Abu Dhabi city is witnessing a lot of fitness enthusiasts these days. People are walking and cycling more than they used to do earlier. The recent hike in taxi fares may be one of the reason. The normal cheap taxi fares no more exist. The moment you hop into an Abu Dhabi taxi, the minimum charge applicable is AED 12/-. This has resulted in many taking up cycling as a more convenient option.
What do you do if you cannot afford to a costlier or bigger bicycle? You look at various online sites for secondhand bicycles being sold. Going for the cheaper ones, you end up buying even children bicycles. Modify it a bit and allow and standing stand for your partner to stand at the back, you are ready for your daily trips. This is what you are witnessing these days in the city.
It is hot, but it is enjoyable. Start early before the sun rises. Work late till it cools down. Cycle your way to office and back home. You are perfectly fit.
Of course, there is a big advantage. However, stressed you begin your journey, after a few minutes, you will forget and start enjoying the beauty around or even reliving your past…
Try it out and tell me if I am wrong. Happy and #SafeCycling #InAbuDhabi
To news reports published in prominent newspapers Khaleej Times and Gulf News have created lot of confusion and fear among NRIs based in UAE.
On 24th July 2017, Khaleej Times came out with the news below:
NRIs urged to apply for Aadhaar Card
Filed on July 24, 2017 | Last updated on July 24, 2017 at 08.29 am
Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are advised to apply for the Aaadhar card to avail of state benefits and for hassle-free transactions in future.
According to a manager of the NRI section of State Bank of India (SBI), the government has not exempted Indian expats from the Aadhaar card.
Jose GL, NRI section manager at SBI’s Varkala branch, Kerala, told Khaleej Times:
“My advice to NRIs is to apply for Aadhar Card, as there is a chance for the government to make it mandatory for expats as well. Without an announcement, the government has now asked everyone to link their Permanent Account Number (Pan) with Aadhaar, for income tax returns. There is no doubt that Aadhaar will become compulsory and beneficial for several transactions in the coming years.”
Today, 26th July 2017 Gulf News have come out with a totally contradictory version of it:
‘NRIs not eligible for Aadhaar ID card’
Published: 14:32 July 26, 2017
If banks, or any Indian institutions, demand that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) produce Aadhaar for official transactions, simply inform them that NRIs are not eligible for the identity card issued to residents of India, a top Indian official told Gulf News on Tuesday.
“Just tell them that we [NRIs] are not eligible for Aadhaar, therefore, don’t force us to produce it,” Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said in a telephone interview from New Delhi.
Whether to apply for an Aadhaar, the thought has now become aa dar (upcoming fear) for expatriates here.
Who to follow and what to do is very important and appreciate responsible newspapers should do necessary homework before publishing such important formation of high importance.
Appreciate to have a clarification from the Indian Embassy authorities on which of these reports are to be followed by all.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
26th July 2017
ഗുരു പൂർണിമ പ്രണാമം
എന്ത് കാര്യം ചെയ്യാൻ തുടങ്ങുമ്പോഴും ഗുരു എന്നും മനസ്സിൽ മുൻപിൽ ഉണ്ടാവും ഉണ്ടാവണം എന്നാണു എന്റെ വിശ്വാസ്സം. കാലം കഴിയും തോറും, വിദ്യ അവിദ്യകളും ഗുരുക്കന്മാരും കൂടെ കൂടി കൊണ്ടേ ഇരിക്കുന്നു. ആരെയും മറക്കുവാനോ ഒഴിവാക്കുവാനോ പറ്റുകയില്ല. എന്നാൽ എന്നും ഒരു പടി മുന്നിൽ നിറുത്തി മനസ്സ് കൊണ്ട് കാലു തൊട്ടു വന്ദിക്കുന്ന ഒരു വ്യക്തിയുണ്ട്. പരേതനായ കൊരമ്പ് സുബ്രമണ്യൻ നമ്പൂതിരി. എന്റെ മൃദംഗം മാസ്റ്റർ.
