Saturday, July 26, 2014

Natural hurry

Natural hurry

There is a saying in Hindi which translates into, “Whatever happens, happens for the good.”

Nature has proved this once again.

For some years, I have been keenly following the flowering process of date palm trees and the period after it, till it is harvested. Normally, this process happens during July to October.

However, last year, due to the change in weather pattern or due to the unnoticed climate differentiation, it didn’t happen during that period.

This year, the process started in March and by now, the dates in the palm trees are ready to harvest. It is as if the nature has hurried itself to be part of the festivities associated with the Holy Month of Ramadan.

It is an amazing feeling to watch the date palm trees full of ripened dates wherever one gets to go around in the UAE. Indeed, the nation is blessed with this hidden wealth, which silently forms a major export item of the country.

If you have missed following the process, keep an eye from now on. You will have many stories to tell based on it.

Ramesh Menon

Short Take - Gulf Today 26 July 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Strict rules and training needed - Letters to the editor - The National

Strict rules and training needed

It is very sad to read that an accident of the kind described in your article (38 workers injured in Sharjah bus crash, July 22) has happened on our roads once again.

Looking at the efforts by the authorities to prevent such accidents and the results achieved thus far, it is promising to note that they have become less frequent.

However, in order to get even better results, there is one option that ought to be implemented. The law should be amended to give no leeway above the stated speed limit for drivers of commercial or public transport vehicles. This would include 15-seater vans and minibuses, as well as full-size buses and trucks.

If enforced correctly and with strict punishment for drivers who breach it, this law ought to result in fewer accidents due to speeding and negligence.

In conjunction with this, all transport companies should be required to give their drivers training and to update their road-safety awareness skills.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original please visit The National online

Monday, July 21, 2014

Safe-driving signs on lorries are not what they seem - Letters to the editor - Dt. The National 21 July 2014

Safe-driving signs on lorries are not what they seem

Letters to the Editor
July 20, 2014 Updated: July 20, 2014 03:36 PM

I refer to “Am I driving safely?” No, but there is no point in calling the number on the lorries (July 19), about the phone numbers displayed on heavy vehicles.

Many lorry and bus operators have found ways to get around this initiative. I cannot remember how many times I have been unable to reach the displayed number when I have witnessed a road-rage incident and tried to report it immediately.

There are three different scen­arios. One is where one or two digits are deliberately erased from the contact number; another is to provide a landline number that is never answered. A third is to display the number of a mobile phone that the offending driver himself is carrying.

When I do get through to the truck or bus operators, I never frame it as a complaint. Instead, I word it as a precaution, suggesting they keep their eye on a particular driver. Some companies have ­acknowledged my efforts and ­conveyed their thanks.

I feel that there is a need for a simple, easy-to-dial number to report all cases of bad driving. Companies operating lorries and buses should be required to register a contact number with the authorities, who would act on the complaint.

Road safety should be considered an integral part of our daily lives. Let us not ignore its importance, even for a minute.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Noble deeds - Gulf Today - Short Take Dt. 19 July 2014

Noble deeds

Many a time, I have felt that we have no control over happenings in our day-to-day life. But, when I rethink, I strangely find that we do have a major role in all of them. It is just that we don’t realise the possible intervention angle.

A close friend fighting cancer since a long time passed away last week. He left us as if a job half done and half spoken about. During the final days of his life, he was not in a conscious state. Attending the funeral, I heard his brother mentioning to someone that my friend never ever expected it to happen so fast.

He might have left this world, family and friends with untold miseries. When I look at it, his noble deeds to the community weigh more in terms of hidden wealth to the society and generation that looked upon him.

He was a community person and always believed in highlighting the issues affecting the society either directly or through the press. Several times, we exchanged topics and discussed them. Published and unpublished efforts of his silent societal involvement are many. That is what will leave him immortal in the days ahead in the eyes of all.

My late friend PC Ummer was a man with a mission. At any available opportunity, he was there at the India Social and Cultural Centre Abu Dhabi and other social organisations to share his knowledge and expertise, participating in summer camps and other activities.

Ramesh Menon

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

Friday, July 18, 2014

A smile that conveyed a million thanks

On behalf of TOTAL, we were extremely happy to inform all that we distributed the “Spirit of Giving” bags to the ladies at Mussaffah camp on Wednesday, 16th July 2014 evening before Iftar.

It would not have been possible for us without the generous support of each one of our colleagues who participated with a human touch.  The team effort displayed in this CSR initiative was exemplary.

We are also grateful to the volunteers who came forward in getting the boxes to Mussaffah and complete the distribution process as smooth as possible.

