Saturday, September 27, 2014

Blood donation campaign with Abu Dhabi Blood Bank

Blood donation campaign with Abu Dhabi Blood Bank

A group of young volunteers celebrating the 61st birthday of their beloved guru and god mother conducted a blood donation camp at Abu Dhabi on Friday, 26th September 2014.

It was a huge success as residents from all sectors of life participated in it.

Each unit of donated blood saves the lives of three people.

There is a constant need for a regular supply of blood.

Medical staff from Abu Dhabi Blood Bank was present and the collection happened in the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Bus. About 120 people donated blood in this Social Responsibility initiative.

Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Bus

Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Bus

Volunteers donating blood

Volunteers donating blood

Volunteers donating blood

Volunteers donating blood

Volunteers donating blood

Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Bus

Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Bus

Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Bus

Abu Dhabi Blood Bank Bus

Those who wish to conduct similar campaigns may contact Abu Dhabi Blood Bank on +971 2 8191700.

Onam Sadhya at India Social and Cultural Centre Abu Dhabi

Onam Sadhya at India Social and Cultural Centre Abu Dhabi

If I say, Onam is celebrated more abroad than in Kerala, it may prove to be true.

The photos here are just one example of a collective effort that keralites do to celebrate Onam in the Gulf.

At India Social and India Social & Cultural Centre, Abu Dhabi it is extra special.

With all the utensils and ever ready volunteers and the guidance of experts, an Onam lunch for about 2000 plus guests is as simple as you make your breakfast at home in the morning.

I really have to praise the efforts of all those involved in serving a delicious lunch of this magnitude whenever it happens. Credits to all silent heroes who work hard and make these events a big success.

26 September 2014

Marching ahead - Gulf Today - Short Take Dt 27 September 2014

Marching ahead

India has successfully launched an orbiter to Mars. But even during such good times, one can see grumblers raising their head. Someone opined that India should have put a national flag on the spacecraft!

These are not achievements that should be credited as individual or country-specific. These are for the welfare and progress of mankind.

There are other achievements happening too. A group of five Emirati students went on a scholarship programme organised by the French Embassy, Image Nation and Total to study film making at the prestigious La Femis Institute in Paris.

During their five-week stay, they literally learned the state-of-the-art technology and also what life is in a metropolitan European city suburb.

The funniest thing for them was the interaction one of them had with a group of local people. He was enthusiastic and made friendship with some people in his neighbourhood.  As he left them and moved to his apartment, he realised something missing. It was his mobile phone. He knew by then what happened with the new friends and their methods.

He used another phone and called on his number. Promptly, someone speaking Arabic answered. He said, “I know it is you calling for the phone. It is with me now and I took it from you.”

Our gleeful friend thanked him wholeheartedly.

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

TOTAL sponsors emirati students to study film making at La Fémis Film School

TOTAL sponsors emirati students to study film making at La Fémis Film School
 in Paris

From Left to right: Mr. Mohamed Bendjebbour, Regional Audiovisual Attaché – Embassy of France, Ms. Fatma AlKhumiri, Communications & CSR Manager TOTAL E&P United Arab Emirates, Shahad Alshehhi, Bader AlKetbi, Ayham Hasan Qayed Saeed AlSubaihi, Mohammad Ibrahim Ali Suwaidan, Shaqra Mohamed Ali Sultan Al Hameli and Ramesh Menon,Communication Co-ordinator, TOTAL E&P United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi, August 6th, 2014: Five Emirati students will fly to Paris this week to embark on an intensive course at one of the world’s most prestigious filmmaking schools.

The students, who come from all over the UAE, will join the specially-tailored Gulf Summer University Program at La Fémis School. All five went through a rigorous recruitment process conducted by Image Nation in association with the French Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the French multinational oil and gas company Total.

As part of the program, the aspiring filmmakers will take part in an intensive five-week curriculum of creative workshops that are designed to give students a complete understanding of the roles and tasks that are part of filmmaking today.

The students: Bader Khalfan Mohammed Al Ketbi, from Abu Dhabi; Ayham Hasan Qayed Saeed AlSubaihi, from Sharjah; Shahad Alshehhi, from Abu Dhabi; Shaqra Mohamed Ali Sultan Al Hameli, from Abu Dhabi; and Mohammad Ibrahim Ali Suwaidan, from Dubai have varying levels of filmmaking experience , but share the same passion to learn more about every element – from storytelling to final production.

Ayham Hasan Qayed Saeed AlSubaihi

“I have been lucky enough to study film in both the US and Australia, so to be given the opportunity to  practice in the birthplace of cinema is really exciting,” said Ayham Al Subaihi, one of the chosen five.

