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Round Peg

Location: Muscat, Oman/ Bangalore, India

Round Peg....in a square hole. That describes me! All my life I have never quite fit in ... now I have just given up trying to live up to the expectations of the square hole or trying to find a round one!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Manner of Protests

If you look at the protests against the Mohammed cartoons, they have mostly taken the form of demonstrations – some peaceful, many violent in that they have involved the declaring of malicious intents, throwing of stones, worse molotov cocktails, torching of buildings, flags… and saddest of all - one person died in Afghanistan.

The protests in the GCC have been markedly different. Here the protests have been non-violent. They have taken the form of a boycott of products from Denmark and this move has probably hurt Denmark the most.

Of all the countries in the world to take exception to the cartoons, I expect the countries in the GCC are offended the most. And yet there has been no violence whatsoever. Commendable. I imagine the Danes in Oman pretty much go about their lives as usual except that they probably downplay their nationality and keep their opinions to themselves.

I wonder why the reaction in the GCC has been so different. Is it because the GCC as a people are more mature? They were certainly able to make their objections felt and all this without traffic being disrupted, a single stone being thrown or a building being burnt.

Or is it because, living as they do under authoritarian regimes, there is no possibility of demonstrations – peaceful or violent here?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Khimji’s Mart - now open at MQ

The Madinat Qaboos outlet of Khimji’s Mart opened today.

On Day One of the opening, the store has tremendous goodwill from the people in and around the area.

For one thing there is no other store close by. Omanization put an end to all the small stores that used to operate in the region.

Secondly they have a big captive audience in the Hay Al Rahba Complex itself – the store is located on the fringes of this residential complex.

Hay Al Rahba houses some 200 flats, 40 townhouses and 40 independent villas. The residents can walk down to the store in less than 5 minutes.

Will the store succeed? . Al Fair apparently used to operate a store in the complex many years ago but they shut shop when people did not buy anything other than milk and bread from them.

Price the products high and everybody will make a bee line to Lulu.

Don’t get the product mix right and people like me will continue to drive all the way to Ruwi to Haridas Nensey for grocery items. And I might even have to continue to stop off at Lulus for my ‘white goods’ – milk, laban and youghurt because Lulu is the only place where I am assured of Al Marai’s skimmed milk.

For now however the Khimji’s appear to have a winner on their hands. Wishing them all luck!