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Vol.2 Issue 27II January 21-February 6, 2011 17 Shafar - 3 Rabi' I

Men, watch how you look! p12 First-ever conference for disabled children and parents p15 Blue Whales off the Omani coast p50

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f i t s i n t o yo u r

The Embassy of India Muscat


As part of the Indian

Bharata Nrityam by the legendary artiste

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

of India

Republic Day celebrations

Classical Dance along with popular actor-dancer




For more details: 98675976,

On February 9, 2011

Mashuu fruits available in Oman? This is in reference to your feature in B&W issue 25 about the Mashuu or the Baobab tree. I have some points on the Baobab tree’s fruit, which I obtained from a report: "The fruit of the Baobab tree is contained in a hard nut and has six times more vitamin C than oranges and also has twice as much calcium as milk. People in Africa have eaten the fruit for thousands of years, and it later hit the European market, who consumed its pulp as an ingredient in smoothies and cereal bars. The baobab tree, which grows throughout certain parts of Africa has many different uses: The leaves can be eaten as relish and the fruit dissolved in milk or water and used as a drink. The seeds also yield an edible oil and can be eaten raw or roasted. The fruit, bark and leaves of the tree are used to treat medical problems including fevers and kidney disease. The fruit, which is removed from its nut and the pulp is white, powdery and has a cheese-like texture. It is being used as an ingredient in products such as cereal bars". I also want to know whether this fruit is being sold in Oman? Some people have told me that it is sold in the markets, but, I am yet to find one. Anasudhin M. A, Seeb

Role model for Omani youth From a young man who was entrusted to look after some vehicles to a man who is now the director of many companies, Anwar Ali Sultan’s interview (issue 25) made a good read. As a businessman, the best way to success is to keep an open door policy and that is exactly what Anwar Ali Sultan has successfully adapted. He is a successful businessman today primarily because of that. Finally, nothing succeeds like success and in Anwar Ali Sultan’s case, it is surely hard work, perseverance and sheer determination to climb over all odds. Businessmen like Anwar Ali Sultan are role models for the Omani youth. Majid A. S, Al Khod

66January January21-February 21-February6, 6,2011 2011

How do they find time? I always wonder how big businessmen (who head companies and are directors of numerous other organisations) ever find time (issue 25) for themselves or their families. As a small salesman in an upcoming company here in Muscat, I find it hard to pack everything that I have to do in 24 hours. Since I am in sales, I work a little over eight hours and also have some paperwork, which I take home and sometimes sleep over it. Since I am a bachelor, I also have a bit of cooking and washing to be done, so by the time I sit down to eat my food, or watch a bit of TV, I am already drowsing off and it is already the next morning. Hence, my sincere doubt as to how big businessmen ever find time to be with their families and friends? Do they really find time? And if they do, isn’t that the biggest success story of their lives?! Joyce C Mathew, Muscat

Never lower your standards Belated congratulations to Black & White for completing one year! You have been doing a great job and it is reflected in the comments published in your ‘Inbox’ and also the growing word-by-mouth publicity that your magazine has been getting over the last 12 months or so. What is required from you is not just to maintain this stance, but to go up at least one step further in your work standards. Always maintain high standards and never ever lower it. That alone will set you apart and make you successful. All the best B&W! Lavindra De Silva, Ruwi

Mail your views and opinions at Black & White 7


Lightning Salukis is home to the Salukis– 26 Oman an intelligent, friendly and extraordinary dog breed

Cover Photo: Najib Al Balushi

Watch how you look


Men should not even try to beat women on the lookgood front. But, that does not mean they should not try to look good. If they look good, they are going to feel good and more importantly, those who see them will also feel good…about them.


A conference for disabled children and their parents The first-ever medical and educational conference for parents and professionals handling disabled children will be held in March

Blue Whales off the Omani coast waters, 50 Oman’s are host to the


largest animal ever known to have existed – the blue whale, says Sayyida Tania, ESO

Published by: Muscat Press & Publishing House SAOC Black & White Postal address: P O Box 86, PC 115, Madinat Sultan Qaboos Office location: Hatat House, Office no: 212, II Floor Ph: 24565697 Fax: 24565496 Website: Editorial: Printed at Mazoon, Muscat, Oman 8 January 21-February 6, 2011

BPA Consumer Audit applied for December 2009

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

Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Priya Arunkumar Adarsh Madhavan Beneek Siraj Najib Al Balushi Swithun Fernandes Aloni Mehta

All about X, Y & Z

Some stories don’t see the light of day! By Adarsh Madhavan Many years ago, cops bust a dangerous gang who were into many criminal activities. They had bust into the gang’s den in town based on a tip off. Since the gang members were from another country, the embassy concerned was also involved. Some members of the media had also picked up this scent. The next day, we flashed the news on the front page. We, meaning, the daily I used to work for, then. The others dropped the story owing to various circumstances and so, I took the glory. And also the bullet. I was patted on the back by several people. Whattastory, great work! You guys have done it again! This is real journalism! And so on and so forth… I gladly accepted the bouquets. So, I had to accept the brickbats. Barely 48 hours had passed when I got a personally addressed mail to report to the authorities concerned to detail on the story published on the front page. It was an official order. Not addressed to my publisher or the editor. Directly to the ‘author’ of the report that was splashed on the front page on such and such a date. I went for the meeting. It was me against several veterans in that field of business who asked me what was the purpose behind such a report when it was never done and why didn’t I go through the normal channels of accepted journalistic behaviour? Why was I so keen to go against the norm? Or, was I just seeking sensation? Wanted my name in the arc lights? Wanted to get suddenly famous? Uh? I held my ground. I told them I was already in the market for close to a decade and so I was not looking for any glory, nor was I the type to thrive on sensation… It was going to be trouble and I realised that the others who gave me the tip off were also going to get into trouble, so I said that I and only I am responsible for what happened and God help me. God heard my words. He helped me. In the

sense, I was asked to make some declarations, return all evidence collected as part to collate the story and then vamoose. I scooted before they could change their minds. I had not realised the extent of the damage I would have got into by one simple story. I honestly had no intention of sizzling in any sensation and I had not done the story to gain attention. It was just that an opportunity presented itself and it is not everyday that the story you bring in gets accepted at the editor’s desk and gets published. So, when you look at it from my angle, I did everything that a scribe would do and just got lucky that the story was accepted even though it didn’t, as they pointed out to me, fit the norm. But there was a genuine story behind that story and I was not only lucky to have it got published and lucky to have gotten away from the fallout too. Many do not realise that so many good stories get spiked at the editor’s table or even in an editor-cum-reporter’s discussion. So many stories don’t see the light of day because of various compelling reasons and the law of that particular land that the scribes operate from. Which is why I get so overwhelmed when I see some of the news stories being done by this generation of scribes…the fact that they are seeing the light of day! PADDUKKA AND VINEETH DANCE SHOW ON FEB 9 Coming to an entirely different subject, folks, here is a chance to view a legend and her talented disciple blaze the stage as part of the Indian Republic Day. Padma Bhushan (Dr) Padma Subramaniam, the legendary Indian dancer and her handsome young, talented disciple, Vineeth, a famous South Indian actor to boot, will be unveiling a unique dance recital at the Indian embassy lawns as part of a joint venture between the Indian Embassy and the Black & White. It is on the evening of February 9. The venerable Soorya Krishnamoorthy, one of India’s foremost art promoter, will also be present as a guest of honour. (More details inside.) Black & White 9

Caring feet for your


Men health


When you have diabetes, taking good care of your feet is very important. Poor foot care can lead to serious problems, including possibly having to remove -- or amputate -- the foot or leg. As a person with diabetes, you are more vulnerable to foot problems because the disease can damage your nerves and reduce blood flow to your feet. It is estimated that one in five people with diabetes who seek hospital care do so for foot problems. By taking proper care of your feet, most serious problems can be prevented. Here are some diabetes foot care tips to follow.

10 January 21-February 6, 2011

WASH AND DRY YOUR FEET DAILY • Use mild soaps. • Use warm water. • Pat your skin dry; do not rub. Thoroughly dry your feet. • After washing, use lotion on your feet to prevent cracking. Do not put lotion between your toes. EXAMINE YOUR FEET EACH DAY • Check the tops and bottoms of your feet. Have someone else look at your feet if you cannot see them. • Check for dry, cracked skin. • Look for blisters, cuts, scratches, or other sores. • Check for redness, increased warmth, or tenderness when touching any area of your feet. • Check for ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses. • If you get a blister or sore from your shoes, do not “pop” it. Apply a bandage and wear a different pair of shoes. TAKE CARE OF YOUR TOENAILS • Cut toenails after bathing, when they are soft. • Cut toenails straight across and smooth with an emery board. • Avoid cutting into the corners of toes. • You may want a podiatrist (foot doctor) to cut your toenails.

them on to make sure there are no foreign objects or rough areas. • Avoid tight socks. • Wear natural-fiber socks (cotton, wool, or a cottonwool blend). • Wear special shoes if your health care provider recommends them. • Wear shoes/boots that will protect your feet from various weather conditions (cold, moisture, etc.). • Make sure your shoes fit properly. If you have neuropathy (nerve damage), you may not notice that your shoes are too tight. Perform the “footwear test” described below. FOOTWEAR TEST • Use this simple test to see if your shoes fit correctly: • Stand on a piece of paper. (Make sure you are standing and not sitting, because your foot changes shape when you stand.) • Trace the outline of your foot. • Trace the outline of your shoe. • Compare the tracings: Is the shoe too narrow? Is your foot crammed into the shoe? The shoe should be at least half an inch longer than your longest toe and as wide as your foot.

