VOICE OF TISS – Vol-2 Dt 19 September 2018

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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 teamindia1729@gmail.com.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
19 September 2018

Team India Special Smiles

I also take this opportunity to thank Rajeev Saparya for creating the title music for Voice of TISS.


AaDhaar – NRIs new fear! To or not to apply for Aadhaar?

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Mind Speaks - Aadhaar 26 July 2017ccTo 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

KT Aadhar

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

Binsal Abdul Kader, Senior Reporter

aadhar gn

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




Be part of a drinking water project

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Drinking water project for birds

Summer activity for children (and adults)

It is summer time and here is an interesting project for all.

  • Take your used water bottles (preferably 5L bottles).
  • Modify it for attaching to the date palm trees within the city as shown in the photo.
  • Identify a suitable palm tree near your place.
  • Half fill it once daily (either early morning or evening) with normal tap water.
  • Continue to do it. Encourage others to follow too.

Done and you will be thanked by 100s of birds during this summer!

It was during one of my cycling trips that I noticed this innovative approach by someone. Thought, it should be promoted. Congratulations to all those who take part in this social cause.


With a Women of “Positive Influence and Contagious Smile” (PICS)

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Labor Appreciation Day photo - Seema Shetty.jpgI very rarely take selfies as I am not good at it. Also, very rarely someone takes my photos as I am the one with the camera all the time! Friday, 28th April 2017 was a special day as I attended the Labour Appreciation Day as part of an early celebration to mark International Labour Day in the capital. HE Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development was the chief guest of the event.
My friends and I were invited guests as part of a service programme we have been doing at various labour camps in Abu Dhabi. The Master of Ceremony for the day was Ms Seema Shetty.
To add to her several qualifications, she has a new feather on her cap of achievements. She is a graduate from a course conducted by the Ministry of State for Happiness, United Arab Emirates.  Only 15 companies were selected to nominate and participate in this elite program which is modeled on the application of happiness principles at the work place, of which social work is an essential part of the curriculum.
Interacting with her and watching how smoothly, efficiently and energetically she conducted the proceedings which had several VVIP guests, I once again reaffirmed myself, the ministry is not wrong in their selection. She is indeed a #WomenofPICS – “Women of Positive Influence and Contagious Smile” that one can emulate.
I didn’t hesitate to ask for a selfie moment with her at the end of the show!.
Best wishes Seema Shetty. May your parents grace and god’s blessings in abundance shower on you to remain positively influential with health, wealth and prosperity.
#RameshMenonAbuDhabi  #clicksandwrites  #PassionatePhotographers #LabourAppreciationDay #InternationalLabourDay #Happyuae  #SeemaShetty  #WomenofPICS #Positiveinfluence  #Smile #Happiness #LoveAllServeAll
P.S: I got a feedback from her about my poor selfie skills!.

Queuing system a must at bus and taxi stands

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Abu Dhabi city is looking much more beautiful these days with more cycle tracks, walkways, places to sit and relax as well as children’s play areas. What we need now is a queuing system for bus and taxi passengers at every station. I routinely see passengers fighting among themselves to board the bus or taxi first.

There should be proper signs, instructions and marks that will compel people to honour the queuing system.

It’s not that these people are not educated. But they disregard the system in the absence of any guidelines or mechanism.

Abu Dhabi Mall Cooperative taxi stand is an example of an efficient system. This should happen across the city.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, visit, The National online. {Photo courtesy The National}

Teach your children to remember essential contact telephone numbers!

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20170209_185033-2I was reaching my home this evening and as the lift door opened and I walked towards my flat, I saw a young boy walking restlessly in front of the door of a flat. I could see his eyes glow suddenly and face becoming bright and in a flash both went off seeing that the person coming out of the lift is not the one he was expecting!

Reaching near him and seeing his emotions, I asked him, what happened? He said to me that he has been waiting there in front of his tuition teachers home for nearly 15 minutes. Being a Thursday, he was not sure whether she had told him or not about the cancellation of the tuition class as he suspected that they have gone out of the city for the weekend already.

I asked him whether he has a phone to call her. He said, no.

Asking him whether he knows her number, the boy said no.

Then I asked him, whether his father or mother knows her contact number, he said to me, probably his mother. So, I offered him my phone and asked him to call his mother and find out. He said to me that he doesn’t know his mother’s number! I asked whether he knows his father’s number, he said, NO!.

I was shocked. A boy in 7th standard, probably about 13 years of age, does not know the contact number of his father or mother! They are both well educated!!

I asked him whether he knows how to go back to his home. He said yes. I told him to not wait there further and go back home.  Then, as a first and foremost thing, memorise their numbers without fail.

I believe that it is the duty of the tutors to inform the parents about the schedule and change of schedules so that parents can keep track of their child ‘s whereabouts. Parents should make sure to give their child with a card detailing full contact address so that in case of an emergency, his/her parents could be contacted.

