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Vol.2 Issue 28II February 7-20, 2011 4-17 Rabi' I

Dance of India at the Indian Embassy p20 Valentine's Day affair p16 A fruitful glow p58

FREE Fortnightly

Hottest Hammam p34


Dance As part of the Indian

Bharata Nrityam by the legendary artiste

Dr PADMA SUBRAHMANYAM (Recipient of "Padma Bhushan" Award from the President of India)

Guest of Honour:

Soorya Krishnamoorthy, Founder, Soorya Stage & Film Society

Organised by: Event Partners:

of India Republic Day celebrations

Classical Dance

The Embassy of India Muscat

On February 9, 2011 at the Indian Embassy Auditorium at 7.30pm

along with popular actor-dancer




Any creation is like a newborn baby Hold any work of art; any craft post creation and it will throb like a newborn baby in your hands. Like the birth of a child, so is the output of a creation. God creates a child, while we mortals create art, craft or some products… So, the allusion to the newly born when Khamis bin Bilal bin Shambe Al Balushi (issue 26) produced his walking stick (or the ‘Asa’) was apt. Any creation is like a newborn baby, as pure, as simple and a miracle! The creative process in any art form may seem to differ on the surface, but beneath all that effort, thinking and creation is the need to bring out something new and original. Originality, like in Khamis’s sticks, is what separates works of art from other non-original pieces. Like Khamis noted, he could pick up his own stick from 100s and 1000s of other sticks! Anitha B. S., Seeb

Bend it like B&W ‘Bend it like Khamis’ (issue 26). That title itself set the tale apart from all other tales in town. I am a fan of the Black & White magazine ever since you featured the story of Wadi Qar’ran (issue 3). From then on till today, I have not missed a copy. Get better and better. Readers like me will always be there. Samuel Paul, Qurum

Camels everywhere Camels, camels, camels…everywhere! But, were unlucky; we did not have the chance to see them. My children just adore camels and it would have been great if we had a chance to see them. But, still, it is great of B&W to publish (issue 26) the pictures of the same. They were splendid! At least we could see them through your magazine. Natasha S., Al Khuwair

Sanskrit village Reading about Kavitha Rama Krishna’s efforts to spread the sacred language of Sanskrit made me think about a beautiful village in India. Sanskrit is an everyday spoken language in the village of Mathur, which is about 10 km from Shimoga in Karnataka (about 300km from Bangalore city). Many people have hailed this village as the ‘Sanskrit gram’ and said that it represented India’s culture. In this village, Sanskrit is not only spoken, it is also “modern, live and vibrant”! I would like to really applaud the efforts of Kavitha. Amrapali. K., Barka

Teenagers can have great minds Maisoon Mohamed Al-Mahrouqi’s poem ‘A teenager’s mind’ (issue 26) actually captured the moods of a 15-year old teenager. Being just a year older than that, I felt like that she was writing about me! Like the sentiment she has expressed in her poem, I also believe that there will come a time when teens will be acknowledged for their great minds. Yes, we maybe emotional and maybe even childish, but at our age, we can afford to be that. Maimouna bin Khamis Al Zadjali, Muscat 66February February7-20, 7-20,2011 2011

‘Not for not understanding why you had so many red shoes.’


But for being my one true love, my everything. This Valentine’s Day, say everything you always wanted d to but never did. Tell her how, just like the pearl and diamonds ds in this gorgeous heart-shaped pendant, you seek to find the way a to ay her heart. Tell her all, tell her today with the Damas Hearts earts Collection. Tel. 2478 0036


Hot springs eternal Al Thuwara, 34 Ain the hot spring of Al Hammam, is one of the oldest and the hottest in Oman

Cover Photo: Najib Al Balushi


Valentine's Day need not to be an expensive affair tips that can still bring 16 Some on the romance on the day

Oman Air to present Dance of India Classical dance event – Bharata Nrityam featuring legendary dancer Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, popular actor Vineeth and Nrithyodaya artists at the Indian Embassy on February 9.

of the hearts without burning a lot of cash

Be financially free



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: Printed at Mazoon, Muscat, 8 February 7-20, 2011 Oman

BPA Consumer Audit applied for December 2009

If you’re a woman who craves financial independence, don’t miss these smart ways to save money

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 Swithun Fernandes Aloni Mehta, Priyanka Sampat

All about X, Y & Z

A day in the life of... By Adarsh Madhavan

Sadashivan (*) turned himself around on the cold floor of the room he was in and woke up with a start as though someone had pinched him awake. It was the ice cold floor that had woken him up. The sun had not risen yet. But, as far as he was concerned, the sun had never risen in his life. At least not since that fateful journey from his hometown in India to Oman. He has been here for little over two years and was now desperate to get back to his village in a remote area of Kerala. His old, bed-ridden father was no more and his mother was all alone in that little, dilapidated shed that they all called ‘home’. His father’s remains were yet to be cremated. They were all waiting for him and he was here, without a job, without papers, and therefore, unable to travel. When he landed here, he had everything, a passport, a plane ticket, a labour card, some money in his pocket, a father, a mother, a little hut back home and the love of a girl whom he had promised to marry. Today, his passport, labour card, money was gone – forcibly taken by the contact of the same agents through whom he had landed here. And, today, his dad was gone, and his mom on the brink and his wife-to-be was no longer waiting for him. Boring isn’t it? A sob tale that everyone was tired of hearing and no longer evoking any type of interest or even an emotion. I have heard this tale on so many occasions and although it used to pain me whenever I heard it, I have slowly stopped reacting to it. Someone was telling me this story in a very animated manner and he was getting excited by the mere thought of such a sad scene being played out and he wanted to blame anyone and everyone for what had happened to poor Sadashivan. He was that livid with what fate had dished out to the latter.

I tried not to get sucked into the conversation, which he was having with another acquaintance of mine, but despite my efforts, I got drawn in and soon I was visualising this young Indian, whose dreams of making it big, or at least getting himself and his poor family out of the mire they were in, sadly being dashed on these mean rocks of fate. Without papers and without money, how will he be able to go back to India, this social worker acquaintance of mine asked out aloud. Have you thought about it, he asked me. If anyone would have heard it they would have been forgiven for wondering whether I was also part of the gang that was depriving Sadashivan of his basic rights and freedom. Try living just one day in the life of the deprived like Sadashivan, this social worker challenged me. And then he challenged himself: could anyone of us be able to live the same life as Sadshivan? Would anyone of us dare to exchange one day in the life of Sadashivan? I would normally take any challenge, but I baulked at this mere idea…I did not want to live one day or even one moment in the life of Sadashivan… Still charged by my social worker friend’s words, I quite innocently asked him what he intended to do about Sadashivan. It was a genuine question but, it was taken in the wrong way. He felt that I was challenging him. But, the tragedy of it was that he did not have an answer. He was blaming the world for Sadashivan’s condition but when I wrongly asked what he was going to do about it, he had no answer. In fact, all he wanted to was to rile against the injustice done on Sadashivan, but he was not keen to make even one small contribution to alleviate the poor man’s suffering. Would he spend a day in the life of Sadashivan; wear his shoes for a day? No answer. Why should people like us who live in glass houses, throw stones? (*) Not real name Black & White 9

Copying your friends’


Men read

Birds of the same feather flock together…? A new and interesting research shows that your friends’ traits may be rubbing off on you—and vice versa! And, unfortunately, some of his negative traits would also rub on you, it seems

10 February 7-20, 2011

YOU ARE YOUR OWN MAN, RIGHT? Maybe not… it is time for some introspection. Are you with like-minded people or have you caught on an attitude or a habit that was never yours in the first place? Who are you around most? Most importantly who are your friends? Do your friends, whom you are around with mostly, look up to others who are gogetters and high achievers, or do they make fun of them and roll their eyes? Are you with people who are achieving their dreams or complaining about their circumstances? CATCH IT FROM A FRIEND Watch out: you could catch a habit, an attitude, an outlook, an opinion faster from a friend than a foe! If a guy gains weight, there’s a good chance his friends will do the same! It is infectious! Whether they’re positive or negative, they’re rubbing off on you. Here are few tips to stop copying your friend: THINK BEFORE YOU COPY Analyse why you are copying your friend. Maybe he represents something you want to become. Think for a moment, maybe you lack confidence and feel your friend is better than you? Make yourself understand that the things your friends do are their own and you need to get your own life. Find out other ways to develop some self confidence rather than be someone you are not. GET ADVICE Ask someone outside your circle whether they feel you are a different person now. They will be a better judge. The danger is if you are in a very close circle, you and your friends will not recognise the traits. Remember, when someone starts copying you it can get annoying, especially if it is one of your friends. It is the same for your friend. DON’T BE PARANOID Of course, it is okay to be the same as your friend sometimes. Most people find their friends inspiring. Don’t get nervous that you are losing your individuality. If it is something minor like you bought the same trousers as your friend, then it could be that they just like the design, do not just jump straight in before knowing all the facts. GET YOUR OWN ATTITUDE Never feel inferior. It is the insecurities in you that make you copy others. Diagnose your fears and repair your ego. And sometimes a superiority complex can be helpful. Believe in yourself and create your own attitude, style, ideas. Don’t overdo it though; you could be called a snob!

Want to look

BUFF like Brad?

So, you want to look like Brad Pitt and don’t know how? Most of us are keen to have that sexy, lean and ripped look, but, the biggest stumbling block is that we don’t have hours upon hours of free time to hit the gym each day, nor do we have the budget to afford a personal trainer and/or buy expensive supplements. So, where do we start? How do we get that look as we know that both girls as well as guys show respect to a man with a buff body?

Men health

NO MATTER WHAT SHAPE your body is in right now, you can get a buff body with enough time and effort. There are a few main factors to getting ripped: diet, exercise, determination, and patience. If you can take control of all of these things, you will be able to build a muscular physique and gain the shape you desire. With these thoughts in mind, we went on a net drive to find out ways 12 February 7-20, 2011

to get ripped fast. We devoured the net, searching everywhere for information about muscle building and tips for how to get ripped fast. We were stopped on the way with the usual advice: do squats, deadlifts and bench press. Sure that works to build muscle mass and get bulky looking but we were not looking to be Mr Universe, we were keener to have that super lean, movie star look.

