Oman Observer

Down memory lane… once upon a time in Ruwi

July 23 is a special day in Oman’s calendar. It is a day that brings back a lot of memories. The Sultanate’s Renaissance Day brings together celebrations of memories and achievements.
Each year the day is a benchmark to compare what has been achieved every year since the onset of Oman’s modern Renaissance in 1970. It was interesting to see people sharing their thoughts, memories and wishes on Oman Observer’s social media accounts.
Expatriates who have served in the country in the 70s and 80s might have retired and gone. Thanks to the social media, many of them could join in the celebrations by sharing their memories on this 48th anniversary.
Walking through Ruwi is a sure bet for some nostalgia. Bait Al Falaj used to be the focus in the seventies. As a veteran citizen explained, “All the beginnings are in Ruwi.”
If Muttrah was the centre of trade before the Renaissance, business development and administrative areas for commercial sector began to expand to Greater Muttrah, Ruwi in general along with Central Business District (CBD) and Main Business District (MBD).
No wonder, Ruwi still has the pride with Central Bank of Oman (CBO), an iconic structure. The CBO building did not look this way always. It was a structure in white, very much a building of the seventies.
A little further away was the important airport of Ruwi. Many senior citizens recall arriving at the airport as they responded to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ call to return to serve the nation. Once the airport was established in Seeb, runways were left for practice sessions for driving instructors.
Even a few years ago, one could spot remnants of the airport’s runway. Shops, shopping centres and restaurants might have come up, but the place still holds memories for people who had used the early airport.
It is time to go back and trace a few trails of the old airport, with this year seeing the opening of the new airport, which has already begun to bag awards.
Ruwi, as the name suggests, used to have plenty of fields because of a spring which again connects to the name Bait Al Falaj. Will Ruwi ever gain back its prominence?
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry continue to be located in Ruwi. The Ministry of Education still has its presence in this area. Several ministries have been relocated to Al Khuwair.
As the country sees development, the expansion of the cities is a natural process. In Muscat’s case, the development has been evolving along the hills of the city. It is the advancement in technology that has seen a speedy development of infrastructure, which has seen not only extensive road networks, but also new areas for residential and business development, even cutting through mountains.
Who in the seventies would have thought Barka would be the logistics area and Duqm would be the future economic zone? Similarly, there must be much more evolving from the vision promised one day during the summer of 1970. The promise has been fulfilled and it continues to march along the principles and in keeping with the achievements of the world. It is exciting to note that from a time when the focus was on building the nation, the emphasis of the country is now on the building of an individual not as human resource alone, but going deeper to bring out the entrepreneurial traits of individuals along with skills. In other words, in the 48th year, it is time to find the Oman in you and think about what can be done for the nation. As it is said, giving is as important, if not more, as receiving. The best gift in any situation would be complete dedication in learning and serving.

Lakshmi Kothaneth
lakshmiobserver@gmail.com