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
Sharjah Vantage Point 6 opens.
Vantage Point Sharjah 6 (VPS6) is the sixth iteration of Sharjah Art Foundation’s annual initiative supporting the practice of photography within the GCC. Open call was extended to submit photographs from all nationalities who reside in the UAE and Other GCC Countries on the theme of “𝗣𝗘𝗥𝗙𝗢𝗥𝗠𝗔𝗡𝗖𝗘”.
The opening was attended by distinguished guests, artists, photographers and public.
Vantage Point 6: Performance is organised by Sharjah Art Foundation. President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation Hoor Al Qasimi is a practising curator and artist, as well as Director of the Sharjah Biennial.
A large number of applicants, with a variety of professional backgrounds, skill sets and interests, responded to the call for Vantage Point Sharjah 6. The exhibition presents a wide-ranging selection of photography, which uniquely expands upon the theme and speaks to the development of a vibrant community.
It is the 2nd time my clicks are getting selected to this prestigious international exhibition organised by Sharjah Art, under the patronage of the ruling family of Sharjah.
If you are visiting Sharjah during this period, welcome to attend.
𝗘𝘅𝗵𝗶𝗯𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗗𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀: 𝟭𝟰 𝗝𝘂𝗹—𝟴 𝗦𝗲𝗽𝘁 𝟮𝟬𝟭𝟴
𝗩𝗲𝗻𝘂𝗲:𝗚𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝟭 & 𝟮 𝗔𝗹 𝗠𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗶𝗷𝗮𝗵 𝗦𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗿𝗲 Sharjah
The photos, artists and myself:
1967, Kerala, India
Lives and works in Abu Dhabi
Photos and narration:
An epic through the eyes
Dr. Haripriya Nambudiri (as lady character Syrandhri)
Digital print/Dimensions 47 x 30 cm
Narrating an epic through the eyes
In the photo: From left Margi Rantakaran (on Maddalam), Kalamandalam Jishnu Ravi ( as lady character Sudeshana), Kalamandalam Dr. Haripriya Nambudiri (as lady character Syrandhri), Kottakal Madhu (first singer at back), Kalamandalam Vishnu (second singer at back).
Digital print / Dimensions 40 x 30 cm
Ramesh Menon’s photographs depict the traditional art form Kathakali, which is always a ‘feast for the eyes’ as it enthralls audiences with music, action, emotional impact and literary finesse. These photos capture a moment in the performance of the play Keechakavadam, jointly organised by the India Social and Cultural Centre, Kerala Social Centre, Manirang and Sakthi Theatres in Abu Dhabi. Renowned artists, musicians and percussionists added their experience and skills to complete this tauryatrika [triple symphony] experience. Dr Haripriya Nambudiri, a full-time professional female artiste—a rarity in this art form—played the character of Syrandhri.
Menon tries his best to create a family of positive and quality-minded people. Bringing creativity into life and never giving up are the two wheels of his life cycle, which has been revolving and evolving a great deal and determined to continue too. He writes a blog clicksandwrites.com and takes small steps towards his objectives to encourage talent and serve the community around. He believes that all great achievements and success in life, as well as all changes for the better, have one powerful characteristic in common: The First Step. ‘Take the first step, and the journey has a way of taking care of itself.’ Menon is an active participant in various Have Your Say programmes within the UAE and elsewhere. This participation has resulted in his winning several prestigious awards over the last few years.
Menon currently works as Communications Coordinator with Total in Abu Dhabi
As I move on to day 2 of my training schedule for the forthcoming ADNOC Abu Dhabi International Marathon 2018, it is turning out to be interesting in several ways. 153 days to the event, it is an opportunity to explore Abu Dhabi. I know it will not be easy and hence taking it systematically as much as possible from all aspects.
For morning practice I opted for the Abu Dhabi Heritage park area as it has some small climbs and generally quite. In the evening, I opted to utilize the cycling track on the Salam Street. The track is really nice to do an extended ride and connect to Abu Dhabi Corniche easily.
The weather now is hot and humid and hence taking it lightly, but steadily.
How can I end my daily post without sharing some photos. It indeed is an opportunity to explore Abu Dhabi.
The recently announced ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon is an inspiration to keep fit. If an opportunity is given take it with both hands. That’s what I love to do. This is another example of it. What makes me happier is the fact that the daily training schedule I have planned covering the Abu Dhabi city, suburbs and other cities in the United Arab Emirates opens up infinite opportunities to explore these places and capture them with my passionate clicks. Of course, I will share you the location tags as well as any speciality I notice about it.
