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JANUARY 2011 Vol 8 No 93 EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Salman Ibrahim Al Balushi GROUP EDITOR Mayank Singh DEPUTY EDITORS Rekha Baala Rana Alawneh ASSISTANT EDITOR Deepa Rajan


CORRESPONDENT Myssaa Said Al Hinai



Published by United Press & Publishing LLC A Renaissance Services Company

P.O. Box 3305, Ruwi, Postal Code 112, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Tel: 00 968 24700896 Fax: 00 968 24707939 e-mail: website:

OF TO-DO-LISTS AND NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS We recently read a book called ‘The To-Do-List’ by Mike Gayle. As the name suggests, it was all about the author’s to-do-list, albeit, 1,277 things long and how it became his life’s goal to accomplish it all in the span of a year. Funny, serious, surprising, shocking – Gayle’s account of how he accomplished what others thought impossible was also a lesson in belief, most importantly, selfbelief. It went on to prove that if you put your heart and mind into something, what you thought was the most ‘mundane’ task would turn out to be most fulfilling. It was heartening to note to how and what lengths Gayle went to, to ‘tick off’ the items in his list, even crossing the Atlantic to find a $12 coffee mug to complete his wife’s collection. We at Team Al Mar’a too make diligent ‘to-do’ lists every month. Of stories waiting to be told, of people whose voices need to be heard and how we need to go beyond the printed word and revel in the shades of being a woman. It helps us focus on the things we need to do and how best it can be done. But reading this book made us think of a to-do-list of simple things in life that would mean a lot not only to ourselves but to those around us. It’s what you and I can do, if we put our minds to it. And why do we need to do it? Because life is beautiful and we need to savour every moment of it! You can get off to a happy start with these small things… • Smile – As the saying goes, it makes the world go round and round. • Laugh. As Mark Twain says, “The human race has only one effective weapon and that is laughter.” • Learn a new language. It makes people closer than ever before. • Volunteer at a charitable organisation. Make the lesser privileged happy. • Learn a musical instrument. Music keeps your heart light and keeps depression away. • Travel – it widens your horizons • Tell your parents how much you love them and make that a regular habit. You can add to the list and watch life become more meaningful. Add it to the New Year Resolutions from our experts and 2011 is all about a whole new YOU! We’ll see you next month, until then, stay cool people!

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express permission of the publishers. Copyright © 2011 United Press & Publishing LLC Printed in the Sultanate of Oman at Oman Printers & Stationers

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NEW YEAR SPECIAL – RESOLUTIONS GALORE 18 Anuya P. tells you how you can bring more meaning into your relationships.

20 How can you strive to be a better parent? Dr. Maha Al Ani outlines some important tips.

22 Believe in yourself and believe you are the best, says Dr. Prema Seshadri.

24 Health should be one of your top priorities, says Dr. David Saxton.

26 Sunbul Kazmi lists some top ‘money’ tips for 2011.



33 Women in Oman are exploring new vistas when it comes to careers. profiles three women from Oman Air, who are flying high on the Al Mar’a pro wings of success...

GOOD THINGS The coolest bags, scarves and boots of the season...

44 The Beauty Therapist course at NHI is a passport to an exciting career in the world of beauty.



Travel Green – presenting senting the hottest ‘green’ destinations of the world!

Al Mar’a goes for a spin in the Wiesmann Roadster MF4-S and is impressed by its power, performance dynamics. and dynam





From Broadway to prime time television, Lea Michele is the hottest star on television...



Renowned designer Nawal Al Hooti on her foray into the fashion world and why Omani tradition continues to be her inspiration...

Muna Al Hosni, senior manager, Marketing at Al Maha Petroleum Products Marketing Company on her success strategies...


Christmas delights from Cafe Barbera.


If you love authentic Thai food, d then you must simply check out Meji’s Aroy Thai, the new Thai restaurant in town...




A Q&A session with Dr Smita Lulla, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist.


Your Say Life, etc Stargazing News, etc




Simple Lebanese nese recipes from Al Hamra Restaurant.

Salma Khan of SK Fashion House made a splash at tthe Al Mar’a Festival 2010.


Check out th the hottest collections from top brands aat Fashion Avenue, Muscat City Centre.

58 BEAUTY ZONE The beauty check-list.



your say

Hey, Al Mar’a! Thanks soooooo much for the feature on Vanessa Hudgens! I really love her. Unlike some other young stars out there today, Vanessa has her feet firmly planted on the ground. She’s also got a great sense of style and my outfits are mostly inspired by hers. She always looks perfect! I also really liked your ‘Flash Back’ feature on the best movies, books and music of the year (the book list also helped me pick some good reads for the holidays). Thanks, once again! You guys are awesome! Rini Sen Al Khuwair

us.On a different note, I enjoyed reading ‘Cubic Expressions’ very much. I could actually relate to it and Gosling’s analysis was pretty much spot on. I think people should find a balance between functionality and personal expression. I mean, no one wants to see your entire family tree every time they pass by your cubicle. Also, kudos to Dr. Nada Al Ajmi for dishing out some great advice. Her straightforward, no nonsense writing really hits home. I could go on and on about how marvellous your magazine is, but I’m going to stop here. Simone Thompson Ghubra




Once again, Al Mar’a has come out with a fabulous issue. I really enjoyed reading the interview with Her Highness Sayyidah Hujaija bint Jaifer bin Saif Al Said. Every issue I look forward to such inspiring stories from women. For instance, I was supremely pleased with myself to find out that I had read all the interviews that you talked about in your special ‘Flash Back’ feature. Best of luck for 2011 and continue bring us such great stories! Good luck! Rahima Al Riyami Qurum


Address your letters to: The Editor, Al Mar’a, United Media Services, P.O. Box: 3305, PC 112, Ruwi, Sultanate of Oman or fax us at 24707939 or e-mail us at



As a working woman, I find it really hard to do something special for the festive season. This time however, I do have some time on my hands and although I’m not a master-chef, I do get by in the kitchen. This year, thanks to Al Mar’a I decided to try out the ‘Dark Christmas’ cake that I saw in your cuisine section. Since it was my first attempt at something so ‘extravagant’ I decided to try out a mini one a week before the actual party and it was big hit! So I’m really looking forward to trying it out for Christmas. Thanks for sharing this recipe with

I must compliment the Al Mar’a team on the wonderful job you are doing with the magazine. I get one of the best reviews about music, movies and books! The fashion columns are great as well and thanks you guys, I know where to look for some of the nicest clothes and accessories. In fact, the first thing I do when I open the magazine is go through the ‘Splurge’ and ‘Trends’ pages. I love the recipes too and my mom and I have given quite a few of them a try. Being a teen who gets all her celeb-info the old fashioned way (i.e. from magazines) I thoroughly enjoy reading the stories on the Stars. The Vanessa Hudgens story was so great! I really like the fact that you not only highlight their success, but also their path to success. Sometimes people forget how much hard work they have had to put in to reach where they are today. Life isn’t rosy for them either. Keep doing what you’re doing! Titash Chakraborty Qurum

(The winner of last month’s The Body Shop contest is Soumini Keshav.)






WHAT A SHOW! The spotlight was on the Motor Show held last month. We were there and enjoyed every moment of the excitement! We went ga-ga over the Mazda stall that proudly displayed its metal marvels - from the legendary MX-5, to the uber cool Mazda6, the luxuriously spacious CX-7 to the zippy Mazda2. Another bonus was the fact that during the Motor Show, TAC launched an absolutely irresistible offer. All you had to do was book any Mazda car and get Blackberry phones, iPods, Ray-Ban sunglasses and Centrepoint gift vouchers. The package varied with the model you chose. It included lifestyle products worth up to Rials 300 free with every Mazda and was a special offer designed to cater to the needs of the visitors. Great cars and hot gifts… A real cool combo!

DOUBLE THE FUN We’re sure you must have heard of the GMC Yukon and the Yukon Denali? They feature distinctive styling and spacious, refined interiors. Along with the cars’ exceptional driving characteristics and advanced technology, Yukon offers unmatched power, space, comfort and capability that have helped it carve a niche for itself in the big size SUV segment. The powertrains include the standard 5300 cc, V8 SFI engine with Active Fuel Management and an optional 6200 cc V8 SFI unit with Variable Valve Timing. Coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission as standard, the new power units add extra efficiency to an already comprehensive package of performance, safety and comfort. Want to know more? Book a test drive today!


HOT WHEELS It’s all-new, spacious, comfortable, safe and better equipped than ever, and now the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been crowned as ‘Family Car of the Year 2010’ by Car Middle East magazine. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee took top honours in its class, selected as the winner by a panel of five judges for its great performance, safety features and dynamic handling and practicality as a family car. This is the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s first regional award and it comes just a little over a month since it was launched. It is the latest in a list of awards the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has recently captured.



Luxury now has a new address! Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, the sole importers of all Infiniti luxury cars into Oman, celebrated the launch of the first Infiniti exclusive showroom in the Sultanate. Located in Qurum, it’s built on the Infiniti Retail Environment Design Initiative (IREDI) platform, Infiniti’s unified global standard. Coinciding with the launch of the new showroom, Infiniti unveiled the redesigned “M” range – the all-new M37 sedan in addition to the M56. The full line-up consisting of Infiniti G Sedan, G37 Coupe, FX, EX & QX, the full size SUV will be on display at the Infiniti Showroom. The new showroom design has features forms that are energetic and modern with an accent on natural materials and open lighting. The layout provides a dramatic reveal of the Infiniti vehicles and highly convenient functional areas.





FUELLING GROWTH Celebrations are still on! To coincide with Oman’s 40th National Day, Shell Oman has opened two new service stations taking the total Shell network in Oman from 140 to 142. The 141st Shell Station in Oman, located at 18th November Street in North Azaiba, was inaugurated by H.E. Engineer Ahmed Bin Hassan Al Dheeb, Undersecretary of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, in presence of His Highness Sayyid Shihab Bin Tariq Al Said and Adil Bin Ismail Al Raisi, Managing Director of Shell Oman Marketing Company SAOG. The 142nd Shell service station at Diba in Musandam Region was formally opened by H.E. Sheikh Mohanna bin Saif bin Salem Al Lamki, Deputy Wali of Diba in the presence of a large number of invitees. These stations feature the latest stateof-the art fuelling technology with automated inventory systems associated with customers’ convenience, quality and Shell quality of service.

HOT ADDRESS BankMuscat now has a new and swankier address. The new headquarters at Airport Heights, Seeb is a true expression of Omani traditions meeting modernity in beautiful harmony. A signature building not only in Oman but in the region, it represents the cultural identity of Oman and the global vision of BankMuscat. It was inaugurated last month under the auspices of H.E. Lt. General Sultan bin Mohammed Al Numaani, Secretary-General of the Royal Court Affairs. The occasion marks a milestone, highlighting the 28-year progress and achievements of the leading financial services provider in the Sultanate. The grand inauguration marks the culmination of the year-long ‘Oman Celebrates’ campaign launched by the Bank in commemoration of the 40th Renaissance anniversary. Now, that’s really a cool office to work in!



Did you know that Nawras has launched a new iPhone app? MyNawras is an exclusive and highly convenient self-care facility available to all Nawras customers. After registering for the service, customers can view their bills and prepaid balance as well as check their usage history for calls, SMS and value added services, all with complete confidence and security. This trendsetting iPhone app also enables customers to report a lost SIM-card in a quick and easy way. To start enjoying the new service today, customers can visit the Apple Store, search for Nawras and download the MyNawras app for free. Simple and easy, isn’t it?

Water is the elixir of life. We all know that. But water is also a dwindling resource and efforts have to be taken to mitigate the negative effects associated with lack of adequate water resources in the world. Roca, the leading global bathroom brand and the world largest bathroom solutions provider launched the We Are Water (WAW) initiative in Beirut that aims to also raise overall awareness and motivate people to donate funds to be used in the implementation of cooperation projects. Speaking at the event, Victor Schoone, Country Manager, Middle East, Roca, offered a comprehensive presentation about WAW. H also confirmed that the “We Are Water initiative is part of Roca’s commitment to sustainability and towards the communities most affected by the lack of water and its consequences.” He added: “WE aim to become a referent in the management of environmental issues and sustainable development, especially in everything related to water. “A powerful initiative, we must say!