70 കളിൽ സ്കൂൾ വിദ്യാഭ്യാസത്തിന്റെ കൂടെ ഒഴിച്ച് കൂടാനാവാത്ത ഒരു സംഗതിയായിരുന്നു മൃദംഗം അഭ്യാസം. ആ കാലത്തു ഇന്നത്തെ പോലെ കല അഭ്യാസം വാണിജ്യാടിസ്ഥാനത്തിൽ എത്തിയിരുന്നില്ല.എന്നെ പഠിപ്പിക്കുവാൻ വീട്ടിൽ ആഴ്ചയിൽ വന്നു കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന നമ്പൂതിരിക്ക് ഫീസ് ചെറിയ ഒരു തുക മാത്രം. അത് പോലെ തന്നെ ആയിരുന്നു എന്റെ സഹോദരിയെ ഡാൻസ് പഠിപ്പിക്കാൻ വന്നിരുന്ന സീത ടീച്ചർക്കും. മാസം 5 രൂപയോ 10 രൂപയോ മാത്രം ഫീസ്. ആഴ്ചയിൽ രണ്ടു ദിവസ്സം വീട്ടിൽ താമസിച്ചു പഠിപ്പിക്കും.
മാഷാണെങ്കിൽ പെരുവനം അമ്പലത്തിലെ ശാന്തി പണി ഒക്കെ കഴിഞ്ഞു കുറെ വഴി നടന്നും കുറച്ചു വഴി ബസിലും ആയിരുന്നു അന്ന് വീട്ടിലേക്കു വന്നു കൊണ്ടിരുന്നത്. കൂടെ ഒരു സഞ്ചിയും കാണും. ഷർട്ട് ഇടാറില്ല.
കാലം കടന്നു പോയി ശിഷ്യർ കൂടിയപ്പോൾ ക്ലാസ് നടയിലുള്ള പ്രൊഫസർ മീനാക്ഷി തമ്പാന്റെ വീട്ടിലായി. എനിക്കും സൗകര്യം. സൈക്കിൾ എടുത്തു കറങ്ങാൻ ഒരു ചാൻസ് കൂടി. അന്ന് മാസ്റ്ററുടെ ശിഷ്യന്മാരിൽ ഉള്ളതിൽ നല്ല വിദ്യാർത്ഥിയും മൃദംഗവും ഉണ്ണിയുടേതായിരുന്നു. വേറെയും മിടുക്കരായ ശിഷ്യന്മാർ മാസ്റ്റർക്ക് ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു.ഒരു കൂടൽമാണിക്യം ഉത്സവ കാലത്തു അരങ്ങേറ്റവും നടത്തി.
തന്റെ എല്ലാ വിദ്യാർത്ഥികളെയും കൂട്ടി മാസ്റ്റർ തുടങ്ങിയ മൃദംഗ മേള പിൽക്കാലത്തു വളരെയധികം പ്രസിദ്ധി നേടി ഒരു പാട് ഉത്സവങ്ങളിലും അമ്പലങ്ങളിലും കൊട്ടിക്കയറി.
ഇന്നും ഏതു വാദ്യമോ വിദ്യയോ കൈ വെക്കുമ്പോൾ അറിയാതെ ശിരസ്സാ നമിച്ചു പോകുന്നു അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ ആ എളിമയെയും കർത്തവ്യ നിരതയെയും.
എന്നത്തേയും പോലെ ഇന്നും മനസ്സാ പ്രണമിക്കുന്നു എല്ലാ ഗുരുക്കന്മാരെയും. ഒരു പടി മുന്നിൽ നമ്പൂതിരിയും ഉണ്ട്.
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!.
Today is the day for cricket. Posting an old blog post of mine, which I feel remain valid.
Mind Speaks – Be there with a word at the RIGHT time. Will you?
I haven’t come to the Mind Speaks section of my English blogs for some time. It is not that my mind was not speaking or stopped speaking. It is due to the fact that it was speaking too much elsewhere that it didn’t get an opportunity to pass by this side. It was wearing different language and tone caps and expressing it thoughts and moods without any holds as it arrived.
