March 2018 - VOLUME 11, ISSUE 3
we speak your language
HOW ARTBAB HAS REDEFINED BAHRAINâ€™S ENGAGEMENT WITH THE GLOBAL ART WORLD
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Note from the Chairman
Our engagement with academia is judged by how well we fare in exams. Exams decide our success rate in future studies as well as the jobs market. Poor results tell on our self-esteem and can actually cause deep-seated damage, much more than the success that good results may bring. Naturally, parents who want the best for their children, insist that preparations for exams must be water-tight. Teachers and school authorities insist on good results so that their school’s name is burnished with the glow of good results. What happens is that, students are inevitably caught in the middle and bear most of the stress. Asian parents put more emphasis on exam success than Arabs, I believe. Since the system is made by the people, Asian school and college culture is a blur of exams and extra tuitions to satisfy the craving of parents and teachers for the top mark. Why, I have heard that there is a whole township in India, called Kota, which revolves around tuition institutions that promise students entry success in general exams to top-class institutes for professional studies in engineering and medicine. The Indian PM Narendra Modi also dedicated one session of his weekly radio talk to taking Q&A from Indian students on how to ace exams. As the song goes, the trick is to “..start at the very beginning...a very good place to start.” In this case, that place is the classroom. If we made classrooms smarter with I nternet-enabled whiteboards to lead lessons, thought-provoking projects and interactive lessons instead of rote learning, we will maximise the potential of students. This counting of marks to the last decimal does not give us the true measure of the student’s processing of information. Parents too have a role to play. They must let children blossom into their true talent and find their true calling in life and not shoehorn them into career paths that are unsuitable. Most importantly, as exam season approaches, let us shower caring and love on these young ones so that they are psychologically prepared for every eventuality and to face ever challenge. 25 W x 16H Capt. Mahmood Al Mahmood
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Highlights March 2018
20 SPECIAL FEATURE Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai?
Love is a many-splendoured thing and everybody loves lovers. We bring you three very different True Love Stories to remind you that this magical feeling can transform lives and is present even in the midst of our everyday bustle.
Plus size parade Indian designers are waking up to the potential of a multi-million rupee market for stylish and well-tailored plus-size clothes. Gone are the shapeless, dark dresses; in come the beautiful layered and colourful clothes.
A to M of women’s health
The first of a two-part series, we take an alphabetic tour of health challenges faced by women.
COVER STORY ArtBAB – strokes of change
Art Bahrain Across Borders has opened new worlds of appreciation for Bahraini artists. Fair & Programme Director Kaneka Subberwal explains the dynamics of this art movement.
36 IN THE NEWS
Born to Serve
Prof. M.S. Sunil has dedicated herself to building homes for the most needy. She received her Work of Mercy award from SYMS Bahrain, presented by Fr. Tom who taught forgiveness by blessing his Yemeni captors.
11 CHINESE FOCUS
Commerce & Cuisine from China
With the Year of the Earth Dog just begun, we turn the spotlight on the Chinese community’s commercial success in Bahrain. Dragon City, the marvellous treasure house full of amazing variety, the many Chinese restaurants in Bahrain and a full report of what this Chinese zodiac year means to each one of us.
• 11 Dragon City – shopping revolution • 14 Fortune Favours the Dog • 50 China on your plate
32 FINANCIAL PLANNING
Women & financial plans
Women need to take independent financial decisions and get independent life insurance cover. Recent studies argue for more involvement by women in their financial well-being.
P, SHU GUP D OO LYW BOL S IX U ..PL NE P SCE Y T PAR
• 34 Ayaz Memon • 44 Shobhaa De
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Balqees Fakhro - The Journey of Life, 120 X 140 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014
ArtBAB – a canvas of progress
Kaneka Subberwal talks about how art has changed Bahrain’s dialogue with the world since ArtBAB came into being Bahrain’s vibrant and talented art scene has been on a roll for three years now – ever since visionary art consultant Kaneka Subberwal opened the doors for the world to discover the unique and gorgeous art that flowed onto the canvases and sculpted forms of the Kingdom’s artists. Art Bahrain Across Borders (ArtBAB) is the flagship project of the company and a personal dream of Kaneka’s. The third edition of the prestigious
and ambitious ArtBAB 2018, is being held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty The King of Bahrain and President of the Supreme Council For Women. The official opening is on March 14 and the exhibition runs till March 18 at the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre. ArtBAB is supported by Tamkeen, Bahrain’s change management agency and has 8 SALAAM BAHRAIN
by MEERA RAVI already proven its worth by showcasing Bahraini artists in ways that have not been tried before. ArtBAB will feature over 45 exhibitors, a Bahraini artists’ pavilion, an extensive talks and education programme, three key special projects and a kids’ zone for young starters that provides an overview of contemporary art in Bahrain and the region. The most exciting thing about
ArtBAB is that it has consistently offered a new narrative on how one understands modern Bahrain. Seen through the interpretative art of its finest artists and most creative mind, one gets to experience a new Bahrain where an ancient heritage is decoded and brilliantly put together on canvas and through sculptures. It is also a commentary on the values that move the Kingdom, which is one of the most forward-thinking in the region. Bahraini women are not shy about experimenting with their art and through ArtBAB and participation in international exhibitions in which they have been supported by Art Bahrain, they have transformed the way Arab women are perceived. In the run-up to the exhibition, we caught up with Kaneka Subberwal, the brain and the moving force behind ArtBAB. Q. Tell us about the organic growth of ArtBAB since it began and how it has worked with your vision of offering the world a completely different narrative about Bahrain? Kaneka: ArtBAB as the name suggests - Art Bahrain Across Borders - was conceived as a medium to connect artists of Bahrain to the global art community, enabling Bahraini artists to showcase their talent, identify new platforms for their art and establish themselves internationally. This simple yet challenging conception has a very straight forward dual vertical programme. The Art Fair brings together about the creative community across borders to Bahrain. The ArtBAB artist programme takes our artists across borders to collaborate with creative communities across the world. This process has resonated in increasing our global outreach, awareness, recognition and facilitation of collection of our artists’ works today by discerning art collectors across the global community.
Q. Have you seen a quickening of interest in Bahraini art in the Kingdom and in the countries that ArtBAB has exhibited in - the UK and India? Kaneka: Communication is a very effective medium of outreach and if the subject is enriched in content like the works of artists of Bahrain are, then it’s only a matter of time before it resonates in their appreciation, acceptance and acquisition across borders. We launched in the UK in May 2016 – since then, there has been an increase of 22.5% in sales as on December 2017. With India, our first two shows in Delhi and Mumbai saw a total of 11 works being sold. This for a huge market like India, where buyers are traditionally used to buying Indian art was a very big footprint as it establishes an impact on a discerning Indian art collector. Q. Has there been a quantum leap in the quality of art emerging from Bahrain and the Middle East since ArtBAB exposed Bahraini artists to the world? Kaneka: There is a reason why challenge is the best form of experience and enhancement. As human beings when our ability, faculty and skillset is put to test, that’s when we shine our best because we compete with ourselves and not with anybody else. The challenge of not only existing but establishing and creating a sustained impact in unchartered waters exposes a whole new strength which may not have been stimulated in a comfort zone. This is visible from the tremendous increase in the body of work, form of work, the thematic inspiration of the collection and the will to experiment that we see coming out of the current collection of our artists. Q. How is ArtBAB 2018 different? It has grown tremendously I be9 SALAAM BAHRAIN
lieve and this year has a vibrant speaker and workshop section and a children’s art section too which is a first - art exhibitions usually tend to be pretty stuffy and ‘all grown up’. What made you think of a children’s interactive session? Kaneka: “It’s all about Education. The more we learn, the more we grow.” Education is the only size that fits all and is like oxygen and water that are never enough. Therefore, it is imperative that we begin at an earlier age, as the age to begin may still have a timeline but the process of learning is never enough. Thus, our theme this year is Education, Education that leads to collaboration, education in technique and forms of various different spheres of art. It is this focus that has brought together our selection of exhibitors, speakers and focal topic to touch upon. As for the kid’s space, I have always believed that like the artist, art should never be contained. There is so much of colour to spread that the more it spills, the more beauty, peace and life we see around us.
ArtBAB Mumbai show an India gateway More than 20 Bahraini artists took part in the Art Bahrain Across Borders (Art BAB), held for the first time in Mumbai, India. Celebrities came to admire and buy contemporary Bahraini art and were full of praise for the interpretation of the country’s history and culture
Q. The growing India-Bahrain art engagement is an exciting new story. ArtBAB even made a huge impression in the India Art Fair 2018. Tell us about India being the biggest participant in terms of a foreign nation at ArtBAB 2018? Also tell us about how ArtBAB did at India Art Fair 2018 and the two hugely successful exhibitions of Bahraini art in Delhi and Mumbai? Kaneka: India being a significantly large contributor of Asian Art, has always been part of ArtBAB since its inception. In Year 1, we had artists like Jaideep Mehrotra, Sujata Bajaj, Satish Gupta and Binoy Verghese. Year 2 brought about Samara Art Gallery from Ahmedabad, Project 88 from Mumbai, both being very wellestablished art galleries who brought their collection of very versatile artists.
by the artists. Uddhav Thackeray, the President of the Shiv Sena Party and his son, Aditya Thackeray, the founder of the Yuva Sena, were at the opening as were Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandes and director Subhash Ghai.
This year sees a significant increase as we have Jaideep Mehrotra coming back with a solo show, followed by a ‘Building Bridges’ curated exhibition showcasing three contemporary Indian artists; Samara Art Gallery, Ahmedabad back after their success last year and Nitanjali Art Gallery from Delhi. We are looking forward to receiving and welcoming them. The India Art Fair was an unexpectedly overwhelming experience. The sheer numbers that our artists’ work drew was a proof of their connect with both the buyers and their compatriots. The fact that we did four sales in the first hour of the opening of the sales was the cherry on the ice cream. Q. As an art consultant, will 2018 be a good time to buy serious art? 2017 saw a global slump; will 2018 wake up? Kaneka: I said this before in 2009, 10 SALAAM BAHRAIN
when asked in Dubai, the question then being that - How will the art market survive the crash? My answer then I will repeat now: Art is a real form of alternate investment. It is not a thing of today, in fact, art is a thing going down generations. The way we approach art, the way we deal with it and who deals with it has a great effect on its productivity. As an imbalanced approach it will always lead to the ‘Slump’ that you referred to. Art is a human irreplaceable asset – just because an artist is going through a fecund period and churning out masterpieces, it does not mean that the value of these masterpieces will become devalued because there are so many! We pull down the value of art only through our ‘managing’ of it. Experience, knowledge and understanding of the market and the artists in extremely important but if
cover story every person in the neighbourhood starts ‘doing’ art then there will certainly be a slump. The focal point of any creative economy is and must always be the artist, his positioning, outreach, scalability and stability as long as that is maintained and guided by experience handling the only way in up.
Omar Al Rashed - Untitled 1, 187 x 150 cm, Oil on Canvas
Q. What are the top three things one should look for when investing in art? Kaneka: You need to love it, you need to enjoy it. At the end of it your art is your asset. If you do not enjoy looking at it every morning then the value is diminished. Being a lifestyle asset, art has a very large human quotient. Therefore, you must buy it because you want to buy it and not because you have to or because your neighbour has bought it. And last but not the least you do not need million dollars to invest in art. Your passion for it is a start. I remember creating various portfolios for young starters with a saving of $1,000 which today has multiplied a thousand fold.
Q. Bahraini artists watch in 2018.
Kaneka: It’s probably the only question I never answer because I feel that there is a star in each one of us and it is only a matter of time that you will see it shine in each one of us. Q. International art trends to notice in 2018. Kaneka: Mixed Media: I remember introducing it for the first time in Bahrain in 2009 by a solo show of an
Indian artist - Amiya Bhattacharya, an ex - professor from Calcutta College of Art. Today it has become prevalent all around. Performance Art is picking up ground and impacting many. You will see a glimpse of it at ArtBAB 2018.
Exotic Malaysia Week celebrations in March Malaysia conjures up a lovely sense of exotic Asia as well as a feeling of home for people from many countries since it used to be the destination for many from India, China and other countries. This migrant wave settled here and created a composite culture by blending with the local regional ethos – the result was a new way of Ambassador doing things that retained startling similarities with what people called ‘home’ country. To put Malaysia in perspective, Agus Salim bin Yusof recently announced the first Malaysia Week which will take place from March 3 to 11, at different
locations in Bahrain. Among the events lined up during the week are food promotions to highlight Malaysian cuisine at Wyndham Garden Hotel and Swiss-Belhotel; a premium real estate presentation; a Malaysian food bazaar promoting Malaysian goods in the aisles of popular Al Jazira Supermarket, hightea at the beautiful Janabiya residence of the Ambassador, music by a special Malaysian band and a fashion show. There will also be the soft launch of a Malaysian Alumni Society, given that many Bahrainis and expats from here go to universities in Malaysia to study. The 11 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Malaysian community is just a little over 500 in Bahrain but has contributed richly to the Kingdom’s growth as professionals.
