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Untangling from Drama

Untangling from Drama

This week’s #TryThisThursday will resonate with a lot of us. This week’s assignment is to “Untangle from drama. No one can ruin your day without your permission.


Who hasn’t had to deal with drama and came out the worst for wear? Who haven’t felt their energy almost completely drained after such a situation. Who hasn’t felt the depression setting in and the self doubt rising?

After such a draining situation, I usually tend to feel so low that it takes me days to recover from those ugly experiences. Not the last time I was dragged into drama; though. I was actually able to recover within minutes. I’ll tell you why.

The market in Bahrain is quite challenging. We continuously have to re-invent ourselves in order for us to create new opportunities that actually create new markets. Or we have to heavily invest in upgrading our skills and knowledge in order for us to maintain our edge and deliver a better product and service to our clients.

Few clients appreciate that, unfortunately, but those who do, we hang on to with all that we’ve got. They’re the ones who allow us to grow together. The clients that don’t are those who believe that in order for them to win, they have to ensure that we lose. Those we tend to let go of quite happily.

Both situations are clear cut and I’ve been in business long enough not to let those negative situations affect me much. In fact, we celebrate when we fire a customer just as hard as when we win a good one.

The issue I was faced with recently was with neither; however. Though someone connected. It was with someone who is neither but finds himself in a position of influence. And he would rather use that position to bad-mouth us – me personally – rather than do the responsible thing of at least bothering to find the facts and base his position on knowledge rather than conjecture.

I have come across his negative “influence” twice before. The first with a project that we took on as part of our CSR initiative at deep discount and has become delinquent due to customer inaction. The other was him raising doubts in the mind of a customer that our pricing was unreasonably high by conveniently neglecting to factor in the level of expertise, skill and intellectual property required to bring such a project to life. His thinking was that if a bolt cost $0.50, why should the installation of an aircraft wing, which the bolt is part of, cost so much more?

How would you deal with such a situation?

I talked to him; and he came out as sweet as honey and as understanding as a best friend. But immediately I turned my back, I felt the dagger dig even deeper in my back.

After the last interaction, I felt myself going into that depressed state once again. I do take things personally in these situations. How I deal with them is that I tend to try to get people to understand the situation more fully by sharing all relevant information and also share methodologies and pricing structure. I suppose this is me going on the defensive in an attempt to justify myself.

This time; however, as I was sliding into that ugly state, I actually stopped myself with a simple but poignant question: what was the silver lining in this situation? I was looking for a thing to be grateful for from this experience. It was the 11th day of my 90 Days of Gratitude commitment and thinking of things to be grateful for was becoming a habit. The answer was nothing short of a watershed moment for me.

My realisation was that his negativity was his persona and his method of living. Not mine. Negativity was engrained in his character. It was not my flaw. I would never be able to change that person’s negativity.

This is the deep realisation that allowed me to immediately move on!

The sense of wonder and peace I felt then were tremendous. I chose to be positive which immediately opened up a horizon that was bigger than myself and allowed me to look into the situation from a macro perspective, and arrive at a conclusion.

I did not give him permission to ruin my day. Rather, I would rather like to thank him for the opportunity he has given me to discover this new way of looking at things. A path that is more grounded and more worthy of treading, than the unconstructive, unwarranted, unneeded and destructive self blame and doubt.

That is how I was able to untangle from drama.

To celebrate that discovery, I recorded this on the 11th day of my 90 Days of Gratitude journey:

grateful for the realisation that rather than justify myself to a perennially negative person, I recognised the fact that their negativity is their inherent trait rather than my character flaw. This allowed me to move on.

I’d love to know your experiences in how you untangled yourself from drama. Please share your experience here.

Wishing you a completely drama-free life!




Mahmood and the dogs at Duraz beach

#TryThisThursday is an opportunity for people to try something different, to expand their horizons and take them out of their own boxes. It is to get people to stretch beyond their comfort zones and move away from their usual routines, and to have a bit of fun too!

Every Thursday, Frances urges her Meditation classes at Serenity Meditation, Yoga and Reiki Centre to try something new. She is expanding that now and inviting members of this group to participate too.

The idea behind this initiative is to get people to stretch beyond their comfort zones and do something different and away from their usual routines. She has been assigning this “homework” for a few years now and the response is overwhelmingly positive.