The over usage of electronic equipment is one factor. But, not educating the children to memorize and remember essential phone numbers is alarming. Is it a sign of poor parenting? I don’t know.

Leaving it to you to do decide.  A weekend point to ponder.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

09 February 2017


Honest Kabali of Abu Dhabi Taxi

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It is my routine to take Abu Dhabi taxi once in a while. An occasional trip in the taxi bring back the memories of my olden days of Abu Dhabi. The taxis during the late 80’s driven by pathans and a few malayali’s. If it was a pathan driver, you can expect the usual routine questions like “thanka kithna he? (What’s your salary?), shaadi kiya he? (Are you married?) Etc…

Those taxis are a history now. The hobby and art of photography was not popular those days, and I do not have even one photo of the old Abu Dhabi taxi! Neither I can search and find them from the web!!.

The new taxis and the company that operates it are modern. The drivers too. Of course, like every other thing, with modernization comes the advantageous and disadvantageous.

For me, the idea of using the taxi within the city is manifold. First and foremost, after a long working day, I do not like to drive. Second, if I take a taxi, I can avoid the search around for a parking. Third and most importantly, I like to meet these people from diverse culture and try and generate conversation with them. Of course, as a person who likes to write, will definitely get his characters and substance many a times from these short trips.

There is also one danger that worries me all throughout the drive. That is the usage of mobile phones by these drivers. Especially, these days the use of social media while driving. Each time I take a taxi and find the driver using the phone, I consider it as an opportunity to talk to them and educate them of the dangers of using mobiles while driving.

Yesterday, was a busy day at work and then followed by the Supermoon, which I wanted to capture using my lenses. I had to leave for a programme at 7:45 pm. But, before leaving I wanted to click the moon and when I got to click the moon to some extent of my satisfaction,  I forgot all my work pressures and then off I went taking an Abu Dhabi taxi.

After the programme too, I took a taxi back home. As usual conversation started with the driver and his second name on the taxi meter attracted me. We talked several things within the short distance. It is my usual practice to keep my spectacle on my lap when I am in the car. Similarly I kept it this time too. While getting down quickly, I felt something fell down, but didn’t realise it was my spectacles. As soon as I got down the taxi took off and it was at that time I realized, there goes my costly spectacles, without which I cannot read!.

From the spot itself I called the taxi operating company of Abu Dhabi on their number 600535353 and reported about the missing item. The person who attended to my call, took the down detail and then told me we will get back to you soon. I gave them the description of the driver and also his second name.

This morning, I got a call from the taxi company that they found the car and the driver and also my spectacles was found by him. They also told me that he will come and personally return it to me.

After some time, there he comes – The “Kabali” of Abu Dhabi taxi. Thanking him for his promptness and honest action, I collected from him my spectacles.

Abdullah Kabali, the driver of taxi 5982, was very humble and upon my request posed for me for a photo. “Kabali Da”.  The name has a magic.

I thanked him and wished him the very best.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

15th November 2016

{The above is the longer version of the story. In short, I wish to thank the driver of taxi no. 5982 of Abu Dhabi taxi and their lost and found section to coordinate and retrieve my lost item and return to me within the shortest possible time. Thank you for your well coordinated effort.}


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adipec-thank-you-2I wish to offer a big personal thanks to the DMG Team members for their wholehearted support for the success of ADIPEC 2016. It was indeed commendable effort by each one of them. Indeed, a diverse and versatile team that worked efficiently to #MakeThingsHappen for #ADIPEC2016 successful organisation.

Claire , JP, Nick, Chris, Siham, Sandra, Salman, Muhammad, Faheem, Savitha, Queenly, Sabrina, Kate, Nour Soliman, Hanadi, Amore, Nagesh………… The list is becoming endless. Great going and May take this opportunity to wish you the very best for the success of your future events.

@ADIPECOfficial@dmgeventsMEA  #WorkingTogetherWorks – I enjoyed every interaction with all of you.

Are you angry? Then, Relax & Think Back!

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Mind Speaks - Are You Angry - Then its time to relaxIt was weekend and as usual I took my cycle for a ride along the newly created track in our community. As I came out from the lift, I noticed the weather outside was dusty and not conducive for riding. So, I parked my cycle and thought, sit inside the waiting area and watch for some time before returning home. My mind was disturbed due to something and thought cycling was a good option, I thought it could calm me down and change the disturbing thoughts. But, I couldn’t, due to the bad weather.

It was a hot day and there was a cat, lying outside the glass door. Then came a little girl with a pet dog. She too was planning to take it for a walk. Seeing the outside weather, she also cancelled her plan. The dog had a belt which was of extendable type and the girl had left it loose so that it has lot of space to move around.