KITCHEN HELPER The key to pulling off a successful lunch or dinner is all in the timing and preparation. With your Samsung HM10 Side By Side Refrigerator, you can rustle up dazzling dishes ahead of time and store them for when it comes to cooking or eating. The Twin Cooling System controls cool air for both the fridge and freezer, and because airflow between the two compartments stays separate, the freezer air stays drier while the fridge’s moisture level helps fruits and vegetables stay fresh longer. The Push and Catch beverage feature allows you and your guests to grab drinks from the refrigerator door without the need to open it. Slightly push the door ajar and grab any drink from inside. The HM10’s adjustable drawer allows you to prepare mouthwatering appetizer trays well ahead of time, and then store them in the fridge until the big day. Cool features, eh?

Gear up girls, for starting this January 10, every Monday is going to be about you at the ‘Zouk Girls Night’. All you pretty girls (above 21 of course!) coming to Zouk will get free beverages. The ‘Zouk Girls Night’, which will begin every Monday from 8pm onwards, is starting with a bang with Fashion Nights, which promises to bring the fashionista out in you and make her sizzle on the ramp. So how does this work? You dress in your ‘catwalk’ finest and turn up at Zouk to walk the ramp. From all the girls who walk the ramp, eight will be short-listed for the first two-three Mondays by a prominent jury and they will move into the semifinal rounds. Twenty participants will be selected for the grand finale that will be held on Valentine’s Day. The winner will be given the title, ‘Ms Zouk’ and a further 12 will be selected to feature in the Zouk Calendar 2011. The girls will also be given a thorough grounding in fashion, walking on the ramp and make-up by CB Modelling Agency before the grand finale. Here’s a look at what’s in store. • Winners of the fashion contests can expect some really cool prizes. • If you have a flair for music, painting, dancing or any musical instrument, write to us and we’ll give you an opportunity to showcase your talents on the ‘Zouk Girls Night’. • Apart from dedicated fashion evenings, you can be part of fun activities that will be organised every Monday. • Entry to the event and to Zouk is strictly restricted to those above 21 years of age. • Entry is open only to single girls and couples at Zouk. • For more details write to

is a media partner of the event

SHAPE UP This one is for you moms, because you are truly special! VLCC has launched ‘MOMZ’ a special slimming treatment for mothers. ‘VLCC MOMZ’ treatments, assure mothers of all ages, and at all stages that regaining the ‘pre-pregnancy shape’ is always possible. This treatment can be taken by mothers, at any time, irrespective of the number of years after their delivery. MOMZ slimming treatments combine slimming, body shaping, body contouring and toning services with innovative technologies like Ultra Cavitation & Radio Frequency. Any time is the best time when it comes to losing weight, so sign up, right now!







BUON APPETITO The fine dining scene in Muscat is about to change. And how! BiCE, the Italian Restaurant Chain is all set to tickle the taste buds of food connoisseurs at the Opera Mall Muscat. Brought to Oman by Khimji Ramdas, BiCE will depict the true essence of Italian dining experience. Here’s a little info on BiCE… The network of BiCE restaurants spanning the world today began in 1926 in Milan, Italy. BiCE is found in the fashion and tourist capitals in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. With a skillful mix of traditional and newer trends in Italian cuisine, BiCE Restaurants are a reflection of extraordinary hospitality, warmth and great cooking.

FRENCH CONNECTION This is good news indeed! Oman Marketing Co. LLC opened its sprawling new Gautier Sales Outlet in Ruwi last month. The expansive new Gautier outlet boasts of some of the widest and the finest ensemble of quality designer furniture catering to a vast array of customers. The Gautier home furniture range covers the entire spectrum of living spaces including Bedrooms, Living Rooms, Junior Bedrooms and Nursery, Dining spaces, Storage units and other furniture accessories. A wide selection of design options is available under each category to meet and complement the user’s specific tastes and personal lifestyle preferences. All the products are made in France backed by skilled French designing and workmanship.

GREEN LIVING With its tropical climate and signature Khareef season when the region is swathed in rich green, Salalah is definitely the place to be! Now, Iskan Oman gives you another reason to have a permanent ‘attachment’ to Salalah. It has launched Zahrat Al Khareef, a gated community project, offering freehold ownership for Omani and GCC citizens, the first of its kind and the largest property development to date in Salalah. Construction commenced in April this year, with the first phase of the development scheduled for completion by the end of 2011. The third floor slab work for block two and the second floor slab for block one A has already been completed. Zahrat Al Khareef, Dhofar has been designed to harmoniously blend with the environment, complementing the surroundings that attract thousands of visitors each year to witness the subtropical lushness in the summer season.



CARE AND SHARE What a wonderful concept! Nando’s, the world renowned South African flame grilling Peri-Peri chicken restaurant, has launched a new value-adding dining concept entitled ‘Sharing Meals’ at all 29 destinations across the world, including Oman. These new meals have been especially designed to share between friends, family and colleagues. Under the theme ‘Every Bite Unites’, three different meals have been created that are completely unique to Nando’s: a meal for two, four, and six. Nando’s Sharing Meals is a fun dining concept that aims at bringing family and friends together to enjoy special combinations of their favorite flame grilled Afro-Portuguese appetisers and dishes.To celebrate the new concept, and as a tribute to Oman’s recent 40th National Day, Nando’s also organised a ‘One Table’ event for 40 of valued customers.


SOLE EFFECT The Clarks Women’s Collection Autumn Winter 2010 makes you look great, and feel on top of the world. The shoemaker’s art, perfected over time reflects a passion for quality and an eye for style. Truly a collection like no other! Here are some distinctive styles of the season.










The Muscat Private Hospital is celebrating 10 years as Oman’s leading private medical facility, and looks set to continue this high standard of care, since announcing plans to open seven new departments in the next 12 months. The 72-bed premier private hospital will be entering a new era by expanding its in-patient and outpatient facilities to offer an even higher level of care to the population of the Sultanate. A brand new sports injury clinic is set to open along with an expanded heart centre, breast centre, and weight loss services. While expansion plans for its emergency room and surgical services facilities as well as the opening a new Out Patients Department building on the Hospital campus, looks likely to happen during 2011. Great going!

At the 6th Annual Workshop on Good Pharmacy Practice for pharmacists working in the Private Sector in Oman, conducted by the Ministry of Health, Muscat Pharmacy won awards in three categories. These included the Best Pharmacy, Best Pharmacists and Best Assistant Pharmacist. Bilad Bu Ali Branch won the Best Pharmacy award, Jaideep Mahajan of Muttrah Souq branch won the Best Pharmacist award and Widad Salim Said Al Rasbi won the Best Assistant Pharmacist award. A remarkable achievement indeed!

WORLD OF COLOURS Jotun Paints, has announced the launch of its second Inspiration Centre in Oman, located on a 225sq m area in Mabella Sanaya. Jotun is the first to bring in the concept of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) in the Middle East. The Inspiration Centre primarily targets villa and house owners who are looking for ideas to spark their imagination. Customers will have personalised attention from highly qualified and friendly personnel, who will help them choose the most suitable colour, texture and pattern for their paint jobs, and take them through the latest interior trends and effects. Great idea!



GIVING BACK You gotta hear this! National Bank of Oman (NBO) is supporting the launch of the first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project in Oman. Titled ‘Sustain Oman’, the event is being organised for AIESEC members, from different parts of the Arab World, including Oman. AIESEC is the world’s largest student-run organisation currently present in 110 countries. The event will see a panel of high profile speakers discuss and define CSR in Oman and document a formal paper on the same. Additionally, 20 Omani AIESEC students will be sponsored, to work in CSR related subjects, outside the Sultanate of Oman. Two of the students will also intern at National Bank of Oman, after they complete their internships outside the country. This is CSR at its best, we must say!

WELL DONE! Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, was awarded the ‘Technology Implementation of the Year’ category at the prestigious 4th Annual Aviation Business Awards 2010. The award recognised Oman Air’s pioneering introduction of in-flight mobile phone and Wi-Fi connectivity, which utilises the Airbus ALNA V2 system and Honeywell’s SwiftBroadband (SBB) solution, via OnAir and Inmarsat. Organised by publisher ITP Business, the award has established itself as the ultimate celebration of achievements within the Middle East aerospace industry over the past 12 months.



On Relationships This New Year, it’s ‘I’ less and ‘We’ more And together, we shall open many a door To happiness, joy and fun-filled times Of sharing and caring till our primes. On Parenting This New Year, we’ll be there For our kids, to care and to share Times of joy and times of tears And be with them in the best of years. On Well-Being This New Year, we’ll feel good And believe in the best, touch wood! Life is good, and we know it And there’s no other way we’d want it. On Health This New Year, we’ll eat smart, More veggies, fruits and less tart, To be fit is to be healthy and fine, So soon, it will be exercise time. On Money This New Year, we’ll spend wise And cut down wants to size What we really want is what we’ll buy More savings is what we’re gonna try. By Rekha Baala

Happy New Year!


RELATIONSHIPS elationships are like an investment. The more you put in, the more you get back. To make your relationship strong and healthy, you should have the willingness to commit, adapt and grow for it. Sometimes we wish relationships could be frozen in time, but unfortunately it keeps evolving as time goes by, be they parent-child, married couples, friends or boss and employee. The reason being, we as humans keep evolving and changing. This New Year, add new dimensions to your relationships by following these simple steps.

Keep expectations realistic Every person is unique with his or her qualities and shortcomings. No one can be everything we might want them to be. Learn to accept people as they are. Own up the responsibility to make yourself happy and work on your anger problems. Don’t expect your significant others to do it for you. Work

on improving your own interpersonal skills. Learn to break your common bad habits. Stop blaming, labelling, judging and trying to change others in your life. Remember that we are the masters of our own feelings and thoughts.

Control your anger Emotions play a very powerful role in all relationships. Emotions are ‘the adhesive’ that connect people to one another. They are the foundation of your ability to understand yourself and relate to others. Recognise your negative emotions which are damaging the relationship. Are you an angry person? Are you whiny? Do you feel sad all the time? Or anxious? Learn to manage your own negative intense emotions. Don’t make people in your life your punching bags. When you are aware and in control of your emotions, you can think clearly and creatively; manage stress and challenges; communicate well with others; and display trust, empathy, and confidence. But if you lose control of your emotions, you’ll spin into confusion, isolation, and doubt. By learning to recognise, manage, and deal

It’s all


‘US’ This New Year, bring more meaning to your relationships by working on them… Psychotherapist Anuya P. tells you how… 18


with your emotions, you’ll enjoy greater happiness in your relationships.

Learn to connect Even on the busiest of days you can find a few minutes to talk about day-to-day happenings and share your inner thoughts and feelings with significant others. Notice one important thing and compliment them every day, “You haven’t worn that shirt for a while, it looks good on you.” What’s crucial is that you sneak in this one-on-one talk almost every day, even if it’s when you’re lying in bed or driving somewhere. Don’t wait till the weekend to connect. What you’re really doing is reminding each other every day; the other person means something to you. Those five minutes feel like 24 hours.

Foster self-esteem Foster self-respect and self-worth in your significant others. Show conviction in their decisions and ideas. These are prerequisites to make your relationships stronger. Respect the fact that your partner, children, friends or colleagues are individual beings. Correct the behaviour, not the person.

Clarity of communication is important when using corrective language in order to separate the behaviour from the person. Write down what you would say, let it sit a while, and then reword it to make it carry less criticism or negative connotations. If your loved ones feel you criticise them often, you will get avoidance and defensiveness in response. So appreciate the smallest of their achievements.

Humour is the key to resilience Most situations are not as miserable as they appear to be when looked at from a playful and humorous point of view. You need not always have serious discussions in your relationship. Using gentle humour often helps you broach sensitive subjects, resolve disagreements, and reframe problems. It helps you take hardships and bounce back from adversity and loss. Laughter relieves fatigue and relaxes your body, while at the same time recharging your batteries and helping you accomplish more. It loosens you up, energising thinking and inspiring creative problem solving.

