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18 Jumada II - 18 Rajab

Hope & Help p32 Vol.2 Issue 32II May 21- June 20, 2011

Media renaissance By Adarsh Madhavan

Forget a decade back. Even some months back, one wouldn’t dare write about a small protest march by the students of the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). The local papers never wrote anything about it. I remember stringing for an agency (many years ago) and they were always very keen to get anything on protests. Agencies have a fetish for such reports and they always had a standard way of featuring them. If you have read agency reports, you will find the story being treated in a different way. For instance, Oman will be referred to as a ‘sleepy country’ being woken up the strident roars of protests and the like.

All about X, Y & Z

REWRITTEN SCRIPT The reports that I used to send would come back (in print), totally different. I would not be able to recognise even one line in the reports that they would publish because it would be given that special agency treatment. I wouldn’t be able to match up to them. Not just in style, but in the sheer manner in which a line would be changed to have an almost different meaning and extra power punch! That is agency writing! FREEDOM FOR THE MEDIA But, that is not my point here: look at the media scene. Especially the English newspapers! For the first time in the history of the newspapers here you see almost any and every story being published, even if it happens to be a crime story or citizens rallying for reform. This is the true media renaissance! Where in the world could you write about angry citizens wanting ministers to be removed? I once wrote a straight report about how a powerful man here was rallying to send an ambassador of his country back home using political influence and I almost got booted from the office and from this country. Remember, I was only reporting on something that was happening. Small, irrelevant issues that I wrote got me more enemies

4 May 21- June 20, 2011

than I could count. I always used to wonder why. Maybe, I was fated to suffer for things I never wrote. IF THIS FREEDOM HAD COME EARLIER Today, I relish the stories being written by the newspaper scribes here and at the same time wonder what it would have been like if this freedom had come a little earlier. What if Oman had the same media freedom, which we are enjoying now, a decade or so back? Yes, but it does not mean that you can misuse the freedom and write anything you please. It does not mean that you criticise everything that moves. It doesn’t mean that we should call every single person in an influential post as corrupt and bay for the blood of those in power. That is not what protests are all about. That is not what protest journalism is all about. That is not how the ‘crookie’ crumbles. Those enjoying the new taste of media freedom should not attempt to do something that would leave a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. But, I guess most of them at the helm know the borderline of the freedom they are enjoying and would not think of straying. Because, why spoil this wonderful freedom, especially, when it is given on a platter? PAYOLA There are also dangers in a free media world. During my daily reporting days, I came to know of one or two scribes who used to do unobtrusive type of articles for small favours given by middle level businessmen/ officials. It all starts innocently though. You might make a good contact with a source and he might pretend to be your friend, wooing you to his home with good food, small presents, little favours and then when you are hooked on to him, he suddenly tells you to run a piece on his company/his boss/his wife/ his child. Oh, you are suitably rewarded afterwards. But, that would be the beginning of your moral downfall. Not a thing to aspire for, right?

Try to understand autism You Don’t Understand‌(Issue 31) was a remarkable article with great depth of knowledge about autism. Black & White magazine is surely contributing to the cause through various campaigns (Sudoku being one of them). The three parents who shared their distress were quite bothered about less medical facilities and treatment for autism. I would like to give a suggestion to all parents who have autistic children – make a move, go out and form a club of your own where you all could meet once a week and share experiences. The children can also have a day out, enjoy and make more friends. I am sure it will help! Once there is awareness, the situation will be a lot better. Also, the article focussed on the fact that autistic children are good with numbers. So, parents please go ahead and utilise that gift! Kudos! Charu Pant, Khasab

An event that made a difference Daniel Tammet and Sheikh Khalfan Al Esry were nothing short of a miracle on stage. Their words still ring loud and clear in my ears, my mind and my heart. Thanks for helping me witness and be part of a wonderful event (Sudoku for a cause: autism event held on May 12 at Al Bustan Palace hotel). I have no words to describe the simple words that unveiled so many enormous truth(s), which was given out by Sheikh Khalfan, a man who is known for his wisdom and ready wit and extensive knowledge of life and living, and the true story of triumphing over a dreaded disorder like autism, which was revealed by the world famous savant (Daniel). The engrossing Sudoku competition, which followed the illuminating speeches, was equally impressive and I repeat: such great events are hard to come by and I sincerely hope that your efforts make a difference in building more awareness on autism in Oman. All the best! Nalini Rajgopal, Seeb

66May May2121-June June20, 20,2011 2011

Touching scene I was witness to a very touching scene at the impressive Sudoku for a cause event by B&W held recently. Having come late, I was sitting at the back seat of the Oman Auditorium of Al Bustan Palace hotel. During the interval, I heard one of the members of the organising committee of this event coming and speaking to a father and a child on the right flank of the auditorium. The organiser was urging the father to go and sit closer to the stage as there was still some space there. But the father gently refused the offer and said he could view the event quite well and he had no problems. When the organiser, who apparently knew the father well, insisted, the latter quietly told the former: “I actually want to sit in the front, but my child (he indicated his daughter) is autistic and she can create quite a noise; it will disturb the proceedings; I am okay here and she can also be free!” The organiser got the point, patted the energetic kid and went away. I was quite touched by the whole scene and I also understood that several parents brought their autistic kids along for the event. Now, that is a great work B&W. Azeez Mohammed, Qurum

Let us treasure this precious gift “Please think of your life as a very precious gift from God and you will never give up on it…” I was struck by these words of Laila Al-Ghabri (Just travelling – Issue 31). I think her simple column ended on a very positive and inspiring note. Let us all take a leaf from this piece of inspirational words and apply it to our own lives. Let us think of our life as a very special and precious gift from God. Imagine how we treasure any gifts given to us. So, why can’t we treasure and nurture this unbelievably precious gift from the Almighty? What is stopping us from taking our life to great and pure heights? What more do we need? The gift of life is given to us – free. Let us take it and climb on to greater heights! Abdul Samad, Al Khuwair

Mail your views and opinions at Black & White 7

Xclusive Autism is not a barrier to success or happiness Autism is a lifelong condition 32 from which there is no cure and one has to learn to manage the condition as much as possible. Autism is not a barrier to success or happiness, says Daniel Tammet

Cover Photo: Najib Al Balushi

Bitter Batter


of the front seat 48 Man He wants the front seat at all


of the shows he attends. He does not care that there is a chief guest, guests of honour and other dignitaries that automatically obtain the front seats of any event...

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 Mazoon, Oman 8 Mayat21June Muscat, 20, 2011

Sleepless and accident prone

Are most of the male drivers who commit accidents on the road, sleep deprived?


Why am I so tired? The single biggest complaint doctors receive from female patients today is fatigue. If you are getting a healthy seven to eight hours a night and you’re still tired, then you need to go for a check up, local doctors say.

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 Ali Raisi, Priyanka Sampat

Black & White 9

Playground 10 May 21- June 20, 2011

CSR makes good business sense

Is CSR (corporate social responsibility) nothing more than mere window dressing? Martin Neureiter, Ceo, The CSR Company, believes otherwise. Neureiter, who came on a lightning visit to the Sultanate recently to promote the concept of CSR, gives us an entirely different perspective.

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CSR IS ABOUT BUSINESS, NOT ABOUT FEELING GOOD Neureiter agrees that there are many critics for and against CSR. Many believe that CSR distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses… “Most of us feel that CSR is about donating funds to the needy, but, that is charity, not social responsibility. “Charity is totally a different story. It is widely believed that CSR is all about giving, but it is not true. Actually, CSR is about good and responsible business sense. It is a business-driven process. It is a business tool to guide your corporate to do profitable business and reach sustainability in the process. The CSR can make a significant contribution towards sustainability and competitiveness,” Neureiter said, in a brief interaction with the media at the Chedi recently. Dana Sarhan, who coordinated the briefing, was also present. The CSR is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders, he said. “Organisations around the world, as well as their stakeholders, are becoming increasingly aware of the need for socially responsible behaviour. And the aim of social responsibility should be to contribute to sustainable development, including health and the welfare of society.” But shouldn’t businesses focus on making money instead of spending funds in the name of CSR? “We are again speaking of corporate philanthropy, where corporations make donations to charity. Critics here note that they are giving away their shareholders’ money. But, it should be understood that this can be done only if they see potential profit in it. This may be because they want to improve their image by associating themselves with a cause. Whatever, there is always an underlying financial motive, so the company benefits more than the charity.” Neureiter wears many hats. He has headed the Implementation Task Group of the ISO 26000 standard and is also a member of the Austrian CSR-Experts group. He is also an adviser to the UAE government, a supporting expert to the Austrian Standards Institute, a senior partner at The CSR Company and a consultant to Hyundai and other major corporates.


