Vol.3 Issue 47II July 7-20, 2012 17 Sha'ban-1 Ramadan
'Karate Kumar' breaks record p8 Facemail Wednesdays at Nawras p14 Multitasking or compromising? p46
Magic of the Ou dp
An autistic child, like any child, possesses the potential for great achievements. Like any child, all it takes is love, respect â€“ and a little extra understanding and support when they need it.
Can you see the genius?
Magic of Oud
A powerhouse called Kumar
The magic of Oud is that it creates a music that makes us soar along with it to the past, the present and the future and leaves us enraptured. It is difficult to peg the Oud down to a single definition. It seems to have a variety of definitions and like its lineage, which can probably be dated back to the pre-Islamic era, the music of the Oud is as old as it could be and as new and refreshing as it sounds, or rather feels
Karate Kumar broke not just 4000 tiles in 13 minutes 12 seconds, but also a major record – the Limca Book of World Records
Facemail Wednesdays at Nawras Oman’s customer friendly communications provider’s concept Wednesday’s has become a roaring hit. Nawras has come out with a ‘no email’ policy on Wednesdays.
Multitasking or compromising?
Do women really love to multitask? Or, is it just a compromise of sorts? Studies have actually proven that women are better than men at juggling more than one task at a time
Published by: Muscat Press & Publishing House SAOC Black & White Postal address: P O Box 86, PC 115, Madinat Sultan Qaboos Office location: Hatat House A, II Floor, Suite No: 212, Wadi Adai Ph: 24565697 Fax: 24565496 Website: www.blackandwhiteoman.com Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org Printed Oman2012 Printers 4 Julyat7-20,
Editor-in-chief Managing editor Work editor Design & production Advt. & marketing
Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Priya Arunkumar Adarsh Madhavan Beneek Siraj Shannon D'Souza Priyanka Sampat
All about X, Y & Z
Relax, this is Muscat – such things don’t happen here! By Adarsh Madhavan
“Leave your car running and both of you come inside,” my brother’s friend told him. We were in Al Khuwair before my brother’s friend’s apartment building one late night many years ago. I had just landed in Oman. This was some 20 years back. My brother wanted to introduce me to his friend and also drop off my CV to him so that he could pass it on. We were to drop it earlier, but things got late and by the time we landed before the place, it was nearing midnight. You go up and pass the CV, I will wait here, I told my brother. “No, it is not right, you come up. We will just say hi, pass the CV and run back,” my brother insisted. As we were talking, my brother’s friend came down to the car and invited us both in. “Just come in quickly, meet my family and then go,” he said. As my brother hesitated, he told him to let the engine run, and we would all quickly run up and back. I wondered why my brother had to leave the engine running in the car and this worried me. By the time we went up and back, the car would have changed hands – someone would have run off with it! My mind was clouded with such thoughts and it really took an effort to listen to the lighthearted banter of my brother and his friend and the family. As soon as we got out of the flat, I ran to see if the car was there…and the car…was there! No one had touched it! No one had run away with it! Whew! My brother did not seem to be bothered about such things and I casually asked him why he took the risk of leaving a running car unattended to in the middle of the night, and what made him think that no one would whisk his car away into the unknown. My brother turned around at me, laughed and said: “Look, this is Muscat! Oman! Such things don’t happen here! Relax!” I tried to relax. Especially when I began to hear more and more of such statements: “You don’t have to really lock the front door of your home; no one will enter; nothing will be stolen – c’mon, this is Muscat! Oman! Relax!” I began to relax
a little more! “Women can walk at any time of the night unaccompanied. Not to worry here, relax, this is Muscat, Oman!” I really began to relax. C’mon, let me be, this is Muscat, Oman! And thus the years passed, so on and so forth. I slowly began to get the grip of the workings of Muscat and how its people – including myself – behaved. We were not like those in Dubai or any of the neighbouring areas – we were different. We were in Muscat, Oman. What applied to other countries did not matter here. In other countries, crimes were happening in broad daylight while we did not even have to lock the front doors of our homes, or be scared of leaving our cars running untended in the dark or fear about our women walking alone in the night. No, relax, this is Muscat, Oman. Drop such worries. It does not happen here. And so on, so forth. I was also lulled into such a relaxing lullaby for many years and I used to utter similar mantras to newcomers to this beautiful country that I used to bump into. Why isn’t any crime reported, one visiting journalist queried and I told him the then obvious: well, crime did not exist here and there was no point in reporting the petty ones; why destroy the serenity of the near-non-existent crime scene here? “Really? You really mean to say that there are no crimes here, or, is it because you are all afraid to report on them?” I had a good mind to snap at the man, but then, I have been slowly conditioned to a world where even rudeness did not beget rudeness and, so I let it be, laughed at their ignorance of the peaceful workings of a country that was now my second home. And now, now, I wonder how all of that has changed? Yes, there was a time when we all had a serene, near crime-free environment where we could laugh at a newcomer’s fears and say relax, this is Muscat, Oman! Such things don’t happen here! But when will we ever go back to that safe mode again? email@example.com Black & White 5
Private sector support for autism I agree (issue 46). Greater effort is required to bring the issue of autism out into the fore in Oman. Black & White has taken the first step, and it is a brilliant effort. But, more media support and more corporate support are required to take this autism drive to the next level. Many efforts such as this wear thin under circumstances that are purely monetary. Private sector companies can actually make the effort to help such causes with funds. Most centres, like the Muscat Autism Centre and the like, suffer primarily because of lack of funds. It is not that difficult to understand. Black & White has done its bit, now is the turn of the private sector companies to actually donate to this cause in a major way. If at least 10 companies come with OMR1000 or OMR2000 each, which will set up the seed capital, the centre can take off from there. The media has done its bit. The private sector has got no more excuses now – please help the cause of autism! Sanjana Satyajit, Al Ansab
Sudoko goes to Duqm I had participated in the Sudoku competition held by the B&W recently. It was quite interesting to know that a team of Sudoku enthusiasts came all the way from Duqm/ Haima to participate in this competition (All the way from Al Wusta region; issue 46). I had a chance to see them, but I never had the opportunity to congratulate them for showing so much interest in a game of puzzle like this. It is a great achievement by the B&W team to rope in contestants from the interiors of Oman. I am sure this will propel more contestants to participate from all walks of life and even far flung places in Oman. More power to you B&W! Nalini Sridhar, Ruwi
Three cheers for 'Sukodeers'!
It was good to read about the five ‘Sudokeers’ (a la Muscateers) who came all the way from the Wusta region to participate in the Sudoku competition. This is great news for all Sudoku enthusiasts in town and I applaud the efforts of B&W in this regard to popularise this game. I also see that the magazine has given this everyday puzzle a humanitarian twist with its slogan ‘Sudoku for Autism’. All the best! Salim bin Suleiman Al Rashdi, Muscat
6 July 7-20, 2012
My husband gets ‘Man Flu’ Yes, men do get the ‘Man Flu’. My husband is a frequent victim these days and I must admit it that it is quite annoying. He is quite a fit man and is into regular sports (cricket, football and is a fitness enthusiast). But, the day he catches a cold, you will see him whining and groaning like a little sniffling kid. I am not keen that you publish my name in this post here, but would like to confirm that there are men here also who have been bitten by the ‘Man Flu’! Men become real bores when they try to get such sympathetic attention. They are endowed with strong bodies, but I really wish they were also given strong minds! (Name withheld by request), Al Khuwair
Traffic violators should interact with victims Deaths due to road accidents in Oman are alarming in spite of various steps taken by the Royal Oman Police and corporates like Shell, Galfar, etc. It is of great concern to all. After seeing the recent road accident in Wattayah (opposite Toyota Showroom) where two professionals died for no fault of their own, it has been going on in my mind that something on an emergency basis should be done. I would like to suggest the following: 1) The identified traffic violators (as per ROP records, etc. - who have been caught – drunk and driven, driven vehicles while talking on mobile, over speeding, etc.) should be taken to the hospital where people who met with different accidents are undergoing treatment. By seeing them and interacting with them, the traffic violators will improve their attitude and this will bring necessary positive changes in their life. 2) The ROP and government should come out with documentary films on accidental deaths; interaction with the people who have seen the accidents, relatives and friends of the people who have died and to be shown in cinema theatres (in between the movies/pictures - not before starting / during interval / after the movie). Such documentaries should also be shown in big corporates for their staff members, colleges, etc. It will surely have a great impact. Krishnaswamy Iyer, Muscat. Mail your views and opinions at firstname.lastname@example.org Black & White 7
A powerhouse called
88July July7-20, 7-20,2012 2012
– breaker of karate records Around 20 years back, a thin, young kid stared at an imposing wall before him. From behind the wall, he could hear some strange war-like cries and it intrigued him. Soon his curiosity got the better of him and he somehow managed to scamper over the wall with the help of brick stone steps and take a peek. It was a karate school and students were busily practicing their moves there. It became an obsession for this under-10 year old kid and he began to pester his parents to join the classes. Finally, one day, little Kumar’s dream came true when his father somehow managed to raise the fee money for him to join the karate classes. “I fed myself on a daily diet of Karate classes and Bruce Lee movies and slowly my childhood craze for karate began to take a formal shape,” Oman’s own Indian Bruce Lee explains to the Black & White.
Black Black & & White White 99
Playground 10 July 7-20, 2012
LIKE TUTOR, LIKE DISCIPLE Tutored under the able hands of the popular and unconventional karate guru from Chennai, Shihan Hussaini, Kumar soon began to give wings to his karate passion. This daring streak must have been honed from Hussaini, who is known to perform death-defying stunts and still continues to amaze everyone with his amazing feats. 4000 TILES IN 13 MINUTES, 12 SECONDS Even today, Kumar’s, or Renshi G. Kumar, obsession for karate has hardly dimmed. And if a large wall is staring at him, this five-foot two inches, 68kgs martial arts powerhouse has the explosive strength in him to break through any barriers to his dreams. ‘Karate’ Kumar, as he is fondly known, is no stranger to large imposing walls. Just a few weeks back, he was staring at another huge wall – or rather a mountain of tiles – but he soon made mincemeat of them, breaking not just 4000 tiles in 13 minutes 12 seconds, but also a major record – the Limca Book of World Records. DREAM COME TRUE “It was a real dream come true for me!” Kumar said, noting how, after attempting daring and dangerous Guinness book attempts (in 2006), where he let five cars roll over his fingers and also had fire-lit marble slabs weighing 500kgs smashed to pieces on his chest, he was quite disappointed. “The cars went over my fingers, but unfortunately, one of my students helped me back on my feet and that act cost me heavily as they disqualified my attempt.” This disappointed him to such an extent that he did not plan any such record breaking events for sometime, then after a five year hiatus, this 4th Dan black belt karate master came back – in form on his 30th birthday (May 24, 2012) and smashed all 4000 tiles and entered into the Limca Book of World Records.
are queuing up to learn,” he says enthusiastically, adding that the record has also been a major shot in the arm for him. EFFORTS PAID OFF Getting the record was not an easy task, he admits. While he has been secretly nursing this dream to break the record for the last five years, this last one year saw him more determined than ever. In fact, despite the punishing schedule he maintained, Kumar became a pure vegetarian for a year. But, his painstaking efforts paid off.
