Circle of Life – What comes, goes away too! (But do I really understand that?)


Don’t know why I am writing this post. Don’t know why such stuff is there in my head. But today I feel a sense of loneliness, a sense of feeling that I am gonna lose something, a sense of something going to go wrong sometime somewhere in the near future. This isn’t the first time, I am feeling this way. Actually I can say I am used to it in a certain way. You must be wondering what I am talking about right?

Life plays many games with you. Some you like, some you don’t while many others you have take with a pinch of salt. One meets new people everytime in life be it school, college, work etc. Some stick for life so much that you can’t afford to let go off them and feel scared at just the thought of seeing them off or losing them (because that’s what you think when they leave somewhere right?). While many others don’t even bother whether you die or are alive.

But in the case of love, things are different most of the time. And that’s why the popular slogan or saying is that “Where love comes, friendship goes for a toss”. As in many of my earlier posts I have spoken about how love can change your life in such a way that in love, you end up doing this which you wouldn’t normally do. When one parts with his / her loved one, there is a feeling which creeps up which one cant describe at all. It feels as if one is moving away from something of his / her own, its as if one has lost a part of his / her own self.

Ok so why am I talking about this and blabbering and boring you all? It’s just something which I guess all experience in life and I have too. But there are some like me who keep thinking about such things more than many others. And today was one day I was back to my old self of contemplating about my future, thinking about relations – friends, loved ones and all that.


And that’s one year since I started blogging and tweeting!



6th July 2009 was when I made my first post on this blog. I give the sole credit to Himanshu Bhagat (2008-10) batch of SIBM Pune MBA Marketing for “indirectly” bringing out the social media guy in me. A team called the Internet Communications and Blogging team was established a year back to maintain the Official SIBM Blog and the entire online communications of SIBM Pune. I applied, got selected and the rest is history.

As my first post says, I used to write earlier in bits and pieces like some articles in Times of Oman and had been a part of editorial teams at college. But my real writing began when I started blogging. Be it my love life, friends, political issues, social issues, economic issues, I began writing about anything and everything. While writing, I realised that there was so much I wanted to speak about but probably wasnt able to. So if one isnt able to communicate very well in terms of physical communication, writing is the best medium to reach out to the world out there.

As I went on writing, I also realised that if I was interested in something, I could write a post about it in just 20 mins. Many people have always asked me as to how I choose the topics for my blog posts. I would like to say that whatever I write, I strongly feel about each of those things. I never make a conscious attempt to think much before on a topic and then write. Whenever I get an idea to write on something, I just pen down my thoughts.

Interestingly on the same day I joined Twitter too. This was also too for the team work. But I did create my account because I was told to do so. Truthfully speaking I didnt know anything about Twitter before and had the usual question as to what should I tweet about. Till November I had just about 150-200 tweets. But then all of a sudden I started tweeting like crazy. As I started getting the hang of it, I realised the importance of networking. This is the reason I improved my Linkedin account to what it has become today.

And so today, I am connected to 280 odd people on Linkedin, have 12,600+ visits on my blog with more than 7000+ new visitors with a rank of 72/100 by Indiblogger and 550 odd followers on Twitter. The statistics apart, I have realised the importance of having a very good social media presence in these times.

There are a couple of things I know I still have to improve on my blog like the design, making it interactive etc. Its all a work in progress and I am sure with time I would able to improve a hell lot.

Lately I have began my biggest ever project ever – Writing a novel. I have miles and miles to go before I sleep and I really want to be in this field for a long run.


10 reasons why I still call Muscat home despite so many changes in the past few years!!!


Muscat has changed a lot in the past couple of years. Rents have shot up sharply, the cost of living has become crazzzzyyyyyy, salaries are not increasing proportionately, there is plethora of construction (read CONCRETISATION) going on, my residence visa will get over next year and I wont be able to renew it to a residence one unless I work or study there – Muscat is literally changing by the minute like most of the countries in the Middle East. Its been 5 years since I left Muscat to do my undergrad and postgrad education. With just a year left for me to finish, as I look back even today I can find reasons and more reasons to call the place I left 5 yrs back my home despite tremendous changes!

Following are 10 of the reasons why I still call Muscat home..There will surely be more of them but these are the ones I can remember at the moment

1. I was born at Khoula Hospital, Muscat on 1st Feb 1988 which indirectly made me an Omani :P and since then its been an amazing journey of falling in luv with this place. My parents have lived in this place for the past 34-35 yrs.