This event is an important first step of a series of CSR initiatives lined up for the year ahead.

It is part of a sustained effort to convey that using all available opportunities TOTAL is committed to bring out better energy among the staff as well as the community around.

Thanking you and wish you all once again a blessed Ramadan.

Joy of the seeing the ripened Dates - Our Story of the Date Palm Trees

I told you well ahead, the joy of seeing a date palm tree full of ripened fruits is beyond words can say. Enjoy the blessed season. They say in hindi, "Jo hotha hey acha ke liye hotha hey". The delay of flowering due to the global warming is overcome by the timing the dates have ripened and ready to be harvested for the festive season of Eid al Fitr. God bless all to have a peaceful, prosperous and joyous season ahead.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Community reporter passes away after battle with cancer

Community reporter passes away after battle with cancer
P. C. Ummer, a regular contributor to the Community Report section, dies at 56.
By Ramesh Menon Gulf News Reader and Community Reporter
Published: 15:00 July 13, 2014

Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of Gulf News met with Gulf News reader P.C Ummer and his two sons Mohamed and Sameer Mohamed at the Gulf News today.

P.C. Ummer, an active participant of social and cultural activities, award-winning Gulf News community reporter and family man, died yesterday in Abu Dhabi on July 13, 2014, at the age of 56. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

He was an alumni of Christ College Irinjalakuda. During our college days we were involved in literary and cultural activities, as well as student welfare issues. After graduation, we didn’t know whether our paths would meet again.

Moving to Abu Dhabi in the late 1980s, I regularly contributed to community issues through letters and reports in Gulf New. As I followed the news with keen interest, I noticed a familiar name appearing in the same sections.

Recognising the person, I obtained his address from Gulf News and contacted him. Coincidentally, he, too, was residing in Abu Dhabi.

With great happiness I found that it was none other than my college mate, whom I thought I would never meet again.

He covered a lot of community issues in his work with Gulf News, just as I did. Many of his suggestions were eye openers to the authorities to rectify issues identified.

A while ago he confided in me about being diagnosed with cancer. A man of strong will and like any other cancer patient, he did not discuss much about it after that.

Ummer kept himself cheerful and was an active participant in activities of the India Social and Cultural Centre and other community associations in the Capital.

Last week, I got to know that he was in intensive care struggling for his life. He remained in a critical condition for almost a week. Being a person who doesn’t give up easily, his family and friends kept hope that he would recover. However, that was not to be.

One more victim of cancer, who had to suddenly put a full stop to his life and leave with unfinished words and deeds for the family and society they belong to.

It once again brings a pressing issue to the fore. Treatment for cancer is very expensive and it is high time authorities in all countries came out with more subsidised treatments for cancer patients. May his soul rest in peace.

Editor’s Note: Gulf News expresses its deepest condolences at the passing away of P.C.Ummer. An active community reporter and voice of the people, he helped raise many important issues to the fore. He won community report awards over the years for his work.

The most recent example was his report, ‘Abu Dhabi bus stops falling apart’, that was published on April 21, 2013. He raised the issue of ignored bus stops and lack of air-conditioned shelters for passengers in the Markaziya area in Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi. Four months later, new bus shelters had been constructed in the area.

Our prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need.

Obituary - P.C. Ummer - end of a Community conscious citizen

With profound sadness, informing you all of the demise of P.C.Ummer at Abu Dhabi this morning. Please pray for the peace of the departed soul.

with prayers,

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Changing life - Gulf Today - Short Take - 12 July 2014

Changing life

Today, I am in an uneasy frame of mind. While parting is difficult, departing is more difficult.

The first is about my home in Abu Dhabi. It was my home away from home and I had been living in that flat for about 14 years now. My house and the neighbourhood were dear to me.

The building was old with limited facilities and age took its toll. It was declared uninhabitable by the municipality. All the tenants had to look for accommodation elsewhere.

They say, a change is an opportunity. I parted with many old items that I had earlier thought I couldn’t live without. It was a difficult choice to select and pack what I wanted and what I didn’t.

Finally, I moved in to a new place. I am confident I will soon blend in here.

The second one is about a college mate. During our college days we were actively involved in literary and cultural activities, as well as student welfare issues. After graduation, we didn’t know whether our paths would meet again.

I regularly contributed to community issues through reports in local dailies. As I followed the news with keen interest, I noticed a familiar name appearing in the same columns.

Recognising the identity of the person, I gathered his address and contacted him.

It was none other than my college mate whom I thought I would never meet again.

