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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sleep and its huge benefits

I've often wondered, how long I could go without sleep. And about three years ago, did manage to stay awake for almost two days running,. That was of course, because I was travelling and the body clock was  very, very confused.

But what I do remember is that it wasn't a good feeling-at all, in fact.

Having done some basic reading, I'm reminded of the fact that sleep is a basic human need, as important for good health as diet and exercise. When we sleep, our bodies rest but our brains are active. Sleep lays the groundwork for a productive day ahead. Although most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function well the next day, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) 1998 Women and Sleep Poll ( USA)found that the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the workweek.

So how much sleep is really required?

The first thing experts will tell you about sleep is that there is no "magic number." Not only do different age groups need different amounts of sleep, but sleep needs are also individual. Just like any other characteristics you are born with, the amount of sleep you need to function best may be different for you than for someone who is of the same age and gender. While you may be at your absolute best sleeping seven hours a night, someone else may clearly need nine hours to have a happy, productive life.

Another reason there is "no magic number" for your sleep results from two different factors that researchers are learning about: a person’s basal sleep need – the amount of sleep our bodies need on a regular basis for optimal performance – and sleep debt, the accumulated sleep that is lost to poor sleep habits, sickness, awakenings due to environmental factors or other causes. Two studies suggest that healthy adults have a basal sleep need of seven to eight hours every night, but where things get complicated is the interaction between the basal need and sleep debt.

For instance, you might meet your basal sleep need on any single night or a few nights in a row, but still have an unresolved sleep debt that may make you feel more sleepy and less alert at times, particularly in conjunction with circadian dips, those times in the 24-hour cycle when we are biologically programmed to be more sleepy and less alert, such as overnight hours and mid-afternoon.

According to researchers Michael H. Bonnet and Donna L. Arand, "There is strong evidence that sufficient shortening or disturbance of the sleep process compromises mood, performance and alertness and can result in injury or death. In this light, the most common-sense 'do no injury' medical advice would be to avoid sleep deprivation."

On the other hand, some research has found that long sleep durations (nine hours or more) are also associated with increased morbidity (illness, accidents) and mortality (death). Researchers describe this relationship as a "U-shaped" curve (see illustration) where both sleeping too little and sleeping too much may put you at risk

I've made up my mind. - will definitely aim at getting all the sleep I need.

Right now,  I'm feeling really, really refreshed, having woken up from a long siesta, and all I can say is that everything certainly seems to be all right in my world....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Omans First Ever 'Twestival'

Thursday, the 25th of March will remain a date to remember forever, at least in the history of Oman's burgeoning Twitter Community. The First ever 'Twestival' was held on board the Hormuz, the worlds fastest (deisel )catamaran and 125 Oman Tweeps gathered to have fun and enjoy an evening on board, in the Arabian sea.

But more than all of that, to support the cause of education in the Sultanate of Oman .
Within a very short span of time, RO 825 had been raised and this was aided by another RO 500 contributed by  one of the sponsors for the event.

We saw a wonderful sunset, accompanied by the sounds of the Arabian Oud and a guitar playing in the background, had a chance to meet and interact with so many new people, (hopefully some of whom will become friends).

Most importantly, I believe that it has laid the foundataion for what can be a very powerful tool of communication- the 140 character thing called Twitter/Tweeting, something which will help form more and closer bonds of communication in today's world.

A very special Thank you to the core organising committee, as well as all the sponsors.
Not to forget, a special hats off for the fact that it all came together in......5 days!

Way to go, Oman Tweeps and may your tribe increase.

A learning experience -An evening with Shaikh Yusuf Estes Salam

We had an opportunity to hear the world famous Islamic preacher,Shaikh Yusuf Estes Salam give a talk on Islam and its relationship with other religions a few days back.It really was an evening to remember... for many reasons.
 For one, it was held within the precincts of the Grand Mosque, truly the most magnificient structure in all of Oman.

Two, Shaikh Yusuf Estes, himself was a Christan preacher, who chose to convert to Islam many, many years back.

Then, it was the sheer numbers of people present there.
Even though there were no estimates, I'd put the people that evening at about a thousand...all silent, then reactive and then interactive, all as the moment demanded.

Most memorable of all will remain the fact that I saw my first real life conversion to Islam take place in front of me. It was that of Marcos, (pictured above with Shikh Yusuf Estes), who has chosen to follow Islam as his new way of life and living.He smiled, he laughed and he also cried..

Almost twenty years of living in the Gulf and I finally understood what it really was-
It is only when there is a call from within, then and only then, does someone feel the need/desire to convert from one religion to another

Monday, March 22, 2010

Children and what we can sometimes do to them

Children are supposed to be happy and healthy. Always smiling, playful and joyful.
And as parents we do try our very best to make that happen.
Sometimes even at the cost of sacrificing many things that we ourselves could have done with.Because their needs come before ours, and that is what we firmly believe in.

But it is sad when we see a child crying,particularly when no one seems to care. When he/she is unhappy, puzzled, worried or scared. Because those who are the guardians have now turned into monsters, or something very close to it.