VISUAL IMPACT MUSCLE BUILDING The truth is that most of the techniques used nowadays are outdated. Just look at your local gym trainer and decide if his body type is what you want to have, new age muscle building experts note. The visual impact muscle building process by Rusty Moore has gained quite a lot of publicity.

addition, throw in some high intensity interval training two to three times per week. High intensity interval training simply means that instead of running at 75 percent for 20 minutes you go 100 percent for one minute, then 50 percent for a minute, then back to 100 percent and so on for 20 minutes. You can do this on a treadmill, rowing machine, cross trainer.

• If you want to look lean and cut you have to get down to a low bodyfat percentage. This means that your diet is crucial. Rusty suggests eating lots of protein, like tuna, chicken, lean steak and beef, protein shakes. He also tells you to eat foods like wholemeal bread, oatmeal, brown rice, lentils and peanut butter.

• To get that super ‘shrink wrap effect’, you want to start cutting a couple of months before your target. For instance, if summer is coming up in a couple of months, then you want to start cutting now. This is because in order to get that super ripped look, you have to give your skin time to shrink down and stick tight to your body.

• In addition to eating right, the way you workout is super important too. Mix up your rep and set schemes often. Sometimes do exercises for three sets of 10-12 reps, then after a couple of weeks change and do that same exercise for 5 sets of 5 reps. This will keep your muscles guessing and allow them to build size and density. In

Also, after you cut and have let your skin tighten up, you may want to then gain a quick 5-10 pounds of muscle. The best way to do this is by doing high rep and high set training. Eating lot’s of protein. This will then give you that look of your muscles bulging out of your skin. You are going to look fantastic! Black & White 13

Wild with warranty Bikram Vohra, internationallyknown Gulf based scribe

Sunny side up

By Bikram Vohra Have you seen how: When you buy something expensive the word ‘warranty’ is always written in that old Gothic style to denote tradition and veracity and all those other fancy words. This is always designed to make the buyer feel he is dealing with people who are above board and rising in the mornings with the express purpose of helping you live a better life. So when our home theatre system developed a funny sound two days into the purchase and the ‘surround’ reduced to a squeak we pulled out our glossy warranty card and went en masse to showroom from whence the purchase had been made. The salesman said it worked when we tested it. I said, so, it isn’t working now and it is only two days old, this is a one year all world warranty card written in Gothic. Actually, it is Cyrillic, he said, it gives an impression, did you by chance drop liquid into the amplifier. I said, as a family we were not inclined to fling liquids at items worth a king’s ransom. He said, the domestic help maybe. I said, our domestic help may not love us but the same goes for them, the fact is, it isn’t working and it is no fun having a home theatre system with DVD if it doesn’t work. He said, he would have to check with head office because this sort of thing had not happened before but to do so could I please fill in these forms, sorry, he did not have a pen. I said, you never asked for forms to be filled when we bought it last Wednesday. He said, office procedure, has to be followed you don’t want to be disqualified, do you? Perish the thought, we said and sat down to the examination after sending the kids back to the house to read out the passport numbers and the visa expiry dates. We have to get a letter from your sponsor, said the salesman. My sponsor is in Canada, I said, I am not going to 14 February 7-20, 2011

ring him up and ask him to confirm my existence for a home theatre system that is faulty. We haven’t proved that yet, he said, it could still be your fault, you may have put it into the wrong plug point, we have to check out all these details. I said, what is the use of this Gothic warranty… Cyrillic, he said, we tried Gothic but Cyrillic looked more impressive. I said, you didn’t hear me, I want it replaced. We do not do that, he said, we don’t replace, we send for repairs, while you contact your sponsor I shall process your papers. What is this, I said, cheese, there is nothing to process, just change the flipping system, the warranty says you will replace the machine. He laughed the laugh of the intellectual scoffing the ignorant unwashed and said, if you read the small print there it says after we have confirmed that the customer was not responsible. So, how do you do that, I said. Oh, we have to send a person to your home to interrogate all those who live in your home and then make an assessment by our Vigilance Officer. I said, what about a lie detector test? He said, that is optional but the company is thinking of implementing it for items about Dhirams7000. I said, I need to speak to your boss, the top honcho, the number one man, capiche? He said his name was not Capish, as far as he was aware there was no Capish in the office and in any case Mr Capish was not in the Warranty department and the boss had gone home for the day. He’ll return on Saturday, he said. Then he turned to me and added, let me ask you again, do you want to confess, it will be far easier for you, someone dropped liquid into the amp, tea, coffee, lemonade, one of the children… Saturday has come and gone. The system is in the repair facility. And we wait at home for the Gestapo to call and begin the interrogation.


Just a matter of time…


he ft


By Adarsh Madhavan

Cautionary note: if a woman is reading this, you may please substitute the boy’s role with the girl (and vice versa). I was watching a sweet, young couple in the corner of the restaurant I was in recently. I was with friends and despite that, my attention kept on drifting…towards them. They were also with some others, but they were oblivious to everyone. It was good to see them. Despite being in a crowded restaurant, they were almost on the verge of cuddling themselves. At one point, the girl took a spoon and fondly fed her er ‘beloved’ and he seemed to completely relish the bit. They were glowing and then in the dark entrails of my being a darker thought formed…would this last? I tch tched my own thoughts and dipped a piece of my mini chappati onto some thick curry and swallowed it mindlessly, but still making furtive glances at the lovey-doveys. Somehow, there was this urge in me to get up and tell them, or more importantly, tell the boy, that things would not be so hunky dory after sometime. Was he prepared to go through the fire, especially when the shiny times suddenly dip in a surly sea of misunderstandings and forget to rise the next morning and the next… until the time comes when she tells him that it was time… to move on? He better realise that this statement of hers was actually a culmination of months of planning and she was not just blurting some strange words out in a fit of rage, but something she was slowly hinting at since sometime, signs of which she has been giving him, but he was so dumb he could not read the writing on the wall. Hold it, hold it, right there, you morose piece of zilch, don’t rub your pessimism on these young sweeties, let them enjoy their lovey-dovey moments, sanity scolded me from one end. But somehow, those words just drowned in a new shower of negativity. I think I am the type that would prefer a lovely movie to have a tragic ending. I know I am not like that but still, there seemed to be some automatic response system that swung me uncompromisingly into negativity, into some spell of doom. Go, this insane voice quietly urged that boy, run away before you get hurt boyo,

it screamed from the side, as I tried in vain to muffle it. But, it went on, as though it was directly speaking to the boy: “Yes, you (the boy) will suddenly realise that whatever moods you had displayed or whatever funny comments you had made of her before; whatever angry words that may have escaped your mouth or whatever blunders you may have made are all going to descend on you like an avalanche and swipe you out of the scene as she, your beloved, will suddenly realise that her parents wanted someone ‘settled’ (whatever that means) and you will find yourself accused of being more interested in her body than her soul and she will realise that you both did not have anything much in common and she will also shed tears and say how she wished you were that man she ‘once’ loved. Yeah, ‘once’ (you heard that right) and you will reel in shock and awe and wonder what was happening and the more you get tongue tied, the more you would sink in that morass of failure and rejection from which you will never ever rise, while she would have easily, er, moved on… and claim that she now saw you more as a friend than a lover! And as you foolishly toss and turn in impotent wonder and rage, life itself would have moved on, my friend and no amount of wishing would ever get you to where you were once…” But, a sneak peek at the young couple made me realise that my morose thoughts had not rained on their parade and they were in fact, going on in full swing…But, don’t say that you have not been warned, I thought darkly as I reached for the bill and swore: do restaurants charge extra for negative thinking? Disclaimer: Only the male version is attributed to the author. Black & White 15

Forget it. Don’t buy her expensive gifts, or take her on a romantic cruise. Forget all extravagant and boisterous gestures. Don’t do anything of that sort. So, if you are going to drop all that jazz, how are you going to spend your Valentine’s Day with your special someone? If you are not going to sweep her off her feet with an expensive gift or restaurant dinner, what are you going to do? In this time of financial gloom when majority of the people are pinching pennies, what else could you do for your loved one? Plenty! Many note that there is “nothing like old-school romance when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day”. But, what exactly is that? Get charming! Even if you employ a clichéd style, it still has its charm: Go out on a date, buy a bunch of red roses, book a table at your favourite restaurant, walk down the beach hand-in-hand, dance under the stars, cook his/her favourite food, watch a movie together – there are so many charming things you can do on Valentine’s Day 2011.


“If you are with your loved one, no matter what you do, you are sure to enjoy this. It does not matter whether you are short of money or time, the important things is about spending some quality time with the person you love, no matter who it is. Even the simplest of gestures done with the deepest feelings from the heart will be appreciated,” are the ready advice from Valentine’s Day experts.

16 16February February7-20, 7-20,2011 2011

Here are some tips that can still bring on the romance on the day of the hearts without burning a lot of cash: 1. Go on inexpensive dates like in places where you don’t have to spend or pay for anything like parks; 2. A simple greeting will do too. As long as the love is there, couples need not go out and celebrate it. 3. Cook an affordable meal for her at home. Women love to be pampered with food especially when it’s prepared by a loved one. 4. Prepare your own romantic gifts. 5. Leave love notes all over. So if you can’t afford to shower your special someone with expensive gifts this Valentine’s Day, remember that a real kiss will do the job just as nicely. Well, maybe even better!