He made mincemeat of them, breaking not just 4000 tiles in 13 minutes 12 seconds, but also a major record – the Limca Book of World Records
SHOT IN THE ARM The record, completed after his 20 years of dogged pursuit of excellence in karate, has made him the toast of the town and something of a hero among his students, friends and family. “I am now getting many enquiries and I also have a decent number of students at the institute (White Roses) that I work for.” Kumar, who came to Oman as a qualified A/c mechanic nine years ago, is a full time Karate teacher at the Muscat Unique Diamond Trading, where he imparts Karate lessons under the banner or Isshinryu Karate Kubudo Association. “There is a lot of interest in karate in Oman, and students --- young and old alike
FAMILY SUPPORT IS EVERYTHING In the earlier days, it was his parents who supported him all through his tough karate days. These days, it is his young wife Nithya who is his heart, soul and constant encouragement. “I owe all that I am today to my parents – my father, who gave me the support and encouragement and my mother, who despite all financial constraints, stood by me, paid my fees and supported me in every way. And here, in Muscat, it is Nithya – who, despite fearing for me when I attempt death defying stunts is also a source of constant encouragement. After breaking 4000 tiles, she nursed me back to health in a matter of days. Even during the 4000-tiles breaking attempt, I had great encouragement from all around me – without their cheering and support, I may not have made it – I am grateful to all the sponsors, supporters and well wishers who cheered me to my victory. That moment – breaking all the titles – was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life – it made me complete!” But, this pocket powerhouse is not content with just one record. He is already eying another mountainous wall – planning to break some thousand fire-lit tiles! Well, that is another title and another story! Black & White 11
Men may or may not be the primary providers in most homes, but they are surely there for their kids today. But, for many men, who are not as good at multitasking as women, the job of being good sons, good husband and good parents and still being a key provider is quite a task and it is here they may feel a bit out of place when they realise that they need to cover lot more ground.
12 12July 12 July Ju JJul uly7-20, u 7 7-20, -20 20 2 0,,2012 2012 201 012 2
NOT MULTITASKERS, YET… No, as a man, you do not have this power of multitasking. Yet, today’s man is better at it than your elderly counterpart. Still, do not try to compete. From the outset, understand and know your limitations. You are not a woman and hence, you will not be fully able to cook, clean, look after your kid, your parents, your wife and then still go to office and manage there, then come back and then get into the same rigmarole. Not easy and certainly not possible for many
DAD men; some are able to do it, but then these are remarkable men; not quite the ordinary. For the larger segment, please be rest assured that no one is going to complain that you are not as good at as women. But, do your best. START COMMUNICATING Now, you have done your speaking at the office, and at home all you need to do is to unwind before the idiot box and become nothing more than an idiot, but that is where you fail. Today’s man cannot do that. He has to communicate. He has to talk to his spouse and most importantly to his child/children. This is not the age of grunting a yes or a no or worse: shouting at your little one! You cannot be a sour, dour, strict and snappy old man. Get rid of that stance and start talking, start communicating, start playing and
interacting with your children. THE GREAT OUTDOORS Talking about communicating, then the best way to do that is to mix with your children in the manner they like the most – play with them. Forget the fact that you are a big Ceo in your office or a terror of a leader at work. At home, you are just an older playmate for some time. And yes, the better you take your kids outdoor and get them involved in outdoor activities. Keep them as far as possible from the TV sets and enjoy the healthier world outside the four walls of your room. DON’T BRING STRESS HOME This is a very important point. Most of us, men or women alike, bring home the problems at their office, all the stresses and strains and we make a mess of it at home. Neither
your spouse nor your children want to hear your office sob stories. Yes, on some days you can cry on their shoulders, but the rest of the days, you have to maintain a cheerful self, at least among your kids. They need you as a lively dad, not a morose, stern, worry laden old man. DAYS OFF WITH YOUR AGE GROUP It does not mean that you are going to turn into a cartoon when you reach home. On some days you can be your self; go crazy in the manner you deem fit and also head out to town with the big boys and enjoy some your age fun. Why not? You need it. But, other days enjoy with your kids at home. BE A HEALTHY DAD Ok, have your fun, but take care too. Meaning, there is no point in life if
you are not able to enjoy it healthily. So, do make sure you have a regular check up at your health clinic. A sick dad is not what your children want. Most of the times, men neglect their health and then realise with a pang that their best years are over because of their bad lifestyle and then it is all too late. A healthy dad is better than a sick one by all means. So buckle up on the health front! GO GREEN AT HOME Apply this health rule on all fronts – from work, play and at the dinner table. All of us are fond of junk food, but the most important factor is to know that everything should be done in moderation. You can have your junk, but when you are before your children, it is better that you set an example to them and stick to healthy green. So, at home, go green even if you’re a junkie on the sly!
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Khadija Al Kindi walked three desks away to Jokha Al Shaili’s work station and asked her a doubt. As the two talked, Roma Jeiffer Al Said, another colleague, walked towards them and they all began to discuss various work aspects. Their company’s Ceo walked past them smiling. Ross Cormack, Ceo of Nawras, had every reason to smile. The company’s recent introduction of ‘face mail’ every Wednesday seems to have done wonders for the team.
14 July 7-20, 2012
Oman’s customer friendly communications provider’s concept Wednesday’s has become a roaring hit. Nawras had, earlier this year, come out with a ‘no email’ policy every Wednesday. In other words, one of the leading telecommunication providers was actually stopping all internal emails for a day and promoting direct face to face contact with each other. With nearly 1000 members, Nawras can be put in the big company league, as far as staff size was concerned, so how did they manage to put this near-utopian scheme into action? Simple. Nawras has a knack of making things look easy and they have managed to keep their services as well as their working styles easy and simple. The same philosophy seems to have worked with their internal scheme too. And this has seen remarkable camaraderie amongst the near-1000 strong Nawras family. In fact, a new work ethic, carved out of from the basic human need to be in direct touch, seems to have emanated from this unique ‘face mail’ scheme. Coupled with the ability to bring rank strangers face to face in a big office, it has also succeeded in reducing the internal email flow by nearly 40 percent and also speeded up the implementation of internal work protocols in record time. Normally, such implementation would take time because it would be caught in the trap of net officialdom, but with face mail, the communication was direct and decisions were taken instantly, a point to consider by other huge companies who often drown themselves in unnecessary paperwork. Black & White decided to get to the root of this avant-garde scheme and so we trooped into their sprawling office located above the Muscat Grand Mall on a recent Wednesday and realised that for Nawras members, Wednesdays were no longer the same.
CAUGHT IN THE ACT We caught the trio, Khadija, Jokha and Roma in the ‘act’ and quickly asked them their opinion about their new ‘no email’ policy. Did it work? “Yes of course,” they chorused. “Wednesdays have becoming a more interactive day; we meet up with other colleagues, which otherwise was not happening because of the daily workload.
We now associate a face to an otherwise dry and faceless email ID; we now know our colleagues and work has become much more fun and interactive. We are a big team and though we get to smile at a few, thanks to ‘face mail’ we actually now get to know whom we are working with. Work has become a lot easier than before. Black & White 15
ENHANCING HUMAN INTERACTION Ross Cormack, chief executive officer: We also quickly sidled up to Ross, who had walked past us and trio with a beatific smile and got his version too: “Interactive communication is very important in every field of operations. When you add on a human touch to the communications, the result is better and faster. We have nearly 1000 employees at Nawras and ‘face mail’ will keep the family together, giving everyone a good chance to meet up face to face, discuss issues; provide solutions. As a communications provider, Nawras always strived to be in touch with customers in an easy and simple way. Taking the policy further internally we introduced the face mail to bond better and enhance human interaction. Workplace becomes better and job gets done faster. The load on the inbox has reduced, while appreciation and positivity has increased. We hope the team Nawras will be more efficient and interactive with the face mail concept.”
BETTER COMMUNICATIONS Abdulla Al Rawahy, chief strategy officer: “When you are emailing, you tend to get aggressive and never associate a face to the email ID you are sending that mail to. When you are face to face with a person, you see the humane side of the person and connect in a better way, ensuring effective communications. Face mail has brought the team together and has created better communications.”
BROUGHT US CLOSER Hussain Mohammed Al Lawati, Chief sales and distribution officer:
Since we came in to this new office premises, accommodating more number of team members, face mail gave us an opportunity to get close to our colleagues making work place a close knitted one. A lot of interaction happens on Wednesdays making it easier for internal communications and better relationships. Face mail has made ordinary occasions a celebration. Everybody claps and cheers up the team member whose performance made a mark.”
16 July 7-20, 2012
40 PERCENT REDUCTION IN EMAILS ON WEDNESDAYS Malik Murtadha Al Lawati, Department head, IT applications and Nabeel Al Shaibani, IT application support:
“Face mail is good, enhances human relations while cutting down on the load on the inboxes. We have noted that on a Wednesday it is up to 40 percent reduction on the emails sent and received, which we feel is a positive sign. The team is keeping up the face mail spirit and meeting up their team members regularly on Wednesdays. We also plan updates of IT applications during the same day, it is easier for us to walk over and discuss an update and make the process more crisp and effective. Today we have done a similar update. We discussed personally with most of the team members directly, getting a go ahead and limited the communication time frame to a good extent, ensuring the IT update is done successfully. Normally we send an email to all, and wait for their responses and only then we can act. But, with face to face interactions group meetings have become easier and effective, saving time and energy – all in all, it is a thumbs up for face mail!
REDUCES LOAD; INSTANT RESULTS Khalfan Al Mahrezi and Said Ahmed Safrar, Customer experience officers:
“On any working day, the inbox is loaded with plenty of mails and Wednesdays are easier on our inboxes. The emails are reduced phenomenally, but, more importantly, we started meeting my colleagues whom we never knew before. “Communications have become faster with the face mail concept on Wednesdays. Talking face to face, discussing issues have brought us together internally. We feel face to face approach saves time and closes an issue or topic of discussion faster than an email. Face to face communications brings faster results the human way.”
Black & White 17
WORK A PLEASURE Julie Amann, Press manager: “We are around1000 family members at Nawras and shifting to this new office premises has been a pleasant and new experience to all of us. With the face mail concept being introduced on Wednesdays, the ‘no email’ day has become a reality. It is good not to send a mail at least one day a week. Working at an office links us all for many hours and not knowing your team members can leave you at a distance. Face mail has made work a greater pleasure and more interactive, and has helped me put a face to the email ID. I feel it is a healthy way of working together to bring out positive results. It adds a personal touch to the business working schedule and gives you an opportunity to team up with your colleagues.”
