Community Service

Write (right) back!

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Mind Speaks - Write back to writing daysWrite back to writing days!

A deliberate silence of 125 days away from blog…. I cannot say, it was accidental and I cannot say firmly it was deliberate. Mind Speaks all the time within me and comes out of words and sentences and normally I never hold them. But, this time I did.

Why did I do it?

A good question to me first? The void created by my father’s death was one among them. Indeed, the period from July 2016 till August 2017 was a fast-track time for me to complete and tick-off many items from my father’s wish list. Between us, there was always harmonious and silent communication happening all the time. I knew what he wanted and he knew very well that if it was in my reach, I will do it at any cost for him. It is now emotional as well as memorable to recollect the visits to places and friends we made during those days. I knew very well how fast his life clock was ticking to come to an abrupt and silent end. It happened on 17 August 2017.

Is that the case for me distancing myself away from the blog? Not really.

I continued to click and post on FB or instagram or other social media and kept my presence alive. However, it did not give me the full satisfaction that I get when I am here on the “Mind Speaks” section of my blog. It is where I express myself, what I think about and see around.

I see things in a different way than I used to do before. It is because I believe no one bothers about the other these days. It is also because, I see that all news are of value only for that moment or may be hour or a day. Then it becomes nothing. There are several examples. People go back to their routine very quickly these days. I find excessive use of mobile as one of the reason for this change. There is always something or other thing to take your attention away. It is good as well as it is bad. All along I have been giving extra focus on road safety and community issues.  In future, I will be adding some more key elements to my writing to highlight human values like respect, togetherness, friendliness, confidence etc – there are many to add and where we stand now?

One thing is for sure, I cannot hold my thoughts and stop expressing my mind.  One other important note is to affirm – it is easy to preach, but difficult to practice all the above.

I am right back here to my writing days. I am sure you will come back as often as you can to read and comment.

Ramesh Menon

04th March 2018

 

Always Wear Seat Belt

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Road Safety - seat belts - 2Several friends and family are visiting us these days to offer condolences on the demise of our father T Sachidanandan on Thursday, 17th August 2017.

Padmashree Peruvanam Kuttan Marar was one among them. He has a special place in my life as he was my mother’s colleague at CNN Boys High School, Cherpu, Thrissur District, Kerala. Long association with him and his family since my childhood made us always feel him as part of our own family.

He was leaving my home after spending time with us, particularly my mother and as his car started moving, I noticed something amiss. I asked the driver to stop the car and told them about the importance of road safety and in particular the advantage of wearing seat belts by all passengers. Immediately, he obliged and wore the seat belt and continued his journey with his pleasant smile.

That was the action by a very senior artist, a Padmashree award winner, a legend, a guru for many and someone who has thousands and thousands of fan following and the whole of Thrissur and musical world reverberate listening to the greatest percussion symphony in earth for Thrissur Pooram.

It is very important to follow road safety attitude of  people like him and their commitment when it comes to Road Safety. Wherever and whenever possible, all passengers should wear the Seat Belts. The roads are busier than ever, the vehicles are faster than ever and patience limit by the road users deteriorating day by day!.

Road Safety is not an individual’s responsibility. It is the responsibility of all. As a road user we do not know the mindset of other drivers who are on the road at the same time. As do their, vehicle condition or driving skills.

Always remember to #StartEarlyDriveCarefullyReachSafely.

Issued as a memorial tribute to my father, T Sachidananda Menon.

Use Pedestrian Underpass

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Good morning from Abu Dhabi. Do not cross the road in undesignated areas. Use Pedestrian Underpass wherever possible.


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Challenges are to be won over – meet Johny

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Challenges are to be won over – meet Johny, a Kerala state lottery ticket seller

I met him for the first time during my visit to my hometown Irinjalakuda in January. His cautious strides and pleasing smile to those who interacted with him attracted my attention. I thought let me speak to him and in the process get to know more about him.

He lost his vision at a young age due to measles. However, he didn’t subdue to the fate. He grew up and then took up the job of selling Kerala State Lottery tickets. A few kilometers away from Irinjalakuda down, he walks every day and visits most of its parts and sell the lottery tickets to his regular customers as well as new ones.
Identifying the Indian currency notes is not easy, especially with rumors of fake currencies in circulation. Added to it, the monetization program brought in some new currencies too.
However, that did not deter Johny (Johny chettan – brother) as all call him from identifying him. A few minutes with him during that time and the discussions I captured with my camera and presenting to you here shows how he identifies the different types of currency notes.
That was in January. Months passed and during my recent visit, while driving through the crowded marketplace of Irinjalakuda town, I saw him walking cautiously. It was raining too and the street was crowded with trucks and light motor vehicles bringing goods to the market.
I stopped my car and called him. He came to me and as soon as I talked to him, he realized me and even remembered my name.
This time too, I gave different notes and he issued the ticket and returned back exact change.
Rather than taking a trial of my luck to win a lottery, I felt satisfied by helping a person with special skills to survive in this world on his own. He is an example for all those who cry out saying that there is no work and beg for help.
Whenever possible, if you meet him or others like him, do not hesitate to offer a helping hand. Not free offer – take a ticket from him. You never know – it may be your winning chance!.

