Month: November 2010

Exploring Abu Dhabi through Clicks and Writes – Abu Dhabi all set for 39th UAE National Day

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Exploring Abu Dhabi through Clicks and Writes – Abu Dhabi all set for 39th UAE National Day

24/7 helpline for Indian workers is a hit, already Sajila Saseendran

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24/7 helpline for Indian workers is a hit, already Sajila Saseendran

24/7 helpline for Indian workers is a hit, already Sajila Saseendran

26 November 2010 Mir Liyaqat Ali’s 15-year-old son, Ibrahim, was hit by a speeding car on November 7 and suffered a femur fracture. His right thighbone broke into two and he underwent two surgeries, the second one on Wednesday.

The driver of the car, which hit Ibrahim, is out on bail and Ali has been in the dark about the legal procedures to make a claim for the damages. When he read about the helpline of Indian Workers’ Resource Centre launched by the visiting Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Ali rang up the toll-free number 800 INDIA (80046342). “I was given a reference number and they said that they will get back to me at the earliest after consulting a legal expert. They were very nice to me,” he told Khaleej Times.

Devoted toll-free number for Indian expats

Indian expatriates needing help anytime now have a lifeline. All they need to do is call the toll-free number 800 India.

Several Indian expatriates like Ali have sought the help from the Resource Centre since its launch on Tuesday evening. Minutes after the helpline number was announced, a person who was identified as J. Jayakrishnan rang up the centre to ask for procedures to follow in the case of a damaged passport.

It was the beginning of a flurry of calls to IWRC, an initiative of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) to offer a 24/7 helpline and legal, financial and psychological counselling services to Indian expatriates, especially the unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

Amjad Auzam of VFS Global, which is running the Centre, said over 400 calls were received by Thursday evening. “Based on the statistics we collect over these initial days, we will consider increasing the number of agents attending the calls after consulting the Embassy and the Consulate.”

He said that the walk-in counter which functions from 3pm to 7pm daily at the centre in Bank Street in Dubai also received a handful of workers with miscellaneous petitions on the first two days.

Dr K. Elangovan, counsellor (Community Affairs) at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, said the initial response to the centre was “fantastic.”

“We hope the members of the community will also make use of the information provided on the centre’s website — The FAQ section on the site answers about 170 questions. These are pertaining to complaints that we regularly receive from people. We have formulated them into points and legally vetted them after consulting lawyers,” said Dr Elangovan, who is also in charge of monitoring the operations of IWRC for the Embassy.

Step-wise information related to passport and visa services, death formalities, emergency certificates, workers and housemaids have been given in the FAQ section.

According to Dr A Didar Singh, secretary in the MOIA, lack of awareness about the legal procedures and services is one of the biggest problems being faced by Indian workers. Secondly, they have individual problems pertaining to employment, salary disbursement, living conditions, financial issues and family problems.

These issues will be discussed during awareness classes to be conducted by the IWRC. “The campaign will begin from December 15. Our plan is to conduct at least two sessions on every Friday and hold about 10 sessions in different emirates in a month. From January, VFS Global will also take charge of the Shelter Home for maids and domestic workers run by the Indian Consulate in Dubai,” said Dr Elangovan.

The president also launched a website of the centre —

To read this in original, please visit Khaleej Times online.

Short Take – GULF TODAY – Dt. 27.11.2010 – Creative Kids

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Short Take – GULF TODAY – Dt. 27.11.2010 – Creative Kids

Creative kids

This was a busy week in which the UAE witnessed the visit of Indian President Prathibha Devising Patil.

A few days prior to her visit, Nov.14 to celebrate Children’s Day, a painting competition was organised by the Cultural Wing of the India Embassy. The event was held at Abu Dhabi Indian School. About 1,400 children from various schools in the UAE participated in this well organised event.

The senior participants were to choose any of the four themes – children of the world, save the girl child, the independence movement and the joys of childhood. Grades 1 to 4 pupils were given the themes of “Chacha Nehru” and “my school.” What made interesting insight into this event was the way the organisers made sure to make the children feel the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru. Those children who participated in the event thoroughly enjoyed it as they were well taken care of during the event.

Interests in non-performing arts like painting, drawing and writing give opportunity for children to express their mind and thoughts in simpler ways. Any given opportunity to conduct and showcase such talents should never be missed.

According to the organisers, the painting competition would be conducted every year.

One interesting factor came out of this competition was the fact that out of the 12 winners, 11 were girls and there was only one boy amongst the winners. Sunrise English Private School Abu Dhabi (4 prizes) came out with maximum winners followed by Abu Dhabi Indian School (3 prizes) and Delhi Private School Dubai (2 prizes). Delhi Private School Sharjah, St Joseph School Abu Dhabi and Gulf Asian School Sharjah bagged one price each.

An icing on the cake for the winners was that the Indian president distributed the prizes during her visit to Abu Dhabi Indian School.

Ramesh Menon

To read it in original, please visit GULF TODAY online.

A historic visit could lead to improvements – My Letters – THE NATIONAL – Dt. 24.11.2010

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My Letters – THE NATIONAL – Dt. 24.11.2010 – A historic visit could lead to improvements

A historic visit could lead to improvements
Last Updated: Nov 24, 2010

Regarding US and India a defining partnership this century (November 8): I was thinking of the various landmark improvements that could come along with this visit after India was branded “a nation that has arrived” by the US president Barack Obama.

Yes, after a period of recession, India is coming out as a nation of importance. The UAE is also confidently emerging with economic and administrative capabilities as a regional leader of significance.

There are a few concrete steps India could take to improve its services. Air India could become more efficient and upgrade its quality in order to compete with other airlines. Exit surveys of passengers could be taken to update traveller information and improve the quality of service.

