Smile smile smile, One more time, It’s a bright Bright BRIGHT sunshine day

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It is not an easy job to write something readable keeping the curiosity and continuity elements. It is equally or more not easy to capture the attention of genuine readers and casual readers and passive browsers. You all know it well as I have tested it too well. Welcome once again to read through a weekly round up from Team 1.

Onam

Traditional Onam Sadhya

The week gone by was one of celebration and festivity for all Malayalis. Onam 2007 was celebrated with fervour and festivity. Looking at the various functions held here during the past few days, I felt, people show more unity when they are out of their own home state. At one such function held here at a labour camp which I participated, the Onam Sadhya served was very sumptuous. The elaborate varieties of dishes prepared by the bachelors included the traditional Sarkara upperi (banana chips fried and then coated with mix of jiggery syrup and dried ginger). It brought a lot of memories. Gone are the good old Onam days where children wake up early in the morning and pluck flowers and arrange beautiful flower arrangements (pookalam). Gone are the days where the eldest member from the family (karanavar) gift all the others with new set of clothes. Gone are the days when after a sumptuous meal, men and women play traditional games. Gone are the days of Kummatti and Pulikkali. Now everything is packaged. Children does not really know the meaning and value of Onam. For that matter, even the adults are glued on to the TV set watching various programmes. It is an admitted reality that in search of modernisation, we all tend to forget our tradition and culture. For that matter this is the case with every tradition now. We do not have time to pass on the much needed knowledge transfer of our cultural and traditional values, which our ancestors, with patience and wisdom passed on to us. It’s time to wake up.

Attitude

Thinking about this reminded me of some new found attitudes. I would wish to bring on here display of two such incidents which I had to witness in the past one month. One was an incident at a highway coffee shop, where I found a well dressed gentleman with an expensive T-Shirt, shouting loudly at the restaurant waiter for taking time to serve him. The counter was full with at least 6 to 7 customers in front, all asking for various items at the same time and due to which the waiter was finding it difficult as he was the only one around. Our friend, well dressed and projecting an intellectual and knowledgeable look started fuming around and finally got himself out of control to the extent that he abused the poor guy even racially. Every one around was watching and no reactions. You know what was written at the back of his T-Shirt. In bold and colourful letter a graffiti saying “NO FEAR”. May be he was trying to promote his attitude with this poor worker.

Another case, I had to watch with astonishment, happened at the Delhi airport. Near the conveyor belt, while waiting for the baggage to arrive, I found two well dressed and highly placed government employees, on their way back from a foreign tour – obviously government sponsored and intended to learn and study the developments abroad – fighting out to grab a trolley, which was the only one available at that point. They forgot all what they have seen, learnt, and wanted to introduce from their tour and returned back to their village level in their language usage. Here too, everyone was silent spectators. None to comment, none to control or react. Here again, there was a group of school children on their educational tour to learn India and it’s culture was there as spectators witnessing their first on hand Indian experience, straight out from their airplane. As I wrote earlier and as I repeatedly write here and will write again, we all react or respond only when something is pointed towards us or affecting us. All other happenings are to be silently watched.
Movie reviews

A few more things happened during the week passed by. Two of them are about contemporary movies – Chak De (in Hindi) and Arabikadha (in Malayalam). Both movies were released here in the Gulf and doing well. Both touched sensitive subjects in different ways.

Chak de (Do well) In Chak De was Sharukh Khan with a group of talented young actors visualising the life of the captain of Indian Hockey Team after he hit a crucial penalty during a world cup finals out of the goal post. Labelled cheater and detractor, he and his family was isolated from the society and he goes in to a retreat. The resurrection in to the national level after a period of seven years as the coach of the women’s hockey team, which no one really believed will reach to any higher stage of the game was his for take. With a bunch of young girls with different attitudes, personality and regional politics, Sharukh as the Coach, portrayed his character very well. All the girls enacted their roles superbly and other supporting actors too played their part to perfection making this movie worth watching. There are several reviews written about it already, praising the management theories embedded in the story line. However, I would like to touch the emotional part of it. Where Sharukh as the team captain who did not manage the winning stroke, and accusations, pointed fingers, criticism from all corners and insults to him and his family. With no real friends or supporters he decides to leave his village watched by all including children. Even during the period as coach of the national team for women, he was not spared of insult by his own wards and how he controls his emotions clearly depicts the toughness of life when one really experiences how the clock stands still in his/her life. The determination and dedication to come out of this and come up, was portrayed excellently by the actor. All the actors did justice to what was expected of them. However, the photography and camera work could have been raised to a higher level, especially during the match sequence, where although the director was trying to project a fast paced and nail biting game, the camera did not catch up with his intentions. Overall, a very good movie, worth watching with family, especially children.