BE CAREFUL WHEN EXERCISING • Walk and exercise in comfortable shoes. • Do not exercise when you have open sores on your feet. PROTECT YOUR FEET WITH SHOES AND SOCKS • Never go barefoot. Always protect your feet by wearing shoes or hard-soled slippers or footwear. • Avoid shoes with high heels and pointed toes. • Avoid shoes that expose your toes or heels (such as open-toed shoes or sandals). These type of shoes increase your risk for injury and potential infections. • Try on new footwear with the type of socks you usually wear. • Do not wear new shoes for more than an hour at a time. Look and feel inside your shoes before putting

Black & White 11

Watch how you

(Because others are going to notice it…) Men should not even try to beat women on the look-good front. But, that does not mean they should not try to look good. If they look good, they are going to feel good and more importantly, those who see them will also feel good…about them. WHAT MEN SHOULD BEAR in mind is that each and every portion of their visible physical structure would be discretely scrutinised by members of the opposite sex. It is true when they say that women may not look, but, yet manage to see everything and in this case, women may not actually look at you, but they will see that you have for instance, not pruned your eyebrows, you have dirty or ragged nails, or, say, nose hair (yuck)… and so on. Some of the easily visible areas include your hair, face, hands and feet. In short, this would cover your eyebrows, nose hair, ear hair, moustache and beard; palms, finger nails, feet and toes…

Men read

Other aspects of hot and cold liquid guzzling, cigarette smoking, meat chewing men include their mouth, which (considering all these aspects) might emanate bad breath, and skin, which again might emit bad odour and would prove to be big turnoffs. Here are some quick points on these areas, which men must make sure to rectify and present 12 January 21-February 6, 2011

themselves properly. BREATHE EASY Before we look at the face and hands and legs, let us focus on the breath. You maybe a handsome hunk, but why do women move away when you get close to them? Simple: the bad breath barrier.

take care that you wash and clean yourself well.

Bad breath is a major turnoff, but not every man knows that they are having it. A simple test will let you know if you have bad breath: try to lick the back of your hand, then wait for a minute and then smell. Bad? Well, not a problem. You can consult a doctor and get it rectified. Causes of halitosis varies and moreover, you can resolve it temporarily with proper cleaning methods, but if it persists, just see a doctor so that you can rule out dental problems and infection.

And please do invest on a good cologne and body perfume. It will prove to be a real blessing. However, the advice is that you don’t over do it. Some men might pile on everything, right from scented soap, to deodorant and face cream. Also, too much of scented stuff on you will only succeed in irritating your skin. BALD AND BEAUTIFUL Okay, it is all over the bathroom floor, stuck to your hair brush and on towel. Yet, you hide the bald areas with long hair, lots of product or different styling. Unfortunately, you are the only one who is going to be fooled. So, in other words, drop the act: cut it short or even shave it off. What have you got to be ashamed of? Bald is beautiful.

STINKY PIE Speaking of smells, another key area to look into for activity loving, forever adventurous men is how they smell. Most men don’t seem to realise that their underarms, or that their body itself will stink if they sweat too much. Sweat all you like, but

PRUNING YOUR EYEBROWS It may not be the case with all men. But, it is true that some men do keep their eyebrows untended and they would naturally look an un-weeded garden. Many men escape this problem because their eyebrows don’t grow that much.

But not all are so lucky. For these unlucky few, the only option is to pluck the over grown ones out! For those with only a thin growth, an occasional plucking might be enough. Other methods include waxing, but not all are upto it. NOSE AND EAR HAIR Sometimes life is cruel. It hits you from everywhere: Hair on top of your head might be rapidly receding, and it might seem to grow in all the wrong places like your nose and ears. When it comes to nose hairs, don't pluck. First, it hurts. Second, nose hairs actually help filter out the air going into your lungs. Instead, use scissors or an electric trimmer to cut back the hairs a bit. You can use them on ear hairs, too. HAND AND NAIL CARE Even if you don't pay them any mind, your hands get noticed every day -- every time you shake someone else's, for instance. Dirty or ragged fingernails aren't manly. They're a turnoff. Consider a manicure -- men get them too -- to get you on track. If not, do the bare minimum. Trim your nails regularly. Invest a few rials in a nail brush and use it. FOOT CARE Of all the body parts that men ignore, your feet might be most neglected. But your partner is bound to notice them -- especially if scratched by your toenail in the night. Trim your nails straight across regularly. Soak your feet and sand away some of that dead skin with a pumice stone. It might seem fussy, but you'll both like the results. Black & White 13

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blackwhite Oman

A conference for

disabled children their parents We were supposed to meet Aisha Alwi Ba’abood, a senior language instructor, Language Center, SQU in her office, one recent morning. But, when we went to see her, she was not there. It was quite unlike Aisha to miss an appointment. A quick call to her and we realised why. She had to rush home. Her son had got suddenly sick. And for Aisha, a true mother, there was nothing more important than a call from a dear one in distress. It is not just that Aisha’s eight-year old son is unwell; he is also prone to epilepsy with learning and developmental disorders. Which mother would not run home when such a child is unwell? HELPLESS LIVES “Having a disability and living with a disabled member at home are two different experiences. I am living with one. As a parent, it is very difficult to explain the everyday struggle. Every parent with a disabled child lives with the disability, the associated fears and traumas. It becomes a part of their lives,” says Aisha when we met her later in the day. INNER STRENGTH But, the pain and the struggle open up their minds and they become stronger than others. Maybe the inner strength is what makes the mother going… unfortunately in Oman, the options for rehabilitation, physiotherapy and medical assistance is very limited for special kids, Aisha points out. “I am fortunate to be able to get international medical expertise for

my son, but how many mothers are able to get that? My son was just a year old when he was diagnosed with encephalitis (*) and we had to undergo many hurdles before he could be brought to Muscat (she was in Salalah at that time) and attended to. He is still epileptic, but like any other mother, I want him to get every little bit of help he can!” THOUSANDS OF MOTHERS There are hundreds, no, thousands of mothers like Aisha here. But, not all are as educated, nor having the means to handle challenged children. This was a point that was troubling Aisha for so many years. But, in the meantime, she became a part of the Association of Early Intervention for Children with Special Needs. And, with their help she managed to register a small family support group, just two years ago. Black & White 15

Oman watch 16 January 21-February 6, 2011

FAMILY SUPPORT GROUP “Though there are associations for the disabled in Oman, there is virtually nothing for family support. So, under the aegis of the Association for the Early Intervention, we registered a small Family Support Group two years back,” Aisha said, adding that last year, she was also given the responsibility of heading it. “The group now has 250 registered families of the association, but, again very few mothers find time to get together and discuss. But, it is slowly getting better!” FIRST-EVER CONFERENCE IN MARCH While she was happy with the first step taken in a positive direction, Aisha was still nurturing a very special dream. “I wanted to organise a conference that will benefit disabled children and their parents. That would be a stepping stone for many things. “I have been working towards it for the last one year and it is overwhelming to see international support to our endeavour. So, this March, we will see the first-ever medical and educational conference for parents and professionals right here in Oman at the SQU premises. It is free registration for parents of disabled children,” said Aisha, who is the head of the organising committee of the conference. COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH The theme of this conference is ‘Neurological Illness: A Comprehensive Approach towards Treating Disabled Children's Needs”. It is scheduled to take place from March 13 to 15 at the Sultan Qaboos University. There are six invited international plenary speakers; one of them is a noble prize nominee and the other is a Saudi royal princess.

The conference will cover the following topics: Neurological disorders/ illnesses: (Down syndrome, epilepsy, brain damages/ infections, brain injuries) Psychological disorders: (Asperger Syndrome, ADD, ADHD, Autism, behaviour problems) Language, speech and communication: •Food, diet and nutrition •Early Intervention •Genetic diseases •Therapies (adeli- therapy, temprana therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, equine assisted therapy) •Social impact on disabled children •Homeopathy •Sensory integration •Special needs education: (Physical education for disabled children, applied behavioural approach at schools and school shadowing, inclusion system, screening assessment tools....etc) •Parents counselling etc OBJECTIVES “The proposed conference has several objectives. First, it will help to increase parents’ awareness with regards to their disabled children. Second, it will provide insightful information on neurological and neuropsychological illness to parents, educators and physicians in order to treat children as a whole and to consider their needs. Third, professionals will listen to the parents’ views and will receive feedback from them about their experiences. Lastly, the conference will be an opportunity to share ideas and network with parents and caregivers of disabled children, physicians, teachers, regional decision makers, researchers and others,” Aisha said. “We will officially forward the recommendations of the conference to the authorities concerned in town

for steps to be taken in future. I would like to thank the ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Health officials who supported us in organising this event,” she added. FREE REGISTRATION FOR PARENTS Aisha noted that she has attended many conferences and seminars internationally. “Every event that I attended I had to register myself with a fee. As a mother I need to know the medical advances that can enhance the quality of my son’s life. I want to learn how to cope up with the disability in a better way. What are the mothers of the world doing? And so many other pertinent queries… But, how many mothers can do this? So, I always back the wealth of the knowledge from these seminars and pass it on to the Family Support Group members. It is at that time the idea of organising a seminar locally for the parents’ of disabled/ special needs children came up. I hope the parents of all communities will come forward to gain insight to the professional advices and presentation of the plenary speakers. I must tell you that this is the first conference of its kind; simply because it is targeted for parents. However, everyone is welcome to register to attend it. The conference presentation will be conducted in Arabic and English,” Aisha said. The conference is organised with the help of other committed members like Dr Yahya Al Farsi, Dr Mustafa Waali, Eiad Dambra and Dana Sheikh. “This conference will become a reality thanks to their wholehearted support and effort,” Aisha said. (*) -acute inflammation of the brain For registering please email to: or contact 98675976 Black & White 17

Coming Soon! Oman's first comprehensive online directory

More details:

Run to them I had raged at them and even spanked them last night. They cowered under my fury and disappeared from the scene. They had caused quite a racket and although I had shouted at them, they did not listen, so at 2.30am I had come down mad, brandishing a rolled-up newspaper… But, next morning, they just bounded up at me and leapt into my arms, licking and genuinely, deliriously, happy at seeing me. What? They forgot that I had yelled at them and spanked them just hours back? Obviously… That is doggies for you. I had spoken rudely, then raised my voice and even slammed the phone down on my parents the day before. The very next day they called me back and asked me if I was still upset and tearfully hoped that they would see me soon because they were missing me so much. Waitaminute! Didn’t I shout and scream at them just yesterday? They have already forgotten that? They have forgiven me just like that? That is parents for you. Doggies and parents… Forgive me for clubbing them together, but the truth is that there can only be two beings on earth that can love you eternally, despite whatever you do to them – your beloved parents and your equally beloved pet doggies. Throw any muck at them and they will throw back love…in abundance. They will still greet you -- at the gate or the door – with unbridled joy that will make you really wonder what they saw in us to be that happy. Not just dogs, parents too. Of course, with dogs, you can really let yourself be. You don’t have to bother to listen to them; they will, unlike any human being, listen to you. They will either sit on the side and hear you talk or lie down near your feet, in perfect harmony. They wouldn’t mind it if you toss in a bit of goodies for them to snack on while they wait, though. What does a dog want anyway? A belly rub, a pat on the head, a small walk, and some morsels of whatever stuff you eat. And if you let them stay in the house for sometime, their day is made. And they are not prone to the blame game either. You may trudge home after a horrible defeat in your work or game and they will not badger you, telling how you should have seen it coming and it is the “n’th” time that you have failed etc… Nope, and you can sure bet every little rial


