Month: September 2018
I love to visit Mumbai during rainy season. It is because, I love to see Mumbai when it rains. To photograph it during the rain is something very special.
Normally, I stay in hotels close to the airport. Approximately 16 years ago during one such visit, I was waiting outside the hotel with my camera kit to see whether I can get a suitable taxi to go around Mumabi.
It was the days of Maruti Omni’s, and one such high roof car slowed down. I asked him, can we go around for a drive. He asked me where? I said, no such specific places, but take me wherever you feel I can click some good photos. It was around 08:00 am in the morning and we finished the day at 10:00 pm and then straight to airport to catch the flight back to Abu Dhabi.
A strong bond was made that day. Till now, whenever I am in Mumbai, I have a safe person to take me around. With more than 2 camera, and all other valuable items, I can safely travel with him, without any fear. Trust and dependability is a key factor in building relationships. Moreover, he is a safe driver too.
Over the period of years, life has evolved in several ways for him and me. We both lost a few key family members battling cancer. Whatever little help I could, I always passed on to him. In turn he has never ever asked me for a favor.
Only change that has happened in him is his car. He has Hyundai car instead of the old Maruti Omni High roog, (which I still prefer a better one than this). He got married, has children now.
If you are in Mumbai and wish to take his service, you can call him with confidence. His number is there on the photo.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi.
Presenting to you VOICE OF TISS – Vol-2 Dt 19 September 2018.
Inviting you all to listen to it in full, as it is an attempt by a group of children with special abilities.
I am extremely happy to say that, if I had offered the same opportunity to children with abilities, they would have ignored me and maybe even ridiculed me. These children are from a close-knit family named “Team India Special Smiles” under the umbrella of Indian Association Sharjah.
The children are encouraged to read out one or two headings from the newspapers and their siblings join in to complete the news with an additional two or three lines, while their parent record it. They then send the recording to me by WhatsApp and making my job simple, as simple as you can see, to listen to them, enjoy them and compile this news clippings into a one good audible audio/video format. Excuse them, or excuse all the team involved for any shortcomings.
As I believe strongly on my concept, Talent Share – A Talent or Knowledge Within You is to be Shared, they too have stepped in and proved, “Yes, We Can and Of Course, We Will”.
In case you wish to assist TISS in any way, you may contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
19 September 2018
ദേശാടന പക്ഷികളുടെ സാന്നിധ്യകൂടുതൽ കാരണം ഇരിങ്ങാലക്കുട റെയിൽവേ സ്റ്റേഷനും പരിസരവും ആരോഗ്യത്തിനു ഹാനികരമായ അവസ്ഥ സൃഷ്ടിക്കുന്നു. അനേകം പക്ഷികൾ തമ്പടിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നതു സ്റ്റേഷനോട് ചേർന്ന് ഉള്ള വന്മരങ്ങളിലാണ്. അവയുടെ വിസർജ്യം വന്നു വീഴുന്നത് റെയിൽ യാത്രക്കായി വരുന്നവരുടെ വാഹനങ്ങളിലോ അവരുടെ ശരീരത്തിലോ ഒക്കെ. കൂടാതെ ഈ വിസർജ്യം അവിടെ കിടന്നു, മഴവെള്ളത്തിലൂടെ ഒലിച്ചു സമീപ പ്രദേശങ്ങളിലേക്കും എത്തി പെടുന്നു. സഹിക്കാൻ പറ്റാത്ത മണത്തോടെ യാത്രക്കാർ മൂക്ക് പൊത്തി പിടിച്ചു നിൽക്കുന്നത് സ്ഥിരം കാഴ്ച. ശ്വാസകോശ സംബന്ധമായ അസുഖമുള്ളവർ ഈയിടെയായി ഈ സ്റ്റേഷനിൽ നിന്ന് യാത്ര ഒഴിവാക്കുന്നു എന്നാണ് അറിയാൻ കഴിഞ്ഞത്.
