Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mind Speaks - Importance of Learning the Basics - story of Raghu and Appu

I hope you all read what is posted here periodically. Today, I am posting an earlier write-up of mine (done in 2008). Thought of submitting here as the content may be of interest to some of you.

Look forward to your comments.


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Importance of Learning the Basics - story of Raghu and Appu

Eid Al Fitr is over and the holy week of Navaratri is on. As I wrote here earlier, I was really enjoying each moment of this year’s Eid break. Traveling with the minds of a group of creative children, I was literally following the management mantra for happiness - enjoy each moment of what you are doing and find happiness in whatever you do.

This is a week dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi and let me come to you with a true life story happened.

It was not very long ago. And as usual, it happened in my home state Kerala. There was a master who taught Tayambaka (a percussion form of performing arts using chenda – the traditional Keralite drums). He was a legend and had many students. It is not very easy to learn this instrument and students have to practice first, on a stone with wooden sticks before they were given an opportunity to play on the real drum. At one stage he had two students who came to him to learn this art. One boy, let us call him Raghu, who had a flare for percussion instruments, joined our master to learn this art along with his friend Appu.

Day’s passed, weeks passed, the master made both of them play only the basics steps on the stone, repeatedly as the students came for their class each day. Those were the days which students have to come every day to learn and practice an art or a subject of knowledge from their Gurus residence. It was not like now, when you find an hour per week for an art at one institute or one master’s place and sit and then rush to the other class the same day or the next day and try to seek a different subject or art from a different master. It is all capsule form of learning arts now.

After a couple of months continuing with the basic steps, and not happy with the way he was being denied of an opportunity to switch to the real drums to play, Raghu asked his master, why he was being sidelined?

Whereas, Appu was quite and totally followed whatever his master taught him daily and practiced it home too.

One day, impatient as ever he is, Raghu argued with his master, Sir, I feel I am proficient enough to play in real times. Why don't you give me an opportunity to prove it?.

The master smiled and said, ok, both you and Appu started together. So both of you come with your drums on Sunday to the temple with me for a performance. Only one condition, you should show the confidence and concentration to play without missing even a single beat for the entire duration of the performance.

Accepting the challenge, the students came with their drums to join the master and his team. For traditional way of performing a Tayambaka, the lead player will be accompanied by a group of others, who plays accompanying beats in rhythm and they follow several routines. The master before the performance began, announced that today he is going to introduce his two students to perform for the first time. While carrying on his praise for his students, the intelligent and observant master also announced that for the first time he will introduce a new method of performance where the students will switch in between their performance and not play throughout.

With lots of enthusiasm both Raghu and Appu started playing with the group and Raghu was smiling in full glee looking at the master and the others how he was managing. The performance started well and as the stage progressed along with it, Raghu started getting cramps on his hands and legs. The Chenda he was carrying was very huge for his age and he was getting to realize the feel of performing live with focus and concentration. Sweat particles started coming in and body was itching here and there. However, he had to hold on to his master’s words of guidance to never miss even a beat while performing. It was significant too, as a second delay in any of the beat will be realized by all and he will be exposed.

The master too, as ever watching his student’s each movements, noticing the twists and twirls of his student. All the instructions and communications between the performers on stage happened through eye contacts, master told Raghu to switch over with Appu, who was playing in the second line that time, concentrating on his rhythmic beats rather than the lead beats.

Appu, bowing his master, came forward and continued from there on. The master gave him opportunity to transfer from one stage to another in tempo and beats while performing. Alt throughout the leraning time, he had been concentrating on the basic notes, and during those precious time he was with his master, Appu was listening to various types of beats and rhythms his master was practicing and was playing and visualizing them all in his mind during his free times. When the time came to perform live, and when he finished the initial stage phobia, Appu was slowly transforming into his creative elements automatically. Constant practice had given him focus, strength for his hands and stamina to play longer and in higher tempo and everyone who watched him perform thoroughly enjoyed.

What to tell, by the time, the performance was completed, all present realized who the real student was and also the value of learning thoroughly the basics before putting it into practice. Both Raghu and Appu prostrated in front of their master and Raghu apologized to him profusely for his over enthusiasm.