2. Indian School Muscat was where I spent the 15 yrs of my school life and it was an experience which I can surely never forget.

3. Looking at the barren hilly geography from the top through the airline window makes me feel as if I am back home.

4. The spik and span roads, man made greenery and picture perfect buildings and cleanliness bring old memories back.

5. The Rose Garden, Naseem Garden, Riyam Park, Kalbooh and other such places makes me remember the good old days at ISM when we used to go for picnics to these places and just enjoy like hell

6. The various supermarkets like Lulu, Carrefour and blah blah with all those amazing juices and other products from the Gulf remind you of such amazing stuff available here.

7. The food I get here in my house in particular be it the simple sabzis like cauliflower, brinjal etc seems so different and delicious than anywhere I get in India. Even the food outside with is cleanliness is no much for India at all.

8. Its the only city in the Gulf to have not one but two temples – that of Shiva and Krishna and maaaan the temples are soooo amazingly built with ACs…..:) :) :)

9. Despite the starting of the Southern Highway and couple of other roads to ease the traffic, the main highway from airport through Qurum and Ruwi to the Bustan Palace Hotel remains the heart of the city’s road network.

10. All in all each and every place from Corniche to the Airport just makes me feel that this country is my home land and here is where I feel a strong peace of mind and relaxation.

Tomorrow I may not end up working here as one never knows whats in store with life. But one thing is for sure, Muscat was, is and will be the closest to my heart always despite its many million changes and shortcomings…



Is Oman becoming a victim of global warming without being the one who caused it?



I would like to give some background on Oman before moving forward. Oman is a hilly land no doubt. It isnt exactly a desert as is thought of across the world. Yes, it is hot and humid. But having lived in this country for the past 22 yrs, I can safely say that it is the most beautiful place in terms of natural beauty in the GCC or for that matter the entire Middle East region with man made greenery and beautiful landscaped mountains, rocks and gorges. Recently even the Sultan has given an order to plant thousands of palm trees.

The weather here differs in different places. Up north in Muscat, Sohar, Nizwa (other cities in Oman) the climate is hot and humid in summers while cool in winters. While down south in Salalah, it is affected by the monsoon in the months from June to September. So its really interesting to see different kinds of vegetation across the length and breadth of this country. When it does rain here (which was uncommon in the past), the wadis overflow onto the roads and there are great chances of accidents. The water flow in the wadis sometimes gets very fast and dangerous. But even these occurences were rare in the past.

But over the past couple of years, things are changing thick and fast. Cyclone Gonu which tore through Muscat in 2007 killing hundreds in its path was the strongest cyclone packing winds of over 150 kmph in the Arabian Sea in over sixty years. It led to a damage of approximately 4 bn US$. At that time it was called a once in a 50 years event. But 3 yrs down the line, as Cyclone Phet approaches the shores of Muscat, can we still call it a once in a lifetime event?

Cyclone Phet was initially a category 5 storm packing winds of upto 250 kmph. But as it entered Oman through Sur and Masirah it dropped to Category 3 (180kmph) and then Category 1 (110kmph). Whether it still causes widespread damage or not is still to be seen. But the biggest question is whats going on around the shores of Oman to create 2 cyclones in 3 years?

The simple answer is GLOBAL WARMING! I know a lot of people would surely think that nowadays scientists do think this is an answer for every problem but seriously speaking in this case, this is a possibility. This year the Asian subcontinent is facing a severe heatwave which resulted in increasing the sea temperature by 2 degree celsius. This resulted in a high temperature difference between the Earth’s surface and the tropopause.

As someone gave an answer on answers.yahoo.com -

A storm is powered by a layer of warm air underneath a layer of cold air. The cold air is denser, so it wants to sink, while the warm air wants to rise. This manifests itself as a vortex, with warm air rising up the center, and cold air sinking on the outer parts of the vortex.

Like any other heat engine, the power output is increased when the temperature difference is increased.

This is what must have happened with Cyclone Phet. I am sure a lot people would disagree saying this is a conspiracy theory and all that. But this is true and its happening.