Suddenly I noticed, both the cat, which was outside and the dog, standing inside started a fight with each other. It became so furious that if the glass barrier was not there, one of them would have finished the other! The girl played around with their furious emotional outpour  for some time and then took it back to her home in the lift. As it left, it was still panting and growling.

Many times, we tend to be in such situations. Knowingly or unknowingly, we get carried away and start conversation or acts that lead to angry outpour of words, which may lead to physical actions!. Here in this case, the glass door was the strong physical barrier that prevented any mishaps. But, what will help us in such real life situations? A good friend? a a more relaxed and calm family member?, more than that a good family and school upbringing? a self discipline that is practiced?

Yes, control of anger is something that has to be consistently worked on and made a habit to not react to such unwarranted and unwanted situations instantaneously. If ever you happen to be in it, relax, take a deep breath. Think back and solutions to your disturbances will follow. It will save you!. God bless and wish you a great day.

Mind Speaks - Are You Angry - Then its time to relax

Mind Speaks – The art of LISTENING

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I had the opportunity to attend three different public gatherings during the recent times.

The first one was a religious event with a huge participation of around 5000 attendees in an open auditorium. At the end of the full day long veda chanting session, the main priest, a septuagenarian with a fragile built walked towards the dais to address the gathering. As he stepped on, the crowd went in to a pin drop silence mode without even a single word requesting, either from the organizer or the speaker.

He talked in detail about the importance of learning during the olden days under the gurukula style. Probably aware of the influence of modern technology among children, he made it a point to emphasize on the aspects that were stressed in the earlier days, in particular, to create a keen attentive attitude when someone is speaking. The attendees of the gathering included elderly people as well as young graduates from a university. He did not use any audio visual tools to aid his talk.

“I term this union as the union of the past”.

The second forum was a gathering to address a group of 25 university students visiting the UAE from an American University. Boys and girls who are in the final year of the post graduate course were on a tour to understand business and economical models prevailing here. The speaker was a veteran administrator with several years of experience in all aspects of the oil and gas industry. He was an acknowledged toastmaster too.

During his speech and presentation the speaker was humorous and to the point and the students keenly followed him. End of the session, they had a question answer session and each one of them had meticulously jotted down pointers to clarify their individual doubts. In here, I found the audience using IPads to note down and also record using mobile phones whenever needed.

During the entire period, the audience kept themselves engaged in listening as well as interacting between themselves using modern technology.

“I term this union as the present”.

Now comes the third group. It was group of children who were invited to attend a weekend training session modeled to create their interest for higher studies. Parents were also included in it. The programme was conducted by a young engineer turned academician. It was a mixed crowd and after a few minutes I realized the audience and the speaker were in entirely different platforms. I could see the audience showing as if listening but in their own world chatting on social media or playing games!. What was funny to me was the fact that whenever the speaker had queries thrown to the audience, in particular children, I found them quick on their fingers and phones to find answers through google!

“I term this as the future”.

Time has changed. It is no longer possible to disengage one from the modern amenities that are easily available.

A walk in any of the modern malls, you will find families with children tagging along playing on the latest IPads or IPhones. No longer children require to wait till the next day to go to school to find answers to solve their probing mind! In fact, if we as adults have queries, they are faster than us to find solutions for each of them.

The observation does not end there. The pattern noticed in the second and third group highlighted above are very common these days. Very often we get to see people reading emails, texting, typing messages  or even playing on their mobiles while attending meetings or conferences. The scenario may be witnessed and not rare when some people are seated on official chairs of large gatherings.

The need to remain connected is that intense that when one get used to it, becomes hugely indispensable to ignore!.

In the process many times the finer nuances of the talk or discussion happening is missed.

I was witness to one such case the other day. It was an event organized to speak about Mahatma Gandhi on Martyr’s Day. A series of speakers were lined up including Emirati and Indian. The main speakers were Emiratis and they had done their homework well and talked with enthusiasm what inspired them towards Gandhi ji. Then came the turn of the speakers from India, who were supposed to be more knowledgeable than the foreign speakers! One by one each one of them talked quoting texts from here and there. None could evoke a true Gandhian spirit and patriotism. It was the chance of the last speaker and I thought at least he will not disappoint the audience. He started off well. Listening to him carefully, I noticed, he had jotted down points from each of the speakers. However, very soon I realized he was mixing up the thoughts and authors. By the end, it was a cocktail of erroneous quotes. I didn’t have to think further when I noticed him leaving the hall with three phones and an IPAD!. Of course, he was a busy person. In his eagerness, he did note down parts from here and there in his Ipad, however, in his compulsion to attend to chores on his phones, he messed up on actualities happening on the stage.

I am sure, the example above are not one off that you see in your day to day life.  We get several instances when people, attending important meeting or public functions are totally pre-occupied with their mobiles doing several other things. In the process they fail in their objective of being there at that moment.

A keen attitude to listen is very essential and indeed it has come to a reality that we need to train ourselves to cut off and remain in the present!.