By Adarsh Madhavan


he ft


that you have that they are not going to walk out on you because they feel that the relationship is getting nowhere or that they feel that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence or simply because they found someone new. Parents are the same. They don’t need much. Mine wouldn’t even want to trouble me and ask me why the monthly remittances are late, or why I have not even sent last month’s. They quietly decide between themselves that I must be in some kind of dire situation and offer their help in getting me out of the financial quagmire! Do you want something from here, I ask them and they just murmur the same lines: nothing, you just come! They may not be as understanding as pets who may not bother to ask me why I look the way I look today; why I have lost all my hair and why my belly looks like I have well, swallowed some big animal or why I am no longer taking sugar in my tea...? But, parents, like dogs, are there for you regardless of how ugly you look and how old and infirm you have become; if you have lost shape and hair and even if you are penniless. Both will simply accept you as you are, even if you are grouchy, morose, petty and depressed. And parents will go that extra mile to even say a sincere prayer to God to pull you out from the morass that you have sunk in. And, believe me, in more ways than one, God hears them. In short, there is nowhere else that you can run to for pure, unconditional and non-judgmental love but to them. And, they will be there, just waiting for you. For real TLC, just run to your doggies if your parents are not here, and if they are, then don’t just hesitate… Run to them. Like I am going to do. Soon… Black & White 19

All New Hyundai Accent launched in Oman

Hyundai’s fluidic sculpture design language now adorns the compact vehicles in its lineup, and the new model slated to take the Oman market by storm 'Accent' was recently unveiled here in Muscat at the Hyundai showroom. The present included: the executive vice president, Hyundai Motor Company –William Lee, OTE Group

Chairman - Sheikh Saad Suhail Bahwan, Cyrus Vevaina – MD, OTE Group and V. R. Dilip – COO, OTE Group. With eye-catching looks, the new Accent projects a dynamic image that is at once sporty, stately and futuristic. Developed over a long period, Hyundai team has done a fantastic job of incorporating customer trends to ensure every detail meets their requirements. Accent is targeted at the entry level car buyer segment and fully reflects Hyundai’s philosophy of quality and style. Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Saad Suhail Bahwan said, “The new Accent with its styling, modern features and new powerful engine will redefine the dynamics of the segment for today’s generation of buyers.” He also thanked the people of Oman for their unwavering support to Hyundai and was confident that the launch of such new generation vehicles will lead to a significant growth in the Hyundai family in Oman. “Hyundai has been able to build on the momentum gained in 2009, resulting in Oman retail sales rising 36 percent” said William Lee. “Accent has been the best selling car in the Middle East Region” he added.

PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11


At a briefing in Muscat this week, PwC revealed key findings at the Oman launch of PwC’s Annual Global Family Business Survey. The results of months of research, talking to more than 1,600 family business owners and managers in 35 countries, including Oman and the UAE, the survey aimed to find out how family businesses are coping with the economic downturn, what problems they are facing, and how they are preparing for the future. Kenneth Macfarlane, PwC Oman country senior partner and Amin Nasser, PwC Middle East family business leader co-hosted the briefing at a morning seminar at the Capital’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.

20 January 21-February 6, 2011

At Your Service campaign at

Muscat City Center Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC) launched its new 'At Your Service' campaign recently with the opening of an interactive customer service stand at Muscat City Centre. Held under the patronage of Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Mahruqi, chairman of the Public Authority of Electricity & Water, the event launches a month-long customer service initiative from the company. Open daily from 10am to 10pm from January 8 at the Seeb-based Mall, the ‘At Your Service’ stand is a customerorientated project from MEDC to enable direct interaction with some of their subscribers.

Nawras Backstage experience Nawras customers can now be first to hear the latest music releases from their favourite artists as they ‘Live it First’, with the introduction of an exciting, interactive music experience ‘Backstage’. Launched in partnership with Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, this new experience brings interactive entertainment to the fingertips in a pleasingly different way. For a minimal monthly fee of OMR1.9, customers can enjoy unlimited access to the most extensive international music

catalogue of over 120,000 international hits from Universal Music, Mazzika and Melody. Artists on these leading labels include Amr Diab, Haifa Wehbi, Tamer Hosny, Khaled, Rachid Taha and many more popular performers. The impressive list continues with Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Kanye West, Snoop Dog and Snow Patrol. Music from R&B artists like Pussycat Dolls and Akon lines up with classical titles from Andrea Boccelli and Luciano Pavarotti.

Qurum Business Group appointed as Oman GSA of Royal Jet, UAE Royal Jet, the Abu Dhabi-based international luxury flight services company chaired by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, has appointed Qurum Business Group as the Oman GSA for all their private charter and other services. The QBG vice chairman and managing director, Abdul Aziz Al Hosni said, “Royal Jet is a perfect fit for senior Omani business travellers and this opportunity will allow us to become a leader in the fast-growing luxury and leisure travel industry. At the same time, it will address emergency medical requirements and provide a wide choice of medical ambulance facilities to the Omani community during medical emergencies. “For Royal Jet, entry to Oman is geographically compelling and will enable customers in Oman to unlock the many benefits and privileges of private jet travel,” said Shane O’Hare, president and Ceo of Royal Jet “The agreement is part of our ongoing strategy to expand into other key markets and is entirely consistent with our regional expansion plans after Saudi Arabia, India and Europe."

Ministry of Sports Affairs honours NBO The Ministry of Sports Affairs has recently honoured various sports teams and organisations that supported the different sports activities held in Oman, in 2010. The function was held recently, under the auspices of Ali bin Masoud Al Sunaidi, minister of sports affairs, in the presence of head of sports associations, representatives of public and private sectors’ companies and a number of media persons, at Al Bustan Palace hotel. During the occasion, National Bank of Oman (NBO) was felicitated as the second best supporter of all sports activities in Oman, in 2010. Hassan Abdul Amir Shaban, NBO’s chief marketing officer received, on behalf of the bank, a silver shield and a certificate of appreciation from the minister of sports. Black & White 21


celebrates 20 years of Al Mazyona

BankMuscat recently celebrated 20 successful years of its flagship Al Mazyona savings scheme, with the announcement of the third OMR 400,000 jackpot prize winner of the 2010 savings scheme and unveiling a new logo ‘Al Mazyona – 20 years of fulfilling dreams’ for 2011. The winner of the OMR 400,000 jackpot prize was from Al Khuwair branch, while a customer from Madinat Sultan Qaboos branch won the OMR 200, 000 special prize draw held for Sanadat al Edekhar Deposit Unit and Priority Banking customers. The winner of the monthly OMR 40,000 prize for December ’10 was from Mina Al Fahal branch.

Special EMC offer BankMuscat and Emirates Medical Center (EMC) have announced a facility wherein BankMuscat priority banking customers / platinum and membership cardholders can avail discounts offered by EMC in Muscat and Salalah branches. Dr Fatma O


TAC receives Omanisation award Towell Auto Centre (TAC) recently received an award for ‘Omanisation’ from the ministry of manpower for its exceptional track record and achievements in the recruitment and training of Omanis at all levels in the company. “We at TAC are honoured to receive this prestigious award and are very pleased that our efforts towards Omanisation have been recognised by the ministry. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has called on the private sector to increase its Omanisation initiatives and we feel truly privileged to have our efforts in trying to fulfil His Majesty’s vision recognised this 40th National Day,” said Riyadh Ali Sultan, general manager, TAC.

22 January 21-February 6, 2011

Ali, Ceo and owner of EMC said: “BankMuscat is the leader in cards business in Oman and they also care about the wellness of customers, hence EMC entered into this arrangement.” Contact: 24604540

Charitable Dharamsey Eye Centre opens ‘No profit, no loss’ is the ideal behind the newly opened Dharamsey Eye Centre (DEC) in Al Ghubrah. This could be Oman’s first hospital where the impoverished need to pay only half charges. “No one shall return without eye care due to lack of funds,” an official of the DEC, said.

'Muscat Patterns' to be held at GUtech The Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London, will hold a two weeks Architectural workshop titled 'Muscat Patterns' hosted by the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) from January 31 until February 11. The workshop was announced by professor Nikolaus Knebel, head of the department of urban planning and architectural design at GUtech and GUtech coordinator of the visiting school.

“We are honoured to host the AA workshop at GUtech. One of the famous contemporary architects Rem Koolhaas, who designed the Dubai Porsche Towers and Zaha Hadid, who developed prestigious projects on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, are graduates of the AA,” said professor Knebel during the meeting. Programme Director of the visiting school in Muscat is the architect and AA professor Omid Kamvari.