Black 17 Black & & White White 17

Valentine’s Day is a day to tell that special someone that you love them. It’s a time to relax and enjoy each others company

FREE GIFTS Some free and inexpensive gift ideas (for him and her): Homemade Valentine’s dinner Make a homemade meal for your loved one. Or better still, celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner for two. If you enjoy cooking together, plan and prepare your dinner together. The meal doesn’t have to (shouldn’t!) be an elaborate or time-consuming chore; if your partner’s favourite food is noodles (oh no!), serve it in a fancy dish and enjoy. Or, this might be the perfect time to splurge on lobsters, a few pounds of shrimp, or delicious filet mignon or prime rib. Set your table with your best dinnerware, romantic linens, flowers, and candles. Don’t forget the wine and cheese and your favorite romantic music to set the mood. Clean as you cook, but don’t worry about the mess afterwards; leave the dishes till morning and enjoy each other! For him or her: Relaxing foot or body massage Who cannot give a free massage? It is free and if you are gentle enough, it could prove to be most relaxing and if your loved one likes massages, it will be much appreciated. Set the mood when giving the foot or body massage by: • Dimming the lights in the room • Play relaxing music • Have your partner get comfortable in a chair, on the bed or couch • Use scented or unscented massage oils for a smoother massage • Unplug the phones, turn the cell phones off and avoid all distractions Inexpensive homemade crafts If you are good at making crafts or other forms of art such as painting, poetry or wood-working, you have an advantage. Consider making something for your loved one with your own hands. This is also a great idea for children who wish to make something for their parents or grandparents.


Gifts from the heart No matter what you choose, remember that Valentine’s Day is a day to tell that special someone that you love them. It’s a time to relax and enjoy each others company. It doesn’t have to cost lots of money, nor is it necessary to spend outrageous amounts of money on gifts. The best gifts come from the heart and will form loving memories for years to come.

18 18February February7-20, 7-20,2011 2011

Black 19 Black & & White White 19

Dance is like meditation: “I would call it Bharatanrithyam, not Bharatanatyam,” the legendary danseuse, Padmabhushan (Dr) Padma Subrahmanyam told Black & White in a brief telephonic chat, recently. “I would like to call the classical dance form Bharatanrityam, not natyam,” Dr Padma, who is going to perform along with her disciple, actor-dancer Vineeth at the ‘Dance of India’ show as part of the Indian Republic Day celebrations at the Indian embassy auditorium on February 9 evening, clarified to us. The dance event is jointly organised by the Indian Embassy and the Black & White. For the uninitiated, it should be known that there are three aspects of Bharatanatyam: nritha, nrithya and natya, which represent pure dance, expressive dance and the combination of the two. Nritha is the pure abstract form, while nrithya is dance with mime or rhythm and natya is dance with histrionics. The different classical dances in India adheres to these principles of the great rishi, Bharata Muni’s Natyasastra, namely to the division of dance into nritha - the pure abstract form, nrithya dance with mime or rhythm, thandava the style followed by men in dance and lasya, the style for women dancers. Dance is like meditation, Dr Padma noted. “It means everything to me; it defines my various stages of existence. It completes me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is a means of spiritual awakening,” the legend, who is a rare combination of dancer, choreographer, music composer, singer, research scholar, teacher and author, stressed. UNIQUE ‘DANCE OF INDIA’ She also said that the “Dance of India’ event was unique in many ways: “The event in Muscat is custom made for the occasion: Indian Republic Day celebrations. The performance will be different and not be one of those routine, regular structured performances!” “The Muscat audience will surely enjoy the right mix of patriotism, integration, tradition, art and the programme will conclude with a dance episode of humour,” she said of the one hour, 10 minutes programme.


Dance workshop on February 11 at ISC multi purpose hall (1pm to 5pm) Meanwhile, Sri Saraswati Natyalaya will be presenting a workshop/lecture by Dr Padma at the ISC multipurpose hall on Friday. This is used as a platform to promote the Bharata Ilango Foundation for Asian Culture (BIFAC) which will be a cultural corridor for revitalising Asian cultural links. “This is a dream project for me and for art lovers,” Dr Padma said of the BIFAC.. Dance workshop registration: call 95755823; for BIFAC details:

20 20February February7-20, 7-20,2011 2011

Dr Padma Subrahmanyam

Black 21 Black & & White White 21

Omanwatch 22 February 7-20, 2011

Bharatanatyam was meant to be a male-dominated dance form:

VINEETH “Lonely?” The young actor-dancer coughs long distance over the phone. Vineeth, is an extra polite, gentle and sweet young man; qualities many stars lack. He coughed once more and said with a very polite laugh: “No, no, it is not at all a lonely world out there in the arena of dancing. There are plenty of male dancers today,” he said, responding to a Black & White query whether the dancing world was a lonely one, dominated by women. “With the right media exposure, I feel the numbers (of male dancers) will only increase.” A cursory glance at Indian mythology will reveal how Bharatanatyam was intended to be a male dominated dance tradition, he said. For Vineeth (born Chathamath Konath Vineeth Nambiar), a South Indian film actor and accomplished classical dancer who has acted in top films, including his native Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films, acting is a “profession”, and dancing, a “passion”. He comfortably nestles between these two and manages to bring out the best from both. He thoroughly enjoys both worlds and coupled with his good looks (a popular website had once included him among the top100 handsome men in India), he is a star to reckon with. But, the 42-year old actordancer does not put on any airs. Although known to be slightly reserved, he is equally known to be very media friendly, which was evident in the affable manner that he spoke. Black & White 23

Speaking to the B&W from Chennai, Vineeth, who is going to perform along with the legendary Padmabhushan (Dr) Padma Subrahmanyam, as part of the B&W – Indian Embassy dance event, ‘Dance of India’, at the Indian embassy auditorium, today, explained how he got into the world of dancing; his passion for it and the sheer adoration, love, respect and awe for his current guru, Dr Padma. Here, in this brief interview, he speaks mainly of his first love: dancing.

Is it a lonely world out there as a male dancer in this world of dancing, dominated by women? Or, do you feel extra special? No, I am not at all lonely. There are plenty of male dancers today. With the right media exposure, I feel the numbers will only increase in future. Art, I feel is in the core of every being born. Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms of India. It was nurtured in the temples and courts of southern India since ancient times. If we look at its origins, Bharatanatyam was intended to be a male-dominated tradition. It is said that Brahma, a Hindu deity, established the dance in order to enlighten human beings and keep them away from vices. It is believed that he approached sage Bharata (Bharatamuni) to articulate it, so Bharatamuni wrote the Natyasastra (book on Bharatanatyam). The dance form has been named after Bharata Muni, the author of the Natyasastra. And, Nataraja, the lord of dancing, is male. The image of dancing Shiva has become an icon to dancers all over the world. The highly talented artists and the male gurus (nattuvanars) were the sole repository of the art until the early 20th century when a renewal of interest in India’s cultural heritage prompted the educated elite to discover its beauty. Ultimately, Bharatanatyam’s traditional origins point in the direction of male dominance. Gender roles in Indian classical dance have see-sawed from it being a predominantly male tradition in the age old years to a predominantly female one later. Maybe, the reason for the gender switch seems to be that these girls and women are seen as “the keepers of culture and religion”. As an art form, Bharatanatyam is multi-faceted. It includes melody, natyam, poetry, drama and mime. I believe today Bharatanatyam is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by male and female dancers all over India. Due to its wide range of movements, postures and the balanced blend of the rhythmic and mimetic aspects, the art extends well to experimental and fusion choreography. Does dance make a special metaphor in your life, or are you more focussed on being a movie star? Acting is my profession, while dancing is my passion. I took my first steps to dancing when I was just four. My parents are professionals (dad, a lawyer and mom, a doctor), but I had the famed Travancore sisters (Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini) as my aunts.


Once, I was dancing away at a family function (I must have been hardly four), when Padminiamma came and blessed me and put a garland on me and announced that I had a promising dancing future ahead of me. It is long way since. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to get trained under totally professional and committed dance gurus…

24 February 7-20, 2011

What is your greatest wish as a dancer? Dancing is a spiritual expression. It is a spiritual experience for me. My wish is to start an authentic, traditional and scientific dance institute in the future. I am working towards it. What would you want to be known as – as a dancer who could act a bit, or an actor who could dance a bit? When I turned 10, I started learning systematically under Kalamandalam Saraswati Nair (the revered Malayalam novelist and filmmaker M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s wife). Since then, Bharatanatyam has become a part of my life… I met Padukka (Dr Padma) during a US dance event trip along with Padminiamma. I began to scientifically train under her since 1992. Padukka is a phenomenal teacher, dancer; artist… every day is a new learning experience with her. Dancing is an art that cannot be mastered; it has to be learned, expressed and lived to the fill. I am still learning… I am a professional dancer and actor and that is how I would like to be known as. Dancing and acting go hand in hand for me. Both complement each other. Initially, when I entered the film world, it was not based on my dancing skills. The initial films I did were all general ones, with no dance scenes or themes. But I would say dancing has helped me in my film career. It is my life!

Vineeth entered the tinsel world when he was just a 10th grade student. Malayalam director, I. V. Sasi cast him in the Malayalam movie Edanilangal (1985). But, it was the super hit movie, Nakakshathangal (1986), directed by Hariharan, in which he played a teen lover, that brought him real adulation from the viewers. Though films like Idavazhiyil oru kaalocha, Rithubhedam, Amruthamgamaya (1987), Aaranyakam (1988), Sargam (1992), Ghazal, Kabooliwala (1993), Parinayam(1994) etc. gave Vineeth the recognition he craved for, his career didn’t take off as expected. In Tamil, Vineeth managed to earn a place for himself with movies like Avarampoo (1992), Kaathal Desam, Priyamana Thozhi, Bokshu-The Myth (English), among others. A very talented dancer, Vineeth had earlier won the Kalaprathibha award at the State schools youth festival. He has exhibited his dancing skills in several movies like ‘Mazhavillu’ (1999) and Chandramukhi (2005) in Tamil.

