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Hema Malini, Esha and Ahana LIVE p16 Dh-Qaida 13-29

Vol.1 Issue 23II October 21-November 6, 2010

Dance for a cause

Today at 8pm, doors open at 7pm

Featuring Hema Malini, Esha Deol & Ahana Deol

In support of: Mobile Mammography Unit & Home Away from Home initiative


Parampara – a classical dance presentation in Odissi and Bharatnatyam featuring India’s ‘Dream Girl’, Bollywood actress Hema Malini and her two lovely daughters, Esha and Ahana Deol, paying homage to womanhood and traditions…

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6MÄJL7HY[PLZ 7PJUPJZ :[HMM(UU\HS7HY[PLZ -LZ[P]HS7HY[PLZ >LKKPUN7HY[PLZ :HSLZ*VUMLYLUJL :LTPUHY Special party rates starting from 96per person

Mocking is a serious social evil The concluding part of ‘Nothing Serious about it’ (Hooked to life, issue 21) reminded me of the following verses of the Holy Quran: “...Let not a group of men scoff at another group, it may well be that the latter (whom they scoff at) are better than they. Let not a group of women scoff at another group of women, it may well be that the latter are better than they, and do not taunt one another, nor call one another with nicknames (bad ones), it is an evil thing to gain notoriety for un Godliness after belief. Those who do not repent are indeed wrong doers. Do not spy, nor backbite one other...” (Surah Hujrat-Aayaat:11/12) It is very true that most often we laugh at each others expenses. In fact instead of undermining each other’s strength/weakness, we should be like a wall of bricks supporting each other. Our mutual love, compassion and relationship should be like the state of our body, so much so that even when one part is afflicted the whole body gets affected. We must respect everyone and always avoid slandering or taunting people just for fun's sake. Mocking of any kind, laughing at some one’s spoken words, any kind of disabilities, dress, looks etc. are in fact serious social evils, which could lead to grave mischief and enmity. Such qualities are regrettable and we must avoid it in the interest of a happy and healthy society. Mohammad Osama Rawat, Ruwi

Green signal to Bitter Batter I just got to read your ‘Bitter Batter’ section, it’s not only good to know and get aware of the things happening around, but it also helps to give a new direction to think! So, let us give a green signal to bitter batter section from me, Great work! Suchitra, Muscat

8 October 21-November 6, 2010

Change Bitter Batter to Bitter Blatter This is with reference to the column Bitter Batter. The title for this column should really be Bitter Blatter. Surely ‘blatter’ is right word to follow bitter - it is also alliterative and means to chatter, or prattle on. ‘Batter’ on the other hand means to repeatedly hit, or to place in hot, fried fat. Of course, many of the bitter comments certainly suggest their writers would like to repeatedly hit people by whom they are offended, or indeed place those people in hot, fried fat, so perhaps I am wrong here. However, ‘blatter’ has a second meaning, which is a bag or sack containing air or water. Some of the comments also suggest their writers are full of hot air, or are about to burst a leak from the pressure of holding their temper against unreasonable situations or those unreasonable people who, as I have said, they want to repeatedly hit or fry in hot fat. So you have an alliterative pun, with an intellectual double entendre thrown in for good measure. Also, the fall-out from such a burst could be called blatter splatter, or scatter natter, or perhaps even clatter chatter. At the end of the day, if all these writers are just talking into the wind, perhaps they should be called blatherskites. Get it? Of course, should the head of the international football association, FIFA, ever lose his job, I suppose that this title of mine will belong to him!! Just a thought. Craig Bishop, managing editor, Wings of Oman

Fish that walks? Reading about the Tilapia farming (issue 21) and then the ensuing letters (issue 22) made me want to highlight some unique fact about a variety of fish (which I read in a magazine): “The Australian walking fish is most unusual. In the water, it swims just like any other ordinary fish. But on land, this fish behaves as if it belongs there, for it actually walks! Its gills are bent in such a way that it can stroll out of the water and even climb up into the low branches on a tree and sit there for hours. This strange fish manages quite well on land and even munches on insects it finds in the trees.” Khalfan Said Al Harthy, Al Khuwair

Mail your views and opinions at

Black & White 9

Xclusive Cancer made us stronger cancer becomes traumatic 30 Breast and painful only when it progress to a chronic stage. Let us join together to create an awareness and protect our women

A woman is everything Hema malini says she is happy to be a woman and would only want to be a woman

How to evade pink slip


today’s day and age, it is 14 Inbetter to expect the pink slip, be prepared for the inevitable, or at least work so hard to avert the moment...

Bitter Batter

Celebrating women


dirty linen in 42 Washing public?

has been on the 51 Oman forefront in ensuring equal

Scribes, worldover, face this dilemma. Whenever they attempt to break news, or rather, dig deep and find out facts that are stranger than fiction, they are accused of washing dirty linen in public

Published by: Muscat Press & Publishing House SAOC Black & White Postal address: P O Box 86, PC 115, Madinat Sultan Qaboos Office location: Hatat House, Office no: 212, II Floor Ph: 24565697 Fax: 24565496 Website: Editorial: 10 October 21-November 6, 2010 Printed at Mazoon, Muscat, Oman

rights for its women and Omani women have come a long way: Top Omani women speak to B&W

BPA Consumer Audit applied for December 2009

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

Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Priya Arunkumar Adarsh Madhavan Beneek Siraj Najib Al Balushi S M Azeiez, Ali Al Raisi Swithun Fernandes

All about X, Y & Z

I am in Musannah, Sohar, Nizwa, Wadi Qaran…. By Adarsh Madhavan

Some people call and just ask: “Ah, where are you?” I am in Wadi Shab, I tell them, looking out of my office window at the Hatat House in Wadi Hatat and disinterestedly watch a car reversing from the parking lot. “Oh Wadi Shab?” the caller will say. From the tone itself I understand that the caller was impressed. Not all scribes wander around in search of a story into the interiors. Most of them cluster in the city areas, enjoying the capital climes. So, when someone goes out into the outskirts, beyond the city limits, perhaps, it might sound quite appealing…maybe, I don’t know, I could be just assuming. Life is all about assumptions. And since I lied to the caller and said I was in Wadi Shab, I behaved as though I was in Wadi Shab and stopped typing on my laptop. What if the man heard me type and say, “Oh, you took your laptop to Wadi Shab?!” “You will take long to come back from Wadi Shab,” the caller asks me, as though Wadi Shab was beyond seven seas. Uh? For a moment, I had drifted. Yes, yes, I might take time… I am here to do a story, I pretend as though I am actually seven seas away. All of us are here,” I said, bringing my other colleagues also into the safety net of distance so that the caller will not start imposing himself on them with his calls and presence. This has been going on since sometime now. Off late I realised that the best way to avoid some people is to say that I am not in town. I have become something of an expert at it. This is better than ignoring calls and earning a bad name. Here, I am coming upfront and attending the calls, chit chatting and then expressing the disappointment that I am not in office to either meet or see them or attend their functions. I would have really liked to meet you, but you know, I am not in town, I am in Barka, so I might be a bit late… “Oh, you are in Barka? When will you get back?” Oh sorry, i will be in Barka till late evening.

“So there is no way you can be here for our product launch?” I am so sorry, no, I will not be able to make it. I would have so loved to be there, but no, this looks like it is going to take a long time… “What a pity, we were really looking forward to having you there.” Different names pop up on different occasions. It can be Musannah, Barka, Sohar, Nizwa, Khasab and even Salalah. Lately, I have tried the Al Ain thing. Work had taken us to Al Ain recently and now whenever I tire of the Musannah or Barka thing, I conveniently use the ‘Sorry, I am in Al Ain, I will be able to see you only next week’ line. As in all lies, sometimes mishaps occur. For instance, I will say I am in Sohar to someone and our photographer, who normally, regularly, very studiously, attends all press conferences etc., blurts out something else. He might say that I am in Nizwa and then the host might wonder how Sohar became Nizwa in a matter of hours. Now, there are people who get confused. Like the other day I told someone I was in Al Ain and when I accidentally bumped into the man recently, he asked me, “And so, how long were you in Ajman?” And that is when confusion would cast a ripple in my already turbulent mind: Did I actually tell this man that I was going to or was in Ajman? I have not visited Ajman in years and I have no clue how it looked like, or knew any locations there…what would I tell him if he asked me something about the place? I have no clue. Lies have a way of suddenly slapping you and my only wish and prayer is that I don’t tell someone that I am in Barka when I am actually in office and the man walks in through the front door… Black & White 11


ANY AGE By Faye and Henry Moore

Whatever their age, men are required to stay fit and healthy. But, that is easier said than done. Where there is a will, there is a way, so hang on in there and listen to us a little bit more. Our little advice is that when you go for your next checkup, please talk to your doctor or nurse about how you want to be healthy regardless of your age.

Men health

The time-tested methods to stay healthy are: •Get recommended screening tests. •Be tobacco free. •Be physically active. •Eat a healthy diet. •Stay at a healthy weight. •Take preventive medicines if you need them. SCREENING TESTS It is always better to have a screen test. The mere word itself denotes the idea, you can get yourself screened and it will help find diseases early when they are easier to treat. Why should you wait till your disease gets full blown and you are no longer able to treat it. So get yourself tested. Talk to your doctor about which ones apply to you and when and how often you should be tested. OBESITY: Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated 12 October 21-November 6, 2010

to screen for obesity. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.) HIGH CHOLESTEROL: Have your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 35. If you are younger than 35, talk to your doctor about whether to have your cholesterol checked if: •You have diabetes. •You have high blood pressure. •Heart disease runs in your family. •You smoke. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Have your blood pressure checked at least every two years. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. COLORECTAL CANCER: Have a test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier. DIABETES: Have a test for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. DEPRESSION: Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. If you have felt “down”, sad, or hopeless over the last two weeks or have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things, you may be depressed. Talk to your doctor about being screened for depression.

PHYSICALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS: Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for such physically transmitted infections. ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM: If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever smoked (100 or more cigarettes during your lifetime), you need to be screened once for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your abdomen. DAILY HEALTH MANTRAS Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. Your doctor or nurse can help you. Be physically active. Walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming, and

bicycling are just a few examples of moderate physical activity. If you are not already physically active, start small and work up to 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Eat a healthy diet. Emphasise fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. Stay at a healthy weight. Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off by your activities. To prevent gradual weight gain over time, make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity.