Shaqra Mohamed Ali Sultan Al Hameli 

“Working at the executive council, I’m already gaining great experience as a media specialist, but to get some hands-on practice at the acclaimed La Fémis school will allow me to develop my skills further, so that I will be able to do an even better job.” Added fellow student, Shaqra Al Hameli.

Michael Garin
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation, said of the students: “These incredibly talented young filmmakers have an exciting journey ahead of them. Understanding the process of how films get made is just as important as the making itself, and this program is a great opportunity for these students to learn and practice the crafts of the industry. The filmmaking industry is one where teamwork is essential, so attending the program as part of a ready-made crew will allow them to understand the importance of working together to achieve a great end result – which ultimately reflects on them all.”

Mohamed Bendjebbour

Mohamed Bendjebbour, Regional Audiovisual Attaché of the French Embassy added: “We are proud to be sending up and coming Emirati filmmaking talent to France for the Gulf Summer University Program. This is the first time that La Fémis has created a program dedicated specifically for the Gulf, so we are excited to see the outcome in five weeks’ time. This is both an educational and cultural experience for the students, so I encourage them to embrace Paris as much as possible – get to know the city, check out the outdoor cinema and learn as much as they can.”

Fatma AlKhumiri

Fatma AlKhumiri, Communications and CSR Manager, Total EP, United Arab Emirates said “Nurturing young Emirati filmmaking talent is integral to the development of the industry here in the UAE and we are thrilled to be part of that, along with Image Nation and the French Embassy.” 

Located in the historic Pathé Studios in the center of Paris, La Fémis is ranked as one of the top ten film schools by Hollywood Reporter. The students lucky enough to be selected for the program will be taught filmmaking theory and practical skills by top tutors in the industry. Trainees will also have the opportunity to discover contemporary French cinema through the study of important French directors. 

My sincere congratulations and best wishes to this dream five, whom I wish to see among the pioneers of the film industry in United Arab Emirates in the coming years.

Ayham Hasan Qayed Saeed AlSubaihi
Shaqra Mohamed Ali Sultan Al Hameli

Bader Khalfan Mohammed Al Ketbi

Shahad AlShehhi

Mohammad Ibrahim Ali Suwaidan

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Photos and news courtesy: Image Nation & TOTAL

Monday, September 22, 2014

Charting an epic Arabian Voyage of Discovery

Charting an epic Arabian Voyage of Discovery - 

Introducing the Abu Dhabi Ocean Race Sailing

August 11,2014. Five Volvo Ocean Race boats in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race.
                                                                  ©Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 is a potent blend of experience and exciting new talent which includes several familiar faces from the last campaign as well as some newcomers.

New race rules have reduced the number of sailors from 11 down to just eight this time around. However, just like last time the teams will have an on board reporter to keep our fans up to date with everything that goes on while Azzam is at sea.

Donning Abu Dhabi crew uniforms for the second consecutive time are under-30 helmsman and trimmer Adil Khalid (United Arab Emirates), navigator and helmsman Simon Fisher (Great Britain) and bowman Justin Slattery (Ireland).

Making their first appearances in ADOR colours are helmsman and trimmer Phil Harmer (Australia), pitman & boat captain Daryl Wislang (New Zealand) and under-30 bowman and helmsman Luke Parkinson (Australia).

Completing Walker’s lineup is Spanish sailing legend and five-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran Roberto Bermudez de Castro. Better known as ‘Chuny’, the Spaniard has and amazing pedigree in the race, having finished outside the top three on only one occasion in his five campaigns.

The team’s second under-30 sailor is Australia’s Luke Parkinson whose track record includes a an Olympic 49er campaign and representing his country at the 2014 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in San Francisco. In contrast to his crewmates, this will be Parkinson’s first ever Volvo Ocean Race.

Backing up the sailing team in a non-sailing coaching capacity is ADOR Performance Manager Neal McDonald, one of the most highly respected round the world sailors who has five Volvo Ocean Races to his name.

Content courtesy: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Setting an example - Gulf Today - Short Take Dt. 20 September 2014

Setting an example

During a recent visit to Bangalore, I had the opportunity to meet the head of the department at the college where my son is studying.

I was expecting a senior man with a firm face and no smile. As the attendant took me to his office, I was pleasantly surprised. There sits in that responsible seat a man in the early forties, who greeted me with a welcome smile.

Talking to me about the student behaviour, he narrated an example. He quoted to me the sadhya, i.e. the traditional feast we have.

He said, “Education is like the rice in the sadhya served along with numerous other items like pickle and curries.”

One cannot fill his stomach by consuming the pickle or curries. He has to have rice to satisfy his hunger and be happy. Education is just like that. A student in a professional college should take it seriously and consider it the most important phase in his life till he passes out in the first attempt.