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Dragon City a shopping revolution Located in Diyar Al Muharraq, Dragon Mall, Bahrainâ€™s flagship wholesale and retail shopping centre for quality products from China and the Far East, has fast gained popularity with shoppers at every level, from businessmen in the wholesale business to tourists looking for quality bargain items to take back home and visiting shoppers from neighbouring GCC countries. The sprawling shopping destination was inaugurated in 2015 and is a first of its kind and encompasses over 787 commercial units, making it the largest wholesale and retail trading centre in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Situated to the south-west of Diyar Al Muharraq in close proximity to Bahrainâ€™s International
Airport, the state-of-the-art Khalifa Bin Salman Port and the Capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Manama, Dragon City, in which the Dragon Mall is located, caters to customers from both the Kingdom and beyond. Dragon City is infused with Chinese architectural and cultural aspects and offers Chinese products of the highest quality to local consumers, trade customers and tourists. Encompassing four parts, Dragon City is made up of Dragon Mall, a 4,500 sqm area designated for Warehouses, the Dining Village and Dragon Apartments. As a hub for trade, commerce and investment opportunities in the region, Dragon City is of great value to the 13 SALAAM BAHRAIN
AS YOU SAID, DRAGON CITY HAS MADE REMARKABLE CHANGES AS THE KINGDOM’S LARGEST SHOPPING MALL. NUMEROUS UPGRADES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED IN THE CITY, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO THE RETAIL SEGMENT. WE HAVE A VARIETY OF TOYS, APPAREL, COSMETICS, LIGHTING PRODUCTS, BUILDING MATERIALS, HOME FURNISHINGS, CAR AND MOBILE ACCESSORIES, KITCHENWARE ETC. V. Rajapandian, Deputy General Manager of Chinamex Bahrain
national economy of Bahrain in providing more choices of merchandise at very competitive prices for both retail and wholesale customers. Through its trade and tourism activities, Dragon City has introduced so many benefits to the Kingdom, including negating travel expenses for Bahraini businessmen dealing with Chinese firms and providing added value to Bahrain by thrusting it into the global investment limelight. Dragon City has also played a vital part in creating more employment and business opportunities for Bahraini citizens and has stimulated the Kingdom’s retail, wholesale, export, leisure as well as tourism sectors. Having tasted success as a centre for shopping for Chinese goods, Chinamex Bahrain Management Company, the operating company of Dragon City and the Dragon Mall has recently changed its strategy and has exciting plans to embrace a wider community other than wholesale shoppers. The Mall also offers more than just Chinese goods, these days and is keen to let the community know this. Salaam Bahrain spoke to the Deputy
General Manager of Chinamex Bahrain, V. Rajapandian, for an update on the plans for shoppers. 1. Dragon City is now entering its third year and we see that there are many changes in this largest shopping city of the Kingdom. There is a finer emphasis on quality of goods and also on diversity – shops from Korea and other Asian countries have joined successful Chinese sellers. What can a shopper expect from Dragon City in 2018? As you said, Dragon City has made remarkable changes as the Kingdom’s largest shopping mall. Numerous upgrades have been implemented in the city, especially when it comes to the retail segment. We have a variety of toys, apparel, cosmetics, lighting products, building materials, home furnishings, car and mobile accessories, kitchenware etc. We cover all kinds of construction and post construction products for homes or big buildings. Our good quality of products come from various regions of Asia, providing for all basic needs. A shopper can never leave Dragon City with only one item. 14 SALAAM BAHRAIN
2. I understand the management is actively reaching out to show that all communities can be served at Dragon City. Have you got plans to attract customers/visitors from the rest of Bahrain who may find the mall a bit distant? For example week-end shuttle buses from town and more such ideas to drive the crowd? Yes. In 2017, we attracted a large number of eager customers who felt Dragon City is bit distant by providing them with shuttle services. Based on demand, we will similarly consider shuttle services in the future, so that Dragon City can be more accessible here in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In order to pull an even bigger crowd, Dragon City tenants will continue to upgrade their new products, from fashion items, accessories and kids' toys, to construction materials, furniture, and many more. We will also increase our presence through social media, radio channels, our advertising agents etc. 3.Dragon City is about showcasing Chinese commercial innovation and culture also. How does the
china focus management manage this mix of two diverse aspects of Chinese presence? Your cultural events are quite popular I believe. Tell us more about how you choose them. Will we see culture from other participating countries like Korea in the future? The Management of Chinamex is keen on hosting cultural shows to demonstrate to people that we don’t solely encourage consumer products, but are also invested in showcasing the cultural aspect of China. We have faced no difficulty in balancing these two aspects, owing to our good organisation and the richness of Chinese culture and history, which lends itself well a variety of events. We are also interested in initiating all regional and popular customs of the world. 4. Who shops at Dragon City? Wholesalers or discerning retail customers? We serve wholesalers - such as wellknown companies in the GCC who always prefer Dragon City as best choice for goods procurement - as well as retailers. We wish for Dragon City to serve all types of customers, always.
5. What percentage of customers come from neighbouring GCC countries? We receive over 19,000 customers a day, which doubles during weekends and public holidays. During 2017, Dragon City received over 10 million visitors from across the region, and the 20th million visitor milestone is expected this year. Nearly 50% amongst these visitors come from KSA and Kuwait, etc., contributing 60% plus of the sales from Dragon City. These are very positive figures, which means that Dragon City has successfully adopted the role of a reexporting hub between China and the Gulf via Bahrain. 6.Has Dragon City’s promised Food Court opened fully? What food court attractions are currently operating and what are t future plans? In addition to operating within mall timings, the food court is open for an extended hour after shops are closed, in order to serve hungry last minute customer who were busy shopping. We have the famous Jasmi's, Arabic and Italian home-made fast food “Food Stop” and other famous outlets like Subway, Vanelis, Teriyaki, Takatak, etc
15 SALAAM BAHRAIN
here at Dragon City. We also have an Italian yoghurt ice-cream shop, Esquires café shop, Derby Café, Chai Chappathi, Kono Pizza, Expresso kiosk, STOM café, etc. Our future plan is to open the Dining Village, constituting of 18 A-Class restaurants of Asian Cuisine, which will provide a more special experience for the foodie and family to spend time. 7. What about new lines of merchandise – robotics-influenced entertainment and electronics, Smart Home accessories, wearables etc. Are they also part of your new lines of products? Certainly. We have installed VR machines in Gate Number 2 for visitors to experience virtual reality. We have also advanced home entertainments, wearables, etc. and will introduce more entertainment and fun products at Dragon City soon. 8. How many shops at Dragon City? The mall covers an area of 54,000 m2 and houses over 787 retail and wholesale commercial units, making it the largest in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Fortune favours THE DOG What the Chinese Year of the Dog holds for those born under the 12 animal Zodiac signs According to Chinese Zodiac, the Dog is the eleventh of all zodiac animals. A myth says that the Jade Emperor set the order of the animals on the Chinese Zodiac according to when they arrived to his party â€“ and so, the Monkey, Rooster and Dog who came together are one after another in the Chinese zodiac. Unlike Western astrology, in Chinese Zodiac, each sign lasts for a whole year and each
1. The Ambitious Rat
year takes the name of an animal whose characteristics colour and influence everything that happens for the next 12 months. This is the Year of the Earth Dog (sometimes called the Yellow Dog). Dog years are quiet years where loyalty and prudent action is rewarded and the Earth Dog Cycle is even more careful and slow to action.
2. The Hard-working Ox
By ADITI NAGAPPA 2018 is the Year Of The Dog, signalling a fortunate 12 months ahead for most of those born in the 'dog' years of 1935, 1947, 1959, Jan 1971, 1982, 1994 and 2006. It also influences the fortunes of the other 11 animal signs, depending on their relationship with the dog. What do the next 12 months hold in store for each of the Chinese zodiac signs?
3. The Impulsive Tiger
1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Plus A financially successful year, the Rat knows how to duck and dive in order to reach his goal and usually avoids confrontation at all cost, making this a year of negotiation and diplomacy in order to reap the ultimate reward.
Plus The Ox also understands the money energy this year but this is discreet money that very few know about. The Rat and the Ox make an excellent team in the financial world particularly on long-term investments.
Challenge Rat energy moves very quickly and this year you have the slow, prudent Dog energy to deal with. An Earth Dog, no less, the slowest, most careful, most conservative of all the Dogs. But for Rat natives, challenges mean opportunities for creative solutions and this year your storehouse of skills comes in handy.
Challenge There will be difficulties and obstacles but with a little extra effort, you can move mountains this year! Don't shy away from things you want to do because obstacles will fall away once you've set your mind to your goal. It's a good year to get out of the house. Travel and being social brings rewards. Try to do it even if you would rather sit it out.
Plus This is a lucky year for Tiger. The tiger, the horse, the monkey, the rooster and the rabbit all connect well with the dog and understand how to be part of his team. For these people there is tremendous potential to go forth and multiply in 2018 because they have the energy of the leader watching their back. This opportunity is strong for the Tiger as he has bright ideas of his own as well as a natural ability to know when to pounce and seize the moment.
16 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Challenge You have many opportunities especially if you follow the rules. This is your only challenge this year. Fall in line and you
In 2018, thanks to the overall influence of the Earth Dog sign, people will be watchful but not quick to take action unless suddenly it feels necessary and even then there will be a strong desire to hold back, to wait and plan. People will be more apt to worry rather than act (which figures, given the rough and uncertain 2017 that we lived through). When things are done they will be done in the most efficient manner, with no will be at the head of the line in no time. Take breaks for fun but remember this is a year where serious energy is the norm, so don't feel bad if others don't join you at the party.
wasted energy. Success comes slowly but surely after such careful plans. 2018 will be a purpose filled year. After the intense energy last year we're more pragmatic and careful with our time but not necessarily our money (what constitutes an extravagance for one will be considered a necessity for another). People become innovative and clever where resources are scarce. Working with others, pulling together differ-
5. The Powerful Dragon
ent people with diverse talents will fuel the breakthroughs we'll see this year. In 2018, we benefit by following our instincts. We have nothing to fear in moving forward when our gut confirms it's the right direction. In Dog years we can be sentimental, thinking of the past, what worked and what lessons we learned. We can incorporate that knowledge and our connection to the guidance of the Universe to confidently move forward on our goals.
6. The Wise Snake
1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Plus The Dragon horoscope 2018 predicts that this year, you will become more sure of yourself and assert your originality, especially in your career, where your qualities will be acknowledged by your superiors and colleagues. For couples, the love life will be great despite some scuffles and singles will find true love.
Plus A good year for The Snake even though you will have to make some compromises and adjustments throughout the year. You see money and relationship opportunities when you open your eyes. Others will be in awe of your wisdom and advice. Take some time for yourself and care for your health in general. Eat right and exercise and you will gain many benefits.
4. The Diplomatic Rabbit 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Plus A happy year ahead for Rabbit natives. Lots of the issues of the previous year just seem to work themselves out. You find doors opening that have been closed before. You get “yes” where you only found “no” in the past. 2018 is also a good year for fertility and producing the next generation for the Rabbit. Challenge That said, don't rock the boat at work. It would be best to be in harmony with your supervisor. If you can't, then it's time to on to something else.
Challenge A challenging year for people under this sign - But you’ll also have the tendency to adopt overly radical positions at times; try to be more moderate. You need to make peace with enemies or at least find a compromise otherwise you will find your way forward blocked. Or you can remove yourself entirely by moving or changing jobs. It is advisable that anyone born in the year of the dragon wears either a red string around his waist or wears red underwear or red socks all year for protections from the challenges of the Dog. 17 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Challenge The Snake will do well to stay close to home this year, in other words, all he needs is in the palm of his hands. His greatest allies are his neighbours and with the right collaboration success can be his by the end of the year.
7. The Popular Horse 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
8. The Generous Goat 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
True friends will emerge and you will find some real loyalty in unexpected places. Invest cautiously and reap rewards. Challenge A somewhat challenging year for those born in the Monkey Years as you are wanting to have things move much faster than they seem to be. You must focus on the progress you are making, which is in the right direction, and allow things to take the time they take.
10. The Inquisitive Rooster Plus A good year for Horse as you find others ready and willing to help you in your goals. Try to team up with the Tiger. You have opportunities when you tell others of what you want. Obstacles crumble before you once you step on the path. You can move up in your career as well as enter into some very valuable relationships. Invitations to social events should not be ignored. Challenge As a native of this Sign, you abhor the unforeseen. Nevertheless, it will be in your best interest to act quickly if changes come to disrupt your career schedule. Given the favourable astral configurations of the year, such modifications will play in your favour, on the condition that you take up the challenge. Donâ€™t be doubtful of your abilities; youâ€™ll find the necessary resources within yourself to make the most of changing conditions.
Plus While this is a rather stressful year, your stress turns to joy as you see the changes are really for the best. Doors that shut reveal new doors that lead to real opportunities and ultimately success. A high achiever, this year brings success in examinations or legal matters. Challenge A somewhat stressful year for those under this sign as there are many changes happening in your life or to people you care about. This could mean job changes, moving or changes in important relationships.
9. The Clever Monkey 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Plus The Monkey and his neighbour the Rooster work very well together with the Dog to form a powerful team. This is a great year for the Monkey to use his intelligence and progress his career. 18 SALAAM BAHRAIN
1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Plus A much better year for the Rooster and people with you gaining a lot of ground where it seemed to be lost before. You are now making solid progress on your goals and while you haven't hit the end zone yet you can see you're on your way. The Rooster will go far this year, especially if he accepts the contribution to the cause from the Monkey and the Dog. Relationships with others improve and old wounds begin to heal. It's good to be social as it brings opportunities. Challenge The Rooster can expect to experience short periods of stagnation and insecurity as far as his romatic life is concerned. S/he may also may also need to take care of health matters this year.
future perfect 11. The Loyal Dog 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Challenge The Dog’s vulnerability is to procrastinate too long and miss that opportunity so be sharp-eyed this year in order to maximise on your own potential.
12. The Intuitive Pig (Boar) 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Plus A good but hard year as you start your new 12 year cycle. The things you wanted in the past have no interest for you now. New opportunities are everywhere but you see little progress though you're working hard. There are no obstacles except your own self doubt. Trust yourself and step onto the path by taking direct action. Small results will grow into large gains.
rewards of the last cycle. Take what you know and parlay that into a better job, a deeper more loving relationship, stronger social connections or whatever you want. The trustworthy and diligent Pig holds the purse strings to both money and power in 2018. The money is especially dominant if he joins forces with the team of the Rat and the Ox. The financial gains can then lead him into a world of regard and respect in the workplace if he joins forces with the Tiger. Challenge This is a year to take decisive action. It's harvest time. Avoid procrastination at all costs.
Plus This is the last year of your 12 year cycle. You have the opportunity to reap the
Jai Ho 2018 – A Super Hit Poorna Corp presented “Ponmaalai Pozhuthu” at the Indian Club and the event, which showcased Tamil TV reality and comedy show artists was a super hit. With Zayani Motors as title sponsor, the support of committed individuals such as Mr. and Mrs. Innayathullah, Tamil Community President Arnachallam, Nanda Kumar, the Entertainment Secretary of The Indian Club and Ratna Raj, the former President of the Tamil Community, the show set new standards in entertainment. Anita Hariharan, MD of Poorna Corp ably held the organisational end of the event. The highlight of the event was the mimicry by Mr Naveen, who brought Dr J Jayalalitha (former CM of Tamil Nadu), Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (former President of India) and many known figures in front of the audience with his mimicry talent. He is trying for his Guinness record. 19 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Rajastanis share royal culture Padharo Mhare Desh is the traditional greeting inviting guests to Rajasthani homes and hearts. In Bahrain, the Rajasthanis in Bahrain (R.I.B.) have made this a desert fiesta full of colour and their state's royal charm. This year's event was a fantastic introduction to the beauty of the people and culture of this royal state in India.