The workshop is still open for applications. Further information is available online at: muscat and http://desmena. com/?p=2683. Applications can be directly submitted to visitingschool@

Mock-up villa ready for visit at

Jebel Sifah Customers can now get an impression of how Muriya Tourism Development’s villas at the Jebel Sifah are going to look with a mock-up complete for their inspection. Currently there are eight types of villas under construction. The villas range from two to six bedrooms while the apartments range from one to three bedrooms. The residences provide space and privacy as well as offer a choice in architecture and view front. Black & White 23

Suffering from Shopping Prejudice Syndrome

Bikram Vohra, internationallyknown Gulf based scribe

Sunny side up

By Bikram Vohra Some of us have acute cases of SPS and no one understands our frustration. The other day I went to get white onions and you know what, they had pink onions, brown onions, pickled onions, cocktail onions, onions from India, onions from Kenya, onions from Albania but not one white onion. Walk into a shoe store and explore the rows of right foot shoes. Seek out the one that you feel is the best. Odds are that when you find it the shopkeeper will tell you that specific style is no longer available in your size or the colour that you want. He has 137 other styles but not the one you choose in size 10. Size 9 and 8 and even 11, but not one pair in 10. Go to the bakery to pick up some croissants because your wife said so and they have just run out of them. Go window shopping and you will find this delightful dress that you simply must have. So you go in and tell the attendant, look please keep this one for me, I shall be back tomorrow and I shall buy it. He says, sure, OK, fine, love to, reeeee-served. So you come back the next morning loaded with the money and there is another attendant on duty and he does not know what you are talking about and you say, please, please, and he will say that dress went yesterday, it was our last piece. But that man promised, you shout. He shrugs. You shout again, he shrugs some more. Sorry, this is not our store policy, we do not keep things for people, can I show you something else? Now and then you get something as a gift, which us expats rudely call unwanted and we wish to exchange it for something else. So we cart it off to the shop in the hope that the keeper will understand. Tough to explain why you tore open the box like a child with a birthday gift and not a mature adult calmly opening a package. Now they do not know if they can take it back seeing as how the covers are ripped and the bubble paper bust in several places (the rest of the family was popping away while you unpacked remember) and the thermacol outlays crumbled into pieces, so sorry. 24 January 21-February 6, 2011

Sometimes what you bought doesn’t work. Like an oven toaster. A replacement is promised if you fill in this form and declaration and please leave your telephone numbers so we can get back to you as soon as possible. What is this get back to us stuff, I want the replacement right now. I am sorry, sir, we have to abide by the system, you see Retail will send your piece to Head Office who will forward it with a covering letter to Wholesale who will then examine the nature of the complaint and then deliver the item to the manufacturer who will send it to the factory. If you are a glutton for punishment you will ask what route it takes to comeback. He will say, well after the manufacturer is informed by the factory QCD as to the.... Who’s QCD? Quality Control Department, sir, they will send a recommendation to the wholesaler who will forward it to the HO who will send it to their CA for verification and that will then be attested by the Chief Accountant and go to the MD to be OK’d and then the voucher for RDG.... What’s dat? Dat’s ... that’s replacement of damaged goods. Oh now, where was I, sir? Paradise Lost Book VIII. I beg your pardon, sir. No, I beg yours, I will just take the damaged toaster back, it’s easier this way. Have you noticed another thing? Items look much brighter, prettier, more exotic, more exciting in the display window. They tend to wilt in the lighting, but that delightful silver plated tea-set that looked real suddenly looks grey and spotty when you bring it home. The eye-catching statue that set you back 500 dirhams now looks absurd and grotesque and not half as exciting. Then there are discounts. Some people are born to discounts. They demand and they get it. Obligingly, ingratiatingly, yes sir, of course sir, lop 30 percent for the gentleman here. Some people do not. Like me. Sorry, we do not give discount. How about 20 percent? Not our policy, fixed rates. Ten, then. Five? No! Round off the last figure at least, let me win a skirmish, you’ve got a war. So sorry, we have a fixed price policy.

In Black & White

In Black... Salukis are the only Arab breed of dogs and Oman has its own share of the breed with the Bedouin tribes. They are very handsome looking, gentle dogs that was part of the Arab tradition, which included camels, horses, and eagles Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Editor-in-chief SAVE THE SALUKIS! If a dog is wagging its tail, it is okay, it will not bite, which is what a dog loving friend used to tell me. The one I used to know and lived in my neighbourhood never ever wagged its tail and was always barking its head off. It was in a home next to a shop that I always loved to visit when I was a kid. But, this dog proved to be such a pest that I would be forced to take a long, circuitous route to my favourite shop, just to avoid being caught in its barking trap. It used to be such a menace. Some days it will be quiet and I would tip toe my way and just when I would be heaving a sigh of relief thinking it was asleep, suddenly it would try to leap on the wall with a fierce roar and I would flee for my life! Dogs have always remained a mystery to me. I could never master them and I was more nervous than curious about these dogs, probably because of my bad experience with this fierce neighbourhood dog. My stint in the USA helped me slowly open up a bit to the doggies because of my bigger exposure to them, there. I got to see many breeds like pit bulls, terriers, German Shepherds, Grey Hounds, Chihuahuas etc‌ and slowly my apprehensions ebbed too. But I still maintained a faithful distance. I did not want to give into chance; after all, they are animals and can react according to their moods. But, having said all that, I would still like to maintain that a dog is indeed a man’s best friend. Dog

shows, races are all extensions of the fact dogs are an essential part of our society. In fact, many countries still use special dogs as aides for the blind. Maybe we should start thinking about it in Oman too. But, it was only when the B&W team ventured into the world of the sweet Salukis recently that such liberal view on dogs was further emphasised. I realised that Salukis are the only Arab breed of dogs and Oman has its own share of the breed with the Bedouin tribes. They are very handsome looking, gentle dogs that was part of the Arab tradition, which included camels, horses, and eagles. But, as I learnt, they are sadly vanishing and I hope the authorities concerned will take suitable measures to arrest this negative development and make positive steps to conserve the breed. Even if hunting is banned in Oman, Salukis can be used for racing, because they are born to race. Just like bull fighting and camel racing, this can bring in tourists too.

& White Black 25 Black & & White White 25


B&W Xclusive

SALUKIS 26 January 21-February 6, 2011

Black & White 27

“Like an arrow it was sent, Tearing away from his own skin Like… Lightning…” (A verse by Abu Nawas describing the movement of a Saluki)

Reesha trembled with anticipation. Her deep chest slightly heaving, eyes piercing the distance at a selected spot far away, ears bent but stiff, tail tucked tightly between her legs, the muscles in her fore and hind legs rippled and calmed, rippled and calmed…she was straining at the leash on her neck held by her master’s friend, Ahmed Essa Al Jabri

B&W Xclusive

“Huwa Reesha, huwa! Huwa, huwa,” said Ahmed Jabri in that little manspeak-to-dog-tone and then suddenly let her go. Reesha leapt forward into the air like a cannonball, landed and then tore on the dusty ground towards Said Al Jabri (not his real name) who was holding some bird’s feather and skin, which he threw at a distance and in the next whisk of a second, a little tear-away Saluki, just above a year and a half, plucked the feather and skin from mid air and raced back to Ahmed.

28 January 21-February 6, 2011

“Huwa Reesha, huwa! Huwa, huwa!”

Black & White 29

Salukis are tall, 23 to 28 inches at the shoulder, but are not heavily built. Average weight is 30 to 65 pounds for dogs with bitches typically smaller and shorter. The saluki tail is low.

B&W Xclusive

OLDEST DOG BREED IN EXISTENCE These lines are just apt. It describes not just Reesha but almost all Salukis that indulge in a chase. Salukis are considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds in existence, with excavations of Sumerian Empire sites between 6000 to 7000 BC showing carvings and seals that look similar to the modern breed. Its name is thought to come from the ancient Arabian town of Suluk in Yemen. Today, it is also called the Gazelle Hound, Arabian Hound or Persian Greyhound. Also considered to be the ‘Royal Dog of Egypt’, Saluki-like animals appear on Egyptian tombs increasingly commonly from the Middle Kingdom onwards. They have connections both to the Bible and Imperial China. SALUKIS OF SOHAR Now, what is a Saluki doing in Oman? Or, more precisely, what is a Saluki doing in Sohar? During a recent 30 January 21-February 6, 2011

interior trip, Black & White stumbled on a set of sleek-bodied hounds in an area called Majjan in Sohar. All of them were tied under the sparsely built trees in Majjan, which is a vast free area, along with other animals, including camels, poultry, and other dogs. TELLTALE SIGNS At a glance, they seemed to be like ‘wadi dogs’ that were being reared by these Bedouins. Go closer and you will discover the telltale signs that set these Salukis a world apart from any of their counterparts: the sloping shoulders, racy hindquarters, flexible loins, deep ribs, long stretching limbs, strong bones, muscular necks... EXTRAORDINARY CREATURES We went closer, befriended the owners who were quite loquacious when it came to their “intelligent, friendly and extraordinary dogs with fine characteristics”.

Saluki coat colours are white, black and white, cream, fawn, golden, red, grizzle and tan, tri-colour (black, white and tan). Grizzle is a banding pattern with black or red and white hairs. Salukis have various markings including white collars, feet, splotches and spots

“A pure Saluki will have a deep and strong chest. It should have two fingers width across the top of the head between the ears. Their wrists must be small and their paws pointing forward,” Hassan Mohammed Abdullah Al Balushi tells Black & White as he untied his pet Saluki, Lougi, and brought him towards us. Lougi had a long, expressive face and seemed very gentle. “Salukis are quite intelligent dogs and also very friendly. They may appear reserved, but they are not nervous. And certainly not aggressive,” he said, asking us to go ahead and pet it. Then, he placed his large palm between the tops of Lougi's thigh bones. “The width (of a Saluki) should be that of a hand including the thumb and the area should be hollow,” he explained.

appearance being that of grace and symmetry. “The Salukis are very gentle, especially to children. They are neither dangerous nor ferocious. It is very sad that in Oman the Saluki is facing extinction because of the hunting ban in the 70’s,” Hassan and Ahmed noted.

GRACEFUL AND SYMMETRICAL Salukis are swift, agile and very graceful in motion. They are often known as the gazelle-hound or Persian Greyhound, and falls in the group of breeds categorised as ‘sighthounds’, which means, they sight the quarry, run it down, catch and retrieve/dispatch it. The normal range for the breed is 23 to 28 inches (58 to 71cms) high at the withers and 40 to 60 pounds (18 to 27kg) in weight, although females are slightly smaller than males. A typical Saluki has a long head with large eyes and drop ears; the tail is long and curved, with the overall

BRINK OF EXTINCTION However the introduction of a ban on all forms of hunting in 1976 obliged hunters to dispose of their hunting hounds (and falcons) with the result that the breed became virtually extinct.