Learn how to resolve conflict Most relationships have some conflict. If you have a difference of opinion about something, it doesn’t mean you don’t like or love each other. When you or your significant other is very angry or tired, avoid having difficult conversations. Ask them, “When is a good time to discuss this issue”? Respect each other’s space and time. Negotiate different possibilities till you reach a solution which is comfortable for each other. While discussing open sensitive conversations with ‘I’ statements; talk about how you struggle with the problem. Don’t open with ‘you’ statements; avoid blaming the other person for your thoughts and feelings. Healthy relationships don’t include blame. Say, ‘I’m sorry’ when you’re wrong. Healthy relationships can admit mistakes.

areas. It is not necessary that both will have same pace in growth, but don’t be competitive, do not try to hold each other back in life. When our significant others grow, our relationship grows along. You can be emotionally dependent on each other but not to an extent that when you are not there your significant other feels paralysed and vice versa.

Don’t hold grudges This New Year give up all the grudges that you have collected over the years. Start afresh. When you hold grudges, they drain your energy and damage the relationship. Often in fights, people bring up past events of hurt, “Three years back, you had hurt me in front of your friends.” Bringing up the past never helps resolve present conflict. It keeps you stuck in the past hurt and doesn’t allow your relationship to evolve and grow.

Bring in independence

Be a leader this year

Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in the shade. Focus on self growth in all areas of life; job, friends, social responsibilities and your hobbies. Also motivate your partner to grow in these

It is not necessary that your significant other has to always be the strong support in the relationship. You can learn to be more responsible, to be a leader. Start with making small everyday decisions. Don’t ask everything to your partner. When they need someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, are you strong enough to just listen? If you have not been contributing financially then try to substitute it with something helpful. Develop the maturity to be emotional or financially supportive for others too.

Achieve maturity in your relationships Maturity in relationships is achieved when both the parties learn to communicate to each other respectfully. Forgiveness is a powerful and important factor in taking relationships to a mature level. Real forgiveness also means that we are willing to forget the experience. When we make mistakes, just consider how much we would appreciate others forgiving and forgetting. Time is also an important factor to develop maturity in a relationship. So give time to let each other grow and let the wounds heal.

(Anuya. P is a qualified psychotherapist and runs Healthy Minds, a Psychological Affairs Clinic for Counseling and Psychotherapy. You can contact her at healthymindsclinic@ or call on 99350547)

A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best supports in your life. So this year make a resolution to improve your life in all aspects, strengthening your health, your mind and your connections with others as well. ■






First There’s no time than the beginning of the New Year to look at things in a different light. This New Year, resolve to put in more effort into ‘parenting’. Psychologist Dr. Maha Abdul Majeed Al Ani outlines some realistic resolutions…

arenting is no easy task. Ask any parent! But no one is asking you to be the perfect parent. You can resolve to be good and better parents, and therefore positive role models for your children. Here are a few tips that will help you along the journey…

Be physical There’s nothing like hugging your children and being close to them all the time. Simple actions like holding hands and patting them on the back will lead to wonderful results. Your children will not only feel safe and secure but it will hold them in good stead in the future and bring in a strong element of positivity in their personalities.

outbursts will be less and the reactions different than what you will expect in normal circumstances.

Be a role model Parents are the best role models for their children. Child psychologists say that if you smoke, swear or are short-tempered, your children are most likely to imbibe this kind of behaviour in later life. So if you want your children to be good, try and be good yourself. Start by keeping your temper in check, not making insensitive comments about other people and teaching your children to handle frustration. It’s simple, ‘If you don’t want your children to repeat it, don’t let them hear you say it!’

Identify potentials

Don’t say ‘don’t’

Recognise good behaviour

As parents, we tend to use the words ‘no’ and ‘don’t’ all the time. Think twice before using them. Instead, you could throw the ball into their court and ask them, “Do you think that’s a good idea?” or even something on the lines of “Do your homework right now and then we’ll think of that video game later!” The

Recognition of a simple achievement of the child acts like magic and encourages him to do more. It also enhances his selfconfidence and provides him with a sense of social acceptance. Pay attention to good behaviour everyday and praise them for it! Emphasising the positives will reduce negatives to a large degree.



Each child is different and needs to be treated differently. Comparison between children is not a healthy way to parenting. Identify your child’s potential and make optimum use of leisure time. You could do this by spending some quality time with them, understanding their needs, recognising their talents and encouraging them in whatever they wish to do. Spend time together as a family so that a healthy bond is fostered.

Encourage physical activity Physical activity releases pent-up energy, so encourage your children to be sporty. Involve yourself in the activities too! Make this as part of the ‘quality time’ you need to spend with your children. Go on a walk, throw some basketball hoops, play some badminton or simply play ball! You’ll have some fun and lose weight in the process too!

Laugh a lot

Eat healthy

Laughter is the best medicine is not just a cliché. It’s a way of life. The family that laughs together stays together. Share some fun-filled moments with your children. Laugh when guilt happens. At times, try to be less of an adult and find the ‘silly’ in situations. Take the time to stop and laugh and think of what’s coming later. Remember, laughter makes you feel young and look young too!

Child obesity is an alarming problem worldwide. Encourage your children to eat healthy. Cut down on junk food intake and pack healthy lunch boxes to school. You could go a step further and involve them in the cooking process. This will not only make them feel important but they will thank you for it when they grow older. ■





Believe not just in yourself, but believe you are the best. Nothing can give you a stronger sense of wellbeing this New Year, says writer, psychologist and entrepreneur Dr. Prema Seshadri.




ver since I can remember, I have made many, many, and often the same resolutions at the beginning of every year. And invariably the resolutions are made from a space of regret or guilt. Most people must have experienced what I have: like, I promise to go on a diet only when my belly is more than full! And when I make that promise while watching a fitness programme on television, I feel particularly devastated. No wonder the promise is all forgotten the moment the belly feels a little hollow! Leaving aside those long tedious scientific explanations about the body’s tendency to sense a need and sending signals to the brain and so forth, the bottom line is the mind is one tricky little devil. It plays games at the nearest opportunity and if the opportunity does not present itself, it is crafty enough to create the situation for fulfillment. Now, if we were to learn the trick of just twisting that very same craftiness to benefit our actual self – the self that wishes us to make intelligent choices – we would have plenty of reasons to celebrate, and celebrate healthily! Here is something that, I find, works well: • Don’t feel compelled to make New Year resolutions! Most of these resolutions are made in moments of acute desperation that disappear as quickly as they appear. Since there is no consistency in the occurrence and intensity of desperations, resolutions also tend to become fickle and inconsistent.

sense of well-being than feeling a strong spine support you. That spine is yours and your strength comes from there. • Dig in deep and find all those dreams that you have wrapped up and locked away in the years gone. They haven’t left you. They are still there waiting to be realised. Its never too late. Remember these dreams are what are waiting to make you. And when these are realised they will become the actual you. Bring them out and blow life into them. • Life is short and life is unpredictable. Don’t waste a moment of it. There are plenty of opportunities waiting at your doorstep. Open your door and see them. And welcome them in. Utilise them and there will be no place for regrets in your life. Keep your thirst for learning alive. Be interesting and vibrant. Nothing is more appealing than a well-informed and interesting woman. • Let fitness rule your life! If we are to lead a life of purpose and fulfillment, we need to be fit. Be realistic in the fitness goals that you set for yourself. There is nothing like a brisk walk every day to keep the heart ticking well, and feel a sense of accomplishment. Add to it a cup of green tea and your day will feel blessed.

• However, there is one resolution that we can make: that is to make resolutions throughout the year. It takes away the anguish of not being able to adhere to year-long resolutions.

• Eat right. Women carry a lot more on their shoulders than men do. Their responsibilities are more complex and the rewards not palpable. The resulting frustration and fatigue can make women indulge in unhealthy eating habits. And we cannot afford that luxury for the simple reason that we are needed the most in society! So, we need to take care of ourselves. Eat well and eat healthy.

• My female brethren out there, believe not just in yourselves, but believe that you are the best! Nothing can give you a better

• Take care of your mind. This is by far the most crucial. The body can be taken care of by others and a roof too can be provided

by others. But when it comes to the mind, there is nobody who can take care of it except we ourselves. So, protect your mind at all costs. Make sure you are given the respect that you deserve. Make sure you are valued and treasured. Because you are truly worth it! • Explore and find new ways to make your mind and body healthy. Incorporate yoga and meditation into your life. Few minutes of yoga stretches everyday will keep the body machinery working to its optimum efficiency and keep your energy levels high. Relaxation with eyes closed and switching off the busy mind for a while will rejuvenate you to go that extra mile. • Expand your world. Open your heart and mind and bring more people into your circle of influence. Touch the hearts of people by serving them unconditionally. Make this a purpose in your life. Nothing can bring greater contentment than sharing your joy, time, and energy with others and better another’s life. Live life fully, live life joyously, and live life enthusiastically. Give plenty of love, take plenty of love and live with a sense of abundance. After all, abundance has a tendency of grow. Have an abundant and wonderful 2011. ■





The Art of

GOOD HEALTH The path to good health is not always an easy one... But it goes without saying that health should be one of the top priorities in your life. Dr. David Saxton, Medical Director, Muscat Private Hospital presents some New Year Resolutions that will take you on that path.

he end of 2010 brings an opportunity to take stock and look back at our performance and our lives in general. Many of us make New Year resolutions some we keep, some we forget... Below are resolutions you can make that will impact positively on your health and ultimately the lives of your family too.

Stop smoking As a smoker, the risk of developing heart and vascular disease and many cancers is increased several-fold. Existing lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema are significantly worsened. Insurance companies as a result will charge much higher premiums or even decline insurance coverage in some cases. As a smoker you will also increase the level of passive smoking to those close to you (relatives, friends, work colleagues), and increase their risk of smoking associated illnesses.

Use less salt in your food High salt intake is associated with raised blood pressure with the potential for strokes and heart attacks. Most foods taste delicious without having to add salt.

Drink less caffeine (or stop it altogether) Most of us love to take coffee – it is a good opportunity to meet with family and friends. Many soft drinks also contain caffeine though we are sometimes



unaware. The stimulant effects of caffeine are well known and if taken in excess caffeine can lead to heart irregularities and even collapse in rare circumstances. Many people at least notice disturbed sleep patterns. Why not limit yourself to one cup per day? Or even better, look for caffeine-free alternatives.

internet. We have neglected our bodies which, like well oiled machines need to be actively utilised to maintain strength and efficiency. Being active also improves mental agility and concentration. Research suggests that as little as 30 minutes exercise per day is all we need. We do not have to resort to competitive sports but merely take a lively walk for example. Swimming is also an excellent form of exercise. Together with a good varied diet, a program of regular exercise will stave off the spectre of obesity related illness, as well as improving energy levels and giving an inner feeling of wellbeing.

Reduce the stress in your life Improve your overall diet Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in some countries and could be regarded as the health hazard of the modern age. It is responsible for the rising incidence in diabetes and heart disease amongst others. Improving your diet to include the full spectrum of foodstuffs and at the same time controlling calorie intake will go a long way to addressing this problem. You should limit the amount of fat in your diet and increase the proportions of fruit and vegetables. A healthy varied diet will also reduce the risk of developing other diseases and some cancers.

Drink plenty of water It is a well known fact that good hydration means healthy skin and normalised body functions. It is particularly important in hot regions such as ours. A regular intake of two litres a day is advisable and more if you are outdoors for long periods of time or after vigorous exercise.

Take regular exercise Gradually over the years we have become less and less active, spending more and more time watching TV, playing computer games and surfing the

We live in a very stressful environment, with more and more demands being made of us in the workplace. To counter this and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases as well as anxiety and depressive states, we should look at simple things like spending more time with our families, planning and protecting time for rest and relaxation. We can even learn techniques for stress management such as meditation, Tai Chi and Yoga.

Be sure to have your PAP test if it is due Nobody likes to have this test done – it can still be embarrassing and uncomfortable no matter how many you have had it in the past, nor how expert the doctor or nurse is at taking the sample. Sometimes we forget because most screening programs suggest the test between every two to three years. It is of course an important, simple, inexpensive screen for

abnormalities of the cervix, some of which may progress to cancer over the years. So, even if your PAP test is not due in 2011, jot down in your diary the due date, to be carried over to the next year.