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Men read

In today’s day and age, it is better to expect the pink slip, be prepared for the inevitable, or at least work so hard to avert the moment they are going to use you as cannon fodder

14 October 21-November 6, 2010

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‘hi’? pect it is better to ex , E G A D N A 'bye's'! Y A t IN TODAY’S D itable, or at leas ev in e th r fo ed prepar ing to use the pink slip, be FF THE HOOK ent they are go om , m e th t er IF YOU ARE O av to rd of relief, or then on ha g in so rit k w wor imes the heave a big sigh et d m ul so co u e, e yo ur th S l, . is el W , it fodder lly, in this case person you as cannon nic button. Idea e, but then, the pa bl e gi th le s d es is like an r pr ng ea xi e rela ly the wall is so cl sort to, becaus re ning you – hard d ea ul m co – u to yo d r se latte dres ddenly find ce. You will su to whom it is ad like a distant tra t in ou lls ith ro w , er ep ng de u are no sinking when the da nt door. ble tasks and yo si fro sees it. That is on ur sp yo re e l id al ts f ou that you are of ddenly blazes gs and you have thunder and su an in the meetin m vvy enough to nt sa e rta ar po ho im w e y gn you with longer th e are man they might assi , and would r, en Of course, ther O . pp do ha to ht g ig in m basically noth job cloudburst , which nobody know when the sort of. They d ridiculous task or an y, ss da le y ng in ni ra e ea some m then the only ved for th ant to do. But, much before w have actually sa or es t ur ou st ab pa r ng ne ven knows anythi en eyeing gree u have been gi would have be that at least yo e the hardy lot ar is e is es th in Th n e. io tic at be d consol given no at any staff coul But, it they have been out the lay off th ithout a scratch. w ab e tip ax st aced e pl th be d e pe th an ca e task the and they can es r act together; off a responsibl ei n th ke t ta ge ng to ei B ed given. who ne and end all' ster and do nt is the 'be all is the other type sa ca ifi di g gn in si m in co ng on into somethi blind to the . and type who are so eue for the boot cated for them di de is e ec at you are in qu pi th is gn Th si it. t er av d: nothing to you could avoi TTT… lltale signs that te e m so PSSTTT, PSS e ar here the wall… ING PSSTTT, O on D y E ad R A re al Y E ly do IF TH obab have ne it: The writing is pr , even you may ys da r tte be e and whisper During th ur coffee room yo P of O er LO rn E co TH Stood in a dark O LONGER IN colleague who IF YOU ARE N what was om of a former do ew g kn in u nd yo pe n im he tely, it is a time w about the latest Now, unfortuna d n. Okay, there was io an at st in la e rm th te r to was marked fo ur office, down ddled in a dark happening in yo don’t get ur colleagues hu er yo th e ei se u yo ou , Y te … la enter, the your turn ddenly, off e moment you m the th fro d gossip. But, su s an w g ne in g er in sp ar he corner and whi ng, or you are to know anythi u are out of yo If . anges… ee in tra e conversation ch e boy or th fic of u ng yo ci d an an el fre ny’s business d to the compa ! EEN the news relate BICLE HAS B Your Company mpany – Yes, R OFFICE, CU U co O ur Y yo IF at th a have no clue you don’t need u quisition, then DOWNSIZED ac w assured that yo ne a d ha – has g line, then rest in ! fir e es th lin in e ill e th w t ar n If you vironmen ad betwee nd, and your en translator to re be moved arou wn, but on so ill w orale will be do UE m G ur LA yo P , E se ur TH E co Of U LIK mpany is not be downsized. AVOIDING YO out soon, the co en avoiding IF THEY ARE be be to ve g ha in le go op e when you ar e count, if pe Just understand to And on the sam t your morale… ou u have to do is ab yo l ry al or t, w ha to -w going ur room or u-know the scenes: moved from yo you-like-the-yo t ly ou en k dd ec su ch e d ar ither the that if you track/replay an ng then you are ne di r, oi le av al immediately re ly sm al tu ng ac hi et or, cubicle to som immediate juni the VE (valued oyee) or even Was Sam, your e meeting pl th em as w ed t lu ha va w t d MVE (mos n you aske ne eye contact whe ore. Also, has everyo ? ng ni or m at employee) anym g to th ng yi sa d an he was headin by stopping apping you, or stopped back sl

Black & White 15

Oman watch 16 October 21-November 6, 2010

Dream Girl, dream girl,

dream girl…

Dream girl, dream girl, dream girl... Kissi shaiyer ki ghazal (some poet’s poem), dream girl; kissi jeel ka kamal (some pond’s lotus), dream girl; kahi to milegi; kabhi to milegi (somewhere I’ll meet); aaj nahi to kal (if not today, then tomorrow); Dream girl, dream girl… (*) A song on every Indian’s lips at one point of time… Dream girl, dream girl…introducing the original dream girl, Hema Malini, the one woman who was at one point every male movie buff’s fantasy. A lady, a dream woman, who shone on the silver screen without the help of a male star! There were actresses before her, during her time and even now, today, but, there is only one Dream Girl – only one HEMA MALINI! And that is what she wants to be remembered as – no, not just a dream girl alone, but as an all rounder, the Dream Girl said in a brief tête-à-tête with the Black & White magazine, prior to the Parampara charity dine and dance event, which is being held tonight to raise much-needed awareness of the breast cancer cause.

Black & White 17

This dancer, actress, director, producer, and of course, mother of two lovely daughters vibrantly spoke to B&W stating that “nothing is difficult or impossible for a woman”. “If she is a woman, she can do anything – she is a multi-tasker and nothing is impossible for her!” She wants to be a woman, and nothing else, she stressed in her interview, adding that a woman was everything. And that is how, we want her to be too – a woman, a dream woman, or why not, a dream girl!

Oman watch

It is the mother who instills every little thing in to her children. It is these children who create the society tomorrow… so without doubt, it is the women we have to uphold, cherish, protect and preserve… tradition will follow suit

Excerpts: In the hearts of many, you are still loved and revered as the ‘dream’ girl. How does the dream girl feel about it – after say, nearly 49 years in the industry? When I joined the film world, I was introduced as the ‘Dream Girl’ -- a tag that became mine over the years. People loved and cherished me. I cannot attribute any reason for the same…maybe I looked the part… I am honoured and grateful that I have got immense acceptance by the people, as Hema Malini and as the Dream Girl. You are best remembered for your glamour, style and accomplished classical dancing… what would YOU like to be remembered as? As an all rounder! As an individual I have been blessed with capabilities to handle multi tasking different roles – as of a dancer, an actress, a director, producer and of course a mother… I can say I have been fortunate enough to handle all the portfolios to a successful level. Many may think it is difficult, but for a woman, nothing is difficult… she is born with multi tasking abilities!

18 October 21-November 6, 2010

Parampara is a dance fusion that is steeped in tradition. In the sense, the theme is that if we protect women, that act alone will protect tradition – what is your own belief in this? I believe women ARE the pillars of tradition of any society. They are responsible for upholding tradition because of their significant roles in the society. By significant role, I mean, not a job, I mean her responsibility as a mother, sister, daughter, wife… she is the preserver of tradition… Most importantly she is a mother. It is the mother who instills every little thing in to her children. It is these children who create the society tomorrow… so without doubt, it is the women we have to uphold, cherish, protect and preserve… tradition will follow suit! Once again, I have been fortunate enough to have two daughters who have followed my path. I can very proudly say I have reared my daughters the modern way, but with traditional values. Today both Esha and Ahana are very modern in their attitude, education, career, but both of them value and treasure the traditional values instilled in them, in fact their classical dance performances are just examples of how traditional they are… How is the Indian woman treated in India today? Are they still oppressed; are women still down trodden and discriminated upon? How much more do we need to improve? What is your take on that? It is not just in India; in general, not all women are treated equally and with respect. I feel women are a category that is still taken for

Esha and Ahana are very modern in their attitude, education, career, but both of them value and treasure the traditional values instilled in them, in fact their classical dance performances are just examples of how traditional they are…

granted. But again, the societies have evolved and woman has travelled a long way. Women who have the chance and choice should stand up for others who do not have. I believe it is the moral responsibility of the woman to support and elevate other ladies. Education is a must, but, not just for ladies, for the men too, so the men can treat women with respect and goodness. Were you at any point discriminated as a woman? I have been blessed that I got all opportunities and I never got discriminated at any point…I am just thankful to Almighty God! What is your opinion on the modern Indian woman? What is she? Do you want her to be more traditional? Modern woman has evolved tremendously. She is present in all fields and successfully and I

believe she is balanced; she knows her roots, her values and upholds her traditions in the most balanced manner. Traditional and modern is a balance of life, I don’t believe someone can be less traditional or more. If you want to be a successful human being, you should value your traditions, while moving ahead with modernity and progress. What does being a woman mean to you? Everything! I am happy to be a woman and would only want to be a woman! No regrets and only pride! Do you do a lot of charity dances and how do you feel about doing charity in general? And, what does charity mean to you? Charity is about giving... It is very important. Most of my events are platforms for various charities. I believe the educated should take it forward and give back to the society, give back to the nation.

(*) From the movie Dream Girl (1977). Co star Dharmendra. The movie was a swashbuckling hit and the title Dream Girl became Hema Malini’s name for…well, forever!) Black & White 19

Real-life heroines are more important Who and what is Hema Malini? A happy and content woman, blessed in all ways. And a mother! Are you both -- a reel or real-life heroine? Real-life heroines are more important, because they face real-life experiences. I believe I have done justice to both my roles, real and reel! Do we need heroes – in life -- today? Oman watch

Every society needs good people, who are responsible to themselves and the society they live in.

20 October 21-November 6, 2010

Coming Soon! Oman's first comprehensive online directory

More details: Black & White 21


Stop showering – save money!


he ft


Off the wall

By Adarsh Madhavan

I have been giving this serious thought lately. So many people have been advising me to save and I have also begun to really sweat at the thought of a tomorrow with no money, no honey, no nothing and am worried, really worried. Every baisa saved is a baisa saved they say, so what the heck, let me try… If I am able to save a rial everyday, I might have something to clutch on to when I am kicked out of my job or when I am yanked back to my hometown. I am already visualising an edge-of-the-cliff no-money scenario and it is making me sweat. So, let me, make a last bit stab at saving some money. For that, I have got to stop my spendthrift habits. Most of those who know me say that I have a spending problem, or let me put it this way: I might walk into a supermarket to buy soap and buy everything else but that. So, I have to cut down on my excesses on the shopping front and well, many other fronts. For instance, favourite among my weekly purchases is my perfume; deodorants, body sprays, cologne, etc. So, let us start with that. From this week onwards, I am no longer going to purchase anything that er, reeks of perfume… Perfumes, deodorants, body sprays are scratched out from the list. I will even stop buying underarm colognes. Since I spend close to an hour everyday for my morning ablutions then that is an area that I am going to attack. I promise not to take so much time and will slash it down by 90 percent. I will just wash my face, but will, stop showering. I will get up, go to the bathroom, splash some water on my face – all in the dark. I will not even switch on the lights. I have this problem with soaps too. Many have commented on the same, asking me whether I consume soap in the bathroom instead of rubbing it to a lather on my body. Since my mouth is full of bubbles, I will let this argument slip. So, soap is out too. Only water will be used, and water is going to be a luxury from now on. But, I am not going to discuss that aspect here. Oops, I almost forgot: I will stop shampooing too. And that won’t be too much of a problem anyway because people have been commenting about the lack of anything on top of 22 October 21-November 6, 2010

my head. On second thoughts, I don’t know whether they were casting aspersions on my mental ability, but, I will let that pass also. My hair has been a-going, going, going since sometime, so there is no need to shampoo couple of strings on top there. And since I will not need to oil these strings either, I might as well cut all those litres of hair oils from my list. My hair has hardly seen any growth since the last few years and that will also stop my two-monthly visits to the barber. I don’t know how much I must have saved so far by cutting all of these from my list, but it is definitely going to be bushels of rials. Now, since we are on the subject, let me also look into only washing my teeth with plain water and stop buying toothbrushes and toothpaste or any kind of mouthwash. I know I have miles to go and many promises to keep in this saving list, but let me quickly wind this up for you all must have got an idea of the exact direction I am planning to take from now on. Before I forget, let me tell you that to save up on razor blades, shaving cream and after shaves, my decision is to stop shaving altogether. In case, my own family members fail to recognise me, I will borrow a scissor and snip what little of my hair that is grown and my straggly beard. I have many more items to snip on my to-cutand-save list, but, I guess if I continue on this line here, the magazine that I work for might just delete me from their list – just to save expense you know!

