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Mind Speaks: Trust and Friendship is Forever

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62506000_10156304988136088_267775633059217408_oI have written about him before too. In this photo, I am with Sandeep Dubey… He drives a taxi in Mumbai, India

My love for photography was the reason I met him. Monsoon in Mumbai is always a fascination for me. It was about 17 years ago, when I was waiting in front of my hotel, looking for a suitable taxi – a Maruti High Roof Van those days, that will give me a good view and options to click the Mumbai city on a rainy day that I met him. He was young and knew very little English that time, and with my Hindi and English we managed.

One full day, we drove around through various lanes and highways of Mumbai. Just like we try and run our fingers through the veins on our hands. In a short time, he knew what I was looking for and I knew, he was one person I can trust. Since then, each time when I touch base in Mumbai, he is my man. It has been a long friendship that remained from that rainy day.

Mumbai has that magic. People come from various places, different religion, different languages, but once you bond with each other, the friendship remains.

My repeated visits to Mumbai is also one like that. It is because my father’s close and only soulmate, roommate, friend for life (many derivatives for him) lives there. During their bachelor days in Mumbai in the 1960s they lived and worked together. Their friendship remained forever and passed on to me by both. I try and find reason to go and meet him and his wife, WHENEVER I CAN. With all the roadworks, changes and progress, Sandeep has been my “go to man”. I can tell you, I entrust him with all my luggage and valuables and go everywhere in Mumbai and he will make sure, they are safe, as well as me too. Over the period of time, his Maruti Omni Van was discontinued and he now drives a small car without air-conditioning. But, that’s never an issue for me as his humble and ever-smiling service is of great value than the comfort of driving around in a luxurious or modern taxi.

This time, in fact, after repeated requests for a long time, I visited his home….

It was another opportunity for me to visit the narrowest bylanes of Mumbai city and see and understand how people live happily within their modest means.

Hospitality at its best, by his mother, wife and 2 sons. I had known them since several years, as we always talked continuously during our drives. However, only this time I met them. He had told them about me, his daily life struggles, children, family in Mumbai and back home, the same way I introduced him to my family.

It was one wish that I fulfilled before my father passed away 2 years ago, to bring him back to Mumbai and drive around with his close friend and see all the places where he and his friend lived and worked. With Sandeep, I was able to do that and also an opportunity to introduce him.

As we entered his tiny little home, I could feel an extra special parental relationship. His little son came running and hugged him closely by his feet calling him Papa, aah aap jaldi vaapas aya kaam se? (meaning, Dad, today, you came early from work?). Hospitality was at its best, from his elderly mother and wife and children in whatever little way they could. As I left his home, touching his mother’s feet, it was a special feeling, beyond I could explain and ever imagine!

We returned after a short while and when I walked back to my hotel room, I re-affirmed myself one thing, Trust and Friendship, has no barriers. It will remain forever.

{Read my blog post about him done earlier Mind Speaks: Some connections happens just like that And stays forever }. You can find his phone number in it and in case you are in Mumbai and wish to have a ride with him, you can call him.

#InMumbai #ClicksandWrites #PassionatePhotographers

I wish they released some water!

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57504861_10156169756921088_7613971551079104512_nAs an ardent devotee of Ayyappa, I visited the temple recently. Pampa, the first stop for all on way to the hill shrine, was almost dry… Wish the Devaswom Board authorities and Government took some effort to release water from one of the connecting dam/reservoirs to the river, to keep the hygiene aspect alive. The photos speak. What to say, who to tell?

You can also see the conditions of the water taps/drinking water system for devotees enroute to Sannidhanam from Pampa. Of course, there is something new installed in place, titled RO water system, but imagine the water is pumped from the above filth!.. I am pretty sure, none opted for it!.

Really have to praise the support staff, police personnel and others who have to be their on duty during these difficult times. Maybe their prayers have more power than the devotees!.

I really wonder, when they will give some values for HSEQ factors of pilgrims / devotees visiting?

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FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS ABU DHABI

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FIA World Rally Cross Abu Dhabi

Get Your Heart Racing At FIA World Rallycross For The First Time in The Region. Book Today. A Weekend Of Fast-Paced Action On Track With Cars Pushing 0-60Mph In Less Than 2 Seconds! All Day Activities. Live Music. Fast-Paced Action.
5-6 APRIL 2019
www.yasmarinacircuit.com/‎

Special Olympics World Games 2019

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The Special Olympics World Games 2019 is here around!. Yes, we are getting ready to welcome the athletes. They are special and always an important moment to take care of them with a smile. I am happy to be one of the volunteers for this mega event happening in Abu Dhabi. How can I stay away from it. Today, I collected the volunteer badge, T-Shirt and special instruction pack. The event is being organised meticulously. Systematic training is being given to all volunteers. Every minute detail is being taken care. I am sure, this event will be another success to showcase Abu Dhabi’s organisational skills. The year started with the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon and one after another the Abu Dhabi calendar of events getting bigger and better.