Do regular breast checks We have become increasingly aware that breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women. Screening programmes have been introduced using imaging techniques such as mammography ultrasound and more recently MRI. However, the simplest screening test that a woman can do is regular self-examination. The best time is after a period. You should look for changes in the appearance of the breasts and the presence of any lumps, or discharge from the nipples. Most lumps are harmless but if you find a swelling then this will prompt a visit to your doctor to get a further check. Your doctor can provide more information and a demonstration on the best way to do your checks.

See your doctor The final resolution is to see your doctor for a general check up, particularly if you are over 40 at which point a number of silent, underlying health problems might be detected early. He/she will also be able to offer sound advice and guidance with all the previous resolutions. So take time to think carefully and promise yourself you will make 2011 a healthier year for both yourself and your family!! â–



year of economic uncertainty is almost over. Another is about to begin. In these tremulous times, concerns about money and money management top the list of today’s women. Questions and concerns about how to spend wisely while maintaining a certain standard of living, come up during our everyday discussions. My father always told me that my wealth is not a measure of the toys I own but the breadth of choices immediately available to me- which is possible only when I hold on to what I’ve earned and don’t splurge. I’ve belatedly started to appreciate the wealth of that advice so here I am sharing it with you.

Set your goals First and foremost, set your financial goals. These can be goals for your family or for yourself ranging from investing in a new oven, saving for your child’s college, planning a holiday, setting aside for your retirement, or paying the premium for

your insurance. As you can see these goals not only vary in their respective time frame but also in their level of importance. So once you have listed down your goals you can start prioritising and budgeting according to your financial commitments and what you left to spare.

Budget Probably one of the most underrated and definitely one of the more essential lifestyle tools, a budget helps you take control of your money. People who do budgeting understand where their money goes so they are in a better position to set their financial goals and take action. With the way the economy has been for the past couple of years, more and more people are realizing this and budgeting is having a bigger comeback than tweed in designer clothing and accessories. Just start with something as simple as knowing your “extras” from your “essentials” and keep it flexible. Understand that your budget is a compass and not a straitjacket.

This New Year, make your money work for you with some smart planning, budgeting and spending, says brand consultant Sunbul Zehra Kazmi.

Start saving If you are working, make sure your paycheck goes directly to your bank account and then clear off whatever debt you have. Curb the impulse of spending the first few days after your bank balance has gone up. Save a fixed percentage of your income. Twenty per cent is a good start, and if that doesn’t seem doable, then you’re living beyond your means – it’s time to either curb unnecessary expenditures or increase your means of income. Lastly, your environment influences your personality, and thus your habits. If you want to build the habit of saving money, surround yourself with people who save money or are smart spenders.

La societe de femme Start or join a hobby/interest club. When you’re part of a group of people who have common interests and objectives, the richness and depth of what you could have achieved on your own multiplies. Being part of a club not only increases the likelihood that your hobby is now more



affordable, but it also leads to intrinsic and extrinsic benefits which you couldn’t have achieved on your own. Women in cooking clubs have bake sales, knitting clubs often knit for a cause, and book clubs bring such joy in discussing a book that only a book enthusiast would know what I’m talking about. So if there isn’t a women’s club of your interest in the city you can start one now or join one online.

Give yourself away I do not mean it in a self sacrificial way, but when you next decide to give a present, make sure it comes from the heart and has something of yours that the other person would appreciate having. For this you need to first know what your natural gift is. Is your cooking divine, or are you a style diva, or maybe have a touch of creativity in everything you do, or know classical singing. Make a present of your special talent and be creative in how you give it. If you’d rather not put your expertise to the test you could offer a service, or compile a booklet online on whatever your loved one’s latest interest is or simply give them an I.O.U. gift certificate such as, ‘I.O.U. babysitting on two evenings of your choice’.

Say no to plastic I’ve been a strong proponent of debit card being the plastic of choice and ‘earning the right to own something and using cash instead of credit card’. But I would like to take that a step further and say that draw cash from your ATM when you need to make a transaction instead of swiping your card. I’ve noticed that the actual amount being spent does not register when I swipe a card but the pinch of spending is felt when actual money bills go from my hand to someone else’s. So it is advisable to know beforehand what you plan to spend when you go shopping, then drawing a bit over the planned amount and leaving your cards at home.

Recycle and revamp your wardrobe Set aside some time to go through your

closet and pull out anything you are tired of, or never wear. Go through each item at a time and see if you would rather revamp or recycle it. Decide if you can embellish it in some way to spice it up (paint, beads, extra fabric, trim, lengthen it, etc.) or if you can deconstruct it into something else (take off sleeves, shorten it, etc). Maybe you can dye it a different colour. Search the Internet and in magazines for inspiration and how-to’s. A lot of last year’s fabrics are back in vogue so it is a good idea to sift through your wardrobe and mix and match old and new things. 2011 is going to be all about individual style statements so make the most of it.

Smart entertainment Buy a DVD membership and watch new movies with friends and family with your favorite snacks at home. Make the most of the natural terrain here and enjoy picnics on the beaches, trekking and camping pretty much anywhere just outside the city or go exploring towns and sites. Not only has the cost of entertainment available to us such as going to the movies, paintball, bowling, playing pool, not lessened over time, the alternative is a more wholesome and money-wise way to enjoy.

Switch to Prepaid We all know how overpriced internet and phone services are in Oman compared to a lot of other countries. So managing the cost of such utilities should be a top priority. Think about it; would you rather keep paying and over paying for services you don’t use completely. If you’re not online daily, why pay for the daily usage. Similarly, by switching to prepaid mobile services or putting a limit to your post paid cellular cost, you can save in the long run.

Live Healthy Instead of buying pre-cooked or prepared foods, opt for raw materials to make your meals. Instead of unhealthy desserts, opt for fruits and yogurts. Take time out every day to go for a walk or indulge in some form of exercise. Healthy living not only brings positivity to your way of thinking but it also saves you major health costs in the short as well as the long run. As a woman you are the primary caregiver to younger generations as well as older members of the family. Every day you face choices that can affect your health. So make informed choices that have a positive impact on you and your loved ones. ■




From Broadway to Prime Time television, Lea Michele is probably the hottest star on screen right NOW!

Full of

Glee! 28


e’re sorry to say this, but if you haven’t seen (or heard) Lea Michele in last year’s genre-defying TV show Glee, then you most certainly deserve to be ‘slushied’. Now in its sophomore season, Glee is a musical comedy-drama that has become a pop-culture phenomenon and the star of the show is without a doubt, Lea Michele who plays the role of Rachel Berry, a high school wannabe-diva. Lea Michele Sarfati was born in The Bronx, New York to Edith and Marc Sarfati and was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey where she attended (and subsequently graduated from) high school. Michele’s career began at the age of eight. While other girls her age were playing with dolls Michele was prepping up for a sparkling career in Broadway. “I always knew what I wanted to do,” says Michele. “And that was being on stage.” She debuted in 1995 as a replacement for the role for Young Cosette in the original New York production of Les Misérables after spontaneously appearing for an audition with a friend. “…I went on an audition for Les Miz on Broadway - there was an open call in my home town. And I just thought it was fun ‘cause my friend was doing it, so I was like, ‘Eh! I’ll do it, too!’ And I was a really outgoing, funny kid, so I was just like ‘Yeah! What the heck?’ The first song I ever sang was Angel of Music, and I haven’t stopped singing since.” Michele was then cast in the role of Tateh’s daughter in 1998 in the original Broadway cast of Ragtime followed by the roles of Shprintze and Chava in the Broadway revival of the musical Fiddler On The Roof. When she was 14 years old, Michele was given the part of

Wendla in the musical version of Spring Awakening, starring in early workshops Off-Broadway and finally originating the role in the Broadway production when she was 20. This role was her most famous and most talked about and for which Michele was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Musical as well as a Tony Nomination. Not only does Michele have an astounding vocal range but she knows who she is and how to get what she wants. She’s extremely ambitious and driven. Her mantra to this day remains “be yourself and to do what you believe in”. That focus on her goals enabled Michele to have self-assurance at an age when most of her peers were grappling with insecurity and a need to conform. It was her incredible theatre work that landed Michele a role at fictional William McKinley High School as Rachel Berry. And since the show’s premiere in early 2009, Michele has received worldwide acclaim for her performance and an astounding fan following. She has already received the 2009 Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Series (Comedy of Musical), a Screen Actors Guild Award and has been nominated for a Golden Globe, Emmy and a Teen Choice Award. This is a clear testament to Michele’s musical ingenuity and talent. However, this girl has a good head on her shoulders and remains unfazed despite the oodles of adoration and importance she’s been receiving (who else gets to visit Oprah, Obama and appear on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in the same week?). “We’ve been doing this for a really long time and we’re constantly in work mode. Every now and then, I have blissful

FACTS ABOUT MICHELE: • DoB: 29 August 1986 • Best Friend: Jonathan Groff (Jesse St. James on Glee, and her co-star in Spring Awakening) • Michele has seven tattoos. • She was accepted to New York University, but chose to continue working instead of attending college. • She is a vegan.




moments of thanking God for all the amazing things that are happening,” she says. “When I leave the White House after just meeting Obama or when I see my face on the cover of Rolling Stone or when I meet someone who tells me that their daughter is inspired by me, those are moments that are incredibly joyful.” Michele admits that she sees parts of herself in Rachel Berry (Glee). “Rachel is very much like me…working in theatre, very driven. When I was in high school, although I wasn’t like Rachel, I understand her. I was similar in the sense that I didn’t conform to what people thought was cool. It was important to do what I believed in,” Michele says. In today’s world of Blair Waldorfs and Naomi Clarks, Rachel Berry, a high school misfit with a geeky sense of style is a refreshing change which perhaps even makes her a role model of sorts. And Michele is proud of the quirky character. “I appreciate her (Rachel‘s) confidence, who she is and what she wants. I think that it’s possible in high school for kids to get caught up in what people think is cool, and what I love about Rachel is that she knows what she wants, and she’s sticking with that.” Being on Glee, Michele says, “has taught me more about myself. It really praises your differences, and it’s helped me embrace mine.” From a kid actress to Broadway and now the red carpet, Michele has managed to shine through it all. Her determination knows no bounds and she makes for a great role model for the multitude of ‘Gleeks’ worldwide. We certainly hope to see much more of her in the years to come. ■



life, etc

It’s difficult to avoid stress but you can increase your capacity to deal with it, says Dr. Nada Al Ajmi.


o life is perfect, yet it is beautiful. We all face challenges, but what distinguish people are their reactions while handling these challenges. Challenges can build up stress in our lives, and we hear people telling each other many times to avoid stress or stressful situations whereas the real strategy of life should be to increase our capacity in dealing with stress, not avoiding it. This involves learning self-care and personal management. By caring for yourself you can increase your capacity to handle stress and inspire people around you to feel good and positive at the most difficult times in life. Here are some simple techniques that you can use to increase your capacity and tolerance around stressful situations without the urge to run away:

RELAX: Research shows that 15 minutes of relaxation can restore energy. In those moments when you find yourself yawning, day dreaming and losing focus, it is your body’s own natural self-control mechanism. However many people ignore these messages and instead they rush for a cup of coffee and try harder to concentrate. With a 15-minute relaxation process with your eyes closed, you will make yourself feel refreshed with better concentration. Remember you can do this recharging exercise anywhere; while waiting for an appointment, getting your nails done, or even sitting at your desk at work. Remember to take a deep breath and imagine pleasant things. BASIC EXERCISE: Studies confirm that exercise significantly reduces mild

to moderate depression. As the mind influences the body, the body influences the mind. Exercising is a way to help your body release the tension of an in-built stress, and it feels calmer, safer and healthier. This in turn affects your mood, making you emotionally clearer and able to function well under stressful situations. Remember that your exercise doesn’t have to be something huge. A 20-minute brisk walk will make all the difference.

