70th Independence Day -Be Humane, Hi-tech & Happy

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Mind Speaks - Independence Day.jpgPresident Pranab Mukherjee addressed the nation on the eve of our 70th Independence Day. Here are some of the top quotes from his address:

  1. May our studies be brilliant; may there be no hostility amongst us; may there be Peace Peace Peace.
  2. We are in the process of forging new relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit with all countries.
  3. India’s focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful co-existence & harnessing tech & resources for eco development.
  4. I respectfully bow to the heroes of independence struggle who fought & sacrificed their lives to win freedom.
  5. India will grow, only when all of India grows; the excluded ones have to be included in the development process.
  6. It is much more important to look to the future; it is time to join hands to cooperate, innovate and advance.
  7. We often celebrate the achievements of our ancient past but it would be wrong to rest on our laurels.
  8. We should promote scientific temper by questioning our beliefs which aren’t compatible with scientific way of thinking.
  9. Passage of GST bill is reason enough to celebrate our democratic maturity.
  10. World has witnessed a spate of terror activities having their roots in radicalization of people on basis of religion. These forces pose a danger to entire comity of nations; world will have to fight them unconditionally & in one voice.
  11. Attacks on weaker sections that militate against our national ethos are aberrations that need to be dealt with firmly.
  12. Disruptions, obstructionism & unmindful pursuit of divisive political agenda lead to institutional travesty
  13. We cannot call ourselves a civilized society if we fail in providing safety and security to our women and children.
  14. We must take destiny in our own hands to build the India of our dreams.
  15. As we build an India of smart cities, towns & villages, we must ensure they are humane, hi-tech and happy places.

Credits to text: Times of India / Photo © Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi


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

EK 521 Incident – Efficient Crisis Management & Communication by Emirates Airlines

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Dubai, Wednesday, 3rd August 2016

3 August 2016 - Mind Speaks - EK521 Incident

Emirates flight EK521 took off from Trivandrum in India while landing at Dubai International Airport on August 3, 2016 at about 12.45pm local time met with an emergency situation.

This is an age of swift and uninterrupted electronic communication. Dubai is an extremely busy city and its airport being open and visible from several points within the city.

  1. The airlines tweeted about this incident immediately.  As soon as news broke of the incident, Emirates airlines official social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter changed their logo to a grey and white picture.As the news broke out and evolved, social media photos started coming out which showed thick plumes of black smoke rising from the burning plane.
  1. Within almost 1 hour of the incident, i.e. at 2pm Emirates put out a tweet saying, “We can confirm that there are no fatalities among our passengers and crew. All passengers and crew are accounted for and safe. #EK521”. Emirates confirmed that there were 282 passengers and 18 crew on board. They also confirmed that emergency response teams at Dubai Airport had fully extinguished the fire on the Emirates plane.
  1. The Airline’s well-trained crew were quick and safely evacuated all the 300 passengers including the 18 member crew from the plane in a matter of 46 seconds! (as tweeted by one user on Twitter).
  1. The nationalities of the passengers were announced on Facebook at 3pm. Dubai Airports offered refreshments across all terminals throughout the day. Passengers were just asked to present their ticket or boarding card.
  1. At 4.10pm Emirates put out an official statement on their website and Youtube page by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ Chairman & Chief Executive on incident involving EK521. “We can confirm that there are no fatalities among our passengers and crew. All passengers and crew are accounted for and safe,” he said.
  2. At 5.30pm, Emirates cancelled 42 flights at Dubai International.  Dubai Media office tweeted at 5.50pm that specialized teams at Dubai Airports worked simultaneously to ensure safety & comfort of all passengers following the incident.  The media office also tweeted that DXB will resume departure operations starting 18.30 UAE local time with larger aircraft given first priority. They also tweeted that all Emirates passengers who had purchased tickets on or before 3rd August will have rebooking; re-issue & cancellation charges waived.
  3. The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) confirmed at 7.22pm that a fire fighter Jasim Issa Mohammad Hassan attached to Dubai Airports lost his life during firefighting operations. “He died while doing his duty and while evacuating the people to safety. On behalf of the General Civil Aviation Authority, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of deceased. I salute his ultimate sacrifice that kept many from harm’s way. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family”, said the director general of GCAA. At the 7.30pm press conference Ahmed bin Saeed Al Makhtoum said: “We pay tribute to the firefighter who lost his life fighting the blaze. We thank all teams that dealt with the incident. He also paid tribute to the pilot who was instrumental in saving the passengers lives. The flight pilot is a well experienced Emirati national with more than 7000 flight hour. Medical teams dealt with 13 persons with minor injuries, who left after a short time.