Other activities like partying etc. should be given a secondary spot in his daily life. Only then will he be able to enjoy life. Once he passes out with a good score and secures employment with a decent pay package, all the fun activities will follow suit.

If he ignored education, he will face enormous difficulties.

I was impressed by his attentiveness to minute details of each of his students, from first year to final year, in his department.

Having studied in the same college, worked outside and returning to the same college to head the Mechanical Engineering department, Prof. Ravishankar showed a complete belongingness of the institution.

Educationists like him are an asset to the community.

Ramesh Menon
To read it in original, please visit, Short Take, Gulf Today Dt 20 September 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Get ready for the VOLVO Ocean Race 2014

August 29,2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing arrival to Alicante.
                                                                                 ©Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Get ready for the VOLVO Ocean Race 2014 

Our race is all about the people bold enough to compete in it. Discover who our sailors are, where they come from and how they made the cut to take part in this round-the-world adventure.
In 2014-15, an all-female crew will race against Volvo Ocean Race veterans and first-time rookies. You will see sailors from China, from America, from the Netherlands, Abu Dhabi and Spain – and even more will be announced in the next few months.

These teams will commence battle on the water on October 4, 2014 – follow us as they embark on this great challenge!

What does a Volvo Ocean Race crew look like?There are eight sailors plus one non-sailing multimedia reporter onboard the standard teams.
All-women teams can race with 11 sailors plus one non-sailing multimedia reporter.
Each team must race with two crew members born after 1st October 1984, the “Under 30s.”
And all boats have to qualify by sailing 2,000nm non-stop (3,700km).

The race will reach Abu Dhabi leg in the first week of December, 2014

Village Opening: December 12, 2014

Estimated arrival of the boats*: December 11 - 15, 2014

In-Port Race: January 2, 2015

Leg start: January 3, 2015

Watch out for extensive coverage at

View the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi leg highlights at team1dubai channel

Follow the news on Twitter +Volvo Ocean Race 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Need for Speed Breakers before Kadugodi Over Bridge

The connecting road from Hoskote to Hope Farm area of Whitefield Bangalore has been relayed beautifully by the authorities. The work has been done in such a way  that the road till the Kadugodi Over Bridge is smooth and in a normal drivable condition as any other standard road. However, this is only on one side. The opposite side of the road still has patches done on a temporary basis that a heavy rain followed by a few heavy trucks can bring it back to the old dangerous condition.

The danger here is not any of these. With the completion of the road work, the traffic has gained momentum in terms of speed. This includes the buses and heavy trucks. A U-turn exists near the bridge making it easy for residents of nearby communities to cross over to the other side of the road. However, the removal of a speed breaker that existed is now causing lot of inconvenience and nearby situations for the drivers to turn and proceed. The bikes, trucks and buses are all in a hurry and neither stop nor reduce the speed!. There is also another serious danger of children from an apartment complex nearby crossing over the road to take their school bus.

Hope, the responsible authorities open their eyes immediately on this serious HSE issue and resolve it by a standard and non-life threatening speed breaker before the U-Turn.

There is one more activity that has to be noted and actions to be taken to avoid dangers and inconvenience to traffic. It is the use of this road by heavy trucks. Many times they breakdown on the bridge causing traffic delays. Control measures have to be made to keep these trucks away from this road till Hope Farm area.

Accidents have to be averted by taking necessary safety measures before and not after they have happened and valuable life lost.

Ramesh Menon

15 September 2014

Who will clean the bridge? - Kadugodi Railway Pedestrian Over Bridge - a HSE issue in the making!

Very soon we will be celebrating the 1st birthday of the Kadugodi Pedestrian Overbridge.

Each time I visit and walk through it, I remember the efforts done to have it a reality.

Like every other government or public sector initiatives, this too have its own perils and problems now.

First and foremost is the accumulation of waste all along. A day after a rain, it is very difficult to walk across due to the smell of the decomposition of leaves and other materials, including excreta of human or animals!

Lack of adequate lighting facilities are another problem that is dangerous to all, especially women and children who has to use it during late hours.

Add to it, the line up of small time vendors, who are increasing one by one and making it there own!

Who will do the regular maintenance and cleaning of the bridge? may be a question asked between various authorities involved? Is it the BBMP who is responsible? Or is it the Railway authorities? While they continue to discuss and delay before coming on to a decision and action, let us join hands together and do something urgently.

October 2nd  (Gandhi Jayanthi) is nearing. Why not include the cleaning of Kadugodi Railway Pedestrian Over Bridge as one your Social Responsibility activity associated with it.

Thanks to Sri Balasubramaniam of Golden Blossom Apartment who pointed out to this HSE issue in our area.

Ramesh Menon
15 September 2014