A NEW WAY TO REACH OUT Ali Salim Al Barwani, Hrms support analyst: “The face mail concept has brought the team together and has given us an opportunity to reach out to our colleagues in an effective manner. We are a big team, it becomes impossible to connect through emails alone. It is a new experience when your colleague walks up to you to discuss work.”
MORE PRODUCTIVE Nashat Ahmed Al Riyami, Product manger – marketing
“Wednesdays have become a very active day, physically and mentally. We can walk up to any one the team member and discuss an issue directly, and get things done faster. I have found that it has become easier and faster to close pending issues and make friends too. An issue is much more direct and easy to discuss verbally rather than through plain emails. When you receive an email, you read through and mentally earmark it to be replied. But in a day, you get so many emails; sometimes you don’t address an issue as fast as you can. Face mail is a shortcut to effective productivity.
“The communications is direct and straight, no implied meanings, no hidden messages. Face mail encourages people to talk and discuss issues in a healthy manner, making the work fast and effective. An email is only an email. It arrives in your inbox and you need to open it and read, comprehend, analyse and act on it, all on your own. But if a person walks up to you and discusses an issue, your brain is responding and attending to it immediately. Most of the time, the person walks away with a solution or getting the job done. It is welcome relief for all of us on Wednesdays.
18 July 7-20, 2012
Laila Abdulla Al Harthy, Hrms technical support officer:
By Adarsh Madhavan “When are you going to pay my money back,” my friend asked. I had borrowed some money from him and it has been some time now. I mumbled an excuse and later sent him a long message. This, that and what not. Of course, it was the truth. But the actual truth that I left out was that there was no way that I was going to pay him back anytime soon for I was still waiting for a sum that is owed to me by another group. It is a vicious circle. Someone borrows from you and don’t return and then you cover the vacuum by borrowing from someone else and then you are unable to return because your coffers have yet to be filled. Why did I ever get into this? The problem begins when the ones who owe you money reneges on their promise. Then, you in turn renege on your promise to the ones from whom you have borrowed. Shame! And when it comes to money, it is simple. You borrow money, and then you return it. You can’t fill the yawning gap with empty excuses; petty platitudes and silly apologies. You borrow money, you pay it back. I was reneging on my promise to them. I was not keeping my word. And in my dictionary, that is a crime. Not keeping my word. It pushes you down into the same league as the worst vermin on earth; the ones who promises and then disappears. I promised, but didn’t deliver. I can’t deliver, but that is another story. I know of someone in a similar debt trap. Rather, in a situation that was far worse than I was in. Times are hard and when the financial devil turns his heat on you, you dive into the cool, rather, icy cold debt traps of loans. And on the first occasion, they, the ones who give you the dole, seem to understand. “This is the first time that you are asking me,” a rich acquaintance of mine once said long ago, readily giving the funds because I had never asked him for any favour, least of all for money, until then. That was the first time I did that -- borrow money. And that too, not for me, but for someone close who was in a financial mess. I didn’t think much of it and just plunged in with the request to two close acquaintances who had the money to spare. It was quite sometime now, but I remember that both of these acquaintances readily gave me the amount(s).
Off the wall
Never say never again…
all ew h t ff
They just gave it to me saying that they could not refuse me: “Since you’ve asked, we can’t refuse”! That was then. I had no personal need then. I got the amount and also stood guarantee that this friend of mine who was in financial distress would return the borrowed amount and if not, I would do the needful. At that time, I did not think about anything else. Someone close was in need of money and as a friend it was my need too, to help him. It took a while to make the repayment and I felt a bit of shame when one of the persons from whom I had borrowed the money made a casual comment that this was the reason why he never indulged in lending money. “It is not easy to get it back!” Listen, I told that man. If it is not paid back within the next month, I promise to sell whatever I have and give the money back to you, I declared. “Whoah, whoah,” this man said. “Don’t get upset; am not trying to say this about you, but life has taught me that even close friends have fought over the issue of borrowed money!” I didn’t give the statement much thought then and I vowed to myself that I will never ever borrow. Famous last words! For, the years passed and soon, fate changed my lifestyle and I was forced to eat my words. Never say never, I told myself. I no longer hold on to such vows. Circumstances always change lives and I am one of its many victims. I have, on a daily basis, been changing my views constantly and I no longer stick on to any firm statements like I would never do this again and will refrain from saying this. Today, I know that the more I say such things, the more I am forced to retract. I am tempted to say that I will never ever borrow or seek any loan from anyone or a bank, but I know that when the heat is on, even the lame duck flies. email@example.com Black & White 19
10th anniversary celebrations of Muscat Eye laser Centre held at Shangri La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
20 July 7-20, 2012
Nawras Ceo at 9th Annual Arab
Advisors Convergence summit
Nawras chief executive officer, Ross Cormack, recently joined regional telecom Ceo's in Jordan for the 9th Annual Arab Advisors Convergence summit to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing operators with the exciting convergence of media, telecom and information technology. In a panel discussion moderated by Anders Lindblad, president and head of region, Middle East and North-East Africa at Ericsson, Cormack debated current issues for the communications industry with Ahmed Hanandeh, Ceo of Zain Jordan; Ihab Hinnaway, Ceo of Umniah; Hakam Kanafani, Ceo Turk Telecom Group; Nayla Khawan, Ceo Jordan Telecom Group; and Jay Srage, senior vice president and president of Qualcomm Middle East and Africa. “There is no doubt that communications in the region is booming and is fuelled by greater availability and a
high demand for data as a new generation of customers enters the market,” said Cormack. “Broadband continues to grow at a rapid rate and today’s challenge is to address this ever growing demand which is why we continue to invest heavily in creating the physical structure necessary to bring the best communications technology to the people of Oman, wherever they live or work. We are currently upgrading and modernising our network so that we can continue to delight our customers by meeting their changing needs, particularly in terms of increasing broadband data usage.”
MoH honour for CMYF The Chiru Mega Youth Force (CMYF) has been honoured by the ministry of health (MoH) for the seventh time in a row for its laudable services in blood donation. Ramadas Chandaka, president of the CMYF, hailed the honour as a “great recognition” to the social work that their group has rendered over the years. He also thanked and congratulated each and every individual who participated in the blood donation camp. Ramadas and Krishna Bapiraju were also honoured individually by the MoH for donating blood for more than 15 times each.
New Oman national team jersey goes on sale The new Oman football jerseys – unveiled for the first time last month – were designed by Omanis to be the symbol of a country unified behind its love for football and national pride. The Oman football shirt will go on sale in select outlets in the Sultanate. Supporters looking to pick up the shirt ahead of the game can do so at Khimji Ramdas’ Luxury and Lifestyle store in Ruwi, as well as Supa Sports stores in Al Hamriya or Masa Mall (Al Shatti). Prices are OMR 25 for adults or OMR 15 for children. On the match day, the new shirt also will be available for purchase at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, and there will be some other great opportunities to win a shirt and other great prizes.
Apollo liver clinic by visiting
liver transplant surgeon
Apollo Medical Centre (AMC) Muscat is offering super specialty consultancy services by Dr Anand Khakhar, a renowned Indian liver transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon, chief of liver transplant programme, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai from July 7 to 8, informed Sandeep Kumar, chief executive, AMC. “The Apollo liver clinic is for assessing patients and putting them in a regime to manage and prevent liver failure; clear myths on liver transplant surgery, organ donation etc. The clinic is focussed at offering detailed assessment, management and thus offering 360 degree liver care,” Sandeep added. The patients who consult and are operated by the Dr Khakhar can access him in Apollo Hospitals, Chennai through their unique telemedicine network in Muscat, which is linked to over 100 destinations in India and abroad, demonstrating the benefits of using technology for the service of humanity. For registration, contact: 24787766, 24782555, 24788261 Black & White 21
2012 Audi A4 and A5 models in Oman Audi Oman has announced that its display of the refreshed 2012 A4 and A5 model at Seeb City Centre has been a success. The 2012 A4 and A5 have been refreshed extensively and Audi has introduced new solutions for efficiency, driving dynamics and infotainment, along with an even more attractive design, once again reaffirming our tagline “Vorsprung durch Technik” (which means progress through innovation) for the model series. “We are delighted to showcase the refreshed 2012 A4 and A5 at this very popular shopping destination. For 39 years, the A4 has been one of the best selling models for Audi and for 2012 model
year, the design of the A4 has become even more clearly defined and striking in all model variants in the line-up. Currently it is in its eighth generation and for 2012 it has become even more attractive with interesting updates and some minor changes in dimensions,” said Abdel Karim Awwad, national sales and marketing manager – Audi Oman.
OMR300,000 al Mazyona prize draw to be held on July 5 in Salalah Excitement has started building up for Oman’s popular al Mazyona savings account holders as the second quarterly prize draw of OMR300,000 will be held on July 5 in Salalah as part of the Khareef Festival celebrations. A high point in the calendar of big prizes from BankMuscat, al Mazyona
offers one of the biggest prize money in the savings scheme history in Oman. This year, BankMuscat sprung a big surprise, taking the total prize money of al Mazyona savings scheme to a whopping OMR6 million with unparalleled winning chances for all segments across the Sultanate.
Notably, the 2012 al Mazyona stands out as ‘My scheme’ for all individual segments as attractive prizes are earmarked for ladies, children, salaried employees and high savings balance customers in all regions. As on date, the scheme offers the biggest prize money in Oman and the region.
Muriya announces soft-launch of luxurious Juweira Boutique Hotel With Dhofar’s khareef weather just weeks away from weaving its subtropical magic upon Salalah, a new chic boutique property is set to open its doors on the eve of this delightful summer holiday season in the south of Oman. Juweira Boutique Hotel, a premium five star property, is the first of five leading international hotel brands that will anchor the luxurious Salalah Beach lifestyle destination overlooking the Arabian Sea. Designed by celebrated
Egyptian architect Adel Mokhtar, this trendy property with its charming Oriental theme offers 64 guestrooms including 21 superbly appointed suites. Its location on the marina promenade affords guests unrivalled views of Salalah’s pristine beachfront and the Indian Ocean beyond. “The Juweira Boutique Hotel is quite unlike anything that Salalah has to offer on the hospitality front. With significant emphasis being placed on leisure, entertainment and quality
of customer service, this property has the potential to establish itself as a high quality destination and cosmopolitan address for locals and tourists alike,” said Daniel Fanselow, general manager.