ISO 26000 CSR CERTIFICATION Why ISO certification? “The business world understands certification and standardisations. Most of them in the corporate world strive to standardise the processes and CSR being part of the business community requires a standarised pattern. What does CSR involve? It is all about environmental management, eco-efficiency, responsible sourcing, stakeholder engagement, labour standards and working conditions, employee and community relations, social equity, gender balance, human rights, good governance, and anti-corruption measures and most importantly it is about how you make your profit!” According to Neureiter, a properly implemented CSR concept can bring along a variety of competitive advantages, such as enhanced access to capital and markets, increased sales and profits, operational cost 12 May 21- June 20, 2011

savings, improved productivity and quality, efficient human resource base, improved brand image and reputation, enhanced customer loyalty, better decision making and risk management processes. There are business houses and customers out there in the market who look at your products in a telescopic manner. Are your products CSR produced? Is the product developed with child labour or environmentally destructive processes? How positive are the products? The CSR is business driven and it will drive your business to profitability in the long run!” CSR IN TOURISM The CSR is a broad subject and is present in all ways and means from the hardcore business sector to the leisure and other fields too, Neureiter noted. “I had a funny call one day, from a British tour operator, who asked about the availability of CO2 neutral hotels in Austria! "I was absolutely clueless, but I looked around and found that there were hotels who were eco friendly and CSR right. So, what does it imply, good CSR is a means to bring in and keep your customers loyal too. It is about sustaining business and customer relationships. Good CSR strategies reduce risks linked to any potential and sudden damage to the company’s reputation and sales. Building a genuine culture of ‘doing the right thing’ within the company offsets these risks.” INVOLVE LOCAL SOCIETY “CSR is about running your business positively and creating a reflection of your own society. It differs country wise and culture wise. What is right for Oman’s society may not be applicable elsewhere! Just ask yourself this question: If all healthy people are going to sit down and plan for the empowerment for the handicapped, how successful are they going to be? It won’t work. Involve the socially and physically challenged; integrate them in to the business cult,” Neureiter said. THE EFFECTS OF CSR The perception of an organisation’s social responsibility performance can influence: • its reputation • its ability to attract and retain male and female workers and/or members, customers, clients or users • The maintenance of employee‘s morale, commitment and productivity • The view of investors, donors, sponsors, and the financial community • its relationship with companies, governments, the media, suppliers, peers, customers and the community in which it operates. (Neureiter graduated in law; he was the head of Task Group Implementation ISO 26000, member of Austrian CSR-Expertsgroup, lectures at Vienna University and St Gallen Management Institute, adviser to the Government of the United Arab Emirates, supporting expert to the Austrian Standards Institute. The CSR Company was established in Vienna in 2007, and currently has partner offices in Vienna, Dubai, Kiev, Innsbruck, Bucharest, Sofia, Seoul, and Brisbane. In a short period of time, the CSR Company has developed an outstanding reputation and is now recognised as an international player in the field of CSR)

It is widely believed that CSR is all about giving, but it is not true. Actually, CSR is about good and responsible business sense. It is a businessdriven process. It is a business tool to guide your corporate to do profitable business and reach sustainability in the process


Men health

Are most of the male drivers who commit accidents on the road sleep deprived?

14 14May May2121-June June20, 20,2011 2011

THAT MAY SOUND LIKE an easy excuse to hinge on by reckless and careless motorists in town, but studies do note that driver fatigue contributes to a certain portion of vehicle related accidents annually in any country. Drowsy driving is one of the most common effects of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation, and basically, one of the most dangerous, experts note. Driver fatigue has been determined to be the cause of some accidents, but most often this aspect goes unreported. Sleep deprivation and other sleep disorders can not only have a serious effect on health, it can affect people badly when on the road. It also spills forth irritation and road rage. Doctors have always noted that inadequate rest impairs a person’s ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and control emotions. Sleep disorder effects include mental and physical impairment. Without adequate rest, the brain’s ability to function can quickly deteriorate. The brain works harder to counteract sleep deprivation effects, but operates less effectively, and a person’s ability to focus and complete tasks is impaired. Insufficient rest can even cause hallucinations and contribute to anxiety disorders and other psychiatric problems.

Other possible effects of sleep deprivation include: • Depression • Heart disease • Hypertension • Irritability • Slower reaction times. • Aged are more prone

Also, it has been found that as people age, the likelihood of sleep disorders increases. A good percent of people 65 years old and older live with the effects of sleep disorders, such as sleep deprivation symptoms, sleep apnea and periodic limb movement disorder. In older adults, sleep disorders can lead to serious health consequences. Hypertension and sleep apnea are linked, for example, and problems with breathing during sleep can contribute to heart problems. Older adults who take sleep medications or experience sleep deprivation symptoms may also be at an increased risk of falls or accidents. Weight changes, especially weight gain, are common sleep deprivation effects. There are those who claim that sleep deprivation can even cause cancer. Compared to better rested patients, those who sleep less than six hours a night are likely to get dangerous polyps in their colon or rectum. Polyps–the abnormal growths detected during a colonoscopy— can progress to become cancerous tumors. Studies and tests that were conducted earlier noted that this is

exactly what happens in about 10 percent of cases. More polyp patients reported sleeping much less than six hours, while few said they slept more than seven, researchers noted. NO NEED TO PANIC But please do not panic: This doesn’t necessarily mean that all sleep deprived patients are at colon cancer risk. What it indicates is that people who don’t sleep much at night might have the same chance for developing colorectal cancer as other high-risk groups, such as people with a close relative who has been diagnosed with the disease or those with a diet high in red meat. Hope these facts would not have the reverse effect with people losing more sleep worrying over this. Ideally, all of these facts should make you get a little bit extra dose than six hours. Sweet dreams. (Disclaimer: The above medical information provided is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional -- for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/ chemist, and so on).

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Alpha males



ALPHA MALES ARE NOT just those who look very confident and have an animal appeal. They are more than that. Confidence and appeal is really good, but only on the superficial front. For, the non-alpha male does not have what it takes to confront the real thing. And when trouble comes a calling, the nonalpha male might just turn tail and run or slip away unobtrusively. Alpha males are those who take the bull by the horns and win. An alpha male takes on a real fight when it is necessary, and only if it is necessary, but he won’t think twice taking on someone far bigger/stronger/bettersituated than he is if the matter being decided is serious. And due to his fierce drive, he will win, behavioural experts claim. Of course, all of that is easier said than done. But, the tragedy is that today we are confronted by fake alpha males; the ones that are loud and aggressive and worse still, bullies. BULLY YOU Bullies are different from alpha males in every way: “The bully seeks the limelight and tries to dominate every scene. He is also known to use loud, abusive language and would also try to intimidate the other person. This is quite often the case. For the bully, it is all about himself and his successes because all that he is bothered about is whether he is impressing people. He is too worried about keeping an image.” In stark contrast, alphas don’t need to impress anyone; why should they? Life is not about impressing people.

Men read

COWARDS Most bullies are cowards hiding behind an aggressive façade. Look at how an alpha male and bully runs into 16 May 21- June 20, 2011

opposition. The alpha male is always known to pay attention to what’s going on; he is alert to ways to make the things happen the way he wants them to. He regards the world as a place he can influence by paying attention and acting whenever he sees opportunity. He does this naturally; it doesn’t occur to him that he can fail once he’s headed toward his goal. It may take more than one try, but he won’t give up until he achieves his goal or else assesses the situation and decides -- himself -- that he needs to change what he’s doing in order to achieve what he wants. Then, when he’s sure of his course, he’ll try again and again until he succeeds. ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES If he makes a mistake, an alpha male takes note of what he should have done, learns what he needs to learn and moves on. Unlike non-alpha males, he doesn’t go over and over his mistake. Life has endless possibilities for success to an alpha male. He loves to win and is good at it. When he makes a blunder up, he simply takes note of the lesson to be learned and goes on. While other males – Bullies, especially, because they care so much about their public image -- keep going over and over their mistake, an alpha male never wastes time beating himself up after the fact. ALPHAS NEVER BETRAY Here are a few quick takes on the fine qualities of the alpha male: • An alpha male never betrays a member of his pack. • An alpha male isn’t a liar. • An alpha male takes responsibility for his own actions. • An alpha male always thinks before he acts. • An alpha male doesn’t suck up to anyone. He is the leader.

Black 17 Black & & White White 17

Am I a 'criminal'? There is a phrase somewhere that goes like this: if there was a law against the thoughts in our heads, many of us would have long been executed (for the same). I agree. I think I would have been. I am not sure whether I have a criminal mind or whether I am a criminal itself. Maybe, I am somewhere in between. I don’t know. But, I am glad that there is no connection with what I think and what I do most of the time. Because, if there was, I would have long been put in the slammer or would otherwise be fertilising daffodils, as they say. For my thoughts are that heavy packed with many intent, and not just criminal alone.

Off the wall

No, it does not mean that I am plotting to rob a home, or jump upon someone in some dark alley. Don’t get confused and drag me to jail, please. Don’t move court against me because I am saying that my mind is filled with criminal intent. I am not that type. What I meant was something else, more so about anger, more so about emotion, more so about want and needs and desires, unachieved goals, frustration, pain, the need to be understood… More about instant anger, instant irritation, instant flaring up, instant intense emotional mood swings,


By Adarsh Madhavan

all ew h t ff

mutterings and thoughts of great wants and needs… Someone recently annoyed me with his blunderingly silly and irritating statements and I almost went overboard, springing up from my diabetes-ridden weary posture, push and bang him onto the wall and smash his face (like someone almost did to me sometime back, long ago). He was that annoying. And a flurry of thoughts went on in my head, each wild and angrier than ever… honestly, I am glad when the raging thoughts in my head don’t connect with my actions because I have killer thoughts running in my head so wild, I guess they all end up massacring themselves. The more I think about it though, the more I am amazed that not even a miniscule portion of our thoughts are ever featured outside. What I think I am maybe, but, what people see or hear is what I am to them…I am that what I portray, even though my mind is busy somewhere and my heart is…my heart is…well, forget where my heart is. I have got no use for it anyway. Even the ones whom we call ‘straight forward”, “open”, “frank” etc are actually tight-lipped about their inner thoughts... Because that is the way it is. How can you reveal your innermost thoughts? That is nigh to impossible. And if we dare reveal them, will the world be able to take it? Will the ones close to you be able

to digest your revelations? There is a secret world running inside us; in our brains; in our minds; in our hearts and most of us take it to the grave letting only a sliver of our feelings out. Just imagine if we let all our feelings out…it would be chaotic. Yes, it would be truth. And everyone says that we need to be true. But, won’t we all drown in a tsunami of truth? Well, let me speak only about myself. I don’t want to paint everyone with the same brush saying that we have all got something to hide. It is not about that. We may not have skeletons in our cupboards, but, we may truly have some secrets that we don’t want to reveal to the world. And when we think about these secrets, we make sure that we don’t blurt them out for fear of being laughed at; or for that matter, for fear of shocking others. Or, look at it this way: Imagine meeting people we don’t like. In our minds, we would have winced at their mere sight yet, you have no choice but to greet them, pass some inane small talk and try to sneak away. But, imagine you just stood there and told them exactly what is on your mind! You wouldn’t dare! I think I just know what you are thinking now…

18 May 21- June 20, 2011

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New censorship rating logos to be unveiled soon Universal: for all

Parental Guidance

For 12 years and over

For 15 years and over

For 18 years and over


An irate Omani father called up the censorship department of the ministry of information (MOI) sometime back to complain about a movie he had taken his eight-year old son to. Apparently, it was not a movie for eightyear olds; some of the scenes were slightly graphic and not suitable for that age children. What was wrong there? How was the movie allowed to be played in the theater? “There was nothing wrong with the movie. The only problem was that the father took his son without checking the movie rating – it was clearly written that it was a 15-rated movie and somehow, the kid slipped into the theater along with his father. No one is at fault here,� officials of the censorship department counter. But, even problems like these are going to be a thing of the past with the exciting new plans of the censorship department to launch new rating symbols that are simple, direct and clear, on every movie, games and audios launched in the market. This was announced by Abdullah Al Shueili, director, Nasser Abdullah Nasser Al-Hashami, head of cinema department and Nasser Al Wahaibi, employee, censorship department (movies, audio/video cassettes, games), of the MOI, recently.