MOTOR SHOW 2010 in December Omanexpo is set to meet the growing demand for more vehicles and for the aftermarket industry in the Sultanate and the Middle East region as it gears up for one of the biggest and grandest editions yet of the Oman International Motor Show. The 15th Oman International Motor Show will be held from December 2 to 5, 2010 at the Oman International Exhibition Centre. ‘’We are very excited for this year’s Motor Show because it is attracting more international exhibitors and a larger

number of local as well as international car companies from different countries. The AGCC countries have a diversified auto industry and are highly dependent on imports from Europe, America, Japan and other Asian countries and this is where we find the value of this event. Here, we are providing an avenue for sourcing new products and solutions, bringing businesses closer to their markets, and bridging the gap between traders and buyers,’’ said Nasser Diab, general manager of Omanexpo.

NAWRAS Alafasy Quran service Nawras, introduced a new Quran service providing regular Islamic recitations by Shaikh Mishary Rishad Alafasy, delivered directly to customers’ handsets. The service is already being enjoyed by almost half a million people across the region and Nawras is now making it available for the first time in Oman. For only 300 baiza per week, Nawras customers can receive verses of the Holy Quran, prayers, sayings of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) and the latest poetic recitations from Shaikh Mishary Alafasy. On each day from Sunday to Thursday each week, subscribing customers will be sent an MMS (picture message) as well as an SMS link to allow content to be downloaded and saved as an MP3 file. There is no charge for downloading the MP3 file.

NBO supports ‘Save Energy Oman’ National Bank of Oman supported the ‘Save Energy Oman’ campaign, launched earlier this year, by the Ministry of Environment, to encourage corporates in Oman, to take responsibility for the environment, by implementing eight of the top 10 energy saving tips that are applicable to businesses, in the bank, and also continuously encourages all staff to practice the same. The bank’s automatic air-conditioning, is set to 23 degrees instead of 18 degrees and the AC’s are also programmed to automatically switch off at

night, at the bank’s head office buildings. All windows and doors are kept closed when the AC is on to ensure the cold air circulates instead of dissipating. Un-needed computers are also switched off, at the wall sockets. The bank mainly uses LCD computer screens and services all air conditioners on a regular basis and endeavours to use energy saving light bulbs wherever possible. The NBO’s assistant general manager, Nasser Al Hajri, who steer-heads NBO’s green campaign said: “It is our prime objective to reduce electricity and the use of paper, at the head office and across all our branches in Oman, UAE and Egypt. Each of us must make a conscious effort to contribute in our own small way and help make ‘Save Energy Oman’ a great success as well as a positive difference to our overall environment”. Black & White 23

GUTECH National Day Celebrations

GUtech launches its celebrations for the National Day by creating an enormous image of the number 40 in Arabic. The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) formed the largest panel of the number 40 with the participation of 225 members of the university (students, academics and administrators). Members of GUtech united to express their thanks and gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for his endless support and comprehensive development in the education sector. All GUtech members gathered in the front yard of the new university building that is located on Sultan Qaboos Highway near the Muscat International Airport. GUtech’s participation this year is a unique idea embodied in an artwork that would be displayed at the university building in November.



Exhibitions & Conferences to organise new range of events Global Exhibitions & Conferences LLC (GEC), an Omani event management company, is all set to organise a series of new events that would directly cater to the needs of various industries, industry professionals and consumers in the sultanate. The GEC is made up of a group of event management professionals who have extensive experience in organising a wide range of high-profile trade exhibitions, technical conferences, festivals, consumer fairs, seminars and other events. The company’s management and staff have all played a key role in shaping the events industry in the Sultanate with their previous involvement in many major exhibitions held in Oman as well as in other parts of the region. “With our decades of experience and proven expertise in organising various types of events, GEC is all set to further improve the exhibition scene in Oman by introducing a range of new trade exhibitions and highly professional conferences that would be of great benefit to all participants,” said C.J. Paul, general manager of GEC. Details at www.globalexhibitionsoman. com or 968-24783800 24 October 21-November 6, 2010

MICROMAX in AGCC Micromax Informatics Limited (Micromax), Indian mobile handset company, announced its foray into the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Micromax Informatics FZE. Micromax handsets will be aimed at consumers across all segments with special focus on the youth in the age group of less than 30 years. The company has entered into a distribution arrangement with 2020 Mobile UAE LLC in the region who will distribute Micromax products in UAE. For distribution in Oman, Molecules Group of Companies has been shortlisted whereas Jumbo Electronics has won the distribution contract for Qatar and Kuwait. Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Vikas Jain, business director, Micromax Informatics Limited said: “Micromax is indeed privileged to have consumer confidence, which has enabled us to establish ourselves in India, in a short period. We are very excited about the market opportunity Dubai offers and we believe that consumers would appreciate our dual SIM handsets, which would allow them to carry two mobile numbers in one phone."

Sporting legend gets IndoOman Sports Friendship award The sporting legend Saiyed Ali Sibtain Naqvi, known for his yeoman service to the sporting scene, both in Oman and India received a fitting honour and tribute recently. It was a very proud moment for the septuagenarian to receive the Indo-Oman Sports Friendship award from the Indian embassy, recently. The embassy honoured Naqvi for his valuable contribution for the promotion of hockey in Oman. Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidy, minister of sports affairs, conferred the award on Naqvi at a function at the Indian embassy. “It was a historic and unforgettable moment for me,� Naqvi said, adding that it was an honour beyond measure.

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OMANTEL Blood Donation Omantel organised a blood donation day recently in cooperation with the Ministry of Health’s Central Blood Bank at the company’s headquarters in AlMawaleh. The one-day campaign received positive response from the company’s employees- males and females- who hastened to donate blood which reflects the employees

believe of the importance of helping patients and accident cases who need blood transfusion and supporting the blood bank to play its role in providing blood to hospitals all over the Sultanate, let alone the health benefits of the donors. Dr Tantawi Gabr of the Central Blood Bank and supervisor of the campaign indicated that he found

great response from Omantel employees to the blood donation campaign. He said, “We thank Almighty God for the remarkable success of the campaign and the excellent participation of Omantel employees, which reflects their desire to contribute to serving the community and provide noble service to the blood bank, patients in all the Sultanate’s hospitals."

Pakistan flood relief benefit cricket tournament


The Oman Cricket Club (OCC) is organising the Corporate Benefit Cricket Tournament for the Pakistan Flood Relief. Corporate heads, CEOs, GMs will be participating in the event. The tournament will be held at the Muscat Club Grounds at Wadi Kabir on October 28, 2010 from 6pm onwards. The format of the tournament will be 10-overs a side to be played under flood lights and with a yellow tennis ball. A maximum of four teams (15 a side) will take part in the tournament. This event will be presented by Khimji Ramdas LLC.

26 October 21-November 6, 2010

In addition, there will be support from several socially responsible corporate houses as co-sponsors. Corporates will name teams after their brands, which will add more fun and frolic to the evening. The event management committee consists of Pankaj Khimji, Khalid Said Al Wahaibi, Kiran Asher, R. Vaikunth, Syed Anwar Ahsan and Madhu Jesrani. The event will be managed by NPA Events LLC. Contact 24793098 ext 225 /24787085/Madhu Jesrani 99337902

Topaz Energy and Marine delivers gigantic offshore oil & gas project The engineering division of Renaissance Services subsidiary, Topaz Energy and Marine, has successfully completed the construction and delivery of a 12,400 ton deck structure for an offshore oil platform in the North Sea. Topaz Fabrication and Construction was awarded a $ 75 million (Rial 28.8 million) contract to built the hull and topsides of the colossal structure dubbed MOPU, or Mobile Offshore Production Unit and storage, from Single Buoy Moorings (SBM) for its client, Talisman Energy Norge.

PIZZA HUT Crunchy Cheesy Bites Pizza Hut launched Crunchy Cheesy Bites recently. Crunchy is a marvelously unique Pizza. The edges, first stuffed with string cheese, a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, are then cut up and topped up. And what you have on top is more of yummy mozzarella and heavenly parmesan cheese, with a generous sprinkling of corn flakes that goes CRUNCH as you bite into every piece.

AS SAMMAK seafood

restaurant opens at Sifah

“Pizza Hut has always been the fun place for families that look to sparking great times together” says Anil Khimji, director, Khimji Ramdas, and said, “Crunchy Cheesy Bites is yet another example of Pizza Hut’s innovative spirit, ever exploring ways to delight the family”. or

A fun-filled event was organised by Muriya Tourism Development on the Sifah beach to officially announce the opening of ‘As Sammak’, seafood restaurant. The outlet has been established in collaboration with the ministry of tourism and Muriya Tourism Development. The event was attended by dignitaries from the Ministry of Tourism, stakeholders from Orascom and Muriya, several clients and the press. Located at close proximity from Muriya’s upcoming ‘Jebel Sifah’ integrated tourism development, ‘As Sammak’, meaning ‘fishermen’, will serve fresh catch by the local fishermen that will not only allure guests with seafood but also provide employment to the local community. Easily accessible from the main road, the restaurant is well marked and located on a pristine coastline that is not crowded.