So here is my day one presentation from Abu Dhabi Heritage Park.
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) announced, the inauguration of the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon, which will be held, for the first time, on December 7, 2018, bringing the world’s oldest race to one of the world’s most modern cities, and deepening ADNOC’s commitment to the Abu Dhabi community.
The UAE capital has added to its sporting portfolio after organisers announced the first Adnoc Abu Dhabi International Marathon will take place on December 7.
The event has been given Bronze Label status from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), but Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), is confident the Abu Dhabi race can achieve Gold Label status – reserved for prestigious races such as the Boston and London marathons – by 2020.
“It has been one of the long missing pillars in our international sporting calendar,” Al Awani said after signing a three-year deal with Adnoc, the national oil company, at the company’s headquarters on Tuesday.
“Adnoc is one of the main pillars of our economy and they have been one of the main supporters of all our sporting activities in Abu Dhabi. With their support, we want to achieve the marathon Gold Label in three years.”
Abu Dhabi already hosts several international sporting events including the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. The capital will stage the Fifa Club World Cup for a second successive year in December as well as host the 2019 Asian Cup starting in January.
Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, Chairman of General Authority for Sports, said the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon is the latest addition to the ever-growing list of international sporting events to arrive in Abu Dhabi.
“It may be the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi, but it will be second to none among established international marathons around the world,” Major General Al Romaithi said. “We expect a world-class elite field and participation of thousands of runners at various levels.”
Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, Executive Office Director at ADNOC, said: “ADNOC is excited to play a part in bringing such an iconic event, the marathon, to Abu Dhabi. Our partnership with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council is built on a shared commitment to elevating the health and well-being of individuals and embodies ADNOC’s historical dedication to supporting the communities in which we operate.
“Whether it’s through sporting and recreation, health and wellness, or youth and STEM education, ADNOC’s corporate social responsibility and purpose remains firm: To create a positive and lasting impact on UAE society,” Al Suwaidi said.
The race will be held over a 42.195-kilometer (26 miles, 385 yards) course that will showcase the city of Abu Dhabi to a global audience. In recognition of the Year of Zayed, the race will bring together elite international athletes, seasoned amateur runners and thousands of people taking part in their first marathon. It will offer runners of all abilities the chance to participate in a range of events from 2.5km and 5km fun runs, to the 10km and full-distance marathon. Entry fees for the event range from AED 50-75 for the shorter 2.5km and 5km fun runs, AED 150 for the 10km, and AED 350 for the Marathon race.
Registration for the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon is open at: www.adnocabudhabimarathon.com
The announcement has witnessed great amount of interest to the event as seen by registration of more than 80 participants to the site at the time of this note.
Marathons are run in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, who reported the victory. The legend states he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in battle, which took place in 490 BC. It is said he ran the entire distance from the battlefield to Athens, without stopping, to proclaim victory, before collapsing and dying.
The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 800 marathons are held throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes as larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants
The world-record time for men over the marathon distance is 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 seconds, set in the Berlin Marathon Berlin Marathon, by Dennis Kimetto Dennis Kimetto of Kenya, on September 28, 2014. The world-record for women was set by Paula Radcliffe, of Great Britain, in the London Marathon London Marathon, held on April 13, 2003. Radcliff completed the race in 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
Sites you may find handy:
For running apps: https://dailyburn.com/life/tech/best-running-apps-every-runner/
Best wishes to #ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and all the participants for the success of this event.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
News links and photos – courtesy credits to:
#ADNOC #ADSC #ADNOCAbuDhabiMarathon
#CampaignPASS – Promote All Sports Simultaneously
#TalentShare – A Talent or Knowledge within you is to be SHARED.
Summer picking up and also it’s time to save on daily living expenses. Many are opting to cycle their way to work. You can get to see here the big brothers trying to show their power ahead. Motorised two-wheelers that doesn’t require any registration are increasing in numbers. Watch your way when you are on the wheels as many of these riders do not follow any safety rules and just zoom past on signals, even when it is red.
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.
#Ramadan delights from Sabir refreshments #inabudhabi
25 years and more, holding on, one of the oldest restaurants favoured by many bachelors and families for tasty food. Many of them used to avail the monthly payment system. During the holy month of #Ramadan they come out with tradional Kerala specials to break the fast.
Years back, It used to be a muddy path towards the restaurant, that has been well laid now. Still a good opportunity to #cycle #inabudhabi and test and taste who serves the best during this time of the year.