സ്റ്റേഷൻ അധികൃതരുമായി കുറച്ചു നേരം സംസാരിച്ചതിൽ നിന്ന് മനസ്സിലാക്കിയത്, ഇതിനകം തന്നെ പല ഓട്ടോ ടാക്സി തൊഴിലാളികളും, സ്റ്റേഷൻ ജീവനക്കാർക്കും ശ്വാസകോശ രോഗങ്ങൾ വന്നു കഴിഞ്ഞു എന്നാണ്.
രാത്രിയിലെ വെളിച്ചവും, എല്ലാ സമയത്തും ഉള്ള യാത്രക്കാരുടെ സാമീപ്യവും ഈ പക്ഷികളെ ഇവിടേക്ക് ആകർഷിക്കുന്നു. ഓരോ പക്ഷിയും ദിവസ്സേന ഏകദേശം 3.5 കിലോയോളം മൽസ്യത്തെയോ മറ്റു ചെറു ജന്തുക്കളെയോ ഭക്ഷിക്കുന്നു എന്നാണു കണക്കാക്കപ്പെടുന്നത്. ഇത് വൻ രീതിയിൽ ഈ പ്രദേശത്തെ ജന്തു ജല ജീവി സന്തുലിതക്കു ദോഷം വരുത്തുന്നു എന്ന വസ്തുതയും നമ്മൾ മുന്നിൽ കാണേണ്ടതുണ്ട്.
വല്ല വിധേനയും ഇവയെ ഇവിടെ നിന്ന് തുരത്തിയില്ലെങ്കിൽ ഇനിയും നിരവധി യാത്രക്കാരും അവരുടെ വാഹനങ്ങളും സ്റ്റേഷൻ തൊഴിലാളികളും ഈ ദുരവസ്ഥ അനുഭവിക്കേണ്ടി വരും.
സമീപ പ്രദേശത്തെ എഞ്ചിനീയറിംഗ് കോളേജ് / ടെക്നിക്കൽ കോളേജ് വിദ്യാർത്ഥികൾ ഇത് ഒരു പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് ആയി എടുത്തു, റെയിൽവേ അധികൃതരുമായി ഒത്തു ചേർന്ന് ഏതെങ്കിലും തരത്തിലുള്ള ഹൈ ഫ്രീക്യുൻസി തരംഗങ്ങൾ ഉപയോഗിച്ച് ഇവയെ ഓടിക്കാൻ ഒരു ശ്രമം നടത്തിയാൽ, ആ മരങ്ങൾ മുറിക്കാതെ ഈ ആരോഗ്യ പ്രശ്നത്തിന് ഒരു പരിഹാരം ആവും.
Abu Dhabi: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This was proven by a group that I am a part of called the “Our Irinjalakuda”, a Facebook group based out of Irinjalakuda in Thrissur, India.
During the recent Kerala floods, the group with around 60,000 members and about 200 active volunteers formed a team and got to work. None of them were experienced or experts in disaster management. But, they lead, took orders, guided and acted forgetting their caste, creed, political party or ideologies.
The momentum they generated to coordinate this activity triggered and transformed to the group’s first relief support operation in the Alappuzha district, which was one of the heavily affected areas.
A small team left with a pickup truck, loaded with essential food and medicine supplies, to personally distribute to and support those in need. However, they didn’t know what was in store for them over the next few days.
All the dams and rivers started overflowing and the water level started increasing. As the paddy fields got flooded, the bridges and roads started collapsing and transportation became absolutely impossible.
Temporary disaster control centres were quickly formed. Members took different lead roles and were supported by local students. The effective use of WhatsApp and Facebook came to prominence at this point when electricity was cut and there was no radio or disaster management communication systems in place.
Jithesh Ambady, one of the members of the group, created a support group on WhatsApp, which became the lifeline of supplies for not only Thrissur district, but also to all the badly affected areas in Kerala.
