Gonnu Rewind 1 – When The Storms Came In! Reply



When The Storms Came In!

June 6, 2007.

At a certain time, it comes to all of us in our lives when you just have to be brave and courageous and in doing the right thing to accept the outcome and your fate!

And to count your blessings on the greater things that you still have with you – like your own saved lives and your continued health and fitness, and the will and determination to survive and still succeed. That is more important than material things lost and destroyed, by the fury and wrath on nature falling upon us. Instead of pondering on how much wastage has occurred and the need now, to buy new material things like New Television sets and other needed replacement equipment etc.

It may be difficult for some of us to accept these things now because of the denial effect that some of us may be still experiencing now.

But in life one has not to look at your own situation only in isolation, but those others too whom you have left behind, like those families who lost loved ones too in the disaster in addition to material losses. Of course it is not compensation, solace and consolation either – but the truth remains paramount and revealing that you may be in a bad situation, but certainly there are others worse off than you – for example misplaced and without a home and shelter, or food and water too.

The beauty of human beings is that we can all come together as one close knit family when disaster strikes, and to make us soul-search and self analyse ourselves. We may have been watching Television and films, and read newspapers of disasters that have been affecting other peoples without a twinge of feelings and remorse, and thinking that these things will never reach us because we are ‘far away and immune, and protected’ from such things in life. Then we realize that these things too can happen to us, and that makes us all care and feel for each other as one Global Family. As they say, one cannot realize the value of food until the time you have experienced hunger and famine. Similarly, water until you has experienced pangs of thirst and want! Then you appreciate what is water and what is food. And what is warmth and shelter! And what the lack of is all about!
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The small single engined Cessna planned tossed and turned as the strong winds and rain hit it. It was flying quite low for convenience and comfort, maybe more to escape the thrust and force of the wind and storm than anything else was. It was usual for such a situation for the pilot to push the plane above the thundering storm wet clouds but perhaps the pilot it was better to fly it at low attitudes for a better reason too. After all the Pilot knows best in such things than the rest of us, and it is best to leave things to such experts and competent professionals. What do the rest of us know than just to be carried on board as passengers?

The pilot before taking casually remarked on the safety features of the small plane. He was so used and fed up talking to passengers who kept talking to themselves rather than listening to the pilot. As usual when a real emergency would occur, there would be panic and crisis in the air, and hopefully peoples would know what to do then? He kept urging the passenger to move forward to concentrate on sitting on the front seats, instead of staying at the tail.

He again insisted – it is for your own safety and in order to balance the plane. Everybody looked at each other; there were no takers to move forward. He looked at me – maybe I was a more agreeable figure or he liked to see the heavier one passenger move forward. I had no way of knowing, and I did not want to be disagreeable anyway. So I moved to the seat next to him, where the co-pilot would normally sit. But he showed me the seat behind him, that seat is to be left vacant if the co-pilot was not to fly.
I remembered those films when the single pilot of the plane got a heart attack, and slumped on the controls.

There was no Air Hostess on board who like in the other films could be guided from the control tower to land the jet. Do not worry, the coach would say. This plane can land itself if need be! Or what would happen if the single propeller engine cocked out? I asked the pilot in my younger days when I was still flying in the same route, but now age and maturity has set in and you do not fret and worry about such things. If it happens it happens, there is nothing you can do about such things. You just have to accept your outcome and fate – that is all! It is not a question of being fatalistic; it is more of being sensible and reasonable.

Than the person behind you asks – Are you from these parts, or are you a visitor? So you tell him. Then he guesses – Are you from Muscat in Oman? You reply affirmatively. You ask how did you guess? He replies – because this island has many peoples who left to return to Oman, though there are many families still that have been left or stayed behind. Then he tells you something you know already. You just nod in agreement. Yes, the Omani Arabs had named the island as She-Island-With-Nothing or She-barren-island.

It was recorded in History too. They called it Mafia Island, about 100 miles from the City of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. The Germans – the first occupiers Colonial Power had annexed it away from the Zanzibar Islands, the ex Sultan dynasty and the British next in line Colonial Power did not raise an issue. Forgot its barren island capacity? Besides the Germans did not like the name of Mafia, it perhaps reminded them of something more uglier nearer at home in Italy, the Mafia Clan.

So they mapped and called it by the name of an island quite near the place. The locals kept calling it by the same name of Chole, but history had recorded it by the name the disinterested Omanis gave it. The rest was history. Mafia Island to this day.

History too was the fight between the two brothers on the boat from Oman. The Elder brother wanted to land and settle there, the younger one tried to discourage him at best and failed miserably. His mind was made up. He wanted to start his life at this barren island, not the bigger islands or Coastal places the majority of the Omani Arabs were settling.

There are pioneers and volunteers all over history records, and the big brother had made his decision. This is the place he wanted. Years later, he too brought his son from Oman with his first wife and son and daughter. The two brothers were still not talking to each other. It took the marriage of their children first cousins to seal the difference and partnership. 2 years later the only married at 16 mother gave birth to her first son – and the Author of this column. That is history for you!

The man behind then told him of the storms and winds in Oman. Before that, he thought it was all rumours. So the bad news was really true? The man said he saw it all in the beamed dish of Oman TV too at the hotel. The Author called home, all the Mobiles and GSM were not working. He felt bad and guilty he had left the place to come on a Holiday, and the storms and winds striked later when he was not at home. His conscience pricked him. He will try to call again later……. Allah Preserve and Protect us all – Amin.


Majid Said Nasser Al Suleimany

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