20 May 21- June 20, 2011

Abdullah Al Shueili

Nasser Al Wahaibi

Abdullah Shueili and Nasser Wahaibi also took the Black & White team to a preview of an English movie at the Shatti Cinema and also gave as an inkling of how the censorship department officials went through the whole movie with eagle eyes and sharp ears and senses to catch anything untoward being propagated in the movies and anything that would hurt the Omani senses. Ashraf Mohd. Abdul Majeed Farath, public relations manager, Al Shatti and City Cinema was also present at the pre-release viewing. “We don’t leave any aspect out. The movie is viewed thoroughly and we rate it accordingly. We have a mature viewing audience here, but, each segment is clearly demarcated and rated,” Abdullah and Nasser said, post viewing of the film, Limitless.

Censorship is not created by morality - it is the product of fear. “A better ratings system is needed, whereby the viewer is aware of the points that will make a movie have an 18 certificate

EYE-CATCHING CENSORSHIP RATING LOGOS “New logos, visually captivating, colourful and communicative will be introduced in Oman soon. The rating symbols will be displayed at the local theatres to educate the public and would also be put in every movie, games and audios covers and poster soon... We are going to start a nationwide awareness campaign that will educate and create awareness to the public as well as win them some exciting prizes. The campaign will be soon launched in the local media and communication channels,” Abdullah, Nasser Hashami and Nasser Wahaibi jointly told the Black & White magazine. The trio also spoke at length about the importance of censorship, especially in a country like Oman, which takes pride in holding on to its cultural and traditional values despite the march of modernity. Black & White 21

Nasser Al-Hashami

Theater, movies, games and audios can have a dangerous impact on citizens, especially children, by establishing a weak or immoral role-model

WHY IS CENSORSHIP IMPORTANT? “Censorship is not about banning, it is about a self inflicted control to contain the negative impacts of audio visual media on the society. For as long as theater has existed, there have been critics who are wary of its power to negatively influence its audience. Theater, movies, games and audios can have a dangerous impact on citizens, especially children, by establishing a weak or immoral role-model. The younger generation is today exposed to technological impacts of the audio visual world,” Abdullah said. Today’s society now watches and accepts far more graphic depictions than those of past eras. What was once considered shocking and morally wrong is now considered mainstream because of the world wide usage of the Internet. “When we were kids we were not exposed so much as the kids are today,” Nasser Wahaibi noted. NOT MUCH AWARENESS OF RATING Censorship is not created by morality - it is the product of fear. “A better ratings system is needed, whereby the viewer is aware of the points that will make a movie have an 18 certificate. “We recently had an angry parent calling up an audio-video outlet and complaining that they sold dangerous games to kids. We visited the outlet and found out there was no rating on the game. Now a game is imported in to the Sultanate through couriers.


And it is those materials that are being sold out to the general public. We then decided it is time to put in regulations and save the parents the trauma of exposing under-aged kids to unwanted violence, visual and audio. It is a must that every responsible parent sees the rating on the movie, game or an audio CD before they purchase. A voluntary effort can reduce the infiltration of non rated and offensive audio visuals doing the rounds in the market,” Abdullah and Nasser Wahaibi said. “Though we all talk about censoring and ratings, a 22 May 21- June 20, 2011

Ashraf Mohd. Abdul Majeed Farath

lot of awareness is required to clean up the system. We have no say in the television channels! We all know that it is censored in some sort of way; television is widely open with regard to many issues, which may not be suitable for some,” they added. DO WE PAY ATTENTION TO THESE WARNINGS? The censorship department officials were also open to the question whether people actually paid attention to these warnings. “That is a million dollar question,” they said, but added that they hoped that this new set of rating logos would be effective enough. “At the censorship department, we have a very strong desire to help protect the values and morals of society. And we strive as much as possible to keep it intact by not allowing unwanted elements to creep in through these movies and games.” A proper society must carefully monitor what art it permits. People are naturally impressionable, and if they are exposed to violence, hatred, or fear, “they’ll feel neither shame nor restraint at imitating these actions”. It is generally believed since time immemorial that movie directors, games creators, poets and playwrights should not be allowed to influence children, because they are unqualified to be teachers of virtue. Because film was a relatively new art form, it was not initially protected by the same provisions that protect free speech in books. Just as the stage had been regulated for thousands of years, censorship boards were set up in many countries to ensure that films shown or produced there did not violate their particular ethics. Outraged audiences had demanded censorship when they were offended by the immoral content of the films or licentious lifestyles of the actors.

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Zero credit card charges on Damas Jewellery in Oman Damas, announced zero credit card charges on gold and diamond jewellery purchases from all of its 21 stores in Oman starting May 6. “This is a great advantage for Damas customers, as most of the retailers will charge you when using credit cards to purchase jewellery, and this can make a significant impact on the price when buying jewellery. Since the gold price is increasing, why pay even more for swiping your credit card? We believe in giving our customers the best shopping experience, so when you shop at Damas stores with a credit card, there will be no additional credit card charges levied,” said Rajesh Govindan, Damas country manager – Oman. Contact: 24780036/84

Summer with Rasasi Summer’s here and soon the sun will be belting us down. Time to start thinking about the perfume accessories that are appropriate for the outfit you choose to wear. Rasasi offers a wide range of options for those seeking a suitable perfume to match their summer season outings.

Mercedes-Benz launches iconic CLS Mercedes-Benz has launched a new season for its iconic CLS, the four door coupé that made fashionable jaws drop when it first debuted in 2003, and quickly established itself as the ultimate must-have style statement for chic drivers across the Middle East. “Customers across the Middle East and the globe have rewarded us for our courage in launching a completely new vehicle concept onto the market,” explains a delighted Frank Bernthaler, director, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant. “And with its exciting design and refined sportiness, the new edition of the CLS also benefits from the fact that we are a whole generation ahead of the competition with our four-door Coupé.”


New English FM station soon SABCO Media, has confirmed its plans to launch a new English station, Merge 104.8 in the next few weeks. Merge 104.8 will reflect the diverse cultures and tastes of Oman’s population. Reaching different segments of society, the radio station will offer a mix of music, culture and fun, to deliver rich content and served with a fresh local flavour. 24 May 21- June 20, 2011

Khalid bin Mustahail Al Mashani new chairman of BankMuscat Shaikh Khalid bin Mustahail Al Mashani, who served as deputy chairman for the past 12 years, has been appointed chairman of BankMuscat. Shaikh Khalid possesses astute leadership skills in financial management and strategic planning. He served as deputy chairman of the bank since March 1999 and is currently the chairman of the bank’s risk committee. Among the varied roles, he is the deputy chairman of BankMuscat International, Bahrain. Commenting on the new appointment, Shaikh

Khalid said: “I am honoured to be appointed as chairman of BankMuscat, the leading banking

Mazda Zoom-Zoom Club ties up with Muscat Paintball

institution in Oman. My priority is to fulfill the trust and confidence reposed in me by the board of directors, shareholders and all stakeholders to sustain and strengthen the leadership position of the bank.” The bank’s board of directors recently approved the financial results for the first quarter of 2011. The bank posted net profit of OMR27.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011 compared to OMR24.5 million reported during the same period in 2010, an increase of 13.5 per cent.

Mazda Zoom- Zoom Club has recently tied up with Muscat Panitball represented by Xtreme Sports LLC’s paintball division. Located in Shatti Al Qurum, the 45 by 45 metres paintball field layout is the same as the one used for the World Cup championship with international standards. Annurag Chawla, head of marketing and communications, Towell Auto Centre, says, “It has always been our endeavour to get closer to our customers through innovative and different ways. Through this partnership, it is our earnest attempt to encourage the members of our Zoom-Zoom club to lead a healthy and active lifestyle vis-à-vis sports and adventurous activities. We will be organising more fun initiatives of this nature in the future for the Zoom-Zoom Club members and other Mazda patrons.”