Universities such as the Indian Institutes of Technology and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences could also extend its branches to the UAE. Indian residents and international students could thus compete with each other without having to leave the Emirates. There could also be schools and universities in India teaching Arabic, Islamic studies and Islamic arts.

Such basics requirements – economically viable and punctual transportation, increased educational facilities, and a safe and secure working environment – are but some improvements that would capture the spirit of Mr Obama’s remarks.

I am thankful that I work in the UAE, where all my interests are well protected. I look forward to the add-ons that could further materialise from this historic visit.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit THE NATIONAL online.

Exploring Abu Dhabi through Clicks and Writes – Clouds and changing weather

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Exploring Abu Dhabi through Clicks and Writes – Clouds and changing weather


Abu Dhabi weather is getting cooler and it is an enjoyable period we all get in terms of climate. The beauty does not end there as there are several activities happening with the 39th UAE National Day approaching. You may get a day or two of rain too very soon. Have a great time.

Doing our bit – My Letters – Khaleej Times Dt. 23.11.2010

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My Letters – Khaleej Times Dt. 23.11.2010 – Doing our bit
23 November 2010

This is in reference to a recent letter requesting the travellers to keep the visa page open while they queue for immigration at the airports. Travellers should be familiar with their passport entries like any addition of information, special endorsements and of course the page number on which visa is stamped for entry.

Immigration officers have a standard procedure of scanning through all the relevant details starting from the main page and may have queries in case any additional updates or amendments have been made in the passport.

Therefore, it is not necessary to keep the visa page open before meeting the officer.

He/she should be aware of the pages and entries in his/her and the family’s passport. This in turn will also help the officer as well as other passenger gain a speedier clearance.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit Khaleej Times online.

Short Take – GULF TODAY – Dt. 20.11.2010 – Helping Hand

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Short Take – GULF TODAY – Dt. 20.11.2010 – Helping Hand

Helping hand

Last week was significant for sports lovers, especially in the UAE. The first-ever test cricket match played in UAE ended in a draw. More significantly, the 2nd edition of the F1 championship produced the youngest winner in a thrilling final.

These sports events were keenly watched by many and what made me as an interesting spectator of the thrilling finish at Yas Marina was the gesture by Sebastian Vettel, after halting his car.

Accepting the applause from the spectators he came out and kissed his car, laying his head on the tyres and the machine. It showed in one way or another man’s acceptance to the kindness of blessings from a super natural being to succeed in life, and keep all options and equipment accurate and running perfectly till any race we run is completed.

This also brings out another interesting event happened in my life last week. An organisation was changing their computer system and were left with 27 CPUs in good condition.

As the units were new and in good condition, they wanted to sell it for a nominal cost and suddenly one of their staff knew about me and my social connections and called me. I was happy to accept their request and spread the word around whether any takers for the same for socially benefiting cause.

Manzil – an organisation based in Sharjah, which gives care and learning environment to those with special needs and encourages them to explore their potential to the fullest, came forward to accept them.

With whole-hearted support from the organisation GHD, Abu Dhabi and their senior management and those two staff members, we were able to send the PCs to Manzil before the Eid holidays.

I could not control my tears of joy when I received a thank you note and special Eid greetings from those children and staff from Manzil as they accepted this unexpected gift on Thursday.

Job only half done as I look around for more volunteers to help them with the basics of computing.

Ramesh Menon

To read it in original, please visit GULF TODAY online.

To know more about Manzil, please visit

If interested to become a volunteer, please write to them directly at

Urakam Ammathiruvadi Temple – Photos of Samarppanam of 18 Bali stones covered with brass

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Urakam Ammathiruvadi Temple – Photos of Samarppanam of 18 Bali stones covered with brass

Photos of SAMARPANAM OF 18 BALI STONES with BRASS covered held on 17th November 2010 (Vrishikam 1),

Short Take – Dt. 13.11.2010 – Point to ponder

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Short Take – Dt. 13.11.2010 – Point to ponder

Point to ponder

The season has changed. Winter is almost here. Many people may take the Eid break. One thing I noticed during the last couple of weeks here. I find cars parked for days and covered with full of dust.

Although, it is becoming cool outside, for somewhere, someone, the heat is on. Is it turning out to be real that there is an effect of financial crunch happening around?

The banking sector is also in greater caution and this is another major area for many of us who has an attitude to be there when in need. It is therefore important to be in touch with your regular friends/loved ones/contacts.

Make sure you get to create a communication and feel their pulse. I am sure you will definitely be able to get the feelings across, even if it is a silence or pause in the communication. But to be there at the time in need is the most important gift you can give to a friend or a well wisher of yours.

The reason for writing this here is an interview of Malayalam movie actor Dileep shown on TV sometime ago about one of his movie where he did a stunt scene by jumping into the sea.

In it he explained what was his feeling before jumping and once in motion down. No control, and life and death was seconds away. Luckily for him there were people to rescue, who were on standby. But a repeat shot had to be taken and he continued, there were no one around and it was really touch and go. Two years ago I had to go through the motions of the death of two friends who committed suicide. If someone was there to hold them/restrain them back from that crucial decision, life would have been an altogether different thing for their children.

We all boast of so many friends and well wishers on several media and social forums. How many of them will be there to care for you when in real need? A point to ponder?

So, let the party continue, enjoy life as it happens, but keep an eye and ear open for that precious silence somewhere around. You never know, when a chance hello or a short email from you will make you realise the reason for that precious silence and may give you an opportunity to be the most important person for someone whom you care.

Ramesh Menon
To read it in original, please visit GULF TODAY online.

Daily Management Thoughts – All improvement takes place project by project and in no other way

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Daily Management Thoughts – All improvement takes place project by project and in no other way