Dancing and acting go hand in hand for me. Both complement each other. Initially, when I entered the film world, it was not based on my dancing skills. The initial films I did were all general movies, with no dance scenes or themes

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Tanjore paintings display

Kavitha Rama Krishna, a Sanskrit teacher in Oman, will be giving a special display of her Tanjore (Thanjavur/Thanjavoor) paintings at the ‘Dance of India’ show at the Indian Embassy auditorium on February 9, evening. The display, which will include 40 Tanjore paintings, will be held in the hall, just outside the Indian Embassy auditorium. Tanjore paintings have a very rich heritage and these style of paintings are notable for their adornment in the form of semiprecious stones, pearls, glass pieces and gold. The rich vibrant colours, dashes of gold, semi-precious stones and fine artistic work are characteristics of these paintings. They add beauty and culture to a variety of surroundings and dĂŠcor. The paintings are mostly of deities because this art of painting flourished at a time when fine-looking and striking temples were being constructed by rulers of several dynasties. The figures in these paintings are large and the faces are round and divine.


Contact: 95884124

26 February 7-20, 2011

'Dance of India' show guest of honour: Soorya Krishnamoorthy, founder, Soorya Stage & Film Society

Art is a blessing from God

“Art is a blessing from God, meant for serving people in distress, but, quite often, it is mercilessly sold, which is an act against the will of God!�

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Al Ansari group coral jubilee celebrations Al Ansari group celebrated 35 years of success in the Sultanate recently. The gala event was attended by Anil Wadhwa, Indian ambassador to Sultanate and many other dignitaries. Expressing his happiness during the coral jubilee of the company, Mohammed Ali Juma , chairman of Al Ansari Group said, ‘ The 35th anniversary comes at a time when the sultanate is celebrating 40th National Day. This is significant milestone for Al Ansari Group. We are also proud to record high percentage of Omanisation ratio in compliance with Government’s decision to promote nationals. Today, Al Ansari boasts of over 4000 employees and 10 companies across Oman, UAE and India’.

Mazda2 – A refreshing

driving experience

Mazda2 comes with halogen headlamps, a roof spoiler, CD (MP3) player, dual front airbags, alloy rims, ABS breaks with EBD and intrusion minimising brake pedal and most importantly fits in your budget as well as lifestyle. Available at an incredible price of OMR65 per month onwards, the Mazda2 completely fits into your budget and lifestyle. Annurag Chawla, head of marketing and communications, Towell Auto Centre, says, “At TAC, we are committed in giving out customers the best value for money. After having won such accolades globally and with its recent launch, we are sure that the Mazda2 has made an impact amongst automotive aficionados in the Sultanate..”

BankMuscat business incubator to benefit 75 women in Al Mudhaibi

BankMuscat launched its third business incubator in the wilayat of Al Mudhaibi under the auspices of Aliya bint Said bin Salim Al Habsi, director of educational planning and quality assurance, directorate-general of education, North Sharqiyah region. The Bank's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative aimed at creating jobs for women will benefit 75 beneficiaries under the social security umbrella in the wilayat who will be trained in photography, beauty services and hand-made traditional Omani cap. On completion of training, BankMuscat will also financially support 10 women from the incubator to start their own businesses.


Radisson Blu and Park Inn general managers at Dubai Marathon The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is one of the best known runs in the world attracting runners of international repute once a year in January. The general manager of the Park Inn and third time participant Francois Galoisy accompanied by Michael Jacobi, general manager of the Radisson Blu was the Oman representation of the Rezidor Hotel Group. At the company a 28 February 7-20, 2011

‘Responsible Business’ policy is followed within the chain. The first quarter of the year is dedicated to ‘healthy living’ and the two hotel General Managers thought it was apt for them to set an example together with their participation in the 10 kilometre competition. The 2011 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon kicked off amidst live entertainment provided by bands

and DJs in front of the American University Dubai finishing outside the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.

NBO Al Kanz Mega Prize Draw National Bank of Oman (NBO) recently held its December 2010 Al Kanz Mega Prize Draw for OMR1 million, at the Palm Gardens, Intercontinental Hotel Muscat. The exciting and interesting evening was well attended by over 200 hundred guests including NBO customers, NBO board of directors, Ceo Salaam Said Al Shaksy, along with other senior management members and staff. The lucky winners of NBO’s Al Kanz Mega Prize Draw for RO one million (four winners of RO 250,000 each) are Nasser Ali Mohammed, from NBO’s Al Kamil Branch, Mohammed Saleh Abdullah, from

Sohar Industrial Area Branch, Sheikha Mubarak Musabah, from Ibri Branch and customer (name with held on request) from CBD Branch.

2011 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport The new 2011 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport have arrived and are now in Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC showrooms across the country. “The Range Rover and Range Rover Sport continue to represent high quality, bespoke engineering and manufacturing and will excite the market in Oman. At MHD LLC we are extremely proud to present the 2011 model year range and we expect continued success and growth as a result of their arrival,” adds David Aziz, director automotive, MHD LLC.

Ramniklal B. Kothary

'Omanisation Award'

Ministry of Manpower has honoured Ramniklal B. Kothary & Co. LLC with the “Omanisation Award 2010” at its annual event held recently at Al Bustan Palace Hotel under the patronage of Lieutenant General Malik bin Suleiman Al Maamary, Inspector General of Police and Customs. The award was presented for achieving and maintaining high rate of Omanisation percentage in the year 2010. The award was received by Abdullah Al Wahaibi, personnel manager for Ramniklal B. Kothary & Co. LLC. “We are very pleased to receive this award in recognition of our constant efforts in attempting to fulfill HM Sultan Qaboos’s vision for Omanisation. Our aim has always been in attempting to give the best possible employment opportunity and services to the local people of Oman," said Madhookar Kothary, managing director and Prabodh Kothary, director of Ramniklal B. Kothary & Co. LLC.

Duet banquet at

Spicy Village! On February 14th, all Spicy Village outlets will host a duet banquet: a fabulous buffet meant just for couples, with the best of Indian, Chinese, Continental and Arabic food. This will feature all the Spicy Village specials that people have come to look forward to. The highlight of the duet banquet will be 10 mouth-watering desserts as a Valentine’s special, ranging from perennial favourites like Gulab Jamun, Rasamalai, Umm Ali and Omani Halwa to Shahi Kheer, Pecan Date Pudding and more. This extra-ordinary spread is priced at a nominal OMR9.500. The best thing about this buffet you get to treat your sweetheart free. Every couple would like to enjoy a delicious meal on Valentine’s Day, without the hassle of planning and preparing it. This is precisely why we’ve come up with a Valentine’s duet offer,” says Dayaparan, general manager, Spicy village. For reservations call 99224718 Black & White 29

NBO ‘Ramadan

Donation Box’ campaign receives recognition in Campaign Middle East


The most recent work done by Asha Advertising & Marketing for National Bank of Oman during the Ramadan period has received favourable reviews by two prominent creative jury members in the Work Section of the December 5, 2010 issue of Campaign Magazine, Middle East. During the Ramadan month, NBO decided to make a donation on behalf of every NBO customer, whenever the customer used any of the bank’s cards (credit & debit) and/or deposited into his/her Al Kanz Saving Account (at no additional cost to the customer). Towards this, the team decided to place NBO branded ‘donation boxes’ at every branch. But they were donation boxes with one unexpected twist: they all had a closed slit at the top! “When the product idea is strong, and the teams work together, the results are there for all to see. Asha, as the first and oldest communication agency in Oman, has always prided itself in understanding the market and the ever-changing consumer and this is the fourth time our work has been reviewed at a regional level by Campaign Middle East in 2010,” said Jayanto Banerjee, general manager, Asha Advertising.

30 February 7-20, 2011

Shower filter to save hair and skin For those wondering why they are having weak, damaged hair and dry skin, the answer could be a bad shower head. Harsh chemicals, chlorine and the bad effects of a variety of metals in water could be the reason for your bad skin and hair, a press note from Qais United Enterprises Trading, an enterprising local company, which is promoting healthy shower filters said. “Although we think of a shower as refreshing and cleansing, a surprising amount of harmful chemicals can be easily absorbed through the skin. A shower water filter can remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals providing you with healthy filtered water for showering,” a spokesperson from Qais United Enterprises said. “All of us stress on the importance of filtering our drinking water, but none of us think that we should filter the shower/bath water,” he added. Exposure to vapourised chemicals in the water supplies through showering, bathing, and inhalation is 100 times more than through

drinking the water. “It’s unhealthy to drink chlorine, but there’s also a problem with chlorine in the water you bathe in. While bathing, water gets absorbed into your body. The chlorine soaks in with it. Hot water will open a pore, which allows more chlorine to be absorbed. Chlorine will also damage your hair, dry out the natural oils in our skin, and make you feel dry and itchy,” the spokesperson said, adding that during our shower, hot water releases chlorine gas into the air, trapped in the bathroom with you, so you end up breathing it in. In addition, when you’ve finished bathing, the chlorine will vent out and contaminate the air in the rest of your home. Qais United Enterprises Trading has a patent product, which is an eight (8) stages water (stainless steel) filter. “It is quite an effective product and not only are the cartridges easily replaceable, but, they are also suitable for extensive application,” the spokesperson said.

Spicy Village grand lunch buffet is back! Spicy Village offers its customers a tantalising lunch buffet at just OMR2.900 per person. The generous spread, consisting of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, includes mouth-watering names like vegetable manchurian, paneer butter masala, vegetable saloona, vegetable shaslik, chicken tikka masala, mutton saloona, grilled fish, prawn manchurian, and a whole lot more. “In essence, we offer two soups, four starters, six salads, five desserts and assorted breads, fried rice, noodles and chicken biriyani,” said Mohamed Hakkem, chef, Spicy Village.

