Month: December 2012

Christmas 2012 @ Sai Gokul Dham & Sai Ashraya Dham

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Christmas 2012 @ Sai Gokul Dham & Sai Ashraya Dham
It was a special Christmas for us. Early morning at the Brindavan ashram Bangalore with a candle light procession to the nearby church singing carols. In the afternoon a visit to the Sai Gokul Dham, which shelters about 75 animals of special kind. They were all types – cows, buffaloes, horses, goats, dogs, cats parrots, doves etc..They are all abandoned by their owners, either due to old age or deformities.
They were looked after well and enjoyed the short time we could spend with them feeding them fresh fruits and leaves.
Off to Sai Ashraya Dham from there. A bit late due to the long journey back. But, with the quality time we had with those animals, we never felt the distance we drove back. The young army were eager and waiting for us. Straight to the prayer hall with the cake and food items, and we thought of reversing the process, normally we do whenever we conduct such a gathering. We had the arathi first and served food to the children, who all enjoyed the meal and then food distribution to the by-standers of several patients from the nearby hospital. It was 3:30 by the time we finished serving to all and had our food at the premises. 
We could not wait more to have a bhajan session, in which Jayant , Deepika and Rajashree sang nice bhajans. Not to forget the memorable songs sung by the children lead by Mahesh on vocal and Mohan on Tabala. Mohan was excellent, especially to see him playing well to not familiar bhajans sung by the three from our side. I realized, this is what is called an “Eye for Music” as he was totally blind and just listened to the voice and played along beautifully. At one point of time, as I captured the actions through my camera, I was surprised, there was not one, not two, but 18 quality young singers in the group as they sang with lots of devotion and interest.
Pankaj and Sujatha felt extremely happy to distribute the sweets to children and we concluded with some small games and handed over pencils, books, and toys brought to the kids by Manisha.  A photo session followed and we all wished them good luck for doing well in the forthcoming exams.
A surprise was waiting us as we returned to our cars. A neatly plastered rose flower on our windscreens and as they saw our surprise, they said, thank you uncle – Om Sai Ram.
Christmas at its best.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
25.12.2012

To see more photos, please visit

Christmas 2012 @ Sai Gokul Dham & Sai Ashraya Dham

We also remember and thank all my friends and colleagues from TOTAL who donated clothes and books, Mrs. Uthara Ghosh and family, Mr. Sreenivas and family, Mr. Vipin and family and many others who showed kindness to join us in this scheme.

Weekly once an an afternoon study session is conducted to assist these children in Computer, Mathematics and English. Anyone interested to join and give the volunteers a helping hand may contact us on the details mentioned e Nidhi SREE NIDHI .

To contact Sai Ashrayadham directly, you may please call Mr. A P N Sharma – Ph 09845024039
or
Mr. Vaidyanathan – Ph. 09880109400.
Those who are interested to participate may also revert to me by email (team1dubai@gmail.com).
Venue: Every Saturday between 2 pm and 4 pm at Sai Ashrayadham, Near Belthur Bus Stop, Kadugodi Post, Bangalore 560067.Ph 09845024039 (Contact Shri A P N Sharma).

A day with God’s children at Sai Ashraya Dham

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A day with God’s children at Sai Ashraya Dham….
It was the time of celebrations all around…celebrations for Christmas, New Year and lot of excitement with exchanging gifts and greetings at Embitel Technologies, Bangalore. With the idea to “Make a Life Happy This Christmas” we decided to visit an orphanage, celebrate & share our part of happiness with them.
With tremendous contribution from fellow colleagues @ Embitel who joined hands in collecting clothes, funds, toys, stationary etc. for our visit which was planned for 22nd Dec, Saturday to SAI ASHRAYADHAM.
On the visit day.. ( Saturday, 22.12.2012)
Fully prepared to meet the kids and in hope to spend a quality time, I with my colleagues reached the place at 12:30 PM. As our visit was delayed by an hour’s time and thinking the kids might be waiting as we had informed that we will be sponsoring the day’s lunch. We rushed in with the food first, but were relaxed to know that we are before time for lunch. 
While trying to settle and start introduction, we had Mr. & Mrs. Sharma coming in to see if things are Ok with us here. Mr. Sharma took us on a tour of the premises and shared his wonderful & divine experiences fulfilling his noble duty for more than 16 years serving with food & shelter for god’s children (Sai Ashrayadham), poor patients that come for treatment to Satya Sai Hospital (Sai Arogyadham) and home for Old & Ailing animals (Sai Gokuldham).
We started the day’s activity with distributing cakes, followed by playing several fun games, giving prizes/ gifts for winners/performances. It was such a true feeling to experience, just by looking at the kids smiling face with hopes in their eyes and when you know it’s all because of you.
The lunch Time…
Before lunch, they all gathered in the bhajan hall and to our astonishment, they started singing Sai Bhajans with great perfection, adding to it Mohan (the blind kid) was playing tabala like a professional.  It’s rare to see in today’s fast moving generation the kind of discipline they had and how organized a kid of 6-7 years of age can be. They all liked the food and enjoyed the meal. At the time lunch was over it was around 4 PM, we handed over the stationary and clothes to the care taker and decided to leave. While returning we all were happy to have such a memorable day in our life and had an extra ordinary feeling of MAKING A LIFE HAPPY THIS CHRISTMAS. 
Arpan Panigrahy and team members
Embitel Technologies India Pvt Ltd
Bangalore