LAUGHTER: Research has shown that healthy people are usually happy people. When you are happy, your body produces different chemicals different from those it produces when you are unhappy. This increases building new cells and boosts our immune system. This medicinal laughter insures the well being of our body by releasing the accumulated daily tension. Remember to enjoy spending time with friends who make you laugh, watch comedy shows, or simply having an inner smile by remembering happy and humorous scenarios. Anyone can be positive, polite and kind when things are going well, but how we handle ourselves in moments outside of our comfort and convenience is a point of distinction. The ability to rise above our stressful external experiences and the choice to practise the above techniques when things fall apart, are determining factors in increasing our stress capacity. (Dr Nada Al Ajmi is Assistant Professor, Sultan Qaboos University, Certified Trainer – Springboard Women’s Development and Life Coach – Aspire Training and Consultancy. You can write to her at




I am… Muna Al Hosni. I am the Senior Manager, Marketing at Al Maha Petroleum Products Marketing Company.

My role is that of… planning, forecasting and tracking sales volumes and achievements. In addition, I plan growth strategies within the marketing department and ensure fulfillment of company policies and customer service. I am responsible for the management and development of all staff in sales. I look after retail, commercial, fuel cards, lubricants and the Salalah office as well.

I studied... Bachelor’s in English Literature at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and followed it up with a Masters in the same subject from University of Manchester, UK.

How I started out… I actually began my career as a translator and moved on as deputy director of Information Department at SQU. Later, I joined as customer service manager at Al Maha Petroleum Products Marketing Company and moved up the ladder to become senior manager, sales and to my current position.

My mentors were… My father and my husband.

Words of inspiration I will never forget… The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.

The obstacles I faced…

Women who have succeeded and their success strategies…

The major challenge for a working woman is to find that perfect work-life balance. I thank Allah for all the support I have received from people around me that has helped me to face every challenge and achieve success.

The glass ceiling to me is… Although the glass ceiling exists, I am proud that many Omani women have succeeded in crossing that hurdle. There are many reasons that women have been able to break the barriers. Under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, women in Oman are enjoying equal rights and opportunities in all fields.

Success to me means... It is a journey and not a destination. Life is a roller-coaster ride with many ups and downs and success also means having a strong value system.

Words of advice... Try to work very hard at the beginning itself. If we do not ‘plant’ knowledge when young, it will not give us shade when we are old. I believe that change and growth take place when a person is not averse to taking risks and experimenting with his own life.





HIGH When dreams grow wings, the sky’s certainly not the limit. Myssaa Said Al Hinai profiles three young achievers who have made it big in the aviation industry…


omen all over the world have been proving that when it comes to careers, there are no barriers that they cannot cross, no hurdles they cannot overcome and no limits they cannot achieve, except the ones they place on themselves. Women have been part of the aviation industry since time immemorial. E. Lillian Todd designed and built aircraft in 1906. In 1912, Harriet Quimby became the first woman to pilot her own aircraft across the English Channel. At the close of the 20th century, astronaut Eileen Collins became the first female Space Shuttle Commander. The number of women in the aviation industry has gradually and steadily increased over the years and there’s not a single aviation career that has not attracted women, technical, administrative or otherwise. In Oman too, women have taken advantage of the equal rights and opportunities given to them to explore different avenues and vistas. The aviation industry is no exception. Al Mar’a brings you the accounts of three women working with the national carrier, Oman Air, who are frontrunners in their field of choice. These women have made it big through sheer determination and hard work and not to forget, their strong belief in themselves.




Maitha Al Mahrouqi

Alia Al Qalam

Scaling the peak Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Country Manager, Oman Air She wanted to be a cartographer, but chose a high-flying career instead. After finishing her schooling in Oman, Maitha Al Mahrouqi moved to the UK to study cartography at the University of Oxford Brookes. Later, she had to move to Bahrain to be with her family, and found it difficult to get a job to match her field of interest. “The Airline industry seemed to be an exciting proposition and so I joined Emirates. I began my career as a Reservation Ticketing Agent, moved on to back support Unit-in-Charge in sales and then to Account Executive and became corporate in-charge all in a short span of just six years.” Maitha joined Gulf Air in Bahrain as Business Development Manager in 2006 and worked as country manager for the Airline in Oman until 2009 when she moved to the national carrier, Oman Air.



Abeer al Hosni

“The aviation sector is very sensitive and can be easily affected by social, economic, political and environmental conditions. The field provides women with many opportunities to address various levels of challenges and find solutions for them,” she says. “Today, the great desire to travel makes travelling a necessity and not a luxury as before. As Country Manager, the big challenge for me is to promote Oman as a wonderful destination apart from ensuring sustainability of growth by adopting different and the best marketing strategies,” she added. On why there are still only a limited number of women working in the field, Maitha opined, “I don’t believe that the aviation field is new to women. “The sector has a number of positions women can excel in. Women just need to realise that they have the potential to succeed. The industry is booming and now is the right time to make your choice and go for it!”

For this dynamic achiever, making the impossible possible is a way of life!

Engineering a dream Alia Al Qalam, Aeronautical Engineer, Oman Air Alia Al Qalam holds the unique distinction of being Oman’s and the Gulf’s first aeronautical engineer. “I got into this industry purely by chance. I was always looking at a field that was untapped by women and during this time, I visited my brother who was studying avionics in Egypt. He was doing his specialisation in maintenance of the communication, electrical and mechanical equipment on aircrafts. “This immediately caught my interest and I pursued my studies in this field. After I joined Oman Air, I took specialised courses in the maintenance of F27-500, ATR42-500, B737-700, B737-800 and A330-200/300 aircrafts. These were the most advanced aircrafts in the Oman Air fleet. Thus, I became qualified to

do maintenance and identify faults and problems in aircrafts.” Alia admits that there were challenges on the path to success. “The most important challenge was being a woman in this field. I had to prove that I was worthy of my position. I even remember one of the officials asking me, ‘How can you expect people to deal with you as you are the only woman in the field?’ I replied that I wish to be dealt with as an engineer!” Alia certainly wants to see more and more women joining the industry as it is witnessing remarkable growth. “As Omani women, we should be thankful that doors are opening for us in different fields. This is all thanks to the unlimited support and far-sighted vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. We should take advantage of the opportunities available to us.” Alia is a true symbol of women empowerment and a shining example for others to follow.

Aiming high Abeer al Hosni, Senior Flight Supervisor, Oman Air Abeer Al Hosni’s dream ever since she was a young girl was to be an airhostess. “My dream came true when I joined Oman Air. And thanks to Allah, after five years of hard work, I’ve been fortunate enough to be promoted as head of the department.” “My job is not as simple as you may think,” says Abeer. “As an airhostess, I am responsible for ensuring the comfort and meeting the needs of the passengers. We also have to ensure that everything is in the right place and be ready to face any kind of emergency.” It certainly is a tough job and comes with its own set of challenges as well. “While my work left me with very little time to socialise, I am thankful that it exposed me to different cultures and people from different nationalities. The experiences have

helped me to become very flexible in adapting to new habits and thought processes,” says Abeer. “The nature of my job requires me to live most of my life onboard. The aircraft therefore has become my second home. I owe a lot to my family and my husband for supporting me in every way. I am also lucky that my husband works in the same field; he appreciates my effort and understands the difficulties I may face,” she added. Abeer has attended a number of courses in the subject and is now preparing for her Masters in Business Administration. She wishes to continue in the same field. “I am very thankful to Oman Air for placing confidence and trust in me, helping me realise my dreams and achieving such remarkable growth in my career in a short span of time.” Here’s to more power to women like her! May their tribe increase! ■





tradition of fashion Fashion designer Nawal Al Hooti has been making waves in Oman and abroad ever since her first show in 2003. In a tetea-tete with Rana Alawneh, she reveals that Omani tradition continues to be the driving force behind her designs…


et’s make the world different!” goes the tagline at www., the interesting website that showcases the signature styles of popular Omani fashion designer, Nawal Al Hooti!

glorious 40th National Day of the Sultanate. To commemorate the special occasion, Nawal presented for the first time, a collective identity of Omani clothes and jewellery. It also depicted a brief history of Omani fashion with emphasis on the complementary role of Omani jewellery.

The young designer has been responsible for taking Oman to the world through her designs. She is also a strong advocate of all things traditional and uses the elements to rich effect in all her creations.

Rana Alawneh spoke to Nawal Al Hooti on her distinct approach to fashion and why Omani traditions still occupy a place of pride despite growing commercialisation.

It is interesting to note that Nawal Al Hooti has eight years of experience in the banking sector. But fashion has remained her passion throughout. She exhibited her first designs at a fashion show organised by the Omani Women’s Association in 2003. Since then, she has participated in a number of prestigious fashion events in Oman and abroad.


Her latest show held at Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Hotel, ‘Oman’ displayed 40 stunning designs that celebrated the

“The event showcased 40 designs specially designed to commemorate the 40th National Day of Oman. The collection included a number of outfits that were typically Arab in style in addition to casual wear in different designs and fabrics. Each creation exuded a special Omani touch. Omani silver and gold accessories added glitter and sparkle to the collection in every way.”






“My first fashion show in 2003 marked the beginning of my career. I began by designing clothes for family members. Then, I wanted to introduce myself and my work to Omani society. In the second show, I attempted to add special touches to my creations and develop traditional Omani dresses like the abaya, jalabiya and children’s wear.

“I like the Omani dress with traditional embroidery which gives it life and meaning. When I embroidered the Omani dress, I did not try to change its salient features. This kind of embroidery was introduced when Omani women desired to wear typical Omani dresses at weddings. At the same time, they wanted to keep pace with modern trends as well. I have tried to cater to both these desires without compromising on the traditional features.


“Unfortunately, the market is teeming with dresses designed with Indian or Pakistani embroidery. The tailors

“Yes, it still exists. Sometimes I include it as a part of my designs. I also try to use other embroidery styles to add aesthetic value to the dress.

“My third fashion show was in Italy in 2005 and celebrated the theme, ‘Oman in the eyes of the world’. It featured a collection of Omani dresses that truly reflected Oman’s culture and heritage. I continued adding my touches at different shows in France, Lebanon, Salalah and the last show that was held at Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat. “My aim is not only to reflect the true Omani identity in my designs but also to add creative elements that will enhance the glamour quotient and make them stand apart.”

WHAT DOES THE OMANI TRADITIONAL DRESS MEAN TO YOU? “I love the Omani traditional dress and it distinguishes the Sultanate from the rest of the world. Since the beginning, I have been very keen on showcasing Omani elements especially the comfort factor. It is also a unique symbol of our rich traditions. “I am proud of the fact that Oman is one of the very few countries that has managed to maintain its identity in terms of traditional costumes. There are many designers in this world who are desperately trying to imitate the West while ignoring the abundant cultural wealth their own countries have to offer and this is really sad.”




bring in large quantities of dresses with standard design and embroidery. I feel it is important that the designer exhibits her own special touch on the fabric used and also the type of embroidery. “I do try my best to ensure that all the little and important details are taken care of. I supervise the different stages in my designs to ensure that it is unique and one-of-a-kind.”

“To be honest, even after long years in this field, I still feel a strong bond and affinity to the traditional Omani dress that is fast losing its value in the commercial age. At times, I do blame myself for succumbing to pressure and adding modern elements to the Omani dress. My only intention for doing this is to make the Omani dress the first choice for people to wear on traditional occasions. But, I’d like to stress that I do not compromise and change the entire look and feel.”

WHAT ARE THE FACTORS THAT HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR SUCCESS? “I am a versatile designer who always tries to keep pace with the developments in the fashion industry. I think that my designs are successful because every detail is important to me. I am part of every stage in the process, right from choosing the fabric, the cut to the embroidery used. I am also very lucky to have a skilled and talented team working with me.”

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG AND UPCOMING OMANI FASHION DESIGNERS? “I wish to see more creative designers entering the field. Also, I think it’s high time we stopped trying to ‘develop’ Omani fashion. Young fashion designers should exchange ideas with one another. I also tell them that a ‘successful designer is known by her designs’.”

WHO IS THE ONE DESIGNER WHO HAS REALLY IMPRESSED YOU? “I am really impressed by Khadija Al Lamki’s work. She is a very confident and creative designer.”

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AFTER FIVE YEARS? “I want ‘Nawal Art’ to become a renowned international brand so that I can present Omani styles to the world.”■




Rekha Baala lists some fascinating ‘green’ places of the world for the eco-tourist in you!