20 SALAAM BAHRAIN
A vibrant R-Day at Lulu
Lulu Hypermarket pulled out all stops to celebrate India’s Republic Day with a vibrant programme that deepened this favourite store’s link across all generations of the community. There was a grand promotion of crafts with craftsmen from India, a colourful fashion show beautifully presented by the ‘amateur professionals’ of Punjabis United in Bahrain and dances by children of the Bharati Association. The best part of the evening was a presentation of gifts to high-achieving students from the community. These proud students were presented with gifts and publicly honoured by Indian Ambassador Alok Kumar Sinha.
Columbia comes to Capital Club In February, the Capital Club once again raised the bar on exploring innovation in haute cuisine with a carefully crafted Latin-American nouvelle interpretation by culinary duo, Nicholas Lopez and Sergio Meza of the Villanos en Bermudas. Argentinian Nicholas Lopez and Mexican Sergio Meza’s restaurant is among the Top 40 in Latin America’s Best Restaurants in 2017 and it showed – at a media lunch, the
duo showcased a stand-out meal. The most intriguing dishes were a chocolate sauce infused with 22 different herbs for a chicken and rice main course and a wonderful bitter chocolate dessert with Columbian coffee mousse topping. Seen here with the two celeb chefs are General Manager Sumit Jhingan (right) and Asst. Events Manager Yousef Buenaobra. 21 SALAAM BAHRAIN
true love As we introduce our section on True Love Stories, what better quirky take on romance than Carol Ann Duffyâ€™s poem Valentine? A reminder that love can be found and celebrated in unusual situations and in so many different ways!
Valentine Not a red rose or a satin heart. I give you an onion. It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful undressing of love. Here. It will blind you with tears like a lover. It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief. I am trying to be truthful. Not a cute card or a kissogram. I give you an onion. Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips, possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are. Take it. Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring, if you like. Lethal. Its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife.
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A love story brought to you by
Malabar Gold & Diamonds
The yin & yang in each other’s life journey - Sarah & Gagan Suri Although the novel ’65 West 55th Street’ by Bahrain resident Gagan Suri, is a fictionalised memoir about the love affair and marriage between him, an Indian Punjabi and his Pakistani wife Sarah, the most moving paragraph belongs to his late mother-in-law. She was fiercely opposed to the couple marrying until faced with her own
mortality in her fight with cancer. That was when she realised that she trusted her daughter to make the right choice and also that she trusted Gagan to stand by her daughter always. Describing her acceptance of their love and shedding of prejudice, Gagan has beautifully encapsulated the secret of his and Sarah’s successful relationship: 23 SALAAM BAHRAIN
“We are all sent to this world equal and empty-handed. All that we take back with us is our experience and what we have learned. We gather biases and prejudice along the way. Blessed are the ones who leave the world just as pure as they come into it.” Gagan, the CEO of Bahrain Bay and Sarah, a talented fashion designer and
home-maker, make a dashing couple. His broad-shouldered Punjabi good looks are complemented by her porcelain beauty that can ease you into warmth with a twinkling smile. They are a young family with two sons, Zyan and
and make a life together. But like most Asian children, we had been raised to be so obedient that our families simply could not fathom that we would overrule them!” Sarah recalls. “We were lucky that we were able to
The couple pose with the book which is based on their love story
Aaryan in their teens. It was love at first sight for both – or should we say love at first phone call?
Mistrust impact “We met on a blind date in New York but had been in touch for some time before that on the phone, so I was quite attracted to his personality already,” Sarah says. For Gagan, Sarah was the woman he wanted to spend his life with, from the moment he set eyes on her. “And the feeling was strengthened by the amazing food she prepared for me when we first met,” he laughed, “I thought to myself ‘Here is a beautiful woman, who seems to be a fine human being, keeps a beautiful home and cooks like an angel – I’d be crazy to let her out of my life!” Of course, in their youthful confidence, the couple had not factored in the historic mistrust between their families, rooted in the Indian-Pakistani diplomatic tussle and how it would impact their own growing love. “I think we both were determined from the beginning to stay the course
Gagan came to Pakistan after my mother died, I remember everyone who’d meet Gagan would remark, “He’s just like us!” I’d laugh and say, “What did you expect, two horns on his head?” Similarly, I had so many doubts to clear
With son Aaryan and the family pooch (older son Zyan was away)
make the effort and understand our own cultural differences because of our love,” Gagan says, “That strengthened us to face both our families and communities – yes, even in faraway Canada, where our love culminated in marriage, the Indian and Pakistani communities were aghast at our being a couple. Looking back, I think two things helped us. The first was our faith in each other and our love. We were committed to being there for each other in the face of most bitter opposition.”
Reward “The second thing was our communicating with each family member individually, one at a time and clearing their apprehensions. It was like unpicking knots patiently. It took time but the reward was that both our brothers came to see that we were mature and serious and helped to persuade our parents that we were right for each other.” The couple look back and laugh at what must have been painful times and how each one’s community had so many misconceptions about the other. “When 24 SALAAM BAHRAIN
about Hindu and Sikh customs but when it came to down to the wire, I realised that as a Pakistani Punjabi, if I had married a Pakistani from another province it may have been more challenging than marrying my Indian Punjabi husband whose parents were both born in what is now Pakistan.” Like in the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, the couple were determined to marry with the joyful acceptance of their families. The wedding in Toronto was an ode to their Indo-Pak love story with Islamic and Hindu rituals and an intimate cosmopolitan reception . “We are alike .. both of us love keeping a lovely home and are a bit OCD about it, for instance. But we are different enough not to be boring! He is calm, more passionate and loves getting into nitty-gritty detail.” Sarah says. Gagan adds, “She pushes me to aspire and reach for the skies where I would be complacent. At the end of the day, we strive to always remember why we came together; that we are not the same people we were 15 years ago; we have two sons who have changed our priorities and the rhythm of our lives. “
true love Yet, the secret of a lively and loving marriage is to make the shrinking pocket of together time count for more, he says. “Stepping away from the mundane everyday routine for a date, pushing the envelope on what you want to achieve.. and putting away the phone when you are together, really helps!”
Pushing boundaries Sarah remembers a milestone birthday present for which Gagan gave her a
surprise spa break – only, she had to paraglide from a mountain-top to the spa and she is terrified of heights! “It was about trusting myself – and living up to Gagan’s trust in me! I did it and loved it and its memories like these that keep the adrenalin flowing in our love.” Is there anything they would change about each other? They look deep into each other’s eyes and burst out laughing. “She snores sometimes,” Gagan
admits while Sarah says “ He has this peculiar staccato sneeze that irritates me.” Well, that’s not too serious for a couple who defied the collective misunderstanding of two countries to love and live together! “We are the yin and yang in each other’s life journey,” says Sarah, eyes shining. And long may that feeling continue.
Bahrain Food Festival Fun on a plate The third edition of the popular Bahrain Food Festval is now open till March 10 and promises fun with every mouthful. More than 70 food outlets are participating in the event that runs daily from 5pm to 11pm at ‘The Park’ in The Avenues mall. Exhibitors include local businesses and concepts related to the food industry such as restaurants, cafes, nutrition, culinary equipment and much more. The Bahrain Food Festival will offer visitors varied cuisines including Middle Eastern, Western, Asian, Indian, Organic, and Healthy formats and family entertainment including live cooking
shows, musical shows and other fun activities. The event was inaugurated by Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani, the launch was held in the presence of the Director General of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
(OFDPM), Shaikh Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa. Also present was the CEO of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa. Shaikh Khaled bin Humood Al Khalifa said, “This year’s festival features a larger number of food 25 SALAAM BAHRAIN
vendors and offers a variety of activities that are suitable for the entire family. Bahrain Food Festival serves as a platform that provides the participating restaurants and outlets the opportunity to showcase their concepts.”
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Love+Friendship – Nayla Asgharali & You do the math! Numan Shafique Lone Beautiful Nayla Asgharali has mathematics to thank for two things in her life: her career as a senior internal auditor and for the love of her life, husband Numan Shafique Lone. “It’s true I guess – we were both in the same maths class in Bahrain school when I was 13 and he was 15,” laughs Nayla, “But we never talked to each other then; it was only later, actually four years later that we became friends. Our coming together was easy because we both came from the same family background and our families were good friends. Gradually, our friendship developed into something deeper – I would say that the early foundation of friendship was a good augury!”
Asian proposal The couple belong to Bahrain’s tightknit Pakistani-Bahraini community and Nayla says their decision to marry raised a few eyebrows because girls in her extended family didn’t usually marry
“I THINK THE COMMITMENT WE HAVE TOWARDS EACH OTHER IS DEEPENED BY THE FACT THAT WE TAKE OUR FAMILY SO SERIOUSLY. FAMILY FIRST! NOTHING ELSE MATTERS AS LONG AS WE ARE TOGETHER.” 27 SALAAM BAHRAIN
outside the family and certainly did not choose their own life partners. Once the initial shock wore off, the families were very happy and in true Asian style, the proposals were discussed at the parental level. Last year, they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary and are still as much in love as ever. “He’s fun to be with, young at heart, very caring and the best father ever to our sons,” Nayla says.
Family bond According to Numan, there are many advantages to their early marriage. “Being together for such a long time, we’re bound to have rubbed off on each other - I think we’ve both grown up together,” he says reflectively, “ We were both young when we got married and we’ve been through so much in life; the ups and downs; some really tough times and of course all the fun times; we have the two most wonderful sons & we’re still together.. I believe that we’ve both made each other better and stronger.” Their biggest bond is undoubtedly their family. “I think the commitment we have towards each other is deepened by the fact that we take our family so seriously,” Nayla says and Numan nods in agreement, “ Family first! Nothing else matters as long as we are together.” Numan is proud of his beautiful and clever wife, and says she is “..very smart and witty”. When asked if there was anything they would change about each other, Numan thinks deeply and says, “She doesn’t go out for sheesha with me!” while Nayla says significantly, “He snores.” As veterans of 25 years together, what wold they say about lifelong relationships to the younger generation? “Oh I think this generation is so-o cool,” says Nayla, “They are so much more savvy than we were at that age. They know exactly what they want and how they want to get it. They’re much
The couple on their wedding day
more vocal, much more honest and outspoken than we ever were.”
Chance is settled in Dubai and the younger one, Raed, is in Manchester, doing a certification in fitness & nutrition. But we keep ourselves busy. We travel a lot together and do things that we didn’t have the time to do before.” Numan adds, practically, “In today’s world, where usually both the partners work and life is so hectic, you need to make time for each other and to spend time alone.”
“They have access to so much technology and of course social media. We didn’t even have mobiles when we were growing up. However, they need to learn about commitment. They take it way too lightly. A relationship is something that needs to be nurtured and it takes a lot of time & effort; it’s a lot like growing a plant. It needs just the right amount of air, water, sunshine and effort and only than will it grow into a healthy green plant otherwise it will wither and die.” The couple say they are in a happy space now. “Our boys have flown the coop and being empty-nesters is not easy. Our first born, Osama, a successful solicitor with Clifford Nayla and Numan with sons Osama and Raed 28 SALAAM BAHRAIN
A love story brought to you by
BFFs on the dance floor College romances on the silver screen usually feature a face-off on the dance floor between the hero and heroine before they fall in love...think Student of the Year and Any Body Can Dance (the ABCD franchise) and you know there are a million young hearts fluttering on the cusp of a romance. But does this happen in real life too? Ask young couple Madurya and Srikanth, newcomers to Bahrain and
Madurya & Srikanth Ramesh you will get a Dress Circle narrative of how dance moves can bring hearts together. As students heading their college dance teams, the couple met as competitors in a popular student fest in Chennai called ‘Campus Jive’. Srikanth was a senior from an all-men’s college, well-known for his moves on stage and head of a team that won most city contests; Madurya was a fresher in an all-girls college, a trained dancer and 29 SALAAM BAHRAIN
this was her college’s first time at an inter-collegiate contest.
Script The competition ran according to script – Madurya’s newcomers stunned the judges and audience with their performance while favourites Srikanth and team loused up their preliminaries. But the tables turned in the finals where the men beat the girls by a whisker to win the prize. By then the couple had
mustered up the courage for a coffee date. “At that first date though, I rushed in and confessed that I liked her a lot – and was over the moon to find that she liked me too.”
Love in the time of Instagram when RS proposed to Madurya
sized up each other and decided to explore a friendship. “My first encounter with RS (I call him by his initials) was such a bummer! He looked shabby with his unkempt beard, had no eye contact with the audience, forgot steps during the routine and most of all he danced like he was not into it at all. However, on the day of the finals, he and his team turned in a fabulous performance which made me change my mind about him,” says Madurya, “He ticked all my boxes that day – he looked good, was obviously a team leader and people person, a great dancer. Upon meeting me backstage, he praised my performance and dedicated his winning performance to me. Sweet and romantic – check. When he won the prize money, he said the team would spend it on props and that he is a teetotaller. I was bowled over.” Srikanth says he became Madurya’s fan from the first time he saw her taking the dance stage by storm but was too shy to introduce himself. It was only after his team won and he met her on the podium that the couple broke the ice. Even after that, Srikanth says Madurya did the heavy work at first, texting him and calling up for chats until he
After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Coming from the same community, the families were thrilled at their romance and the problem in fact, was that they were being pushed to get married at the earliest! The college sweethearts were barely in their twenties when they got married and Madurya says meeting challenges together made them closer. Both Madurya and Srikanth believe that the best thing about each other is that they let the other person know s/he is the centre of their universe. “Also, RS makes me laugh all the time and keeps the mood pleasant always. He urged me to turn my idea into a business and made me take risky leaps in my career which I wouldn’t have if not for the confidence he gave me. He has also rubbed off his ambition and drive, quest for knowledge and calmness onto me. “ Srikanth says, “She’s made me understand that its okay to fail at things and I don’t need to put all the pressure on myself and get bogged down and that we’re a team and we face things together. She is my pillar of strength. She always makes me feel important, even when she’s engrossed with her work she always ensures that we find time to catch up.” He adds, “We encountered a sticking point before we got a married - I wanted sometime to figure out my career and stabilize myself. The way we tackled that situation and found a solution made me understand that we were ready to take the big step together.” What do they find not-so-rosy about each other? “He is addicted to his phone, he’s a tad over-practical and a workaholic,” Madurya mock-frowns. RS 30 SALAAM BAHRAIN
grins, “She can break the sound barrier sometimes!”