Our sincere thanks to Arpan and colleagues for showering kindness and bringing out happy smile to these blessed ones.

May god bless you all to sustain this ray of kindness throughout your life.

Regards and best wishes for a great year.

Ramesh Menon & family

Ancestral tree – Short Take – Gulf Today Dt. 22.12.2012

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Ancestral tree
Another year in our life is completing, as fast ever as possible. As an individual, I had lots of ups and downs, turbulent times, losing or winning days. It all marked the beauty of the year 2012 that was.
Several people and interactions passed by during this time. Some, I do not remember at all, but certain others, I definitely remember.
One was the trip I took to India to perform rituals associated with the first death anniversary of my mother-in-law.
We were asked by the priest to name our ancestors. He started asking the name of our parents. We answered. He asked the name of our grandparents. With a bit of difficulty, we answered that too. He then asked the name of our grand grandparents. We got stuck.
Our knowledge train about our family stopped then and there. We decided we should find out more details and prepare a family tree.
Back here in the UAE, I met the other day, a UAE national and colleague of mine, who incidentally brought to me a photo showing his family tree consisting of his ancestors leading to a list stretching a hundred years back.
It took him a great deal of time, but he was proud to show me the legacy. Why should we not try to emulate it as a task for the new year?
Explore our way to our ancestors’ memories and roots.

Ramesh Menon

To read it in original, visit Gulf Today Online
Gulf Today : Short Take dt 22 Dec 2012

WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Old and still around

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WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Old and still around

Sony DSC-WX170
ExposureTime – 1/160 seconds
ISOSpeedRatings – 100
BrightnessValue – 7.95
MaxApertureValue – F 4.99
MeteringMode – Multi-segment
LightSource – Auto
Flash – Flash not fired, auto mode
FocalLength – 14.23 mm
DigitalZoomRatio – 1.00 x
SceneCaptureType – Landscape
This is a small piece of beauty, surprisingly still around in front of the Abu Dhab Bus Terminal. With the city growing in tremendous pace, most of the old monuments and creative landmarks are gone and replaced with modern versions. This little beauty is still around and hope it will be there for a long time too.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Saturday, 15-12-2012
WysiWyc is What you See is What you Click.

As a mark of special importance to this project, on behalf of Passionate Photographers group, we offer a free photography  session for Cancer patients. If you, or any of your friends or family are affected with cancer and wish to capture precious and happy moments with them, do contact us on team1dubai@gmail.com. A member from Passionate Phtographers group will volunteer to assist you and present it.
You may also contact us for any medical guidance or assistance to cancer treatment and we will do our best to assist you in whatever way possible within our limits, to ease the situation you are currently in.

WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Abu Dhabi Bus Terminal

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WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Total’s presence @ Abu Dhabi

SONY DSC-WX170
ISOSpeedRatings – 125
MaxApertureValue – F 3.30
LightSource – Auto
FocalLength – 4.45 mm

It was drizzling and I was impressed with Abu Dhabi Buses lined up on a Friday morning to take the passengers to various destinations. They were neat, clean and modern. I understand that now all the inter-city buses have wifi connections as well as catering. What more one need to travel in style and safe. Enjoy using Abu Dhabi Bus.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Friday, 14-12-2012

WysiWyc is What you See is What you Click.

As a mark of special importance to this project, on behalf of Passionate Photographers group, we offer a free photography  session for Cancer patients. If you, or any of your friends or family are affected with cancer and wish to capture precious and happy moments with them, do contact us on team1dubai@gmail.com. A member from Passionate Phtographers group will volunteer to assist you and present it.
You may also contact us for any medical guidance or assistance to cancer treatment and we will do our best to assist you in whatever way possible within our limits, to ease the situation you are currently in.

WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Reflections

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WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Reflections

(NIKON D90)
FocalLengthIn35mmFilm – 105 mm
ExposureTime – 1/60 seconds
FNumber – 5.30
ISOSpeedRatings – 1600
Flash – Flash not fired, auto mode
FocalLength – 70.00 mm

(SONY DSC-T900)

ExposureTime – 1/60 seconds
FNumber – 3.50
ISOSpeedRatings – 100
FocalLength – 9.33 mm
I love to capture reflections. Especially when it rains. Here in Abu Dhabi, raining is rare and an event to celebrate. Since the time I started taking photography to a serious level, I have tried to capture all the rainy moments I witnessed here in Abu Dhabi. The second photo is one taken when it rained today.
The first one is reflection of a crane at a construction work. 
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Thursday, 13.12.2012
WysiWyc is What you See is What you Click.

As a mark of special importance to this project, on behalf of Passionate Photographers group, we offer a free photography  session for Cancer patients. If you, or any of your friends or family are affected with cancer and wish to capture precious and happy moments with them, do contact us on team1dubai@gmail.com. A member from Passionate Phtographers group will volunteer to assist you and present it.
You may also contact us for any medical guidance or assistance to cancer treatment and we will do our best to assist you in whatever way possible within our limits, to ease the situation you are currently in.

Transluminescent signage and directions on Abu Dhabi roads

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It is foggy days once again in UAE. The photo above was taken at about 10:00 am two days ago. You can imagine, how foggy it would have been during the early morning hours. Crying road safety all these years, I have been writing and requesting repeatedly to initiate several road safety measures to safeguard all road users during such difficult driving conditions. One item in the list was to have road directions painted with translumniescent paint so that lights reflects on them and give correct guidance on driving direction to those who drive during such times.
I was happy this morning. It was too foggy and was happy to see Abu Dhabi Municipality contractors painting the roads with translumniescent paint. I wish them sincerely good luck in their effort to control accidents during foggy days due to rash driving added with poor visibility.
One more thing was emphasized to me and my community reporting instinct. However efforts or how much ever time it takes, persistence to communicate and convince on the merits of a good suggestion always see positive results.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
12.12.2012
To read my suggestion, please visit and read my post:
(Please read my report – Coping with fog – Gulf News dated 21.09.2010) . 
Thanks to all those who put their mind and soul to initiate this new safety aspect which will help motorists to find directions easily during extreme fog conditions on our road.

WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Etisalat Tower Building

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WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts – Etisalat Tower Building Abu Dhabi
Every photo clicked is a history. You will never be able to re-create that precious moment. I consider photography as the best tool to promote positive thinking values because you never click an object with a negative output in mind.

Interacting with a professional photographer recently I realized how important it is to explore the possibilities of photography opportunity available around us, when we can. At the same time, exhibit them and explain them without inhibition are two important factors associated with it, which many tend not to do, either out of hesitation, or lack of time, or writing skills. In order to encourage my fellow Passionate Photographers, I am starting a new series of Photography exhibition, through my blog – WysiWyc – Daily Passionate Photography Thoughts.
As most of you know, I click several photos each day. Topics or objects vary infinitely. However, in this series, what I plan to do is to click  one object using different cameras, within a short time difference and present them to you to observe, and discuss, if interest persists. These clicks are taken appropriately within few minutes difference between each other to harvest same environment conditions for each of them. I will also try and provide you maximum information about the object involved in each of them.

The first of the series is Etisalat Tower Building, Abu Dhabi.
Location : Rigga Al Buteen This green glass detailed office tower feature a spherical golf ball like form on the top, which is the same for most of the Etisalat buildings in the UAE. 
Date of Capture : Tuesday, 11-12-2012  Time : 16:18 Location : Abu Dhabi, Airport Road
iPhone 4S (all options – automatic)
ExposureTime – 1/2632 seconds ISOSpeedRatings – 50
Flash – Flash not fired, auto mode 
FocalLength – 4.28 mm
Sony DSC T900 (all options – automatic)
ExposureTime – 1/640 seconds ISOSpeedRatings – 80
Flash – Flash fired, compulsory flash mode, return light not detected
FocalLength – 6.18 mm

Nikon D90 (all options – automatic)
ExposureTime – 1/200 seconds ISOSpeedRatings – 200
Flash – Flash fired, auto mode, return light detected
FocalLength – 18.00 mm

Being the first day of this thought conversion to reality process, I decided or rather acted purely with a passionate photographers mind, keeping all setting on normal mode. However, as we progress, as I gather enough confidence, I will try and play around with all possible options and features of different cameras I get to explore with and share you for your observation and comments. 
Hope you all enjoy joining me in the photography exploration. Share with your friends who are interested in photography.
You are welcome to join Passionate Photographers group on Facebook.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Wednesday, 12-12-2012

p.s.: As a mark of special importance to this project and to this special day, 12-12-12, which we all will never get to see such a sequential date in our life, I wish to present another silent project.
A free photography  session for Cancer patients. If you, or any of your friends or family are affected with cancer and wish to capture precious and happy moments with them, do contact us on team1dubai@gmail.com. A member from Passionate Phtographers group will volunteer to assist you and present it.