Oris steps up its relationship with WilliamsF1 Oris SA and Williams F1 confirmed the upgrading of their partnership for the forthcoming Formula One racing season. In addition to the current on-car locations, the Oris name will be seen also on the F1 drivers’ gloves. Alex Wurz will join Nico Rosberg as an ambassador for the brand. At the same time the new Oris Williams Day Date was launched. Its black dial is made of genuine carbon in pure Formula One style. Even the bezel serves as a display, with an hour scale from 13 to 24 hours. As a further feature, the hands and numerals under the scratchproof sapphire glass shine in dark orange Superluminova. The racing-style rubber strap reflects the vertical tread of a Formula One car’s tyre. Clearly visible through the watch’s skeleton back is the red Oris rotor – the mechanical heart of this powerful watch. (Oris Williams Day Date was given away to the winner of the Black & White Sudoku for a cause event by its local dealer Khimji's Watches)

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Revitalise the mind, body and soul at Park Inn Park Inn Muscat has announced some special mind, body and soul revitalisation deals for its clients. Customers can avail of the hotel’s health club, which boasts state-of-the-art equipment as well as sauna and steam rooms. In addition, they can get a fun workout at the temperature-controlled open air pool, swimming in the cool blue waters or lounging by the poolside, observing the city drift by below. Members can choose from the eclectic range of Swedish and Thai massages, reflex zone therapy, aroma vitality massage and back massages. The gym is open daily from 6.30am to 10pm, while the pool is operational from 7pm to 9pm. During the offer (from May 1 to September 30, 2011), the pool and

gym membership packages per month are offered at OMR30 per person, OMR50 for a couple and OMR60 for a family. For the poolonly packages, customers are charged OMR 20 per month with couple and family memberships costing OMR30 and OMR40 respectively. The hotel is also offering special deals on meals

RBK presentation on supply chain and logistics


Ramniklal B. Kothary & Co LLC invited management guru, Dr Pawan G. Agrawal, from the world famous organisation called “Mumbai Dabbawalas” for a presentation. The presentation was on supply chain and logistic management” which was held at their head office in Darsait. Almost all employees from sales, finance and logistics department were invited to attend this unique view on supply chain and logistics. Mumbai Dabbawalas are the people who provide logistic services in providing food

26 May 21- June 20, 2011

containers (Tiffin) to the residents of Mumbai (India). They deliver 200,000 tiffin boxes per day with the help of 5,000 employees. They are doing this service flawlessly since 1890 and in time without any IT software or technological support. Eighty per cent of the staff cannot read or write, but they work flawlessly together. The success is the ownership attitude of the employees towards the organisation. Their annual turnover is around 72 to 80 crore Indian rupees (OMR6.9 million).

served at its Palm restaurant and the RBG Grill. “Whatever your preference, bring a group, because patrons in groups of four or more will get a 20 percent discount on the total food and beverage bill at both outlets. This offer is valid from June 1 to July 31, 2011 and is applicable on lunch and dinner on the a la carte menu only.

Save Energy Oman

‘Bangs the Drum’ for the cause

The creative team behind the successful Save Energy Oman campaign is celebrating after winning one of the UK’s top accolades at this year’s Drum Marketing Awards. Edinburgh based branding agency, navyblue picked up this sought after award at a glitzy ceremony in Manchester, England this month, in recognition for its creativity in the hugely successful Save Energy Oman campaign, which ran from May to September last year. They won the ‘Best Cause Related Marketing Campaign’ category. This is the first award of its kind for the energy saving crusaders. Launched a year ago by Oman’s Electricity companies lead by Electricity Holding Company (EHC), Save Energy Oman campaigned for residents and businesses in the Sultanate to reduce the output of their air conditioning systems during the hot summer months by simply raising the temperature to 23 degrees.

Nawras Ceo named outstanding leader of the year Ross Cormack, chief executive officer of Nawras, has been named 'Outstanding Leader of the Year' at the third TMT Finance & Investment Awards Middle East, held in Dubai. This accolade for Oman’s customer friendly communications provider follows a year in which Nawras became a public company after the largest IPO in Oman since 2005 and also began offering broadband services to corporate and residential customers. “It is a great honour for me to represent Nawras at this prestigious regional event and I am even more thrilled that as an Omani company, Nawras has won this

award and been shortlisted in two other categories,” Cormack said after receiving his trophy. “I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the entire Nawras family and I share this award with every member of our team. Together

we promised to enrich the lives of people in Oman through better communication services and it is my privilege to work with so many dedicated professionals who continue to share this strong commitment to our customers.” Nawras was also shortlisted in the category of ‘Deal of the Year’, in recognition of its successful IPO. Nawras was listed on the Muscat Securities Market on November 1, 2010 as the fourth largest company in Oman by market capitalisation, after only five years. Qtel, Wataniya, Zain and Viva Kuwait were named in this category too.

OMASCO sweeps awards at Panasonic CIMA summit The OMASCO recorded the largest haul of trophies in the Panasonic CIMA awards. Teams from across the Middle East, the CIS and Africa compete for these awards every year and a total of 11 trophies were won by OMASCO for 2010. Overcoming the strong challenge from several agencies across this wide market, Panasonic Oman bagged golds for eco related activities, model showroom, showroom event, plus card event, plus card sales and plus card membership growth. It was also awarded silver for top market share and bronze for agent of the year. In the Technical Olympics, which tests the technical proficiency of the aftersales care and the retail teams, the star appreciation

award was conferred to Panasonic air conditioning servicing for overall customer service. Both Mohamed Badrul Islam and Jerry Montemayor were awarded individual golds, for AC and Blu-Ray repair respectively. As George Alexander, general manager for retail engineering and distribution says, “The Panasonic Oman team has done us, and the nation, proud. These awards establish the customer-oriented focus of OMASCO, reflecting our endeavour to offer the best products and extend the best services to all our customers.”

AGCC Real Estate–back on growth track? The evolution of a youthful demographic will lead the way for the property sector as it rebuilds itself in the AGCC. With 2011 GDP slated to hover around the 5.9 per cent mark in the AGCC (as compared to 4.5 per cent in 2010 and 0.7 per cent in 2009), the real estate markets are once again looking at a growth cycle that feels more tangible, less speculative and is predicated on several drivers that are spurring the climb, according to a report released this morning by Al Masah Capital, a progressive, Dubai based alternative investment house. “Perhaps the most vital growth driver is the region’s expanding population, most of which is young and has the ability to create exponential investment in the property sector. It is this young, upwardly mobile demographic that has the potential to dissolve the current fear over high vacancy rates and concerns about oversupply,” said Shailesh Dash, founder and chief executive of Al Masah Capital. Black & White 27

‘Spirit Within’ photographic exhibition of Sri Lankan School boy A special student of the Sri Lankan School Muscat held a unique photography exhibition ‘Spirit Within’ at the school premises recently. Oshadie Senanayake, an 11th grade science stream student of the school, has a hearing impairment. But, this has hardly deterred the boy’s determination and drive to excel in the field of photography. The 64-photographs exhibition not only drew a big crowd, but it also showcased a young boy’s silent yet meaningful journey, which he has managed to capture through the lens. “Oshadie is a special and unique child, whose non-verbal communication mode comes from the deepest trenches of his sensitive heart,” said Somabandhu Kodikara, principal, Sri Lankan School. “He sees beauty in things that others take for granted and captures the beauty with his lens and produces work of art that fascinates the world,” the principal added.

“Oshadie has earned recognition as the most talented young photographer in the community earning praise and respect from the young and the old alike,” noted officials of the Sri Lankan Community Club, who also promoted the event. “We identified his ability when he was just two and so presented him

with a good camera, quite early on. Not only school activities, but Oshadie has also covered events, which has managed to find its way in local newspapers,” Kumari Senanayake, his mother said. Oshadie, who has just appeared for his London exams, has a collection of more than 6000 photos.

Noor Boutique opens in Wadi Kabir


Omani women are continuing to foray in the world of fashion. While some are keen to model, others like Wajiha Al Barkath, are making the fashion dreams of young Omani ladies come true with her new boutique, Noor Boutique, near the Shell filling station in Wadi Kabir. “For me, this boutique is a dream come true,” Wajiha said, adding that once she completed her graduation from the Sultan Qaboos University, she wanted to provide young Omani ladies with something new and fresh related to fashion. The opening of my Noor Boutique has turned this vision into reality. “Today’s Omani youth is always looking for something that is unique, and we are here to deliver the goods. Our evening gowns and tops are beautiful, unique and yet affordable. Our jewellery and sandals are something that you won’t find anywhere. It is always charming to introduce something new, in designs, styles, and fashion that’s what this boutique aims to do for its clients,” Wajiha said. Contact: 28 May 21- June 20, 2011

By Dr CK Anchan

Identity management is a broad administrative area that deals with identifying individuals in a system (such as a country, a network, or an enterprise) and controlling their access to resources within that system by associating user rights and restrictions with the established identity. The driver licensing system is a simple example of identity management: drivers are identified by their license numbers and user specifications (such as light vehicle) are linked to the identifying number. The identity management landscape has seen profound changes in the last few years. In the simple settings establishing one’s identity was never a problem. Authentication is a simple task, as everyone knew everyone else. But in today’s flat world where most communication happens over the wire, we deal with people whom we have not seen or even talked to. One way to think about identity management is by imagining an enormous blueprint of an office building. It shows the rooms into which each person who works in the building can enter. The blueprint also shows what kind of key each person would need to open the door to get into that room, and what that person can do once they are there. Like building security, identity management is the most essential form of information protection that agencies use. Yet, it also is among the information security practices that are least used or properly implemented. Identity management is more than simply permitting a user to log on; it controls what that user can do, similar to putting boundaries on where a person can go once in a

Management talk

IDentity MANagement

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

building. A systems administrator assigns a credential of some sort, usually a number, to a worker. That number allows the employee or contractor access to the network and determines what resources can be accessed. It also can flag the administrator through a monitoring tool if the user somehow gains access to forbidden areas, or if the user is performing actions that may indicate an attempt to gain entry to prohibited areas. Identity theft and fraud have been consistently on the rise in the past years costing billions to companies and their customers. In fact, consumer identity has become a major enterprise asset in some industries where identity management practices aim to protect. Defining an identity boils down to specifying the minimum information that need to be maintained about a person without disturbing privacy of the individual Establishing trust becomes a complex and difficult proposition. Authorities like the government, employers, universities, insurance providers, banks or even the local retailer have the same problem. Each one of these entities needs to know different things about a person to perform their job. The scope of the identity risk management profession is broader today and requires a new and evolving set of skills to properly manage and safeguard all identities whether they are created and used for accessing enterprise systems or collected as part of business transactions. These and other external factors such as regulatory requirements are some of the evolving and new identity risks that we must collectively address. To be continued‌ Black & White 29