That is exactly what I felt when I read a recent report in the newspapers, where a mother and her new husband were convicted for murdering her daughter simply by starving her to death. And the story got progressively worse as I read that there were a total of four children who were given exactly one bowl of food, twice a be shared by all. All the while, the well stocked kitchen was kept locked and the key remained with the mother and her husband.

As a result of this continous cruelty they became emaciated and weak beyond belief and eventually one of them, a young girl, died.When she was brought to the hospital, she managed to whimper and say( moments before she passed away.." I am hungry."

Stop and think...for even as we read this, there could be some other cases like this in our own well to do neighbourhoods.
Or unspeakable horrors, even worse than  this may be inflicted on children that we all know...

Friday, March 19, 2010

A place under the sun-Al Hamra and Misfat Al Abreeyan

There is a village called Al Hamra and another one called Misfat Al Abreeyan in Oman. And this is what they are aboutOld, beautiful...and with great photo opportunities. Do check them outYou will love them

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Moods and Images at sunset

"A picture can say a thousand words"
.I've said this earlier and so will let these pics do all the talking.
Leaving you with some moods and images at day,not so long ago

Friday, March 12, 2010

All things Japanese

There is a particular beauty to all things Japanese-Be it  the costumes, the food, the flowers and most of all their deep rooted love for tradition, all are equally fascinating.

Combined with the huge leaps in technological progress that the Japanese people have registered over the last many years, there is a lot that we can all learn from.

I'm leaving you with a few visuals, which I'm sure will convey some of what I'm trying to say

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women's Reservation Bill all set to become a reality

It had to happen and it did. 9th March 2010,14 years after the process for the Bill was first initiated in the Indian Parlaiment, the Bill s now all set to become a reality. Today it was finally passed in the Rajya Sabha( the Upper house of Parliament) with 186 "for" and 1 "against" it.

The rest of the process will take some more time, and so it well might. For the Bill to become a reality, it will have to go to the Lok Sabha, and only once it has been passed there that it can become a Law.

So is there any reason to feel euphoric?
In my mind, there is indeed.

For as I had mentioned in my earlier Blog post on this subject, it is little girls like these who will now be assured of a more secure future.For they will now  grow up with their mothers teaching them that they finally have an assured "Share of Voice" in the Governance of their country. 33% is a good number.

I simply look at it this way. We now definitely  have hope for the future.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Womens Reservation Bill- 8th March 2008, India

This is a picture of a Indian girl child as I captured her somewhere, two years ago. A happy, smiling girl child.

Now fast forward to twenty years later, and think about what she would be doing. And imagine her as a sad, unhappy, person. Because she is denied the basic fundamental right that every Indian woman should have..that of representataion in the Indian Parliament.

Yes,. it is true, all women over 25 can stand for the Lower House of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, and can win a seat as well,....only if they have the means and the resources to do so.

But not every woman can, because she lacks these very same resources.

That is where what we are talking about,  The Womens Reservation Bill, to be tabled in the Indian Parliament on the 8th of March  will give her and others like her hope for the future. For it is only when they have a certainty that will win, that many womem will come out and stand. As they rightfully should.

To speak for themselves and all their sisters too.

14 years and three failed attempts later, all that we can hope for is that this time around, the Womens Reservation Bill comes through. \One in which 33% of seats in the Local, State and National houses will be reserved for women.

So that 8th of March, celebrated universally as Women's Day, might have a whole new meaning for Indian women from that day onwards.....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

MF Husain, revisited

I normally don't write two consecutive posts on the same subject, but something compelled me to, on   MF Husain.

I saw an Interview in which he categorically denied that he felt hurt/rejected by Indai in any way, instead saying that he was a "Citizen of the world" and that all he wanted at age 95, was to be left to paint in peace.

Nothing wrong on the surface, but did I imagine a shadow of pain cross his face, as he said those words?

Yes, living/working  in tax free Qatar and enjoying all the benefits that come with it, are great, but it musn't have been easy, taking that final decision, could it?

I had met him briefly almost two years ago and asked him that same question, and the answer then had been different. At that stage, he would have done anything to be back in India.

But time, like tide waits for no-one, and it simply boils down to that very basic premise.

Can a 95 year old man, not exercise his right to chose a new Nationality/Passport, and if so, does anyone has a right to question it?

Monday, March 1, 2010

MF Hussain and his new citizenship

Maqbool Fida Hussain, 95, has a new Passport, a Qatari one.
That is his decision to make and his alone.

For a man who has been living out of India for the last ten, or more years, never sure of what awaits him, if he was to chose to return to the country of his birth, it must come as a sense of great security....

At least one country has welcomed him with the respect and the dignity that any person deserves.
Specially someone who is a world class genius, when it comes to contemporary painting.

To use a cliche, but one that applies best - Are we now trying to do-Too little,  too late?
Or should we let the matter rest, and with it his remaianing peace of mind as well as his dignity