Gujarati drama staged as part of Kutchi New Year
‘Lo Gujjubhai Ghodey Chadya’, a Gujarati drama, was organised by the Kachchhi wing of the Indian Social Club (ISC) as part of the celebrations of ‘Aasadhi Beej’, the Kutchi New Year, at Le Grande hall of Al Falaj hotel. A.P.S Chauhan, second secretary at the Indian Embassy was the chief guest. A host of senior members of the wing were present and were honoured at the event too. The drama was written, directed and acted by Siddhartha Randeria along with Tejal Vyas, Jyuthika Shah, Kundanbala Trivedi and Rohinton Chesun. 22 July 7-20, 2012
Pasquale Bruni ‘Bon Ton’ collection A new flower has bloomed in the splendid Bon Ton collection by Pasquale Bruni, the renowned Italian jeweler. The jewels pay homage to the 50's, a period renowned for beautiful fashion and memorable style. The latest range within the collection is now available at selected Damas outlets across Dubai. “The flowers of the collection encompass attributes that are found in nature, which is why these precious ornaments reflect a style that is refined and simple, delicate but decisive. Bon Ton, which is inspired by the
French term for ‘sophisticated manner or style’, is inspired by the elite realm of high fashion and is rich in visual charm,” said Raj Sahai, director – retail, Damas Jewellery, retailers of Pasquale Bruni in Dubai. Pasquale Bruni’s new ‘Bon Ton’ collection is now available at selected Damas Les Exclusives outlets across Dubai, including Burj Al Arab, Mina Al Salam, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall and the Jumeira Beach Hotel. Contact: +97144270336.
New DHL Express Oman country manager The DHL has appointed Turgay Sarikaya as the country manager for DHL Express in Oman, overseeing the strategic development of one of DHL Express’ key markets in the MENA region. Sarikaya has over twenty years of experience in express logistics, joining DHL Express Turkey in 1991. He has held various positions in Turkey, spearheaded the opening of various DHL Express offices, held the position of Regional Customer
Manager at DHL Express for Global Multi National Customers (GMNC) in Dubai from 2006 to 2008 and was Country Manager at DHL Express Jordan in 2010 and 2011. “DHL Express first started operating in the MENA region almost four decades ago, and is a multi-award winning company,” stated Sarikaya. “Oman is poised to be the next strategic logistics market in the Arabian Gulf, and with the new factories, industrial estates, free
zones and the development of new airports, seaports, rail and road networks, the demand for simple and efficient logistics solutions is ever growing. Oman is a rapidly maturing market and I look forward to helping further the company’s growth in the Sultanate.”
Chowking Qurum City Centre,
opens in Muscat
Chowking, the best in quick service style Chinese and Oriental food chain recently opened its first branch in Qurum City Centre. The USP of Chowking remains ‘freshly cooked delicious food’. The event was inaugurated by the vice consul and third secretary Jose L. Garcia III from the Philippine embassy, Muscat along with Ahmad Hussain Lafir, managing director, Chowking Orient Restaurant UAE and Oman. Bunny Malik, general manager, Chowking Orient Restaurant, UAE and Oman said the all new Chowking, Qurum City Centre has been designed to cater to the growing population of this side of Muscat, which has now emerged as a residential area of multicultural group. “We have studied the market needs of the area and its population profile before opening our first outlet here in Oman.”
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Infiniti G Series combining
power, style and performance
Variety is the spice of life and what could display it better than the Infiniti G range, comprising Infiniti G Sedan, Infiniti G Coupe and Infiniti G Convertible models, to spice up the driving experience for every type of driving enthusiast. Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA) is the exclusive importers in Oman for Infiniti and has contributed immensely to Infiniti’s increasing popularity in the country. With 25 sales, service and parts distribution outlets in over 20 cities across the Sultanate, SBA has been the major force behind positioning Infiniti to its rightful place. The pleasure of owning an Infiniti multiplies with the after sale world-class service facilities that SBA provides, to keep its promise of ultimate ownership experience to its esteemed customers.
Just Falafel at Muscat Grand Mall The newest Just Falafel fast food restaurant in the region has opened in Oman. Just Falafel, arguably, the first and only specialised falafel outlet arrives on the scene in Oman’s newest one-stop shopping destination – Muscat Grand Mall. Hassan Jaboub, general manager of Muscat Grand Mall said: “This innovative Middle Eastern chain food outlet pays homage to the highly popular Falafel culture. While, the true origins of popular snack Falafel is still a bit of a mystery even today, it’s popularity can be gauged by its international appeal. Just Falafel is a modern take on a tradition and it takes the culinary
experience into a new dimension and international experience. We are delighted that Just Falafel has commenced its business in the growing food court in Muscat Grand Mall.”
New Lufthansa City Center opens
Khimji’s House of Travel was recently appointed as a franchisee office of Lufthansa City Center International. Angelika Storz-Chakarji, German ambassador to Oman inaugurated the Khimji‘s House of Travel Lufthansa City Centre Office in Ruwi Street recently. While welcoming the invitees to the launch of the new Khimji’s House of Travel Lufthansa City Center office, 24 July 7-20, 2012
MC Jose, Ceo – Projects & Logistics of the Khimji Ramdas Group said “We are proud to partner with one of the leading global travel networks in the world. Lufthansa City Center is a tried and tested concept that provides travel management services and leisure solutions to corporate houses and customers on a global scale. With our local expertise in Oman combined with the LCC offices world-wide we are confident of adding value to the travel needs of the modern day traveller”. Speaking on the occasion, Nailesh Khimji, director, Khimji Ramdas Group said, “Our tie-up with Lufthansa City Center will help leverage their huge network to bring in a large number of tourists into
Oman”. Andreas Bauriedel, managing director of Lufthansa City Center International said: “We know that with the Khimji Ramdas Group, we have a reliable and valuable partner in the Sultanate. We are confident that we will share together our experiences and expertise to mutually leverage the benefits that this partnership will bring to our customers.”
Muscat City Centre and Qurum City Centre appoint new senior management Muscat City Centre and Qurum City Centre have announced changes to its management team. Husam Mohamed Al Mandhari is the senior mall manager for Muscat City Centre and Watfa Humaid Al Harthy is the senior mall manager for Qurum City Centre. Husam and Watfa, both Omani nationals, will draw upon their retail, sales, marketing and mall management experience to drive the continued growth of their respective malls. “Muscat City Centre is a community landmark and a leading shopping destination for Oman and I’m proud
to be a part of this team,” said Husam Mohamed Al Mandhari. “The mall is a key contributor to the retail, economic and tourism landscape and I look forward to working with our valued retailer partners, visitors and the government to continue to create new and memorable experiences for all our guests.” “It’s a pleasure to be overseeing Qurum City Centre, which has established itself as a popular meeting point amongst residents in the community,” said Watfa Humaid Al Harthy. “From convenience, choice and range of offer, I will see
McDonald’s new outlet in Darsait
that the mall continues to evolve through innovative promotions and campaigns and create an even stronger loyalty amongst our local shoppers.”
McDonald’s Oman (Al Daud Restaurants LLC) opens its newest restaurant at Lulu Darsait recently, offering the communities around it a better eating out experience, value for money and convenience. “We are proud to open our new restaurant. This is part of our ongoing expansion plans and overall strategy to offer McDonald’s easy enjoyment and delightful eating out experience to all our valued customers across the Sultanate. With the opening of each new restaurant, we also open up new employment opportunities for the Omani youth in general, which we take great pride in doing so”, said Ali K. Daud, development licensee and president of McDonald’s Oman.
Microsoft Oman and ministry of education host 'DigiGirlz Day' In collaboration with the ministry of education, Microsoft hosted two 'Microsoft DigiGirlz Day' events. The first event took place at the Chamber of Commerce hall in Sur, Sharqiyah South, while the second event took place at the amphitheater of the directorate general for education in Rustaq, Batinah South. Both events were hosted in Oman as part of the Partners in Learning agreement that was signed between Microsoft and the Ministry of Education in 2008 and aims at supporting the ministry’s dedicated direction towards educational reform
through the effective use of technology in the learning process. Over 400 high school female students from grades 10 and 11 from select schools participated at the two DigiGirlz events. During the event, students had the opportunity to interact with Microsoft executives to gain exposure to careers in business and IT and get more insights into the working environment at Microsoft. Black & White 25
Samsung Introduces the GALAXY S III in Oman
Samsung Electronics Co recently launched the third generation GALAXY S, the GALAXY SIII in Oman. Designed
for humans and inspired by nature, the GALAXY S III is a smartphone that recognises your voice, understands your intention, and lets you share a moment instantly and easily. “The Samsung GALAXY S III is the best in class smartphone that provides an enhanced smartphone experience to its users. It incorporates superior hardware, intuitive and interactive features in a nature inspired design making the device truly effortlessly smart and intuitively simple,” said Ashraf Fawakherji, general manager of Telecommunication Group at Samsung Gulf Electronics. “We’ve received an overwhelming response from our consumers for the device and we are positive that with this launch we will further cement our leadership position.” The Samsung GALAXY S III is currently available in leading retail stores across the Oman for OMR 249.9
ZTC hosts Almouj Golf and Drive event Zawawi Trading Company (ZTC) - the exclusive distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Oman and ‘Official Car’ sponsor for Almouj Golf – hosted the Women’s Guild in Oman (WGO) for a twin activity ‘Birdie’ Tee/Tea and Drive morning last week. Held at the world-class Almouj Golf club, ZTC invited the WGO to enjoy a morning of professional golf instruction and test drives in the latest range of luxury cars from Zawawi Mercedes-Benz. The multi-cultural charity fundraising ladies of the WGO were welcomed to morning tea at the Almouj Golf club by Mario von Glahn, regional sales manager, Mercedes-Benz Cars, who flew in especially for the event from Dubai. Following a short presentation on Mercedes-Benz cars by Mario, the ladies took part in a ‘nearest to the pin’ putting challenge under the instruction of PGA Professional, Chris Jones. The
Al Rumaila Motors
26 July 7-20, 2012
women’s long-game swing also received a makeover in the state-of-the-art Almouj Swing Studio, under the expert coaching of PGA Professional, Marcus Casey.
Al Rumaila Motors has received the ‘Outstanding Overseas Partner’ award from China-based Great Wall Motors. It is the first time that the Chinese manufacturer has recognised Oman-based Al Rumaila Motors for its outstanding performance, sales and service excellence in promoting the brand’s commercial vehicles in Oman. Mohammed Hubais, general manager of Al Rumaila Motors said after receiving the award from Frank Yuwen, Great Wall Motors Manager for Middle East and South Asia territories: “Consumer pleasure is at the heart of everything we do. This award from Great Wall Motors also recognises how we are able to influence market trends. Customer confidence and preference has definitely risen towards Great Wall products that we sell in the Sultanate.”