He told Gulf News: “My mother and sister’s family are all witnesses and victims of this natural disaster. I was able to understand from them, the critical moments of seeing death passing right in front you. If I was able to do anything about it, it was all because of the good friendships I have. With the small time frame that we had, whatever we were able to do for the needy is the result of the priceless relationships we hold.”
He efficiently utilised the public transport buses. With the support from their staff, they transported essential medicines and food supply in the initial stages and later cleaning aids.
Dr Rose Anto, another member of the group, said: “The relief efforts taught us many things, but most importantly that humans should be interdependent and must keep an eye on social causes, always. If united we are strong.”
Those who were stuck outside of the town as well many non-resident Indians sprung into action, coordinating these activities by keeping vigil at night when those on ground took an hour or two for rest and regrouping.
The youth came up with several ideas and collaborated with the government authorities in the rebuild process. Teams were formed and spread out to each village and carried out cleaning operations and relief support.
Before the government system started their action, this relief group thought well ahead and sourced items for cleaning, disinfecting and also formed small teams to support restoration of water and electricity.
The team also started to clean the affected homes and scan them thoroughly for snakes or other reptiles. They worked in coordination with Snake Wild Animal Rescue Association (Swara).
All these activities were systematically done keeping the local authorities informed and taking them along to oversee, so that there is absolutely no fund or material mismanagement.
The disaster management outlined above is just one example. There are several other groups from all parts of Kerala that deserve merit. At the end of the day, everyone was united, stood together and worked their way around during those extremely difficult days. All are heroes and they proved that working together works.
As the government works on the rebuilding process, questions are in plenty from the general public on how we can cut costs and function efficiently. The government could introduce a mandatory and major cut on the allowances for ministers and support staff and reduce their numbers.
Apart from that, there are several commissions and bodies, which are consuming enormous funds from the government. Why not dissolve them once and for all and save costs?
There are also a large number of advisors for several ministers who are pampered with huge payment and government facilities. Why not reduce them and let the government come out with an open online portal for public to provide free and professional advice?
Each government minister and all higher authorities are luxuriously pampered with at least one or two police escort cars and personnel when they move around. Why don’t we implement a permanent stop to this?
All the above questions, if answered, could lead to quicker rebuilding of our beautiful Kerala.
— The reader is an Abu Dhabi resident.
A first of it’s kind whatsapp news reading initiative was launched at 1:53 am on Friday, 8th September 2018.
Team India Special Smiles (TISS) is a volunteer based non-profit organisation in INDIA for Special Needs individuals and families.
An idea that came to my mind while doing a truly divine session for the children of TISS, relayed to them and whole-heartedly accepted and implemented with true devotion and dedication. I know, and I know you all know the effort that they took to produce this first edition of this news reading program, titled “Voice of TISS” is extra special.
As part of the program plan, children who are able to read and speak are encouraged to read out the headlines from daily newspapers and their parents will record them and send to me by whatsapp. My role is to compile them and continuously encourage them with guidance at difference stages of this production.
You won’t believe on day one itself, 4 children volunteered and took the challenge. To start with 3 of them created the news on their own about their dream school, that has been approved recently. The topic was selected by these children and their parents. So, you can imagine how closely and fast they took this initiative to their heart. 4th reader talked about the Sharjah Book Fair. They even selected the theme music, and provided me the famous DD music with the first part of the news!.
The art of reading books, newspaper and reading it loud is very important. This is becoming a forgotten art among children who are abled. Here is a group who are divinely abled showing it to the world, “Yes, We Can and Of Course, We Will”.
My sincere congratulations to the children, their parents, the office bearers of TISS and Indian Association Sharjah for supporting these blessed children.
The audio and video of this news reading will be available on Sound Cloud, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. You are welcome to encourage them with your positive comments and guidance.
Due to limited resources available with me right now, the first few editions will be done with minimum video and photos. However, as we progress, you can be assured to watch a full fledge news reading broadcast from these children. I am optimistic about it.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
8th September 2018
#TISS #TalentShare – A Talent or Knowledge Within You Is To Be Shared
Video link on Youtube: https://youtu.be/IS_41cS597E