Arabikadha (Stories from the Arabian land) was a movie conceived for a longer time and finally happened. Intended to touch the intricacies of life of expatriate workers in the Arabian gulf, especially UAE, the story revolves around a hard core communist party worker Mukundan (enacted by veteran actor Sreenivasan) who had to leave his native village due to political problems. Forced and foxed to come to the gulf in the pretext of cementing the party roots among the labour force working here, he lands straight in to the harsh realities of a middle class, moderately educated expat’s life where one has no experienced job or language skills to acquire a proper job. Cheated first by his own party comrades (to come to gulf whereby his associate utilises the opportunity to join with the industrialist and become a minister), and then by his own roommate and all those whom he come across, because of his straight forward nature, Mukundan, bump into a Chinese lady who makes her living by selling pirated cds. With Russian and Chinese idealism, Mukundan thinks that this is his girl for life and goes out of his way to help her during her difficulties and the movie takes twists and turns and finally comes up with a good ending. The short sequences of treacheries happening in financial dealings and job front was very well conveyed. For many this may be a reminiscence of what happened to them or what they went through at some stage of their stay here in the Gulf. Although Sreenivasan did his role well, the story and screenplay could have been done much better with more meaningful role to the three dronacharyas of Radio revolution in the UAE, namely Mr.Albert Alex, Mr. K P K Vengara and Mr. Moideen Koya. The amount of selfless service and reward less hours these three veterans have put in, because of which the Radio industry in UAE and Gulf all over, in particular the FM movements progressed is worth mentioning here. At least the producer and director made an effort to remember them and cast them in small roles shows their unavoidable importance among the middle class work force, whom they connect between each of the small corners of their native villages and the GULF through various regional programmes. It could have been nicer to have seen some of their memories enacted rather than casting so many lifeless characters to fill the volume. The new actor, Mr. Abdulla, who played the role of the restaurant owner, out performed everyone. Through this performance malayalam movie world has one more talented performer to do meaningful roles. Although a small cameo role,Mr.Satheesh Menon also did his part well and hope it will give him the long awaited break he is looking for in the silver screen. Hope some of the Bollywood or Kollywood Directors gets to see this movie and extend offers in fitting roles to him as many movies are being produced in Dubai these days. The movie also projected the way politicians uses the gulf countries to do their back door dealings. The camera work failed many times, especially when Jayasurya driving a car was quite visible that he was on top of a car parked on a recovery pick up. Arabikadha, on the whole did not achieve the finer points what originally it was intended to portray.

I think both Chak De and Arabikadha are now available on DVDs with English language translations and worth watching.

Indian Football

India for the first time in the history of Nehru Cup Football won the trophy beating Syria (1-0) with a superb goal from striker Pradeep. Labelled as a tournament with mediocre teams, Indian players did very well to display excellent football throughout the tournament. For the first time the team had players who were able to produce outstanding long range shots and passes, due to which the team played unstoppable football and won the trophy. However, Football is not Cricket and except some initial few line coverage in the front page of newspapers, neither the team or the players got any mentioning or coverage for what they achieved. So, forget about the rewards and receptions. I don’t think the entire football team got rewards that a C grade Indian cricketer gets for one match he plays. Even if continuously losses in matches, we worship cricket and create criketing gods after each and every series.

Sports Miscellaneous – Indian Hockey & Sania Mirza
Whether it is due to the Chak de movie influence or due to some other cosmic influence, Indian Hockey is having an excellent run in the ongoing Asia Cup Hockey matches being held at Hong Kong. Let us hope they keep continuing the momentum and wins the Asia Cup Trophy and prove that India can do well in sports other than Cricket.
Sania Mirza is on her winning ways these days. The superb form has taken several places up in the ranking. However, the extreme demand required to keep one fit in level of sports is taking toll on her and showed in her 3rd exit at the US Open. Pairing with Mahesh Bhupathi, she is still in contention for a World Title for India. Let’s hope for an impossible to happen.

Cricket

A weekly round up without any mention about Cricket will be unpardonable. The ongoing series between India and England is getting into a tight situation with England leading 3-2 currently. A win in the match tomorrow will level the series and makes it even more interesting. However, it is to be seen how we will get there. With fielders dropping all the catches, and the batsmen yet to learn to run the singles, and bowlers performance not guaranteed, it is a tough task ahead. Again, questions are in plenty as to the resource usage – players like Robin Uthappa and Rohit Sharma not being given a chance to play and remained within the dressing room. Promising bowlers like Sreesanth were not even given a chance and how can they improve and prove until and unless they get to play? The formation of Indian Cricket League and the chain reactions associated going on in the other cricketing countries because of players joining ICL is another fun aspects we get to see during the coming days. The 20-20 World Cup is also round the corner. So, once again, it is eat cricket, breath cricket and hell with cricket (of course only if India losses).