In Black & White
In Black... Oud is also considered an ancestor of the guitar. It has a great history and is considered truly Arab, similar to Rababa, which was heavily used, and continues to be used, in Bodo life traditional music Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Editor-in-chief FIRST OUD FESTIVAL The first Oud Festival was held in 2005. I can never forget that year because Oman was lucky to have had the presence of two musical greats – the Cairo-born musical genius Ammar El-Sherei and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The festival was being held at Al Bustan Palace Hotel, and coincidentally, Michael Jackson was also staying there. Excited team members of Ammar ElSherei were heard mentioning about the fascinating possibility of the unison of the two musical gems Sherei and MJ on stage; perhaps, create a new album, an exciting and unique fusion of the East and the West. No, it did not happen then. But, yes, the future is bright and full of opportunities. Talking about talents, Oman has its own share of it – young and old talents and personalities. Take the case of the Oud, a pride of a musical instrument of the Arabs. The Oud Hobbyists Association at Al Hail has taken up the cause and creating a path for the youngsters and the old keen in Oud to get together and promote the musical instrument in a positive and progressive manner. The first Oud festival in 2005 was just a start. Every year, they organise a festival showcasing the best of
Omani talent, bringing in regional talents of great repute, organising workshops, international musical events and encouraging Omani talent locally. THE ARABIC OUD The pear shaped musical instrument has travelled a long way since the time it made its appearance, centuries ago. The modern Oud and the European Lute are considered to descend from a common ancestor though in different paths. Oud is also considered an ancestor of the guitar. It has a great history and is considered truly Arab, similar to Rababa, which was heavily used, and continues to be used, in Bodo life traditional music. OUD LOVER, NOT PLAYER I did not have a musical ear so I never attempted to learn to play the Oud. But this instrument always struck a very distinct chord in my heart and I loved listening to it. The music of Oud has a way of touching you emotionally. There are many Omani musicians who sing accompanied by an Oud at various traditional functions and festivals. Maybe one day this instrument would take Omani music to the world…
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28 July 7-20, 2012
Pearl that pulls at heart strings Fathi bin Mohsin Al Balushi is a picture of humility. His whole demeanour is one of humility; he thinks before he speaks and when he speaks, he does so softly without making any fuss about anything. He does not show too much of emotion either and he does not seem to get overtly excited about anything. In other words, it mirrored the quiet existence of the Oud Hobbyists’ Association, located in Al Hail Al-Janubia, besides Sultan Qaboos road, which he heads as the chairman since its inception -by Royal order -- in 2005. But, when Fathi Al Balushi, 38, began to casually strum a classical looking pear-shaped Oud from his office at the Association, the whole building seemed to come alive. The humdrum existence of the Oud lovers at this one of its kind locale in the whole of the Arab world is suddenly set on musical fire. The moment Fathi’s fingers struck the strings of his Oud, a breath of fresh air seemed to waft in from somewhere into the stuffy rooms of the Association. The room seemed to be lit with a romance from the magic of the strings of a centuries-old instrument, which has pride of place in many an Arab’s heart, played by a modern-day Oman, who breathed, lived and loved the oldest string instrument in the world.
and leaves us enraptured. It is difficult to peg the Oud down to a single definition. It seems to have a variety of definitions and like its lineage, which can probably be dated back to the pre-Islamic era, the music of the Oud is as old as it could be and as new and refreshing as it sounds, or rather feels. Throughout history, the Oud has been recognised as a fascinating musical instrument that was a source of pride for kings and princes and poets alike. It is considered as a valuable part of cultural and historical heritage. The Oud has gone through a series of developments until it achieved the shape we see today, the Association players tell us. It plays a central role in Arabic music today.
MAGIC OF OUD The magic of Oud was suddenly evident in Fathi’s room; the walls faded, and we were sitting pretty on the banks of a babbling brook, with nature in its fine element and Arabic music in the air. Fathi’s fingers seemed to create a unique voice and an emotional world that took us above the realm of mere sound. We were floating on a magic carpet of music strung by a young Omani Oud player, who himself seemed to be transported into a rapturous world of his own. This was not the same benign Fathi that we spoke to a minute ago – this was a man who was just fingers, mind, body and soul swaying to the rhythms of his Oud. We also swayed along.
FASCINATION FOR OUD It is the fascination for Oud and with a view to preserve and promote the musical heritage of Oman that the Association was formed under the Royal orders. The Association is a full fledged one with two key sections: a technical section that includes a lecture theatre, five individual performance rooms, a group performance hall, a library and many administrative sections. “Our aim is to provide professional assistance to Oud lovers. We train talented Oud players – both nationals and expatriates – and our main aim is to preserve the musical and artistic heritage of the Oud in Oman,” Fathi said, adding that the Association also hosted Oud festivals, which has become quite popular. Moreover, many of the key members have gone abroad and played the Oud to discerning lovers of this aged-old instrument in various parts of the world. Fathi strummed the Oud and also took us back to the days of his youth, when as a very small kid, he began to take an interest on the instrument and how he slowly learnt and gained mastery over it.
MUSIC WITH SOUL What was it that you played just now, we asked Fathi, who suddenly seemed to have developed a halo around his head. “Music,” Fathi told us with a happy smile. “Just music that came from the mind,” he said. Music, we agreed. Music that came from the heart and the soul, we added. Music that left us in awe! Music that has put many of its lovers in awe; music that inspired and evoked memories of the past; evoked a sensation of not just times that are gone but of the exciting sweep of life that awaits us just around the corner. MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU SOAR The magic of Oud is that it creates a music that makes us soar along with it to the past, the present and the future
MUSICAL PATH “Music always intrigued me and at a very young age itself I had made up my mind to pursue it. Fortunately for me, my family supported my interest and encouraged me to take music up very seriously. “After my schooling, I did a five-year course in music, with specialisation in Oud in the final year, in Kuwait. Oman did not have any music institutes and Kuwait, which was already on the forefront, Black & White 29
out some albums – but my heart always beats for Oud,” he said. “Oud is said to be the king of all instruments, especially in the Arab world and I hope and dream to take Omani music to the world through this instrument. Insha Allah, this year, I will have more time to focus on the Oud and create some good meaningful music.”
was an ideal choice. I play guitar and other stringed instruments too, but I was mesmerised by the magic of Oud and soon the instrument and I were quite inseparable,” Fathi said, instinctively holding the Oud close to his heart. Armed with technical knowledge of the instrument and holding the same passion for it, Fathi got back from Kuwait and instantly joined various small bands and performing teams where he sang as well as played the Oud. “Singing and playing the Oud went hand in hand and soon I was composing music for events, parties, fashion shows, festivals and get-togethers for nearly 12 plus years before I took over as the director at the Association.” He had also joined the Royal Arabic band. There, he was a vocalist as well as an Oud player. LOVE FOR OUD That music is everything for Fathi is quite discernible. “I love music --that is my identity. I love Omani music and I am striving to become one of Oman’s finest Oud players. I have had the opportunity to compose music, sing, perform at various festivals, play a variety of stringed instruments, but my first love is for Oud and it will remain so.” However, since he is the director of the Association, with its manifold responsibilities, it leaves him very little time to focus on the Oud. “But, I will focus on the Oud pretty soon. Because of my singing, I got into composing music and also brought 30 July 7-20, 2012
DIFFERENT KINDS OF OUD Fathi also spoke of the various types of Oud that were available and explained how they were created with different designs and materials. “Of course, you can get an Oud for as low as OMR30 and get a customised Oud for as high as $3000 (approximately OMR1153.4) to $4000 (1537.9). The cost is based on the wood used for making the instrument.” Oud construction begins by the choice of the best kinds of ‘seasoned’ or ‘kiln-dried’ wood such as rosewood, walnut, mahogany, ebony, and in Oman ‘Sidr’ is also used. Different varieties of wood are used for the back, whereas other kinds of wood like pine, or spruce, or cedar are used for the top (soundboard). The soundboard is strengthened by a pattern of struts or braces on its inside which allows it to vibrate in order to produce the best tone. When they are customising, some people have their own choices, they even use some pieces of silver on it. The creation of an Oud is complete when it is painted with the best quality of varnish which provides a good resonance and tone quality. The best of the Ouds are from Iraq and they are generally similar in size to the Syrian Oud but with a floating bridge, which focuses on the mid-range frequencies and gives the instrument more of a guitarlike sound. Turkish Ouds are also considered the best and are slightly smaller in size, with a shorter neck, brighter timbre and higher pitch. Syrian Ouds are slightly larger, with a slightly longer neck and with a lower
pitch. Egyptian Ouds are similar to Syrian and Iraqi Ouds but with a more pear-shaped body. Egyptian Ouds have a slightly different tone. “Oman has its own share of designs, though very little in numbers. In the earlier days, there would have been a few hand-carved Ouds in Oman, but there is no industry like in other regional countries. At the Association, we are starting a workshop for Oud instruments from repair to maintenance to production and are focusing on teaching local artisans and training them to produce good quality Oud. We have just started and we hope in a year or two we will have a good production house,” Fathi said. 200 PLUS MEMBERS The Association was officially inaugurated in 2008 with various cultural programmes and today they have over 200 members of all communities registered. “Some of them are very good players while others are just getting the knack. They all get together and exchange views and events. The active members come here more often and some of them learn, teach and even participate in workshops which the Association organises every year. We bring in many famous Oudists who imparts their knowledge to the Association members. Every year we shortlist the best of the players from the association and organise international events and an annual Oud festival. This helps in bringing awareness of the instrument, Omani music as well as Omani talents. The annual festival is scheduled during every November-December,” Fathi said. DREAM MUSIC Oud has a pleasant tone to its music. “You can strum it like a guitar, but a guitar cannot be used to play Arabic musical tones. For an Arab, Oud is the ideal instrument, he can identify with it. Its timeless allure makes it the dream musical instrument of the Arab and I hope the younger generation
will progress in this field by making use of the wonderful opportunities our great ruler has provided through this Association,” Fathi said. MUSIC IS YOUNG He pointed out that since Oman was a conservative society, especially in the interiors, music and arts still needed more promotion. “We are fortunate to have a great visionary leader like His Majesty Sultan Qaboos
bin Said, who has opened many doors, giving us more opportunities in the field of music and arts. Today with the Royal Opera House, we have the opportunity to attend shows and performances of world class artists of all cadres. We are very grateful to our leader and we hope to encourage ourselves and inspire the younger generation to come forward and learn quality arts and music. It may take time, but, I strongly believe Oman will make its mark globally in the field of Oud, especially our youth.”
His fingers speak
It is a name on any a local music lover’s lips. Ask Oud lovers who is the best Oud player in Oman and one name comes up sans hesitation – Salim Al Maqrashi. Salim Maqrashi has been cited as Oman’s beloved musical son; an Oud prodigy who taught himself to play a centuries old instrument when he was just 11. And, today, this 33-year old musician has taken Oman by musical storm.