The event will be held from March 14-21, 2019.

Venues: Abu Dhabi’s modern city and its state-of-the-art architectural personality is reflected in the venues and facilities that will host the Special Olympics World Games events and competitions. These include Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, Yas Marina Circuit, Al Forsan Resort, Yas Links Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Corniche Beach, Dubai Police Club Stadium and Hamdan Sports Complex.

By becoming a volunteer, I am happy to complete the following trainings:

  • Volunteers Role Training
  • General Volunteer Training
  • Volunteers Role Training
  • Protective Behaviours Training

Best wishes to all the athletes.

 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

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A must visit place when you are in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi  is a dream that was diligently made to a reality.

If you happen to be interested in art, history and photography and carrying a camera with you, I am sure, you will never finish clicking your photos. So many beautiful angles… I do not remember how many times, by now, I took my friends, family and official guests. I still fall in love capturing its beauty through my lenses and delay their return each time.

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The Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi

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A visit to Abu Dhabi is not complete now if you do not visit The Louvre Museum.

Do take time out to bring your friends and family without fail when they are in Abu Dhabi.

Some memories will never die!

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It is a nostalgic feeling to go back and back to the home where you lived your childhood days. Yes, this is my ancestral home. It used to be a big family. My great grandfather late Sankaran Nair and grandmother Kallyani Amma (fondly called as Narayanankutty amma) and all their children and family lived harmoniously. I remember my nursery school days when we children all sit together for breakfast and walk all the way to school from this home. Then the festival days, specially Onam, which used to be the only 2nd occasion, where we got a new pair of dress, and then gather together and play football and also enjoy the Onam festivities, specially Kummatti. I also remember the Vishu days, where we all lineup and wait for our turn to get the Vishu Kaineeettam from our maternal uncle Appettan, who used to be the senior most and the amount used to be a maximum of 25 paise to 1 Rupee. If he gives 1 rupee, others younger to him lesser than that… All coins collected, all children together will then rush to buy a football and play along for days on and on with it.

No complaints, no regrets, whatever was cooked in the common kitchen was consumed harmoniously. All played together, fought together, slept together.

And an occasional escapade to watch a movie at night for the second show means, we have to sleep outside…means remembering and fearing about the Yakshi’s or ghost stories that our uncle Aniyettan (Ramachandran) used to narrate to us….. Of course, not to forget the sound of rats and other rodents running around at the top of the roof….

Life was beautiful…. We used to talk to each other… We used to read the newspapers daily and most of all, we used to do our daily routines, get up early in the morning, a bath at the temple pond, then worship the family deity Oorakathammathiruvadi, take the prasadam – thirumadhuram – and then reach home…Do our pending assignments and then the regular breakfast, Iddli and chatni and packed tiffin, rice and dhal or tomato curry….

The day also starts with the only radio playing the traditional All India Radio music of the station opening at 6:00 am or so and then the regular news followed by Sanskrit news and other informative audio sections. I do not remember seeing a TV until my high school days.

Life goes on… for the new generation, it will not be easy to understand the depth of this note. However, I am sure, those in my era will really mean what it means..

The life before the electronic media overpowered us!. We will never get it back.

 

A minute with ClicksandWrites – Date Palm Trees Flowering Season

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The date palm trees have flowered. It marks the arrival of a new season. Weather is cold now, but very soon it will change and the summer will begin. You can expect hot and sunny days soon. Then in no time, the holy month of Ramadan starts. By the time Eid Al Fitr comes, the flowers would have developed and fully ripened dates will be ready. I have been following them for the past several years. Each time they flower, it is an opportunity to remember about the past seasons. And also look forward to the future ahead.

If you have kids, take them around for a walk in the evening. Show them the changes to the trees and flowers as the flowers blossom to a fresh green date and then ripen to reddish and juicy ones.

Very few know about the hidden treasure from this part of the world. The actual date tree population in UAE is about 40 millions of which 8.5 in AL-AIN region. The gene pool is large and composes about 120 date varieties. New introductions from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Oman included Khallas, AbouMaan, Hallawi, Khissab, Khenezi, Nabut Saif, Jabiri, Hillali, Lulu, Chichi, Khadraoui, Sakii, Sultana and Barhi varieties.

UAE produces 533,701 Metric tons of dates on an average

A minute with ClicksandWrites – Working Together Works

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As a Passionate Photographer, I always believe and propagate, a photo clicked is a history. You can never re-create it. However, you try!. There are several factors involved in the beauty and success of its presentation and representation. A keen eye, ready equipment, swiftness, aptitude and attitude, how you position yourself, how the external and natural lighting are, how you adjust our camera settings, and how the object you are photographing behaves while you shoot….. the list goes on endlessly….

During my recent visit to my home away from home, I was on a phone call, but noticed this happy union of a parrot and a squirrel enjoying a feast of their own!. I couldn’t resist. As usual, my camera was ready, I was ready and here it is, for you all to enjoy.
#WorkingTogetherWorks

All for Road Safety

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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