The modern family… Bikram Vohra, internationallyknown Gulf based scribe

Sunny side up

By Bikram Vohra Bizarre. But true. Related by an involved party. This forty four year old man, married 17 years, comes home one evening and asks his wife to get into the car because he wants to take her for a drive. It has been a wearying marriage these past few years, no romance, no warmth and she is pleasantly surprised. At one point he stops the car and picks up this woman. Now he introduces her to the wife as his girlfriend and explains that the marriage is over, all washed up and this is the new love of his life. The reason I got you into the car, he says, is because my girlfriend won’t believe I have told you how I feel so I wanted her to witness it. Then, since it is all over, he requests his wife to get out of the car and take a cab home. I hope that by the time I come in you have left for your parents, he says, all civilised and cool. She leaves. Next morning, as the shock begins to wear off she realises the house is hers not her husbands and there is no reason why she should leave, let him get out. So she goes back home and tells him to take a hike. He protests and says, I don’t have a place to go to, you can stay with your parents, be reasonable, where will I go? Male chauvinistic logic at its best. He is actually upset that she won’t understand his plight. Out, she says, now. So he calls his aging parents and complains that his wife is being a stick in the mud and is throwing him out and can he come live with them. They agree and are quite put out that their daughter in law is being so uppity. Look, don’t blame me, this is exactly how the story goes…and it goes even more wacky. Now, the husband has a sister who lives abroad and she is pro the wife so she gets into the act and tells her brother what a twit he is 30 May 21- June 20, 2011

and then calls Mum and Dad and ticks them off too. Now, the wife goes over to her in laws and says, look the reason I threw him out was to make him see sense, you don’t end 17 years of marriage because he suddenly has a crush on some girl, as parents you should work towards saving our marriage not wrecking its chances. Sorry, say the parents, but after 17 years we have got our son back and we are not interested. So, the parents move out of their house for sake of son’s comfort and move into foreign based duaghter’s house since she doesn’t need it. Okay, in case you have lost me what we have is: one wife in her own home. One husband with new girl in Mum and Dad’s home and Mum and Dad in daughter’s home and the daughter is abroad. Right.? Now, the Fates, who have ostensibly been watching this theatre of the absurd decide to get into the act and the sister’s husband loses his job abroad and they have to come back home. Except that they do not have a house. Stand by for this bulletin. The wife offers a section of her house to her sister in law. So, they arrive and move into the brother’s former house where the rejected wife lives alone. Somewhere around here you’d think the brother’s love affair falls apart and all repentant and contrite he comes weeping for forgiveness. Sister gets her house, girlfriend is cast out and husband and wife live happily ever after. No. He is still with his girlfriend. His sister stays with his wife. Mum and Dad are in their daughter’s house and everything is right with the world. I wonder what they do when they meet for a family get together?

In Black & White

In Black... Speak from the heart and then the world will listen. And this was true of these two great souls, both who are as different as chalk and cheese, but the truth was their speeches complemented each other Mohamed Issa Al Zadjali Editor-in-chief THE SPIRIT WITHIN THEM – MAY IT NEVER DIE Two people made a major impact in my life recently. One was Sheikh Khalfan El Esry and the other Daniel Tammet. The first, is a motivational expert and speaker, and the other, the celebrity guest at the Black & White You Play Sudoku Open to all competition 2011. Their speeches were not just extraordinary and out of the world, they were more than that – they were moving; they brought a lump in the throat of many who were present at the magnificent Oman Auditorium of Al Bustan Palace hotel, and it made all of us think and also open our eyes to a dreaded disorder called autism. I always used to say that it is easy to speak about something and it becomes an entirely different task when we set about to do something. But, both these speakers knew exactly what they were speaking, and both had the ability to move people with words. This can only happen when the words come straight from the heart. On that evening, once again I learnt some words of wisdom that I had almost forgotten. Speak from the heart and then the world will listen. And this was true of these two great souls, both who are as different as chalk and cheese, but the truth was that their speeches complemented each other. While Daniel’s speech lent an insight into the difficult world of autism that he had traversed on many years back, Sheikh Khalfan spoke about the need to integrate the autistic children into the mainstream.

Basically, the speeches opened the eyes of all of those present to the problems faced by an autistic child, his/her family and also made us understand that we cannot stand as mute or ignorant observers when our own country’s people are suffering in this manner. At the Black & White, we are always on the forefront of social causes and this autism charity and awareness drive is a cause that we have adopted because of the sheer need it presented. If ever we faltered in our path; if ever we needed some push to continue on in this path, we were given that essential spark again that evening to light the fire in our hearts again to move ahead in our drive. I write these few lines to thank these two stars that brightened up our event and would also like to humbly bow my head to the spirit within them – may it never die! Before I conclude, let me also say that the winners of the Sudoku for a cause, especially the new Sudoku champion, Vishwanath, gave a sterling performance. The ladies, Premlatha and Jade Periera would have surely run off with the trophy, but for a patient Vishwanath who painstakingly held on to his nerve till the end and stole the trophy from under the ladies’ noses. Congratulations Vishwanath; congratulations to all the winners! See you all next time!

& White Black 31 Black & & White White 31

Autism is not a barrier to success or happiness

B&W Xclusive

AN EARLIER documentary on the autistic savant Daniel Tammet shows him being hugged by Kim Peek, a world famous savant (who is currently no more). Peek hugs Daniel and tells him: “Some day you will be as great as I am!” Peek’s words could not have been more prophetic. Daniel is a genius. Although he is hesitant to display his usually mind-boggling mathematical skills, he is the man who could figure out cube roots quicker than a calculator and recall Pi to 22514 decimal places. Besides this, he has written two novels. The first one, an autobiography, ‘Born on a Blue Day’, which sold half a million copies. One would think that was it, but he startled everyone again by writing a second book, 'Embracing the Wide Sky', in which he goes further than anybody 32 May 21- June 20, 2011

had imagined possible in explaining how his mind works, and putting forward his own theories on how normal and autistic brains function, which top scientists have said was astounding. Besides all this, Daniel can also paint, mostly the numbers that adorn his mind. We were witness to the special genius of Daniel at the Sudoku for a cause: autism event at Al Bustan Palace hotel, recently. GIVE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE Many in the audience were touched by a video of his life and also his speech where he spoke of his childhood. Daniel, who was one of nine children, got tremendous support from both his parents and siblings. “We were poor. But, the difference was that my parents offered unconditional love. And that made a

difference,” Daniel later tells B&W in an informal chat. “They always made me feel special. I was the oldest and I always felt I was special, not only by my parents, but by my siblings too.” At four he suffered epileptic seizures, which he subsequently outgrew following medical treatment. He was later diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. “Diagnosis helped me to mostly understand myself; to better manage my condition. It also gave me the inspiration to help others with autism and also their families. “The basic message that I used to spread was that: autism is not a barrier to success or happiness!” LOVE AFFAIR WITH NUMBERS Daniel’s love affair with numbers started young. “When I was a child, I found it difficult to play with other

children; I played with numbers. These numbers became my friends. In my mind, numbers have colours, shapes, and some numbers, especially Pi, a number that is infinite and has no end.” PAINTING NUMBER 29 FOR OMAN Daniel holds the European record for reciting Pi from memory to 22, 514 digits in five hours and nine minutes on March 14, 2004. “I recited this in front of mathematicians from Oxford University.” Daniel says he sees numbers. “I can not only verbally describe these visions, but I have also created artwork, including a watercolour painting of Pi.” In one of the paintings, he painted the first 20 digits of Pi and the picture he sees in his head follows these numbers. “I called the painting the ‘landscape of the Pi! There are only 50 copies in the world and we have sold these copies all over the world.” Daniel was generous enough to donate one of these paintings – number 29 out of 50 – to the autism cause in Oman. (*) 29 LOOKS LIKE A WATERFALL Daniel considers 29 as a “very beautiful number – because it is a prime number, which makes it divisible by itself and one (1).” He further describes 29 as “round”. “It has a falling motion, like a waterfall. It has purple and blue hues and goes well with the landscape of Pi!” And the Pi apparently is as “beautiful as Mona Lisa”. LEARN TO MANAGE AUTISM Daniel also spoke quite candidly about autism: “Autism is a lifelong condition from which there is no cure. One has to learn to manage the condition as much as possible. “People with high functioning autism should avoid stress and try and learn all the necessary social skills to

navigate through life!” BREAK THE PRISON WALL “Autism is a condition in which a person is trapped in his/her own self. With the right help and the opportunities, such a person can escape from the prison and be in a better position to relate to other selves.” Daniel notes that there are some, who after connecting and being able to better navigate through the complex social puzzles, might still go backwards. “But, this happens only when they don’t attain the support they need.” DON’T SET SELF-IMPOSED LIMITS Daniel spoke about the impressive and moving speech made by Sheikh Khalfan El Esry at the Black & White sudoku for a cause event and referred to the comment on “unconditional love”. “I would say that it is unconditional love that autistic children in Oman also need,” he stressed. “My parents gave me unconditional love – and I firmly believe that limits are often what we have put on ourselves,” he added. “We should always hope in the great possibilities of what life can give us – life is full of opportunities and autistic children need hope and help to realise these possibilities.”

AUTISTIC CHILDREN WILL MAKE OMAN PROUD ONE DAY The Muscat Autism Centre (MAC) has received praise from an unusually high quarter. The world famous autistic savant, Daniel Tammet himself. “I visited the centre and found their work quite excellent. The staff there are very dedicated and professional; serious and committed to what they do. I salute the dedication of all the staff, especially the centre’s director, Masha'er, whose tireless devotion to the cause of autism in Oman is an inspiration to me and many in Oman. “The children there are full of life and I think with the right help and necessary resources, this children can make a lot of progress and contribute to the future success of Omani society. “I am sure that autistic children in Oman will also have wonderful gifts and both the parents and the educators are able to discover that. Autistic children in Oman will also make this country proud!” (*) The painting, which is currently with Black & White, is put on auction and those interested in owning this special work of art can get in touch with the Black & White office – Phone: 24565697; email: Black & White 33

Supporters enlightened about autism in Oman Post event we were tempted to ask the ‘powers that be’, who supported this cause, as to how they found the event and if such efforts really made a difference. We also asked these venerable friends of the autism charity event to give their take on CSR in Oman. Here is what they have to say:

An eye opener! What was the best part of the Sudoku for a cause: (autism) event? What about the event did you like the most? Before this event, most of us knew very little about autism in general, and in Oman in particular. It has been a shock to most of us to know that there are so many autistic children in the country. The audience was also treated to a super show and they were all praise for the wonderful talent exhibited by the participants of the Sudoku competition too.