‘Green’ Places D

ream destinations are dime a dozen, but as an avid and intrepid traveller, do they appeal to your conscience as well? Now what’s conscience got to do with travel, you may wonder? Well, in the age of global warming, depleting natural resources, large carbon footprints and sustainable tourism, don’t you think ‘green’ is the right way to travel? That brings into focus eco-tourism. It is your way of getting up close and personal with the natural world and choosing places where the commitment and care for natural resources are huge! Beautiful and unspoilt places where you see nature at her best!



By this we don’t mean that you go hot-footing to the nearest jungle or rough it out on some campsite in a desert! You can have all the comforts and be ‘green’ too. All it requires is an effort from your part to protect and preserve the environment of the place you are visiting. And help maintain that ecological biodiversity that’s fast disappearing from this world. We have chosen for you a few places that will not only satiate your wanderlust but also placate your ‘green’ conscience in the best ways possible. All you need is a spring in your step, lightness in your heart and a thrill for adventure! The rest like rejuvenation and relaxation then come easy!

KERALA, INDIA This small state in the southernmost part of India is not called ‘God’s Own Country’ for nothing! Kerala is an absolute delight for eco-tourists! Whatever you are looking for in a perfect holiday, it’s all there in Kerala. From sandy beaches, lush virgin forests, rolling hills, and abundant flora and fauna, Kerala is what the tourist brochures describe as ‘Nature’s playground’. Thenmala is a natural habitat of diverse flora and fauna; the rugged terrain has nature trails dotted with delightful waterfalls and enchanting picnic spots attract naturalists, conservationists and adventure seekers. You could also visit the Periyar Sanctuary, an environmental hotspot noted for its geomorphology, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscape. It is also one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves. Another must-visit on your green itinerary would be Thommankuthu, a series of 12 falls surrounded by a number of mysterious caves. The wild beauty of the scenic waterfall and the pristine surroundings attract hordes of tourists. It comes as no surprise then, that Kerala was selected by National Geographic as one of the 50 must-see destinations of a lifetime!




PALAU Palau must have become famous thanks to reality show Survivor but there’s more to this island nation than what you saw on television or the internet. Palau has been named one of the Underwater Wonders of the World. An archipelago surrounded by a fringe reef, Palau’s waters are packed with a great diversity of marine life. Palau is also famous for kayaking. You can paddle your way into any one of hundreds of deserted bays and lagoons and experience the beauty of impeccably preserved reefs and coves. On terra firma, visitors can look forward to lounging on some unspoilt beaches or go trekking through dense forests. Another attraction is the Rock Islands. Protected by a fringe reef, the placid waters are a haven for snorkeling, swimming, fishing, kayaking or just relaxing on the white sand beaches. Want to have fun on water or off it? Then, Palau’s the best place to be!

IRAN Iran may be in the news for all the wrong reasons, but one thing that’s going just right for it is its strong focus towards ecotourism. Yes, despite the conflicts, tourists still flock to Iran. With over 10 national parks and over 40 protected areas, Iran is a virtual ‘green’ paradise! Holiday makers can choose from dozens of destinations that include Golestan, Khosh, Yellagh, Kavir, Lar, Bakhtegan, Bamoo and many more. Just imagine, the Gilan province itself boasts of 565,000 hectares of woods, a green duvet like no other! Those looking for that adrenaline rush can head to the Margoon waterfall and Anzali lagoon just right for adventure eco-seekers. If you are looking at a wonderfully ‘green’ holiday, Iran makes a perfect getaway!




NORWEGIAN FJORDS If you’re looking at a picture-perfect holiday that’s also green in every sense, then look no further than the Norwegian Fjords. Nature here is at her unadulterated best and there’s

beauty and tranquility everywhere you go! The Norwegian Fjords are home to the world’s largest coral reefs and offer plenty of fishing grounds as well. Besides these, there are snowcapped mountains and cascading waterfalls. There are plenty of activities to look forward to like hiking, biking or scenic boat rides through the towering fjords. Sognefjord offers spectacular sights with cliffs on either side of the water rising over 1000m into the sky vertically. Renowned for its ice-free nature all around the year, Trondheimsfjord is an amazing marine ecosystem with at least 90 species of fish observed in and around these waters. With more such fjords, it sure is untouched paradise waiting out there for you!

As the tagline of Malaysian tourism goes, the place is ‘truly Asia’. Not many though are aware of the fact that Malaysia offers eco-lovers something enticing and different. Did you know that 75 per cent of Malaysia’s land area remain forested, with 60 per cent virgin rainforest that has been unchanged for millions of years? Natural attractions abound in Malaysia and includes amazing and diverse flora and fauna, white sandy beaches, exotic marine aqua life, dense rainforests and the oldest and largest caves in the world. The country also boasts of at least 15,000 species of flowering plants, 286 species of mammals, 150,000 species of invertebrates and 4,000 species of fishes. Eco-adventurers can enjoy a huge range of outdoor activities such as caving, hiking, jungle trekking, white water rafting rock climbing, bird watching, river cruising and much more. Places to choose from include Bako National Park, Gua Kelam caves, Danum Valley, Kota Tinggi Waterfalls, Gunung Mulu National Park, Langkawi mangroves and more. Whether wet, wild or thrilling, Malaysia has something to satiate the green tourist in you! ■

KENYA Kenya has a rich diversity of wildlife which means no two experiences are the same. Not many people know that apart from the wide savannahs teeming with wildlife, Kenya also boasts of scenic mountains, lakes, rainforests, deserts and beaches, offering many options for eco-tourists. But of course, the charm of the landscape and its incredible natural diversity can be found in over 50 national parks and reserves across the country. But equally fascinating are Kakamega, a rainforest reserve; the Mt. Kenya forest and Arabuko Sokoke, a wonderful habitat for some of the rarest birds. What shall we say, except, enjoy!



A World of





The beauty business is surely an exciting business. The National Hospitality Insitute (NHI) offers a Beauty Therapist course that is perfect for young women looking for an enjoyable and rewarding career. Rekha Baala has all the details…


veryone wants to look good and feel good. Feeling beautiful does wonders to one’s personality. It’s no wonder then, that the beauty business is one of the most sought-after careers, especially among young women. The world of beauty therapy offers a number of endless and exciting opportunities. The field is diverse and therefore specialisation is easy. You could delve deep into the world of make-up, study about skincare, enjoy the art of massage or even extend your skills to areas such as aromatherapy, reflexology, and many more. At the end of it, you could join a spa, work at a resort, a beauty house… or you could even go further and open your own salon. Like we said, it is a fantastic career choice!

worldwide. This certification indicates that the person has been trained in the relevant beauty skills and practices and is equipped to work with clients as a specialist. “This programme will be an asset to any individual who is looking for employment in this glamorous world of beauty or is planning to become a business owner. The person with this qualification is considered as a specialist. I believe there is a need to give authenticity to the profession of Beauty Therapist. A Therapist’s role is to support and improve a person’s inner peace which is followed by an enhancement of the external appearance. The Therapist when learning about facials and skin care would not only learn how to provide these services; she would additionally be able to help her client understand what condition her skin was in and why is it in that condition.”

Al Mar’a spoke to Meenu Sukhramani, training manager at NHI to know more of the course and how it’ll benefit a number of women to follow their dreams and translate them into reality.

What aspects of beauty therapy does the course cover? “This Beauty Therapy course is designed to provide students with an advanced level of comprehension and skills. It covers all aspects of Beauty and is divided into five units: • Skincare and eye treatments • Make-up • Manicure and pedicure • Waxing • Professional conduct and business awareness

How will this course be helpful to those who want to join the beauty business? “The ITEC Beauty Therapy course is a Level 2 training in the National Qualification Framework that is commonly followed in the UK. The ITEC qualification in Beauty Therapy is recognised

Each unit is assessed through: • Theory examination • Practical examination by an ITEC representative from UK • Written case studies and Oral Questioning • The Diploma is awarded to the

The National Hospitality Institute (NHI) offers a specialised diploma in beauty therapy, the ITEC Level 2 course. It’s perfect for young women to make their foray into the beauty world, armed with a qualification that’ll certainly take them places!

candidates upon achievement of Pass grade in all three areas of each unit.

to watch a shy young person blossom in a very short span of time into an exuberant person. I am always moved by the enthusiasm of the young minds trying to grasp the knowledge and the techniques.”

What is your approach towards training? “A Beauty Therapist’s qualifications must reflect a specific level of training, knowledge and practice. As a trainer it is my duty to deliver the training in a professional manner. This includes the use of the hi-tech training techniques, the use of various modes of conducting the training to ensure that the knowledge is delivered properly and to aid the students in their comprehension.

Are placements easy to find at the end of the course? “This is an ideal qualification to enter the world of beauty as it is comprehensive. This also forms a foundation course if one is pursuing to become an expert in one area of the Beauty, such as massage therapy, beauty consultant or cosmetology.”

“The atmosphere must be congenial and the students must be encouraged to ask questions.” Can you describe some memorable experiences as a trainer? “The most memorable experience has been


offering a multitude of exciting career opportunities. This requires dedication and hard work but the ultimate goal as assessable in a short time.” So ladies, what are you waiting for? Your dream career is waiting for you. One that is enjoyable, rewarding, challenging and fun! Go for it! ■

Finally, what is your message to young girls looking for a career as beauty therapist? “This can be a life-changing opportunity for any young girl. Beauty is one of the biggest growing industries in the world

These young women successfully completed the Beauty Therapist course and now are placed with CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. They tell Al Mar’a all about the course that gave wings to their dreams and introduced them to an exciting career.

“I joined the Beauty Therapist course because I’ve always wanted a career in beauty. I was interested in make-up from a very young age. At NHI, I learnt all about different treatments; manicure, pedicure, facials, etc. “I also learnt to speak English with confidence and how to interact with people. On completion of the course, I was placed at CHI, The Spa where I have been working for a year. “At CHI, I work as a beautician, and at times, help out in the reception too. I love my job as it provides me with loads of opportunities to learn more about the business and also meet people from different nationalities. “My ultimate dream is to open a spa of my own. Before that, I need to learn more and gather many years of experience. My message to every young woman is that ‘if you have a dream, just go for it and don’t worry about what others will think of you.’”


“I came to NHI looking at housekeeping as a profession. When someone mentioned that there was a Beauty Therapist course, it immediately caught my interest. This is what I really wanted to do. “I learnt a lot at NHI, everything from how to do a proper massage, manicures, pedicures to facials. I also knew that getting a job would not be too difficult. “Now I work with my friends at CHI, The Spa and am happy learning many new things and enjoying my job to a large degree. “I want to continue learning and eventually start something on my own.”


“I attended the same course as my friends. My family pushed me to do something I liked. I like the whole beauty business and enjoyed learning all about facials, pedicures, manicures and hair-styling. “I got placed at CHI, The Spa after I completed the course and now work at the spa as well as the salon. “For me, learning will not stop with this course. My plan is to do more and more courses in this field. I’d also love to visit other countries to enhance my experience. Ultimately, my dream would be to open my own beauty salon.”




If authentic Thai food is what you crave then hop over to Meji’s Aroy Thai for a delicious culinary journey. Sushmita Sarkhel found the experience intensely satisfying.

Simply, Thai-rific! 46



hai food is all about aroma, flavours and harmony in food. It’s spicy, salty, sour and sweet – sometimes, all these hit you together… And the result? A totally enriching, sumptuous and gastronomic experience! Now, you can experience authentic Thai at the newly opened Meiji’s Aroy Thai Restaurant. Enjoy!

THE PLACE Tucked away behind The Beach Hotel just off the road from Bareeq Al Shatti is the recently opened Meji’s Aroy Thai. Gourmands in Oman will certainly agree that there’s a need for more Thai joints and Meji’s Aroy Thai more than just fills that void. From plush interiors decorated with murals from Thailand right down to their exotic menu, it’s like a mini-Thailand in Oman. This fine dining restaurant is unlike any other in the city. So if you want ambience and creative Thai Food without the gigantic price tag, then this is certainly the place to be.