An excellent example of Crisis Management

Emirates 3

My sincere congratulations to Emirates Airline EK521 Captain and Crew for handling the Crisis exceedingly well. Highest level of praise also goes to the Dubai Airport Emergency Response Team, who handled the situation and made sure the incident was brought under control. As regards to Emirates Airline Crisis Management and Communication Team, this is an excellent example for all global Comms/Crisis Management Teams to observe and follow how effectively and efficiently a major crisis can be handled and communicated.

Proof of Efficient Crisis Communication from Emirates

Emirates 4Everyone will agree and accept that this is not an easy task these days, when all are on social media and dissemination of information is just within the press of our fingers. On behalf of Emirates, the press conference and address by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ Chairman & Chief Executive was very clear and matter of fact. The airline also came out with timely developing statements to avoid any rumors and feed stakeholders with right information.

Jasim Issa Mohammad Hassan – A great hero born!

Emirates 2.jpgLast but not the least, as a fitting tribute to the brave firefighter Jasim Issa Mohammad Hassan who lost his life, several high authorities from UAE government, including H.H. Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, H.H. General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces attended his funeral and offered condolences to his family and friends.  His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, offered his sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of the martyr of the nation, firefighter Jassim Issa Al Balooshi, who was martyred while extinguishing the fire, which involved Emirates Airline plane on Wednesday. In his account on the social networking “Twitter” said, “We offer our condolences to the family and friends of the martyr of the nation, firefighter, Jassim Issa Al Balooshi. And we ask God to bestow patience and solace on his bereaved family.” He added, “As far as our grief on Jassim, however we are proud of our youth and their sacrifices while performing their duties in protecting the lives and saving people. This country has men to be proud of.


Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

@rameshmenonauh /3rd August 2016

{Compilation of information from: Various news media – Khaleej Times, Gulf News, The National/Twitter/Emirates Airlines site etc}

#EK521 #EmiratesAirlines #CrisisManagement #CrisisCommunication #HSE


Traffic fines at the airport

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Your report, Forcing UAE expats to pay traffic fines before travelling could ‘change behaviour’ (August 1), shed light on an important issue.

I hope the recently implemented removal of discounts to speeding fines and the new suggestion to make it mandatory to pay the fine before exiting the country will bring a fear factor in the minds of those who violate traffic rules.

Generally, those who pay up diligently have a fear for themselves and other road users and comply with the rules.

What is yet to be experienced as a result of these new moves are behavioural changes from those who seldom travel outside and do not pay up.

I sincerely wish that this group of reckless drivers becomes a minority on our roads. Safe road sense must prevail if we are going to have fewer traffic accidents and avoid unnecessary deaths.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Letters to the Editor/The National:

Forcing UAE expats to pay traffic fines before travelling could ‘change behaviour’

Mind Speaks: Education

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Mind Speaks: Education
For Some, school and education is still a set of long hurdles. However, there is no easy way to learning!


Wish they were cricketers! India Seniors Volleyball team at Abu Dhabi airport :- Campaign PASS – Promote All Sports Simultaneously

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Campaign PASS or Campaign – Promote All Sports Simultaneously is intended to encourage all sports activities and personnel simultaneously for their growth and excellence in respective field.