“The Spicy Village lunch buffet was a forerunner in its time. Now we’ve decided to renew it – and make it more tempting than ever,” says Daya, general manager, Spicy Village chain of restaurants. Available at all Spicy Village outlets in Al Khuwair, Rusayl, Sohar, Nizwa and Sur, the Spicy Village lunch buffet is available from 11am till 4pm every day, including weekends. The menu comprises 30 delicious items, ranging from Arabic to Indian, Continental to Chinese. Contact: 99224718

All New Renault Safrane in Oman The new Renault Safrane, a distinctive, user-friendly and reliable sedan is now available in Oman. “The Safrane name has become synonymous with quality, durability and performance. It won the customers’ trust, thanks to its superb qualities in all of its segment’s key features,” said Katsumi Nakamura, executive vice president, leader of Asia Africa, Renault SAS. “Renault vehicles with their high degree of customisation for the AGCC region, top range features and equipment and innovative leading technology have generated a lot of interest among the people in the Sultanate. With the next generation Safrane coming to Oman, the excitement around the Renault range will intensify,” said Ahmed Suhail Bahwan, chairman of Suhail Bahwan Automobiles. In Oman Suhail Bahwan Automobiles LLC (SBA) are the exclusive dealers for all Renault vehicles.

McDonald’s set to boost job opportunities for Omanis

McDonald’s Oman (Al Daud Restaurants LLC) is preparing to open five new restaurants in 2011. The new outlets are set to offer extensive employment possibilities for job-seeking Omanis. “The Quick Service restaurant segment in Oman continues to grow,” said Ali K. Daud, development licensee of McDonald’s Oman. “We are wellpositioned to capitalise on this growth. This is fantastic as it provides investment into the local economy as well as creates new job opportunities with us and with our suppliers, thus resulting in a positive economic domino effect across various industries.” For more information on McDonald’s job opportunities, contact Ahmed Al Amri at 99374461 or email Black & White 31

You have the RIGHT to say “NO” By Dr CK Anchan We say no to a lot of ideas — including most of our own ideas. But it’s important to remember that no can be temporary. No now may be yes later. Or it may be no forever. The trick is to figure out which camp a certain no falls into and then respond appropriately. We say yes to others because we want to please them. But when eventually we can’t continue, we let them down and we feel guilty. Both parties suffer. Recognise that a desire to please often prevents us from saying no. Say No 'If you are not comfortable': it could be the people involved, the type of work, the implications or you might be uncomfortable with any of a number of issues. don’t be afraid to let someone know you just don’t want to, in other words you may not enjoy that kind of work. Say No ‘If you are not qualified” : it’s better to admit your limitations up front, if you feel that you do not have the adequate qualifications, or skills. Someone else is bound to be qualified to take up the job. Say No 'If you do not have free time': You do not have to make excuses or feel sorry if you don’t have any free time, you need to let people know as to when and how much responsibility you have accepted. Be honest if your schedule is filled.

Management talk

Say No 'if you are to split your attention among projects': Let people know that you will be more effective if you focus on one project at a time, but you can’t when your focus is too divided or splintered, let people know that you want to do a good job for them. 32 February 7-20, 2011

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

Say No than do a mediocre job : If you know that you are not going to deliver better for any reasons viz: time, skills, people etc , do not accept responsibility Say no with dignity. Understanding your limits is a talent to be expected. Offer services of others if you can: Helping to connect people is a valuable service to offer, make sure the person you refer will represent you well and can carry out the delegated work. Before saying No consider: if you really want to help but don’t have the time, say so. Offer to help at a later time or date, you aren’t saying that you will never help out again, just that you feel your schedule is as full as you would like now. State if you have any other commitments: it doesn’t matter what the commitment is, it can even simply be time to yourself or with friends or family, but be clear and be specific. See if you can take alternate task: saying no doesn’t mean that you can’t help at all, if someone asks you to do something you really cannot refuse then offer to help with something you are comfortable with. Stick to your set of goals and strategies, this gives you a reason to stick to your course. When someone persists, repeat your position, perhaps in a slightly different way. Exel at just a few things, rather than being just average at many. Don’t try to do everything. You have a right to say no. Remember that others may take you for granted. Be polite but be firm in saying NO wherever and whenever required, as obliging and saying yes will only build false hopes…

In Black & White

In Black... The most visited and known ones are the Rustaq and Nakhl hot springs, which have become tourist attractions today. But there is a lesser known, yet historic and ancient hot mineral laden spring in Oman, which is very close to the capital area

Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Editor-in-chief

OMAN’S UNIQUE HOT SPRINGS Just think of it… nature only knows to give. It never takes anything in return. Look around us: nature swathes us up with so much natural abundance. We live in peace with the gentle breeze that embrace our cheeks, the cold clear water that we quench our thirst with… Nature always mystified us with its way of giving us more that what we actually require. Oman is a naturally rich country, endowed with plenty of resources and richness that make our lives better. And the Sultanate is unique thanks to its extensive mountain terrain and the pristine beaches. But, it is also known for its mysterious hot springs. The most visited and known ones are the Rustaq and Nakhl hot springs, which have become tourist attractions today. But there is a lesser known, yet historic and ancient hot mineral laden spring in Oman, which is very close to the capital area. And that is Al Hammam hot springs, which actually waters the quaint little Hammam village, a green oasis in the midst of the mountain range in the Bausher area, which the B&W team visited. Some myths, real-life tales surround this little hot spring and it is detailed here in the following pages.

I have also visited the hot springs of Ain Al Kasfah of Rustaq, which are said to have medicinal value. The hot springs have an average water temperature of 45C and are considered among the Sultanate’s most ancient springs. Ain Al Kasfah attracts visitors from far and wide who come to bathe in the hot water or benefit from its therapeutic qualities; it offers an effective cure for a wide range of diseases and rheumatism. Others just come to watch the water bubbling endlessly out of the ground and as a visitor I always wondered how the water is always hot! I have heard of various other countries that have utilised the natural springs to promote medical tourism by converting the springs to natural spas. Oman should take the path too and perhaps, sometime in the future, this beautiful country can actually become an exclusive spa destination.

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B&W Xclusive 34 34February February7-20, 7-20,2011 2011

Hot springs eternal

Black 35 Black & & White White 35

Abu’l Kalam, 47, balanced himself on a small and thin wooden platform and then knelt. All around him were mountains, rocks, sparse but strange vegetation, a rough hewn, sinuous path and myriad goat tracks and rocks and more rocks... Abu Jaffer

B&W Xclusive

In that silent, breeze-still, stark environment, almost as though he had heard a muezzin’s silent call for prayer to the faithful, Abu’l Kalam prostrated and placed his forehead on the same wooden stand, which was just enough to hold his frail body. Abu’l Kalam, was saying his Maghrib prayers when we reached his humble abode (a small, dilapidated makeshift shack) covering another new cemented structure, located in the rock-jungle confines of a massive wadi, just around seven to eight kilometers from Sunub area in Bausher wilayat.

36 February 7-20, 2011

Ruins of an an old watchtower serve as an effective landmark to the hot springs

So, we waited. While we waited, we took in the scenery, which was a confluence of rocks, of various sizes, hues, colours and of scientific value too. We were right in the middle of a wadi that, for even the untrained eye, looked battered by some natural force. And, for those visitors, who have been in this area some six or seven years back will be shocked to see the wadi, not only expanded, but boulders and rocks in sheer disarray. Two cyclones had ravaged the area in the last five years, gouging out the entrails of the main wadi and scattering boulders and rocks and at times, scraping the bottom of the rocky wadi ground. Yet, the havoc wreaked by nature, seems to have given the wadi a natural resilience, a kind of hardened feel, as though it now had the temperament to weather any storm. LONE SENTINELS After he had said his prayers, Abu’l Kalam deftly got up from his little

wooden platform and then came forward and greeted us. He and his other Bangladeshi partner, Abu Jaffer, also 47, are the two sentinels that guard a unique thermal hot springs in the middle of nowhere…well, almost. For Al Hammam or Hammam Ali is not exactly remote, as it is only few kilometers away from civilisation. But, the area around the hot spring, with its swirl of rocks, mountains, and silence can be a bit imposing. Especially when darkness falls and you have nothing around you, except blinding darkness, punctured sometimes by a wan moonlight, mountains of silence and a light breezy eeriness creeping towards you from every corner. Abu’l Kalam told us how he and his partner, whom we met only the next morning, had been mute supervisors for the last 25 years or so of this eternal hot spring, which was now successfully watering a village of 300 Black & White 37

The spring water is 75 Degrees Celsius hot. You can actually poach eggs if you place the eggs on the water for five minutes

odd people and making it a tiny green paradise, with fruit rich farms thriving even in the blistering heat. SMOKING HAMMAM The hot spring, which is now safely ensconced in a walled and cemented area, gurgles out from a hole in the ground and has been there for thousands of years, natives of the Hammam village claim, but add that the only major myth surrounding it was about the way the people in that area discovered it.

B&W Xclusive

CAMEL MISHAP Many hundreds of years ago, a Bedouin’s adventurous camel trodded off one moonlit night on the untrodden path of the wadi, and somehow tripped and fell into a slightly water-filled wadi area. 38 February 7-20, 2011

The next morning, less than six or seven hours later, the Bedouin discovered to his dismay that his camel was just a bag of bones in the wadi water, which he was amazed to find was scalding hot. Most of the villagers, and even the expatriate (mostly Bengali) workers, relate versions of the same story. But, other sordid tales of people falling into the hot spring or getting hurt were thankfully absent, which meant clearly that the villagers respected this hot-warm water supply and did not fool around the area. Largely, even the animals stayed clear of the spring, but, when we visited, we saw a rotting, dead goat in the wadi, away from the falaj.