Strongholds of HERITAGE


Mohammed Al Tobi, undersecretary of the ministry of tourism launched 'Strongholds of Heritage', a book on Forts and Castles of Oman, authored by Dr Patricia Groves and photography by Jaap Croese at The Omani Society for Fine Arts, recently. Black & White 27

OUR OMAN is the “HAPPENING” place

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

Management talk

By Dr CK Anchan Over the past decade, Oman has been pursuing a policy of sound economic diversification and sustainable expansion. Oman’s economic growth has continued its rapid growth, assisted by the government’s longterm economic plan to diversify income sources. The Sultanate’s infrastructure sector is primed to remain one of the most active in the region, supported by strong state spending and the economy. The Omani banking sector continues to pick up, and although forecasts remain relatively cautious for 2010, its forecasted for a steady recovery in 2011 and beyond. Oman is actively pursuing a development plan that focuses on diversification, industrialisation, and privatisation, with the objective of reducing the oil and gas sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 9 per cent by 2020. Oman’s limited water resources have led the country to focus on the development of desalinated water. It is undoubtedly the pioneer of independent power and water projects (IWPPs) in the region. Oman has been actively seeking private foreign investors, especially in the industrial, data technology, tourism and transportation, and higher education fields. Industrial development plans focus on gas resources, metal industrial manufacturing, petrochemicals, and international transshipment ports. In 2009, Oman spent about $16 billion on local infrastructure and other projects, and this year the government has already signed contracts worth $11.5 billion out of the $18.7 billion spending budget, according to national economy ministry statistics. Oman is well regarded as a place for conducting business and it has, compared to other countries in the Middle East, it got good relations with many countries. The Omani government is set to develop infrastructure projects with every economy sector benefiting from increased public spending. Oman is heavily dependent on oil and gas resources, but high oil and gas prices or pricing in recent years have aided in the building of Oman’s budget and trade (imports and exports) surpluses and foreign national reserves. 28 October 21-November 6, 2010

Oil and gas accounts for about 75 per cent of Oman’s total exports. Oman holds positive outlook regarding its further economic development over the medium-term and forecast 4.4 per cent real GDP growth for 2010. It is estimated that 38 per cent increase in export revenues in 2010, 80 per cent of which will be due to oil and gas shipments. This will increase in volume as well as in price. The foreign trade surplus surged to a two-year high of $1.6 billion, with higher hydrocarbon exports pushing overall exports up 72 per cent from a year earlier. Oman's tourism sector aims to attract 12mn visitors by 2020. The tourism industry is expected to become one of the largest contributors to GDP by then. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) expects the industry to grow from 1.5 per cent of total GDP in 2010 to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2020. The contribution to the economy by tourism-related activity is expected to increase from 7.6 per cent of GDP in 2010 to 9.2 per cent of GDP by 2020. Oman has been investing heavily in tourism, especially in infrastructure and airports. Three new airports will be built to boost the industry and the government is spending at least $3.2bn upgrading its gateway airport, Muscat International Airport. Oman specialises in ecotourism and first class tourism, but increasingly it has to compete with other countries that offer similar experiences for Western and regional tourists. Many firms in developing economies have suffered from lower demand for their exports and a drop in private capital flows. At the same time, businesses in low-income economies on average still face more than twice the regulatory burden that their counterparts in high-income economies do when starting a business, transferring property, filing taxes or resolving a commercial dispute through the courts. Developed economies have on average 10 times as many newly registered firms per adult as Africa and the Middle East - and a business density four times that in developing economies. Continued...

In Black & White

In Black... Yes, we do not know what causes breast cancer, but is that important? What is important now is to detect it as early as possible and it has been proved beyond doubt that breast cancer can be beaten by early diagnosis IN THE PINK OF HEALTH Breast cancer. Two words that evoke fear, taboo, pain and death in women… No, that was a different era. Not anymore. Because we have trekked a long path since we have all been deeply frightened of breast cancer; because so many lives were lost to this dreaded disease. We live in a different time and space now where we are detecting more cases (thanks to more awareness) of breast cancer and we are more prepared to fight this deadly disease tooth and nail. What maybe missing is an attitude change or a reinforcement of our strength, guts and courage to fight this deadly disease, made more deadlier by our insecurity at facing a problem. But, like they say, all problems come packaged with solutions. And today, we have more chances to fight against cancer than before. Yes, we do not know what causes breast cancer, but is that important? What is important now is to detect it as early as possible and it has been proved beyond doubt that breast cancer can be beaten by early diagnosis. And, I salute all, especially the survivors, the well known ones like Yuthar Al Rawahi, founder of NACA, and many lesser known ones in Oman. And I salute all of those who have gone out of their way to volunteer for this cause. Special salute goes to NACA for spreading cancer awareness and most importantly, bringing to Oman the first-ever Mobile Mammography Unit in the AGCC. Now, the major message that we, as Black & White, would want to spread across is that breast cancer, if detected early, can be actually cured! One hundred percent! So, dear ladies, do not ever suffer in silence. The NACA is there; the mammography unit is there – for YOU! And, we are there.

Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Editor-in-chief Whatever the route that life takes you, whether it is a good or bad one, we have to face it. So, if you have to face tough times, do it courageously, without fear. Let us all join hands for this cause and eradicate fear of cancer. So say ‘no’ to fear and ‘no’ to cancer!

MEHBOOBA Indian movies, heroes and heroines were part of most of our growing up years. I remember we used to have our own favourite heroines and the list was long… Mumtaz, Dimple Kapadia, and of course the dream girl of yesteryear, today and forever: Hema Malini! She topped the list! She was the dream girl and still is for many; Hema as Basanti (the character in that movie) is unforgettable. For us, in Oman, and perhaps in the Gulf, she was known as ‘Mehbooba’(beloved). We are happy that our Mehbooba accepted this invitation to support us, to help create a stage to take the breast cancer cause in Oman forward with the Parampara dinner and dance event. October being the pink month globally, B&W joined hands to create awareness and help protect the women (mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, aunt and cousin and friends) in our lives. Let us hope that we raise the right amount of awareness and the right amount of support for this great cause and before I close, a dear wish: May you all be forever in the pink of health!

& White Black & White 29

B&W Xclusive 30 October 21-November 6, 2010


made us stronger!”

Black & White 31

B&W B& &W Xclusive X lusi Xc lu usi sive ve

“You’ve got breast cancer!”

32 October 32 Occto O obe b r 21-November 21-N 21 Nov ove em mb be er 6, 6, 2010 20 2 010 0

When that was said to her on April 1 – April Fool’s Day, Zainab (not real name) wanted to laugh it off as though it was a bad joke. Some week’s back, she had discovered a lump on her right breast and after the usual tests, they called her one bright sunny April 1 morning and told her those dreaded words: You’ve got breast cancer! Zainab sat there wondering whether she was to laugh or cry. She did not know what to do, so she did both. She gave off a little laugh and then she cried. Even for an experienced medical practitioner, it was touching. But, that must have been the only time that she cried. After that, she may have cried privately, but never ever in public. It has been nearly six years now this October. And, today, she wants to encourage everyone to have hope and to stay positive whatever the outcome. “Because, I have understood that. Rather painfully of course, but, as time went by, and through all that I suffered, there was a parallel positive ray of hope that enveloped me. I am a survivor and I want all of those who have cancer – any type of cancer – to fight and survive!” she says. HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU “Even though I am unable to give out my name, I am ready to give out my brief story and I am happy to have been given this opportunity too. I am a breast cancer survivor and I have survived breast cancer many a times. But, I could not have survived it without God, my family and friends. I went through a topsy-turvy period where I had cancer, then was cancer-free for sometime, then had it again and this went on for nearly 20 years wherein I had breast cancer five times. Yes, on most occasions, I was scared stiff. But, I know God is with me. He has always been with me and will always be. And that is what I want to tell all of those who have been afflicted with cancer: God is with you and will always be. Thank you.” A. H, Qurum.

DO NOT LOSE HOPE “I am blessed. That is all that I can tell you. I am blessed because I have a wonderful man, my husband, who has been at my side throughout my ordeal and more than me, he has been fighting my battle with breast cancer. But, I am no longer afflicted with the trauma. I am a stronger woman, made strong by the invader within me. And my beloved husband made me fight my cancer harder. I have never seen a more positive energy flowing from one human being. So, this is what I want to tell you all: do not lose hope, ever. Fight the fight of your life; fight with all you got and just don’t give up. And, we are all in it together. Thanks to all the resources we have today in this country, even the worst diagnosis has a chance. So, we are all with you and let us take the pledge that we will not give in, we will win this fight.” Y.R, Al Khuwair. HALF THE BATTLE WON Sometimes, what a woman afflicted with breast cancer needs is to have a survivor on her side: to be with her, to talk to her, to tell her about her own story and then get her out of denial, fright and self pity. That is half the battle won. These women had someone like that, and some of them had their own families standing like a rock beside them. And, like one of them said, it was their affliction that made them stronger. In a strange way, they needed a dreaded disease to make them discover their own strength and fight it. So, do not despair. God did not give you a problem without the means to solve it. God did not give you a disease, without the means to fight it. Your affliction will be the spur needed to make you grow stronger. And soon, you will be there to support someone in their darkest hour, holding their hands and leading them out of the darkness… Black & White 33

B&W Xclusive

Dial 800 77 477 for help The lady is swamped with calls. Most of them are to invite her to attend women-related events and others are staff and volunteers of her organisation who are seeking her advice on various administrative issues. One of them happens to be an apprehensive woman who has a lump in her breast and is seeking support from her. Moral support: Some advice and simply talk and ease or rather share or lighten the burden. And, one firebrand woman on this side of the phone is ready to lend an ear as well as a shoulder for anyone who needs that. The above said is enough to mentally paint one of the biggest crusaders for cancer in Oman – and this woman does not need an introduction: Yuthar bint Mohamed Al Rawahi, founder and currently the chairperson of NACA (National Association for Cancer Awareness). Yuthar, who had stepped down as chairperson, has now once again taken the mantle. It is a huge responsibility, but somehow, it seems to sit easily on her shoulders. For, the last decade or so, Yuthar, a cancer survivor herself, has not only been fighting a personal 34 October 21-November 6, 2010

battle, but she has also been battling to bring more awareness and most importantly, an address, an edifice that represent that fight against this deadly disease. Thanks to her and many like her, the NACA stands as a proud edifice, from where all the battles against all types of cancer are fought today. And, the other major breakthrough of Yuthar and NACA is the MMU(mobile mammography unit), which was introduced in November last year. The mobile unit has become a major tool that will help increase early detection of cancer and thereby reduce mortality due to the disease. Screening for breast cancer through mammography has been shown to reduce mortality due to breast cancer by approximately 20 to 25 percent over 10 years, among women 40 and older. The mobile unit is known to travel the roads of Oman with the dual purpose of providing women access to mammography screening, raising awareness among all communities while also simultaneously allowing a mobile expression of NACA’s supportive care.