It could be termed as a deliberate attempt to generate more corporate attention and support towards all Track and Field sporting events other than Cricket, which obviously gets the best for the game and players.

The thought evolved during the 2010 Common Wealth Games, I was looking for opportunities to promote how it could be done. The first of the series came automatically with the news report of Indian Football team’s schedule to train in Dubai.

It is my special appeal to all Indian Social organisations and interested Corporate and Business units to show more support and encouragement to all sports equally.

Let us take the first step and let it begin from this moment. I hope that it will be towards bigger achievement for the sport and all the athletes in common.

A Face Book group has been created to promote this initiative. Please click on the link and join this group and promote it among your contacts.
your contacts.

+ Click Campaign Pass FB group to join.

Please share the FB group and also any sports activity you wish to highlight through it.

Thank you for your support and encouragement to promote it.

Just an example #ifyouarenotacricketplayer

Wish they were cricketers! India Seniors Volleyball team at Abu Dhbi airport

This is the Indian Senior Volley Ball team on their way back to Madras after winning a prestigious tournament. I met them at Abu Dhabi Duty Free. There was no fanfare, no one even asking them who they were.

I happened to meet them, the Indian Senior Men’s Volley Ball Team members at the Abu Dhabi Duty Free on 28th August 2011. They were returning to Madras via Abu Dhabi after winning the 18TH NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV PRESIDENT’S CUP INTERNATIONAL VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT ALMATY, KAZAKHSTAN beating Tunisia in the finals held on 27th August.

Things have improved for many sports since 2012-13. But, there is still a long way to go. We must come out together and encourage all sports which build a good and energetic and intelligent person in everyone.

I wrote this post and kept the title “Campaign PASS – Promote All Sports Simultaneously” for about 3 hours. Not many interests!. Thought, let me bring cricket into it and changed the title to “Wish they were cricketers! India Seniors Volleyball team at Abu Dhabi airport :- Campaign PASS – Promote All Sports Simultaneously”. Curiously waiting the response!.  

#campaignpass  #happinessandpositivity  #clicksandwrites #passionatephotographers

Our Story of the Date Palms – 2016

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Invitation to Participate: Our Story of the Date Palms 2016
Time Frame to participate : 09 March 2016 – 10 July 2016
To all:
Have you ever watched the Palm trees flowering process?. If not, watch them from now on. The trees have started the flowering!.
It will be a good observation cum photography experience if you track it.
Inviting you to click them from wherever you are post them at the event page of Passionate Photographers on Facebook with details. Opt to choose the growth sequence in one or two selected trees.
A display of this wonderful event and the result of your efforts submitted to Passionate Photographers group is planned with selected photos from members later during the year – when this seasonal cycle gets completed with the dates ripe, mature and fall down announcing the arrival of christmas and another year end.
You are welcome to post any number of photosper week for the next 5 months on the subject. 16 photos selected by each member / each month , ie March, April, May, June, July – will be exhibited.
Photos taken using Mobile Phones can also be submitted.
Time Frame for clicking : 9th March 2016 – 10 July 2016
Please post your clicks marked for this event on to Passionate Photographers group and also email the soft copy of it to team1dubai@gmail.com 
with the subject line: Photo Competition – “Our Story of the Date Palms – 2016”
Please note to observe the time and date you click along with the GPS location of your object, for jury to identify it before the exhibition.
Original high resolution files will be required to be submitted at a later stage with full information of the photo and photographer. Files should not be modified or altered with.
For those parents with children interested or not interested in Photography, this will be a very good exercise to have them observe the nature, the seasonal changes and to observe and realise how nature announces the arrival of the seasons in its own way. Since it is spread out during a period of four months, it will be also a test to find out how patient you are towards your short term and long term objectives.
Thus, to create interactive interest among parents/children/teachers, photos of participating children below age 16 will be separately displayed and appreciated.
Those children who are participating in this event are also welcome to write a short story – not less than 300 words – on their experience of capturing the season that passed by while photographing for this event.
Please share this event with your friends and family who may be interested.
Please do not hesitate to contact me in case you have any further clarifications.
Welcome to participate and Best wishes in advance,
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
p.s: I welcome corporate and individuals sponsors to this event.
Below is a teaser for those who are interested. The opportunity is infinite!!!


