Transition of Thoughts

Weaving thoughts into words

Month: October 2009

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


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.

The four of us – You guys will always remind me the best days of my life!!

Finally I am back to where I belong after a huge gap of half a month due to loads of work. But yeah at the end of all this only one phrase comes to my mind “Mera number kab aayega”. But I have realised that “sabar ka phal meetha hota hai”. Ok guys I know you must be bored by my crapping away, so I shall get to the point.

This is about the four of us. A group which probably was as different as chalk and cheese, a group which was an example of diversity to the world (2 christians, 1 muslim and 1 hindu – we had never thought of this aspect before but yeah its lovely the way we gelled together), a group which didn’t hang out together so much per se as during college hours, a group which remained incomplete even if one of the members wasn’t there…this was us – Arun, Girish (Giri), Mohsin (MBL) and me.

In the first year in F-Block, Arun stayed just across my room in the same floor while I somehow met MBL (dont exactly remember when  :P). Had met Giri though didnt talk much that time. It was in the 2nd year when all of us shifted to the International Hostel (IH- which was later renamed just D-Block – god so much for the name

Ok now I shall talk a little about all of them. MBL has been the cleanest, nicest and sweetest guys (this nicest and sweetest part obviously applies to Giri and Arun 2 :)) I have ever seen in my life. He used to literally sweep his room 5-6 times a day and that to many times with talcum powder (now thats something big im sure!!). Ok for him the nicest and sweetest part is reserved a lot for gals (older and younger both – I shall not go further cuz I am sure he will kill me if I do :P). His way of saying hi and other antics were imitated so well by Arun…lol..But yeah hes an amazing artist, a great multitasker doing everything from Art work to singing to studying at the last moment many times through me teaching him till the last moment till the point hes about to enter the classroom for an exam and then topping…(even though he used to say that He gassed up the paper!!!). N Yeah his debating skills maan this guy can debate on anything from having just one kid to Indian movies having sad endings to I dont know what not…He just manages to keep debating even though he may know that its not exactly true (That sure is an amazing quality)..How can I forget his sleeping habits…Before coming to VIT I thought that I was Kumbhkaran sleeping like crazzyy..But he was the one who no one could beat..Setting records of sleeping for upto 19 hours on a stretch and also sleeping the day before the exam and then studying full nite…Your the one dude!!…

Girish aka Giri aka 50 cent aka Rapper from Panruti…even though I started talking to this guy a lot only in 2nd year we became real close friends pretty soon…His way of saying “Yo maan whats up..”.. and wazzup and stuff like that became the talk of the whole IH hostel and also the college…he also came to be known as Giri (though pronounced Givi) as everyone caught this lingo in hostel and it became like a word that everyone used 2 use even though he may not be there around…Hes an amazing guitarist, a great bball player (dude I am sure if you would have kept on playing you would have surely got into the team) and also a great chicken lover (god I still remember how MBL used to make fun of the way he used to have it lol..:P)…But the best thing I am happy about is the fact that I was able to help him improve his CGPA in a way by teaching him before the exams prbly through the nite or even full portions 2 hrs before exams…

Arun the one who may appear slightly sleepy eyed and also like someone who doesnt speak much…But dont go by his looks cuz he has one of the greatest sense of humor I have ever seen in a person..(I mean he can just crack jokes in the  most serious of situations )..He is an amazing cartoonist with his caricatures being publicly available in the book “Shimmering Reflections” – his caricatures were of teachers, situations in the college, in the mess, outside college and what not…Hes one of the most creative guys I have known…Both MBL and Arun are amazing cooks (they could surely give great chefs a run for their money with their exotic dishes!!)

All our times spent in MBL’s room debating on various issues (where I was the one mostly getting pissed off and raising my voice, Giri trying to mediate and MBL continously arguing while Arun used to go off to sleep and get up in between to see us fighting and again sleep off :P), our visits to Spice Garden for sizzlers, Rivierview, Darling (for Afghani Chicken and Macroni – oh maan it was amazing:)), Sparkies, Barbeque Nation, our trip to BITS Pilani, Goa Campus for a presentation (MBL, Giri and me – What a way we found to go to Goa hahaha:)), mine and Giri’s visit to IIT Roorkee (where Giri had the most amazing veg food in one of my aunts places) are treasured by me.

I still remember my last day 17th May 2009 when MBL decided to come to leave me all the way to the airport from Vellore and then how all of you agreed and came standing half way in the train with me in the reserved compartment. I was really overwhelmed by the fact that you guys came all the way to the airport to see me off. When I had landed at Anna Salai airport on 2nd July 2005, I hadnt imagined even in my wildest dreams that 3 guys would come to see me off 4 years down the line. Thankfully, I left that day because I am sure otherwise I would have broken down.

You guys made this the best days of my life seriously….


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