Month: July 2014

Natural hurry

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Natural hurry
There is a saying in Hindi which translates into, “Whatever happens, happens for the good.”
Nature has proved this once again.
For some years, I have been keenly following the flowering process of date palm trees and the period after it, till it is harvested. Normally, this process happens during July to October.
However, last year, due to the change in weather pattern or due to the unnoticed climate differentiation, it didn’t happen during that period.
This year, the process started in March and by now, the dates in the palm trees are ready to harvest. It is as if the nature has hurried itself to be part of the festivities associated with the Holy Month of Ramadan.
It is an amazing feeling to watch the date palm trees full of ripened dates wherever one gets to go around in the UAE. Indeed, the nation is blessed with this hidden wealth, which silently forms a major export item of the country.
If you have missed following the process, keep an eye from now on. You will have many stories to tell based on it.
Ramesh Menon

Short Take – Gulf Today 26 July 2014

Strict rules and training needed – Letters to the editor – The National

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Strict rules and training needed

It is very sad to read that an accident of the kind described in your article (38 workers injured in Sharjah bus crash, July 22) has happened on our roads once again.

Looking at the efforts by the authorities to prevent such accidents and the results achieved thus far, it is promising to note that they have become less frequent.

However, in order to get even better results, there is one option that ought to be implemented. The law should be amended to give no leeway above the stated speed limit for drivers of commercial or public transport vehicles. This would include 15-seater vans and minibuses, as well as full-size buses and trucks.

If enforced correctly and with strict punishment for drivers who breach it, this law ought to result in fewer accidents due to speeding and negligence.

In conjunction with this, all transport companies should be required to give their drivers training and to update their road-safety awareness skills.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original please visit The National online

Safe-driving signs on lorries are not what they seem – Letters to the editor – Dt. The National 21 July 2014

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Safe-driving signs on lorries are not what they seem
Letters to the Editor
July 20, 2014 Updated: July 20, 2014 03:36 PM

I refer to “Am I driving safely?” No, but there is no point in calling the number on the lorries (July 19), about the phone numbers displayed on heavy vehicles.
Many lorry and bus operators have found ways to get around this initiative. I cannot remember how many times I have been unable to reach the displayed number when I have witnessed a road-rage incident and tried to report it immediately.
There are three different scen­arios. One is where one or two digits are deliberately erased from the contact number; another is to provide a landline number that is never answered. A third is to display the number of a mobile phone that the offending driver himself is carrying.
When I do get through to the truck or bus operators, I never frame it as a complaint. Instead, I word it as a precaution, suggesting they keep their eye on a particular driver. Some companies have ­acknowledged my efforts and ­conveyed their thanks.
I feel that there is a need for a simple, easy-to-dial number to report all cases of bad driving. Companies operating lorries and buses should be required to register a contact number with the authorities, who would act on the complaint.
Road safety should be considered an integral part of our daily lives. Let us not ignore its importance, even for a minute.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Noble deeds – Gulf Today – Short Take Dt. 19 July 2014

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Noble deeds

Many a time, I have felt that we have no control over happenings in our day-to-day life. But, when I rethink, I strangely find that we do have a major role in all of them. It is just that we don’t realise the possible intervention angle.
A close friend fighting cancer since a long time passed away last week. He left us as if a job half done and half spoken about. During the final days of his life, he was not in a conscious state. Attending the funeral, I heard his brother mentioning to someone that my friend never ever expected it to happen so fast.
He might have left this world, family and friends with untold miseries. When I look at it, his noble deeds to the community weigh more in terms of hidden wealth to the society and generation that looked upon him.
He was a community person and always believed in highlighting the issues affecting the society either directly or through the press. Several times, we exchanged topics and discussed them. Published and unpublished efforts of his silent societal involvement are many. That is what will leave him immortal in the days ahead in the eyes of all.
My late friend PC Ummer was a man with a mission. At any available opportunity, he was there at the India Social and Cultural Centre Abu Dhabi and other social organisations to share his knowledge and expertise, participating in summer camps and other activities.

Ramesh Menon
To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

A smile that conveyed a million thanks

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On behalf of TOTAL, we were extremely happy to inform all that we distributed the “Spirit of Giving” bags to the ladies at Mussaffah camp on Wednesday, 16th July 2014 evening before Iftar.
It would not have been possible for us without the generous support of each one of our colleagues who participated with a human touch.  The team effort displayed in this CSR initiative was exemplary.
We are also grateful to the volunteers who came forward in getting the boxes to Mussaffah and complete the distribution process as smooth as possible.
This event is an important first step of a series of CSR initiatives lined up for the year ahead.
It is part of a sustained effort to convey that using all available opportunities TOTAL is committed to bring out better energy among the staff as well as the community around.
Thanking you and wish you all once again a blessed Ramadan.

Joy of seeing the ripened Dates – Our Story of the Date Palm Trees

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I told you well ahead, the joy of seeing a date palm tree full of ripened fruits is beyond words can say. Enjoy the blessed season. They say in hindi, “Jo hotha hey acha ke liye hotha hey”. The delay of flowering due to the global warming is overcome by the timing the dates have ripened and ready to be harvested for the festive season of Eid al Fitr. God bless all to have a peaceful, prosperous and joyous season ahead.

