OUTLOOK — By Majed Al Sulaimany — Like everything in life there are two sides to the same story — just like in a coin! The situation becomes more confusing if a third dimension or perspective crops in rendering the whole situation more perplexing and confusing! So please bear with me while I try to put my points across.
The best example was last Eid when my article had appeared. I had brought extra copies hoping that it would turn out to be a great conversation piece! Apart from two or three avowed enthusiastic family members who were keen on reading the articles the rest were not.
They were more interested in passing around the latest rumours and ‘hot spicy news’ than engage in constructive well meaning discussions. One or two just scanned the newspaper and put it down when they came to my column! I guess this happens in most families!
I found in discussions on my fans listings that there were more expatriates than fellow Omanis. I have been proud and elated at one social gathering when some VIP complimented me by saying that they only buy the newspaper on the two days my columns appear. Though they may say the same to other columnists this does not bother me!
So you can see the point that I want to make here. If you have read about the Good Samaritan then you know what I mean. Or to make the message clearer, as the East Africans say: ‘That which bites your skin is the same fabric that you are wearing even though it is supposed to protect you!’
I do not know about others but I know for sure that I have ‘supposed to be family members and even friends’ who are dead against everything that I write! They just do not want me to write. These elements were exposed when I had stopped writing for sometime — the congratulations and compliments ‘that you did the right thing’!
Look at these examples:
• I do not like his writings because he drags us, the family, into his explanations. He can write about himself — why the family members?
• Are you related to this guy who likes to write a lot? — A supposed-to-be engineer to a family member.
• Strangely and interestingly — those who cannot even write a decent sentence in any language — let alone in English — are the biggest critics! Typical!
• You know Between Us Only! — A sarcastic and always cynical family member: every time he opens his mouth he makes others laugh!
• The point is — as the East Africans say: why should your mouth feel hot when the other person is eating the chillies?
This is a fact of life. Frankly, sometimes I do not feel like going to any social or family gatherings because there will always be someone to annoy you. There is that envious and jealous streak in our blood!
If my career had really taken off, then it was most likely I would not have stumbled into writing, which was in my blood since I was 12. I won a national writing contest when I was just 14 with the topic — My most vivid dream!
Last week I wrote about Tina Turner and how her husband was becoming increasingly jealous of her because she was overtaking him in popularity! Just imagine! Your own spouse even! Once a friend of mine was lamenting about how when he was away from home his wife was doing her business! She used to come from work and straight away start doing her business and it was the housemaid that did the house chores till madam returned late at night — and then straight to bed.
The routine would go on even on Thursdays and even Fridays. The man was pointing to his chin — I have had it up to here! Even though the business was bringing in good money!
He even proudly boasts that when he goes to pick the madam at her shop he used to refuse to go in — despite pleas from the office girls to at least have a look inside! When the business collapsed and madam was in great stress he was secretly and sadistically pleased to see her back home — even though she lost her job because of business problems!
He felt that she was now back where she ‘rightly belongs’ — even though they had big financial problems — and his salary was far lower than that of madam! So you can imagine how mean some people can get! Even with their own spouse and family!
Another ‘friend’ of mine was upset and agitated that I had sent my article via e-mail to his wife.
That was when I did not have a website to record store and write in — though his wife was number 75 in the To list. He spent all his precious time checking who else the e-mail was sent to instead of doing the job that he was paid to do in his office. I told him it was she who wanted to receive my article but he would not have it.
Hearing the commotion my HR assistant, a decent boy who is also an IT buff, designed and gave me my first website as a gift on my birthday — www.alsuleimany.com. I then stopped sending out my articles — unless on a personal request! I learnt my lesson the hard way! Thank God what I sent was decent, otherwise I would have ended up in dire straits! Could even a parent be jealous of one’s own sibling? Enough shocks for today!
As our good Indian friends say: that is how the world goes around — so be ready for both pleasant and unpleasant surprises — whether you make it or do not make it in life!