But since few days I have been thinking over about this particular topic which I am writing here today. It was after one of my Face Book friends Sri Ramachandran Vettikkat wrote on his wall about the death of a fellow blogger named Jonavan (Naveen George) from Kuwait. It was a tragic and untimely demise. But, what happened after that is “his story world-wide”. Suddenly his blog became a sensation for media and readers around. Commenting on this sad plight, Sri Ramachandran wrote about his unhappy feelings on actions of fellow human beings around. I am sure this particularly emphasise appreciation towards creativity. The state is such that, either he/she has to die in an accident or commit suicide. This is what he expressed. Either of them is tragic and deplorable for the development of arts, fields and culture. I agreed with him totally in my reply. Although it is a cruel remark, it is the actual case now. In fact, it is true for every budding artist or talent – people tend to ignore when creativity is submitted and do not even raise a thumbs up or down, or a sentence of criticism or appreciation. I hope this attitude will change, and sincerely wish to see it changed.
We have seen it several times, over and over. The other day, when I posted a photo of Kapil Dev in the photo sections, I got a query from one reader, whether I know him or not? Who do not know him? No, that is not the right answer. I was lucky enough to be with him at the VVIP Stand of Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium some months ago during the SAARC UAE Exchange Cricket Tournament. When thoroughly convinced that he was at ease without any crowd hanging around and in a relaxed mood to speak, I joined him for a cup of tea. We were watching the match as it progressed. Conversation progressed and somehow it came to the topic of that beautiful stadium which remained empty even during the finals. I slowly directed him to the topic of IPL and ICL and asked him why ICL did not get the much required boost where as IPL managed a huge success. His answer to me was an eye opener. He expressed to me that it was lack of interest from the sponsors and also attitude by a certain section of people in authority.
“Attitude” – even a man of Kapil Dev’s stature is subdued by this giant killer of creative harmony. It is a serious concern.
We all come from different walks of life, and walk past different routes and directions of it each day. During the same course, we come across several people and some remains within our mind for a longer time and some are easily forgotten. Certain actions by certain individuals will easily capture our admiration and then we follow them and certain others, they might have a slow start and we tend to ignore them totally.
It is time we think about how we could transform ourselves to a society that responds at the right time.
Each day brings out a joy of learning a thing new, irrespective of which side I get up, who double parks in front of my car, and who speeds and misses hitting my car while travelling between work and home. The world is growing in pace and volume and along with it the diverse culture and style.
Even during the holy month of Ramadan, I witnessed women dressing scantly, people smoking discreetly, which a few years down the lane I could have never even imagined or seen. Several times I did ask myself, why public has a tendency to violate rules and values when they clearly know that these are not to be violated during this period to give respect to the religion and numerous people who follow it. May be I will be labelled crazy, if I discuss such things frequently. But, how can I resist expressing myself. No, never, I will never keep my thoughts within.
In my own personal experience to promote creativity without any commercial gains bearing solely the flag of TALENT SHARE, I have received support from several unknown sources. Faces whom I have never met, or even never personally communicated and have come forward and expressed their share of experience related with it.
The idea behind this came to me as a spark. It happened on one evening, when a small child of 7 years old was brought to my home for assistance to develop an attitude for mathematics. A casual talk with the child and his parent made me realize the brilliance of this little boy who is being really put into test by his parents. Children these days are being forced upon to learn several talents at a younger age whether or not they are interested or have an affinity for them. Because, parents, or a relative or a friends child, or someone else is learning them and doing well, it becomes a necessity for many children to follow suite. Talks with several parents on the way across this program I realised that many are not aware of what their child has naturally in him. Where is the time? Or, I have not seen him doing this or that? These were the answers about children from some of the parents. However, this was not the case with everyone. There are some who did find time to makes sure to sit with them, observe them, identify their liking and nurture them accordingly. I am with this group.
The influx of financial gains for participation in several talent shows have made it almost statutory for parents to teach their children with dance, music, or cricket. It is now almost a reality that you do not get to see anyone saying that oh, my child is good at painting or good at writing stories. Everything is in short from the childhood days. At the very young age which the child starts going to his play school and the tuition classes following it, he is given a mobile and there starts his membership in SMS (Short Minded Society) life style. Everything he sees and express is short. If this is the state now, I really wonder what it will be in a short time, when we will cease to see any stories, novels or poems? The electronic gaming devices have totally ruled out children from sharing their thought process to be expressed through their coloring or sketching medium.
