(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) ''Good morning.'' It's 2am and never in my life have I been wished so enthusiastically at such an early hour. Giving instructions and sweating profusely, this is Mohammad Danish - in his mid-20s " one of the supervisors of the Muscat Daily distribution team that makes sure that the paper is delivered to your doorstep each morning.
We are at a distribution sorting point in Muscat city where copies of the paper are sorted and kept ready for final distribution by the delivery men on their motorcycles. The only sound in the early morning is the voice of several men out on a task. They get to work when the city sleeps.
2am: The gathering
Danish's day begins after midnight when the paper comes off the press in Jiffnain, some 50km from Muscat. Bundles are then loaded into different vehicles to be distributed across the country.
''We have a wide reach - from Al Khoud, The Wave Muscat, MQ, CBD, Wadi Kabir, Darsait, Ghubra, Qurm and Azaiba in the capital region to Sur, Nizwa, Sohar, Salalah and even Dubai,'' Danish tells me. Most of this distribution is completed in just a couple of hours!
I am then introduced to some members of the delivery team. Some of them are seated on the ground, some working on a car bonnet, meticulously and swiftly inserting the second section into each copy of the main newspaper.
3am: On motorcycles
The copies then go into bags slung on delivery bikes, which zoom off in different directions across the city after final instructions from Danish. It's all a well-coordinated exercise and a lot is at stake for the newspaper which pioneered the concept of delivering copies before subscribers wake up.
The difficulty is compounded by the fact that it has now become the largest circulated newspaper in Oman - for the delivery team that is more work to be done in the same time.
4am: Door to door delivery
We are in a fairly lit lane in Ghubra. A man with a beard gets down from a white car, walks over and knocks on Danish's window. He is introduced to us as Mohammad. From here, he would be taking us to apartment buildings and villas for door to door delivery.
Outside an apartment building, I ask him if we could take the elevator instead of the stairs. Mohammad smiles. ''Most houses in Ghubra don't have lifts.'' What!?
Panting along behind him as he covers floor after floor, I ask him if he has had any strange encounters. ''Once I was stopped by some young men in one of the buildings here who mistook me for an intruder and asked me to leave.
I showed them copies of Muscat Daily and told them I had to deliver it before the readers woke up. That was that and here I am continuing with my job.''
Here, a lanky guy is waiting for us, with a warm smile. Niaz walks with a slight limp. ''I was hit by a car while on duty about seven months ago. Thankfully, I still have my legs.
The company gave me a five-month leave to recuperate, for which I am grateful.'' Danish allotted Niaz to this area because there are fewer buildings here and I finish delivering the paper within three hours without exerting my injured right leg too much'.
Does he read the paper he delivers? ''Yes, the sports and features sections,'' he beams. I see a small window open with the night bulb on. With the villa's main door locked, this is to allow the paper boys to throw a rolled-up copy right into the room.
We are in the quiet lobby of Ramada Qurum Beach hotel. Sufyan al Rashdi, the front office supervisor tells me that Muscat Daily is delivered before the guests wake up.
''These boys are efficient and I hope that they keep up the good work. Muscat Daily is the first newspaper to be delivered to us every morning. Our association with them has been great.''
5.45am: The closing
We now head to CBD to drop the photographer and see Danish close his 'day's' work at the Apex Press & Publishing building. Danish goes through a heap of files and picks up his invoices to get the collection team working.
He's done, or so we think. But no, he's off to fetch copies of BusinessToday, another Apex publication, for