Millennial advise The couple do many things together but also believe in giving each other space alone. Madurya reveals a unique way of tackling differences: “During any fight/misunderstanding/ argument, only one person screams. It means that only one person is allowed to be angry, scream or break down at a time. The other one just stays quiet and handles the moment. Alternatively, if you are angry, do not talk for the next 2 hours. Sort the issue out once you are calm and in your senses. Also, do not try to have an argument when you are hungry as you say ridiculous senseless stuff at the time.” As millennials, the couple have good advise on managing the intrusion of technology into relationships. “Don’t get too involved in projecting the ‘right’ social media image of yourself. If that takes precedence, you lose your real identity. Social media has changed the way relationships move forward today. Everything is public, good times and bad times, the slightest change in social media behaviour can result in gossip and expectations and that leads to a need to maintain an online ‘image’. This complicates relationships in many ways – we feel it takes the reality out of it and the focus goes too much into ensuring every action results in a positive social media response.” Practical Srikanth says, “Keep it real! And keep it simple! There are 100s of things that can complicate relationships in today’s world. The only way to sail through most of them is to share everything with each other, work as a team and make sure you always stay best friends too!” As they say, it takes two to tango – and Madurya and her RS seem to have hit their rhythm!
Amit Kumar to sing Pancham hits Each one of us has a favourite R.D. Burman moment in our lives – a song that is inter-twined with an occasion or unforgettable moment. Indeed, the towering genius of R.D. Burman still casts its melodious shade over the Indian popular music scene. It is said that some of the best works of ‘Pancham’ as he was affectionately known, were produced and perfected when the legendary Kishore Kumar gave voice to his tunes and Gulzar penned the lyrics. And now, under the patronage of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, as part of I LOVE BAHRAIN promotions, you can enjoy the best of R.D. Burman’s exquisite music in the voice of none other than Amit Kumar, a great singer and son of Kishore Kumar. The musical evening takes place on Friday, March 9 at the Crowne Plaza’s Convention Centre. “I’m excited to be once again sharing my passion for Bollywood music with fans of the genre in Bahrain,” said organiser Dr. Ram Vatwani, “Once again, our good family friend and Kapoor family scion, Randhir Kapoor will be our Chief Guest. The R.D.Burman era of R.D. Burman will come alive through the voice of Amit Kumar.” Tickets are priced at BD 15, BD 10 and BD 5 and are available at Yellow Line Restaurant in Zinj as well as Crowne Plaza reception.
Burman magic The only son of music giant S.D. Burman, R.D. Burman infused Bollywood music with ground-breaking jive. According to some stories, he was nicknamed Pancham because, as a child, whenever he cried, it sounded in the fifth note (Pa), G scale, of music notation. He composed his first song ‘Aye meri topi palat ke aa’ at the age of nine and his father used in the film Funtoosh (1956). The tune of the hit song ‘Sar jo tera chakraaye’ was also composed by him as a child; his father included it in the soundtrack of Guru Dutt's Pyaasa (1957). Burman's first hit film as a film music director was Teesri Manzil (1966). Burman gave credit to lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri for recommending him to Nasir Hussain, the producer and writer of the film. Later, the hits poured in and created a solid library of enthralling music for all hindi film music fans. Burman also worked extensively in the Bengali music industry where his pairing with wife Asha Bhonsle delivered unparalleled melody. Amit Kumar This event is a musical tribute to the genius of Bollywood’s greatest singer Plaza, S Hotel, Park Regis as hospitality Kishore Kumar. His son Bollywood singer Amit Kumar, the torchbearer of the partners, Jet Airways and Dadabhai Kishore Kumar family will be the chief singer. The musical evening will have Travel, Coca-Cola. Media sponsors are Bollywood’s famous singer Amit Kumar the son of the legendary singer Kishore Salaam Bahrain and ticketing partners Kumar and the voice of Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and are Wafiapps and Gallure. Brand Box is Sanjeev Kumar and many more belting out all the memorable and timeless tunes the event partner. of yesteryears. The event aims to capture the Kishore Kumar and R.D. Burman Tickets are BD 15, BD 10 and BD 5 magic which is still considered timeless in Bollywood’s annals. which are very reasonable for a show of This show is brought to you and Bahrain by popular demand and has the this magnitude at a 5 star venue and patronage of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority as part of I Love Bahrain available on Wafiapps online and promotions. Gallure, Yellow Line Resturant and at The event sponsors are India Gate restaurant and bar, Arihant Jewellers, AFS for Crowne Plaza reception. Batelco Bwallet, Mazda Cars and Geeli Cars, Exelon Media, Mukta A2 Cinemas For reservations, contact 66906691. Bahrain, Danube Homes, Four Square Media, Dream Gold & Diamonds, Crowne 31 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Republic Day mela at Indian embassy
The spirit of India was beautifully encapsulated in what was probably the most democratic community celebration of Indian Republic Day this year. Ambassador Alok Kumar Sinha threw open the doors of the grand new Indian embassy grounds and invited the community to join in a celebration of Indiaâ€™s patriotism, culture and cuisine. The result was a grand mela in true Indian style. The pleasant January weather encouraged the community to participate wholeheartedly. After the flag-hoisting and customary reading of the speeches of Indian leaders by the
Ambassador, the stage was set (pun intended) for a marvellous display of dance and music, embellished with rich costumery from the children of different schools, ladies and men from the Gujarati, Rajasthani, Maharashtrian and Karnataka communities. The different settings for the performances on the wide, elevated space at the entrance to the embassy lobby from the lawn as well as on the lawn itself meant that the audience had a moving cultural feast to watch! The morning ended with a grand breakfast of Indian delicacies served by the chefs of Lulu Hypermarket. 32 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Kerala Sadhya Friday Lunch
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Why women need to take charge of their finances It’s the 21st century and women are more empowered than ever. They are more than capable of making money-related decisions for themselves and their families. Look around you. Women are making a mark everywhere. They are flying planes, fighting enemies at the border, heading international banks and spearheading global business empires. Women are strong, smart, and capable of reaching anywhere they set their minds to, 21st century women are breaking all types of stereotypes, and they’re no longer portrayed as dependent on men to help them make financial decisions or provide for their wants and needs, women nowadays are very independent which is a great milestone. Dr. Alex Krumer, researcher from the University of St.Gallen said “Physically speaking, men are still stronger than women, on average, but if you’re talking about mental toughness, maybe in certain circumstances it is women who have the edge.”
Smart move A study by Charles Schwab found that the number of high net worth women across the country is on the rise, and many of them are calling the financial shots in their households. It is time we remember that money management is not a man’s prerogative. A woman, whether single or married, must be financially literate so as to be truly independent. When it comes to insurance, both man and women who earns should buy a life insurance. LIC International has excellent policies that would suit everyone to ensure that all members of the family are taken care of. A strong foundation needs to be built in all families on the importance
Women IAF officers - if they can fight enemies at the war front, surely women can manage their personal finance?
of getting insured, both husband and wife have the responsibility to encourage each other to get their lives insured for their future as a couple and their families. That does not mean that single women and men shouldn’t get their lives insured, quite the opposite – for single members of the society who seriously think about insurance, it might be the smartest investment they make, they’re securing their future by knowing they have something to fall back on. However, women fall far below men when it comes to financial protection through insurance – be it term plans or health covers. In the same vein, single earning women, who are more than eligible for strong insurance protection often neglect the importance of financial planning, not realizing how dangerous the pitfalls can be. 34 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Guideposts As more families move to the doubleincome structure, with both partners contributing to household expenses. Here are some guideposts to support women in achieving more financial independence:
1. Bust stereotypes: The idea that women don’t understand money is no longer the stereotype. A 2017 study by Fidelity Investments revealed that women not only save 0.4% more than men, but their investments also earn more annually by the same amount. So, how does the new-age woman build a sound financial ground of her own? Start taking note of where your money is going; no matter how small the amount is, as that is the only way you can boost your savings. Maintaining
a diary is a good way to plan a monthly or weekly budget. Also, cut down on expenditures wherever you can.
2. Plan long-term:
If you think that you don’t have a say in your house’s financial matters, you should not merely accept the situation but assert and create an environment where you are heard and your opinions valued. Nowadays women are equal members of society and in the financial stability of their homes, as life is becoming more expensive and both members have equal responsibilities towards the household. Life insurance is essential when thinking of protecting your income, in a case where the woman is a homemaker and the man is the breadwinner, we realize the importance of the breadwinner to take a life insurance, but the home-maker has equal rights to life insurance. The male member does bring in money to the home, but the women runs the household using judiciously a part of the money to make it a home worth cherishing and for her family to come back to it every day after hard day of work. Her contribution is immense both emotionally and economically. Therefore, she also needs life insurance for her protection and also to provide for her pension for later years. In cases where the women does not have an income of her own, insurance will be granted equal to husband’s insurance. Policies like LIC’s Participating Endowment Plan and Double Cover Endowment Policy can be opted for, conventional plans with long term is also ideal for housewives, which will fulfil retirement needs. Life insurance is for all members of the society, young or old, male or female, you just need to provide necessary documents that would make you eligible to be covered. 6. Value yourself: A working women or a homemaker both contribute to the
Get involved in planning for your own and your family’s future – and this is not only if you are an income-earner. Home-makers too contribute by helping to save money and should sit at the table to decide the financial direction of the family. So, whether a woman wants to buy a house, start a business, or even educate her children in a reputed institute, she needs to start planning right now.
3. Decode jargon: Stocks, SIPs, credit score, inflation… are these financial terms too difficult to comprehend? Well making the understanding of the terminologies a no-go area is detrimental, try to familiarize and educate yourself with money matters. For all those who think that saving and investing is rocket science for women, it isn’t because women hold powerful positions in the financial world, four out of the top five banks in India are led by women, with some of them being the most influential ones in the banking sector. It is pretty simple, and knowledge about these saving instruments can only help you to establish a lifetime of financial well-being. Some of the best long-term investment plans are debt securities of long term nature like Government Bonds and Insurance Policies like Annuity and Pension plan are all good options to invest in.
4. Ride the change: The male breadwinner-female homemaker stereotype is changing. In today’s world, women are educated and have access to a world of information. There is no reason as to why they should not be a part of key financial
5. Demand equality in investment matters:
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LIC (INTERNATIONAL) TREATS MEN AND WOMEN AS EQUALS WHEN IT COMES TO LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES. IN BAHRAIN, CUSTOMERS CAN AVAIL OF THEIR PARTICIPATING MARRIAGE AND EDUCATION POLICIES; JOINT LIFE POLICY; PENSION POLICY’S THAT WILL SECURE THE WORKING WOMAN’S FUTURE AFTER HER WORKING DAYS. THE COMPANY ALSO OFFERS MANY OTHER POLICIES THAT IS SUITABLE FOR ALL CUSTOMER NEEDS, BE IT A MALE OR A FEMALE. family and to the economy. Their services to the family and to the society has not only economic value but also immense emotional value. Therefore, life insurance which is a tool to protect the economic value makes sense for women. A point to note here is that many insurance companies provide some products to women at lower premiums, as compared to their male counterparts of the same age, since women generally have a lower mortality rate. Insurance has nothing to do with your marital status. If you are earning, you should opt for term plans. Even the health policies provided by employers are not tailor-made and relying only on group plans may not fulfil the entire needs, better to go for individual term or endowment plans as per your need.
Ameenaâ€™s sunshine bash
Set against the lovely sunlit Amwaj waters, Ameena Nathani celebrated a milestone birthday, looking younger than ever. Husband Mohammed Akeel and her sons Armaan and Ahaad pulled off a grand surprise by arranging for Armaan, who is studying in the UK to fly down without her knowing of it! With the classic Akeel householdâ€™s warmth and hospitality flowing, a good time was had by all.
Pakistan matters on agenda A general body meeting of Pakistani community was held at Pakistan Club under the patronage of Murad Ali Wazir, Acting Ambassador and HOC in presence of Eng. Rehan Ahmed, Chairman, Pakistan Club and its board members to discuss the current national issues. Prominent community members join this meeting.
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in the news
Born with a purpose Syro Malabar Society, Bahrain confers award on Indian Salesian, Father Tom Uzhunnalil, and Professor turned philanthropist, Professor M S Sunil Purpose. What does this seven letter word imply? Does it imply something that has been pre-planned and then carefully assigned, or is it something we choose with our own free will? Every purpose is fuelled with belief, and it is the power of our belief, that gives us a goal in life. We had the good luck to recently meet two people with a highest sense of purpose - Dr. M S Sunil, a retired zoology professor who embraced philanthropy, and the Indian Salesian, Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was a captive of Yemeni terrorists for 18 months before being released. Both these philanthropists were honoured by the Syro-Malabar Society which confers the Work of Mercy Award each year on persons who have served society selflessly. This year, Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was invited to present the award to Dr. Sunil. Let’s hear their inspirational story.