Oman needs to prepare adequate infrastructure to protect itself in the coming years from such events. It is fast becoming an example of global warming caused due to the fault of other nations. (For your information Oman is one of the most cleanest countries in terms of environmental damage per capita in the world). In the next couple of years we can see more events of cyclones and storms occuring in the Arabian Sea.

That’s when the Omanis wont call it an unusual weather event, but a more than usual one!


True Love – Is it really as complicated as it is made out to be?


Love can make a person’s world go round, love can drive a person to do things he / she wouldn’t normally do, love can change a person’s perspective about life, love can make / break a person’s life, love can make a person change his / her personality for the person they love, love can do so much and more. So what really is love? Why does it have the kind of effect which any other feeling or thing may not have in this wide world? Is it really as complicated as it sounds? Are love, infatuation and just liking a person, leaves of the same tree? Is there anything called love at first sight? Does the concept called true love exist?  I know all you guys out there have loads and loads of such questions running in your minds. Before you guys start wondering that I would give you some advice or something on love, please relax! I am not an agony aunt or something because I really don’t have the credentials to be one. I would just talk about love by taking myself as an example – You can say a LAB RAT :P.

In today’s world if someone likes, loves or just the fact that two people are always together and think about each other in a way more than friends, people start commenting that they are “going out” or in a “relationship” or “together”. No one says that they are in love even though they really may be in love, the reason being that its “not in fashion”. While I was at school, I used to wonder how can people get into and out of relationships like as if they change their t – shirts. It seemed really odd and weird.

As time went by, I did fall in “love”. Initially though, I thought it was some kind of infatuation, liking or little bit more than that. Slowly but surely, I got sucked into this feeling of love completely and ended up reaching a point of no return. A point where I had thought I would end up marrying the person, a point where I had told the person all my likes, dislikes and good things and bad things, a point where I had probably (I hope I don’t sound cheesy on saying this :P) dedicated my entire life to that person, a point where I really felt I had found “TRUE LOVE”. But all good things do come to an end most of the time.

So what is this “TRUE LOVE”? Is it whatever I wrote earlier or something else? There really isn’t any definition of “TRUE LOVE”. Our parents say that this concept died many years back. But our movies even today show that such a concept does exist. Ten different people would surely have ten different views on this topic. But, I am a die – hard romantic and truly believe that “TRUE LOVE” does exist. It isn’t even a quarter as complicated as it is made out to be. And the most important thing is that it isn’t necessary that “TRUE LOVE” can happen only once. It can surely happen more than once. That doesn’t mean that I am trying to say that after marriage, a person falling in love again is fine. The fact is that, one relationship with a person gone awry doesn’t mean that the person cannot fall in love ever again. “TRUE LOVE” doesn’t come with a tag of lasting for days, months or years. It can even last for 1-2 years or go on for the entire lifetime of a person.

The four years were the most amazing times of my life. The feeling of knowing that there is someone who cares about you just lesser than your family, the feeling that there is someone around to pamper you, hug you, make you smile, make you happy even when you are sad, the feeling of knowing that there is one person in this world who will always be with you irrespective of anyone else in this entire universe made my world go round. And yes this I truly believe was “TRUE LOVE”. Fights, bad times, good times, angry times, funny times, stupid times everything all combine to make the complete picture.

Very few people find “TRUE LOVE” in this world not because its difficult to find but because they don’t believe in this concept called “TRUE LOVE” or don’t know how to recognize it when it comes knocking at their doorstep. “TRUE LOVE” is one of the most precious gifts of God. It should be cherished and nurtured always!

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Muscat – A place which taught me LIFE!!!!


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1st February, Khoula Hospital, Muscat – A person called Aseem Rastogi was born.  Muscat – A name which immediately brings MEMORIES to my mind. Memories that have been filled with joy, love, fun, sadness, care, friendship, good times, bad times, amazing times, ok times and what not!!

While coming by plane (read Oman Air) into Muscat, the first thing one notices about this place is the amazingly hilly terrain and that too completely barren hills. Obviously you guys will wonder whats the beauty in seeing barren hills. But my fellow readers, I would like to state here that the Sultanate of Oman is the only country in the Middle East which concentrates on its natural beauty as a source of tourism even in today’s world of malls, multiplexes and concretisation of cities be it Dubai, Doha, Bahrain, Kuwait all of them. It is perhaps the only country in the world which has a desert, barren hills and also a monsoon climate for about 3-4 months a year (in Salalah – the 2nd biggest city).