We travelled almost the same path with regards to community issues. Many of our suggestions helped the administrative authorities rectify issues identified without delays.

A few years ago he confided in me about being diagnosed with cancer.

A man of strong will, he did not discuss much about it. He kept himself cheerful and participated in activities of the India Social and Cultural Center and other associations.

Last week, I came to know that he was in the ICU struggling for his life. It was difficult to meet him at the ward in his partially conscious state.

It has been almost a week now and he remains in the same critical condition. We keep hoping that he will recover and return to his normal self.

Treatment for cancer is very expensive and it is high time authorities in all countries came out with subsidised treatment for cancer patients.

Ramesh Menon

Gulf Today, Short Take – 12 July 2014

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

One more victim

One of my close friends and college mate is in a critical condition, fighting for life at a prominent hospital in Abu Dhabi. We travelled the same path in college, working for the magazine committee and other cultural and sports activities. After a long gap, I found him back here through the columns of Gulf News and surprisingly he too took several pressing community issues with the authorities and highlighted it through the Community Report section. This evening, he is fighting for his life, one another victim of Cancer. Please, please pray for his speedy recovery. I really do not want to see him going back this way this soon.

With tearful prayers for him.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Monday, 7th July 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

Of writing skills and technology - Khaleej Times - 7 July 2014

Of writing skills and technology

/ 7 July 2014

This is in response to the write-up “Get it Write”. It gave an interesting reading and insight to a pressing problem. The advent of technology is already in its successful path of killing the art of writing using pen and pencil. It is, indeed, a dangerous situation.
Concurring with the observation of Nishad Sayyed, I really feel bad to see little children tagging along parents mending their ways either on the iPhone or iPad. To make children familiar with the technology from an early age is good. However, making them totally addicted and dependent on them is to be pondered.
The result of the lack of interest in promoting writing at an early age is seen by the reduction of children participating in activities related to writing poetry or short stories. Time and effort has to be devoted to change this situation. How many parents and teachers take an effort in this direction may bring about the intended improvement. How can it be done has to be the next step of this important focus.
How difficult is it now for an expert to analyse a person when the art of writing itself is dying. I have been interested in this field for a long time and have been learning and collecting the handwritten scripts of those whom I come across for my study and analysis.
 It is common these days that we get to see children not expressing their mind through pen and pencil and use abbreviated terminologies to communicate through mobile or social media. To read their mind is not so easy as they get them enclosed into a shell by themselves.
What can we do next to see a change? Parents should make it a point to create an interest among children from a young age to start reading and writing in full and complete. On the other hand teachers and academicians of all types have a bigger role to teach them the importance of reading and writing it right.
Community organisations too have an important role to come out with competitions to encourage the development of literary skills.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit Khaleej Times online.

Friday, July 4, 2014

For greater good - Short Take - Gulf Today, Dt. 05 July 2014

For greater good

It has been a routine for me since some years to meticulously photograph places that I visit and activities I participate in, and to then post them on my Facebook group or share it with friends or followers on various social networks.

I do it for various reasons. First, is to improve my photography skills. The second is to promote the artist or the activity I attend and give a kind of selfless contribution to encourage them.

However, the most important reason is to share with my parents and immediate family, who live far away, these precious moments so that they may enjoy them as well.

In order to meet professional and personal commitments, I tend to face a tight schedule, and this method has helped me avoid a detailed explanation of how my day evolved.

An interesting fact that came to my notice was the different reactions of those who chose to be in my friends or followers list. Some of them consistently encourage me. Some remain completely silent, although they keenly observe every post of mine. And some others come up with constructive criticism, which I always take note of in a positive way and act according to merit.

Many a time this has resulted in a positive contribution to the society, whether it is here in the UAE or in India.

Some actions were dangerous, since I would report abnormal practices or dangerous situations. Before submitting these to relevant authorities or the media I have asked myself a hundred times whether or not I should submit them as community reports of significance. The option chosen does prove to be right as they resulted in intended positive outcome.

At times, there were detrimental remarks that held my thoughts and deeds from moving ahead. Working on them again and again, weighing them in a balance, I chose the positives rather than the negatives and carried on.

Why should I let my feelings known to others? Why should I not?

A difficult choice, this is always on my mind, each time I come out with something new.

I strive my best to keep my mind and thoughts to contribute to the betterment of those with me and around me in my community. The choice is therefore theirs, to be with me or not.

Be supportive and an occasional like, a supporting comment, or a share of my post among your friends or family will not do any harm. It’s an assurance you can trust on.

Ramesh Menon

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today, online