Community reporter passes away after battle with cancer

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Community reporter passes away after battle with cancer
P. C. Ummer, a regular contributor to the Community Report section, dies at 56.
By Ramesh Menon Gulf News Reader and Community Reporter
Published: 15:00 July 13, 2014
Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of Gulf News met with Gulf News reader P.C Ummer and his two sons Mohamed and Sameer Mohamed at the Gulf News today.
P.C. Ummer, an active participant of social and cultural activities, award-winning Gulf News community reporter and family man, died yesterday in Abu Dhabi on July 13, 2014, at the age of 56. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
He was an alumni of Christ College Irinjalakuda. During our college days we were involved in literary and cultural activities, as well as student welfare issues. After graduation, we didn’t know whether our paths would meet again.
Moving to Abu Dhabi in the late 1980s, I regularly contributed to community issues through letters and reports in Gulf New. As I followed the news with keen interest, I noticed a familiar name appearing in the same sections.
Recognising the person, I obtained his address from Gulf News and contacted him. Coincidentally, he, too, was residing in Abu Dhabi.
With great happiness I found that it was none other than my college mate, whom I thought I would never meet again.
He covered a lot of community issues in his work with Gulf News, just as I did. Many of his suggestions were eye openers to the authorities to rectify issues identified.
A while ago he confided in me about being diagnosed with cancer. A man of strong will and like any other cancer patient, he did not discuss much about it after that.
Ummer kept himself cheerful and was an active participant in activities of the India Social and Cultural Centre and other community associations in the Capital.
Last week, I got to know that he was in intensive care struggling for his life. He remained in a critical condition for almost a week. Being a person who doesn’t give up easily, his family and friends kept hope that he would recover. However, that was not to be.
One more victim of cancer, who had to suddenly put a full stop to his life and leave with unfinished words and deeds for the family and society they belong to.
It once again brings a pressing issue to the fore. Treatment for cancer is very expensive and it is high time authorities in all countries came out with more subsidised treatments for cancer patients. May his soul rest in peace.
Editor’s Note: Gulf News expresses its deepest condolences at the passing away of P.C.Ummer. An active community reporter and voice of the people, he helped raise many important issues to the fore. He won community report awards over the years for his work.

The most recent example was his report, ‘Abu Dhabi bus stops falling apart’, that was published on April 21, 2013. He raised the issue of ignored bus stops and lack of air-conditioned shelters for passengers in the Markaziya area in Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi. Four months later, new bus shelters had been constructed in the area.
Our prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need.

Obituary – P.C. Ummer – end of a Community conscious citizen

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With profound sadness, informing you all of the demise of P.C.Ummer at Abu Dhabi this morning. Please pray for the peace of the departed soul.
with prayers,
Sunday, 13 July 2014

Changing life – Gulf Today – Short Take – 12 July 2014

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Changing life

Today, I am in an uneasy frame of mind. While parting is difficult, departing is more difficult.
The first is about my home in Abu Dhabi. It was my home away from home and I had been living in that flat for about 14 years now. My house and the neighbourhood were dear to me.
The building was old with limited facilities and age took its toll. It was declared uninhabitable by the municipality. All the tenants had to look for accommodation elsewhere.
They say, a change is an opportunity. I parted with many old items that I had earlier thought I couldn’t live without. It was a difficult choice to select and pack what I wanted and what I didn’t.
Finally, I moved in to a new place. I am confident I will soon blend in here.
The second one is about a college mate. During our college days we were actively involved in literary and cultural activities, as well as student welfare issues. After graduation, we didn’t know whether our paths would meet again.
I regularly contributed to community issues through reports in local dailies. As I followed the news with keen interest, I noticed a familiar name appearing in the same columns.
Recognising the identity of the person, I gathered his address and contacted him.
It was none other than my college mate whom I thought I would never meet again.
We travelled almost the same path with regards to community issues. Many of our suggestions helped the administrative authorities rectify issues identified without delays.
A few years ago he confided in me about being diagnosed with cancer.
A man of strong will, he did not discuss much about it. He kept himself cheerful and participated in activities of the India Social and Cultural Center and other associations.
Last week, I came to know that he was in the ICU struggling for his life. It was difficult to meet him at the ward in his partially conscious state.
It has been almost a week now and he remains in the same critical condition. We keep hoping that he will recover and return to his normal self.
Treatment for cancer is very expensive and it is high time authorities in all countries came out with subsidised treatment for cancer patients.
Ramesh Menon

Gulf Today, Short Take – 12 July 2014
To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online.

One more victim

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One of my close friends and college mate is in a critical condition, fighting for life at a prominent hospital in Abu Dhabi. We travelled the same path in college, working for the magazine committee and other cultural and sports activities. After a long gap, I found him back here through the columns of Gulf News and surprisingly he too took several pressing community issues with the authorities and highlighted it through the Community Report section. This evening, he is fighting for his life, one another victim of Cancer. Please, please pray for his speedy recovery. I really do not want to see him going back this way this soon.

With tearful prayers for him.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Monday, 7th July 2014