The beautiful Omani hospitality starts in the air itself. Though Oman Air started way back in 1993, till about 2007 it was just flying to around 23 cities in the Middle East, Africa and the Asian Subcontinent. Since the last 2 years it has gone on a massive expansion spree ordering new planes, improving services and also expanding to new countries and cities across the world like London, Munich, Maldives, Kuala Lampur and more. The Muscat International Aiport is being revamped and expanding to handle more than 3000 passengers per day.

Muscat is one of the most cleanest cities in the world. The impeccable roads, the strict rules (yes so strict that even we INDIANS are scared), the efforts taken by the government to plant more and more trees and flowers and also maintainence of parks in such hot weather where temperatures in summer can reach up to 55 degrees is truly commendable.  There is one straight road from the airport upto the Bustan Palace Hotel (one of the best in the Gulf).

The earliest I remember was living in Al Khuwair. I dont remember much of staying in Walja. We stayed in Al Khuwair which was just getting developed at that point of time (1994-97). We moved to Darsait in 1997 to stay in one of the best and tallest buildings in Muscat and have been there ever since. The comfort one gets in that house is amazing to say the least. The full building is centrally airconditioned. So its like inside it could be as low as 5 degrees when outside its 55.

Indian School Muscat has been the my cradle of knowledge which prepared me for life. I joined on 7th July 1991 and left on 23rd March 2005. It was an amazing journey of 14 years wherein I met so many friends like Sindhuja, Aisha, Meha, Neha, Ishani, Ranjani, Suhas, Nandhini, Amit, Yaamini, Palash, Tarang and many more.

One thing I’ll always regret is the fact that I never took Music in 6th and forced mom to allow me to take up Art. I feel that if I would have taken music, then probably my vocal skills would have probably taken me somewhere much higher than where I stand today.

There were so many memorable times like the ones wherein I was awarded the trophy for the best academic performance that is in 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th. I still remember the time in 8th where I recited the poem “If” in class and how I was shivering out of extreme nervousness. I am sure Sindhuja and Aisha will remember this. This incident makes me laugh now thinking as to how shy and introvert I was back then. I mean god, I was so pathetic that I  had to go for personality speaking classes at that point in time.

The chance to go for the 3.5 week student exchange trip to Concord College, UK was the first big event in my life which helped me become much more confident about myself as I got a chance to interact with people from more than 100 countries and also to experience different cultures, climates and food. The times during 11th and 12th were probably the most amazing as we used to go to different tutions (yeah PCM everything) and most of the times other than during the ones during the tutions classes, was spent in chatting and discussing about every issue under the sun. The times spent talking to Nandhini, Ishani, Ranjani outside Preetha Maams tutions, Chitra Maams tutions and also their farewell parties will always live in my memory.

The most amazing aspect about Muscat is the comfort one gets there. I mean when I was there for me it was like, go and come in AC bus or van to school (ok not in 11th and 12th), sit in classrooms with two ACs,  sleep in AC at home and also in the evening go in AC to different malls like Lulu or Carefour or Araimi and what not which have ACs. I was basically living life king size.

Due to the Sultan’s brilliant vision, Oman has been able to stand by its charm of natural beauty rather than turning everything into concrete even after all these years. Its a country which boasts of mind boggling tourist sites like the Ras Al Hadd turtle nesting site, the Hooti caves (famous for natural formed stalactites and stalagmites), Jabal Akdhar (here the temp falls to about 1 degree in winter), Zero Gravity point in Salalah, water springs in Mughasyl, Salalah to name a few.

Even after living out for more than 4 years, whenever I see those barren hills from the air, I feel that I am back to my home-town”. Two things summarize Oman and Omanis completely: -

- It is said that in Oman if an Indian’s car breaks down on the highway, an Omani will surely help him rather than a Indian.

- In a recent survey in Muscat asking people whether they would like to see their city adorned with skyscrapers like Dubai (at the moment Sheraton Hotel with just about 25-30 floors is the tallest building), an overwhelming majority of 80% of the people voted against it.

One thing I’ll always regret is the fact that I never took Music in 6th and forced mom to allow me to take up Art. I feel that if I would have taken music, then probably my vocal skills would have probably taken me somewhere much higher than where I stand today.