Keeping children safe

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24-04-2017 Gulf News - Keeping Children Safe

I feel it is advisable to have regulations for seat belts continue to be applied for all seats in the school buses that are on our roads (‘New drivers to get two-year licence, starting from July 1’, Gulf News, April 17). The advantage factors I find behind such an enforcement of safety regulation are many. First and foremost, at any given point in time, the student is safeguarded from impacts due to sudden braking.

Secondly, when it is normally enforced on a daily basis it will become an automatic habit, which will be carried on to their private travel with friends and family. They will be leading the way as ambassadors of road safety.

It may also reduce the driver distractions that happen often in the school buses where children run around or jump on the seats, ignoring the request of the supervisors and drivers. It may thus reduce the bullying that might be happening in some cases.

Safety education is something children should be reminded of every moment. It is because we tend to take some small points lightly, thinking that we know it or “it will not happen to me” that many accidents occur. So, why do we miss out on the opportunity of a road safety education opportunity for children? Teach them young and travel with them safely throughout!

From Mr Ramesh Menon

Abu Dhabi

Read more on the subject:

Draft seat belt law does not cover school buses

Seat belts on school buses should be made mandatory

 

Traffic fines at the airport

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Your report, Forcing UAE expats to pay traffic fines before travelling could ‘change behaviour’ (August 1), shed light on an important issue.

I hope the recently implemented removal of discounts to speeding fines and the new suggestion to make it mandatory to pay the fine before exiting the country will bring a fear factor in the minds of those who violate traffic rules.

Generally, those who pay up diligently have a fear for themselves and other road users and comply with the rules.

What is yet to be experienced as a result of these new moves are behavioural changes from those who seldom travel outside and do not pay up.

I sincerely wish that this group of reckless drivers becomes a minority on our roads. Safe road sense must prevail if we are going to have fewer traffic accidents and avoid unnecessary deaths.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Letters to the Editor/The National:

Forcing UAE expats to pay traffic fines before travelling could ‘change behaviour’

Fill it, Dig it, Forget it! – Kadugodi Whitefield Road that WORKS

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In an year how many times this small stretch of road at Kadugodi Whitefiled has been filled, digged again and then left like that! Pathetic! Even the tractor guys are finding it difficult to drive. So you can imagine how difficult it is for cars and two wheelers. The way the work for pipeline is being carried out at one point here, I feel, very soon, they will find oil here! No one can drive. Not to forget the speed at which the two wheelers ride on these roads. So, imagine the plight of those elderly or children who walk through this stretch to the Volvo Bus stand or Whitefield Railway station. Authorities – please open your eyes and do a neat job, once and for all.

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Lower the height of signboards – Letters to the editor – The National Dt 22 June 2015T

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Lower the height of signboards – Letters to the editor – The National Dt 22 June 2015

Sign boards

The new Onwani system will make it easier for people to access every location in Abu Dhabi. What we have to do now is get used to this change.

However, I would like to point out that the signboards with the building numbers and QR codes have been placed too high. This makes it difficult for short people or those of average height to access them to scan the QR codes.

Lowering the height of these boards will enable everyone to make use of the QR facility.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, visit The National online

Strict safety norms should be enforced

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Strict safety norms should be enforced
Reader is concerned about workers ignoring safety measures when at construction sites.
Abu Dhabi
World Day for Safety and Health at Work is being celebrated tomorrow, April 28, and our highest priority should be oriented towards the principle of prevention of danger.
A look at some of the maintenance activities being carried out by the staff of some companies that work on the installation of advertisement stickers on high rise buildings within the capital made me write about this important safety issue. They use the suspended scaffolding to paste these stickers on the windows. However, observing them at close quarters I noticed that most of them were not wearing appropriate safety gear.
My fear aggravated when I noticed that a group of construction workers who were working on seven-storey building were carrying out their jobs without wearing any safety gear. This was alarming and there was no way I could reach out to them and inform them to adhere to safety measures.
These two observations highlight the need for stricter enforcement of safety norms. We do note that companies have strict safety guidelines in place for the welfare of their workforce. However, there is always an exception. Some companies even hire part-time workers, and it appears that safety is not a matter of priority for them and precautionary measures are sidelined. This is dangerous as even a minor miss may end up in loss of life or permanent injury to the worker involved.
Through this report, I request the concerned authorities to consider this matter and enforce stricter rules for workers who engage in jobs at high altitudes. The need for a standard acknowledgement and acceptance to conform to safety standards is essential when permits for such jobs to be carried out are issued.
Let ‘Safety First’ be on everyone’s mind at all time. Keep reminding each other and remembering with a strong inner sense the three key notes: ‘Safety for me, for you and for everyone’ as a mantra to achieve better safety results.
  
— The reader is an operations manager based in Abu Dhabi.
  

Be a community reporter. Tell us what is happening in your community. Send us your videos and pictures at readers@gulfnews.com

Safety rules are being breached

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Safety rules are being breached


I have seen workers in harnesses installing billboards or putting stickers on high-rises. But when I looked closely, I noticed that most of them did not have adequate safety gear. This has happened on more than two occasions.
Once, I was frightened for a group of men who were working on a seven-storey building without any protective gear whatsoever. I am sure that these are not stray cases. People will continue to flout the safety rules if such lapses are not reported.
At the same time, strict enforcement of rules is necessary.
It’s mostly smaller companies that ignore the rules as they engage contract or part-time workers. 
They need to be monitored all the time.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit The National online.