Celebrations and happiness – Alf Mabrook SZ for the well-deserved nomination to the prestigious Upper House.

By: Mahesh Verma

We vicariously bask in your glory! And Mr Hennessy, despite your demands, this is not going to be another open letter. Open letters are now meant to be read behind closed doors and closed doors are traditionally meant to remain closed.

So let’s not open Pandora’s Box again. Hence, this one is going to be all about celebrations and happiness. Diwali Mubarak! Today is the day which is celebrated as the festival of lights by Indians all over the world and by a few other nationalities too. Tonight you will notice some of the houses in Muscat adorned with candles and “diyas” (earthen lamps).

This is done to “celebrate Diwali as the “victory of good over evil” and refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance; the ignorance that masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent  reality.

With this awakening comes compassion and the awareness of the oneness of all things, and knowledge overcomes ignorance. Diwali is the celebration of this inner light over spiritual darkness, knowledge over ignorance, right over wrong, good over evil.”

And at our home, it will be celebrated with friends and family, with Keats’ draught of vintage and in an attempt to keep the PETA guys happy, we will be advertising that “No animals were harmed” during the celebrations of the evening. Though won’t be able to say the same about those red and white grapes – and in retaliation to them being squashed and squished, as the evening’s host one will need to ensure that the aficionados are subjected to the wrath of these grapes, which is a bit different than Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

And if the uninitiated thought that squished and squashed were one and the same thing, then along with the lighting of all the ‘diyas’, let me also enlighten them that the difference between squish and squash is that ‘squish’ is to squeeze, compress, or crush while ‘squash’ is to beat or press into pulp or a flat mass. The end result is what matters and who cares if the grapes were squished or squashed, as long as one gets to experience what Keats did with the “beaded bubbles winking at the brim, “And purple-stained mouth”

Consequently, copious consumption of this stuff will enable one to “Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget “What thou among the leaves hast never known”

Happy Diwalimay it bring tolerance and peace to the world! And if Diwali comes, can the New Year be far behind? Tomorrow happens to be the New Year for my Gujarati friends, and as has been the tradition over the past so many years, we shall be celebrating with dear friends Ramesh and Madhvi.

Saal Mubarak – may the years ahead be filled with happiness and prosperity and may your lovely home resound with the pitter patter of the little feet of Anaya and in the years to come, of her siblings. Meanwhile, the “Road to Oman” journey, which was supposed to have begun in Portugal in March this year, actually began in Kenya in April. For eight months it meandered through Spain, Turkey, France, Italy, Ireland and China and finally ended in Oman last week. And what a journey it has been for the crème de la crème of the golfing world of Europe.

The top 45 descended on Oman for the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final held at the Greg Norman designed Almouj Golf Club. The golf jamboree in Oman began on November 3 with the Pro-Am tournament where this “am” played with a “pro” from Denmark and managed to drag him to my low level of the game and brought him to a relatively high handicap level. Sorry Mads Sogaard, but C’est la vie!

The extravaganza ended on Saturday with Portugal’s 23 year old Ricardo Gouveia’s sensational win after he set alight the course on fire with five birdies in a row. He won the grand final and also topped the Road to Oman rankings thereby ensuring a grand double. Well done ole chap or should that be young chap?

But despite Ricardo’s win, the actual winner of this phenomenal extravaganza was Humayun Kabir and his NBO team, who did an amazing job in organising this spectacular event and to put Oman on the world golfing map! Well done Mr Kabirkudos to you and your team! And with Ricardo winning the championship in Oman and Nitish Kumar winning the elections in my home state of Bihar and Aung San Suu Kyi winning in what was my almost my-name-sake-country (Burma now known as Myanmar), it is time to celebrate the 45th National Day here and wish His Majesty good health and a very long life.

And before I sign off, a few random thoughts:

Do you know that waking up this morning was an eye-opening experience?

Do you know that you should not use big words just to make yourself sound perspicacious?

Do you know that we should all put something aside for a rainy day? Ideally it should be an umbrella!

Till next fortnightrevelling in the company of Ashwin and his daughter Sunetra – our little baby of the family!