ORIENTAL GREYHOUNDS In her book, ‘Oriental Greyhounds’, Florence Amherst (daughter of the First Baron Amherst of Hackney) wrote of a distinctive type of Omani Saluqi, which she described as ‘not having much feathering on ears and tail’. Apparently, at that time there may have been quite a number of Salukis in Oman to merit a mention “as one of only four types of Saluqis”.

Times changed and along with it the deserts and Arab lifestyles that created the circumstances in which the camels, horses and the Saluki flourished, now no longer exist. “The Saluki may be lost to our future generations,” Hassan stressed. Black & White 31

Their sleek bodies have a very low ratio of body fat, as weight is mass that must be moved and every extra pound slows them down

B&W Xclusive

HENNA CLAD Reesha, the elegant looking female, had henna on all four paws. Bedouins normally apply henna or nut oil to harden the Saluki’s feet to avoid injuries whilst hunting in the harsh desert. “Reesha is our pride and she is a prize hunter. She has participated in many competitions in the United Arab Emirates and we are very proud of her,” said her owner, Mohammed Al Jabri. Reesha is nearly two years, while Lougi is one and a half. “Currently we are training both the dogs to hunt and race. We learned the tricks during our trips to Abu Dhabi. We have attended many races and there was also a Gulf Challenge held in Abu Dhabi in October last year.” We were also introduced to a pure Arab bred Saluki called Al Agrab, named after the famous Qatari champion Saluki Agrab, who is known to clock amazing speeds during his races and Mirash, a very young Syrian bred Saluki. “We also indulge in camel races in winter. But Salukis can be raced in all seasons. They are born with good stamina and are able to withstand the harsh desert climate,” Mohammed said. LOCALLY BRED SALUKIS The Saluki owners then told us of various Bedouin 32 January 21-February 6, 2011

settlements in Sohar, Barka and other regions where these amazing desert hounds are bred and used for hunting and racing amongst themselves. “Most of the Bedouin tribes rear Salukis for their own use. But all of us know that Saluki hunting and racing has been a part and parcel of our tradition. Salukis are not new to Oman. They are a part of our lives since generations. REVIVE AN OLD TRADITION “Most Bedouin settlements rear them as part of their nomadic lives and use them for hunting. Given their hunting instincts, Salukis are prone to chasing anything that moves. They are special sight hounds and can chase up to five kilometers distance at top speed. We are here settled in Majjan area for nearly three years and have been rearing camels and Salukis. One day we hope to revive the races and hunting as practiced in the older days,” the owners said. “We only hope the authorities concerned will give us space, permission and support to revive this age old tradition. Our tribes settled in Majjan currently have over 20 Salukis with us and often we have internal races,” they said, adding that they have already applied to the authorities concerned for all necessary permissions.

Bedouins normally apply henna to harden the Saluki’s feet to avoid injuries whilst hunting in the harsh desert

BORN TO RACE Like other sighthounds, Salukis have independent personalities and their hunting instincts result in chasing things that move. They are cat-like and require patience when training. A Saluki needs exercise to avoid boredom. These deep-chested, large hearted dogs have also lungs, which are larger than other breeds, to supply air and blood at an increased rate during the chase. Their sleek bodies have a very low ratio of body fat, as weight is mass that must be moved and every extra pound slows them down. “We ensure that our dogs are not overfed. It costs us an average of OMR80 per dog to maintain, while it can go up to OMR 200 during the racing season,” Hassan said, noting that then they needed to be put on additional vitamin and food supplements. The race gear would cost them in the region of OMR500. SALUKIS CAN OUTRUN ARABIAN HORSES Salukis seem to have long fragile legs, but they are tough, coiled springs used for maximum acceleration. Their long tail acts as a rudder in high-speed turns. Their heads are slender and elegant. The owners claimed that a pure Saluki could run as fast as 100kms per hour in hunting as well as races, which

is why care must be taken not to cross breed so as to ensure the true characteristics of the breed. Reports noted that the fastest dog could indeed be the Saluki of Arabia, which can step out at 43mph (around 70kms/hour), and overtake the fastest Arabian horse.








Off white

Working Qualifications:


Prizes won





Mohammed Al Abri

Black & White 33

B&W Xclusive

Al Agrab, a pure Arab breed is named after the famous Qatari champion Saluki Agrab, who is known to clock amazing speeds (150kms) during his races

34 January 21-February 6, 2011

The width between the thigh bones (of a Saluki) should be that of a hand including the thumb and the area should be hollow. A good bred pure Saluki can be determined by its body shape. A well projected chest to a sucked in abdomen displays its athletic physique

Saluki history is closely tied to the history of early man. The Arabian desert, the cradle of many civilisations, produced two famous breeds of animals: notably the Arabian horse that was used for transport and war and the Saluki gazelle hound for hunting.

The Saluki owners also displayed how their beloved pets were taught to get onto the back of a pickup or into their cars with just a single command (or two!)

Black & White 35

The Saluki Whisperer Salukis have played an important role in the traditional Arab past and plays a significant role even today, says Hamad Al Ghanem (*), a Dubai-based businessman and Saluki breeder and probably one of the most knowledgeable man in the region of these exceptional desert hounds.

HAMAD, WHO HAS diligently researched the Saluki breed since he was a boy, and is presently compiling a historical book on the subject, attempting to show what an important role the Saluki played in the traditional Arab past, and still does today, spoke to the Black & White from Dubai about the subject close to his heart. He belongs to a well-known and respected Bahraini family who has become famous in the region for breeding Salukis. His family has been breeding the Aseel Salukis – the purest breed of Arabian hounds, for over seven decades. The family tradition of Saluki breeding has been passed from fathers to sons for many generations, and to own one of the exceptional Al Ghanem Salukis is the privilege of the noblest Arabian families, as well as many fortunate people across the globe. But, as it is the case in Oman, and elsewhere, times are changing and along with it the deserts and Arab lifestyles that created the circumstances in which the Arabian horse and the Saluki flourished, now no longer exist. “We must take steps to preserve them (Salukis), or they will become extinct,” Hamad told Black & White. Before we attempt to understand the Saluki breed, it is important to understand the background and history of the breed, Hamad stressed, adding that the Saluki history is closely tied to the history of early man. “The Arabian desert, the cradle of many civilisations, produced two famous breeds of animals – the Arabian horse that was used for transport and war, and the Saluki gazelle hound for hunting.” A FAMILY TRADITION “Saluki breeding and rearing, the races are all part of my life; it is a family tradition carried over for many years. My father and grand father and their ancestors were all in to Saluki breeding and it is just passed on to me. I am in to this since my childhood.

B&W Xclusive

Salukis are one of the finest breed of dogs and is an Arab tradition. Why let it die, when you can conserve them with dignity? I travel quite a lot, attend all sorts of races and shows involving Salukis and that has helped me do research and gather information on this breed.

36 January 21-February 6, 2011

Hamad Al Ghanem

Black & White 37

I am very passionate about this and so I leave no stone unturned to collect information on a Saluki. They are a unique breed and very much a part of our Arab culture. Unfortunately not much is being done to hold on to the tradition,” Hamad noted. SHOWS AND RACES “I know Salukis are hunting dogs, they are sight hounds used predominantly for hunting gazelles and hares. But, today when many countries have banned hunting, you can focus on races and beauty shows involving salukis. They are majestic and harmless gentle animals. Even a kid can be safe with them. Once given proper training they are the best in the world.”

Hamad and his team are having a show from February 7 to 10 in Abu Dhabi. It is when you attend a show you understand the talent and speed of the Saluki

Hamad and his team are having a show from February 7 to 10 in Abu Dhabi. “It is when you attend a show you understand the talent and speed of the Saluki. These shows give us the opportunity to highlight the incredible characteristics of the breed itself, and create public awareness in our proud cultural heritage, especially for the younger generations. Throughout the times and the changing generations, the traditional values and ethics of the Arabian bedouin are being forgotten and it is our duty to preserve and celebrate them for future generations.” SALUKI CLUB Hamad is a member of the U.S.A. World Kennel Club and also a board member of the Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis based in Arizona USA, where he supplies them with essential information and data about this rare breed. Hamad has founded the Saluki of Arabia Club, which is the first of its kind in the region, and at present is developing a web site for the breed where owners can find out more about their dogs, and newcomers to the breed can ask questions. He is also liasing with governments around the Gulf to preserve the Saluki Arabian heritage by releasing a series of Saluki stamps. Bahrain has taken up the challenge by releasing a series of eight stamps containing Saluki illustrations. Hamad is also in close contact with royal families and nobles throughout the Gulf region and beyond, to preserve the Saluki heritage.

B&W Xclusive

(*) breeder, registrar general and director of the Arabian Saluki Center, UAE

38 January 21-February 6, 2011

Laughing jaws! Their long and powerful jaws (which Arabs describe as ‘laughing jaws’) maintain a powerful grip on prey.

Saluki fun facts: The Saluki is more affectionate towards his master than a father is towards his son, and can truly be regarded as man’s best friend. Salukis eat what their masters eat, sharing their tents and their food. Milk head the diet list, followed by rice, dates, olives, chicken and meat. Water for the Saluki should preferably be kept in a clay pot, which ensures that it stays fresh and cold in the heat. A Saluki will never drink dirty water and will refuse stale food or milk if someone has put his hand in it. Wind Drinker, Daughter of the Tent, Son of the Desert, Desert Eye are some of the names Bedouins have put for Salukis. Some Bedouins even allow the Salukis to share their tents.

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

Black & White 39

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:

Take it or leave it


Who is ‘wrong’ at it anyway?

40 January 21-February 6, 2011

The tussle between a house/flat owner and the tenant is universal. Sometimes the tenant will be at fault, and at other times, the owner. But, in this issue, the owner is bent on harassing the tenant, we found out. The former has managed to get a verdict against the latter in terms of leaving the flat, and as the date nears, the former is going full throttle on the harassment front. “We have made several complaints to get the sewage leak in this building rectified, but, to no avail. He never listens to us and says that they don’t have the means to do that!” The problem ensued sometime back when the owner tried to raise the rent by several counts and gave a ‘take it or leave it’ ultimatum. So the tenant decided to leave it, but the owner said "leave now" and did some strong arm tactics too, which finally resulted in a court battle. The final verdict was that the tenant leave the flat after a year or so and soon after finding another flat. “Now, the date is getting closer and I feel that he is putting pressure on me demanding that I pay my rent much in advance. And I can’t do that because I get my salary on a particular date and it is only after that I can pay him. Although we have mutually agreed that we pay on a fixed date, I am now told to advance that by over two weeks, which is impossible. And when I tell him that I will be able to pay only the previously agreed date, he gets rude…what should I do?”