Hassan Shaban, Chief marketing officer National Bank of Oman

Do you think such efforts can make a difference in bringing more awareness to the autism cause? Of course, such events are the best way to throw light on this issue. In fact, this will help and support the government to encourage its health service institutions to accept this segment as a group that also needs professional care.

B&W Xclusive

Should corporate(s) in Oman be more proactive on the CSR front? What is your take on CSR in Oman? The CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility is an evolution towards Corporate Sustainability. The CSR is no longer an afterthought or a mere handout. It is about corporate taking full responsibility towards environmental issues, economical issues and social issues of our country and for the betterment of the world at large. It is about aligning one’s CSR strategy with the business strategy. So yes, corporate Oman, I believe, is moving away from being reactive and moving towards thinking and acting more proactively in the communities where we conduct our businesses. 34 May 21- June 20, 2011

Fortune we earn is not ours alone Best part: I feel the best part of the event was the presence of Daniel Tammet himself on the stage. His speech, in particular the words shared about his early life as a child diagnosed with autism, were touching and something special to the audience. Make a difference? Of course it can. However, a more elaborated awareness reaching to the common man in the society is required for people in this part of the world to understand that there are people with special needs that have not even much heard here so far – autism being one. Kiran Asher, Group Managing Director, Al Ansari Group of Companies (Oman/UAE/India)

Your take on CSR: I’m of the opinion that CSR is the responsibility of everyone who earn for his/ her livelihood, irrespective of the class to which one belong. The fortune we earn is not ours alone, it is to be used to pay three debts: to our families, society and planet.

A combo of entertainment, spirit and knowledge Best part: When you look over at your friends and see their jaws dropped and eyes filled with amazement, and it’s the same expression on the faces of people in the rows around you, it’s an incredible moment – and that genuinely happened more than once at the Sudoko for a cause event: from the speech on human compassion given by Sheikh Khalfan El Esry, to the movie clipping about Daniel Tammet and the announcement that he was in the crowd, to Daniel’s touching speech, to watching the sudoko challengers work through the grids with unbelievable speed, there were many inspiring highlights at this event. All around it was a combination of entertainment, spirit and new knowledge, which created a powerful momentum for human connection. Make a difference? Certainly, because the sort of human interaction that was present at the event leaves an impression on the audience that goes beyond articles in papers and other media. I saw families exchange their stories, hopes and hardships, and for some audience members they had never heard of a savant, so the event platform makes a real difference in going beyond the headline. Hala Srouji, Corporate Communications Manager, Renaissance Services SAOG

Your take on CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is definitely still occurring and it’s not new for the country’s top businesses as CSR has been applied for decades. At Renaissance Services the motto under our CSR programme is “genuine, not just generous” and there is a noticeable shift in how Oman’s companies are evaluating their CSR investments and moving towards programmes that are sustainable, create employment and really generate a better quality of life. Black & White 35

Cause and the competition a great leveller Best part: The best part was to see the confluence of a variety of people from various nationalities congregate for a common cause. Like the Black & White had said in its pre-event campaigns, it was the Sudoku competition and the autism cause that brought in various communities without any language barrier under one roof. The event also helped us understand that although autism cannot be cured- the best part is that for all those who are autistic, be it children or adults, the emphasis should be on their strength, rather than spend too much time correcting their weaknesses.

Madhu Jesrani, General Manager, Khimji’s Watches

Make a difference? Efforts like this can actually make a difference. Moreover, the presence of geniuses like Daniel Tammet is indeed a blessing. Celebrities like him encourage such events by their mere presence. Your take on CSR? We believe that the most effective way to establish and sustain a successful business in Oman is to genuinely become a good corporate citizen and make lasting contributions to the communities that each company operates in. Organisations need to identify, create and execute cost effective CSR programmes that have both an immediate and long-term impact on the societies in which they belong.

It made a difference

B&W Xclusive

Best part: I was totally impressed by the speeches, especially the celebrity guest’s speech and that really touching video clip of Daniel Tammet. Make a difference? Yes, all these efforts would help indeed. In addition the following could add more mileage to convey educational and awareness information and editorials: • Leaflets and literature (handouts; Arabic and English) for mass distribution (particularly to residences): Scientific information (facts and guidelines for educating the parents) • Facts and figures on what is the situation in Oman in this regard • Progress and success stories • Convoy – for spreading the message, knowledge, guidelines and general awareness on availability of dedicated team (and centre) who would help, plus, perhaps a helpline…etc • Involving the ministry of education and ministry of social development and sharing the knowledge for their internal day-to-day considerations; especially when dealing with 36 May 21- June 20, 2011

Farid Al Lawati with Daniel Tammet students and families with autistic children • Organising events for autistic children to come out from their confined places (public events – sponsorships – speeches …etc) Your take on CSR: Yes CSR can add a great value (financially).

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Sudoku for a cause For those who have missed out on the prelims (held at the Indian School Al Ghubra) and the grand finale of the Black & White You Play Sudoku open to all competition 2011, which was held at the Oman Auditorium of Al Bustan Palace Hotel recently, here are some glimpses.

B&W Xclusive

Photos by Najib Al Balushi

38 May 21- June 20, 2011

Major Sponsors:

Co Sponsors:

Social media support:

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B&W Xclusive

Sudoku final at Al Bustan

40 May 21- June 20, 2011

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B&W Xclusive 42 May 21- June 20, 2011

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B&W Xclusive 44 May 21- June 20, 2011

From left: Premalatha (Ist Runner Up), Daniel Tammet, Vishwanath (winner), Jade Periera (IInd Runner Up)

Major Sponsors:

Co Sponsors:

Social media support:

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Daniel Tammet's painting on

Landscape of the Pi Daniel Tammet has created an artwork, a watercolour painting of Pi. He painted the first 20 digits of Pi. There are only 50 copies of this painting in the world. This, the 29th painting, was a generous donation by Daniel to the autism cause. Those interested please call: 98675976

46 May 21- June 20, 2011

By Seyad Farook

Nature's Quest

When you are bitten by a mole viper‌

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

I remember a snake biting incident when I was in Sri Lanka many years ago. A young man, who was known to us, was bitten by a Mole Viper, a venomous snake. Although he lived to tell his tale, it was a harrowing story that he presented. The young man dramatised as to how his pupils dilated and how his face got almost paralysed. But, luckily, quick intervention saved his life. At that time, I was not sure of what would happen when such snakes bite, but, now I know. And I also know that the poor young man was not giving a tall tale about the after effects of the bite. An Arabian cobra, the Burrowing asp (Mole Viper) or the False-horned viper have neurotoxic (nerve-affecting) venom and a bite victim should be treated promptly. This is a fast-acting venom and it is potentially lifethreatening. A bite results in a tingling and mildly painful sensation starting at the bite site and spreading. The eye lids become heavy and the pupils dilate, the victim has difficulty in breathing and finds it difficult to swallow. Facial muscles become partially paralysed. The patient loses balance and is unable to speak properly. Asphyxiation is the common cause of death in the case of neurotoxic bites due to paralysis of the diaphragm muscle or heart failure. Neurotoxins affect the central nervous system, causing major organs or muscles controlled by those nerves to malfunction.

Black & White 47

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:

Uninvited guest


Man of the front seat

48 May 21- June 20, 2011

He walks into our office like he owns the place (hello, this is not John Galt or Howard Roark of Ayn Rand book’s fame). And, then he asks for the managing editor. Unfortunately, managing editor is out of the office and so, Mr So & So angrily asks the polite man who greets him why the managing editor is always out. She is not always out, the staff member responds very pleasantly. “I will wait 'for her',” the uninvited guest declares and plonks, again uninvited, on to a chair and sat there as though someone committed a huge crime on him. Our staff member, goes the extra mile, offers him tea, which the latter accepts with a superior air and then sips the hot and sweet concoction with shows of discontent. When he realises that none of the office members present were interested in him

and his problems, he decided that he must indeed seek attention and then began to berate the company loudly, punctuated with how and why the managing editor was too busy to see him. “I’ve important things to discuss with her, but she is always busy –“ he ranted and raved. It reached a point where the patience ran thin among the young staff members who were already gnashing their teeth and clenching their knuckles at this unwanted diatribe from a stranger in their own office and they would have thrown him out in the next minute. Thankfully, the uninvited guest realised that things were heating up against him and he quickly slipped out apparently fuming. Why do people indulge in such acts which show themselves in poor light? Beats us!

He wants the front seat at all of the shows he attends. He does not care that there is a chief guest, guests of honour and other dignitaries that automatically obtain the front seats of any event because of their stature in society. He does not understand and does not want to understand that. Nope! He is only one man, and he needs only one seat and that has got to be in the first row. Umhhh, er, sorry Sir, we can’t give you the front seat Sir, the front seats are all booked for the main dignitaries and also the sponsors – the ones who paid money for the show and the ones who are instrumental in making all these shows happen. If they are mistreated in anyway, then they will just drop us like hot cakes and we will end up paying for the event from our own pockets…Drop the plaintive story, he says. He is not in the mood to shed a tear over our loss. You are inviting me? Yes. Then give me a front seat or forget it. So we forgot it!

Give the teacher a patient hearing

A lady, who prefers to be anonymous, wrote to us recently about ‘Teacher in detention’ Bitter Batter bit (Issue 31): “I am writing with reference to your article about the ‘cold shoulder treatment being given to a teacher’ in the last edition of your magazine. “Teachers are the roots or the foundation of the society. However, gone are the days when teachers were deified. In spite of working with a lot of zeal and dedication, teachers nowadays are sandwiched between the management, peers and the students. They have to bear the brunt from both sides. In view of the mentioned case, it is very essential that the school management listen to both sides of the story. I urge them to do so at the earliest. The teacher also should be given a patient ear. Only then, justice can be done. This will not only iron out the bad elements in the education system, but also encourage the dedicated teachers to work harder with more confidence. This in turn will help shape the future of the nation and the world in a better way.”