Fr.Tom Uzhunnalil An IT technician by profession where he taught in Kerala and Karnataka, Fr. Tom strongly believed that it was the call from God that prompted him to serve the humanity. “Being a Salesian is a call from God, and spreading the message of peace requires his Grace. I feel fortunate that what my heart said, I followed,” he says. Succeeding his father’s cousin, he arrived in Yemen to serve the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity, in the year 2010. “When I arrived, there was no war, and it was a country in which one could freely wander. I have seen the extremes of that country, as I was present before the problems erupted, and continued staying there after the problems cropped up.” As a priest, you get to feel the emo-
by KASHMEERA S
Syms work of Mercy Award Ceremony Inaguaration
tions of others by stepping into their shoes and experience their difficulties. “When the war began, the condition of the people, especially the poor living in the villages was miserable. The dead bodies that lay due to the bombings on the streets is a scene that I won’t forget – it was traumatic,” he says. Reminiscing on the experience of his abduction, he says, “ Often, terrorists are perceived to be cruel. Yes, their actions cannot be justified, but, in every human, there is some goodness present. I don’t know which group the terrorists belonged to. I have no reason as to why they killed the sisters of the missionary, and why they abducted me. I strongly believe that God has a mission for every human, and maybe, God wanted to showcase the good aspect of the terrorists, through me.” He further adds, “Many think that I was tortured, and kept in a very pathetic state, but, in reality, they took very good care of me. During Ramadan, when they were fasting, they made sure that my food and medicines were given on time, as I am diabetic. During that 1 ½ years, where I was forbidden from communication, I was absolutely sound, mentally and physically, and did not suffer from any element of fear or apprehension. My communication during that time, was 37 SALAAM BAHRAIN
with the Lord, and I thank and bless all those well-wishers of mine including the Indian and the Oman Government, who prayed and strived for my safe release.” After being handed safely to the Sultanate of Oman, (a negotiation took place between the terrorists and the Sultanate) despite the ransom needs of the terrorists not being met, Father says, “ I have no clue if there was any demand made in exchange of my safe release, but, I know one thing - that prayer is one safety weapon, that pulls people out of distress, no matter how serious those problems appear. Terrorists are not born, terrorists are made, and it’s the cruelty of the society that propels such individuals to embrace and inflict violence on their fellow siblings. Such people thrive where the foundation of the Government is weak and shallow.” “Every human has some good in them. It is truly said that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. If instead of an eye, we extend our hand of friendship, this world would be a place where we don’t hit but embrace each other,” ends Father Tom on a high note.
Dr. Prof. M S Sunil Moved by the plight of the homeless, Dr. M S Sunil, a retired Zoology professor, from Pathanamthitta Catholicate
College, mobilized support to build 85 homes for the needy in her home district, Pathanamthitta, in Kerala. Why is Philanthropy the noblest of all acts? What are the main ingredients that go into the making of a philanthropist that differentiates them from the rest? “Philanthropy is about stepping into the shoes of the downtrodden and understanding their pain,” says Dr. Sunil, “I was always inclined to help the needy – it was a lesson deeply ingrained in me by seeing my parents help others. Even before making philanthropy my full-time mission, I used to help the students of my colleagues, and various others, in small ways. I realised that help can never be differentiated on the basis of the severity of the problem.”
Syms presentation award
A cash donation to Prof. Dr. Sunil
She further highlights, “Most of my students had extremely happy faces, but one never realizes, how much difficulty is hidden behind those smiles. They live a life devoid of material happiness, where they struggle to make ends meet, and don’t have that much money to dress smartly. This obviously hit their self-esteem and it moved me to help them.” “2005 was the year, that marked my entry into philanthropy. Along with
teaching, I was also the In-charge of National Service Scheme that essentially involved the development of individuals through community service,” says Sunil. “One of my students, Asha, came from a very poor background. Her home was a hut situated in Poramboke land (land that is not assessed to the revenue records). When I visited her hut, I noticed that, one piece of long cloth that she used as a dupatta, acted as the door for the hut. That scenario moved me to tears and that is when I decided to shelter her under a strong roof,” says the retired Professor. In the field of philanthropy, getting sponsors is usually the biggest challenge but for Dr. Sunil, the purse-strings of sympathisers were loosened always. “What work I am doing is noble, and I never went in search of sponsors. In my 12 years of experience, the help I have rendered turned the tables, where sponsors, ranging from rich to middle class approached me to help the poor. My way of working is such that I never go on a collection spree looking for sponsors. I limit it to just one person, and if there is a shortage of fund, I invest some from my own pocket, and that is how I have been able to build 85 houses,” adds Sunil. Indeed, during her stay in Bahrain, SYMS pledged to fund the building of 10 homes in Kerala through member donations. “When I started, the construction of a 450 sq.ft. house which consisted of one bedroom, kitchen, hall, a sit out area and a toilet, cost Rs.1 lakh, and now, it is 2.5 lakhs. So, if one sponsor is able to afford two lakhs, the remaining 50,000, I invest from my own pocket. There is no limit on the sponsoring amount – it can be as much as one can afford. One family from USA sponsored for three houses, and at the ribbon cutting ceremony, where the key was handed by announc38 SALAAM BAHRAIN
ing the sponsor’s name, and this got published in the newspaper. The best part over here is, the expectation in return is only the blessing,” says Prof. Sunil. She runs a lean outfit and tries to limit her philanthropic activities to within Kerala, as it is easy for her to travel and communicate. “Before I began these activities, there was poverty, and still there is. So, my mission is to make Pathanamthitta, a thriving place devoid of poverty. My family has supported me a lot - my son, who is pursuing his MSc in Ireland, and my husband check on my work, and he (husband) has even contributed in the building of two houses,” says a beaming Sunil. Most of the houses have been constructed in her home district, and one has been constructed in Kollam. Two are under construction in Allepey. I was struck by the fact that Prof. Sunil went the extra mile in ensuring the welfare of the people by providing LED bulbs to families to avoid electricity consumption. She has also provided one goat to 25 families, given free tuitions to poor students, constructed 28 tribal huts, donated 100 hearing aids and 278 wheelchairs to marginalized people, and has donated free spectacles and school stationeries to senior people and school students. Recently, she celebrated the key handing ceremony of the 86th house to a family, with two daughters, who stayed in a plastic shed near a paddy field. To generate income for the family, the lady of the house sometimes cleans other homes After Dr. Sunil’s gesture, the family has a roof over their heads. “Philanthropy is the noblest of all, which involves no benefit in return. Most of the work I did, some appreciated, some did not, but, if one expects acknowledgment, then that act is never pure and genuine. I never expect anything in return, because for me happiness is helping people, and seeing them happy and secure is the true act of philanthropy for me,” she says.
Wendell's Plus-size haute couture
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The days of Size Zero models may not quite be over yet but a revolution is taking place on catwalks in fashion shows across the world – well-endowed plus-sized models in stylish clothing have broken to the front lines. Designers like Wendell Rodricks and Shruti Sancheti and highend pret brands Half Full Curve and Afamado have re-worked the plus-size fashion perception completely and presented thousands of women with hope that they need not hide their overflowing curves but can flaunt their zest for life in clothing that is beautifully crafted and which echoes their joie de vivre. The movement, which has been generating a buzz, came into its own at the Lakmé Fashion Week’s Winter/Festive 2017 edition where Wendell Rodricks’ successor and his label’s new creative director, Schulen Fernandes presented India’s firstever high-fashion plus-sized line to be showcased on the runway. Consisting of 21 looks, PRIMERO created quite the buzz even ahead of fashion week, when as many as 300 participants vyed for a spot to walk the ramp during the modelling auditions earlier. The show was opened by India’s first transgender plus-sized model Varonica plus size model was a Campabell. Filled with floaty, layered clothes in bright pastel as well as bold shades, the Wendell Rodricks label lived up to the master designer’s philosophy that comfort comes first. “My first client was a British lady who was a voluptuous size. From Suzan Winton, I learnt how to dress Plus Sizes. I learnt asymmetry, sheer layers...ways to cut size to flatter.” Wendell told Salaam Bahrain in an online interview, “I also realise that Plus sizes need lighter garments that do not weigh them down,” He added, “My job as a designer is to make plus-sized women taller, slimmer, more beautiful. I am like doctor - in fact, better than a doctor. A doctor makes you feel good. I make you feel good and look good.” Asked for top tips for plus-sized figures, Rodricks counted out: “Ignore trends. Focus on style. Choose colours that flatter your skin. Select styles that add to your style quotient. Ignore barbs and make them into compliments.” Rodricks' collection was a rule breaker starting with the colours -- white, which has been taboo for too long where plus sizes are concerned. Then it was neutrals, grey and clothes with great volume. While the women's wear was a kaleidoscope of colours and included layered tunics, asymmetric gowns, swinging dresses, capes and kaftans, the menswear featured deconstructed plackets, mull bundies, tunics, and twill cotton. The lycra shirts with contrast stitch details, poly knits, silver speck foil prints, crush pleated poly georgette and pewter shine stripes completed the extensive fabrics and detailing choices. 40 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Plus Size is NOT temporary
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Call them plus-size, fat, curvy, whatever, sisters Rixi and Tinka Bhatia have large ladies covered with their on-trend brand half full | curve label. Tinka, a proudly curvy woman, introduces herself as the “bigger half of the brand”. The sisters say they are here to dress more than 70% Indian women who struggle to find the right fit. At Lakme Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2018, the curvy brand opened to a full house. Bodacious models, as young as 19 and as old as 80, took to the ramp… and S-L-A-Y-E-D. The collection took a departure from the plus-size fail-safes. There were no floating dresses or anti-fits. Even the self-effacing black shift – an ASOS favourite – was given a rest. Instead, colour was introduced in the form of pastel asymmetrical dresses and feminine embroideries. The silhouettes played to every curvy woman’s right to look sexy. Shoulder-baring outfits advocated that, as did flattering dhoti-style pants and cowl kurtas. The models’ fierce walk was testament to practicality of the clothes. The outfits were non-interfering and well-fitted; not once did they overwhelm or undermine the wearer. It was an honest, unpretentious presentation by the sister duo. This isn't the first time on the rodeo for Rixi, who along with Jayesh Sachdev ran the cult label, Quirk Box. Rixi and Tinka’s ode to body acceptance is not to be mistaken for a conversation starter; it’s a promise. For once, curvy women won’t have to do with uplifting jargon. They will have real clothes to wear – gorgeous ones at that.
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The truth is that plus size represents the body type of over 60% of men and women and until recently, this group was only treated to XL versions of catwalk clothes regardless of whether the cut and colour flattered them. Today, designers are tapping this huge (pun unintended) market with flattering made-to-order garments that represent cutting edge style, comfort and fashion.
For men too, the core rules seem to be layering, using bold colours and textures to pump up the style quotient. Undeniably, impeccable grooming is the key to looking fashionable in any size segment. Look at how fashion designer JJ Valaya transforms his XXL size into an epitome of style with just a couple of clever tweaks like ornate buttons or a red lining on a grey sherwani.
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in the news
Tendulkar’s ‘unheard speech’ in Rajya Sabha Sachin Tendulkar had wanted to raise the issue of financial security for national level athletes in his maiden Rajya Sabha speech, which could not take place due to protests in the upper house. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar had wanted to raise the issue of financial security for national level athletes in his maiden Rajya Sabha speech, which could not take place due to protests in the upper house. “Financial security is often a challenge when any sportsperson decides to focus on sports alone as their career,” Tendulkar had planned to say, in the speech which was to be delivered on Thursday. “I am aware that the Government, through its many institutions, employs sportspersons and supports them which we all appreciate. But we have many national, state and district level retired athletes who don’t have a proper job. While ensuring their financial stability, we must also keep their minds engaged. Their skills and passion for sports would be best utilized for coaching our future generations.” Incidentally, Tendulkar had already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting inclusion of international medallists in the Central Government Health Scheme. Tendulkar cited the examples of national level hockey player Nauri Mundu from Jharkhand, who doubles up as a teacher and works in the farm to make ends meet along with Sita Sahu, a medalist at the Special Olympics in Athens in 2011, who is selling golgappas to manage her life. “We need to create an organisation and engage these athletes to train our schoolchildren and identify talent at an early age. There is so much that these athletes have to offer back to society,” he points out. Tendulkar’s speech also emphasises the importance of health insurance for the national athletes. “It is also imperative to
Tendulkar was given a rousing welcome in Donja as he visited the site for the school and water tank being funded by his MPLAD funds.
have health insurance for all our national level athletes. The struggles faced by hockey great Mohammad Shahid in his last days reiterates the need to prevent such unfortunate situations.” Tendulkar also referred about India’s first Olympic swimmer late Shamsher Khan in his speech. Khan had participated in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and qualified for the 200m butterfly final. “The life of Shamsher Khan is another reminder of how we have failed our national heroes ... Our national heroes should be able to live a respectable life. Extending CGHS benefits to them is a step in that direction. I appeal to the Hon’ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare J.P. Naddaji to kindly consider my request on this issue which is in line with the recommendations put forth by the AICS,” he says. Tendulkar also proposed to immortalise sportspersons by making their lives part of the curriculum at schools. “Sportspersons who won the gold, silver and bronze medals for India, do we appreciate them enough?” asked the iconic India batsman in his undelivered speech, the text of which was made public. 46 SALAAM BAHRAIN
“These champions, our heroes, didn’t have the best of everything, but they made the best of everything. I think it is extremely important that youngsters learn about our sporting history. I sincerely feel that the lives of these champions should be part of our curriculum. In the year 2009, this August House passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill. It is my humble suggestion that the Act be amended to include the Right to Play.” The 44-year-old Mumbaikar also stressed on the need to have a dedicated squad guiding our athletes’ preparations for the Olympics. “Before the Olympics or a major sporting event, our expectations go sky rocketing. I realize that things are changing for the good and that we have adopted a long-term approach on preparation,” he said. “Along with early identification of talent, we must also have a dedicated squad guiding our athletes’ preparations. I feel it is extremely importantly to have full time support staff around our athletes and winning medals should become their target as well.” Tendulkar's Rajya Sabha tenure has
salaam society been marked by criticism on his lack of attendance in Parliament. While he has so far not reacted publicly on the criticism, he seems to be clocking the runs outside the floor of the house using his Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds. Tendulkar was given a rousing welcome in Donja as he visited the site for the school and water tank being funded by his MPLAD funds. In fact, the projects in Donja are part of over 180 being supported by Tendulkar across the country. As a nominated member of the house, Tendulkar can support any project across the country. He seems to have utilised this flexibility optimally by undertaking projects in 11 states in India. Tendulkar ranks top among the nominated members in Rajya Sabha having allocated nearly 98% of the total MPLAD funds of Rs 30 crores. Over 60% of the projects identified by Tendulkar have been completed. Some of the interesting projects supported by Tendulkar include reconstruction of a bridge in Chamoli district which was destroyed during a cloud burst, a new building for a special needs school for deaf and mute children in Ahmednagar's Sangamner taluka and a hostel for under privileged school children in West Medinapur. Tendulkar is also among the few parliamentarians who have successfully adopted two villages under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). The phase one development of Puttumraju Kandriga, Sachin's first adopted village in Andhra Pradesh, has been completed and second phase of development focussed on social infrastructure is being undertaken. In fact, Sachin was among the first MPs to have promptly adopted a village under SAGY. Evidently, Tendulkar seems to be focused on tasks outside the walls of the Parliament without joining the debate on his attendance in Parliament.