There must be a reason behind it, we thought as a reader called up to explain how a company to whom this man had to make a payment, would not accept the amount because it was 250 baisas short. This man had gone to make his usual payment and so he took out his credit card and gave it to the accountant of the company concerned. “I am sorry, we will not be able to use your credit card,” the accountant informed our man. But, I have always paid by credit card, so why – but it was impossible to argue with this accountant. “Sorry, please don’t waste my time, you have to pay by cash and that is it,” the latter said. So our man dipped into his wallet, his pockets, everywhere and finally he looked like he could have the right money in hand.

He quickly counted the money and then gave it to the accountant, who swiftly flipped the notes and gave it back to the man. Now, what is it this time, our reader thought and asked the man what was wrong: “You’re short of money – get me the full amount,” the accountant said. What-the-heck, our reader cursed himself and counted the money. It was 250baisas short. Please take this amount, I am just 250baisas short. I will bring the 250baisas on another day. Please take it, otherwise, I have to go all the way back to my home, which is pretty far away,” our reader pleaded. But, to no avail. “Get the full amount and come back another day,” the accountant tersely told our man. Was the accountant wrong or was our reader wrong in this?

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

Boxed with homework

Are you a parent with an eight/nine/ ten/eleven/twelve (etc) year old studying in school? Then you must be facing this: your kid coming from school with so much homework that you would have to pull back your sleeves and help him/her dig in to all of that unfinished work, which your child has been struggling to finish till late evening hours. And why is it that students today are given so much of holiday homework that they literally have to work throughout the holidays to finish it all? Is it because the teachers are unable to finish the syllabuses in their classrooms so much so that they are cleverly dumping them on the heads of the students?

These are the questions that genuinely frustrated parents are now raising after being bludgeoned down by their children’s requests to help finish these homework as in most cases, the children tend to leave it to the last minute… “Some days we stay up till midnight to finish the daily homework as I am a working mother and unable to assist my son finish the work earlier; other days, especially holidays, when I am just trying to relax, my son will suddenly realise that he has not finished his homework and out will come all the books, complex math problems… Is this only my problem or are many students undergoing similar homework pressure,” a mother asks.

Black & White 41

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

By Seyad Farook

A snake’s skeleton is lightweight and highly flexible. Like other reptiles, as well as fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals, snakes are vertebrates—that is, they have a backbone made of small, interconnecting bones called vertebrae. Snakes have an especially large number of vertebrae—all snakes have at least 100 vertebrae, and some species have more than 400. By comparison, humans have just 32 vertebrae. SNAKES CAN COIL INTO SMALL BALLS Unlike other vertebrates, the ribs of snakes are not anchored in place by a breastbone, or sternum. Instead, each rib is connected to vertebrae and other ribs by elastic muscles. This makes it possible for a snake to greatly expand its ribcage to pass whole, large prey animals through its digestive tract. These sinuous connections also enable snakes to coil up into compact balls. SNAKES EAT PREY LARGER THAN ITS HEAD Snake skull anatomy shows similar modifications. The bones that make up a snake’s jaws are not rigidly attached to its skull. Instead, they are linked to the rest of the skull and to one another by muscles and stretchy tissues called ligaments. Ligaments also join the two halves of the lower jaw, enabling them to stretch far apart. This flexibility is what makes it possible for a snake to eat animals that are much larger than its head.

Nature's Quest

When swallowing prey, a snake advances its jaws stepwise over the animal by anchoring the teeth from one jaw segment into the prey and then slowly moving the other parts of the jaws forward along the prey.

42 January 21-February 6, 2011

By Dave Green

3 9

5 1

8 2

2 8 3

9 5

4 3 7

9 4



6 5

Difficulty Level

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



By Thomas Snyder

SOLUTION: Sudoku is a number-placing puzzle based on a 9x9 grid with several given numbers. The object is to place the numbers 1 to 9 in the empty squares so that each row, each column and each 3x3 box contains the same number only once.

Black & White 43



the ‘Terrible Lizards’

44 January 21-February 6, 2011

Dinosaurs ruled the Earth many years ago, and here are some interesting facts about these animals that may surprise you:

•The earliest dinosaurs were small and lived about 230 million years ago during the Triassic period. •Did you know that the blue whale is larger than any dinosaur that ever existed? •The dinosaurs with the shortest names are the Minmi and the Khaan. •The dinosaur with the longest name is the Micropachycephalasaurus. •The longest tail belonged to the Diplodocus dinosaur and was about 13m long. •The Sauropods is the group of dinosaurs that were the biggest. These dinosaurs were all gigantic in size, with very small heads and long necks for reaching the leaves of tall trees. They moved very slowly, were not aggressive, and ate only plants. •The Ultrasauros is believed to have been 30 to 40m long and weighed about 40 to 50 metric tons. Some experts believe that this dinosaur was a very large Brachiosaurus. •The Argentinosaurus (whose name means Silver Lizard) was a behemoth that may have been 35 to 45 metre long and weighed as much as 100 metric tons.

•The better known Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus are also Sauropods. •The biggest carnivores, or meat-eaters, were found among the Theropods. This group of dinosaurs lived during the Cretaceous period. •The mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Spinosaurus are members of the Theropod group, but the largest Theropod was the Giganotosaurus carolinii that was 14m long, four metre tall and weighed eight tons. •The Ichtyosaur is considered to have been a swimming reptile and not a true dinosaur but at 15 m long who wants to argue the point. •The Shantungosaurus was a plant eating dinosaur with a toothless beak like a duck and the biggest one of these was 15 m long. •The Microraptor is a relatively new therapod fossil that was found in China. As an adult it may have only been about 40 cm long which is about the size of a big crow. •Ankylosaurids is the group of dinosaurs that were the widest in size, they also had armor plating. •The Pentaceratops, Torosaurus and the Triceratops had the biggest skulls of any dinosaurs. These skulls are in museums and they are almost three metre long.

Tongue Twisters: try em! A big bug bit the little beetle but the little beetle bit the big bug back. Double bubble gum, bubbles double. Black & White 45

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


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

46 January 21-February 6, 2011

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Your stars ARIES March 21-April 20 Expect work officials or business partners to introduce last minute duties and projects. Over the next few weeks new workplace information will be both compelling and challenging: expect others to be strongly motivated to compete for advancement or improve their skills. CANCER June 22-July 23 Before mid-week expect colleagues or work partners to be highly focussed on changing amounts, miscalculations or forgotten details. You may find that home finances are also affected. If so, avoid sudden spending for the next nine days and all should be well. LIBRA September 24-October 22 Watch the attitudes and reactions of others closely this week. Over the next few days both colleagues and close friends may express previously hidden emotions or may address public resentments. All is well, however: in fact, very little of this may involve team decisions or past workplace performance.


CAPRICORN December 23-January 20 Dreams, intuitions and reoccurring emotions will fade this week. Over the next few days expect business optimism and social interest to return. Some Capricorns will also feel a strong increase in business aspirations. In the coming two to three months, the correct emotional path will be revealed. 48 January 21-February 6, 2011

SHAKIRA ISABEL MEBARAK RIPOLL (BORN FEBRUARY 2, 1977) is a Colombian singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist who emerged in the music scene of Colombia and Latin America in the early 1990s. Shakira revealed many of her talents in school as a live performer, demonstrating her vocal ability with rock and roll, Latin and Middle Eastern influences with her own original twist on belly dancing. TAURUS April 21-May 20

GEMINI May 21-June 21

New friends or unexpected flirtations will captivate your imagination over the next nine days. Business demands and conflicting financial information will no longer drain your energy: expect work projects to now be easily completed. Both business and romantic partnerships are accented.

Social energy and emotional confrontations are extremely unpredictable at the moment: expect loved ones to demand quick solutions to ongoing family differences. Pace your responses and refuse to be drawn into public differences: within the next nine days all will be reversed or completely forgotten.

LEO July 24-August 23

VIRGO August 24-September 23

Emotions are confusing this week and others may be preoccupied with their own romantic and family decisions. Handle important work details on your own: this is not a good time to depend on outside assistance or instructions.

New friends and potential lovers will be drawn to your charm, charisma and social outlook. Your emotional resources will continually increase over the coming few months. Watch for fresh social events and unique relationships: new introductions are highly favoured.

SCORPIO October 23-November 22

SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22

Early this week watch for unusual social or business messages. Over the next few days aspects indicate that a close friend or business partner may now wish to back track on recent important decisions. Group events or team commitments may also be accented: expect unusual delays. AQUARIUS January 21-February 19 Business demands will be fast paced and bothersome over the next few days. Before next week workplace communications and short term contracts may require dedicated attention or creative solutions. New information or unexpected messages may this week cause colleagues to closely review past documents.

Romance and social enjoyment will be a prime focus over the next few days. Key relationships are now due to steadily expand: expect loved ones and close friends to no longer be shy or emotionally withdrawn. You will also encounter a minor conflict in family relationship. PISCES February 20-March 20 Expect officials and colleagues to be focussed on quick results and small details. Over the next two weeks watch for a surprising decision in romantic relationships to be necessary: emotional triangles, new choices or a fundamental change in present relationships will soon demand clear responses.