FIRST MOBILE MAMMOGRAPHY UNIT “I can proudly say Oman has the first-ever mobile mammography unit in this region. With the help of many corporate and well wishers, NACA has a fully fledged mobile unit that is accessible and free to ladies of all communities. It is just a 10-minute process. Any lady can just walk in to NACA office and get it done, free. “The unit had costs us OMR355,000. It has the latest

equipment and facilities,” Yuthar told Black & White. Earlier reports note that the total annual maintenance cost of the unit is approximately OMR151,750 (although this could be subject to vary). The unit has set routes and schedules and with support of local women associations and health centers around Oman travels to reach out to the women in the interior regions. “Currently, the unit will be in Barka. In the past one year period,

we have screened over 20 women and only four cases were positive. After the initial screening, we give a digitalised report to the person and also refer them to Royal Hospital if the need arises. The unit can accommodate 30 mammography screenings a day on an average.” The programme actually targets women, who fit the protocol laid out by Oman’s highly-specialised oncologists, namely women aged 40 and older. Black & White 35

B&W Xclusive

Yuthar urged the public to come forward and attend the mammography session. What the MMU sets in achieving is bridging the gap for women who have always found distance and time required to have the examination as some of the obstacles. The MMU will ease access to regular checkups and also help in discovering the disease early before it is too late. Psychological effect would also be reduced. An all female team of registered radiological technicians with advanced training in the discipline of mammography are the unit staff. A fully equipped examination room is on board allowing for clinical breast examination as well. The unit is accessible to women with special needs. Yuthar noted that having an onside digital mammogram in the MMU was just as safe and confidential as going to a fixed-site centre. Images are transmitted to NACA where they are read by specialised radiologists. If lesions are suspected, the images will be transmitted directly to NACA’s oncology centres at Royal and 36 October 21-November 6, 2010

Khoula Hospitals in the Ministry of Health as well as the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital where further analysis will be carried out and a decision on whether treatment is required can be made. If the results of the mammogram are abnormal, the woman will be contacted by the breast centre staff at NACA to discuss follow-up care; if the results are normal, with no signs of abnormality, the women will be asked only to come for their next mammogram. Early detection is crucial, especially as one third of all cancers, if detected early, can be effectively treated (*), Yuthar said. BREAST CANCER ON THE RISE? Was there any reason to believe that breast cancer was on the rise in Oman? “No actually I would say breast cancer is not on the rise -awareness is on the rise. More and more people are going for health screening and checkups. Women today know if there is a node in their arm pit or a node in their breast, they need to get it checked. “Education is on the rise and therefore awareness

is also there. Media has played a great role. Celebrities, whom the mass look up to, have come out and spoken about their live experiences; maybe we can attribute these reasons to the increase in number of breast cancer screenings and registrations. LONG WAY TO GO “But, still, there is a long way to go. More awareness should be there. In the older days, many women died silently, the life expectancy because of progress in medical fields, have increased. In the older days, people died earlier. The lifespan was less. Yes, in a way it is right to say more cases of breast cancer are registered. Probably, earlier more people died of lung cancer or other diseases. MEN GET IT TOO "We cannot blame anyone and pinpoint to one cause. We can only say lifestyle, the fast food habits, the synthetic lifestyle, more cosmetics… the deteriorating environment… obesity. When estrogen is more in the body, it causes breast cancer.

Today it is not just about women, men get it too… Till date medical science has not found out the exact reason for breast cancer. It is different for every case. It could be lifestyle, genes, hormonal, chemical or environmental,” Yuthar said. EARLY BIRD LIVES “What are we trying to do? We are trying to create awareness and give women a chance and access to fight, beat cancer. We cannot prevent cancer, but we can cure it fully. One hundred percent. But, only if it is detected at an early stage. Early diagnosis is a must. And for that awareness is a must. More people should get in to the job of creating awareness. Like the saying goes, 'early bird catches the worm'… here the early bird lives!” YOUNG WOMEN AFFECTED IN AGCC "Breast cancer becomes traumatic, painful only when it progress to a chronic stage. Let us join together to create an awareness and protect our women. In the west, it is the women who are 40 or 50 plus that are detected with breast cancer, but in the AGCC countries it is the younger crowd. Maybe it is because the percentage of the youth is more in these countries," Yuthar said. Research is going on. FEAR IS THE ENEMY “The taboo that surrounds breast cancer is fear. People fear, and the fear causes them to withdraw into a state of silence and they suffer silently. But this will only complicate things. Fear will not cure cancer or wipe it away. “This is a disease that can be cured or you will lose it all. So move ahead, if you are hit by it, take it out of your system, fight against the cancer. Today the medical field has advanced so much that you have choices and cure at hand,” Yuthar enthused.

I AM AN EXAMPLE Yuthar has trekked the long trek from being a carrier to a cancer survivor. She is one woman who has braved all the odds and serves to be an inspiration for all. “I had learned to overcome the natural fears one has of death that goes hand in hand with a cancer diagnosis. I was forced to face my fears, that experience alone enriched me with strength, courage and confidence. I learnt that many of our fears are paper-thin and a single courageous step would carry us right through them.” She also emphasised on the need for early detection: “I am an example that early detection and proper screening can help you get out of cancer! Once again I say breast

cancer is curable if detected at an early stage. Let us not be foolish and hide or run away from it. Let us screen and keep ourselves in the pink of health!” (*)Call toll free number 800 77 4 77 for more information

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Young women are being afflicted with breast cancer In the breast cancer scene in Oman, many myths abound. Some believe that there is a local medicine available for breast cancer. There are also cases where patients have resorted to wasams (burning the skin of the affected area) and there are some who leave their disease to fate and don’t even get it treated. There are many women who are afraid of mammograms claiming that they are very painful and some who feel that needle biopsy could make cancer worse.

B&W Xclusive

DR RAJYASHREE, specialist surgeon, Barakath Al Noor Special Surgical & Breast Care Clinic was reeling off some of the main myths surrounding the treatment of breast cancer to the Black & White when she noted the above, adding that it was imperative that such women and their families get counseled and weaned away from such health deteriorating practices. Excerpts: How many years have you been campaigning for breast cancer awareness in Oman? Has it been a challenging task --- how successful are you in your efforts? I have been campaigning for Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) from 2004, and by the grace of God I have had plenty of responses and managed to raise awareness. Being one of the few female surgeons in town, I started seeing mostly female patients, and mainly for breast checks, and 38 October 21-November 6, 2010

breast diseases. I found that there are quite a significant incidence of breast cancer cases among women in Oman, and many were very young between the ages of 22- 35- 40. I felt deeply for each of my patient, and probably being a lady myself, they were at ease and it was easy to counsel them and their families. Their comfort and response made me eventually give more importance and time to this problem. I felt that many women do not give importance to their breast and health, and then there is definitely a lack of awareness about this problem, especially, the myths and false beliefs etc, and the social impression of “wanting to see only a female surgeon”. All of this can be overcome only by spreading more awareness through lectures, presentations that are in simple and non-medical language without instilling any fear. So I have taken this as my mission to spread BCA, and also opened a clinic mainly for breast care with female staff only. I have also narrowed down my general surgical practice to breast care and very few other special problems that demand a female surgeon. I have been able to do my best for the BCA. And through the institution I worked with, I have been able to work on my mission, in the form of free breast checks during the month of October every year, give lectures and participate in seminars on BCA, Importance of Self, Breast Exam (SBE) to various women organisations and institutions where

predominantly women are employed. Yuther Al Rawahy through NACA and Rasheeda, senior manager AVON group are individuals/ organisations who have helped me to lay down the foundation for my passion and mission. There have been many individuals among my friends, and my patients, who have also supported this cause and helped me in spreading BCA. Certainly being an expatriate, there are a lot of limitations and also being in a private clinic, but on the whole I personally feel that against all odds, even though it is like a drop in the ocean, I am being able to contribute to this cause. So many rumours and controversies surround breast cancer -- have you encountered the same here in Oman? What are the main myths that Omani women believe in about this dreaded disease and how many of them have you succeeded in dispelling? Women here, like in many parts of the world, have similar thoughts and beliefs. Many would like to be examined by a woman only, but once you counsel them well, they accept being treated by men too. Some believe that it is an evil eye or black magic by other persons, some feel that they have not prayed enough and yet some feel that “why has God done this to me, I have never done anything to hurt anyone or harm?” But most of the women who are diagnosed, even though are upset initially, slowly gain confidence

and strength to face the disease and treatment. Many women do not even go for even a breast check, because they fear that there may be something wrong found? Most women are afraid of the mammograms saying they are very painful – actually it is a momentary discomfort, which in the hands of a good radiographer will not even be felt. There is this belief that a particular form of treatment – needle biopsy -- will make cancer worse‌this is not true. There is a belief among some that there is local medicine available

for breast cancer, this has to be clearly discussed and avoided. In fact I have had a couple of patients who had Wasams (burning the skin of the affected area) on the breast. Unfortunately one succumbed to this (50 wasams on the affected breast in the form of concentric circles). Some of course leave it fate and do not return for treatment. So such women and their families need to be counselled and compelled to move away from such wrong treatment practices. It is natural to be concerned about the treatment modality like mastectomy (removing the complete breast), but again, this is not needed if cancer is DETECTED

EARLY. Therefore, the stress is on awareness or SBE and regular checks. And, of course, there are reconstruction facilities available, which can be brought to the notice of the patient. There will be hair loss during chemotherapy, but, it should be noted that this will grow after the treatment. Yes, there will be discomfort and pain during chemo, but, all of these are bearable when you consider the benefit and outcome. All patients need to be properly counselled, and this will have a major impact on them and their relatives. Above all this, patients want to go abroad for treatment, feeling Black & White 39

that the facility is not good, but as I mentioned, Oman, thanks to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has the best of facilities at the Royal Hospital and the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH). As the treatment may take time, it is best to be with the family for support and comfort, wherein, it is always better to have the complete treatment in Oman. Also, counselling with more than one session with the patient and the near relatives has been the best way to tackle any of the above problems, and mostly it works. Have you seen young women afflicted by this disease? Are more and more young women being affected now? Your reasons… Yes I have seen young women afflicted with breast cancer. The youngest of my patients were aged 22 and many were below 30. There has been no evidence of any particular cause or reason. I am aware that research is being done in many Gulf countries and in

Oman too to find out the reasons of the incidence among younger age group. The campaigns of spreading awareness and the media have been successful, so there are more women coming for checks especially the working group or the 40 to 50 age group. So the increase in incidence of breast cancer in women in Oman could be due to more women coming for checks. The other reasons could be due to lifestyles – sedentary, dietary (processed foods) or genetic, but no single reason has been identified yet. Have you encountered any unusual tale during your breast cancer awareness campaigns – any miraculous recoveries or sadly, otherwise? Each and every woman who has had to battle cancer and come out triumphant makes always a tale of miraculous recovery. I see it as a miracle and God’s blessing. And in my endeavour, I have had the blessing to see many such miracles.

However there have been a few unfortunate ones who were either presented at very late stages or with complications. Do you know of any youngsters afflicted by breast cancer in Oman? Yes, I have an Omani lady affected at 22 (four years ago) and some between the ages of 24 to 28. Overall, have you seen an improvement in the situation like from the time you had started your campaigns…And how do your foresee the future? There are a number of private hospitals that have come up with the latest state-of-the-art imaging facilities, and the government hospitals have also developed exclusive breast clinics. More organisations are also involved in spreading breast cancer awareness. Certainly, all of this has created more awareness among the public and people come forward at earlier stages of the problem.

You’ve to fight it yourself! You can suffer once, but, not twice. But tell that to FAWZIYA HAMOUD AL KINDY. She was afflicted with breast cancer and went through the whole treatment process, and then more than a decade and a half later, the dreaded disease came back, in a much bigger and more dangerous form.