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

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Snails range in size from 30 centimeters to 15 inches in length. They will die if they consume either salt or sugar

50 May 21- June 20, 2011

SNAILS Fun facts about

Snails are one of the earliest known types of animals in the world. There is evidence that they evolved more than 600 million years ago. They are able to adapt to a variety of living conditions and they don’t require large amounts of food. They have been able to continually evolve to survive the conditions around them which many researchers find to be very fascinating. Here are some facts about snails…

The largest land snail recorded weighed only two pounds and was 15 inches long. As snails move they leave behind slime. The average life span of a snail is approximately 15 years. However, it is believed that some species live up to 25 years depending on their habitat. Snails are considered to be one of the slowest creatures though on the entire earth They are nocturnal animals, which means most of their movements take place at night. Snails range in size from 30 centimeters to 15 inches in length. Snails don’t like the brightness of sunlight, which is why you will find them out more on cloudy days. If you keep one in an aquarium you want to make sure that too much sunlight doesn’t filter into the room. This can cause the snail to stop eating and to spend most of its time inside of the shell. Snails will die if they consume either salt or sugar. Make sure you don’t offer these types of items to them when you see them or when you have one in captivity because their bodies can process these items. The giant african land snail is known to eat more than 500 different types of plants. Snails are very strong and can lift up to 10 times their own body weight in a vertical position. It is believed that there are at least 200,000 species of mollusks out there including snails. Many of them haven’t been found and classified yet. Snails don’t see very well so they have to rely upon their good sense of smell to help them find their prey. And, they can't hear.

Tongue twisters Six slimy snails sailed silently Black & White 51

Your stars ARIES March 21-April 20

TAURUS April 21-May 20

GEMINI May 21-June 21

An active week ahead; your major focus will be on materialistic matters- gains and financial security. Attunement to, and appreciation of, the physical world of the senses is the focus, and this is a time to start fresh in terms of how you arrange your life in order to feel a sense of value and worthiness.

It is time to re energise. Formation of new moon in your sun sign represents new beginnings. This is a personally busy time of year, when you feel energetic and enthusiastic. It is important now to focus is on your overall personality and habits to improve your confidence in yourself.

This is the period when you like to take a pause after busy period. It is also a period of review, letting go, and recharging one’s spiritual and, in effect, physical energy. Focus, now, is on fulfillment through service, empathy, and awareness of other’s needs; but it can also be a time of withdrawal.

CANCER June 22-July 23 A hectic week ahead with lots of social activities. You will be associated with networking, making contact, group activities, and income earned from business. With the New Moon here, focus is on making contacts and reaching out to others in both a social and professional sense.

LEO July 24-August 23 A busy two to three weeks ahead, increasing your sensitivity to your standing in society and your goals for constructive progress. It’s a good time to develop new business plans and goals, and a sense of renewal and reinvigoration with regards to your career goals is a potential.

VIRGO August 24-September 23 Your spirit will grow, explore, and expand beyond the regular experiences in life. Make an effort to initiate new projects or activities that expand your mind. You may feel renewed by a new perspective on your life, something philosophical or spiritual that you read or learn, or an adventure that takes you away.

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.


By Thomas Snyder

52 May 21- June 20, 2011


MARILYN MONROE (BORN NORMA JEANE MORTENSON, JUNE 1, 1926 – AUGUST 5, 1962) was an American actress, singer and model. Monroe began a career as a model, which led to a film contract in 1946. Her early film appearances were minor, but her performances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve were well received. By 1953, Monroe had progressed to leading roles. She received a Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot (1959). In 1999, Monroe was ranked as the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute. In the years and decades following her death, Monroe has often been cited as a pop and cultural icon.

LIBRA September 24-October 22 You will be enthusiastic to fulfill your duties however, obstacles in communications is experienced. Holding off on important discussions, interviews, or contracts is probably wise right now, as thinking is foggy and misunderstandings are likely. It is also possible that your responsibility may get increased with new project. CAPRICORN December 23-January 20 Romantic inclinations are highlighted, as are any kind of celebratory, playful, and just-for-fun endeavours. You will be especially aware of your need for approval and feedback from others, deriving pleasure from the ways your own creativity impact the world around you.

SCORPIO October 23-November 22 This is the time when you may redefine the existing relations or may enter into a new one. If you find yourself sensitive to the feeling of lacking support from partners, this may be a good time to ask yourself how companionable you are, and work on developing yourself in this area of life.

SAGITTARIUS November 23-December 22 A smooth week ahead that makes you aware of your health or work schedules. It is possible that you may make changes in both of these areas of life to make your environment smoother than before. It is also a good time for analysis of any sort, as critical thinking is now at its peak.

AQUARIUS January 21-February 19 On a personal, developmental level, this is a time to not only listen to what is in your mind, but to forgive and forget. This is the time to explore and develop a sense of inner security. Activities of home and its surroundings will be highlighted. It’s an excellent time to come in touch with your feelings and needs.

PISCES February 20-March 20 It is time for learning something new, feeling at ease in social situations, taking care of the details of daily life, and developing a mental rapport with others. It is a time when you will be more aware of your environment, and when you experience increased alertness.

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By Praba Iyer Native Americans call it the food of the Gods that created the earth. Yes, corn has an important place in history. Its origin dates back to 5000 years and takes us to Mexico. Corn is high in vitamin B and a very good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, zinc and iron. It helps lower cholesterol and increases digestion. Fresh corn is popping up in all farmers markets and grocery stores. Corn on the cobb is the favoured snack for my boys. I roast the corn on the stove, for about five to seven minutes and brush it with butter and sprinkle salt and pepper. I make an Indian version with lime juice, cayenne and chaat masala for myself. Yum! Here are some corn recipes you might enjoy!

EGGLESS CORN BREAD Ingredients Corn meal -11/2 cups Unbleached flour-½ cup Baking powder-2 tsp Baking soda-½ tsp Fresh corn kernels-11/2 cup Red bell pepper-1/3 cup(chopped into small squares) Green chili-1 small (chopped fine) Cilantro-1/4 cup (chopped) Buttermilk-2 cups plus 1/3 cup water Oil-½ cup Salt-1 tsp Sugar-1 tsp

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

Method Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a bread pan with butter. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the corn, bell pepper, green chili, and cilantro and mix. Whisk the oil, buttermilk and water together in a separate bowl and then

add the dry ingredients to it. The mixture should be of cake batter consistency. Pour the batter into the bread pan and bake for an hour at 350 degrees. The corn bread is done when a tooth pick inserted to the middle comes out clean. Serve it with a dollop of crème fraiche.

BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA The colours and taste of this salsa are equally vibrant. Ingredients Black bean-1 (15 oz) can Fresh corn kernels-2 cups Vine ripe tomatoes-1(chopped into cubes) Red onion-1 (small, chopped fine)

Green onion-2 (chopped ) Cilantro -½ cup ( chopped fine) Jalapeno pepper-1 (small, seeded, chopped) Cumin powder-1 tsp Garlic clove-1 (chopped fine) Lime juice-2 Tbsp Salt -to taste

Pepper-to taste Method Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate for a few hours until the flavors blend. Enjoy!

Cilantro-1/3 cup (chopped fine) Green Onions-1 Tbsp (chopped fine) Salt -To taste Sugar-a pinch Water-½ - 1 cup Oil -For shallow frying Method Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and add fresh corn, shallots, red curry paste, cilantro and green onions and add water to make the consistency

of pancake batter. Heat a flat pan on medium flame and add a tbsp of oil and spread it all around. Place about four to five dollops of the batter on the hot pan and let the fritters cook for about one to two minutes on each side, or until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place it on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Serve warm with sour cream and chives.

CORN FRITTERS This appetiser is tasty and filling and can be whipped out in the last minute. Ingredients Corn meal -½ cup Unbleached flour-1 cup Baking soda-1 tsp Fresh corn kernels -1 cup Shallots-½ cup (chopped fine) Red curry paste-¼ tsp (Thai time brand)

Black & White 55


A Maizeing CORN

The queen of everyone’s heart Laila, Omani graduate student of Nizwa University

By Laila Ibrahim Obaid Al-Gharbi It is true mother...No one else can be what you have been to us. You are the queen of everyone’s heart. We all know that loving you is like food for our souls therefore, we cannot stop loving you. And we are all sure that paradise is under your feet. So, you deserve to be more than a queen in our hearts! I sincerely don’t think we need a single day to show you how much we love you and care about you. So, forgive me if I say that you are my queen every single day of my life. However, Mother’s Day (which was celebrated recently) is like every day to me and the only thing new is that all people over the world are celebrating this day for their mothers. So, I decided to say thanks to you in a special way. However, our true feelings are always in our hearts and we have real feelings for our mothers. And we pray to God to keep her (our mothers) beside us because she is the only person that the world seems impossible to do without. All of us think what we can do to be blessed by our mothers and there are thousands of answers to this question but there is only way to do it. That is to pray for her and never ever let her down. It is really hard to find enough words to say to a mother on such a special day. But it is not that much hard to give your heart space to say something that is true, like ‘I love you mom’. Always remember that although there are thousands of stars in the pretty sky and hundreds of lovely dewdrops to greet the dawn, we have only ONE MOTHER in this whole wide world. These lines are not enough to express my gratitude to my dear mother, who is indeed greater than mere words. This is just a short message to you sweet mom: I am very proud to be your angel and to belong to such a great woman. I am so thankful to God to live with you and be blessed enough to learn from you.