THE FARE Meji’s Aroy Thai provides foodies true-blue Thai food. And we mean exactly that. Take your pick from an extensive list of starters, soups, salads and main course and end it with a dessert of your choice. The special ‘Meji’ dishes are the ones to watch out for; but no matter what you decide to go with, we are sure that you’ll love it! The masterminds behind the scrumptious food are Chef Ekasit and Executive Chef Songsak, who is from the highly reputed Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant in Bangkok. So be prepared to experience Thai Food like no other. Think Kaffir leaves, think Thai Basil and immerse yourself in a truly delectable combination of classical flavours and seasonings.

THE POPULARITY QUOTIENT Even before the restaurant opened up, Meji’s Aroy Thai began making waves across Muscat. Last month, Meji’s Aroy Thai opened its doors with the hope of providing the best Thai experience in town - and we’re glad to say that it doesn’t disappoint! Highly popular among the local as well as expatriate community, Meji’s Aroy Thai is sure to hold its own. The restaurant has something for everyone and we’re positive that you’ll keep coming back for more!

WE RECOMMEND A leisurely meal with family and friends is certainly the way to go. Why not make the most of the great weather now and enjoy an alfresco dinner? For starters, we recommend the Gai Satay, Chicken Hundred or Mixed Aroy Thai. For the main course, our first choice would be Khao Pad Khun Meji, which is rice in a delicious chili paste served with a crispy omelette on top. The Pad Thai (stir fried rice noodles), Pad Thai Meji’s Aroi Thai, vies for Oman’s best! And for dessert, the deep fried banana (Meji’s Kluay Tod) is a must. But of course, we really recommend that you try and be adventurous with what you order. However, if you’re unsure about anything, their friendly staff is there to guide you through.

LAST IMPRESSION Great food, one-of-a-kind entertainment and beautiful interiors - Meji’s Aroy Thai is a gem on the Muscat dining scene. The restaurant works hard to provide a memorable experience for each and every guest and we won’t be the least bit surprised if it becomes a staple in your dining-out schedule. ■

THE MOOD The soothing ambience totally sets the mood for a relaxed dinner and easy conversation. And the décor here is like no other. Right at the entrance, enhanced by soft lighting, are two Kinnarees, beautiful half-woman, half-swan maidens to welcome guests. Inside, the traditional Thai parasols, exquisite walls hangings and murals, and beautifully crafted wooden Shoji screens lend an Oriental charm to the place. And on weekends, customers are in for a special treat. In order to make the whole dining experience more memorable, there will authentic Thai dances with classical music. These dances (Ram Thai) in ancient times, used to be performed solely to entertain kings and nobility. But today, you can enjoy them during the weekends along with your meal right here in Muscat!



style report


inter is finally here. And the best thing about it? The fashion, of course! This winter it is all about fun. We’ve all survived the year counting pennies and skimping on fashion - and now, it’s time to let go! Fashion is bursting with energy and it’s time for us to flaunt our fabulousness in style. The Autumn/Winter Collection 2011 is all about going wild. Blacks, greys and whites may be the colour of Fall Fashion but if you want to stand out of the crowd then add prints and colours to your wardrobe. Stripes, animal prints and all things ‘shiny’ is what you need to thinking about. Moodier palates of contrasting dark colours and prints are also in. Combine them with complementary accessories and scarves and you’re set for a truly fashionable winter. Head over to Fashion Avenue at Muscat

City Centre to discover what’s hot and what’s not and shop the latest trends. Here’s a sneak-peek at what’s ‘in store’… • Move aside grey, silver is here to stay! Ditch the boring, monotonous tones and switch to silver - or anything with bling. Origem, Kenneth Cole and Forever 21 have some great collections in a variety of shimmery colours. • Add a good dose of glamour to the festive season and step out in the hottest colours. Fun-n-Flirty ones like plum, lavender, red and pink are all the rage. Instead of the usual LBD, pick a flowy yet fitted dress in honeysuckle. Tops and dresses can be found is these great colours at Forever 21, Stradivarius, Origem and Kenneth Cole. • Handbag is always an essential



The tempting trends of the season are all there at Fashion Avenue, Muscat City Centre. Here’s a lowdown…

accessory. Understated bags are history. This season handbags are all about being flamboyant. Structured bags with hints of bling, patterned ones, and even ones in various vibrant hues - there isn’t a lack of options! Aldo Shoes has a great new collection of handbags and so does Aldo Accessories, Zara and Kenneth Cole. • Animal prints and patterns add a warrior-like aesthetic and are popping up everywhere. Make a statement in a pair of sleek black pants with an animal print top. Or just go ahead and don that sexy animal print dress - we know you want to! Combine it with

a pair of hot black knee boots and you’ll be turning heads everywhere. Zara features some great clothes in daring animal prints and so does Forever 21. • Keep your feet cosy in this season’s hottest knee-highs. Blacks and browns are the way to go and may be worn with virtually any outfit. But if you’d like to add a certain somethin something to your ensemble, why not opt for a pair in a quirky colour? Mauv Mauve, grey or camel add some attitude to any outfit. Aldo Sh Shoes, Forever 21 and Tagz have g a good range to sho from. shop

• Staple colours like reds and blues are the ‘in’ colours for men. And so are stripes. Mix and match solids with stripes to get a great look. Layers can never go wrong! Tommy Hilfiger’s latest range provides this and more. Take a peek into Zara and Gap as well! Fashion Avenue at Muscat City Centre provides a plethora of options for all you fashion-savvy shoppers. Replay, Tagz, Café Cotton and Stradivarius are also some great brands from where you can also pick out some great, fashionable clothing. And before you set off to splurge, remember what Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashions fade, but style is eternal.” ■



good things


In the


Some of the hottest must-haves of the season… FROM TOD’S












Boot ʻem up!

Go for boots! This is the right season to flaunt them… They add that extra chic to your personality!



good things



Brightly coloured, plain, checked or striped, these scarves top off that perfect winter look…

as a







health plus Have all your gynaecological queries answered by Dr. Smita Lulla — MBBS, M.D, D.G.O. (Gold Medallist), Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Qurum Clinic, Muscat. The veteran doctor has had advanced training in the UK in Obstetric & Gynaecological Ultra-sonography & Infertility.

I am 27 years old and diagnosed with polycystic ovaries. I have been told that I am overweight and need to reduce weight. I am also taking Dimet 500. Can you tell me how long it takes to cure polycystic ovaries and whether PCOS is serious. Is there any chance I can become pregnant with PCOS itself or do I need to take any other medication? Please remember that PCOS is a condition you would always have and you are never ‘cured’ of it. It is associated with irregular periods, infrequent ovulation, obesity, increased hair growth and acne. Reducing your weight and taking Dimet may help you regularise your period. However, if you wish to conceive, you should do a scan on day 12 of the period. If you are ovulating, you do not need any other medication. If, however, you are not ovulating, you may require some medication like Clomid to help you ovulate during the next cycle. Of course, you can conceive even with PCOS, so don’t worry. I had a D&C in June 2010 due to anaembrionic pregnancy. My first period after it came on July 11 which was normal and lasted for five days.

But the second period started with a lot of clots and a lot of bleeding. I started taking Novelon tablets to stop my bleeding. Will this regularise my periods? I also want to conceive. Please help. Novelon would regularise your period. However, have you done an ultrasound to rule out that you do not have an ovarian cyst or a fibroid? Both these can cause menstrual irregularities.

medication, including herbal or homeopathic medicines. However, with medication the periods would be regular and you can ovulate and conceive. My advice is that you do not take Diane any more. Every 35th day, take Duphaston tablets - one tablet twice a day for five days to get a period. This would not increase the weight as Diane would. Have your FSH and LH hormones done on day two of the period and let me know the results, so I can advise you further.

I am 24 years old and was diagnosed with PCOS four years back through an ultrasound scan. My height is 5.3” and my weight is 69kg. My doctor advised Diane 35. After that my periods became normal. After a few months, I discontinued the medicine and began gaining weight. My periods again became irregular. I also had many side effects like breast tenderness. I now have a 60-day cycle with severe pain that begins a week before my periods. Is there something like a herbal medicine that will help me? PCOS is a condition which 10-20 per cent of women have. It is associated with irregular periods, infrequent or absent ovulation, weight gain and excessive hair growth. It does not go away with any

Since I am suffering from PCOD, my doctor put me on Nafil 600mg. Are there any side effects to this? Do you mean Nafcil (instead of Nafil) ? If it is Nafcil, it is an antibiotic . It must have been given to you for some infection.

Find more questions and answers fielded by Dr. Smita Lulla at



top drive


Sporty Classic The Wiesmann Roadster MF4-S is not just another sports car. It’s all about power, performance, dynamics and individuality. Al Mar’a goes for a spin in the car that’s making waves in Oman…



hat do you look for in a sports car? Apart from smooth driving, great performance and drop-dead gorgeous looks, do you look for yourself in it? Confusing? Not really. Just think of this. When you choose a sports car, you always go for one that expresses your individuality, your lifestyle and your emotions! The new range of Wiesmann cars launched recently in Oman exemplifies this philosophy. It expresses your individuality like no other and is for those with a genuine passion and fascination for purist sports cars. And that’s what makes a Wiesmann car unique. It is handcrafted, unmistakable and definitely one-of-a-kind!

Did you know that Wiesmann is the leading manufacturer of purist sports cars and the brand has long been a firm fixture in the luxury automobile segment? It comes from the passion of its founders Martin and Friedhelm Wiesmann who built a factory that builds cars for individualists. The Wiesmann brothers have been building sports cars at their factory in Dülmen since 1993. The Wiesmann takes driving enjoyment to the maximum. And Al Mar’a found out exactly why and how. We took the Wiesmann Roadster MF4-S on a spin and discovered that there’s more to sports cars that the ‘fun’ of driving! It’s a whole new world out there! Our drive took us from the serene environs of Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat along the road leading to Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. It was a wonderful experience, taking the Wiesmann through its paces. The car is perfect for any kind of driving; be it the measured pace expected of normal, everyday driving or getting a perfect feel of the road at ‘a little more than normal’ speeds! The Wiesmann Roadster MF4-S has an eye-catching exterior that exudes individual style and superiority. The body has captivatingly distinct, curved

lines and an unmistakable look, with the typical radiator grille and circular xenon headlights that literally make heads turn! The interior is lovingly crafted to the finest detail but remains as always reduced to the essentials so that you derive maximum driving pleasure. You could choose what you want yourself, including the colours and materials to give off a customised and personalised touch. There are ample drawstring stowage spaces, simple polished steel door catches – a cross between old-world charm and simple, modern touches. The Wiesmann Roadster MF4-S delivers indescribable driving enjoyment on every corner and straight. The V8 engine has a characteristic sound that gives the powerful-sounding Roadster MF4-S impressive acceleration and the capability to transmit this enormous power directly onto the road. The high-revving 4.0 litre V8 in the MF4-S has to be experienced to be believed! It sprints from a standstill to 100 in/h in just 4.4 seconds! That was a really wow moment for us! It was a pleasant and eye-opening drive in more ways than one! Sporty, dynamic, but most importantly, we found that the Wiesmann was all about the driver’s individuality! It is all about ‘you’ and what you want for in a car! Being in a Wiesmann made us feel truly special… Now, what if we actually went ahead and bought one? Well, we’ll keep our fingers crossed on that one! ■




An exclusive business club The 7th Edition of OER CEO Golf will soon see Oman’s top decision-makers get together to savour the perfect blend of business and pleasure. It is undoubtedly the highlight of corporate Oman’s social calendar, with networking opportunities over a competitive 18-hole round of golf. A look at the unconventional side of the game with SNAG golf. An amazing show by a world-renowned Golf ‘Trick Shot’ specialist. And an evening of exquisite entertainment topped-off with a multi-cuisine gourmet feast.

Contact Kush on 99253729 or 24700896 ext. 261 or email







Participation by invitation only

beauty zone





ETHNIC INSPIRATION It’s Arabic pride in all its splendour and magnificence. The new Dhan Al Oudh Al Safwa from Rasasi is a unisex fragrance inspired by the age-old Oudh charm of Agarwood and reflects the unique mix of old and modern aromatic marvels of Arabia. It has top notes of fresh citrus and dry wood blended with a mix of mandarin, bergamot and black pepper, while the body reflects undertones of rose, valley and Oriental amber. Base notes are musky, white amber and the warmth of Oudh. Go, grab your bottle now!

