Oldest mall in Ruwi still a favourite among Eid shoppers

As the holy month of Ramadhan is coming to a close, a shopping centre in Ruwi is buzzing with activity as people from different walks of life go on some last-minute buying.
Considered a landmark centre for shopping in Ruwi, the OC (Oman Commercial) Centre is seeing a swell of visitors checking out numerous shops — tailoring, perfumery, gift items as well as souvenir items.

For many Muscat residents, OC is a preferred shopping destination considering it is the first mall in town. It is perhaps the oldest place to hang out for the older generation.
It is here that the old people meet in the evenings prior to Eid festivities. The centre has witnessed the city and its surroundings transform into a booming city.
Even today, some of the things remain unchanged at this building. Scores of tailors specialising in traditional dresses sit side by side with perfumeries selling both traditional, concentrate and branded sprays.
These items are considered best-sellers especially on the days leading to the Eid.
Most of the shops that sell clothes have in-house tailors who have a personal interaction with customers.
While the tailors serving here usually come from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, they are masters of their profession with two to three decades of rich experience.
Saeed Khamis al Farashi, a septuagenarian from Al Amerat, feels his adolescent Eid memories are associated with this first shopping centre which has seen major facelifts from time to time.
“OC Centre, the then OK (Oman-Kuwait) Centre, was the only hangout for youngsters of our generation and the last-minute shopping for Eid wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this place. I’m still keeping this tradition alive. Today I’m here with my grandchildren,” he said.
Saeed said the type of clothing he needs can easily be found in this building.
Over the centuries, Arab culture
has evolved in terms of male and female clothing.
“In order to stay in this businesss, sharp skills are needed to make men’s dishdasha and women’s wear, the black decorative robes with headscarves,” said Haider Ali, a tailor from Hyderabad.
Haider has passed on his skills to his three children who are specialised in making pashmina (a kind of shawl from Kashmir).
“I could have made my children study medicine or engineering or anything else. But I didn’t want to lose my family business,” said Ali.
Meanwhile, the influx of visitors at the centre is expected until the Eid holidays.