WysiWyc = What you see is What you click

Rain reflections – an unfulfilled wish

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Rain reflections – an unfulfilled wish

This picture was taken during a recent monsoon time visit when I noticed the trees reflecting on the pool of water that remained in our garden at home. While clicking it my grandmother was sitting near the window and watching me. She loved to see the photos each time and showed it to her. I told her also that I will bring a print of it when I come next time. In fact during the next visit in October, I did bring the printed version, but in a hurry and due to short time limit, I forgot to show it to her. The click was published in Gulf News too. What to say, all saw it in print, except her as she left this world in November. Hence re-presenting it here once again, as a tribute for her appreciation and affection, which I am sure will remain as long as I am alive. 

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Monday, 10 December 2012

Outpass fees for Indian amnesty seekers may be waived

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Outpass fees for Indian amnesty seekers may be waived

Ambassador asks Indian government to scrap Dh60 charge for amnesty seekers

Dubai: Illegal Indian residents applying for a UAE amnesty to exit the country without immigration fines or legal action may have the application fee waived under a new proposal by the Indian ambassador to the UAE. M. K. Lokesh said on Sunday he has formally requested the Indian government to waive the Dh60 charge for the “Emergency Exit Certificate,” informally called “outpass,” needed to exit the UAE under the amnesty. The amnesty lasts from December 4 to February 3 for all nationalities, and each nation’s foreign missions charge separately for the outpass. “I’ve written to my government to consider waving off the fee… Once the Government of India agrees, there could be relief,” he said during a press conference at the India Club in Dubai on Sunday. “The decision will come hopefully soon. It can take time, there are procedures in place.” There is an additional Dh9 service fee charged by outsourced company BLS that handles Indian passport and visa applications. There are also optional “value added services” like form-filling and on-site photography services. Lokesh said: “We’ve asked them (BLS) to reduce this for amnesty seekers by 30 per cent.” He added that during the last amnesty in 2007, “90 to 95 per cent of them (applicants) traveled at their own cost, each (air) ticket cost about Dh1,000… This time we expect 90 per cent of them to bear their own airfare.” Lokesh said financial assistance for those who cannot afford to be repatriated was an ongoing effort of the Indian missions even outside the amnesty. “We’ll try to help the destitute, we’re already helping them on a daily basis… The (Indian) civil aviation has been informed of this (amnesty) and maybe they’re going to give ticket concessions. And I’m also trying generally with Indian airlines.” Last amnesty, about 1,200 air tickets were arranged for applicants, he added. “Ultimately, only the deserving ones will get it.” Lokesh said that those being repatriated under the amnesty may be allowed to return to the UAE in the future. “We (Indian embassy in UAE) haven’t got anything in writing from local (UAE) authorities, but they’ve said there’s no formal ban. Formally, they haven’t told us there won’t be any ban,” Lokesh said. Last amnesty, about 46,000 Emergency Certificates were issued by the Indian missions in the UAE, Lokesh said. “We issue the travel document called Emergency Certificate, we don’t know how many people actually left.” This year, more than 220 Indians have applied so far. When asked how many applicants are expected this year, Lokesh said: “I can’t be speculative – hopefully less than last time. The initial response has been lukewarm, only about 30-50 people daily. In the final stages, more people may come… The bottlenecks may be the immigration centres – they also issue their own outpass – at the last minute, but there aren’t so many Indians there right now.” There are 14 BLS and Indian community group centres where amnesty seekers can apply in the UAE, he added. “There are 1.75 million to 2,000,000 Indian people here, depending on where you get your figures from. Indian’s are law abiding, their role here is appreciated. Some of them have become illegal residents due to some unforeseen reasons beyond their control.” For verification, Indian applicants who don’t have a valid passport or visa copy details can present their Indian ration or voter card, Indian driving licence or details for relatives and their address in India. “Even with a proper name and date of birth, in cases we’re able to find out from our records if they’re Indian citizens,” he said. After securing an outpass from their embassy or consulate, or the outsourced service provider, amnesty applicants have to approach any of 10 immigration centres handling the official pardon programme in the UAE.

My comments as follows: 

It’s a pity that this kind act was thought about after other countries did so to their nationals. Any requirement or actions for non-resident Indians are always a source of revenue for the government and it happened in this case of amnesty too. Let all good actions and thoughts initiate proactively from our legislators and government representatives.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS Online.