Gujju glory at SGS Kite Fest The Garvi Gujarat theme was in full swing at Shree Gujarati Samaj’s annual Kite Festival. With a display of posters depicting Amdavad’s heritage points, great Gujju food stalls and a children’s dance show, the desert date was enjoyed by the community. The soaring kites speckling the sky and the kite-themed décor added so much colour to the day. Indian Ambassador Alok Kumar Sinha and wife Mamta sportingly joined the fun, with Mamta even posing for a caricature with a freehand artist. “We wanted to showcase Gujarat’s heritage and culture and are so happy with the reception from the community,” said SGS President, Taral Parekh.
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Ramadan food market in China- Halal Chinese food is preserved by the Chinese Muslims in their Hui community restaurants
China in your plate
Exploring Bahrain’s palate for Chinese cuisine It goes beyond chop suey and fried rice and no, there is really no such thing as Vegetable Manchurian For a nation that profoundly celebrates diversity and brings endless possibilities to serving the international palate, it came as no surprise that Chinese New Year was a festive spread across the whole of Bahrain, with many residents indulging in Chinese cuisine - a tasteful acknowledgement of the growth of one of the most-loved cuisines in the world with restaurants serving up variations of Chinese food, right from greasy-spoon takeaway to the finest dimsum. Probably one of the most loved cuisines from around the world, Chinese food has many regional styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in Bahrain. Looking into the cultural representation,
most of these dishes are prepared in bite-sized pieces, ready for direct picking and eating, and while many of the restaurants and dining outlets are honouring the authentic serving of a wide selection of Szechuan, Cantonese and Peking specialities, it has also become important to bend the rules a little and bring variation to suit individual preferences. Like Indian curry, Chinese cuisine too has evolved abroad to match the taste of different nationalities. Since there are China Towns in many countries, there are T’ang (which means foreign in Chinese) variations of Chinese food too. For instance, did you know that Chop Suey was not originally a Chinese dish 48 SALAAM BAHRAIN
by MEERA RAVI & GRACE YASMIN but a concoction mixed up by a brilliant Chinese chef in a port-side restaurant in San Francisco? The story goes that this chef used to mix all the bits and pieces of leftover meat and veg with noodles and sweet and sour sauce (years later replaced with ketchup) for hungry workers looking for a cheap food fix. Yes, every cuisine has one such dish… like the khichdi of India, for example. There is also General Tso’s Chicken, again a North American invention; and as far away as Ecuador and Peru, Chinese fried rice is very popular, although they often replace the rice with quinoa. Another popular Chinese food ‘invention’ is the Manchurian.
Going Chinese in Bahrain Bahrain’s gourmet map has for ingredients and now my team is able to a tempting pick from a selection of long featured popular Chinese understand the way a dish is to be sauces,” Chef Ding explains. restaurants. Of these the oldest that presented by just knowing where a The restaurant showcased the is still operating is Hong Kong in diner is from.” While the sauces have unforgettable taste of celebrity Adliya. Across the road from Hon remained constant in taste, it isn’t a Chinese chef Jeff Tan Seng Han’s Kong is Fo Li. Both these restaurants surprise that some diners like their Chinese specials as part of its are known for their spicy and tasty servings crispy and cooked well, when celebration of the Year of the Earth Chinese food with many touches others prefer steamed or even with an Dog. that please the Indian palate. A new edge of rawness to it. “Chinese culture has always been entrant is David’s Stir Fry in Adliya very interesting and welcoming to and Sanad, which offers big portions Shabu Shabu foreigners. People from around the and great taste. When it comes to the best-sellers at world get curious about the food Besides this, of course, is the the restaurant, Chef Ding was quick and try the bolder and spicier flavubiquitous Chinese takeaway that to point out chilli chicken, prawns, ours our cuisine offers and when the dots the foodscape. Most small sweet and sour and the very tantalizchefs here blend the authentic restaurants offer a range of standard ing steamed hamour as the favourites. sauces with local ingredients- it’s like Chinese stir-fry dishes, soups and “We continue to have monthly promothe best of both worlds on your rice and noodles. One small tions to see what items work and what plate.” Chef Han says. restaurant, the Icy Spicy near Yateem don’t. Chinese cuisine is also based on The five-star Chinese culinary Centre even serves up a Chinese opposites, whereby hot balances fresh experience at the Sheraton Hotel’s Combo Meal which looks and spicy balances mild.” suspiciously like an Indian Thali – the Soie is sumptuous in every sense An exotic favourite is Shabu Shabu, a taste is quite Indo-Chinese and allwith elegant décor and an extrasteampot soup. “It involves a white veg. vagant menu of authentic Chinese soup with a variety of toppings to For a classy Chinese dining food, this is a restaurant where the choose from, including seafood, beef or experience, the two best-known chicken. Diners take their picks and then venue and luxury can be savoured as restaurants are the Gulf Hotel’s we create it for them, topping it off with much as the food! China Garden and the Sheraton’s Soie. China Garden is a classic Chinese restaurant that offers a truly satisfying Chinese gastronomic experience. Helmed by Chef Ding since 2005, it manages to balance beautifully on the fine line between pleasing foreign palates and retaining the authenticity of Chinese cuisine. “Since my arrival in 2005, my conversations and interactions with the residents has shown that they have impressive know-ledge and can differentiate between different regional Chinese dishes. And interestingly, for different nati-onalities, the taste inclination would differ. Diners from America like to indulge in plenty of orange sauce and lemon chicken, whereas Fili-pinos favour more of sour flavours. In our kitchen, we are accustomed to revising the Chef Ding of China Garden gets ready for the Year of the Earth Dog 49 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Notwithstanding the name, the fried balls of minced meat or vegetables in garlic sauce, was a creation of Chinese restaurant chefs in India, catering to their customers’ need for spicy food. It has been the bane of every true-blue Chinese chef ever since, with Indian customers often asking for it. I even remember one upscale restaurant in Bahrain where the manager haughtily told us, “We don’t serve kofta!” when we asked for this dish. In fact, China and India share many culinary concepts and because of ancient Silk Road trading, many Chinese influences are still found in Indian kitchens. In South India, for example, one indispensible kitchen utensil was the Chini Chetty, an iron wok. The name literally translates into ‘Chinese Pot’. Similarly, the North Indian word Cheeni for sugar stems from the fact that although India was ahead of China in extracting sugar from jaggery, the Chinese perfected the art of refining sugar into white crystals and imported them to India!
Food medicine Indeed, there are many similarities
between the Chinese approach to food and other Asian culinary ideas. For instance, the Chinese believe that food is medicinal – just like the Indians do. For them, food not only gives “qi” (energy) but is also about maintaining yin and yang. Based on Chinese traditional medicine, food is judged for colour,
Easy Sesame Chicken Potstickers Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Noodles made of rice, wheat or millet are a staple part of all Chinese meals. 50 SALAAM BAHRAIN
400 gms ground chicken ¾ cup shiitake mushrooms, diced 2 cloves garlic, pressed 2 green onions, thinly sliced 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tbsp untoasted sesame seeds 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger 1 tsp rice vinegar 1/4 tsp white pepper powder 36 won ton wrappers 2 tbsp vegetable oil Soy sauce, for serving
cuisine From superfeast to takeaway box: the journey of the Chinese gourmet Have you heard the expression Manchu Han Imperial Feast? In Chinese it is called the Manhan Quanxi, one of the grandest meals ever documented in Chinese culinary history. Even today, the term is used as an idiomatic expression to represent any feast of significant proportions. For example, when reporting a dinner gala, many media reports may refer to it as a ‘Manhan Quanxi’. Legend has it that this imperial feast was given by an emperor to bring warring nobles of his empire together. The meal was prepared comprising six banquets over three days with over 300 dishes. Altogether there are said to have been 196 main dishes and 124 snack dishes, for a total of 320 dishes sampled over three days. It is said that there were “Thirty-Two Delicacies”, referring to the more exotic ingredients used for the banquet. The “Eight Mountain Delicacies” includes such dishes as camel's hump, bear's paws, monkey's brains, ape's lips, leopard fetuses, rhinoceros tails and deer tendons. The “Eight Land Delicacies” includes several precious fowls and mushrooms, and the “Eight Sea Delicacies” includes dried sea cucumbers, shark's fin, bird's nest and others. The imperial meal was re-enacted in the movie The Chinese Feast and the television drama Happy Ever After. It is also featured in the anime Cooking Master Boy and the television series My Fair Princess as well as in chapters 106 and 142 of the Medaka Box manga. An inspiration of the imperial meal was re-enacted in Kung Fu Panda Holiday.
From the groaning tables of the Manhan Quanxi to today’s street-corner takeaways is a steep drop indeed but such are the times – even in China, people no longer have the time to prepare elaborate meals. Eating out is increasingly commonplace. When you order your next Chinese meal from your neighbourhood restaurant, here are some tips to follow: Try and pick out ingredients that are uniquely Chinese and will add an Oriental zing to your meal. Think Chinese mushroom, bamboo shoot, duck instead of chicken, beef, if you want red meat, (Bahrain Chinese restaurants don’t serve pork). Do ask that MSG or aji-no-moto be avoided as flavour enhancer. A pinch in five different dishes can add up to a dangerous amount in your bloodstream. If you are going heavy on rice, balance it with a light, clear soup. Add a noodle dish for variety – there are rice and wheat noodles so you can once again, choose a contrast to your rice dish. Chinese after-meal desserts are modern fusion ideas – banana fritters with honey or litchee-&-green tea ice cream, for example. Offset the heavy, carb-rich meal with fresh fruit or sorbets Ask for plenty of Chinese tea which settles the spicy notes. Most restaurants serve tea free.
Preparation 1 2
In a large bowl, combine chicken, mushrooms, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar and white pepper. To assemble the dumplings, place wrappers on a work surface. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the center of each wrapper. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrappers with water. Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, pinching the edges to seal. This much can be done in advance. Potstickers freeze well, so you can place these filled dumplings in a single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight. The next day, put in freezer bags and freeze. Do not over stuff the freezer bags. Just thaw before use. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potstickers in a single layer and cook until golden and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately with soy sauce, if desired.
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Matcha-CoconutLychee Ice Cream For those who are unfamiliar with matcha, it is a green tea powder obtained from finely grinding up the highest quality green tea leaves. Matcha is used in Japanese tea ceremonies, and can be made into tea, lattes, or, of course, ice cream. Ingredients • 1 cups coconut milk or you can make your own • 1 cup heavy cream • 2 egg • 1/2 cup honey or to taste • 2 Tbsp. matcha • 1 handful lychees I used 12-15
Preparation 1 2
3 4 5
aroma, taste, and texture and a good meal was expected to balance the Four Natures - hot, warm, cool and cold (just like Ayurveda’s three doshas) and the Five Tastes (pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty). Salt was used as a preservative from early times, but in cooking was added in the form of soy sauce, and not at the table. The predominance of chopsticks and spoons as eating utensils also necessitated that most food be prepared in bite-sized pieces or (as with fish) be so tender that it could be easily picked apart.
Peel your lychees and remove the seeds. Blend together all of your ingredients using a hand blender, including the lychees. If you want bigger pieces of lychee in your ice cream, set some aside and add them afterwards. Refrigerate to get your ingredients cold before pouring them into your ice cream maker. Pour into your ice cream maker, and process until you have ice cream. Freeze for 30 minutes to get the texture right.
and ethnic groups. Moreover, imperial, royal and noble preference also played a role in shaping Chinese food. Because of imperial expansion and trading, ingredients and cooking techniques from other cultures are integrated into Chinese cuisines over time. For example, the Spanish and Portuguese traders began introducing foods from the New World to China through the port cities of Canton and
Macao. Mexican chilli peppers became essential ingredients in Sichuan cuisine and calorically-dense potatoes and corn became staple foods across the northern plains. Cooking without pork was introduced by Chinese Muslim communities and is now preserved by Hui restaurants throughout the country. Chinese methods also influenced other national cuisines, especially in countries bordering China such as
Asian Obsession The vast Chinese territory extends from the tropical south to the subarctic northeast with the cuisine of different regions being influenced by the geographic features – rivers meant more seafood, for instance, while forests yielded more herbs and plants. The preference for seasoning and cooking techniques of Chinese provinces depend on differences in historical background
Chinese Street food is startlingly similar to Indian food. Here are Chinese flatbreads stuffed with mincedmeat just like Indian kulcha 52 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Crispy Shredded Chicken Chef Ding's speciality from China Garden, Gulf Hotel Bahrain
Ingredients • 180 gms chicken breast • 1 egg, lightly beaten • 20 gms fresh red onion • 20 gms each of fresh green and red capsicum • 20 gms fresh carrot • 10 gms fresh spring onion • 3 cloves of peeled garlic • 1 tbsp gms tomato ketchup • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauces • 1 tsp white vinegar • 1 tsp lightly toasted sesame seeds • 2 tbsp corn flour (dry)
Preparation 1 2 3 4 5
Prepare the chicken breast by cutting it in fine julienne strips. Cut the capsicum and carrot into similar juliennes also. Mix together, one egg, salt, white pepper and a little corn starch. Keep the prepared chicken and vegetables in separate plates. Pour the egg mixture over each pile and lightly toss with fingers so that the julienne strips are coated but not heavily. Heat cooking oil in a wok and when it is hot, fry the vegetables and chicken in batches until crispy.