B&W Xclusive

THE FIRST ATTACK “I got breast cancer in 1994, and then I had to undergo partial mastectomy, after which I went through the whole process of 40 October 21-November 6, 2010

chemotherapy and radiation. “But, at that time, there was no oncology department at the Royal Hospital, where I was being treated. Of course, there was chemotherapy, but no radiation, so I had to get that done at a hospital in Al Ain. I was in the hospital for nearly one and a half months during which time my health improved,” Fawzia Al Kindy, producer and presenter at the Radio Sultanate of Oman 90.4 FM, told Black & White in a brief interview. She enjoyed 15 years of good health after which there was

a shocking recurrence of the deadly cancer. Even her doctors were shocked because it was quite unusual for such a long had transpired after her first cancer affliction. DEADLY DISEASE STRIKES AGAIN – AFTER 15 YEARS But, even the discovery of the cancer came about in an unusual fashion. One early morning, she was climbing the stairs at her home when her foot caught in her abaya and she plunged headlong down the stairs and banged her chest on the floor. Although she was quite shaken by the fall, she gathered herself and went for her work at the radio. But, later she discovered that the chest area where her earlier operation was done had gone all black and it was hurting. “It was during the process of checking the blackened area, when I was handed down with darker news: I had cancer again of the breast!” IS THIS IT? Before she even had time to reel from this shocking turn of events, she had to undergo another operation, but it was found that they could not remove the whole tumor. “I want to add here that my first cancer was an early stage carcinoma and the second was sarcoma, which apparently is caused by radiation, or is the side-effect of radiation. What had happened was that in 15 years, this cancer had grown slowly. And I was in a terrible state. Because it was a big size, I was given double doses in order to shrink it down and I remember there were times I could not even lift my fingers. There were some despairing moments when I thought that ‘this is it’!” NO MORE RADIATION Finally, she was referred to the Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad, India. “There, the doctors found out that the

tumor was located underneath the rib and on the side. So, when they had to cut it, they had to cut five ribs too – the excised product weighed a total of 5kgs (including the rib bones). Since the rib bones could not be put back, other deft arrangements were made to rectify the damage.” Fawzia Kindy said that she recalled having a team of 12 doctors during the operation, including cardiologist, plastic surgeon, oncologist etc. “I remember the cardiologist telling me, post operation, that he had actually

The first thing to do is to destroy fear, and for that you need to keep yourself enlightened about the disease – the more you know, the less you will fear held my heart in his hand and protecting it during the complicated operation procedure.” Following the operation, there was a hot debate between the oncologist and the radiologist on the subject of radiation, with the former saying no to it and the latter saying yes. “Finally, the oncologist ‘won’ and it was decided that I will not have radiation.” Six months later, Fawzia went back for a follow up at Apollo and she was given a clean chit. FIGHT IT MYSELF But, the memories of those terrible moments remain forever etched in her mind. “It was not just me. When such a disease attacks you, you and your whole family go through the trauma of fear and pain,” she said, agreeing however that despite all that, she had supreme faith in God. “I just told myself that God has given me everything and if He wants

to take it back, there has to be a reason,” Fawzia said. She recalled the words of an Australian doctor, who after finishing the treatment, told her: ‘Look Fawzia, we have done everything. Now, it is upto you!’ “Although, I did not understand what he meant then, I soon realised what he was saying was that I had to fight it myself! So, this point, stuck in my head!” CANCER MADE HER STRONG IN A WAY Although Fawzia went through the whole traumatic process of first cancer discovery, treatment and then the long hiatus, where she could even have naturally fallen into complacency, and the horrible discovery again, she still feels that all of it has made her stronger in a way. “Like I have said, I have faith – unshakeable faith, which has been reinforced in me because I never let up on my prayers and somewhere along the way, I gained confidence to fight back, and to fight it myself, without depending on anyone!” MORE YOU KNOW, LESS YOU FEAR Faith is of paramount importance, she stressed, adding that this is something that all new cancer patients should have. “And both the patient and the family should not view cancer as a death warrant. If you are able to detect it early, then, you have a great chance of completely ejecting it out of your system. “Also, it is no longer like before, there is so much of information and so many means to fight cancer, and you are able to understand the disease better, and when there is understanding, you are able to fight the disease better. “So, the first thing to do is to destroy fear, and for that you need to keep yourself enlightened about the disease – the more you know, the less you will fear!”

Text: Adarsh Madhavan & Priya Arunkumar Photos: Najib Al Balushi

Black & White 41

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:

Do away with fashion shows


Washing dirty linen in public?

42 October 21-November 6, 2010

She and her husband sashayed down the… steps and strode confidently to their seats. They knew all (almost all) eyes were on them and so they made maximum use of the exposure. They made sure that their every move, especially the lady’s, was seen by all (especially the other ladies). They managed to settle down but not before creating quite a stir. Then, when everyone thought that they could turn their attention to the fashion show that was about to start before them, another couple came, dressed to kill and not just that, but walked in as though they were the couple who were to sashay down the ramps. “No harm in being fashionable, but, when you try to, kind of, draw attention to yourself by dressing too glamorously and try to draw attention when in a

crowd, it can prove to be too tedious,” a well-known socialite told Bitter Batter recently. She is seen at almost all fashion and social events in town, so when she lashes out against her own society ladies and their hubbies, something must be really wrong, we thought. She feels that most of those who come for a fashion show are more glamorously dressed than the fashion show ladies themselves. “What is the point in holding fashion shows when the people who come to see the shows are better dressed and more fashionable than the ladies sashaying down the ramps?” But, whose fault is that, we asked. She merely huffed, puffed and disappeared leaving a cloud of doubt behind her.

When facts unsaid are revealed to the public, they call it washing dirty linen in public. Scribes, worldover, face this dilemma. Whenever they attempt to break news, or rather, dig deep and find out facts that are stranger than fiction, they are accused of washing dirty linen in public. When people are victimised and the

rich get richer by means that are nefarious, and when some of us get to know the various shenanigans happening in and around the place, you tend to want to blast it out in print. But, then, somewhere down the line, you realise that sometimes, the only way of getting real news out to the public is by washing dirty linen…

‘Victims’ say no to publicity

So what if it is a charity show?

Is there rampant harassment going on in the name of authority in some of the expat schools here? We have been hearing about such cases, but since we don’t have the implicit approval from the ‘victims’ about even revealing the barest of teeniest of the weeniest of details, we can’t say much here. Shall we mention some facts of the ugly happenings that are currently happening in your school, we asked

“We want some passes for the Hema Malini charity show!” That was a lady caller pouncing on us without even a greeting. Uh, we don’t have any passes. It is a charity show and the proceeds – after all expenses – are going to the NACA (National Association for Cancer Awareness), we explained. “How much are the ticket rates,” the lady asked, and we could notice the change in the pitch of her voice. We told her. “What? You are charging that much and how do you think we will be able to afford it? We are about six people. You think all six will pay this amount and come? Why aren’t there any free passes?”

the harassed staff of a school here. The answer was no. No, because they were afraid that somehow the blame would be attributed to them, if we leaked out the news. There was this danger that even if it was mentioned without revealing any names, they would somehow attribute it to them and blame them saying that they were revealing confidential school information out.

Because, we explained, ad nauseum, it was a charity event and charity events don’t give out free invites. She was silent for a moment and then she asked: “Okay, so, now tell me who are the sponsors of your show?” She had deftly moved on to a different theme. Why, we asked with genuine curiosity. “Because there will be someone whom we know there who will be able to give us free passes. So what if you don’t give out any passes?! We will know someone who is sponsoring your show!” We really did not have anything to say that. And, of course, we did not give out the names of the sponsors.

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

Black & White 43

Few facts on

•GIANT WATER LILIES in the Amazon can grow over 6 feet in diameter. •THE LARGEST OCEAN on Earth is the Pacific Ocean. •THE LARGEST INDIVIDUAL FLOWER on Earth is from a plant called Rafflesia arnoldii. Its flowers reach up to 1 metre (3 feet) in diameter and weigh around 10kg. •SAFFRON IS A SPICE that comes from a type of crocus flower. •TITAN ARUMS ARE the world’s largest flowers at almost 10 feet in height. Due to their horrible aroma of rotting flesh, titan arums are also called corpse flowers. •PLANTS ON THE SURFACE of the Earth have existed for around 400 million years. •WHEN AN INSECT touches the hairs of a Venus Fly Trap it triggers the plant to close, trapping its victim before killing and dissolving it in acid. •TULIPS HAVE A BRIEF lifespan of only three to seven days. Amazingly, Tulips can continue to grow as much as an inch per day after being cut. •CHRYSANTHEMUMS ARE one of the few flowers that can be cultivated bonsai style •BROCCOLI IS a flower as well as a vegetable.


•SUNFLOWERS ARE able to soak up radiation

Tongue twisters A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies 44 October 21-November 6, 2010

By Dave Green

6 3


1 9 7



4 5 8


4 8



3 6 3 1 6 2

Difficulty Level

1 6 4 5 7

2010 Conceptis Puzzles, Dist. by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



By Thomas Snyder

SOLUTION: 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.

Black & White 45

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

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

46 October 21-November 6, 2010

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

Black & White 47

Your stars ARIES March 21-April 20 You will soon experience powerful emotional expansion in your life. Loved ones will initiate open discussions concerning family plans. Single Aries natives should expect unique proposals or quickly changing friendships.

CANCER June 22-July 23 Expect business officials or workmates to rely heavily on your personality skills with co-workers and customers. Over the next three days managers and bosses will be less involved in workplace dynamics than usual. Take the initiative and imprint your personal style. LIBRA September 24-October 22 Bosses or officials will silently judge your input over the next few weeks: stay active and open to unusual suggestions. Use spare time to explore new subjects or improve business skills. Loved ones may trigger memories of forgotten bonds in relationships.


CAPRICORN December 23-January 20 This is a positive time for reclaiming lost ideals in relationships and establishing greater levels of trust. A recent period of low energy and unclear emotional direction is now ending. Pay close attention to financial promises. 48 October 21-November 6, 2010

JULIA FIONA ROBERTS (BORN OCTOBER 28, 1967) is an American actress. She became a Hollywood star after headlining the 1990 romantic comedy Pretty Woman, which grossed $464 million worldwide. Roberts had become one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, topping the Hollywood Reporter's annual "power list" of top-earning female stars from 2002 to 2006.

TAURUS April 21-May 20

GEMINI May 21-June 21

Expect a three day period of fresh social connections and work expansion arrives. All are positive and will bring rapid results; so react quickly in order to finalise new projects or partnerships. Home comforts or shared emotions may be highly affirming over the coming few days.

Social or business introductions will this week bring predictable results. Use creativity to further explore social and business relations: others will now respond to your work integrity and unique approach. Mid-week family discussions may refocus your workplace aspirations

LEO July 24-August 23 Minor business or financial restrictions may become slightly annoying this week. Pace yourself and wait for income sources to slowly improve. This weekend expect a previous romantic flirtation to momentarily fade. Don’t be unnerved; a break may be needed.

SCORPIO October 23-November 22 Watch others closely for misunderstandings or hidden motives: honesty will work best. Work routines will slowly change: business officials or co-workers will soon request completed paperwork or finalised agreements.

VIRGO August 24-September 23 Expect others to actively offer support and reassurance. Some Virgos will now reconnect with an old social group or close friend. Welcome all opportunities to explore past emotions. Previous ideals or long lost attitudes will soon be re-established.

SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22 Costly delays or miscalculations may also be annoying: remain patient and check all paperwork thoroughly. Attractions or new social connections may now have an unusual influence on long term relationships

AQUARIUS January 21-February 19

PISCES February 20-March 20

Over the next few days emotional dynamics in long term relationships will become obvious. Mid-week rest and restore your creative energy: artistic activities are now highly favoured. You will experience powerful insights or renewed faith in love.

