Mind Speaks

Sushma Swaraj was a great ambassador for our country

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Swaraj’s death is a huge loss to all of us. She was the best external affairs minister we could ever dream for.

She was also an approachable person. During her visit to address the Indian community in the UAE at an event held in the Indian Social and Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi, she let each and every attendee who wanted to take a photograph with her do so without so much as a murmur.

Her death has left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

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Had stopped writing my opinion in The Letters section of newspaper for sometime. This was an instance, I couldn’t resist. Because @SushmaSwaraj was one twitter account that we all could tweet and be sure to get a response with solutions to any problems addressed. Once again, may her soul rest in peace.
(My note in The Letters to the Editor of The National newspaper of tomorrow – Back to letter writing days and columns!).

2018 പ്രളയത്തിന്റെ ഓർമകളിലൂടെ

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– കേരളത്തിൽ അങ്ങിങ്ങായി ഈ വർഷത്തെ കാലവർഷം കനത്തു വരുമ്പോൾ, ഒരു തിരിഞ്ഞു നോട്ടത്തിനു സമയമായി  തോന്നുന്നു.. 2018 ഓഗസ്റ്റ് 16 മുതൽ ഈ വര്ഷം ഈ സമയം വരെ, അന്ന് ആ പ്രളയകാലത്തു സഞ്ചരിച്ച വഴികളിലൂടെ ഒരു യാത്രക്കായി ശ്രമിക്കുന്നു. മാറ്റങ്ങൾ – നല്ലതും -ചീത്തയും – എന്തൊക്കെയാണ് എന്ന് വരും ദിവസ്സങ്ങളിൽ ഇവിടെ പങ്കു വക്കാം…

Mind Speaks: Finally, a few thoughts in Malayalam

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It was not easy to write using fountain pen after a long, but tried and managed. Thought, I first start writing in Malayalam itself. Found, both old and new formats are getting mixed. Somehow managed. Will continue to try, till I regain my flow.65609312_10156320590101088_4082789958752927744_o.jpg

Photo Speaks – Getting back to Write it Right

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65368996_10156315724556088_8433570973239738368_o.jpgPhoto Speaks: It is time to restart my weekly blog post titled “Mind Speaks”. This time, it will be handwritten. Not finding it easy, as I have not used a pen, or to be frank, a fountain pen for a very long time. These days, writing has become short, may be one or two sentences! I will try and make it legible and interesting. A challenge, as I do not have the option to delete and re-write when I write with a pen. Thoughts, words and writings have to be very clear!!!.

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

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.

 

Mind Speaks: Some connections happens just like that And stays forever

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I love to visit Mumbai during rainy season. It is because, I love to see Mumbai when it rains. To photograph it during the rain is something very special.

Normally, I stay in hotels close to the airport. Approximately 16 years ago during one such visit, I was waiting outside the hotel with my camera kit to see whether I can get a suitable taxi to go around Mumabi.

It was the days of Maruti Omni’s, and one such high roof car slowed down. I asked him, can we go around for a drive. He asked me where? I said, no such specific places, but take me wherever you feel I can click some good photos. It was around 08:00 am in the morning and we finished the day at 10:00 pm and then straight to airport to catch the flight back to Abu Dhabi.

A strong bond was made that day. Till now, whenever I am in Mumbai, I have a safe person to take me around. With more than 2 camera, and all other valuable items, I can safely travel with him, without any fear. Trust and dependability is a key factor in building relationships. Moreover, he is a safe driver too.

Over the period of years, life has evolved in several ways for him and me. We both lost a few key family members battling cancer. Whatever little help I could, I always passed on to him. In turn he has never ever asked me for a favor.

Only change that has happened in him is his car. He has Hyundai car instead of the old Maruti Omni High roog, (which I still prefer a better one than this). He got married, has children now.

If you are in Mumbai and wish to take his service, you can call him with confidence. His number is there on the photo.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi.

Water your way to kindness during this summer

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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.

 

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

 

Farewell to Palakkad Radhakrishnan

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Farewell to Radhakrishnan3Palakkad Radhakrishnan – One and only combo personality of all Abu Dhabi satsangs. A humble and simple person who plays multiple roles whenever there is a community activity of significance happening in Abu Dhabi. Percussionist, singer, good cook, last to leave – an overall selfless volunteer!.

He might not belong to the category of professional percussionists or vidhwans. But, he plays his beats from his heart with full of strength and divinity, and that covers the completeness of his music even if he is not given a microphone for his instrument as it happens many times!. 

From physically assisting the set up of the venue from start till the end and also performing as percussionist of quality, I really admire him and his value to all of us.

I cherish my association with him all along.

Matha, Pitha, Guru Daivam. He is an example and continue to be, as he leaves Abu Dhabi tomorrow, 31st October 2017, after 21 years of Service to serve his aged mother.
May all Sathgurus and Gods shower him with peace, prosperity, good health and overall well being. 

He will be available on Whatsapp +97155 657 89 75.

https://soundcloud.com/ramesh-menon-abudhabi/gananayakam-ganeshwaram-sai-bhajan-by-muthuraman

The divine ambience he creates can be enjoyed by listening to the above song where he plays Dholak to a beautiful bhajan.