Myanmar and the whole of the Far East. While there is no nouvelle cuisine for Chinese food, recent trends show that the Chinese are moving steadily towards a lighter culinary style. There are no official statistics for the number of Chinese vegans, who avoid all animalbased food, and vegetarians, who can eat eggs and dairy products. A study conducted by researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2016 surveyed
Preparation for the sauce 1. Chop the garlic, red onion, spring onion and fry together. 2. Once mildly brown in color, add the sweet chilli sauce and tomato ketchup. Drizzle the freshly prepared sauce on the crispy chicken and vegetables and serve up this crispy Chinese starter.
more than 4,000 people in the city and found that 0.77 per cent were vegetarians. Chinese state media have quoted America’s Public Radio International as saying China has about 50 million vegetarians, or about 3.5 per cent of its population. China is still the world’s biggest market for pork, beef and poultry, but demand has fallen slightly in recent years, with sales of pork declining from 42.49 53 SALAAM BAHRAIN
million tonnes in 2014 to 40.85 million tonnes in 2016, according to research firm Euromonitor. A new dietary guideline issued by China’s health industry two years ago also suggested eating less meat, poultry and seafood. Chinese food is at once simple and complicated and so we have chosen three simple beginner recipes to ease you into the wonderful world of Chinese cuisine.
The A to M of women’s health In celebration of International Women’s Day on march 8, we bring you the first of a two-issue series that lists health challenges facing women – and no, there were none under J and K!
by K. D. SALIM
Not surprisingly, it is incredibly important to eat healthy while breastfeeding. Breast milk is very nutritious and contains most of the nutrients your baby needs for the first 6 months of life. However, if your overall diet does not provide sufficient amounts of nutrients, it can affect both the quality of your breast milk and your own health. Healthy eating will also give you the energy you need to take care of yourself and your baby. What's more, eating healthy foods may help you shed the pregnancy weight faster.
Women’s biological frame is very different from men and so too are the unique health challenges that they face. As we approach International Women’s Day, let us take a look at the A to Z of women’s health issues and how to tackle them. To avoid an information overload, this article has been divided into two parts. In this issue, with Part One, we look at health challenges from A to M.
Simple test - pull down your lower eyelids. If they are bright pink, you’re fine. Chances are they are pale pink and that means you are anaemic and suffer from an iron deficiency. Globally, 618 million women suffer from anaemia – in Asian countries, nearly half the women are usually anaemic, such as 48% in India. This affects their health, especially during pregnancy and lactation and makes them vulnerable to illness. Simple nutritional solutions include including dates – just two a day can raise your iron levels in a fortnight. Other vegetarian sources include greens, tomato, lentils, soybeans, tofu, quinoa, fortified cereals, brown rice, oatmeal, ragi (millet), nuts and seeds of pumpkin, squash, pine, pistachio, cashews – a quick sprinkling of unhulled sesame on curries can work wonders.
Breastfeeding has all sorts of benefits for both mom and baby. 54 SALAAM BAHRAIN
This inclusion is not to say that only women use nonsurgical aesthetic treatments, also known as cosmetic skin procedures, to stop time’s march across their faces. However, they certainly are targeted more than men and are increasingly embracing these procedures, which range from injections and microdermabrasion to laser and hair removal treatments. Despite their growing popularity of these procedures, do remember that even something as simple as a chemical peel carries potential risks, particularly when performed by someone who is not properly trained in the procedure. The tendency to use chemical peels in spa and salon settings is especially dangerous as staff is often untrained! Remember most treatments are non-permanent. Ask for references, talk to patients and confirm certifications.
Women are susceptible to post-partum depression after their delivery. It is a medically debilitating hormonal condition and must be treated as a medical condition, not just by throwing in an extra house help schedule at the new mother – although that certainly helps. Let the depressed mother get professional counselling, medication and plenty of rest.
This is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside the uterus. It may attach to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the exterior of the uterus, the bowel, or other internal parts. As hormones change during the menstrual cycle, this tissue breaks down and may cause MARCH
painful adhesions, or scar tissue. This can lead to infertility. Pelvic ultrasound and laparoscopy are diagnostic tools while the solution is usually nonsteroidal pain relief and surgery.
F Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia syndrome affects mainly women. It attacks the muscles and soft tissue. Symptoms include chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger points, which can be relieved through medication, lifestyle changes and stress management. The cause is unknown, but risk factors include traumatic injury, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, and genetic factors. There is no cure, but medications, exercise, acupuncture, and behavioral therapy can help relieve symptoms and improve sleep quality.
This is an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Although a number of disorders may result in hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease is a common cause. Because thyroid hormones affect a number of different body systems, signs and symptoms associated with Graves' disease can be wide ranging and significantly influence your overall wellbeing. Although Graves' disease may affect anyone, it's more common among women and before the age of 40. The primary treatment goals are to inhibit the overproduction of thyroid hormones and lessen the severity of symptoms.
H Heart Disease Listen to your heart. Many women don't recognize the warning signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD) until their health—and their lives—are in jeopardy. In fact, nearly twice as many women die from heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases as from all forms
of cancer combined, including breast cancer. Women have gender-specific risks for CVD. Prior to menopause, estrogen is thought to provide some protection to women against heart disease – unless of course they smoke and are diabetic. Women who have a premature menopause (younger than age 40) suffer increased risk for CVD, unless they take menopausal hormone therapy. These days, nutrition, weight control and occasionally hormone therapy is used to bring down women’s risk of heart disease.
If you're leaking urine when you cough, laugh or sneeze, or you have sudden urges to go to the bathroom that are so intense you fear you won't get there in time, you're probably experiencing incontinence. The inability to control urination is frequently a treatable, and often curable, problem faced by millions, mainly women, and can occur at any age. Many of those afflicted never discuss their problem with a health care professional. Instead of recognizing incontinence as a treatable condition and pursuing treatment, many women view it as an embarrassment. Health care professionals may recommend using absorbent products during treatment or as part of treatment, but rarely as the only treatment for incontinence. These days, doctors recommend pelvic floor strengthening yoga exercises as the first step towards relief.
Achy, swollen joints; fever; skin rashes; fatigue—these are some of the more typical symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a chronic, inflammatory disorder of the immune system that affects several body systems simultaneously. In general, women are far more likely than men to develop autoimmune disorders, and SLE occurs 55 SALAAM BAHRAIN
up to 10 times more frequently among adult women than among men. Although lupus can develop at any age, it is usually diagnosed in women during their childbearing years. SLE is classified as an autoimmune disorder because the body's immune system, which normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses, also targets healthy tissue, sometimes including skin, joints, kidneys, brain, heart and lungs. The condition can result in immediately serious or life-threatening problems or in chronic low-grade symptoms. If you have a parent, child or sibling with lupus, your risk of developing the disease is somewhat higher, although your health care professional probably won't test you for the disease unless you develop symptoms. There is no known cure for SLE, but there are treatments designed to minimize symptoms and effects.
M Macular Degeneration Did you know that being female was one of the red flags that eye doctors factor into your case history when checking for macular degeneration? Sure it occurs in men too but women are more susceptible to this disease which robs one of vision. Macular degeneration often is called age-related macular degeneration (AMD) because the greatest risk factor for the disease is advancing age. Research studies suggest a link between obesity and the progression of early and intermediate-stage AMD to advanced AMD. Symptoms include blurred or distorted vision leading to difficulty reading, reduced colour vision and the loss of ability to see fine detail . Studies suggest that high dose vitamins C, E, beta carotene and zinc (along with copper) may slow the progression of AMD.
(Read about other female health challenges N to Z in our next issue)
BFC blood donation drive Blood banks perform a vital task in keeping a nation healthy but their true worth is not known till there is a crisis. Wisely, many companies and social clubs have adopted blood donation as a CSR activity. The Bahrain Financing Co. has been encouraging staff to volunteer for this life-saving cause for many years now and this year too, the company organised a blood donation drive at the Blood Bank in Salmaniya Medical Centre.
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Busy spring at NMS-DPS the editorial team P.O. Box 50650, Arad, Kingdom of Bahrain Licensed by the Ministry of Information Publication Licence no : GASB 740
Chairman and Managing Editor Mahmood Al Mahmood Managing Director P.K. Ravi Editor Meera Ravi Contributor • Maharaja Features Pvt. Ltd. Designer • Sumesh. C. Unni
One hundred and seven students from New Millennium School - DPS made the school proud by winning 84 Gold Medals and 178 Silver Medals at the World Scholar’s Cup Bahrain Round, Junior Category, held at St. Christopher’s School. The NMS team comprising of Hridam Saha, Nidhi Kaushik and Nandini Sharma bagged the first position in Debate. Akshat Pradeep Kumar was awarded with Gold Medal and Trophy for being the School Top Scholar. Atiriya Sarkar, Ishaan Gupta and Vipra Agrawal received Gold Medals for winning 5th position in the Collaborative Writing Challenge. The school was also felicitated with a memento for being the third Top Scholar Team in the Kingdom. Dr. Ravi Pillai, Chairman, Geetha Pillai, Managing Director and Arun Kuumar Sharma, Principal congratulated the students for bringing in accolades to the institution. Meanwhile, the school celebrated India’s Republic Day with flag-hoisting and student activities to nurture knowledge about India and a patriotic spirit. There was also plenty of nostalgia and fun at the farewell to the Class XII students. 57 SALAAM BAHRAIN
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Copyright Reserved. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the views of the publisher and Editor. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, the publisher & editor cannot accept legal responsibility for any error, content or omissions.
GO ORGANIC: Did you know synthetic colours used in Holi sometimes cause allergies and can even trigger respiratory problems in people? You can avoid that by using organic or natural colours and also home-made colours. According to Himanshu Verma who runs Red Earth, a Delhi based independent private arts organisation, you can easily make batches of colours using safe powdered ingredients such as simple turmeric , sandalwood, henna and multani mitti (Fuller’s Earth) to make various colours. Add finely crushed dried flowers if available – marigold and rose work well and the mitti adds texture. Mix, match and use your imagination to make the most unique colours. WATER-FREE PLAY: Colours mixed in gallons of water for spraying makes Holi a hugely water-intensive festival. Of course, when the location is built around a waterpark, you can have a guilt-free Holi. But if you have a choice, why not try playing a powder-based Holi? In some places, revellers play ‘Tilak Holi’- put a simple tilak on your loved ones. You still have plenty of chasing and laughter and colouring. After all, the tilak can be placed in many colours and many times, all over the face. You can also use the traditional picchkari which you can buy in the Manama Temple lane for spraying water – that limits water use. Imagine how much effort and water it will save once you are done playing with colours. If you still must use water, then make sure you plan your celebrations and decide beforehand the amount of water you will use.
CONTACT-SPORT: Using water balloons not only creates unnecessary garbage and wastes plenty of water, but can also cause injuries. And it does not even give the satisfaction of colouring someone with your own hands. So dip your palms in powder and hug or wipe it on friends’ clothes. Remember – protect your eyes and avoid putting powder in other people’s eyes because even organic and natural colours can harm the eyes.
Do me a favour…
Every year, the arrival of Spring is marked by an extravagant sharing of colours between family, friends and even strangers - the Indian festival of Holi is so popular that other communities too join in the fun, especially in the spacious courtyard of the Manama Shri Krishna Temple. There are also Holi parties at funky settings such as the Lost Paradise of
ANIMAL ALERT: The famous Elephant Festival in Jaipur has been cancelled after Animal Welfare Board, animal welfare activists, and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) raised objections to it. The festival featured decorated elephants with colours and heavy jewellery. PETA has also appealed to not throw colours on pets and animals this Holi. No matter how amusing it might look to you, colouring innocent animals is never a good idea, especially with those chemical mixed colours which cause immense harm to their bodies. Be more considerate this year and celebrate an animal-friendly holi. 58 SALAAM BAHRAIN
festival AFTERMATH: A great Holi calls for a good bath. Indulge yourself with a warm oil massage that will work out the colour stains. Use a loofah or a scrubber to gently lather your body but do not massage or scrub too hard as this will work the colours into your skin.
LET’S PLAY HOLI!
HOLI RESOLVE: Make this fun festival matter even more. Just like we involve local charities in other festivals, why not get a Bahrain NGO involved? You can work with one to have your Holi on a beach and do a beach clean-up before the event and after too; or host a Holi for workers in a labour camp..the potential to do good is endless.
ATTIRE: The traditional Holi garb is all white or faded pastels – all the better to show the colour splashes. New clothes are a no-no and if you are the shy type, avoid transparent clothing since all that water will make it see-through. Also avoid jewellery. Nobody is going to have the time to admire your beads and baubles and they will only get in the way.
Dilmun and the Novotel beach too. Maybe this year we shall find new venues such as the Marassi Beach? For those who are unfamiliar with the festival and also those who want to try some new and eco-friendly ways to celebrate Holi, we present a few ideas.
RESPECT PEOPLE: In the general carefree atmosphere of the festival, one sometimes gets carried away and ignores certain signals. Do stay aware that some people like to ‘watch’ Holi but not participate in it. Elders, people who are new to the idea of splashing colours on each other or even just those who don’t like the idea of colours on themselves – let each person enjoy Holi in their own way! Don’t bully anybody with colours. 59 SALAAM BAHRAIN
HOLI MESS: The cleaning up is always the biggest challenge after a vigorous celebration of Holi. If you are a guest at a Holi party, offer to help clean up. In Bahrain, where many of us have house help, why not pay your domestic team a Holi bonus and ask them if they would spare an hour to help clean up – when a team works together, that’s really all each person needs to put in. If you are the host, do consider having the party in an open space – a garden or beach where the party can roll unimpeded by fears of stained walls and furniture.
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Patriots of Al Noor
Al Noor International School proudly celebrated the National Action Charter Day on 14th February 2018, marking the studentsâ€™ love, and loyalty towards their country. The students, dressed in a variety of traditional costumes, expressed their joy and pride at being citizens of Bahrain.
Present on this occasion were the School Director Dr. Muhammad Mashood, Principal Amin Mohammed Ahmed Hulaiwah as well as the Head Teachers, coordinators and teachers from the different sections of the school.
Everybody a winner with Joyalukkas There were many happy faces at Joyalukkas where lucky shopper Sreedevi Arun won a luxury Audi car and received the key directly from Group CMD Joy Alukkas. The winners of gold prizes were also presented their prizes by him.
