Sri Lankan maid in coma after gas cylinder blast dies

Updated 30 May 2014
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Sri Lankan maid in coma after gas cylinder blast dies

A Sri Lankan maid who has been in a coma for two weeks as a result of a cylinder explosion died at the King Saud Hospital (Semesi) on Wednesday.
Fathima Safaya, 38, was severely burnt in an accident that took place at a Saudi household in the early hours of May 15 in Riyadh.
Safaya, from a town 50 km from Colombo, is a divorcee with two sons. She had come to the Kingdom to provide for her sons and had been working at the household for the past 15 months.
An official from the Sri Lankan Embassy confirmed the death to Arab News and said that the mission will make funeral arrangements in Riyadh with the consent of her kin.
A Sri Lankan Embassy official said the mission has been exerting efforts to safeguard the victim’s interests, adding that the police have launched an investigation into the cause of the accident.
The official indicated that the victim’s brother, who traveled from Jeddah to be by his sister’s side, was receiving assistance from the mission to facilitate coordination with the maid’s sponsor.
Rajah, the brother, told Arab News that his sister was a kind, humble and helpful person and had not complained about her sponsors.
“She was in a coma when I last saw her. I could not speak to her,” Rajah said, adding that her body was covered with severe burns and her face fully bandaged.
Meanwhile, according to sources, the deceased was reported to have disregarded a warning from her sponsor’s wife, who had forewarned her about a gas leak in the kitchen.
According to her sponsor’s son, a gas leak occurred in the kitchen and the house caught fire when Safaya switched on the room’s light.
The city fire brigade was summoned to douse the flames and the injured patient, suffering from severe burns on most of her body, was rushed to King Saud Hospital (Semesi).
The embassy will negotiate with Safaya’s sponsor about salary dues and compensation, if any, according to sources from the mission.


Manganiyar musical experience connects Saudi Arabia with ancient India

Ithra takes visitors to the magical world of Manganiyar, an Indian folk music, in Dhahran on Wednesday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Manganiyar musical experience connects Saudi Arabia with ancient India

  • There were challenges, Abel said. “As an ‘intruder’ going to the Manganiyar not knowing fully what this kind of art is, in the beginning I had to learn so many things and try to understand the musicians and help them to understand me”

DHAHRAN: The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran has been transporting its visitors to the magical world of the Manganiyar from Nov. 14-17. The Manganiyar is a timeless Indian orchestra originally born in the region of Rajasthan in north India, which has continued over many generations.
The basic song on which the show is based comes from a poem by the 17th-century Sufi poet, Bulleh Shah. The resulting folk music is an audio-visual feast that mixes light and voice and features more than 40 musicians in one performance.
The first Manganiyar show in Ithra was sold out.
“It was the first time in my life that inspiration dawned on me; it was like a heavenly gift,” Roysten Abel, the director of the musical show, told Arab News when he was asked how the band started their touring and performance journey.
“I was in Spain working as a street performer. One day I was resting and I heard wonderful music, which I thought was a dream. Then I realized that there were two musicians outside my room singing to wake me up. I then proposed the idea of forming this Manganiyar band,” Abel said.
Abel went to the Manganiyar’s hometown to create the band.
“I went to Rajasthan, auditioned almost 200 musicians and finally selected 50 to have our first show in 2006. Since then, if I ever listen to an old Manganiyar musician or a new one, I still weep because they haunt me with their singing.”
There were challenges, Abel said. “As an ‘intruder’ going to the Manganiyar not knowing fully what this kind of art is, in the beginning I had to learn so many things and try to understand the musicians and help them to understand me.”
Creating the performance and the harmony between the band members and the director took time.
“The musicians needed to know what this guy who is coming from outside wants? What is he going to make us do? Building the relationship took around a year and a half, and so it took us year and a half to build up the show.”
“I always say the Manganiyar selection was God’s gift to us because it was actually given to us and it runs on its own.”
Abel said that the Manganiyar show always sells out anywhere it goes due the experience it offers. “There has not been one show where we have not received a standing ovation.”
“We even performed in Hyde Park, Sydney, where nobody knew what to expect,” Abel said. “There were a good 10,000 people in the park, and when the show was over these 10,000 started clapping and even stayed for the second performance!”
Abel shared the band’s insights about their first visit to Saudi Arabia: “We were very curious to see how it was going to be received, but it turned out to be one of the best performances and the audience was thrilled. So, there’s always a lot of surprises and I tend to never expect. I just love to see what happens.”
Abel urged everyone to turn up and have their own experience of the Manganiyar. “People should all come and tell their friends to come, and live the show, because at the end of the day the show is not like any other music concert; it’s an experience of its own.”
Abel said that people’s responses to the show varied; some left in tears while others “jumped with joy.”
What matters to him, he said, is that people get the essence behind the show, which is love.