Beautiful By Praba Iyer

Winter is when I crave for soups. While a hot minestrone soup with a slice of garlic bread is hearty and soothing, a spicy lemongrass soup is a good fix for your cold and coughs. There are chilled soups like Gazpacho, clear soups like the Thai TomYum, creamy bisques like pureed soups, chunky cream soups like Clam Chowder, noodle soups and dessert soups like Blackberry soup, all of which reminds me of the Lewis Carroll poem, ‘Beautiful Soup’:

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

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green, Waiting in a hot tureen! Who for such dainties would not stoop? Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup! Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

CHILLY EVENINGS SOUP: Fiesty Lemongrass Soup (Tom Yum) This clear soup gradually blossoms in your mouth as the lemongrass and galangal slowly release their flavours. You can add ½ lb of raw shrimp and substitute the vegetable stock with chicken stock for a seafood version. You can also substitute 2 tsp of red curry paste (Thai Time brand) for the roasted red chili paste. Ingredients •4 cups vegetable stock •3 stalks lemon grass, cut into 2 inch pieces and crushed •3 thin rounds 1/8 th inch fresh galangal (thai young ginger) •10 kaffir lime leaves, torn into strips ( optional) •3 – 4 thai green chilies (optional) •1 Tbsp roasted chili paste(*) •1 tsp brown sugar •8oz can straw mushrooms •½ cup baby corn •3 green onions, sliced diagonally •Juice of 1 lime •Garnish •1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped Method Heat the chicken stock in a soup pot along with the lemon grass stalks, galangal ginger, lime leaves and thai chilies and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Now add the roasted chili paste, brown sugar. Let it simmer for a few more minutes. Then add straw mushrooms, green onions, baby corn and simmer. Add lime juice to taste. Remove and garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

(*) Roasted Chili Paste Ingredients •Shallots 4-5 whole •Garlic 4-5 cloves •Dry Red Chilies 3 – 4 •Oil ¼ cup Method Heat a tsp of oil and roast the shallots and garlic on low heat along with the dry chilies for about five minutes until they are soft. Blend to a smooth paste in a blender. Heat the rest of the oil in a pan and place the blended shallot mixture in it and cook for about five minutes until it is deep brownish red sauce. Remove and keep along with the oil in an airtight container. Shelf – life is about one month. Black & White 49

Eve's drop 50 January 21-February 6, 2011

BLUE WHALES off the Omani coast

Oman’s waters, which have a variety of marine wonders, are also host to the largest animal ever known to have existed – the blue whale. Her Highness Sayyida Tania Al Said, founder and chairperson of the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), revealed to the Black & White that although not much is known of the blue whales’ current status or habitat in Oman, there have been sightings of these rare marine mammals. Other incidents of blue whales found stranded, on the shores, in the south of the country have also been reported, Sayyida Tania said. The ESO, which is in the news ever since international environmental experts acknowledged that the Arabian sea whale population found off the Oman coast were truly ‘Omani’ whales, continues to play an active role along the wide environmental spectrum, including helping out and influencing policy and decision making as far as Oman’s environment is concerned. “Our aim at present is and always has been to conserve the natural and human environment of Oman through the enhancement of environmental knowledge and promotion of sustainable consumption and production practices at the community, business and decision-making levels,” added Sayyida Tania in a recent interview.

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Excerpts: Have the ESO whale experts found out any trace of the blue whale in Omani waters? Yes, but little is known of their current status or use of habitat around Oman, although it is currently speculated they are part of a wider Northern Indian Ocean population. In 1963, an illegal Soviet whaling fleet entered the Northern Indian Ocean through the Red Sea and took 1294 blue whales on a voyage that took them through Omani waters. The scientific officers on board the factory vessel concluded from their studies that these whales were both feeding and breeding in the area. As a result of this it is suspected that their numbers were reduced to catastrophically low numbers.

Eve's drop

In recent years, most of the encounters of blue whales have been from stranded whales on the shores in the south of the country. The most recent case was when a blue whale was stranded ashore on the Masirah Island in 2009. Although not common, there have been some live sightings

52 January 21-February 6, 2011

around the Muscat area. The ESO has established links with counter parts researching blue whales in other areas of the Northern Indian Ocean in an attempt to better understand the possible link between the species in this area. We are hoping that analysis of genetic samples and new acoustic studies will begin to provide more answers in this continued research. If you look back to what it was then and how ESO is poised today, how would you quantify its growth; its achievements? Firstly, the sheer number of volunteers on the marine team has increased, now that ESO is established what was the whale and dolphin rescue project, has become the ESO marine division, and since 2004 we have managed to secure continued funding, to support what started as small projects but have turned into significant research, with findings gaining international interest. What are the main concerns that ESO is trying to address today? We have been involved in whale and dolphin rescues as well as turtle

rescue over the years. The ESO is currently revisiting the strategy that we created in 2004, and are hoping to gain insight from our members who will help in creating ESO’s new strategy, our aim at present is and always has been to conserve the natural and human environment of Oman through the enhancement of environmental knowledge and promotion of sustainable consumption and production practices at the community, business and decision-making levels. The recent acknowledgment by international environmental experts of the Arabian Sea Whale population found off the coast of Oman as a genetically unique and isolated population is indeed great news. But, what are the other key environmental areas/issues in Oman that ESO has brought a change? This find is indeed very important, it is very unique as it means that our whales are truly ‘Omani’ and it is the sole responsibility of Oman to protect them, they do not fall under any other countries' jurisdictions, which is incredible as we can truly protect them. At the same time, it is a huge responsibility because if we do not take care to protect them we will be entirely responsible, for the decrease of a whale species. Another core area of the society’s marine research is to focus on assisting the

government to better understand the population trends of turtles on the Daymaniyat Islands and Masirah. At sea, both turtles and whales can be subjected to similar threats, ranging from pollution, shipping and fisheries. Combining studies of both turtles and cetaceans allows us to identify more clearly the pathways and sources of impacts, and work with the government scientists to find solutions to this.

collaborative efforts especially engaging the local communities within these projects is one of the primary routes through which the projects will gain success. The ESO has been involved in significant high level discussions on Oman ‘s rapid growth in the tourism industry, and its effects on the environment. We have been involved at an international level.

The parallel drawn here is that Oman is as significantly important for its turtles as for its whales, with almost 50 percent of the world’s population loggerheads nesting within the sultanate. These are resources of global significance and as such require the support of international community. The ESO is helping to facilitate this through drawing in additional funds and experts to bolster capacity within the country.

What is ESO’s long-term goal – or what is the dream that you and members of the ESO are having as far as Oman’s environment is concerned? The long-term goals of ESO is to maintain Oman’s pristine environment, as well as endorsing sustainability in all aspects of the nation’s ambitious development pursuit by turning green and fostering economy and advocating sustainable production and consumption. I think that all of us would like to see renewable energy.

Loggerhead turtles decline by 50percent on Masirah island Findings on Masirah that the population of loggerhead turtles has declined by 50 percent in the last few decades has helped galvanise this project on the island, where the community, MECA and ESO are bringing resources and effort together to try and understand this and address the problem. These

The ESO attempts to play a role as an active partner and player along the wide environmental spectrum including helping out and influencing policy and decision making process. The ESO aims to complement and support the work that is being pursued by His Majesty the Sultan’s government.


Size: Blue whales are almost as long as a Boeing 737 aeroplane! Adults are usually 24 - 27 metres long (78.75 - 88.5 ft), new-borns approximately 7 metres (23 ft). Although the average blue whale is smaller, they can grow to be well over 30 metres - the largest ever recorded was a female, and she was more than 33 metres (110 ft) long! The largest baleen whales are generally female. Adults weigh between 100 and 120 tonnes, as much as about 2000 people which is more than 25 elephants! New-borns weigh approximately 2.5 tonnes. The heaviest blue whale ever recorded was a massive 190 tonnes.

Black & White 53

Waiting for sunshine...

Laila, Omani graduate student of Nizwa University

By Laila Ibrahim Obaid Al-Gharbi Most of us are waiting for sunshine with dreamy eyes and looking for that precious moment. Yes, sunshine is dazzling and beautiful, especially morning sunshine. But, then, it is upto you to decide whether you want to bask in the sunshine or just ignore it and hide in the shadows pretending that a sunshine like that does not exist. You must be aware by now that what I meant by sunshine is actually our FUTURE! We always hear this word being told to us hundred times a day from our parents, our teachers and from our bosses at work. We use to deal with it as something easy to obtain. We also dream of it and imagine about it, most of the time. On the other hand, there are some who don’t know anything about the future, nor does it mean anything to them. However, we seek the good side and encourage them as you want to live your life full of success and happiness. So, let us learn something important about our future! But, future is more than just a word. Future is a deep belief inside about what YOU can do for yourself and others. It starts with this moment (NOW) therefore, you are able to enjoy your future and it is easy to think about it. It is now! Many people, especially the youth, quite often think that they still have plenty of time to think about it and go for it. Some youth can’t enjoy their future because of the way they think about it. But I am quite sure that youth can change positively just by understanding the significance of the future. We really need to learn not to spend the first half of our life waiting for what is going to happen in the second half. We better enjoy it NOW and also plan for it well. It is YOU who would experience the sweetness of real happiness in future.

Learning curve

But, when the youth, do not focus on the future, most of them have to struggle after school because they are not prepared for that precious sunshine. All of us can enjoy this beautiful sunshine but YOU are the one who should decide about it. Work for your future and plan well because when you enjoy what you do, you will see the sunshine. The only difference between the real sunshine and the one I mean is that with the real one you have nothing to do with its beauty because God has created it the way it looks. BUT, the other one (FUTURE) is in your hands. And, only YOU can make it as beautiful as you like if you would like to see your fabulous sunshine! Work for it and make it a shiny one, which will also serve in inspiring others around so that they also learn what future is all about!

54 January 21-February 6, 2011

It's my life

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

By Vandana Shah

Did 2010 go zip past you too soon or were you just wishing the year would end? I know that my writings reflected mine and my readers’ moods. Here I present before you some titbits of learning gleaned from my articles for the year. I wrote about the superiority of the human mind over mere mindless application and overdependence on technology. Never forget brain is KING. The sweetness and longevity of childhood friendships which grow on you like comfortable and well worn pyjamas. Special hugs and kisses to them. The level of scams and the yet the triumphs of the common man. Long live honesty! Style and grace of dealing with breakdown of relationships. So let’s get some of that. The glass ceiling which we women create for ourselves and for other women. Time to break those. The zing of football and its ability to get all addicted. The amazing power of football to spread love and unite all across borders, real and imaginary. Let’s use football as a powerful medium of spreading peace and transcending man made barriers of caste, creed and religion. The greatness of Mother Nature, need I say more. Conversations with God which help us to maintain our sanity. Say Yes to Prayer. The never-ending saas bahu (mother-in-law, daughter -in -law) sagas which I’m afraid me and all the millions of writers before me have no solution too. But hey they add spice to our life. The penultimate joy of doing a job, which is not a job but a source of happiness is my one big wish for all my readers. Most important of all: The emails from my readers both in the nature of encouragement, appreciation and discussions have kept me going for this entire year so big learning for us –me and the reader-keep in touch. Have a love filled New Year and may all your wishes come true this year! Love, prayers and hugs till next time.