One that people seemed to have had real fun with was to create something out of clay. The art pieces that some people created were stunning! More recent #TryThisThursday assignments included “Praise someone for a job well done”, “Spend time going around an art gallery” and “Just be you”.

It appears that an incredibly challenging assignment was an instruction to walk around a mall and not buy anything! Some people had an almost allergic reaction to that one. Some failed and succumbed and bought little things; while others resisted the urge and came back feeling like champions. This particular assignment resulted in lightbulb moments for a lot of the participants as it changed the way they shopped. Their realisation that they can enjoy the mall atmosphere without having to actually buy anything was their watershed moment as it resulted in them breaking the habit of shopping.

Putting on loud music and dancing for five minutes a day was a fun assignment that a lot of people enjoyed. Reporting back, some felt freed and liberated by this assignment not just for those five short minutes, but for the whole day afterwards.

The power of positivity is truly miraculous.

I personally experienced this when I joined the “90 Days of Gratitude” Facebook Group. In that Group, members are encouraged to post five things they are grateful for every day for 90 days. If one misses a single day, the 90-day count must be reset and you will have to restart the experience all over again.

Let me tell you that being consciously grateful allowed me to remain calmer throughout the day as it helped me put things into perspective. It allowed me to concentrate on the important rather than continuously react to the urgent. I believe that this is becoming one of my good habits. I highly recommend you join that group. As you can see, I found it very worthwhile.

This most recent #TryThisThursday assignment is “Untangle from Drama. No one can ruin your day without your permission.” Who of us can’t relate to this one? I encourage you to relate your experiences for this assignment on the Facebook TryThisThursday Group, or if you wish, you may add your experiences in a comment here too.

This invitation is open to all of you to share your experiences and insights on a weekly basis once an assignment is posted, until the next one is published on next Thursday. Your experiences will inspire more people to lead a fuller life.

Please spread the word and invite your friends and trusted acquaintances to join this group. The more members there are the better.


Nasfah Halawa – ناصفة حلاوة and Ramadan Kareem

Nasfah Halawa – ناصفة حلاوة and Ramadan Kareem

The Nasfah, a celebration conducted on the night of the 15th of Shaaban, is a happy occasion in Bahrain and the rest of the Muslim world. It is an occasion to celebrate the pending onset of Ramadan – which is only half a month away, and also the birthday of Imam Mahdi, the 12th apostle of Shi’a Islam and who is one of the grandsons of the Prophet. He is highly revered by Shi’a muslims.

The word “Nasfah” loosely means “half” or the divisor, pertaining to it’s occurrence in mid-Shaaban, the month immediately preceding Ramadan.

On the Nasfah, children put on fine clothes and go to as many houses in the neighbourhood as they could to collect sweets, nuts and some coins too but they have to sing for them first. The traditional song they sing is “Nasfah Halawah” which means “give me sweets” basically!

Here’s a nice manicured example of the celebration, courtesy of du in the Emirates:

And here’s my coverage of the celebration in Duraz in 2007 that I covered for one of my vlogs:

On the Nasfah, people also tend to distribute sweets to their neighbourhoods across many communities in Bahrain. The sweet which is very particular to this time of the year is called Zalabia. It’s pure sugar. Just one little bite will last you the whole day, believe me! Tasty as it is, it must be taken a little at a time if you don’t want to overdose.

My son Arif was visiting his grandmother’s in the old neighbourhood and was fortunate enough to be there by when the Zalabia distribution was taking place in that neighbourhood. He got some, but to complete the typical Bahraini experience, he also got Sun Top from the nearby cold store and brought them home to us to enjoy after lunch 🙂



Here’s how Zalabia is made (with a lovely Iraqi accent) if you feel so inclined as to make your own:


Bon appetite and Ramadan Kareem.


Hey there. How’s it going?

Hey there. How’s it going?

Posted on

The thing that truly disturbs me about attempting to write anything, in my blog here or elsewhere, is the necessity to censor myself, and thinking twice, thrice or more about just about everything I write. The environment in Bahrain at the moment isn’t conducive to free thought or speech. Everything – it seems – is construed as traitorous, or at least unpatriotic. The political views are so far apart now that there is no hope of rapprochement. It’s a zero-sum game; for a side to win, the other has to lose. It’s absolutely ridiculous. You open any paper now and what you read are threats and exclusionary politics.

Until when? I’m tired of this situation. Both sides are waiting for the other to give up and until then, they will use whatever tool available to pressure the other side without any regard to the people caught in the middle. The only winners here are the brown-nosers; selfish twats who’s only way to gain anything is by feeding on the misery of others.