Abu Dhabi Taxi situation

Since the schools started after the summer holidays, The taxi users in Abu Dhabi are experiencing severe shortage of taxis. The situation remains the same today also, there are several people waiting on the road. A look at any taxi stops, you will find several men and women on their way to office waiting for taxis and the expressions on their face, reminds of a goalkeeper waiting for a penalty shoot, or a rugby player getting ready for a home run. I strongly feel that your newspaper is not giving the right coverage about problems of commuters here in Abu Dhabi (although I admit, when compared to those in Dubai and Sharjah – this is very minor). However, this requires attention as this can be solved very easily – 1st by placing a Q system and barriers in the Taxi waiting area and 2nd by introducing a Circular Bus route in the Abu Dhabi with more bus frequencies.

I am trying my small bit of effort to influence and convince the authorities to introduce either one of these suggestions. How far the media supports me and authorities listen to me, will wait and watch. Both ways, we do not want our work force to get training on the road to become an expert goalkeeper or rugby/football player early in the morning on their way to work.

Teacher’s Day

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
– William Arthur Ward

September 5 is Teacher’s Day in “India”. It is the birthday of second President of India and teacher Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. When Dr. Radhakrishnan became the president of India in 1962, some of his students and friends approached him and requested him to allow them to celebrate 5 September, his birthday. In reply, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, “Instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as “Teachers Day”.

This is not a holiday in India. It is considered a “celebration” day, where teachers and students report to school as usual but the usual activities and classes are replaced by activities of celebration, thanking and remembrance. At some schools on this day, the responsibility of teaching is taken up by the senior students as an appreciation for their teachers. The idea is to let teachers sit back just for a day and let the students have a glimpse into the life of a teacher. It is an occasion when a token or appreciation in the form of presents are given to teachers by students to show their love and respect.

Traditionally, people in India have given tremendous respect and honor to teachers and hold teachers in high esteem. An old Indian saying (usually taught to children), ranks teacher in the third place, even before God: “‘Maata, Pitha, Guru, Daivam'”, meaning Mother, Father and Teacher is God.

There is a difference between the spiritual teacher and a material teacher. For spiritual teacher, who causes to remove all the illusions from the mind of his disciple and makes him feel the precence of God, there is another saying in the form of a couplet (doha), which goes, “Guru Govind doou khare kake lagon paai? Balihari guru aap ki Govind deeo batai,” Meaning “I am in a fix whom to salute first: the teacher or the God. I shall choose the teacher as he is the one who is instrumental in me knowing the God”. Further, a central piece in Hindu scripture reads “Gurur Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Guru devo Maheshwaraha – Gurussaakshaath param brahma tasmai shree gurave namaha,” which translates as “The Guru (Teacher) is the Lord Brahma (the Creator), the Guru is the Lord Vishnu (the Preserver), the Guru is the Lord Shiva (the Destroyer). The Guru is the Supreme Brahman (Ultimate Reality) visible to our eyes. To that Guru we offer our salutations”

There were always some confusions between a spiritual teacher to a material teacher. But these two are not at the same level and one must make sure that how to treat them individually.

And this is what an eminent educationalist and well respected Teacher Mrs. Abha Sahgal, Principal of Delhi Private School Sharjah had to say this morning: “A perfect school is a happy school, where there is no prejudice and no petty rivalries”. It is our duty to develop the student during his formative years to be a good citizen who stands apart in the crowd and who know his right and his duty towards his family and the society.

Pranams, best wishes and greetings to all Teachers and Gurus whose feet I touches before initiating any thing small or big.

89.1 Radio 4 FM

I get to listen to the radio only for a few minutes in the morning while driving to office. This is a disadvantage I have over my friends in Dubai, who, because of heavy traffic get to enjoy at least one hour of radio time while driving to work and one hour plus while driving back. During these few minutes, I switch on to one of my favorite radio channel, i.e. 89.1 Radio 4 FM and listen to DJs Charu and Siddharth. What a bunch of Positive minded people!. Continue your efforts and keep every one positive in your own way. You are doing a great job, as all others at 89.1 through out the day. But the initial start is of great importancde and no wonder the theme song – “Smile, smile, smile, One more time, It’s a bright Bright BRIGHT sunshine day”.

Passing it to you and wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.

God Bless,

Ramesh Menon
05092007

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