It was all these thoughts and fears and also the liking for non-performing arts that made me work on such an initiative to identify and nurture those little ones who has it in them to take us to an entirely different world. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like performing arts and games. These days, I am excited like an expectant parent with a big belly in the good old days. I do not know whether there will be one healthy child, or many from this. As the traditional doctor with his experience carefully examines and declares that the patient has been well taken care during the various stages and child inside is showing a healthy movement, and declares to the parent, be confident, it is going to be a safe and successful delivery. I am sure you all will be keen to see the result too.
Birth obviously brings me to the topic of death. Recent times, I have gone through emotional stress due to the loss of a few close friends. Sometimes, we think, an accidental death is much easier than to have a painful and slow death. It is not the fear of dying, but the agony of seeing them suffering with pain and trauma. Aspects related to these deaths surfaced harsh realities in life. In both the cases, the people around them ignored them with timely assistance and support to their family. As the person on death bed was fighting with the pain, he was also suffering from added mental trauma of what will happen to his immediate family once the inevitable happens. No assistance from any side and the poor souls departed leaving several tasks incomplete. At this point arrives our social crusaders. Let me be positive here too. At least after the death, their eyes opened! May be they will see it from the heaven, if one such thing exists.
Heaven reminded me of speeding and hell. Due to several requirements, I have to travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai several times during each week. Each drive through Abu Dhabi Dubai highway is becoming a come back to life and normalcy. Drivers are too erratic and every time, I miss an opportunity from being hit from the back or the side, I feel, these drivers do not love to live for self. I am extremely sure they do not love public to live safe too. This is definitely a dangerous world and too short, if people carry an attitude towards his fellow human being.
Let this remark by my friend be an eye opener to all of us. Let us all act with courage, conviction and courteousness to appreciate and criticise a right or wrong at the RIGHT time.
This world is unpredictable, our friends or even ourselves will not be there to cherish our applause if we don’t do it at the right time. It is time we think about how we could transform ourselves to a society that responds at the right time. Pass a smile; say a word of thanks whenever you have an opportunity. Show your presence and be there with a word at the RIGHT time. Will you?
Have a great day ahead,
Originally posted on 14-10-2009….reposting on 18-06-2017
Road safety is always an important element in my life. I try and take care at all times, how I can be safe on the road, keeping in mind of the other fellow drivers and pedestrians safety too.
These days, whenever in Kerala, I have long drives, and thought of changing my car tires as they are reaching the stipulated mileage they are intended to run on normal roads. With that in mind, I went to one of the best shops available in my small town, and as they went on with the work, I watched the traffic that was happening at the evening hours in my town.
It was a weekend, a busy evening and continuous flow of vehicles on the road. I got around 30 minutes to be there and within that time, I happened to see 3 ambulances whizzing past my location.
All of them were being driven super fast, and suddenly my thought went deep inside the vehicles of the patients who are being transported and their condition and state of mind, if they are conscious!!!!.
After two ambulances crossed my location, I thought of recording the third one, as felt, these vehicles are being driven dangerously, ignoring all road safety rules. I felt, whether these drivers ever got any road safety driving training in their life.
I did not hesitate to try and capture the third ambulance as I noticed it coming and posted my comments to one of the active social media groups within my town asking for comments and probable ways of how things can be improved?
The suggestions varied from lack of facilities, narrow roads, no training or guidelines for these drivers.
I wonder whether Kerala State transport authorities along with Police and Hospital regulators consider this post as a plea to improve road safety training to the drivers who sit behind the wheels of these poorly maintained vehicles, called or so called as ambulances to save life.
A curious check with the onlookers in the area provided me with the fact that accidents involving ambulances are common these days and some of them are fatal.
Later on comments received from the social media concurred with the view that these ambulance drivers are never given any training and need for the hour is to make them understand to drive safely within the traffic conditions. A reader even commented that he escaped from being hit by this ambulance at a junction few distance away from the spot where I was staying!!
Road safety is very important and it is the duty of every individual on the road to make sure that the road is safer for transportation for the others who are there at that given point of time.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Here is my post in malayalam:
30 മിനിറ്റ് സൈന്റ്റ് ജോസഫ് കോളേജിന് മുന്നിലുള്ള ടയർ റിപ്പർ കടയിൽ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ആ സമയത്തിനുള്ളിൽ 3 ആംബുലൻസ് അങ്ങോട്ടും ഇങ്ങോട്ടും പോയി.
