there and as long as that happens, there is a good chance that the chasm between them will be further split with a happy woman on one side and sad and bitter man on the other, both entirely opposed to each other. GENE OF HAPPINESS I mean, this is what we are lead to believe if we acknowledge a previous study that claims it has identified a gene in women that is responsible for happiness. However, the “correlation does not exist in men”, it said. And that is where happiness begins for women and ends for men. HAPPY WOMEN Earlier research by the University of
South Florida “found a link between a specific gene and women’s likeliness to self-report happiness”, an article said. “The gene, known as monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), determines how the brain processes dopamine and serotonin, the chemicals responsible for making us smile. The greater the presence of this gene in women’s DNA, the faster the brain breaks down these chemicals—meaning the quicker they’re out of a person’s system (or the shorter period a “happiness high” can last. Low levels of the gene, on the flip side, means the feel good hormones stay in the brain for longer, meaning the woman is a happy one,” the article added. A CULPRIT CALLED TESTOSTERONE “While the researchers stop short of saying that women are simply happier than men, period (and, in fact, there are studies that insist just the opposite), they do point to a troubling possible cause for the gender gap in happiness: testosterone. Chen and the co-authors of the study, published in the journal Progress in NeuroPsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, suspect that the higher levels of testosterone present in men can cancel out any positive effects of MAOA in men’s moods,” the article further said. Now, if testosterone (apparently, when the level increases, their happiness decreases) is to be blamed for men’s happiness, there is nothing that can be done to cheer them up. September - October 53 B&W 2 0 1 3
By Priya Arunkumar “Can you please look at me when I am talking to you,” my pal gritted his teeth. “My God, you are actually obsessed!” “This is getting too much; can you give it a break?” Earlier you had time to say hello, gossip a bit and walk around the office. What do you think you are doing, watching a movie? Now all you do is gape at the big screen, dabbing away in glory! Friends and colleagues, and family members have started complaining. Not that they did not have complaints earlier. They think I am obsessed. I am not. I am stuck. I am stressed out. And, no I don’t enjoy this one wee bit. I am actually running out of time and schedules. I am not watching a movie. I am not listening to music. And it is not funny or relaxing. It’s actually a smart phone, which ‘desmarted’ me. I am responding to 50-60 messages a minute. It’s all free, so there are many out there sending sms after sms…. You are online, why is it that you are not responding? Well, I have just a pair of hands and if I am going to respond to all, all I can do is that. Sit and gape and dab! “Buy a smart phone; it will make your life easier!” “You will have a bigger screen, better applications and mobility!” Just get yourself one… now who was that good friend who got me in to this mess?
With friends like this one, who needs enemies? Wow, congrats, you got one finally? Cool! Yes, life has changed! Instead of how is family, how is your little girl, the conversation patterns have changed. Now it is all about did you download that application, got that updates? You can save money, by the way, how much is your bill now? Am sure you must be using the free sms application, another smarty! You know how to save battery right? All you need is to shut down all applications at night… another suggestion. Don’t forget to update the applications periodically? Well, though I am not a geek exactly, I love mobiles and tech things, as long as they are useful. I know all of us love to be connected to friends and foes... but all the time? At the receiving end of the smart phone, I don’t like it anymore, what would it be at the sending side? Happiness? Don’t know yet. I have not yet send one message on my own yet, have been only replying to all. Three months down the lane, I have deleted applications, lost all privacy, strained my fingers, lost focus on work, neglected my laptop, misplaced my chargers, changed the phone covers, did everything that I don’t normally do. Not even gossiped. Yes, my friends and colleagues are right. I am losing it… not smart at all, right? firstname.lastname@example.org
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