How should this situation be resolved? Here are my thoughts:

  • The common denominator must be the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Inculcate social justice. Yes it’s difficult, but this is something that must be set at a very high priority to get us out of the quagmire we’re currently in.
  • Evolution rather than revolution. As we’ve seen in other places around the world (Iraq, Iran, Syria, and other locations) abrupt change to the status quo is very painful for all concerned and is unrealistic. Methodic change anchored to clear goals and timeframes is a much better option.
  • The way to arrive at resolution must be through a meaningful dialogue whose outcome must be binding on everyone.
  • The method of governing must change; the current iteration was a good experiment but obviously the experiment did isn’t a complete success by any means. There is vast room for improvement.
  • Call things by their name. We can reach a better future together by stopping the practice of idolising individuals and by identifying wrongs. Create a proper accountable structure and reward and penalise on merit, rather than allegiance or any other criteria.
  • Don’t take criticism personally and don’t demonise those who you disagree with. You only succeed in belittling yourself if you do.

I’m sure there are other factors to consider. However, this short list might go a long way in finding an equitable solution that everyone aspires to.


MGS S01E12 – The Nursery, take 2

MGS S01E12 – The Nursery, take 2

The first attempt this year at a nursery failed and in this video I tell you why. I also take the opportunity to build on that gained experience and start the 2nd version of the nursery.

Here’s hoping for the best!

Do you have any experiences to share? I’d love to hear from you especially if you’re gardening in Bahrain or the surrounding area. Let’s exchange knowledge (and seeds!)

I look forward to your comments and feedback.


EO Bahrain’s Rock Star Hat Trick!

EO Bahrain’s Rock Star Hat Trick!

So proud to have achieved a Rock Star hat trick for EO Bahrain! That’s the third year in a row that we won the very prestigious award from EO Global. Thanks to the fantastic and committed board I had the pleasure and honour of leading, and the whole chapter for making this happen.

EO Bahrain's Rock Star Hat-trick!
What is EO Rock Star I hear you ask?

The Rock Star Award is awarded to chapters that have achieved overall excellence as determined by successfully completing a comprehensive “checklist” of best practices in chapter management including: chapter growth; value provided; succession plans; attendance at GLC; chapter learning events and calendars; Forum placement and training; communications; sponsorships; finance, etc.

This year, only 38 out of over 140 chapters achieved this status. And only 15 achieved this honour three or more times.

I look forward to EO Bahrain continuing this track record and achieving more recognitions, the process of which will confer more membership value to the Chapter as a whole.

I’d like to personally thank the fantastic board which made this happen:

  1. Safa Sharif, VP and Forum Chair
  2. Deena Alansari, Finance Chair
  3. Hassan Kaiksow, Integration Chair
  4. Nezar Raees, Strategic Alliances Chair
  5. Kevin Craig, Learning Chair
  6. Manal Alzayani, Social Chair
  7. Hussain Kadhem, Membership Chair
  8. Faeq Alolaiwat, MarCom Chair
  9. Luay Khalaifat, Immediate Past President and Rock Star Chair

Well done EO Bahrain, you – literally – ROCK!



Breakfast with Inspiration, the humbling activism of Rüdiger Nehberg

Breakfast with Inspiration, the humbling activism of Rüdiger Nehberg

I am truly humbled with the stories of Rüdiger Nehberg whom I had the absolute honour of meeting for breakfast this morning along with my friend Zahra Al-Harazi in Munich, Germany. We’re all invited to speak at the annual #EOGermany conference, this year entitled Rule Breakers.

Rüdiger is a passionate philanthropist leading the fight against female genital mutilation in the Muslim world, from the inside. He got the Al Azhar to proclaim it a sin and is working now to get the grand muftis of Saudi to do likewise.

Earlier in life he crossed the Atlantic 3 times; on an 18 meter fir tree, a paddle boat and a bamboo raft from Africa to Brazil and into Washington to deliver a letter from Amnesty Int’l to George Bush.

He fought for the rights of the indigenous people in Brazil for 20 years and effected change. He also authored 30 books of which many were translated to multiple languages.

Truly inspiring. Please Google him and offer help if you can. We definitely need him to speak at the OIC conference and meet with people of influence to further the cause and stop the heinous crime against women.


Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai


“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”

 Malala Yousafzai

A breath of fresh air in a  world that has lost its way.

Regardless of her winning a Nobel Peace Prize. She is an inspiration and very much worthy of respect. She’s just sixteen… just watch how this young lady will continue to change the world in the next few years.



Mahmood Al-Yousif’s Int’l Media Awards Acceptance Speech
Parallels in dealing with terrorism

Parallels in dealing with terrorism

Bahrain is now on fire. Officially. The King has unambiguously unleashed the security apparatus’ hand in “dealing with saboteurs and terrorists”; those who burn tyres in the streets and lob molotov cocktails on all and sundry. Good, said many. “Deal with them with an iron fist” said others, and recently, we’ve had the usual posse declaring their support and loyalty by taking out press ads and even street hoardings such as these:



When this happens, as we have seen over the last few decades, you can rest assured that the ruling elite aren’t happy and they probably are doing something to appease some criticism, or when they’re possibly threatened that things might go out of hand, or even possibly do the traditional slight of hand to divert attention from something which is happening or about to happen. I’m not a clairvoyant so I wouldn’t know the motivations other than what is plain to see. Could it be to divert people’s attention to the gerrymandering as the elections approach? Where a single vote in a minuscule southern governate equates to 21 in others? Well, I’ll leave these factors to your deductions.

However, things this time – when compared with 2002 and 2006 – have taken a turn for the worse. This time, terrorism charges have been levied against a group of vociferous opposition persons, some of whom have participated in an annual House of Lords seminar in the UK, about human rights and political transgressions in this country. Their reward was to go directly to jail and never pass go.

Of course, when that happens and as they do enjoy tremendous support amongst the disenfranchised, the country goes into a spiral of violence. That is, our own kind of violence – you know, tyre burning, impromptu demonstrations, rock and the occasional Molotov cocktail hurling kind of violence. Nothing really that would lead generally to loss of life. Nothing like what happens in other countries like India for instance, where a minor transgression would result in hundreds dead. But in a supposed affluent country, this kind of “disruption” is a big deal. Some say that it leads to some sort of loss of face, something unacceptable in our culture…

So they get whacked across the head with charges under the Terrorism Law. And soon thereafter, the Public Prosecutor bars any discussion about their cases in the media (all forms of media), something we have witnessed before to be ineffective, but often employed resort.

So, I shall acquiesce to their request and shall quieten my gob.

But before doing that, please allow me to draw your attention to a parallel:

Canada, the lovely country which I’m visiting at the moment for a soon to end holiday, has been rocked over the last couple of days with an arrest of three suspected terrorists. Did you note that I emphasised the word “suspected”? Good. How might you say that they were suspected?

Well, an RCMP investigation lasting 18 months and gaining the required judicial instruments only after showing just cause, arrested three individuals so far and found bomb making material, remote control rigs, books and correspondence to facilitate terrorism acts and the manufacture of explosives. All three have now been presented in court after having lawyers appointed to them and given full access to their clients. Needless to say, as Canadian citizens, they will enjoy the full protection of the law and will be judged and either found guilty or released as innocents. There is of course no question that the media will be barred from reporting on the case, nor have they been held incommunicado.

My friends, we’re not doing ourselves any service by carrying on like this. Making a mountain of a mole hill all the time with and without cause. Sane people should speak to those in power and tell them that the path they have chosen is incorrect and at lease not commensurate with this day and age. That it will be much better for all concerned to release the grip on power a little and share the wealth. That for the sake of the country and the longevity of their rule it’s best to remove the tribal spectacles and include the citizens as true partners in progress. That those who are advising them now are spent and have lost credibility as they cannot integrate into a modern and interconnected world. That we love them and want them to continue. That the only way to do so is to share. That they need to reevaluate their strategy, mission and vision for the country and its inhabitants.

To continue as we have been doing is very trying and tiring and will lead us all into avenues we both won’t like. The chaos that will ensue is not something trivial and will last generations. All that will do is delay us once more from grabbing passing windows of opportunity and to rise to a higher level of responsibility borne out of good governance and accepted civic duties.

Every body I speak to now hardly even thinks of voting. Not only that, most are actually making plans to leave the country. Is this what we want? To live in an actual desert with ghosts? Oppressed and suppressed for ever?

Get things corrected for goodness sake before chaos really ensues. What’s happening now is nothing more than an appetiser of what could be in the offing and I’m sure that none of us looks forward to that.