25 YEARS AGO… As the skies darkened rapidly that evening, we sped off from the scene and came back the next day to find Abu’l Kalam replaced by the affable Abu Jaffer, who took us back to the time 25 years ago, when there was just one water pump in operation at the falaj. “That sole pump used to connect to the falaj system, which fed the village. Much has changed since that time and now there are more pumps and of higher standards. The cyclones, which hit this area, wreaked damage, but, despite all that, the spring has not been affected and it continues on its duty, almost as though nothing happened,” Abu Jaffer told ‘Black & White’. “But, earlier, there were plenty of springs – big and small -- around the area and all of them had tributaries leading to the main spring, all unified in their hot and steamy approach. However, this Ain Al Thuwara, is the hottest.” Abu Jaffer noted that the Hammam village is located two kilometers away from the hot spring and the newly cemented falaj that hugged the wadi walls reached its location in around 20 to 30 minutes. The water would become cold by the time it reaches the village and it was used for irrigation purposes. “The cyclones and heavy rains in the last five years have almost destroyed and closed down many hot springs. Authorities and villagers have built in new cement structures to preserve the hot spring. In 2006, the rain waters washed away many mountainous structures and rocks, but in all these years, the hot water has never stopped flowing. At the origin of the spring, it is much hotter and we cannot touch it, but once it is pumped out, it slowly cools

Ain Al Thuwara, the hot spring of Al Hammam, is one of the oldest and the hottest in Oman

down while flowing in to the village.” Abu Jaffer noted that he and Abu’l Kalam looked after the water pumps, which are three in number today and pumps out water all 24 hours. “Since we are two, we work in shifts. Other than the villagers, there are hardly any people around and sometimes we do see Bedouins who pass by with their sheep and goats. This water is also drinkable they say, but since there are minerals in it, no one uses it for drinking purposes.” NO LITTERING PLEASE Abu Jaffer watched us as we stumbled over the rocks and tried to follow the cemented falaj that curved along the wadi from Hammam Ali. From the distance, the falaj

appeared to be like a babbling brook. But, when we got closer, the steam that emanated from it was a dead giveaway. There was a small graveyard on the side of the falaj as it hugged the wadi walls, right towards the village. Further up in the village, there were two enclosed, well-maintained and clean hammams – one was for the ladies, the other for men, one of the villagers noted. He didn’t seem too happy with our visit as he rightly noted that some of the visitors were mindlessly dirtying the area. While they welcomed visitors, they were unhappy that some of them tended to litter and even dirty the area. Black & White 39

B&W Xclusive 40 February 7-20, 2011

Hammam is a small village, like a green oasis in the midst of nowhere and is watered by the hot spring. The villagers have built a falaj system in the early years and channelised the water to irrigate the farms

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Saif Al Nabhani

Other than these stray villagers, the village looked largely deserted as the menfolk were away for work, and it seemed mostly peopled with expatriates, almost all of them hailing from Bangladesh.

B&W Xclusive

THERAPEUTIC QUALITIES We made a quick visit to the home of Saif bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Nabhani to get some extra points on the hot springs as well as the village in which he lived. Saif Al Nabhani, who was in his late 60s, and a retired Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) personnel, was quite effusive and proud of his green village. He noted that the hot spring was a fount of wellness. He extolled on the therapeutic qualities of the hot springs and also said he did not mind drinking it. “It has always helped me when I had sore throat,” he noted, beaming at us. HOTTEST SPRING IN OMAN Ain Al Thuwara, the hot spring of Al Hammam, is one of the oldest and the hottest in Oman. “In the late 80s, 42 February 7-20, 2011

while I was still a staff at the PDO, some officials came down here and measured the temperature of the spring water. “It was found to be 75 Degrees Celsius. The hot springs at Nakhl and Rustaq were found to be only 45 °C. This is one of the hottest and oldest hot springs! You can actually poach eggs if you place the eggs on the water for five minutes. You can see steaming water flowing out of the rocks at all hours,” Saif Nabhani said. CAMEL STORY We asked him if he knew any myths and stories surrounding the Hammam. But, they were not too many, he said. The sheer existence of the hot spring was itself a pleasant enigma and it was not necessary to add on any myths about it. “But, of course, I have heard old stories from my father and grand father about a poor camel falling in to the hot spring and getting scalded. That is how it was discovered probably.

The villagers have built a falaj system in the early years and channelised the water to irrigate the farms.

The water is also believed to cure rheumatism and the villagers have built rooms, which has a facility to sit and dip your legs in

It is an ancient hot spring, hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of years old. There are some stories, but don’t know whether they are all true. The water from the spring remains hot and steaming even in winter when the temperature is dropping or when it is pouring. And it has never dried up in my 60 plus years. The water is always in abundance and is actually the life of this village,” Saif Nabhani said. GREEN OASIS “Our Hammam is a small village, like a green oasis in the midst of nowhere and is watered by this hot spring. The villagers have built a falaj system in the early years and channelised the water to irrigate the farms. If you look around, you will see greenery everywhere. We cultivate lemons, grapefruit, dates, mangoes in this village and it serves as a major source of revenue. This village is inhabited by 300 plus people and comes under the

Bausher wilayat. Our farms and lands are irrigated by the falajs for three hours on alternation.” MINERAL LADEN AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES Saif Nabhani believes that the water from the spring is full of minerals that have therapeutic properties. He had no qualms in drinking it, especially to gargle his throat when it got sore. If you visit the spring and sit with your face close to the falaj, you can have a nice face steam. “The hot spring will help clean your face. It is supposed to clean your skin and enhance it. The water is also believed to cure rheumatism and you must have visited the two rooms, which has a facility to sit and dip your legs in the hot/warm water. We do get enthusiastic tourists and visitors, not too many of them, but still not bad,” he concluded.

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

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

One man wanted to give Bitter Batter some “major” info. “It is secret,” he said, coming close to us and making it as though he was going to reveal something er, major. But, however much we pretend, we are suckers for info, for any tidbit or morsel of information that is er, secret, and the like. In fact, the more secret, the more arcane, the better and we will fall for it, hook, line and sinker. Somehow, a small whiff of controversy is enough to get us into the cloak and dagger mood and get cracking on the story, except, in this case, there is no story. Pooh! Our excitement deflated like a pricked balloon when the man whispered

some silly stuff about a company and how one of its managers was going to be in trouble because he was found to be siphoning off funds. Okay, we said, wondering what the big deal was, especially when we heard about the amount he had apparently ‘taken’ from the company. It was a small amount. Moreover, when we probed deeper into the ‘story’ we realised that the man was not even convicted of any crime; he was only suspected of a crime and it wasn’t even proved. Apparently, this Small Throat had some issue with this manager and was trying to get back at him using us. Sorry sir, we cannot bat for you… You do that yourself!

New birthday greetings trend

We believe that when we call someone to attend a party, they should come and enjoy at our expense. But, then there are various ways of looking at it. Some would not bat an eyelid if they are ‘invited’ to a party and told to bring along some bubbly and perhaps some sandwiches too. It is not a big deal because some segments of the society do host such bring-your-food along or pleasebring-some-gifts party. That is nothing unusual. We also learnt that there are other ways of obtaining greetings on your birthday.

For instance, imagine you are celebrating your birthday. On the day, you will find yourself swamped by more than a dozen birthday greetings from rank strangers, well, almost. The reason is that your loved one would have requested his/her friends and contact circle to please wish you either by an email or SMS message. So, on your birthday, you will find yourself to be pleasantly surprised at receiving birthday greetings from one and all. You are never going to complain that people forgot your birthday! Ha!


We can’t bat for you

44 February 7-20, 2011

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

Leaflet carpets

Employer harassment

Eight pieces of 340g tomato ketchup costs only OMR1. Or, if you are interested in hot sauces, you can get around 36 88ml pieces for just OMR2. Okay, forget sauces and ketchups. How about some fresh Indian beef for just under OMR 3/kg or fresh Pakistani mutton for an almost similar rate? Or 350gms jam bottles for just OMR1? All of that fine. But, it does get on your nerves when these enthusiastic distributors pave your doorstep with these sheets by the dozen. The housewife opens her front door in

the morning and she is greeted by a dozen or more leaflets. She would like to happily browse through them and make her husband tag along in the evening as she makes the purchase, but what everyone finds irritating is the uncommon piling of these supermarket leaflets on the doorstep. And if they put in only one leaflet of a company, fine, but no, they often put in more than one from the same supermarket. Do they get paid for putting more than one leaflet at the doorstep?

We only hear about housemaids being harassed. What about the other side? Housemaids harassing the employer? In this case, it is not just one housemaid, but, two housemaids who are reportedly harassing their lady employer. According to the lady of the house, these two maids (one, basically employed to look after the children, and the other, as a cook) were quite good when they started working there, but, slowly over the months, they get corrupted, mixing with other newfound friends in the neighbourhood and soon they began to back answer; refuse to do work; refuse to obey and even gallivant off on personal missions on occasions. This reached to such a head that the lady employer is planning to seek the help of the officials of the embassy concerned and either come to an immediate truce, or send them back. “Frankly, I don’t want them to stay back, but, I am only looking back at the time they came and how hard working, genuine and spirited these women were… I wonder what is possessing them now?!”

Black & White 45


Grand Finale

On May 12, 2011 Preliminary

On May 4-5, 2011


Watch out for the entry form in the next issue of Black & White

46 February 7-20, 2011

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 47

Your stars ARIES March 21-April 20 Many Aries natives will soon expand their circle of friends or love interests. Pay close attention to family plans or promises made to older relatives. Watch also for minor aches and pains effecting the legs, lower back or rib cage: avoid physical strain this week.

TAURUS April 21-May 20 Family discussions and home decisions will be productive over the next few days. Key areas of influence are romantic expectations, home duties, daily social schedules and private information between friends. Much of this will be intense and unavoidable.

CANCER June 22-July 23

LEO July 24-August 23

A close friend or relative may challenge your social ideas or romantic promises this week. Don’t waver: this is not the time to let others dictate your public behaviour. Expect slow progress: the next few weeks long-term relationships will need to be gently nurtured.

Public duties and social accountability are key themes this week. Partners, managers or key officials may now be purposely avoiding important money issues. Don’t be derailed or dismissed: clarity and factual information will tell the true story.