അവരുടെ സ്പീഡും പോക്കും കണ്ടമ്പോൾ അത് ഓടിക്കുന്നവരുടെയും അതിൽ കിടക്കുന്ന രോഗികളുടെയും കാര്യം ഓർത്തു പോയി. കൂടെ മറ്റു ജീവനക്കാർ ഉണ്ടോ എന്നറിയില്ല.
ജഗതി ഏതോ പടത്തിൽ പറഞ്ഞ പോലെ ആ നിലവിളി ശബ്ദം ഒന്ന് ഇട്ടു വേഗം ഓടിക്കൂ എന്ന വാക്കുകൾ ഓർമ്മ വരുന്നു.
ആ പറഞ്ഞ ജഗതിയും, ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ ഈ ട്രാഫിക്കിൽ ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരു വണ്ടിയിൽ അവസ്ഥയിൽ പോകേണ്ടി വന്നാൽ, ഒരു പക്ഷെ ദയവായി അതൊന്നു നിർത്തി, എന്നെ ഒന്ന് ഇതിൽ നിന്ന് ഇറക്കി തരുമോ എന്ന് പറയുമായിരിക്കും.
അതിന്റെ പിന്നിൽ പാഞ്ഞു പോകുന്ന ഒന്നു രണ്ടു ബൈക്ക് യാത്രക്കാരെയും കണ്ടു. രണ്ടു പേർക്കും ഹെല്മെറ്റില്ല?!
ആംബുലൻസ് വണ്ടികളുടെ സുരക്ഷയും (വേഗത, വാഹനത്തിന്റെ കണ്ടീഷൻ, ഡ്രൈവറുടെ കഴിവ്) എല്ലാം ഒരു പക്ഷെ പ്രത്യേകം ശ്രദ്ധിക്കേണ്ട കാലം അതിക്രമിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു.
1. നമ്മുടെ ഗ്രൂപ്പിൽ എത്ര പേർക്ക് ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരു അവസ്ഥയിൽ യാത്ര ചെയ്യേണ്ടി വന്നിട്ടുണ്ട്?
2 എത്ര പേര് ഇങ്ങനെയുള്ള വാഹനങ്ങളിൽ ജോലി ചെയ്യുന്നു ?
3. എന്താണ് റോഡ് സുരക്ഷക്കുള്ള നിങ്ങളുടെ നിർദേശങ്ങൾ ?
നമ്മുടെ ഇരിഞ്ഞാലക്കുട മെംബേർസ് എത്ര പേര് റോഡ് സുരക്ഷ ഒരു പ്രധാന കാര്യം ആണ്, അതിന് വേണ്ടി ഒത്തൊരുമിച്ചു പ്രവർത്തിക്കാൻ തയാറാണ്?
നിലവിളി ശബ്ദം ഇട്ടു ട്രാഫിക്കിൽ പതുക്കെ പോകണം എന്നല്ല, ശ്രദ്ധിച്ചു പോകണം എന്നാണു. ആ വാഹനത്തിന്റെ കണ്ടിഷനും ആ റോഡിലെ തിരക്കിലും അതിനെതിരെയോ, സൈഡിൽ നിന്നോ ശ്രദ്ധയില്ലാതെയോ, മാറ്റാൻ പറ്റാത്ത അവസ്ഥയോ വന്നാൽ ഒരപകടം തീർച്ചയായും കാണാം!
എന്താണ് ഒരു പോംവഴി എന്നതാണ് ഉദ്ദേശം.
പിന്നെ പിന്നാലെ ബൈക്കിൽ വച്ച് പായുന്ന രണ്ടുപേരുടെ ഉദ്ദേശവും ! ആ ആംബുലൻസ് പെട്ടെന്നു പ്രെയ്ക് ഇട്ടാൽ ഇതിൽ ഒരാൾ തീർച്ചയായും അതിനു പിന്നിൽ ഇടിക്കാൻ ഉള്ള സാധ്യത
അതൊക്കെ കണ്ടപ്പോൾ എഴുതണം എന്ന് തോന്നി
ശ്രദ്ധിച്ചാൽ ഒഴിവാക്കാവുന്ന ഒത്തിരി റോഡ് സുരക്ഷാ കാര്യങ്ങൾ നമ്മൾ പലപ്പോഴും മറക്കുന്നു.