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

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Natural born empath Yes, are you too sensitive? Do people tell you that you are too sensitive or overly emotional? Are you able to walk into a room and feel whether the room has a positive or a negative vibe? When you first meet someone, can you instantly tell whether you like them or not, before they even open their mouth? Can you tell when someone is lying to you? Are you able to discern when someone is having an issue, even if they don’t talk about it? Do you enjoy being alone? Have you been told that you are shy? Do violent shows or emotional television dramas make you physically ill or leave you feeling drained? Are you the person people go to when they want to get something off their shoulders? If you have been in a great mood all day, and then someone who has a negative attitude comes around you, do feel as if your entire mood has changed to match the other persons, even though you don’t know why?


If you have answered yes to these questions, then you must be told that you are a natural born empath.

56 January 21-February 6, 2011

highly sensitive? EMPATHY IS THE ABILITY TO read and understand people and be in tune with others emotions or psyche. Empaths are intuitive. Intuitive ability is actually a very wonderful gift that can be used in many positive ways, for example, healing others emotions or pain. Empaths have the inane ability to scan others thoughts and feelings, and most empaths are completely unaware that they are doing this. A lot of intuitive, empathic people will get their feelings hurt often. This is because these types of people are able to feel very deeply, and most do not know how to shield themselves from their own pain, as well as the pain of others. Empaths take in the pain, the happiness, and most every feeling that another person has. These types of people can also sometimes be very intuitive with animals and the earth. People will often tell them they are being too sensitive. In fact, this statement is definitely meant to tell you they think there is something wrong with you. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you at all. You actually have an inborn gift to identify with other people, animals,

the earth, and more. You are also most likely a very gifted person when it comes to creative things, such as writing, art, etc. You may be a very curious person, you may like to read a lot, have a large imagination. You are very caring, supportive and compassionate. ARE YOU AN HSP? Being an empath can be used in many positive ways. But, on the other side, you can be overdoing it? Do you take things too personally? Over-analyse the situation? Feel defensive? Then you are almost certainly among the group classified as Highly Sensitive People. Many are becoming increasingly aware of this condition, allowing HSPs freedom from having to hide their sensitive natures behind a veneer of hostility or self-assurance. What all HSPs share is an uncommon ability to pick up on subtleties that others might miss - a look, a feeling, a message embedded in a seemingly straightforward statement. It’s like they’re wearing an extra pair of glasses!

Black & White 57

Your problems could be due to

THYROID… MILLIONS ARE SAID TO HAVE a thyroid problem, but, few know of it. The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, is the master gland of metabolism. When your thyroid doesn’t function, it can affect every aspect of your health, and in particular, weight, depression and energy levels. Since undiagnosed thyroid problems can dramatically increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, depression, anxiety, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, infertility and a host of other symptoms and health problems, it’s important that you don’t go undiagnosed. Here are some of the most common signs that you may have a thyroid condition:

Hale n healthy

EXHAUSTION Feeling exhausted when you wake up, feeling as if eight or 10 hours of sleep a night is insufficient or being unable to function all day without a nap can all be signs of thyroid problems. With hyperthyroidism, you may also have nighttime insomnia that leaves you exhausted during the day. WEIGHT CHANGES You may be on a low-fat, low-calorie diet with a rigorous exercise programme, but are failing to lose or gain any weight. Or you may have begun a diet programme, yet you are not showing signs of losing any weight. Difficulty losing weight can be a sign of hypothyroidism. You may be losing weight while eating the same amount of food as usual — or even losing while eating more than normal. Unexplained weight changes and issues can be signs of both hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

58 January 21-February 6, 2011

DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY Depression or anxiety — including sudden onset of panic disorder — can be symptoms of thyroid disease. Hypothyroidism is most typically associated with depression, while hyperthyroidism is more commonly associated with anxiety or panic attacks. Depression that does not respond to antidepressants may also be a sign of an undiagnosed thyroid disorder. CHOLESTEROL ISSUES High cholesterol, especially when it is not responsive to diet, exercise or cholesterollowering medication, can be a sign of undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Unusually low cholesterol levels may be a sign of hyperthyroidism. FAMILY HISTORY If you have a family history of thyroid problems, you are at a higher risk of having a thyroid condition yourself. You may not always be aware of thyroid problems in your family, though, because among older people, it is often referred to as “gland trouble” or “goiter.” So pay attention to any discussions of glandular conditions or goiter or weight gain due to “a glandular problem,” as these may be indirect ways of referring to thyroid conditions. MENSTRUAL IRREGULARITIES AND FERTILITY PROBLEMS Heavier, more frequent and more painful periods are frequently associated with hypothyroidism, and shorter, lighter or infrequent menstruation can be associated with hyperthyroidism. Infertility can also be associated with undiagnosed thyroid conditions.

Black & White 59

Women with Shape n sound


live longer? 60 January 21-February 6, 2011

EARLIER STUDIES HAVE in fact shown that women with early-stage breast cancer who have a lumpectomy (also called a partial mastectomy) to remove the cancer, followed by radiation, live just as long as women who have a mastectomy. The standard of care following lumpectomy (breast-conserving therapy) is to add external beam radiation therapy. In many cases, this is administered after chemotherapy. STANDARD OPTION Studies done over two decades ago established breast-conserving therapy (BCT) as a standard option for women with early breast cancer, showing it worked just as well as mastectomy. Since then, other studies suggested that certain women -- those who have not yet reached menopause and those whose tumors are not fueled by hormones -- may be slightly more likely to have a recurrence if they have breast-conserving therapy than if they have mastectomy, a report in WebMD said. BCT WOMEN LIVE LONGER But, the current study suggests that women who have undergone BCT live longer than those who have had a mastectomy. Still, both treatments work well, with about 93 percent of 62,770 women who had lumpectomy followed by radiation -- and 87 percent of 51,507 women who had a mastectomy -- alive more than four years after diagnosis. Lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy is very safe for women of all ages with early-stage breast cancer, breast cancer surgeons say.

Recent studies suggest that women with early breast cancer who undergo breastconserving therapy live longer than those who have a mastectomy

STANDARD THERAPY FOR EARLY BREAST CANCER Studies done over two decades ago established breast-conserving therapy (BCT) as a standard option for women with early breast cancer, showing it worked just as well as mastectomy. Since then, other studies suggested that certain women -- those who have not yet reached menopause and those whose tumors are not fuelled by hormones -- may be slightly more likely to have a recurrence if they have breast-conserving therapy than if they have mastectomy, says WebMD. As a result, more and more women are choosing mastectomy these days. DIFFERENCE IN SURVIVAL Is there a difference in survival when breast-conserving therapy and mastectomy are performed using modern techniques? Experts note that the results were the opposite of what they expected. The BCT beat out mastectomy regardless of whether a woman was under 50 or over 50 and regardless of whether the tumour was fuelled by hormones, the study showed. The findings were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. STILL A GOOD OPTION Mastectomy is still a good option. But women shouldn’t choose it out of fear that lumpectomy plus radiation is not as good. This study has given the confidence to many that breast-conserving therapy is at least equivalent to mastectomy in extending women’s lives. Of course, each woman should weigh the pros and cons of both treatments with her doctor. (Please consult a breast cancer surgeon before making any decision.) Black & White 61

When life becomes Pollywoppus


By Priya Arunkumar

He called us ‘hanky panky’. I NO hanky panky, I am respectable, my colleague mimicked back. Though we thought it funny, he was quite angry about it. It was a serious situation, an actual face to face confrontation. It was a public place, so we were serious. But, the minute he said hanky panky, we laughed. The whole scene changed for us, though not for him. He felt more insulted when we laughed, but thank God for small mercies. We walked away shrugging off the conversation. He was one of those guys who thought he was very important person and wanted a free pass for a ‘free entry’ event, since we didn’t have any; we got the 'hanky panky' tag! Meaningless, isn’t it? I laughed it off, but the name hung on to me as an adjective for many years. Whenever good old friends got together and the topic came up, it would end in our hanky panky episode! I was sportive and chose ‘panky’ from the duo because my name started with a 'P'! Not that the word meant anything, it did clearly accuse us of double dealing! Sometimes in a calm mode, I try to rationalise, maybe he didn’t know, maybe he thought we didn’t give him a pass intentionally… but, the fact still remains unnoticed that the event had no entry passes! And in spite of the nasty overtone, I still smile at the word. It is too casual to take offense. You won’t be hurt at all. At least we weren’t. Words! They are meant to be loving and useful; they are powerful.

What comes out of the breath of life manifests into life, for good or for evil... they do. Words have evolved through the ages alongside humankind. The written word is arguably the most important, most influential discovery of human history. Of course just as tongues can betray, so can the written word! Not all words are serious and literary based; many come with humour, and for the most part, unrehearsed and unintentional. Don’t we sometimes pay good money to see comedians say funny things? But look at not-so-serious words that go around on a day to day life: The Mumbo-jumbos… Hocus-pocus, helter-skelter, fuzzywuzzies, heeby-jeebies, beesknees, kipper’s knickers, monkey’s eyebrows… Look at a life without the ever friendly okey-dokeys? We start off as kids with senseless chatter; move on to the adult life with the blah blahs. It is considered cool and fashionable to use nonsensical terms in your vocab! Many meaningless words have stood the test of time too. And going back to the basics, some of the rhythmic words started off just after the World War I. It is said that Willy-nilly is over a thousand years old. Riff-raff dates from the 1400s and helter-skelter, hocus-pocus date from the 16th century… So it is nothing new! What is new is the way these words are used today, all with a new meaning and style! Pollywoppus? Not anymore!

Black & White mag issue 27  

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