LIBRA September 24-October 22 Social reminders and past emotional information may reoccur. Pay close attention to romantic loyalty, social announcements and group appearances: both friends and lovers will now be sensitive to issues of integrity and public acceptance. Your business and financial insight will be highly accurate. CAPRICORN December 23-January 20


ABRAHAM LINCOLN (FEBRUARY 12, 1809 – APRIL 15, 1865) served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the country through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserved the Union, and ended slavery. Lincoln has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

Romantic partners or close companions may express changing social needs. Fresh activities, boredom with the past and unique forms of learning are accented. You may also experience the arrival of forgotten debts. Reconnect with distant friends or recently withdrawn loved ones. 48 February 7-20, 2011

SCORPIO October 23-November 22 Co-workers and business officials may demand quick explanations of your methods, time commitments or past workplace activities. Managers may feel challenged by poorly organised events, duties or schedules. Avoid taking on the responsibilities of fellow workers. AQUARIUS January 21-February 19 Lovers and marital partners may ask for greater emotional and social distraction. Someone close may now be feeling misunderstood or isolated. Spend extra time planning outdoor activities, hobbies or new forms of entertainment: key issues here may actually more involve boredom than isolation.

GEMINI May 21-June 21 Workplace and social communications will be demanding this week. Watch for new business restrictions, unusual contractual obligations and rare social information to arrive. Expect close friends or lovers to sense your revised outlook and ask gently probing questions. VIRGO August 24-September 23 Old habits and workplace practices will be challenged. Expect minor business delays to now broaden: over the next few weeks authority figures will require extra time to address outstanding employment concerns or incomplete records. SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22 Close relatives will be moody and introspective. Past issues of family responsibility and long forgotten relationships may be a key concern: watch for loved ones to now be nostalgic and open to past influences. Emotional obligations will be deeply felt. Do your part. PISCES February 20-March 20 Workplace flirtation may be quite distracting: new employees, social contacts and unique emotional messages at work will all be delightfully engaging over the next few days. Enjoy this newfound energy and social attention but also remain sensitive to the social problems of loved ones.

By Seyad Farook

Nature's Quest

What is Snake Venom?

Seyad Farook, ophiologist/ field herpetologist at the Sultan Qaboos University

Venom is a modified form of saliva consisting of a complex mixture of different proteins and polypeptides. It is composed of several enzymes having different effects on the body. Venom could be classified into many types but for general purposes it is classed into three or four common types. Snake venom differs from species to species and among the same species depending on their locality, habitat and the availability of prey. The primary function of snake venom is to kill or subdue prey for eating. Due to the fact that many types of snake venom have strong digestive enzymes, the secondary function in some species is to use it as a digestive agent. The digestive process begins even before the prey is swallowed. Certain snakes use venom as a direct means of defense. But this is not common. Snakes bite is used in defense only if they have no choice, if they are provoked or restrained. Biting is always a last resort when they have no chance to escape. Sometimes snakes give a “dry bite�.

Black & White 49


the Fun Facts


Coffee is one of the most precious commodities known till date. Loved by so many, coffee has developed its own culture. Across the world a coffee house or lets say ‘café’ can be found on every corner. Coffee has a history almost as long as ours. But like most things coffee is great in moderation. Here are few stimulating, fun facts about coffee:

50 50February February7-20, 7-20,2011 2011

THE STIMULATING FACTS: Coffee is only grown near the equator, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn, within a 1,000 mile limit. 1,200 different chemical components are in coffee. More than half of these components make up the distinguished flavour of coffee. There is between 80 and 140 milligrams of caffeine in a seven ounce cup of coffee. Around 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide, making it the most popular beverage. Damascus, Syria, and Istanbul first opened coffeehouses around the 1530′s. It wasn’t until 1554 that Turkey opened theirs. 'Bunnu' is the Arabic word for coffee bean. The Dutch were the first to bring coffee out of Mocha and introduce it to the rest of the world. Their first

cultivation was in Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka, in 1658. Do you know why the physical properties of coffee are so important? Depending on their appearance, weight, size, volume, shape, colour, solubility, moisture content, texture and so on, coffee beans will help to produce the best coffee drink. Colour is also an indicator of the degree in which beans are roasted. After beans have been dried to even moisture content right for storing, the beans are separated into grades by their size, shape, and colour. Moisture content is extremely important due to coffee being porous so it is highly susceptible to microscopic fungi, which affect taste and aroma. Winnowing or floatation is the process used to physically separate and remove defective beans according to their density, also

removing twigs and stones. Did you know that coffee has no calories? It is naturally a no-calorie drink. It takes about 45 coffee beans to make one shot of espresso. In Japan, the Japanese bathe in fermented pineapple pulp mixed with coffee grounds for a beauty treatment that reduces wrinkles and tones the skin. You can put some cold coffee or coffee grounds into the dirt of your ailing plants to revive them. Because it takes five years for a coffee tree to reach maturity, and it only produces 1-2 pounds per tree, the price of coffee is significant. “Coffee Day” is actually celebrated as a holiday in Costa Rica on September 12 and in Ireland on September 19, and Japan actually has “Coffee Day” on October 1.

Tongue twisters Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup

Black 51 Black & & White White 51

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

52 February 7-20, 2011

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Black & White 53

Not just because I like it!

Laila, Omani graduate student of Nizwa University

By Laila Ibrahim Obaid Al-Gharbi

Learning curve

If you may have noticed, there is one simple question, which always gets a lazy answer! It is a question about an important issue, but, somehow gets a bad, boring, careless reply. It is of course a question on a subject on everyday life, but despite the fact that it is on a significant matter, we still give out a very lazy and boring reply. The question is: ‘Why have you selected this major/job/friend?’ What will you day? Ha, you may start laughing at yourself, yeah! It is not only in Oman that you are confronted with such questions where you will lash out a sardonic reply…you will find people buzzing you with these queries everywhere you go. So, I started thinking about it seriously. Well, answering such questions with just a ‘because I like it’ is a clear indication about two things. First, it could be viewed as laziness; some people feel bored to answer you although they know the right answer. To such people I guess they should stop saying that because it is not an answer that could be appropriate to that critical question. Second, it could be because of the lack of awareness of that thing or the importance of that person to us. Indeed, when you feel that something or someone is not that important to you, you won’t care nor give it attention. Therefore, change your mind and be more reasonable. Look at that thing or that person and see what it means for you and then start answering but not with a silly, lazy reply. As I have studied and met different people, I have noticed that most of them never stop to think. They usually have this readymade lazy answer and say it loudly, ‘because I like it’. Here is an example, if you ask me; why have you selected English and education as a subject to study?! I reply: ‘because I like it’. Just think how it sounds to you! On the other hand, another person said: Because I believe that education is a great message and I can make positive changes on students, which might add value to their life. See the vast difference between these two replies! Such question may seem so simple, but it is very important that we respond it in the manner it deserves and not relegate it to something very insignificant. You might have come across people who do not give importance to such queries and so, if possible, please try to get the right message across to them too. From now on, before you answer, take time to think then show how important that thing/person is to you. Then, you will feel the difference! Remember that those who come up with good and suitable response are always winners!

54 January February21-February 7-20, 2011 6, 2011


Hot soups for cold winters By Praba Iyer An essential ingredient for any kind of soup is a good flavourful stock. Fresh vegetable stock can be made and frozen in ice cube trays and stored in the freezer for up to three months. Chicken and fish stock can be stored in the freezer for up to two months. Thickeners add texture to the soup, while a garnish not only adds colour, but also enhances the taste and flavour of the soup. Check this out:

Praba Iyer is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. She was the Associate Chef at Greens Restaurant in Fort Mason, SF. She teaches custom cooking classes in the bay area

MAMMA’S MINESTRONE SOUP My all time favourite chunky soup. Its hearty, healthy, nutritious and a wholesome meal. I use fresh vine ripe tomatoes (about 6-7). Place the tomatoes in hot boiling water for 10 seconds, remove and peel off the skin, squeeze out the seeds and puree it in a blender.

•1 Tbsp fresh Basil •1 cup garbanzo beans, cooked and rinsed •1 cup red kidney beans cooked and rinsed •1 /2 cup cooked, small elbow pasta •Salt and Pepper to taste

Ingredients: •4 cups vegetable stock •1 Tbsp olive oil •4 cloves of garlic chopped fine •1 red onion, medium size chopped fine •1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine •1 celery stalk, diced fine •1 small zucchini diced •1 bay leaf •1 Tbsp fresh oregano •3 fresh sage leaves •3 cups fresh vine ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

Garnish 1 Tbsp fresh pesto sauce or 1 tbsp fresh basil 1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese. Method: Heat oil in a stock pot and sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic, carrots, zucchini and sauté for a few minutes. Now add the bay leaf, fresh oregano, sage and basil leaves and sauté for a few seconds and then add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, red kidney beans and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes. Now add the cooked pasta. Garnish with pesto and parmesan cheese and serve.

SIMPLY SWEET CORN SOUP This soup is very popular in Indo- Chinese restaurants. To make it a little hardy I use the starch water left over after I cook rice, for this recipe. If starch water is used, you don’t have to use a corn flour thickener. Ingredients: •4 cups vegetable stock •1 Tsp oil •1 cup fresh corn kernels •1 cup canned corn, ground into a paste •2 cloves garlic, chopped fine •1 cup frozen peas and carrots (diced) •2 tsp soy sauce

•1 tsp white pepper powder •1 tsp corn flour, mixed in water (optional) •Salt and pepper to taste Garnish 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped fine Method: Heat oil in a stock pot, add garlic, fresh corn, carrots and peas. And sauté for a few minutes. Add the ground corn, vegetable stock, soy sauce, white pepper and salt. Thicken with corn flour, only if the soup is watery. Check seasonings and let it simmer for 10 minute until the soup is well blended. Enjoy! Black & White 55

just kidding

Your baby is very precious and it is hard to imagine that soon your little one will be all grown up. Are you continually searching for ways to document these events in order to reminisce once the child is older? As you watch your baby’s first smiles, his first steps, and even his first grimace on tasting mashed bananas, you’ll want to remember those moments forever. The first year of a baby’s life is filled with so many great events. Pictures are a great way to preserve these memories, but storing the photos in fun ways can be the issue. But, thanks to modern technology, you have more ways of capturing special memories than your parents ever dreamed of.

