I am on a mission these days. It is for an important cause. Yes, you do not have to guess. For a Safer Road and safe travel and safe return daily to our homes!.
I am not exaggerating. Every second day, I am seeing an obituary note on the Facebook or Whatsapp groups I am subscribed to, informing of death due to road accidents. Many of them are young and the accidents have happened due to speeding. That is a self made disaster to self and family. On the other hand, I also get to read about many innocent lives being lost due to rash driving by some other people. Whether it be on bike or car or bus or trucks. There has to be some control, SELF CONTROL to prevail on our roads to reduce these deaths and injuries.
The above are photos of adverts created by me and installed on a busy road where my home is situated. I hope, at least a few understand the value of it and reduce their driving or riding habits and bring back sense and security on our roads.
These adverts alert road users on road safety guidelines like wearing of helmets, seat belts, avoid using mobile phones, and of course no driving under the influence of alcohol or any medication.
More efforts, combined with several groups and individuals to follow to make this happen. Till then, no rest.
If you agree with me and see the need for an increased campaign and alertness along with daily reminders on road safety, welcome to share this post.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
11th February 2019
Every second day there is a death happening on our roads in Kerala. Mostly bike riders. In order to remind, alert daily, I have released the 2nd road safety campaign to be printed and exhibited on a big Flex board in our home at Irinjalakuda, Kerala. The road in front is an extremely busy stretch.
A recent spate of increase in road accidents, mostly due to speeding buses have urged a prominent Facebook Group “Our Irinjalakuda” to conduct a relay fast until the municipality, the police and RTO joint together and come out with measures to control the speedsters who violate road safety rules. This is happening at Irinjalakuda in Thrissur District, Kerala. Today is the second day of the fast and Prof. Dr. Sr. Rose Anto, from St Joseph College is carrying have joined the volunteers and fasting. A kidney donor, she is in the forefront of all community activities beneficial to the society.
The group of volunteers are planning to continue their relay fast until the municipality authorities come out with efficient town planning and better facilities and also safer route structuring and one-way system for bus services to reduce road accidents. In addition, the volunteers are also conducting road safety campaigns by distributing safety guidelines and notices to road users.
In this video message in Malayalam, I share my own experiences and notes as a road safety campaigner. In brief, through this message, I request school authorities to take up road safety education as a routine subject and make students as “Road Safety Ambassadors”. Dedicated Safety information sessions in their morning assembly aided with support from parents and teachers will bring about a positive change in children to consider safety, in particular road safety, an important part of their attitude and culture.
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
I always love to encourage children and use my blogging activity named Talent Share with the motto “A Talent or Knowledge Within You Is To Be Shared” for it. It is rare that I ignore such an opportunity when I get to know or notice.
During the final days of Ramadan a group of final grade boys from Abu Dhabi Indian School (ADIS) Muroor approached me and told me about their Principal Mr. Neeraj Bhargava’s captivating words: “An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.” A simple statement, but it echoed in their mind repeatedly and lead to a brainstorming session to what became the first of its kind by the school during the holy month.
Everything fell into place quickly for the student-teacher led initiative of collecting contributions to buy a thermal flask, fruits and dates for 500 laborers residing in a camp at Mussaffah.
Approximately 5000 students from Grade 3 to 12 participated wholeheartedly in this initiative. Each one of them enacted with a strong sense of respect, value and care to share.
On the evening of 11th June, the children set off with the items in their school buses accompanied by the staff to meet just before Iftar, the unsung heroes. It was a great feeling for the students who participated in this “Spirit of Giving”, charity event organized by ADIS.
“It started off as an idea to give back something small to those who give us silently so much. A week later we were filling the stomachs and setting smiles in many people”, said Ahmed Hashim, Grade 12 and Head Boy of Abu Dhabi Indian School.
Accepting the gifts and seeing the joy which radiated from the laborers made the students realize the infinite value of those simple but by now immensely precious items of love shared.
Participating in such an event for the first time, Aditya Mani, Grade 11 said, “It was a mixed feeling. On one hand, we could experience how they lived their daily life and on the other hand we could see the joy on their eyes. At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or what you’ve accomplished. It’s all about who’s spirit you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made feel better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”
Continuing with his ever smiling expression, which was double this time he said, one of the recipient, who received our token of affection said to us “more than the food items, the gesture of giving us a flask brought memories of our families back home. We will take it back home as it will be more useful to our elderly parents”.
His classmate Umang Bhandari, Grade 11 said “We all learnt about how lucky we are. Seeing their happiness, gave us a joyous feeling that we felt couldn’t be fetched from any other materialistic actions. The happiness I saw in their eyes made me experience something inexpressible. It inspires me now to do something even better for them. After all, a human is a human who lives for other humans”.
Elachezhiyan Kavyan, Grade 8 concurred, “This was an amazing opportunity as I wanted to serve people and experienced it first time. Something new. How people live, not like us! Happy to see them. If there is any such activities in future, I will definitely participate”.
Commenting on the students initiatives, Mr. Bhargava concluded “Our school is a large mix of diverse culture in Abu Dhabi and prides itself not only on academic success, but also on creating school ethos which connects community at its heart. We actively encourage all students to get involved in charitable activities locally and internationally. Although our starting point was altruistic, we’ve found that by giving something to others we’re reaping rich rewards as a school of relevance. Specially, this is the Year of Zayed and the students touched base with his values and sure to inspire and contribute humanitarianly more next time.
Photos by Mohammed Adnan and Ahmed Razak (Grade XI).
Best wishes to the entire team and I am sure that this will be an inspiration for the student community of Abu Dhabi Indian School to continue with sustained interest and effort to serve the community around.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Summer is picking up and it is getting hotter and hotter during the day. Every drop of water is precious. As usual this year too, I witnessed this act of kindness from someone who diligently kept water for the birds and small animals on the street.
You can follow him too. Keep some water outside in small containers for the silent and beautiful creatures of this universe.