Learning curve

You are the open school of all the seasons for me. And you are the piece of diamond that I would never let go any day. You are my peaceful shelter every time I need one and you are the love I have inside my heart. My prayers are always for you, my sweet mother. Even when I get old, I will always remember that you are the one, “who ran to help me when I fell; and would some pretty story tell, or kiss the place to make it well. My Mother” (Anne Taylor).

56 May 21- June 20, 2011

It's my life

Luxuries… Bring it on Vandana, award winning author (‘360 Degrees Back to Life')

By Vandana Shah Recently I had a crash course in luxury. That too from a saint who had relinquished his extremely wealthy lifestyle to become a wandering saint from city to city with just a single piece of clothing and not a single possession in the world. So luxury and sainthood…hand in hand… SAINT IN GUCCI OR LOUIS VUITTON. He told me that he never has to look after anything in his life, because he has no possessions, he has no home, but has one house in practically every city in India, more than what Mukesh Ambani can boast of. These homes are well maintained and he does not have to worry about their maintenance; he does not have to even bother with their running efficiently, he eats only when hungry so no storage, to top it all, his devotees invite him home and each of them makes about seven to 10 dishes and he always have a feast of 40 to 50 dishes per meal to choose from. Wow! Again more than even what the richest can speak about. He never puts on weight because he walks everywhere, hence no diseases, he only wears white, which is always in vogue so he’s a fashionista, he sleeps at sundown so no need to leave a big carbon footprint. I heard this in amazement and wondered whether I was chasing a mirage, because he sure is on the right path and he doesn’t have a care in the world. He looks fresher and younger than me and is at peace with himself. So where am I going wrong? I think all of us know the answer we are running after things that are transitory and stuck in a vicious cycle of acquisition with little dispensation, our little worlds of meanness, hierarchy, bossing over the poor and we then get our comeuppance from someone who has a bigger better deal from someone more powerful. Look at ahem. Lalit Modi(where is he now?), Shashi Tharoor, the list is endless... But I hope we learn and move on to the real luxuries…the loin clothed saint had got it right.

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

Black & White 57

Why am I so

TIRED? The single biggest complaint doctors receive from female patients today is fatigue. If you are sleep deprived and having only around five or six hours a night, then, it is going to catch up with you, but if you are getting a healthy seven to eight hours a night and you’re still tired, then you need to go for a check up, local doctors say. If you feel symptoms of fatigue for more than two weeks, even if they are mild, get a blood test. Once you have ruled out critical concerns and anaemia, you can begin to make some positive lifestyle changes that can help reverse fatigue and give you your energy back. While occasionally fatigue may be a sign of a serious illness, experts say most often it’s caused by a minor problem, with a relatively easy fix. Let us quickly check if you are anaemic, or having an underactive thyroid etc:

shape n sound

ANAEMIA Doctors note that if you are in your reproductive years, and particularly if you experience heavy menstrual cycles, have fibroid tumors or uterine polyps, or if you’ve recently given birth, the blood loss may have caused you to develop anaemia -- a leading cause of fatigue in women. To confirm a diagnosis of anaemia, your physician will give you a blood test. Treatment, usually consists of iron supplements if iron deficiency is the cause, and adding iron-rich foods -- such as spinach, broccoli, and red meat -- to your diet. UNDERACTIVE THYROID (HYPOTHYROIDISM) If you are generally sluggish, run down, and even a little depressed, chances are that the problem may be a slow thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck and controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body operates. Blood tests known as T3 and T4 will detect thyroid hormones.

58 May 21- June 20, 2011

CAFFEINE OVERLOAD Many of us grab a coffee or cola for a quick burst of energy, but for some women, caffeine can have the opposite effect. Caffeine is a stimulant, but if you take too much, the tables can turn and continuous intake can result in fatigue. Quick steps to take: SLEEP There is nothing like a good night’s sleep in a dark room to regulate hormonal output, particularly melatonin. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night for sleep to have a restorative effect. And they must get enough deep (REM) sleep, which is compromised by sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. School-age children and teenagers need at least eight to ten hours of sleep.

EMOTIONS AND STRESS It is quite possible that your fatigue has both a physical and emotional component. Many of us have a constant stream of chatter going on in our heads — a kind of stress implant from our earliest years — that requires a great deal of subconscious energy to manage. Learning what your private litany is — be it chants of self-criticism, despair, anger, grief, shame or fear — may be the first step toward turning down its volume and reversing the spiral of fatigue. DIETARY HABITS Often the first thing missing in our high-paced lifestyle is good nutrition. Stress and adrenal fatigue can lead to binge eating and carb cravings. A body that is running on the stress hormone cortisol needs a readily available source of energy, so your brain sends out craving signals for substances like nicotine, caffeine or sugar that will head straight for the bloodstream. But these are only temporary reinforcements that eventually send your body crashing down, along with blood sugar and serotonin levels.

Black & White 59


OPEN LETTER to women By a man

Ladies, forgive me for saying this, but, don’t you think that you are always getting away with it? Most of the time you have it quite easy and I would say that it is the same when it comes to relationships. Why is it that only your heart bleeds? You think our hearts are any different? They don’t pump blood? God didn’t make our hearts? Some miserly mechanic made it? Sorry, no. I believe that our hearts are in no way different from yours. And, how can our own male tribe make this mistake of saying that only a woman’s heart can bleed? That is so biased, and if it were not only female writers writing this statement, I would have said: “So, like a woman!” I AGREE ON ONE FACTOR THOUGH: women are more likely to express themselves more in relationships than their male counterparts. But silent love is also love. Love burns in the heart of men, but we are not good at expressing ourselves, that is all. PILLARS OF SUPPORT It is worthy to understand that women go into relationships looking at the man as a pillar on which they could lean on. But, this may put in lot of stress in a man who now feels he has to be the ‘pillar’ no matter what, because that is the basis on which the relationship stands. Every man – macho or not – gets a high when a woman, especially his woman, runs to him for support. So this means that there 60 May 21- June 20, 2011

is a constant pressure on the man. But, imagine if men start showing similar emotion like women. What if we all start crying and weeping at the shortest notice? Would you (women) like it? I wouldn’t think so. HIDE FEELINGS So, we hide our feelings, pain and worries so that you can be comfortable. When you run to us with problems and expect us to solve all of them, have you ever paused for a moment and wondered whether if he is okay to delay with your problems. No! You want to be consoled, and you want consolation right now and you don’t care whether we are in the right frame of mind to deal with it.

Sorry. You don’t like to hear this, but you have got to: men are humane beings like you. Blood run in our veins. We feel pain; we get hurt and sometimes we feel insecure too. Yes, there are times when we also get scared. It doesn’t sound macho, but there you are. And that is when we are forced to do the silent act, well, not an act, but we go down the silent drain, quietly drowning our sorrows in whatever we know best to do and hoping we can sort of numb that pain. Tears don’t roll down our cheeks, but our hearts wring in untold agony. LOVE IS HERE And when you (women) hurt us, we

also hurt badly. Our heart weeps. But our tongue, unlike yours, is silent. We can’t articulate our pain like you do. You are an expert at that; we are duds at this, so we go into silence mode. Yes, that angers you. You go wild, because silence is insulting and you go on an anger campaign against us, blind to the fact that what we need is not criticism, complaints, comparisons…what we need is a bit of appreciation for the way we are. Listen, we are not perfect (and neither are you) and if you look at relationships like this, you will realise that the love you seek is already there. Waiting for you. Black & White 61

The fear of fear


By Priya Arunkumar Run, it’s a snake; he screamed and sprinted out in front. All of us ran for our lives. None of us have ever seen a snake, other than in a movie; it was a pitch dark and the path we took to flee, was much more dangerous than the snake itself! But, what the heck, my brother was leading the gang, though he never fancied any sports or games all his student life, we followed blindly! We reached home and while catching our breath, one of the cousins asked, how big a snake was it? No answer...! The one who called ‘tiger’, stammered and said pretty long, “it fell on me and was dangling on my shoulder, reaching my foot!” We thought he was brave, but as my dad came in, he told the staff to go up to the place and check out on the snake. We followed thrilled in anticipation of seeing a snake being caught live. It was an incident that happened during one of our short vacations we spend with dad during the summer break. My dad was posted at one of the remote railway stations and we joined him at his workplace during our holidays. Some four to five staff took up the search, with lights and weapons, but after a long one hour search we returned disappointed. No sign of any snake anywhere. The night we spend was filled with whispers of fear and thrill, all about a snake that was going to gobble us all up! My brother was bragging that he stamped on the snake and crushed it with his boots and we knew he was far away from truth and equally scared as well. We slept planning to wake up early and capture the snake alive the next morning. Dad did ask us to stay away from the railway tracks, but in broad sunlight, everything looked normal and safe. We searched around

till afternoon, and found out a black electrical cord in the tracks, which looked very similar to that of our music recorder. It took us a few minutes to retrace and come out with the right version. My brother had taken the music player, along with the electrical cord attached to it. He had the player hooked under his arm pit, with the wire dangling down behind. The wire hit his legs and in the eerie dark night scenario, panic caught up with him and his fear played games with his mind. He stamped the cord down and threw the player away and ran for his life. We were chattering away just behind him and heard only his scream! We followed suit. We laughed our vacation away. Till date we bully him on his snake episode… The only thing to fear is fear itself, he had said casually recently explaining to his kids… he fears for them now. Often we fear situations that are in no way life-or-death. When you are in deep sleep, a snake may glide close to you, but you are not afraid because you don’t know there is a snake beside you. On the other hand, when you are awake, the sight of even an electrical cord or a coiled piece of rope can fill you with fear, because you think that the rope is a snake. He laughs at it today, saying, fear, my dear is a fear! When you fear, you run, and he is quite a fearless man today. But in those childhood days he remained pretty mad. He sometimes believes it ‘could’ have been a snake. What is this fear of fear? The fear of the future, the fear of losing, the fear of performing, the fear of hurting, the fear of acquiring, the fear of establishing, the fear of future, the fear of old age, the fear of solitude, the fear of death… ? Life is going to be a very long run… Now, what do we do to get a mind without fear?

Black & White mag issue 32  

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