A quiet, almost shy man, Salim portrayed a very sober disposition when we met him, half apologising for his lack of English speaking skills. Still, he managed to tell us his story. But, it was when he started playing the Oud that he actually spoke. Then, his fingers spoke a musical mantra that left us dazzled. They ran on his custom-made instrument with amazing graze and speed leaving us spellbound with a music that filled the air and our hearts. Black & White 31
An Oud seemed to be a mere extension of his hand and Salim and instrument became one. “What does an Oud mean to me? Well, it’s like my son!” Salim told us quietly as he confidently strummed on his Oud. He was still experimenting with his music and he still had a long way to go, but he is supremely confident that he would reach there – at the very top! And in Oman, for the moment, there was no Oud player who shared his peak. For Salim, playing the Oud is not a pastime – it is the very core of his being and he noted that he could not dream of doing anything else. Every waking hour of his is spent on the Oud or related work. And when he slept, he dreamt of the Oud. It was a passion that is incomparable and he openly stressed that his talent is as good as the number of hours of dedicated practice – the more he wanted to express, the more he practiced. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT “I believe in the philosophy that practice brings in perfection. I play my Oud for more than six to seven hours a day and each day is a new experience for me. It is not just the love for Oud; it is the music itself that captures my heart and soul. Oud has been a fascination for me since I was 13. I used to play Accordion and Xylophone etc from a small age,” he tells us. 32 July 7-20, 2012
MASTERING THE CRAFT He was introduced to the Oud by his elder brother Ahmed. “He used to play Oud and while the instruments that I was trained to play was interesting in their own way, I soon realised that I had a special affinity for Oud. I had made up my mind by then that this is the music I want to learn, practice and excel by all means. I wanted to master the Oud and create my identity around it. After a good 20 years today, I feel I am on the right path and have had brilliant life experiences, sharing stages with world class musicians and a thoroughly fulfilling career. I specialised in Oud and music in Egypt, which had special institutes and underwent various workshops, shows and festivals. I am currently a teacher as well as a full time Oud player in the Royal band.” OUD IN AMERICA Salim feels that hard work and persistent practice is a must for every musician and Oud is no different. The instrument has a strong Arab flavour because of the tiny quartets that differentiate it from other western and Asian musical notes. “It is indeed a truly Arab experience and just like the guitar and the violin it has its own unique style of music. You will be surprised to know that in the US, there is an Oud musical competition in Virginia, and lots of American play Oud. Oud is not just limited to the Middle East -- there are many in the world who pursue their love for the Oud with lot of passion and commitment.” OUD, MY LIFE “Oud is an integral part of my life. It is like my child, whom I have to take care of, nurture, nourish, and protect. Oud for is not a mere passion, it is my identity. By God’s grace and blessings, I have a name as an Oud player and have represented my nation at various global arenas.
I ensure quality and professionalism at all times, because it is a glimpse and slice of Oman I carry along when I travel to other countries to perform. Oud is an instrument that needs to be played with feelings. Every instrument is unique, but when you compose music on the Oud, or just play for leisure, it moves you. It has to. You have to feel it to play it in the true sense.” THE FUTURE “Once I entered the world of Oud, I realised there is so much to learn, create and perform and my journey has just started. I have a long way to go. If God wills I would like to start a Salim Maqrashi School of Oud. I believe Oman needs its own share of Oud players and with the current interest and response from the youth locals and residents, I feel Oman will see thousands of young Oud enthusiasts and players in the coming years. I believe strongly that the younger generation will shine better and take Oman’s name to great heights in the musical world. Oman is rich in its culture and traditions and when we adopt the true Omani style to Oud, it is a class apart,” Salim said. MUSICAL CAREER To carve a full time musical career one needs to be focussed on the field, upgrade oneself to the current status and be thorough in the field. It is not easy to perform and not be updated about the progress of the music. Contemporary knowledge and new fields of learning is a must, Salim stressed. “I have established my own style of Oud music by fusing modernity to the traditional Oud music ensuring the right mix of the both. You should take extra care when you are modifying the traditional music, it is a big responsibility. The future will see better musical discoveries!”
Connected to the bigger picture For almost a year, a guitar gathered dust on the walls of Amal Waqar Ghulam’s home. It was a gift on her 13th birthday from her mother, who had hoped that her daughter would take up music at least as a hobby. DECORATIVE PIECE “It remained as a decorative piece for almost a year,” Amal tells us as she briefly takes us through her musical journey, which today is engaged with a different instrument. But the gift of the guitar was the actual turning point. Then came another, more defining, one. In November 2010, Amal was inspired by a small performance at a friend’s house. She ended up teaching herself to play the guitar. Five months into playing the guitar, Amal decided to take up the Oud for a school programme, which required 10 hours of music lessons; she completed 53 hours. She studied the Oud for three months after that and last August she joined the Oud Hobbyist Association. Playing this powerful instrument was more than a school obligation; it had by then turned into a passion. Thanks to her previous classes, Amal was accepted through her audition and entered into the intermediate classes and now participates in concerts and performances. A graduate of the 2014 class from
the American British Academy, Amal has been playing the Oud for the past 14 months and has already decided to pursue the journey that could await her. Amal was candid enough to admit that she was unaware of the Oud before she started playing it. The Oud is not a common instrument and not as popular as it should be. SUPPORTIVE NETWORK When asked about her accomplishments, Amal insisted that it required dedication and hard work, along with a supportive network. Her mother encouraged her to follow her dreams; her instructors who were optimistic towards her true potential and her colleagues who included Amal in their family. “The Oud is a creative outlet; it connects me to the bigger picture, which is my soul. My love for music has opened the doors to many opportunities that probably wouldn’t have existed otherwise. Nothing comes easy in life so do not be discouraged, you can only grow from it,” she advises. Black & White 33
Love for Oud
Ziyad Al Harbi, Member and Oud player
A common platform
Yaqoob Abdullah Mohammed Al Harrasi Oud teacher/instructor 34 July 7-20, 2012
Oud is the king of all stringed instruments. Its music is captivating. My love for Oud made me pursue it in a professional manner and I am proud to be associated with it. Music intrigued me at a very young age itself and I stared learning the keyboard. I have a career in the shipping logistics and supplies industry, and I would place my love for Oud in between a hobby and a profession. Playing Oud is not limited to a time pass or hobby and definitely has more meaning in my life. I used to attend musical events and play keyboards, but I always noticed that the public and the audience were caught up with the fascinating music of the Oud. That fascinated me and made me want to learn the art, which I did and am continuing. I am happy that there is an exclusive association for the Oud enthusiasts in Oman, thanks to our wonderful leader His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who gave all of us an opportunity to showcase our talents. As a member of the Oud Hobbiyist's Association I interact with other Oud enthusiasts residing in Oman and also have had opportunities to perform with the Association team in global arenas. Music is a fulfilling art and I would like to compose music and be known as an excellent Oud player.
The Oud is one of the most popular instruments in Middle Eastern music. I love the instrument because it is totally Arab and is quite enchanting. I pursued my interest properly and have taken a professional course in Egypt to learn every aspect of this instrument and today I am an instructor at the Association. I have been in this field for over 10 years and the Association has given us a common platform for all the Oud enthusiasts. The young generation shows very good promise and slowly the interest for Oud is catching up. The Association offers free classes to Oud lovers, with age no bar. I started learning Oud when I was just 14 and the years have only increased my interest in the instrument. Oud is a unique instrument that balances harmony and melody and is truly Arabic. Oman has seen its share of players too. The instrument and the art need more promotion and in the future there will be only positive progress in this field. GLOBAL ARENA Being part of the association has given me so many opportunities to showcase and perform across many countries in the world and every year our team travel to two to three places internationally. I have been fortunate to perform in China, the US, Greece, Belarus, Russia etc. While these opportunities gave us a chance to showcase Omani music, it was also an opportunity to be part of true cultural exchange.
“Don’t fall for an Oud’s looks!” The beauty of an Oud could sometimes be only skin deep. You have got to go beyond its looks and study its face and check the Oman's wood before you buy it, says Khalid Al Riyami, only fulltime seller of Ouds. Never fall for an Oud’s looks, he warns. “You don’t need a good looking Oud if you are an aspiring player – you need one with excellent ‘character’! You need to check the face of the Oud. The wood used on the face of the Oud is very critical to give you the right sound. So always check the specifics before you buy one,” Khalid, who owns Al Masiya Ouds in Al Khuwair, tells us. “Always buy from a professional Oud maker,” Khalid added, noting that every Oud has to be tuned before use. “Otherwise you will wonder where the musical sounds disappeared to. The instruments don’t break easily and can be easily maintained and made to last for many years. If you advance in your learning, you can still use your old Oud, by just changing the strings,” Khalid, who is credited to have the best of Ouds in his shop; known for their excellent tone, craftsmanship and attention to detail, advised. BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE In Khalid’s case, it is clearly business with pleasure. In fact, he fell in love with the Oud before he started selling them. “My tryst with Oud began some 20 years ago when I wanted to buy an Oud to learn it properly. I have seen many traditional Omani singers and Oud players at various events and festivals,” says this 37-year old lover and seller of Oud. Khalid was 17 when he decided to take up the Oud. “Then, the Oud was just an instrument used by singers for back ground and accompanying music for their singing. There weren't many specialist Oud singers in Oman. All of them who played Oud were singers,” Khalid said. NO SELLERS So, when Khalid decided to take up Oud, he could neither find anyone who sold one nor any instructors who could teach him to play it. “Finally someone advised me to go to a governmental institute in Wadi Kabir where two Egyptian teachers were available. They asked me to take up singing (chorus) and later taught me the basics of Oud.”
PRACTICE AND MASTER Throughout this period, Khalid nurtured a burning desire to own and possess his own Oud. “After the learning comes the practice, which is much more important than the learning. As you practice, you learn to master the instrument. So I ventured out to the UAE, with whatever funds I could mobilise and hunted for musical instruments shops in the UAE. Finally with the help of a local cab driver, I found out a shop which sold Ouds.” But, unfortunately for Khalid, the Ouds were expensive and he was short of cash. “But seeing my love for Oud and the distance I had travelled to buy one, the shop keeper gave one to me for a good price.” ONLY MASIYA Years went by and the fact that Ouds were not available in Oman propelled Khalid to start a musical instruments shop. Al Masiya Ouds is the only shop that sells quality and variety of Ouds in Muscat. There are some other shops, which display souvenir pieces of Oud, the ones you can buy to adorn the walls of your home, not as a musical instrument. “Otherwise this is the only shop. It took me great efforts to establish contacts with Oud makers in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey; today I have a good collection of Ouds with me,” Khalid proudly says. VARIETIES OF OUD There are different varieties of Oud. The professional Oud makers say Oud is best when the wood used is old and tempered well. “Ouds made of ebony and walnut are good. Ladies have special medium sized Ouds, while kids can start off with a small sized one. Oud comes in different sizes and woods. Starting from OMR80, Ouds are sold up to OMR2000. The material decides the cost. The interest in Oud is increasing and I have all nationalities coming to the shop to buy Oud, from Americans to Asians to Omani citizens. It is a delicate instrument and sometimes can be quite heavy and difficult to handle for a new learner. Unlike the guitar, which has a body shape, Oud is smooth and slippery. Unless you master the trick of holding it right, Oud will slip off your lap,” Khalid said.
