Month: August 2014

Beautiful Mosques in Abu Dhabi

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Starting today, I am trying to bring to you one by one the beautiful mosques in Abu Dhabi and then other cities in the United Arab Emirates.

In this photo you will find this extremely beautiful mosque situated at Madina Zayed (behind NMC hospital). The architectural beauty of it is to be praised. This is just one of the angle, I captured at random.

Windows in high-rise buildings need to be properly secured – Gulf News Dt. 14 August 2014

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When parking my car at a multi-level car park in Abu Dhabi, I heard the sound of two sets of children playing nearby. One was from the ground level where a group of children were playing football. Searching for the other set, my eyes reached the top floor of a highrise building. I was shocked to see that two windows of an apartment were left open and a set of children were stretching themselves out and trying some tricks.
It was indeed shocking for me! They had clearly seen me standing below and observing them for a long time. As if one group of children seemed to have gotten the message, suddenly one of the windows shut and my focus was now on the other one, where the remaining children continued their activities.
I didn’t wait any longer and went ahead and alerted the watchman of the building. He told me that he was helpless, as the children never listened to him.
I was fearing three different types of dangers. First, the window panels of such buildings are mostly easily accessible. What happens, if the children or even if it is adults, slip and fall?
Second was the danger of the items kept on the window slab. What happens, if one of the item falls down through the open window and someone happens to be passing by or standing below at that crucial moment?
Third and not of least importance is the mischievous act that many residents have had to experience. Some children throw water bottles or cans or even plastic bags filled with water at pedestrians who are passing by the building. A few days ago, my wife and I escaped such an act by a whisker!
It doesn’t end there, these windows are used many a times by residents to dry their laundry. The windows are left partially open and the clothes act as an eyesore to a beautiful city image.
Authorities in the capital have asked for a mandatory lock for windows on highrise buildings. I request authorities and building owners to make a quick check and make sure that it is installed wherever it is not.
In addition, reputed organisations should cross check that the apartments where the employees are living have all the required safety equipment installed.
Let us all work together to put an effort to make safety a core value that can never be ignored even for a moment. Let no accidents, or even death, occur due to ignorance or carelessness.
The reader is a technical officer based in Abu Dhabi.
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Tragedy of life – Gulf Today – Short Take – Dt. 09 August 2014

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Tragedy of life

Life passes by very quickly. At times many of us undergo a series of unexpected tragedies all at the same time. For a favourite colleague of mine Paulita and her husband Adrian, it was one such time during last year.
A cancer fighter, her condition aggravated and she had to undergo a series of major treatment.
She was recovering and it was at that time the natural tragedy happened and her entire village was destoyed. Along with it 18 of their immediate relatives!
Massive efforts were coordinated by her forgetting her own health condition to rehabilitate those who survived.
Time passed by quickly and it is time for her to go back on leave.
It is at this time she is feeling the magnitude of what happened. With houses yet to complete and essential facilities still not reconstructed, life is not going to be easy for some time.
In a way when we look at things happening in our life, it is true that all good things can be destroyed in a flash but to reconstruct the goodwill it is never easy and requires lot of hard work, determination, dedication and sustained effort.
I take this opportunity to salute all good human beings like Paulita who do selfless efforts forgetting their own personal hardship.
Ramesh Menon

Short Take, Gulf Today 9 August 2014
To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online.

Don’t get killed while driving – Gulf News – 3 August 2014

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Don’t get killed while driving

Authorities need to step up to educate drivers on road safety and the importance of patience on the road.
•             By Ramesh Menon
•             Gulf News Published: 13:23 August 2, 2014

The other day, as I was dropping my son to the airport amidst the afternoon traffic, we witnessed a young man riding a sports bike at a furious pace, cutting across traffic lanes. Suddenly, the car ahead of him stopped, and the young man was left with no option than to hit the car. We watched as he toppled at least three times above and on top of the car ahead and fell down. There he lay motionless and we were speechless.

Turns out, there was an accident that happened further down the road and that was the reason for the traffic and a police patrol was already on their way to assist.

The accident that we witnessed will remain in my memory for a very long time, as it felt so unreal, like it was a movie.

Furthermore, for me as a person, bikes on UAE roads are always scary as they are not meant to be safe while driven on these roads.

Memories of two incidents that happened a few years ago keep on coming to my mind and is the reason for my aggressive campaigning for road safety.

First is the death of my brother-in-law in a bike accident in 2001 by a tractor driver in Bengaluru, India. 

Second is more serious as it involved a whole family, including my mathematics teacher from school. They died as their car was hit by a speeding car and causing the entire family to burn to death as they travelled from Abu Dhabi to Dubai.

While the fate of the young man involved in the accident that happened the other day is not known to me, I definitely know that it was an incident that could easily have been avoided.

There is a strong need for patience and this needs to be educated to our young drivers by the authorities. Especially bike riders and those who have just got their driving license.

You don’t put a full stop to your life in thsi manner. Safety is of utmost importance, therefore we should be alert and cautious at all times.

To read it in original, please visit Gulf News online.

Listen to ideas – Short Take – Gulf Today – 2 August 2014

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Listen to ideas

On a short visit to India, I am touring around various cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore and my home town, Irinjalakuda.
While I travel by air and road, I also drive at most places as it gives me an opportunity to cover life in the villages through my lenses.
The situation changes when I am in my hometown and under the umbrella of my aged parents. They do not allow me to drive and the onus is on our family driver Jose to take me around the city.
He is a man of wisdom. Driving around, he has clear ideas on what needs to be done and what went wrong on highway development activities.
The one-way system in Trichur and Ernakulam, the highway medians that occupy a lot of space and reduce traffic flow are some points that require immediate corrective action.
Having worked in Iraq and Saudi for a long time, he is thorough with modernisation. I wish there was a better mechanism where the authorities listened to the voice of common people in India. Just like the “Have Your Say” programmes in many government departments in the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE authorities have been highly progressive and receptive to the voice of its residents. This has encouraged people like me to contribute regularly with ideas and suggestions.

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