Month: February 2017

All for road safety

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All for road safety

A repeat post to promote road safety – original published on 14 October 2011.

As a regular reader of Khaleej Times, and as a traffic safety campaigner in my own capacity, I am extremely happy to note the Khaleej Times Traffic Safety Campaign kicking off. But I feel that we should not just make it UAE specific, but global.

I happened to campaign for traffic and road safety after the tragic loss of two sets of lives connected to me.

One was my own brother-in- law who was killed by a speeding water tanker in Bangalore and another was my Mathematics teacher and her entire family who died in an accident in Abu Dhabi.

Both were irreparable losses to me, my family and to those affected. A moment of resilience and due diligence and all those lives could have been saved. But it didn’t happen.

I still remember the phone calls of my brother-in-law Rajeev Menon, the pleasing smile of my mathematics teacher Mrs. Victoria D’Souza and her son and their immediate family who perished in that accident. Their memories still remain with me even after many years.

I used to be a speedster myself but after those incidents I can honestly tell you that I have never violated the rules and have never incurred any traffic fines or penalties. Whenever I have witnessed an incident of road rage or an anomaly, I have campaigned heavily using my blog or other available ‘Have Your Say programmes’ to stop or control such acts being repeated in future.

One such incident I still remember was the massive road pile up that happened on the Abu Dhabi–Dubai highway two years ago on a foggy morning. On my way to Dubai Academic City to sit for an exam early in the morning, I witnessed a 35-seater bus speeding and flashing lights behind me, when there was absolutely no visibility due to the heavy fog. Probably, the driver was a regular motorist on the route and he knew the road and turnings inside out, but his actions really scared me. I allowed him to overtake me with some hesitance but noted his number and company details. After reaching Abu Dhabi I tried calling the company to notify them but they were closed.

Next morning when I read the news I learnt of the pile up that happened on the highway and immediately remembered to call them. But, till evening I couldn’t and around 5 pm when I was able to establish contact with the PRO of that company and informed him of the incident of the previous day, I was told that one of the buses was involved in the accident. Probably, it was the same driver, and the same set of passengers.

It is the duty of every road user to report violent driving habits and rash driving. Do not hesitate. One minute or one hesitant instance of your reporting may result in the loss of many lives.

Do follow the safety rules all the time. Let the initiative be taken up by all national associations, all corporate companies, all transport organisations and let us not hear about one human caused tragedy in the coming months.

Do not use mobiles, do not read papers or bills while driving, do not text. Most importantly, do not drink and drive.
Best wishes to all safety campaigners. –

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

A repeat post to promote road safety – original published on 14 October 2011.

To read in original, please visit Khaleej Times Online

Talented singer at Kagalahalli

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On Shivarathri day, a special upload to promoted a talented singer I met in front of the Kagalahalli Shaneeswara temple, Bangalore.
If you happen to visit this temple, I will say, you should visit at least once, you will be able to meet him. One of his leg isprosthetic. Details about the temple and its specialities will be shared through a different post.
Lyrics of the song:
Namo bhootha Natha, namo deva deva
Namo bhaktha pala, namo divya teja (namo….)
Bhavabadrakara sada nirvikara
Namo loka pala namo naga lola
Namo parvathi vallabha neelakanta (namo…)
Sada suprakasha maha papa nasha
Kashi viswanatha daya sindhu jata
Namo parvathi vallabha neelakanta (namo…)

#NaturePhotography – Day 7

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20131027_113704rHonored to be nominated by Leo Thomas for a photography initiative. i.e. to do a seven-day #naturephotography. I have to post one nature photograph a day for seven days and nominate at least one person each day to pass this along so we can flood Facebook with beautiful pictures of nature.
I am posting my click for today – Day 7!
I further nominate a wonderful photographer from Passionate Photographers group
to do the same!! Balaji Dinakar

Day7: Water is precious. The resources are getting depleted. Use it cautiously.

#WorkingTogetherWorks – why this hashtag? Yes, I take my time with devotion and dedication to encourage that odd Passionate Photographers around. Do not miss out. Do not leave your clicks die in your phone memory cards or hard disks! Show them and let all of us travel and see the world around through each one of your click.
#RameshMenonAbuDhabi
#Clicksandwrites
#PassionatePhotographers

#WorkingTogetherWorks – why this hashtag? Yes, I take my time with devotion and dedication to encourage that odd Passionate Photographers around. Do not miss out. Do not leave your clicks die in your phone memory cards or hard disks! Show them and let all of us travel and see the world around through each one of your click.
#RameshMenonAbuDhabi
#Clicksandwrites
#PassionatePhotographers
#Etihadairways
#travelphotography

Maha Shivarathri – the Universal Pati-Patni Day

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10991325_10152665561491088_2294335110874751272_nLet me repost an old article and a presentation named ShivaSakthi created by me marking the relevance of this day.