Text: Adarsh Madhavan, Priya Arunkumar & Khadija Al Zadjali Photos: Ben
Black & White 35
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:
My seat, where is my seat?
Dogs are not a menace
36 July 7-20, 2012
Where is my seat, he bellowed. We were at this musical jig recently. It had not started, crowds were milling in when above the din this angry voice broke the murmur. Now, this was one of those VVVIPs who considered themselves Numero Uno among Numero Unos in town. Somehow or the other, they have to be on the front row; they must get front seats; they must be first in the queue; they must be first, top and in the front at all times… they cannot be behind anyone; they cannot sit in the second row and they cannot be second in anything. Of course, no complaints, but, why should one take it to the extreme? Sometimes you may not get a seat earmarked for you; sometimes in the flurry of things, organisers of events may have inadvertently forgotten to plaster your name on the back of a seat, so please don’t create a scene. Life is not going to end if you don’t get a front row seat, baba. But, this man would not listen. He was all over the place, searching for his seat in vain. Finally, someone from the organising side found him a seat…er, in the third row! He sat there, fuming, fretting and totally making a fool of himself.
Why are street/stray dogs coming under such a big scrutiny, a contributor asks. Lately, the discussion in many a media circle here is about the menace of stray dogs, she says. While it may not be wholly dismissed, why are people bent on disturbing their peace, she asks. According to her, rarely do incidents where stray dogs come out and bite happen. In such a reality, making a big hue and cry of the dogs being a ‘menace’ was simply drawing attention to a non-issue. “Let the poor beasts be! Instead of wasting time on how to get rid of dogs, let them turn their attention on how to bring down the spate of accidents,” she said. Bow wow, the mutts aver.
Badminton ping pong
A mother of a student in one of the Indian schools here feels that her daughter’s school seems to have quite a chaotic scene as far as the badminton selection for the students are concerned. Rank favouritism, total lack of play ethics, literally none or improper time for practice, competition in practice sessions between seniors and teachers and total disarray and chaos reign the scene, she says, adding things reached to a head when her daughter was finally asked to appear for a match and when they all came for the competition they were rudely told that the event was already over the previous day. Yes, it is that pathetic, this lady who sent us a note, says. “Who is to be blamed for this? I very much wanted to go and complain to the school but my daughter stopped me as she feels that may be ill treated after that,” the mother, whose daughter is in junior category, tells B&W.
Do you know who I am? Still on the seat issue, boy, the next thing we encountered was another guest who went really berserk, mouthing obscenities and screaming and shouting because he was not given a proper seat. He was already in the VIP area but was not seated. He was shouting on top of his voice and saying “you don’t know who I am?” to the volunteers. They went ‘D-uh’; they did not know he was. So, he told them. Loudly. So loudly that we all turned our heads to him when he claimed that he was someone else. We turned back and checked: no, it was not who he said he was. He wasn’t the person he claimed to be, yet, he was so convincing, raging like a bull. The volunteers, some of them quite beefy looking and getting annoyed by the minute, were ready to show him the way out, but luckily for the impersonator, one of the organisers rushed to him and took him to ‘safety’ (in the sense, if the man had continued screaming obscenities, he would have probably been taken to task). Oh why, why make such fools of yourself in public?
(Note: Readers who have something bitter to chatter about can either email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 99218461)
Black & White 37
ÂŠThomas Snyder ÂŠThomas 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.
38 July 7-20, 2012
It's my life
Follow the LEADER
Vandana, award winning author (‘360 Degrees Back to Life')
By Vandana Shah Someone turned 94 this July. This someone spent more than two decades in jail, spent hours meditating and reading and forgave his captors. He brought about one of the biggest non violent revolutions in his country and they went on to become the president of a war ravaged nation and of course a real life superhero to all of us. He iconises Mahatma Gandhi and still has a twinklein his eye and a zest for life as a 5 year old. His biggest quality of course is Leadership, They say leaders are born not made but that is a debate for another time. It is difficult to imagine what qualities he must have had as a leader to propagate peace and non violence as solution in war and get lakhs of followers in his country and millions and billions worldwide. That is the true nature of a leader he just leads whether times are good or bad, or whether from the front or middle or the rear it doesn’t matter. He stands out like a brightly plumed ostrich amongst grey colored pigeons. He also realizes the value and importance of his followers, because after all he would be no one without them. His life work doesn’t end just by speeches but by action sometimes passive and sometimes active. He leads not by coercion but by agreement and is not harsh and critical but rather kind and like avoiding light who everyone follows on dark night. But most importantly he knows when is the right time for change whether it is him becoming a new leader or making way for the new generation. That is why I speak about NELSON MANDELA who definitely has changed the course of the world and has inspired so many of us to emulate him and be a mini leader. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADIBA…LONG LIVE peace and your values.
Vandana Shah, Author 360 Degrees Back To life, editor of Ex-Files. www.vandanashah.com. Email me what you’d like to say on email@example.com Follow me on twitter Vandy4PM
Black & White 39
POTS & POTTERY People first started making pottery out of clay around 6000 BC, near the beginning of the Neolithic period. They may have begun to make pottery as a way of storing grain safely when they started farming. In the beginning, pottery was made by just pushing a hole into a ball of clay, or by making a long snake of clay and coiling it up into a pot shape. The potter’s wheel was invented in Egypt around the year 3000 BC. The flat rotating area upon which pots were made had a longer shaft and a flywheel added, which allowed the potter to make more pots with proportionately less energy expended. Many early pots, meant to be used once and thrown away, are nothing more than a large lump of clay that someone socked their fist into, the way you might sock your fist into a catcher’s mitt. Many early pots, meant to be used once and thrown away, are nothing more than a large lump of clay that someone socked their fist into, the way you might sock your fist into a catcher’s mitt. Many of the designs used on pottery were borrowed from cloth, which was also used to identify people of one group or another. Developments in pottery were not in the West but in Sui Dynasty China, where potters began to make porcelain (PORR-se-lenn) cups and pitchers around 700 AD.
Most clays, when heated to a higher temperature, will melt into a glass. The Chinese developed the first porcelain clay bodies around the 10th century. These came from an elastic white clay called kao ling, from which the English term kaolin comes. 40 40July July7-20, 7-20,2012 2012
Tongue twisters How much pot, could a pot roast roast, if a pot roast could roast pot. Black & White 41
Your ARIES March 21-April 20 It’s all about rebooting and restarting this week so forget the past and focus on the future. Its time to change tactics at both work and play, so step outside your comfort zone and you’ll catch others off guard. Keeping them on their toes will keep life exciting for you and that’s what you need.
TAURUS April 21-May 20
GEMINI May 21-June 21
No matter how hard you work or how much effort you put in, it seems you’re the only one who misses out on the rewards, and you’re getting fed up with it. Edgy conversations could lead to a standoff but think long term before making major decisions about work or love. Calm down.
Trust your inner voice to give you the guidance you need over an emotional situation this week, even if you have to work hard. You haven’t played fair in the past and now need to work out how to make amends. Its only fair, especially if you’ve been a taker and not a giver. Sort it out.
CANCER June 22-July 23
LEO July 24-August 23
Home is where the heart is usually rings true for you, but this week home and hearth seems like a lonely place. The moons move into Aries mid week jolts your attention over work matters, so attend to them first then maybe you’ll get the respite you need when you return to your abode.
Filter the wild off the wall ideas out of your mind over business matters and concentrate on the tried and tested ones that you know will work. If a friend needs a shoulder to cry on this week, be there for them. They’ve been supportive of you in the past and got you through some hard times.
VIRGO August 24-September 23 Mercury, your ruling planet, enters Aries this week and makes you more outspoken about money, but try to be sensitive to those with less than you as you can be rather brusque in your delivery of the facts at times. Allow your softer side to break through. You’ll get your own way anyway.
NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA (BORN JULY 18, 1918) is a South African politician who served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first ever to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before being elected President, Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, and the leader and co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela went on to serve 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela led his party in the negotiations that led to the establishment of democracy in 1994. As president, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation, while introducing policies aimed at combating poverty and inequality in South Africa. In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba.
Mandela has received more than 250 awards over four decades..
42 July 7-20, 2012
stars LIBRA September 24-October 23
SCORPIO October 24-November 22
SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22
It’s not only you who have problems and issues this week, so stop being such a martyr and see if there’s anyone in your circle you can help. Embrace the unexpected and see where it takes you over work and love, and you might be happier with the new direction you’ve been pushed into.
Your emotional energy needs to be controlled this week to ensure your decisions are effective and not chaotic. Money still seems to be an edgy issue but focus on work and health matters before thinking of your cash flow. It’s a weekend to separate fact from fantasy and truth from exaggeration.
A growing inner confidence in your decision making skills puts you in the mood to experiment, but don’t take too much of a chance or you’ll feel out of your depth. The suns move into Taurus on Thursday and is asking you to focus on health matters, so up your activity levels and get moving.
CAPRICORN December 23-January 20 Although you know you’ve got commitments to meet this week your heart’s not in it. That’s not to say you wont do your bit, you will, but grudgingly. You need something major to happen in your life that’ll restore your faith and optimism in everything and everyone. Make it happen.
AQUARIUS January 21-February 19 If loved ones are feeling vulnerable, you’ll need to be patient with them, even if they stretch your last nerve to the max. You don’t seem to be getting the results you want from work situations, but make the best of what’s going on. Home and family need your full attention at the weekend.
PISCES February 20-March 20 Feeling impatient? Restless? Impulsive? Try to get a focal point to direct your energy as if you scatter your focus as you’ve been doing, nothing will get done and you’ll have wasted time and energy on nothing. Try to see the best in others at the weekend. They’re trying their best.
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.albahja.com
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
44 July 7-20, 2012
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, SALALAH, SUR, SOHAR, NIZWA, BARKA, KASAB MUSCAT continued...
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
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4545 Black Black && White White
or compromising? By Khadija Al Zadjali
Do women really love to multitask? Or, is it just a compromise of sorts? Studies have actually proven that women are better than men at juggling more than one task at a time. In fact, one specific study has actually proven that when women and men work on a number of simple tasks - such as searching for a key or doing easy maths problems - at the same time, the women significantly outperformed the men.