AM says: Unleash the Oriental magic.

GIFT OF LOVE What can be more inspiring, more intoxicating or desired than true love? In his evocative new Eau de Toilette ParlezMoi d’Amour. John Galliano captures intrigue and romance, and bottles first love for a new generation. Blueberry, Ginger and Bergamot combine with heart notes of the ultra feminine Galliano florals: Jasmine Sambac, Lavender Oil and Turkish Rose. Musk, Patchouli Indonesia and Cypress leaves add to the intrigue. The unexpected combination of musk, fruit and floral produce an unmistakable new allure as Galliano creates a scent that is fun, young and unforgettable.

AM says: You’ll simply love it!

LIFT FACTOR Women over 40, do not despair! Your skin can still look young and beautiful all the time. The Body Shop has just the right skincare regimen for you. The new Natrulift Skincare range addresses the signs of ageing, features organic pomegranate, and has been clincally proven to give firmer feeling skin from day one of use, softening the appearance of lines and wrinkles. It also contains moisturising Brazil nut oil, soothing aloe vera and hydrating honey.

AM says: Go, get the glow!



AQUA MAGIC The Davidoff Cool Water Woman is a floral aquatic fragrance capturing the essence of water in an original combination of aquatic, ozonic and botanical notes. The essence of water in a sparkling ozonic note provides a fresh experience with the fruitiness of watermelon, pineapple and black currant. Feminine lily of the valley adds a flowery touch underlining the delicate energy in the heart. The seductive power of fruity woody notes with blackberry and sensual wood reveal the strong personality. If you want to go further, get the Davidoff Cool Water for women set which has the scent, shower gel and body lotion.

AM says: Be a water baby!

FLOWER POWER Turn back time... Feel young again! Guerlain’s Orchid Imperiale range shows you how! Along with the Cream and the Fluid, now comes a Rich Cream to form a New-Generation range of complete age-defying skincare products, which meet the demands of all women - in terms of both texture and results. A rich and complete Formula The new, ultra-nourishing Rich Cream offers unprecedented comfort for dry skin, which needs intensive nourishment and anti-ageing care. This formula combines the age-defying action of the New-Generation Imperial Orchid Molecular Extract with a nourishing orchid concentrate. The result is a rich composition and Guerlain’s most complete skincare treatment for dry skin. Totally cool!

GO FOR GOLD The Tous Touch woman is refined, experienced and loves to quip, ironically, she is only ‘bored by what’s boring’. For her, gold is not a symbol of being ostentatious; it is a symbol of complicity. Just right for her is a fragrance that allows her to follow her own course. Lotus, freesia, lily of the valley, Arabic jasmine, Tahitian gardenia, vanilla blossom, raspberry and honey-sweetened almond combine to form the sensual and exclusive scent of Tous Touch, all wrapped up in a beautiful bottle.

AM says: Get the goodness of orchids right onto your skin!

AM says: Surely, a fragrances that dares and dazzles!

GLOW UP Here’s a make-up range that offers loads of protection too. The Resilience Lift Extreme Lifting Makeup SPF 15 from Estee Lauder offers all-day continuous moisture, ultraradiance, incredible lift and exceptional spreadability – all in a new fluid formula that is ideal for maturing skin. This luxurious, flawless liquid foundation keeps you ageless, gliding smoothly and effortlessly over skin, evening out the complexion and leaving skin looking exceptionally hydrated and beautifully radiant all day!

AM says: Smooth, great looking skin is no longer a dream!




Keep it simple! You can now recreate some lip-smacking and authentic Lebanese recipes in your own kitchen! Chef Dalal Dhahar of Al Hamra Restaurant, Al Khuwair shows you how‌

Chicken Scallop Serves: 1 500 gm boneless chicken breasts 1 cup lemon juice 1 egg 1 1/3 cup bread crumbs 1 tsp white spice powder (available readymade) Salt to taste Clean the chicken and hammer on a wooden board till it becomes soft and spray all over with lemon juice. Leave aside for half-an-hour. Beat eggs and dip the chicken pieces in it and coat with bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a pan and fry the pieces until golden brown. Serve with mayonnaise and french fries.



Falafel Serves: 3 200 gm chickpeas 200 gm ful (fava beans) 20 gm onion 50 gm coriander powder 15 gm garlic A pinch of baking powder 1l oil for frying Salt to taste Soak the chickpeas and beans in water, adding a little baking powder. Drain after 12 hours. Blend the chickpeas, beans and other ingredients (except oil) to form a smooth paste. In a pan, heat oil. Divide the paste into flat equal rounds. Deep fry until golden brown.


Chicken Rolls Serves: 1 500 gm boneless chicken breasts 100 gm chopped carrots 100 gm green peas 20 gm white spices 1/2 l milk 1/4 l fresh cream 100 ml water Salt to taste Clean the chicken and hammer on a wooden board till it becomes soft. Mix the chopped carrots and green peas with spices and salt. Place this filling on a piece of chicken and roll. Bake in an oven at 180 degrees until chicken is done. For the sauce, bring milk to a boil, add cream and salt and stir continuously on low flame till it reaches a sauce consistency. Place chicken rolls on a plate. Dribble sauce all over. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice.

Green Salad Serves: 1 100 gm lettuce 1 tomato, sliced 1 cucumber, sliced 1 green capsicum, sliced 100 gm sweet corn Cheese cubes according to taste 2 tsp olive oil 50 gm chopped black olives Salt to taste 2 tsp lemon juice Salad dressing Toss all ingredients together and dribble dressing on top.


Noriega juice Serves: 1 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream 1/2 cup avocado juice 1/2 banana 1/2 pineapple 1/2 mango 4-5 strawberries 1/2 kiwi Cut the strawberry, mango and kiwi into slices. In a glass, pour the avocado juice at the bottom then add strawberry slices, then mango, kiwi and ice cream. Garnish with fresh fruits.

Co-ordinated by: Myssaa Said Al Hinai Photographs: Sathyadas C. Narayanan





Style Al Mar’a Festival 2010 showcased some scintillating designs of top fashion designers from Dubai. Among them was Salma Khan of SK Fashion House, a hotshot designer on the Dubai fashion scene. She finds inspiration from nature, Dubai’s multicultural influences and major international fashion trends.





















ARIES - 2011 will be a busy year. You could find yourself working twice as hard to accomplish things, but careful planning before you start could render things easier for you. The main difficulty this year could be your innate impatience. Move slowly and diligently, and the results you want should manifest and be appreciated by the right people. Advancing your career won’t be as easy as you wish it could be, though. It’s going to take effort, skill, and patience. Remember that attaining goals takes time, so don’t walk away from any dream before you’ve given it your all. TAURUS - If the past few years have been difficult, you’ll be relieved to know that 2011 is going to be better than previous years. The tension you’ve experienced will definitely lighten up! Your finances will definitely improve, and the rest of your life will be relaxed and enjoyable. March and May should be your best months. You’ll want to work hard and make as much money as possible, but try to cut your expenses this year. A complete career change could transform your life, but don’t be nervous. New friends will appear - so you’ll have a strong support system. GEMINI - Busy as usual, Gemini? You’ll make many commitments this year - but you might have troubles keeping them all. It’s better to give an honest “no” than to have to break a promise. June and October should be your best months. Make the most of them! The psychic bond between you and your beloved will increase the understanding between you. November is the biggest challenge but come December your relationship should calm back down. Singles, if it’s commitment you want, it should come your way. However, remember that both you and your partner will want lives of your own. The keyword is balance. CANCER - You may want to widen your social circle and meet more people outside your work this year. It’ll be more fun, and probably more interesting. This year you’re going to want to expand your horizons, and perhaps travel to a place you’ve always wanted to see. You’ll meet



interesting people and view fascinating places. Your love life should be about as close to a fairytale as real life can be. However, don’t get complacent and take your partner for granted. Career wise, you’re comfortable where you are, but a part of you wants to try something more challenging. Why not look into something different? You just might find something even better than you can imagine now. LEO - You should be looking forward to a great year, Leo. One or more of your most treasured aspirations might finally become a reality. Make it happen for yourself. All you need to watch out for is exhaustion. Too many late nights and rushed projects could take their toll. Pace yourself. A friend could convince you to start taking some classes. You may have doubts, but you’re very likely to meet some great people who will share tips that could turn your life in a different direction. They can provide the last piece to a puzzle that you’ve tried to put together for years. VIRGO - Expect a year of surprises especially where people are concerned. Friends you’ve known for years will suddenly start doing weird things. You’ll also change quite a bit. Socially, you’re going to get out more this year. A friend could talk you into meeting some new people, and you’ll definitely be grateful. The people you meet should be interesting and intelligent and you might embrace some new ideas. You may not be particularly ambitious, but you do want to find the best possible job for you and your skill set. There’s nothing wrong with checking out a few possibilities, even if you have a secure job. LIBRA - Some perplexing decisions await you - and the more you ponder them, the more confused you’ll become. Sleep on it all. They are too important to act on impulsively or with too much emotion. Whether you’re wondering about your job, a relationship, or your finances, share your concerns with someone. Singles will need to set aside insecurities resulting from past break-ups, and keep going out and meeting new people. The

day will come when you find just the right person for you. If you’re seeking a better job, start looking seriously in the first part of 2011. Use your intuition. Sometimes the brain can be stifling - and confusing as well. SCORPIO - Your health, social life, and career should all blossom in 2011. Opportunities will come, and you’ll jump on them. Make sure, however, that this is what you truly want. You’re going to feel stronger and more confident, and this will spill over into other departments of life.

you can. Don’t worry. As long as you do your best, you won’t have to worry about your earning potential. CAPRICORN - ou may start 2011 feeling tired and discouraged, but your mood will pick up very quickly. Keep yourself busy doing what you love. It’ll lift your spirits and stimulate your creativity. You have a strong constitution, and you rarely get sick. However, you do work hard and end too many of your days going home exhausted. You need to pace yourself when you’re busy. The world won’t end if a task takes a little longer to finish. Jobs come and jobs go, but family and friends are forever. Make a resolution to spend more time with these very special people in 2011. Except for the usual ups and downs, you should have a great year.

What the



in 2011. An overview…

You enjoy your own company, but this year you just might turn into a social butterfly. However it manifests, your career is likely to blossom this year. Your income will increase, and relations with colleagues will be congenial. Even your boss will respect you on a deeper level. SAGITTARIUS - You’re an optimistic soul, and this should be a great year for you. Your intuition is very active, so “it” just might happen. Just be sure to look before you leap. Sagittarians in a relationship might already have a number

AQUARIUS - You’ve made elaborate plans for 2011, and are determined to complete them all. There could, however, be last-minute changes that need to be made. Don’t be too inflexible. Go with the flow. Work hard and you’ll continue to advance and make a name for yourself. This year, you just might find more close companions than you ever did before. Learn from them. Get to know them well. Find another job if you‘re unsatisfied with your current one. Just make sure your relationship is going well. You and your partner need each other to be present, mentally and physically.

of ideas about the future, especially when it comes to learning. Discuss what each of you wants to do and try to learn together. You enjoy taking classes, meeting with friends, attending plays, concerts, and lectures. You should make time for that this year. If you’re single and the right person doesn’t appear in 2011, you might be disappointed, but still, you should enjoy the quest for love. Someone is out there for you. The right one will show up at the right time. Money has not always been your primary goal, but now you need to make as much as

PISCES - Your intuition and artistic abilities should blossom like wildflowers in spring. It’s important that you keep a written record of your insights and inspirations. You may eventually want to put them into an actionable form. As long as you use your talents and continue to enrich your spiritual life, you should be content throughout 2011. You’ll enjoy robust health. You view the world in a unique way, and you thrive on learning. Your everyday life should be a stimulating one. 2011 could be one of your happiest years. Your true career may not involve your present job. You spend much of your time off working on something more important to you. It just might blend into your paid work this year.





Al Mara - January 2011 (English Copy)  
Al Mara - January 2011 (English Copy)  

Al Mara - January 2011 (English Copy)