These days, we blindly follow several different types of days, for eg: Valentines day, mothers day, fathers day, friendship day, no-smoking day and the list goes on and on. When we look at it Shivarathri is the truly traditional family day or Pati-Patni day, as I term it. Because, from the ancient times, devoted wife’s pray and observe fast on this day for the well being of their husband and children and vice-versa, husband’s observe religious rituals and prayers like chanting Rudram and chamakam to give grace and prosperity to the well being of own family and the society.

There are many stories associated with Shivaratri and its origins.

One is about lord shiva drinking a poison and he held it in his throat by binding it with a snake. The throat became blue due to the poison (Thus Lord Shiva is also known as Neelakantha) and Shiva remained unharmed. In another story, it is said that the whole world was once facing destruction and the Goddess Parvati worshiped her husband Shiva to save it. Parvati named the night for the worship of Iswara by mortals Maha-Sivaratri, or the great night of Siva. After creation was complete, Parvati asked Shiva of which rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that the 14th night of the new moon, during the month of Maagha, is my most favourite day. It is known as Shivaratri. Parvati repeated these words to her friends, from whom the word spread over all creation. Another story is about a hunter. Lubdhaka, a poor tribal man and a devotee of Shiva, once went into the deep forests to collect firewood. At nightfall, he became lost and could not find his way home. In the darkness, Lubdhaka climbed a bel tree, and sought safety and shelter in its branches until dawn. All night, he could hear the growls of tigers and wild animals, and was too frightened to leave the tree. In order to keep himself awake, he plucked one leaf at a time from the tree and then dropped it, while chanting the name of Shiva. By sunrise, he had dropped thousands of leaves on to a Shiva lingam, which he had not seen in the darkness. Lubdhaka’s all-night worship pleased Shiva. By the grace of Shiva the tigers and wild animals went away, and Lubdhaka not only survived but was rewarded with ‘divine bliss’.

While most Hindu festivals are celebrated during the day, Mahashivratri is celebrated during the night and day that come just before the new moon. Each new moon is dedicated to Shiva, but Mahashivratri is especially important because it is the night when he danced the ‘Tandav’, his cosmic dance. It also celebrates the wedding of Shiva and Sati, the mother divine. Night represents evil, injustice, ignorance, sin, violence, and misfortune. Tradition says that Shiva, like his symbol the new moon, appeared in order to save the world from darkness and ignorance, before the world entered complete darkness. Those who observe the Mahashivratri fast only break their fast the next morning, and eat the prasad offered to Shiva. Young girls observe the fast and worship Shiva so that he may bless them with good husbands. They sing devotional songs in praise of the lord, and holy texts are chanted throughout the night. The pandits in the temples perform the puja according to the scriptures. This is done four times during the night.

Dedication:

For this auspicious day, I would like to dedicate to our global forum a painting named ShivaSakthi. It is also a dedication to all the loving mother’s, wife’s and sisters and also to all our fellow brothers for keeping our tradition and values always high, wherever we are.

I would like to also add a few words about this painting using PowerPoint.

This is created purely using powerpoint tools and it was done as a result of a few minutes of quite time at a small temple near REC Chathamangalam, Calicut. On that particular monsoon evening (in 1995), it happened to be that there was no power in that area, and the darshan of the deity at the time during deeparadhana created an everlasting memory in my mind. The decoration of the Devi idol, simple and small, by the melshanti (priest) was simply superb. I added to it a similar devotion at another temple, which is Avittathur Mahadeva temple. And the result is this creation – Shivasakthi.

At both these places, the time available by the melshanthi (priest) to decorate the idols during the time the sanctum sanctorum closed for pooja, was barely 10 minutes or so. And imagine yourself the result when the doors are opened. It is the epitomisation of the ultimate sraddha (concentration), the dedication and devotion to provide us a blissful presence.

Can you imagine them practising this art somewhere else? Or re-doing it, if a little more of water has been added to the chandan and kunkum or bhasmam they mix in order to create these decorations.!!