#passionatephotographers #clicksandwrites #Ourstoryofdatepalms2016



Athirappally Vazhachal Waterfalls Kerala – A minute with ClicksandWrites

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The Athirappilly Falls is situated 1000 ft above sea level on the Chalakudy river, at the entrance to the Sholayar ranges of the Western Ghats.  Athirappalli is a scenic combination of forests and little streams. Falling from a height of 80 feet, this is one of the largest waterfalls in the state. Many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna are found in the forests of the Athirapilly-Vazhachal area. This area is the only place in the Western Ghats where four endangered hornbill species are seen. The Western Ghats is one of the most important biodiversity hot spot in the world. This valuable natural world is already degraded by mining and hydro electric projects. Environmentalists claim that Athirapally is a one-of its-kind riparian ecosystem in Kerala. V.S. Vijayan, Chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board and former Director of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, has been quoted in Down to Earth magazine as affirming that the Vazhachal forest division is the second most biodiverse area in the State. The International Bird Association has declared it an “Important Bird Area” and the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation has recommended that the area should be declared a sanctuary or a national park, he points out.

Athirappilly is popular among tourists. Athirappilly Falls is one of the best places to visit in Kerala. Another popular waterfall to visit is the Vazhachal Falls. Athirappilly Falls is a part of Chalakudy river and it is approximately 80 feet in height. Athirappilly is easily reachable from Chalakudy by taking a vehicle for rent or by bus from the Chalakudy private bus terminal.

Proper precautions are taken on site to prevent mishaps while swimming and a police camp is always positioned there. Athirappilly is situated on SH-21 highway connecting Tamil Nadu and Kerala, night driving is not advised. But you can enjoy the adventurous drive in the middle of jungle.

Route through Valparai: Coimbatore-Pollachi 40 km-Valparai 65 km From Pollachi onwards, the road climbs up steeply through tea estates to Valparai. From Valparai, the road goes through dense wild jungles after Malakkiparai. Route is as follows: Valparai-Malakkiparai 22 km-Sholayar 24-Peringalkuthu Dam 25-Vazhachal 5-Athirapalli 5-Chalakudy 33 km.

Route through Angamaly: For tourists from Cochin and other northern side of Kerala can take a short cut from Angamaly. After Passing Angamaly take right turn after the bridge. This route will pass through Mookkannoor, Edalakadu, Ezhattumugham, palm oil plantation and connect to Athirapilly Vazhachal route. This route can save time, distance and you can enjoy nature.

Route through Chalakudy: Tourists from Chalakudy and other southern side of Kerala can take the Athirappilly route starting from Anamala Jn. Chalakudy and pass through Kanjirapilly, Vettilapara Athirapilly route.

There is absolutely no human settlement between Malakkiparai and Peringalkuthu Dam. Wildlife—elephants and bison—spill over onto the road, and night driving is discouraged. Both Vazhachal and Athirapalli are on the same Chalakudy river.

Athirapalli Falls is best visited during rains. The rest of the year there is water flow but hardly the spectacle it is from June to October.

There are two water theme parks (Silver Storm and Dream Word) and many resorts on the way to Athirapilly.

A minute with ClicksandWrites is a series designed to highlight various events that I attend or location that I visit through short videos. The video also has a key safety message that is to remind each and every one that safety is a priority for all, especially road safety.

#StartEarlyDriveCarefullyReachSafely is the prime message that is the need for the hour. Beware of other drivers mistakes and drive carefully and cautiously see through to have a blessed day.

#StartEarlyDriveCarefullyReachSafely  #SafetyFirst  #PassionatePhotographers

#ClicksandWrites  #AminutewithClicksandWrites #KeralaTourism #VisitKerala