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Scientists believe that the results show that females are better able to reflect upon a problem, while continuing to juggle their other commitments, than men. So, the rather clichéd image showing a woman holding a crying baby in one hand, stirring the pot on the kitchen stove with the other and responding to queries on a phone, which is being held between her shoulder, neck/head is as real as it looks. She is able to do that and more! This, almost effortless, ability to juggle career, family, other commitments and hobbies seem to come naturally to the woman. But, is it as easy as it seems? Women, whatever their age, have enough stress in their lives, which ordinary men cannot claim to have. Look at a girl student: although her sole responsibility is to go to school/college and study, she would still have to stress herself over other departments in life too. Relationships, deadlines, plans and even her outfit for tomorrow has to flow into her thoughts, thus turning them into burdens… A working woman must be able to balance her work life, with her personal life. Many of us are exhausted at the end of the day, having to deal with the stresses of work and coming home to the reality of still being on the ‘job’. Stay at home mothers and wives don’t necessarily have it easy either. Whether you spend your day cleaning and cooking, or constantly on the run, women are always juggling. Could it be the rush of adrenaline, or the instant gratification of accomplishing tasks that maintain our need to keep busy? Or is all the stress and chaos we internally cause just part of getting the job done? Black & White posed these queries to some multi-taskers in town and here is what they have to say:
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Samira Al Naamani, director finance Grand Hyatt Muscat
It is very possible that women handle tasks best. When you are constantly faced with challenges, there is no room for boredom. My family is the biggest challenge. When I start a cycle of action at work I must complete it, so I need to make sure I make enough time for my family. Prioritising is not a choice; it is something I feel I must do in order to achieve. I make lists and then stick to them. I have lots of deadlines and work long hours. When I am off work, I immediately spend time with my family. It is a lot harder when they are in school; I need to be available to them by the time they are off. My schedule is very strict. So lunch is not only a meal, but quality time with the family. Working parents may not have all the time in the world, but too much time can be taken for granted. The higher up the ladder you go, the more responsibilities you have. My job is filled with routines, deadlines and there is no flexibility. You need to create a system for your life just like you would your job. Time becomes precious. Your children slowly start to understand, support you and take ownership. If you tend to become more flexible with your family, you will lose out. In a senior position, a woman must be able to trust and delegate, only then will life become a little smoother.
I believe multi tasking is more of a requirement in order to meet all my deadlines; there doesnâ€™t seem to be enough hours in a day to get all my work done when needed. When doing my college work, I have my laptop on my lap and my family around me. My study sometimes takes away my time with my family, so to compensate I sit with them while I do my work. If anything, the background noise helps me concentrate better. I work better under pressure and with deadlines. Sometimes I have multiple assignments due within the same week, making arrangements for other projects or even other commitments during finals! Even though it is stressful, keeping up with all my assignments, projects and commitments is definitely a challenge; but I love challenges.
Kifah Al-Shuhaiby, student
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Multi tasking comes naturally. I can’t see myself doing anything any other way. In working on my doctorate in health promotion, my monitor is full of other pages besides my assignment. There are search engines open, my email is open, facebook is open and not to mention phone calls being taken. If it wasn’t for multi tasking, there would be no feeling of accomplishment. But, just because you can multi task, doesn’t necessarily mean you can accomplish things. Trying to tackle too many things at once will never get the job done! I walk daily. During those walks my mind is filled with many and unrelated thoughts. I think of how my children’s day at school was, what needs to be done around the house, thesis to my paper… Having random thoughts and multi tasking are almost one and the same. The mind is inspired to respond quickly, either doing it now or making a note for later. Managing is a must, you should always prioritise. The trick is not doing too many things at once. Ruth Mabry, Stay at home mother
A woman’s role in society is always more diverse and I enjoy having a busy and productive lifestyle. When I am not working I volunteer and commit myself to other opportunities that would make me happy. It is a way of contributing to society, you must be organised and devoted but it is very important not to over commit. You should take everything one moment at a time. If your mind starts to race, then prioritise. By trying to tackle more than you can handle, you will end up suffering. I like being busy. It’s a choice to keep busy; you need to make everything work. It all about having a balanced lifestyle; occupying my time with beneficial activities give me a productive lifestyle. It is all a choice and I choose to be productive. I am very fortunate that I am single and have no children; it gives me enough time outside of work to enjoy myself. It is very important to be well organised, because only then will you have time. Veronica Kurak, teacher, Al Sahwa Private School
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Green beans are at their best during the summer months. They (string beans or runner beans) make terrific side dishes, salads and even main dishes. Flavour them with dressings and seasonings of your own choice. Easy to cook, easy to digest, green beans are good for allâ€Ś
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GREEN BEAN CURRY Ingredients 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 onion, sliced 1 serrano peppers, thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, crushed 5 fresh curry leaves 1 tablespoon curry powder 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric salt to taste 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed 1/2 cup coconut milk 2 tablespoons lime juice
Method Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, serrano pepper, garlic, and curry leaves in the oil until the onions are golden brown. Stir in the curry powder, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, and salt; cook another three minutes. Add the green beans to the mixture and stir until evenly coated. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the beans are al dente. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer at least five minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice just before serving.
COUNTRY RECIPE Ingredients 1/4 cup chopped uncooked meat 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed 1/4 cup chopped onion 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup chicken broth 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions Place the meat in a large skillet and cook over mediumhigh heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain meat slices on paper towels. Combine meat, green beans, onion, butter, chicken broth, garlic, salt, and pepper in a saucepan. Cover and simmer on medium heat until beans are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
SESAME GREEN BEANS Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon sesame seeds 1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces 1/4 cup chicken broth 1/4 teaspoon salt freshly ground black pepper to taste Method Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add sesame seeds. When seeds start to darken, stir in green beans. Cook, stirring, until the beans turn bright green. Pour in chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until beans are tendercrisp, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.
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can make you gain
You have done it all and still not managed to shed even a small inch off your waist? Many women experience this: they have tried doing everything right to shave off the extra pounds: regular exercise; eating well; taking proper supplements, but nothing seems to work. Why is that? It is here that we can come with a suggestion. How valuable it is depends on how effective it is for you.
52 July 52 June Jul JJu ully 7 u 7-20, 7-20, -20 -2 -20 20,,2012 22 2012 201 20 01 0 12
FIGHT OR FLIGHT? Are you stressed? Well, you are likely to immediately retort: what has stress got to do with weight gain? Plenty. But in a line, this is it: Chronic stress causes cortisol to increase in your blood, which can increase blood sugar, increase hunger, and promote more fat storage. Cortisol is a stress hormone. When we are under stress, the ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones. CRISIS MODE As you are aware, the body stores fat in the belly to stave off a crisis. But, if you plan your intake properly: eating three healthy meals and two snacks with some form of protein with each can help regulate cortisol and thereby stop your body getting into a crisis mode. ABDOMEN ATTACK Stress only leads to weight gain and today, from the women’s standpoint, their lives have become increasing demanding. ‘Being stressed out’ may sound like an emotional state, but the body understands stress physically. In the sense, it uses lesser calories and stores them, mostly around the abdomen area. NO WILD BEAST TO CHASE US Now, if we were living in the wild, we may have been either chased by a wild beast and that would helped us release adrenaline and cortisol into the blood. Chronic stress can pose a health risk and also cause weight gain.
METABOLISM Once you keep a close check, you will find out that you are putting on more weight when you are stressed. This happens even when your food intake is more or less the same. The villain is again: cortisol. Too much of it can slow down your metabolism and thereby causing more weight gain. CRAVINGS Watch yourself when you are stressed. You may either binge, or supplement your loss of confidence by reaching out for fatty, salty, sugary foods. You will find out that you are craving for all that is not good for you. Watch out! BLOOD SUGAR Doctors note that if you are plagued by continuous stress, then it will alter your blood sugar levels. This may lead to mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health concerns that can lead to greater health problems, like heart attacks and diabetes. FAT STORAGE Someone said that stress is one big layer of fat! In a way, yes! The more stressed out you are, you store more fat. And the unfortunate factor is that this fat is not stored anywhere else but the abdominal, which besides being ungainly is also prone to health risks.
E-MAIL: email@example.com, Website: www.albahja.com Black & White 53
By Priya Arunkumar Why are heroes glorified, while villains die a gory death in movies? The little girl looked up at me for an answer. The hero is an epitome of goodness, while the anti hero reeks of badness, cruelty and anti social behaviour, I explained diplomatically. It is not right for the society to glorify a person who kills, steals, abuses and cheats on others. Though my mind did say that I am citing wrong reasons, I had no other words to say. Don’t you think it is the villain that glorifies the hero? She queried again. Well, the good has to outdo the bad, life will not let the bad win over the good, I tried to convince her. The villain actually fights hard to survive. He has nothing from good looks to a supporting script! Look at the hero, he has good parents, most villains don’t have. There is lot of partiality when they picture the villains; everything from their dressing goes against them. Villain spends a great deal of time being hard, calculating, and sometimes even cruel, but without the villain, the hero is nothing, she tried to explain in her own little way. Plus look at the powers the hero has, he can beat anyone; he gets the prettiest girl to be his partner and gets all the good dialogues too. I think it is time we relooked at the villains’ role in movies. But, not all villains are bad, she declared, I prefer the villain over the hero. I would rather be a villain, than the hero! That sounded like a declaration. It is true, if you look at all the black characters’ in movies, villainy is profoundly
fascinating: it sweeps us up and lures us with its power. What do you think makes the Joker such a successful villain, either in comics or on screen? For every James Bond or Spiderman, there are three Godfathers, or rather Jokers or Godzillas. Indeed, villains have gripped the popular imagination with a force no mere hero can hope to match. Negative roles are appealing because they so many things that most normal people want to do, but simply can’t because of their personal morals and/or reprimands or because of what the society members will think. Or are we getting plainly sick and tired of watching movies (for example) with happy endings? Have we started craving for something dark and evil for a change? So much thought and creativity is put in to creating a successful villain that it is sometimes scary on the impact that could have on young and vulnerable minds. Maybe we are glorifying wrong people to create inspirations and motivate the younger generation. Are we setting wrong examples through characters’ because we love to create? Mail forwards say Bill Gates failed in his exams, while his friends passed to become mere engineers in future. Are we telling the youngsters they can fail in their exams to be successful like Bill Gates? We sometimes take a success story and dissect to bring out lessons of life. Maybe we are right, maybe we are wrong. They say each journey is unique, you cannot compare one to another, then why generalise on examples, motivations and inspirations? Time to ponder or very soon, you will have a bunch of young kids aspiring to be villains in future, or failing in exams or working at petrol stations aspiring to be one of the world’s richest some day! firstname.lastname@example.org