56 February 7-20, 2011

Capture the memories of your babies first years with these ideas: RECORD THE DAY EVENTS When the baby is born, collect things to mark the day and gather together tokens and mementos of your life at the time. Newspaper clippings of major events, anything on that particular day, happenings from all over the world… put them all in a box that you can open together when he/she turns 18. The big kid will be astonished at what happened in the world on the day he/she was born! SCRAP BOOK OF MEMORIES Start with the palm and foot prints. Use lipstick or colours and take

an imprint. Buy a camera. Take as much photos as possible. Now that technology is very advanced, and the world is going digital, it is easy to take as many photos as possible. Choose two or three of every occasion and print them out and create a large scrap book. Keep track of beautiful milestones and memorable moments with a baby book. You can make your own, scrapbook-style, or go the storebought route. As well as all the key dates and events, add photos, foot and handprints and other notes – you’ll love looking back at that time of his/her life together.

COLLECTOR’S ITEMS Every passing stage is precious. You cannot hold on to every little thing, but there will be plenty of baby things you’ll want to hold on to, like his/her favourite soft toy or precious blanket, the first dress… To make it less cluttered, you could just pick one or two collectibles every year and pack them up with dates noted on it in cartons. START A BLOG With free blogging sites you could start a blog on your baby’s name and start writing notes on it… or even keep a yearly diary… Black & White 57

Hale n healthy

Fruitful glow!

58 February 7-20, 2011

Everybody knows that fruits are good for health and quite often your doctor advises you to take five varieties of fruits and vegetables every day. A healthy diet is essential for healthy skin... and fruits and vegetables are fundamental to a healthy eating plan. But, fruits have been found useful for healthy and beautiful skin too.

Nature knows best... enticing us with a beautiful array of colourful, health-enhancing foods. The bright pigments in fruits and vegetables are an indication of their disease fighting capabilities. They are rich in various nutrients and powerful antioxidants. Do you need fruits and vegetables for healthy skin? Absolutely! When the world is going herbal, here are some fruitful tips to get your skin aglow: You can use the fruits blend of vitamins and minerals to help your skin de-stress. All it takes is a few seasonal fruits to restore that perfect glow on your face. SOME HEALTHY FRUITS FOR YOUR SKIN: Energy boosting fresh juice has powerful healing and rejuvenating properties that can help people with skin problems Fruits have natural healing qualities and here are few juices that can be handy: APPLE JUICE - is an effective home remedy for healing wrinkles, itching and inflammation, they can also be used as conditioner and toner. For many centuries, apples have been used in skin-healing. When taking a bath, remember to add a cup of apple juice and that will helps to cleanse and soften your skin. FRESH APRICOT JUICE - is good for sunburn, itching and eczema. AVOCADO - is an effective facial mask. BANANA - another inexpensive but effective facial mask. CUCUMBER - can prevent pimples, wrinkles, blackheads and dryness of the face. GUAVA LEAVES – they may be boiled and then used as natural antiseptic. LEMONS - are the most popular home beauty ingredient. Many use lemons to cleanse and freshen the skin and hair. Lemon slices can be used to soften rough skin spots such as elbows and heels. Lemons can be a very powerful deodoriser, just simply mix a few teaspoons of lemon juice in your bath and you will feel

fresh the whole day. Lemon juice can be added to your favourite cleanser or shampoo to refresh and tone your scalp, as well as prevent dandruff. LIME JUICE - is a natural aid for beautiful skin. Frequent drink of lime juice will help you to look young and beautiful. It will also help cure acne. It is also known to help in controlling oily skin, improve a dull and greasy complexion, improve rough and dry skin, relieve tired eyes and remove freckles MANGO LEAVES - when boiled can be used as antiseptic. ORANGE JUICE - effective remedy for pimples and acne, and can also be used for scar and blemish removal. ORANGE AND GREEN PAPAYA is used to remove whiteheads, boils and spots. It also contains the papain enzyme, which is effective in skin whitening. PEACH SKIN - It can be made good anti-wrinkle cream. PINEAPPLE - are good skin softeners which cleanse and rejuvenate dull and dry skin. FRUIT FACE MASKS Raspberry skin brightener •2 tsp plain yoghurt •75g raspberries •3 drops sweet orange essential oil Pulp raspberries in a food processor then sieve over a bowl, reserving flesh and seeds. Add flesh and seeds to yoghurt and blend well; drop in essential oil and stir again. Apply to a cleansed face, avoiding eyes and mouth. Leave on for 15 minutes. Remove with a washcloth dunked in warm water. Apple blemish blaster •1 apple Pour boiling water over a slice of apple and wait a few minutes until it becomes soft. Remove from water, wait until it’s just warm, and then place on the pimple. Leave for 20 minutes, then peel off and sweep the area lightly with a moistened cotton wool pad. Black & White 59

Be financially free! Are you geared up to create a financially secure future — one that doesn’t revolve around a man? The stories that we generally hear about spendthrift shopaholic women, however true they may be, do not constitute the bulk of entire woman folk. If you’re a woman who craves financial independence, don’t miss these smart ways to save money! Don’t let your anxieties or fears hold you back – most of them are groundless. A smart way for women to save is to find compelling reasons to save money! Why do you want to be financially free? What are your goals?

A LITTLE INTROSPECTION now - Are you an emotional spender? A compulsive shopper? Do you have faulty money beliefs? You can’t achieve financial independence - or save money unless you deal with your money issues. These money saving hints for women aren’t about sticking to a budget. Nope. They’re about stopping emotional spending, figuring out your money personality, and achieving financial independence. If you’re an emotional spender (you shop to avoid stress or sadness), then you might think about finding meaning in your life without spending money. This won’t just help you become a financially independent woman; it’ll help you get emotionally healthy too!

Shape n sound

Be realistic about what you can and can’t afford. Can you really afford to get your hair cut and coloured every month? Be practical and strong — cut back on expenses that aren’t essential. Be credit card savvy — know how much interest you are paying on your cards and try to keep only one card for emergency purchases or travel. Limit your craving to own more cards and never shop with a credit card.

60 February 7-20, 2011

FIND CLEAR REASONS TO SAVE MONEY Find compelling reasons to save money, rather than a general reason. Figure out what you’re saving money for. Don’t just save money for your kids’ college education or to pay off your mortgage. Save money for fun stuff! Maybe a vacation, some diamonds? Make two days a week ‘No Spend’ days. Make up your mind that you will not shell out even one baisa. Get up a little earlier and have breakfast at home (or even take it to work) and make you lunch. Every time you choose to take your lunch to work instead of buying it, you are saving money. Write it down so that you get motivated; you’ll be shocked at how easy it’ll be to save money. Or a better way is every time you buy a cup of coffee, lunch, or a newspaper, magazine, DVD or other entertainment material, put the same amount of money into an account intended for saving or bill payments! Stop buying DVDs and CDs. How many times do you really need to watch your favourite movies or listen to your favourite songs? So go for rentals wisely.

Don’t buy at random, put a target to acquiring your favourite want list. Make it a habit to look at the things you want in terms of how long it takes to earn them. Also start writing accounts with analytical details, like three broad categories, a) necessities, b) comforts c) luxuries, and then subcategories, like kitchen expenses, medical expenses, housemaintenance items(taxes, power-bill, etc), non-routine items like clothing, festivals, etc, and then individualwise personal expenses. A periodical break-up and summary of these expenses would give a fair idea as to where the woman-incharge of the household can find scope to

economise, save and conserve. This tip does work with everyone, not just woman, or a spendthrift woman.

Black & White 61

Grey matter


By Priya Arunkumar

I punched 4 numbers into the thing. Incorrect. Once more try, **** Again, Incorrect PIN! My brain just wasn’t working. This can't be me, I always remember things. Standing in front of the ATM, I felt like a fool, lost in a maze of numbers. Quietly I ejected my card and walked back to my car. Passwords, pin codes, my mind is taking its toll, I guess. Am I stressed out, no; getting old, no way! At least my sense of humour is intact. Did I or didn’t I? But as I sit down to work, there is this nagging thought that I didn’t do something I ought to have done. My fresh mind says, no it is ok, I am ok, there is nothing to it. But, some where the nagging continues… Then like a flash of a lightning it hit me, God, I forgot to switch of the cooker! I look at my colleague who is busy jabbing at the keyboard, and slowly tell him, I think I forgot to switch off my cooker, shall I just go home and check? I guess you are losing your marbles, you said the same thing last week, he said stifling a yawn. Panic, panic! I don’t seem to remember closing the gas burner. But, I know, every day I leave home, I check every little thing. Tripping down memory lane, I can recall things I have done and the places I have visited two decades ago clearly and I have crystal clear memories of my childhood days. I consider myself fantastic at memory and remembering all sorts of names and faces from years back. I still

remember that as kids we had created up a forgetting-trick and it worked pretty well. I haven’t used it in ages, but none of the things I used it to forget have come back to haunt me, especially images of horror movies. The secret of the trick was that you don’t actually need to forget things: it’s good enough to not accidentally remember them! Look at me today, I’m appalling. I need to invent a remembering trick! I boast that I can do better with faces, though, after a recent episode, I stopped my claim. A lady came up to me and enthusiastically recognised me, started chatting with me as if we’d known each other from long. I swear to God I had no recollection of her whatsoever. She told me her name and what she did there and finally I put on an act like I remembered, I really didn’t. Not even her name rang a bell. Sigh! Time to jot down things, post-it notes, keep a diary… The onset of old age has finally kicked in, ha! Behold in the caves, and caverns of my memory...I run; I fly; I dive on this side and that, as far as I can, I even drive… and there is no end; I know bits of information are missing; it is grey matter turning black. It is frustrating when I forget things I want to remember and lose track of a necessary piece of information, though I am pretty sure the brain may have a good reason not to hold on to some things. They say the human brain uses forgetting to get rid of unpleasant memories. But what about the things that we want to remember and can’t?

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