Pay close attention to reoccurring emotional or spiritual patterns. At present repeated disappointments will bring wisdom and meaningful romantic change. Ask for extra social or emotional support from family members.

it up!

What do you have for lunch when you are working? Wrap sandwiches? Wrap sandwiches first burst upon the lunch scene about 10 years ago and are variations of traditional sandwiches; but the bread is flat, and spread with a hot or cold sandwich filling, rolled up, and eaten out of hand. Wraps are also a great way to give leftovers new life. Get innovative with wraps, here are some recipes… Chicken Salad Wraps Ingredients: •2 cups deli creamy chicken salad •1 tsp. chopped jalapeno pepper •4 (10 inch) flour tortillas •1/2 cup frozen guacamole, thawed, or homemade guacamole •8 slices cheese •4 lettuce leaves •1 chopped, seeded tomato •1 avocado, peeled and chopped •1 cup salsa

Method Combine chicken salad and jalapeno pepper in small bowl. For each sandwich, spread 2 tablespoons guacamole over each tortilla to within 1/2” of edges. Place two slices of cheese in the middle of each tortilla and top with lettuce. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken salad mixture over lettuce and sprinkle with chopped tomato and avocado. Roll up tightly and secure with toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with salsa. Four sandwich wraps.

Veggie Wraps Ingredients: •2 cups shredded cheese with jalapenos •3 cups deli veggie salad or coleslaw •2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped •8 (10 inch) flour tortillas (try the flavored kind) Method: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cheese, veggie salad and tomato. Divide among the flour tortillas. Roll up tortillas, folding in ends. Place seam side down on ungreased cookie sheet and cover with foil. Bake for 1015 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa or ranch dressing for dipping, if desired. Eight sandwiches.

49 Blac Bl Black ack & White Whi hiittte e 49



SHE Why don't you become your own best friend?


Do it like Jennifer If you have been following her progress, you will be amazed at how Jennifer Aniston manages to keep herself in such tip-top shape. Although She must be around 41, she looks just the same as she has been in the hit Friends series

Celebrating women has been on the 51 Oman forefront in ensuring equal

For her

rights for its women and Omani women have come a long way: Top Omani women speak to B&W

50 October 21-November 6, 2010


Just imagine you have a wonderful, dear friend who is always there are at your beck and call. He or she is always available for you and whatever you do, wherever you are, he/she is there for you

Celebrating women A man and a woman are like two wings on a bird. If one wing is weak or broken, the bird cannot fly. So, if a woman is weak, or has not developed herself, then the country, which has to rely on both men and women, will suffer. So, it is important that both wings are equally strong. This is the vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who himself had once alluded women to flying birds. It is with an idea of further empowering the Omani women that His Majesty the Sultan, who has been the guiding force behind the gender equality and empowerment that women in the country enjoy today, has designated October 17 as the Omani Women’s Day every year. In commemoration of the Omani Women’s Day, the Black & White spoke to some top Omani women achievers to learn about their current status and their future. Black & White 51

Omani women have come a long way Oman has been on the forefront in ensuring equal rights for its women and Omani women have come a long way as far woman’s rights are concerned, says Wisam Al Said, corporate affairs manager, Oman Oil Marketing Company (omanoil). In this interview, Wisam notes that women in Oman hold key positions in the fields of education, employment, health and many other areas. Excerpts: Omani women can hold their heads high because of the backing by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said – but do the Oman women enjoy equal rights and equal opportunities here? Your take on this? “I believe that we do enjoy equal rights and opportunities. Several groups and entities have fought for decades to achieve equal rights for women around the globe. Thankfully, our country allows us to practice a large number of the rights, freedoms and privileges that some are still fighting for. The Omani woman has the right to assume an active role in the political and public life of our country and perform functions in all levels of government. Women in Oman now also hold key positions in the fields of education, employment, health, and many other areas. The nation is moving in the right direction in giving women their credit, but, now what more needs to be done? Do you think that you are now resting on your laurels? There might be more that can be done, however I feel we have already come a long way with woman’s rights! 52 October 21-November 6, 2010

Are women getting the chance to shoulder bigger responsibilities in the country’s growth process? Yes and they have already done so. There are so many female Omani role models who have paved the way for others to follow in their constant efforts to continue contributing to the country’s growth and development. Who or what is an Omani woman and what makes her unique and different from the women in the rest of the world? I am proud to be an Omani woman. My generation has had the privilege to enjoy the support and backing of His Majesty to not only achieve the best in our education, but also to be motivated and driven to further excel and grow in our careers. These privileges have undoubtedly played a fundamental role in the development of our beloved country. The Omani woman is a mixture of heritage, pride, drive, and ambition. Add to the mix their ability to build their families and raise children. And it is a fact that healthy, empowered, educated women raise healthy, empowered, educated children who will make a difference in the country’s future.

How may more miles would women in Oman need to go to achieve/ fulfill their potential? I believe every year we have a new batch of highly skilled and motivated female graduates from a number of backgrounds and educational streams. These women have the full potential to make more of a difference and contribute significantly to the empowerment of women. Motivation and drive is the key to women’s success and overall accomplishments. The Omani woman has contributed a great deal to her country but there is always room to do more. What are the chances for women to get into the Majlis A’ Shura? Chances are high and it has happened, thanks to the support of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, women now have a tangible say and are present in all sectors. I am confident that the Omani woman will have more luck in the next elections.

Women are like flying birds Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Country manager, Oman Air: “Over the last 40 years, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said changed the role of women in the country. He granted us equal opportunities, protected our rights and sowed the seeds of our success in a nurturing and encouraging environment. He led with the philosophy that women are essential partners along with men contributing to the social and economic development of the nation.

Women are no strangers to the aviation field as they have played a vital role in the growth of the industry, although, for many their professional experience was limited to being part of the cabin crew. In line with His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said's vision, our team at Oman Air includes a female avionic engineer and cartographer, the first in the Sultanate and in the Gulf region along with a number of women working in managerial and operational fields. It was important for us to instill the belief in our daughters that success has no boundaries and that a career in aviation is a reality and no longer simply a dream. In addition, the airline’s sustainable growth strategy focuses on ensuring that women are continuously empowered by providing the necessary training programmes, career development strategies and on-the-job experience to build capabilities in specialised fields of work in aviation. From my personal perspective, the advancement of women is the responsibility of every citizen and resident in the Sultanate. Our communities have witnessed

the positive impact of women empowerment and the contributions it has made in the different arenas. The question now is how do we sustain women empowerment and take it a step further. There have been tremendous efforts placed in preparing for the next election from conducting training sessions, running and overseeing the campaign, to engaging the whole community. However, with that said without the support of all parties involved, little can be accomplished. For women, it is never about reaching her full potential, it is about setting new and higher benchmarks, the journey will never stop. His Majesty called Omani women to take advantage of all the opportunities being provided to her, to prove her capability and show her ability to overcome obstacles. Furthermore, he equated women with flying birds and said: “A bird relies on both of its wings to fly high in the horizons of the sky. How can this bird manage if one of its wings is broken? Will it be able to fly?” Black & White 53

Endless doors have opened for us Leen Khattar Al Atassi Corporate & Internal Communications Manager, HSBC Oman “With the constant support we as Omani Women have been receiving from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for the last 40 years, we have seen endless doors open for us.

We enjoy equal rights and opportunities and are fortunate to be recognised globally for setting the benchmark for women advancement in the Arab world. We must continue educating communities on the strengths and wisdom of His Majesty’s vision to ensure equal rights are integrated in all facets of life. I believe, as women, we will remain to take on bigger and more challenging responsibilities, it comes with the country’s growth and development. His Majesty’s approach towards women empowerment encouraged and enabled women to continuously strive to reach new heights and milestones. Once you believe that you have reached your potential you are setting an invisible obstacle to yourself. Therefore, I think we should view it not in terms of how many miles one must go, but rather have the perception of an endless journey that can only get better if we believe in unlocking our true potential. Working at the world’s local bank, women empowerment has never been perceived as a policy, but a key driver to success, honouring female contributions by customers and employees. From my experience, I have witnessed that that each woman that comes into the Organisation brings with her a wide array of experiences and tools that will leverage her talents and propel her professional success. 54 October 21-November 6, 2010

Shouldering responsibilities with men Fatima Al Qutaiti Human resources specialist, Vale: His Majesty’s call for women to join the Sultanate’s march to economic and social development in the 1970’s was but the first step in a path towards progress, stability and prosperity

Over the last 40 years women have been provided with the tools and resources necessary to become active partners in society and achieve their goals and aspirations including education, gender equality in the work place as well as allowing the opportunity for females to enter into professions previously dominated by men. Today, we are a society that shoulders our responsibilities equally, side by side of men, united to build a thriving country inspired by a visionary leader. Working at Vale, we believe that our actions are based on integrity, respect for human dignity and citizenship. There have been historic and groundbreaking decisions to take important steps to promote women rights within the organisation. Vale has set targets for greater employment opportunities for women showcasing that they are the catalyst for change. The industry sector in Oman is no longer a male dominant business. Omani women have ventured into this field with confidence, understanding that the hurdles faced were simply opportunities. As a human resources specialist, it gives me great pride to stand witness to this extraordinary shift in the male to female employment ratios indicating that women in the Sultanate not only can reach their fullest potential but are encouraged to do so. The mining industry prepared women to handle everyday challenges thus empowering us to be real contributors to the development and prosperity of this nation. Our female leaders are the ideal role models for our future generations helping them realise that an Omani woman is an essential component of this country’s sustainable development. Black & White 55

Peace of Mind...

Laila, Omani graduate student of Nizwa University

By Laila Ibrahim Obaid Al-Gharbi We are always trying to find a particular time in which we can relax and think deeply. And, we usually wonder when we can reach a state where we can have absolute ‘peace of mind’. Our work is quite demanding and there are loads of other pressure too, but what happens is that because of all this, we tend to neglect to take care of our inner peace - peace of mind - and not only that, but we also feel quite stressful. Now, it may not be that easy to reach that state of peace of mind, but it is not at all impossible. It is really crucial to have peace in our mind. When we feel peaceful in our minds, we are able to understand ourselves and others around us better, too. Such an effect could bring real happiness to us. Peace of mind becomes very important in this fancy life as it reduces the selfishness that we may have. Thinking about yourself and others positively is one result of feeling peace inside your mind. Not to mention the fact that it helps in the control of our mood too as we know so many people who are moody and often get quite easily disturbed. There are still many positive effects that a person may gain from having peace of mind. There is one very effective way. It is meditation. You may have heard of it but haven’t tried it yet. However, you better try it this time because you will feel the difference even within the first time you practice it. Meditation is one way of the deep thinking which should be practiced in silence. Maybe in our homes we rarely find that moments of silence but if you try, you will find it. Or you could go out somewhere peaceful and quiet and practice it. Also, after praying you may meditate and listen to your inner voice. That will really help you to make the right decision and awake the inner power within you. Try to mediate once a day and feel the real peace flowing inside you...Feel the real happiness!