There are many unsung heroes and these are a few among them. And it is also my way of tribute to the many who remain within the four walls of our own religious boundaries, who do not get to watch or listen to any of the niceties which we are blessed with.

No one has the patience these days, and to add ease to it, we have a wonderful creation called remote control. It makes things easy for our wandering minds to switch from one programme to another and to refrain from keeping focussed on one.

We undergo several rigorous rituals and follow procedures for many days and ultimately visit our favourite temples and the moment we are in front of the deity, we close our eyes and fall into deep prayers. At this moment, we go back to the old thoughts, photos etc, forgetting about the opportunity to meet the real lord who is in front of us in full – paadadi kesham. And we are pushed away for someone else to do his minutes or seconds of closed eye prayers. The moment you close your eyes, you forget your objectives.

Open your eyes, look at the realities, and react to it.

As the prayer song “Geet nahi, Sur nahi, phir bhi mem gavoom”, in this spiritual sphere of mental peace and inner joy, the responsibility for success or failure is entirely one’s own.

God bless and have a great time sharing good thoughts and deeds.

Ramesh Menon

#NaturePhotography – Day 6

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Honored to be nominated by Leo Thomas for a photography initiative. i.e. to do a seven-day #naturephotography. I have to post one nature photograph (thought today – why not a video?!) a day for seven days and nominate at least one person each day to pass this along so we can flood Facebook with beautiful pictures of nature.
I am posting my click for today – Day 6!
I further nominate a wonderful photographer from Passionate Photographers group
to do the same!! Indira Gangadharan – my Indira aunty – who is an excellent photographer and more than that a great artist, painter, a women of substance!

Day6: We always think when we get to see photos from several places that how beautiful is that place, that state, or country is!. But, we seldom find the beauty that is there in of our own surroundings! This video is from my village Pullur, at Irinjalakuda town in Kerala state of India. If ever you have time and interest, welcome to visit. It is indeed God’s Own Village.

#WorkingTogetherWorks – why this hashtag? Yes, I take my time with devotion and dedication to encourage that odd Passionate Photographers around. Do not miss out. Do not leave your clicks die in your phone memory cards or hard disks! Show them and let all of us travel and see the world around through each one of your click.
#RameshMenonAbuDhabi
#Clicksandwrites
#PassionatePhotographers

#WorkingTogetherWorks – why this hashtag? Yes, I take my time with devotion and dedication to encourage that odd Passionate Photographers around. Do not miss out. Do not leave your clicks die in your phone memory cards or hard disks! Show them and let all of us travel and see the world around through each one of your click.
#RameshMenonAbuDhabi
#Clicksandwrites
#PassionatePhotographers
#Irinjalakuda
#Pullur
#Etihadairways
#travelphotography
#Etihadairways

 

Suicidal acts for publicity should be discouraged

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It is absolutely a suicidal act craving for personal publicity. Public display and wide dissemination of these type of acts through print and online media, in particular social media create an urge in young minds to try and do a similar or different type inviting possible chances of death or permanent injuries.
I suggest the videos should be removed from the web and those who do such things should be punished so that there is a sense of fear among others who may attempt such things in future and prevent them from doing so. Congratulations to Dubai Police for taking the first step to warn such people.

Letters to the editor, The National dated 20 February 2017 on the topic

Dubai police summon Russian model who dangled from Cayan Tower

Hold her accountable!

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It is a highly unbelievable and a one-off situation what the people of the state as well as those who love the Tamil people are witnessing now (‘India’s top court shows the way in fighting graft’, Gulf News, February 15). First and foremost, we are living in an era that should have freedom to express our constitutional rights and thoughts and not just follow the whims and fancies of anyone who claims to have confidence or power or even access to power.

Wonder why the educated Tamil people, men and women, sit quiet and say nothing on this issue. They had more of a voice and mass to express and unite themselves for the Jallikattu Festival issue than for a situation like these pseudo rulers.

Who is forcing Vivekanandan Krishnaveni Sasikala to remain in politics, if she feels that it’s hard for a woman to survive in politics? Sit quiet and be comfortable at home and enjoy the money that has been quietly earned over the years rather than perish with more greed.

Without strong sentencing and monetary punishment, which surprisingly was not handed out in this case, the process may continue to happen considering the timeframe for such verdicts.

From Mr Ramesh Menon

Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, visit:

Hold her accountable! – Letters to the editor Gulf News Dt 21 February 2017