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A Kerala movie with a Bahrain link Malayalam film Aadujeevitham (‘Goat Days’) will see the coming together of cinema greats - music legend AR Rahman, Oscar-winning sound wizard Resul Pookutty and cinematographer KU Mohanan behind camera and talented Prithviraj as the protagonist Najeeb Muhammed, the cheated migrant worker in Saudi Arabia. The film has a strong Bahrain connection since the original novel was penned by author Benyamin when he was a resident of the Kingdom and Najeeb is now staying here! (See our interview with Najeeb in this issue.) Meanwhile, actress Amala Paul has been signed up as the romantic lead for the film – the commercial mirch-masala as it were! Amala took to Twitter to share the news. “Happy and honoured to be part of Blessy’s Aadujeevitham as Sainu, which is set to be a visual spectacle in 3D along with Prithviraj, . This gathering of master is going to make waves in world cinema.” The project will roll from March 1 and will be predominantly shot in Kerala, Rajasthan, Oman and Jordan. Prithviraj is said to have set aside 18 months for this project.
Rana’s BIG role Although early promos said that Rana Daggubati’s Haathi Mere Saathi will reprise Rajesh Khanna’s yesteryear classic, the makers have now stepped back and hastily clarified that the trilingual will not be a remake. The only similarity between the two films will be the bond between elephants and human beings. Rana, who plays a mahout in the film, lost about 15 kg to play his role in the film. Before filming, he will also spend close to three weeks with his co-star elephants in Thailand to get familiar with them. The film is set to be shot predominantly in Thailand “Yes, I’ll need to do more for this film. I’ll be taking 15-20 days before the shoot to stay with the elephants in the jungle and get familiar with them before I start filming. At the same time, we are also doing a bunch of workshops because the story is inspired by two events, so we are trying to get as authentic as we can in the filming process,” Rana said. Apart from Thailand, the makers will also shoot in Kerala and Delhi. The rest of the cast and crew are yet unknown. The makers are hoping to bring the film out for Diwali 2018.
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Kanika – more than a Baby Doll
It was a moment of validation for UK-based Punjabi singer Kanika Kapoor of ‘Baby Doll’ fame when Prince Charles’ British Asian Trust invited her to perform for its 10th anniversary. The singer who battled bad marriage blues and the struggles of single parenthood to claw her way to the top in Bollywood, kept audiences entertained with a live mix of Sufi and popular English songs. The music was curated by the well known British music producer, Naughty Boy. She is the first Indian artist to have performed at the Buckingham Palace. “It was an honour to perform in the Buckingham Palace for the 10th anniversary of British Asian Trust - the fact that I am the first Indian to perform there was a special feeling altogether. I am looking forward to more such events in the near future.” shared Kanika from the United Kingdom. Kanika is also known to be friends with the likes of Alberta Ferretti, Stefano Gabbana and many high profile socialites of the West.
‘Swami’ Ramdev’s life on telly Ramdev’s anointment as a Swami is complete with the screening of his highly dramatised biopic that started screening on the new Discovery Jeet channel. Called – what else? -Swami Ramdev: Ek Sangharsh, the trailer has already attracted 10 million views. The yoga teacher whose name is Ram Kishen Yadav, first shortened his moniker to a holysounding Ramdev; next he added the title Baba, which can mean anything from teacher to father-figure to holy man. And now, press releases from his company Patanjali and public proclamations have started addressing him as ‘Swami’. Hmm..that puts the lie to another Southern godman’s defensive declaration in a TV interview that Ramdev should not be judged negatively for his MNC business that runs counter to the accepted norm of renunciation of worldly desires for religious leaders because “he never said he is a swami, only a yoga teacher.” At the launch of the teleserial, however, Ramdev said, “I have no bank balance, family, wife or property. I am a sanyasi with no possessions.” The showman guru said, “A three-hour movie can’t do justice to the different aspects and facets of my long drawn battle. A TV show is bound to leave a positive imprint on viewers.” The two main actors are Naman Jain, who is playing his younger version and Kranti Prakash Jha, who essays his adult role, in style. Kranti, who has acted in Anurag Basu’s Stories by Rabindranath Tagore, said that he lost weight and toned his body for the role and learnt yoga from Ramdev himself. On the other hand, Naman, who won the National Award for the best child actor for Chillar Party, was initially stumped by Haryanvi required to be spoken in the series. “I learnt it from Abhishek Bhola of the production team and practised continuously. Besides, I learnt sword fighting and wrestling which Baba studied in his gurukul.” Notably, Naman met him after shooting the 25 episodes he figures in. Both Jha and Naman shall be using prosthetics in one eye and left side of the face to bring out the ailment suffered by Ramdev. 63 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Farewell to a great star
by MEERA RAVI
A late riser, I woke up on a recent Saturday to find the world in disbelieving tatters. Sridevi had died. At first, it just wouldn’t sink in. Most of us have favourite actors and actresses and we mourn their passing on because they seem to take a part of us with them. I remember feeling bereft when Rajesh Khanna dies – he was my teen crush. But…Sridevi?
luminous eyes, the finest acting chops, the goofy, perfect comedic timing, the heroine who could sizzle in a simple “family dance” like ‘Mere Haathon Mein Nau-Nau Chudiyan’, turn up the heat in a goofy song like 'Hawwa-Hawaii' and simply melt you with the innocent and sensual 'Sendoora poovey' –in 16 Vayadinile when she was a mere 14 and marking her decade as a cine-star. I remember having to go through many social contortions of good behaviour to get the permission to see the film and coming back mesmerised by Sridevi’s portrayal
from the arms of a glamorous actress. Even in the side-splitting
of a village teen hankering for the city lights but then marrying
and crude Telugu film Oka Radha Iddaru Krishnulu, her comic
the village idiot who saves her from the villain. It was 1977
timing shone through.
and I had left behind the bright lights of Mumbai a couple of
You see, for us Southies, Sridevi was a supernova long
years ago to come live with my grandparents in Chennai and
before Bollywood claimed her with Himmatwala and the
fancied that I understood her mental state very well!
churning Southern remake industry. From the time she
A couple of years later, I happened to watch Moondru
sweetly smiled and showered blessings as a precocious four
Mudichu, her first ‘adult’ role in which she gave a perfectly
year old Lord Murugan till her powerful 300th Hindi movie
nuanced turn as a woman whom two best friends love and
Mom, we owned Sridevi. We cheered her Hindi movie
which leads to murder. The scene where Rajinikanth kills
triumphs, we lapped up her Telugu hits and absorbed her
Kamalahaasan (the split name came much later) by pushing
Tamil films. I can’t say much about her Malayalam and
him into a lake and Sridevi’s reaction of terror and fear was
Kannada films but I’m sure she was stellar in those too.
In Hindi cinema, she shone as Chandni and they say Yash
You want comedy, there’s Meendum Kokila, in which she is
Chopra suffered a Sridevi hangover after the film! And my
a conservative housewife who wins back an errant husband
favourite: Lamhe, with it’s ahead-of-time plot and Sridevi’s
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celeb chakker delicious dual role. The muchreprised double role of shy and bold twins got a new lease of life in her hands in Chaal Baaz, full of romance and also perfect comic timing. And
magnificent if you believe her costars and industry insiders who say she was a deeply private and shy person when not emoting for the camera. To my surprise, I found out that everybody felt that Sridevi belonged in some way to them. My daughter, growing up in the ‘90s, used to practise her 'Hawwa Hawaii' moves, dreaming of ‘becoming’ Sridevi and was in shock. My house help burst into my house on Saturday, bristling with sorrow. My office Man Friday, closely
investigation, unable to believe that Sridevi had indeed died. We were all united in our grief, which swept down upon us and caught us unaware – but this was no ordinary human being. This was a woman who moved us to laughter, tears and joy. She broke the barriers between
housemaids and executives sat and grieved together on her untimely death. Reams have been written about her shining genius. Many people questioned why she quit films so abruptly at the height of her superstardom. But then, as my friend aptly put it, she was so content being a wife and
are personal choices that none of us can pass judgement about.
mother. A person who had been riding the gorilla of filmdom
And let me say this – there are very few recorded instances of
since age four, she was glad to step off the carousel and LIVE.
a nose job or a Botox jab causing death.
And who were we to foist our feminist ‘right-to-work’ philosophy on her?
All we can do is thank the Universe that we were able to watch pure brilliance at work. Thank you, Sridevi for sharing
People have been speculating about her need to manage her looks and the times that she went under the knife. Those
your talent with us and giving Indian cinema so many shining moments. The world is a poorer place without you.
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Quote(s) of the Month “Trolls don’t realise that whatever they write not only affects us but also affects our family and friends. I am very thankful for the fact that my mother is not on social media because such bad and abusive comments would definitely disturb her. Such kind of people are a threat to either themselves or the entire society because they do not realise how their actions affect others. That’s the reason I have come on MTV Troll Police. I want to know if my biggest trolls have the courage to face me and say the same things on my face.” - Zareen Khan
“I use my social media sparingly for things that are close to my heart. I don’t read the comments. My team filters out the comments for me, I don’t involve myself a lot into paying attention to criticism on social media. I speak what I want to speak and my team lets me know the needful.” - Arijit Singh
Singer Arijit Singh and actress Zareen Khan’s careers have been affected in some way by superstar Salman Khan. Zareen had a dream career launch in her first movie Veer opposite Salman Khan. Although the movie did only average business, people took Katrina Kaif lookalike Zareen seriously. But Bollywood is a cruel world. Curvy Zareen was mauled on social media for not being a size zero and body-shamed mercilessly. The spirited heroine moved on to success in Southern cinema and recently appeared on the TV show MTV Troll Police where she confronted a troll and told him, “My hand is bigger than your face. Should I slap you? Your jaw will be broken.” Arijit Singh, the talented singer, found his recorded songs for Salman Khan’s films deleted and re-recorded by another singer after he commented rather mildly that Salman was a boring anchor in an awards event. Since then, Salman has made it clear that he will not have Arijit’s voice for himself or any other character in any of his films – even if he is just a cameo appearance as in the Sonakshi-Diljith Dofanjh starrer Welcome to New York. Arijit begged for forgiveness on Facebook and got his fans to take on 66 SALAAM BAHRAIN
Tolly fan rage hits Tom Cruise In the fan-crazed Telugu film industry, fans of Mahesh Babu broke the silly barrier by crashing into Tom Cruise’s official page and skewering the Hollywood star there while praising their Telugu hero. It all started when Tom Cruise shared the teaser of his upcoming spy thriller Mission Impossible - Fallout on his official Facebook page. In a matter of minutes, the comments section of the post turned into a battleground for a war of words between Mahesh Babu and his rival Jnr NTR’s fans. Sample this: “Tom Cruise you are an illiterate in front of Mahesh Babu. If our sweety star Mahesh Babu is a watermelon u r a seed in that. Better you go and watch Brahmotsavam and Spyder then you will recognise what is your range (sic)” reads a comment from one fan. Interestingly, some Mahesh Babu fans were quick to disown these cringeworthy comments, and
Salman’s fans…all to no avail. Now the singer says he simply lets his minders manage his social media. He posts on channels but does not read fan feedback unless his team has okayed it. Well, guess blanking out the trolls is one way of staying sane. Overall though, we find that the women of B-Town are more aggressive about facing trolls than the he-men out there.
pointed out that it’s all the work of terrorists. It wasn’t long before Tom Cruise’s official page unwittingly played host to an embarrassing slugfest of epic proportions, between the two sparring fan clans. If you think that’s bizarre, then you haven’t seen anything yet. In typical Tollywood chest-thumping, thighslapping fashion, some fans went on to rubbish
all things Hollywood, including Cruise’s multi-million dollar Mission Impossible franchise. Not ones to back down, NTR fans went a step further and stated that the Top Gun actor will be blown away if he comes face to face with their ‘Young Tiger’, a moniker for NTR. The bizarre battle wasn’t lost on genuine MI lovers and Tom Cruise fans who had dropped by to check out the poster. “So much jealousy around here! Tom is the best! Why they’re talking about some Indian I-don’t-know-who? Geez! (sic),’ wrote a Tom Cruise fan from Brazil. “When their heroes’ films aren’t 67 SALAAM BAHRAIN
releasing, these fans resort to such trolling to justify their existence. Instead of appreciating what their favourite star does, fans these days have started abusing other heroes. They just need a platform and have found one in Tom Cruise’s page,” says film critic and former Bigg Boss contestant, Mahesh Kathi, “They are only exposing our film industry! We are not making films that are anywhere close to Hollywood standards. As much as we like to claim that Baahubali is of international standards, Hollywood is light years ahead of us in terms of filmmaking. So seeking global attention in this way is unwarranted.”
February and March are truly the most feminine of the twelve months – we get to celebrate Valentine’s Day which may be mainly about couples, but admit it, the ladies get the best gifts! Then March 8 is International Women’s Day when we show our respect and admiration for multi-faceted women achievers and in Bahrain, March 21 is the biggest celebration – Arab Mother’s Day. Did you know that florists in the Kingdom sell more than twice as many flowers on March 21 than on any other day of the year? Every year, we get a bunch of sanctimonious arguments about why women should be celebrated every day and not just the one day of the year. Pause a minute here – in our frenzied lives, will we actually find the time to express our appreciation for people whom we admire – the women in our lives, our mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, teachers, nurses...the list is endless. Each one of us fights odds and when this happens as a pattern to a group defined by gender or specific profession, a special day to show how much we are aware of their struggle and success is a great idea. A special day also helps to summarise the journey so far and draw up plans for new goals and actions that will keep us moving forward. I find that as I grow older, instead of growing cynical about this yearly marking of special days, I look forward to them, to assessing how far I have come in my different roles – as a woman, a mother and as a partner on Father’s Day. It is also our opportunity to dedicate ourselves to making conditions better for others. On Mother’s Day, for instance, why not move beyond the soppy chocolate and flowers and speak up for the thousands of women who face risky or even fatal childbirth? Wear a white ribbon on March 21, because that is the sign of the movement for safe motherhood - it will start a conversation and lead to action across the world. While women have reshaped their lives and expectations, mothers still face a lot of cultural resistance to remodelling their mothering. Women who say that they do not want children of their own are still treated as misfits, whereas men are never called upon to make such statements. At the same time, the demands on parents has multiplied when faced with a world that bombards their children and them too with so much information and not enough time to process it into knowledge. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day..they are a timeframe during which we can enrich our relationships by not just celebrating the 24 hours but also thinking deeply about putting it in the context of the changing world around us, our families and loved ones. Meanwhile, is that bunch of roses for me?
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Salaam Bahrain March 2018