Learning curve

Of course, it is not an easy thing to do but try to be patient. You will feel quite relaxed and very positive. So, what are you waiting for, go take a break and think deeply, silently and positively. Enjoy each moment of your life as it is the last moment and keep smiling. I wish a happy and peaceful life to all of you dear readers!

56 October 21-November 6, 2010

It's my life

Exclusive Interview with God

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

By Vandana Shah

God is sitting on a high backed chair dressed to the nines and his/ her demeanour and razor sharp intelligence can give me a run for my money. Instinctively I smarten up and mentally prepare for the interview of a lifetime. God: Hello, I believe we need no introductions as we have known each other since sometime. Me: Yes, of course. So what is going on with the world today? Why is there a complete emphasis on materialism at all costs? God: When man was created there was no price tags attached on various bodily functions. The brain, arms, legs, the internal systems like digestive and respiratory were created free. Over a period of time they have a diminished value and when the human body, which is priceless, is now being recreated for a price –a better nose, slimmer legs, you can imagine the importance of money as a cure for all ills. There is a belief that money can buy you anything. Me: Can money buy you anything? God (wearing a bemused expression): Sure. You can try and see if it can buy you peace of mind,

truefriendship, unconditional love, a mother’s love for her child, a calm sleep. I think humans have coined the phrase, "time is money", so just wondering whether money can buy you time that has already gone by. Me (Very confused): If it can’t buy all these things then why are we running after it? God (LAUGHING ALOUD): That is the funny part. The best things in life like sunshine, the air we breathe, the trees that sway, the dancing moonlight are free! Besides, I also have a little joke that I have played on humans I control birth and death so all the money in the world can’t buy you even one additional second of time on earth. I have granted all the priceless treasures to human beings and all I tell them is to live well and be human. Me: Can you elaborate on that? God: I’m afraid our time is up. So maybe next time. Me: (trying to hanker for some extra time and then knowing by looking at God about his views on time…I depart gracefully, hoping for a second interview soon). Till next time from God and me Peace, love and value yourself!

Vandana Shah, Author 360 Degrees Back To life, Email me what you’d like to say on Follow me on twitter Vandy4PM

Black & White 57

Jennifer! Do it like

By Tensie Wheelan

If you have been following her progress like I have, you will be amazed at how Jennifer Aniston manages to keep herself in such tip-top shape. She must be what, around 41 now…? She looks just the same now as she has been in the hit Friends series, which came way back in 1995.

SHE IS A LEAN-MEAN-FIGHTING machine and yes, she is one of the richest women in the entertainment industry, but that still does not explain the way she looks. Jennifer has a body that is the envy of women half her age. So, there must be a secret…well, today, it is an open secret about Jennifer and almost every magazine would have harped about how good she looks and why. Why? How does Jennifer ‘do’ it? Here is how: Apparently, Jennifer does not follow any rigid detox diet in which only brown foods are permitted. However, she is a fan of Zone Diet, which is a diet popularised in books by biochemist Barry Sears. It advocates consuming calories from carbohydrates, protein and fat in a fixed ratio of 40:30:30. This diet has been under debate for some time, but most devotees of Zone diet claim that this diet plan helps their weight loss success at reasonable rates. Jennifer has been taking Zone Diet to maintain her current slim body shape. But, what is more important is that she takes only good carbohydrates, lean protein and good fat. JENNIFER’S WORKOUT Jennifer exercises about three to four times a week.

Shape n sound

CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE In a typical day, Jennifer starts out with a five-minute warm up and then proceed to do about 20 minutes of cardio. Sometimes, she runs on treadmill; sometimes, 58 October 21-November 6, 2010

she trains on elliptical trainer. To beat the boredom, during these 20 minutes of exercise, she uses 1 + two alternate method – means, she does one minute of high intensity workout, followed by 2 minutes of moderate intensity and she continues alternating the intensity. On the so called “high energy” day, in addition to what she does as mentioned above, she adds on another 15 minutes of treadmill run at six miles per hour speed with 1.5 incline platform. YOGA After the cardio session, Jennifer’s muscle will have been warmed up better for yoga poses. Jennifer credits her lean legs, six-pack abs and glowing skin to one woman – her yoga trainer, Mandy Ingber. Ingber leads her through five sun salutations of yoga poses for about 30 minutes. For every pose, including bridge, tree pose, butterfly, she tries to hold for 30 to 60 seconds (with 5 to 10 deep breaths). After the yoga session, she does five minutes of abs workout and floor stretches. It is said that even during film shooting sessions which starts as early as 5am, she and her trainer would be up at 4am to get an hour of yoga before her long day of working. Jennifer got into yoga in 2005, a traumatic year for her when she announced separation with Brad Pitt after five years of marriage. Yoga has not only made her strong physically, but also built her mental strength and make her always look healthy from the inside out. In fact, she feels that Mandy’s yoga style totally changed her life. Here are some of the main poses (created by Mandy):

TEMPLE POSE – TARGETS CALVES Plant your feet wide, bend your knees out to the side, and open at a 90-degree angle. Sink your bottom down in alignment with your knees then plié, squat, and hold for 30 seconds. Plié deeply eight times, followed by eight quick, shallow pulses. CHAIR POSE – TARGETS LEGS AND BOTTOM Sink down as if you’re sinking into a chair. With your feet aligned, hip-width apart, rock back your weight from the balls of the feet to the heels and shift your hips back. Align your knee over heels, bottoms back, and peel your belly off your thighs by extending your arms overhead. Do 1-3 sets. If you really want to tone up, you can also do squats.

SUN SALUTE –TARGETS ABS AND HAMSTRINGS As you the inhale, sweep your arms over your head, and then as you exhale, dive forward — a swan dive with down-hinging hips. Put your hands on the floor and extend your chest forward. Step back to the top of a push-up and put palms directly below your shoulders. Firm your thighs and make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned. Resist the floor as you lower to a low push-up. Scoop your chest up and arch into an upward facing dog, keeping thighs on the floor. Roll over the toes and press back to downward facing dog, using your inner thighs and abs. Black & White 59

Shape n sound

Why don’t you become your own

60 October 21-November 6, 2010

Just imagine you have a wonderful, dear friend who is always there are at your beck and call. He or she is always available for you and whatever you do, wherever you are, he/she is there for you

YOUR DEAR FRIEND IS there even in the darkest hour of your need (for that is when you need them the most). But, if you are an adult, your rosecoloured spectacles through which you may have been looking at the world of friendship would in time have got clouded over. By this time, you may have sadly discovered that you are often left high and dry at a time when you are desperately in need of someone. Just when you were hoping that s/he would be there, when you need them the most, they would ditch you. Well, that is life! But, ask yourself: why do you need such a person? Why do you crave for such a company? Is it because you are a woman? Of course, it could be that and more especially if you’re like a lot of women who would drop everything to help a friend in need. There is this automatic response to an emotional rebuff: “I have always helped my friends when they needed me, but when I need them, they are not there for me.” THERE FOR EVERYONE From this would stem the theme of our argument: you are there for everyone; you’d drop everything to be at the side of your friend. You would have put your own friend on a pedestal at the risk of your own peril. But, how often do you pay yourself the same respect? How often do you look after yourself if not that way, at least in a small way? So, how do you befriend yourself, exactly? It all starts with self-knowledge. AMAZING ADVENTURE And self-knowledge, or getting to know yourself, is an amazing adventure! Once you get to know yourself and like and love yourself, you would be in a different level

altogether. The usage of ‘love’ and ‘like’ here is not in the narcissistic way or mere self love. It simply means to accept yourself; to understand, respect and appreciate yourself. Most people seek happiness outside themselves – they want more money, a better job, more love- but there’s no true contentment unless it first comes from within. When some people look within, they don’t like what they see. Their disappointment in themselves and their self-hate may be masked by habits of compulsive perfectionism... criticism of self and others...or escape into alcohol, drugs, TV, etc. In order to be your own best friend, you must learn to develop the same kind of tolerant goodwill, positive attitude and love toward yourself that you feel toward people whom you treasure as friends. YOU ARE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND To put it differently, why don’t you try to be your own best friend? Why don’t you become the best friend that you never had, or had and lost? It is time that you become your own friend – a friend in deed. If you notice, we have never outgrown the need to be loved and nurtured. We must simply take over from our parents the task of loving and nurturing ourselves... Learn to give yourself the boundless encouragement, kindly patience and unqualified support that a good parent gives his/her children. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes - and reward yourself when you do well. Now, try to think of what makes you fall in love with someone: how genuine, sincere, and caring they can be; the unconditional love they offer, no matter what. Doesn’t that describe how you should feel about yourself?” Black & White 61

A woman can never be…


By Priya Arunkumar She was only 10 years old. She looked after me, cleaned my room and folded my clothes and helped my mom in the kitchen; so did her mom. Her mother was our maid, but she brought her little girl along every day. She did not like to go to school, because she did not like to sit in a place and study. She wanted to listen to music and run around. And she was happy doing it all. And she was very naughty too. She would hide my brothers’ socks, their pens, and books and even lie to create a fight between them. I still remember when my second bro came home one day and declared it is either her at home or him. But, my mom smiled and said ‘her’. That little girl did hell a lot of work, helped my mom, much more than me and my brothers. She would wait for us to return from school, so that she could chat and play with us. She was fast…in a minute she would take my shoes and clean it up then and there, carry my bag inside, take my lunch box out, and slowly whisper… too much home work, sister? Those days, I was too little to even know that a 10 year old worked for our comfort; I only knew she came from an economically challenged family and she needed food and shelter. And whenever I asked her to study, she would say, why, I am going to grow up, get married and have kids like my mother, I don’t want to work in an office! She used to tell me, girls are meant to do just that, just clean, cook, wash and get married. Of course, her brothers went to school. I tried to get her to listen to what I was reading aloud, and the only two words she learnt from me in four years were a good morning and thank you! She said in case she needed help in English, she would come to me, but she is going to

marry a guy who knows only Tamil! She left us when she was a teenager or rather we moved away when my dad was transferred to another city for a short period. Today she is the mother of three, her husband had abandoned her and she takes care of her kids by cooking at a government school. I met her during my last vacation and she came running to me. She was very happy to see me. She made me a cup of tea and took my daughter along with her to show her around. She was chattering away to glory and was telling my daughter that she looked like me. She had two daughters and one son and predictably, the boy was attending school, while the two girls helped her in her work… I was amazed at her positivity, acceptance and strength. She was not bitter at all; she sort of explained to me, life for a woman is different, not like the men. It is when a woman feels she is equal to the man, she feels hurt and let down. For a woman, her responsibilities start when she is born, because she is born as a responsibility. Men can be irresponsible; a woman can never be… And sister, don’t you think my kids are better off with me, at least they will be fed and taken care off! Major statements from a lady who has not even read a book! This time, I was mature enough to tell her that she has to get her daughters educated and I was going to take charge of that. There were tears in her eyes when I bid her goodbye. I had forgotten her over the years, and no, I did not buy any gift for her. Probably, because I never thought of her. She was one of the people I had taken for granted, just like all the other ladies in my life.


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Black & White mag issue 23  

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