In real life, we get to see many students like this. Some are over enthusiastic and try to forget to learn the basics thoroughly. Some, of them, even if they know the basics, get carried away from it, due to other obstructions. As I wrote here earlier, this is the time when many children get to learn a new art, craft or talent. Dear Children, and Dear Parents, do not rush to get to see your children perform in the real life and real scenes. Give them time and favorable environment to learn the basics. There will be many instances when you will be tempted by influences to enroll your child to perform without learning and mastering the basics. It will kill the creativity and in-born artistic talents in your child to improvise on their own at a later stage.

Wishing every child and every parent who reads this article a Happy Navarathri, blessed Vijaya Dashmi, Vidhyarambam and a successful saga of continuous and sustained learning.

Ramesh Menon
07102008

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Team 1 Daily LAWS - Air India ...... Spare India

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Onam sadhya 2009 at ISC Abu Dhabi - 25 September 2009

Onam sadhya 2009 at ISC Abu Dhabi - 25 September 2009


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shiveli at Kollur Mookambika Temple

Shiveli at Kollur Mookambika Temple

video

It is Navarathri time and Hindus all over pray to different forms of Devi during the days of Navarathri, for peace, prosperity, vigour etc etc. One particular temple stands out in terms of devotees during Navaratri in terms of devotees and that is Kollur Mookambika temple. Devotees, especially those who are interested in arts, music and all literary forms pray to Mookambika Devi for blessings in abundance for prosperity in their chosen field. During my recent visit I had an opportunity to visit the temple and it was the Shiveli (procession) time. During this procession, the idol of Mookambika Devi is carried on head by the chief priest and it happened that when he reached the main entrance where I was staying, he started conversing with a person accompanying him so that the idol on top was pointing directly towards my direction where I was standing and recording this video. May be the goddess had in mind that time to give darshan indirectly to all her devotees worldwide through this medium. Submit the same with prayers and pranams at the lotus of feet of goddess saraswathi.

MAHA LAKSHMI ASHTAKAM
(The sloka chanted by Indra)

Indra Uvacha: Namasthesthu Mahamaye Sreepeethe Surapoojithe Sankha Chakra Gada Hasthe Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe

Indra speaks: I offer my worship to Maha Lakshmi, who symbolizes the great illusion and who is worshipped by all Devas. I worhip Maha Lakshmi who resides in Sri Peetam and who carries Sanku(Conch), Chakram(Disk) and Gadha(Club) in her hand.

Indra Uvacha: Namasthe Garudaroodhe Kolasura Bhayankari Sarva Papa Hare Devi Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe

Indra speaks: I offer worship to the one who has Garuda bird as her vehicle and who was feared by even Demon "Kola". I worship Maha Lakshmi who destroys all sadness.

Indra Uvacha: Sarvagne Sarva Varade Sarva Dushta Bhayankari, Sarva Duhkha Hare Devi Maha Lakshmi Namosthute

Indra speaks: I offer worship to the one who is all knowing, giver of all boons, remover of all dangerous enemies. I worship Maha Lakshmi who is remover of all afflictions.

Indra Uvacha: Siddhi Buddhi Pradhe Devi Bhukthi Mukthi Pradayini Manthra Moorthe Sada Devi Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe

Indra speaks: Maha Lakshmi confers great powers, desires, good intellect, enjoyment and Liberation (heaven). I worship Maha Lakshmi who is the personification of all mantras and who is ever shining and radiant.

Indra Uvacha: Adyantharahithe Devi Adi Sakthi Mahesvari Yogaje yoga Sambhoothe Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe

Indra speaks: Maha Lakshmi is the one who is without beginning or end. She is the primordial energy and Maheswari. I worship Maha Lakshmi who was created out of yoga and who sustains yoga sakthi.

Indra Uvacha: Sthoola Sookshma Maharowdhre Mahasakthi Mahodhare Maha Pape Hare Devi Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe

Indra speaks: Maha Lakshmi represents both the gross and the subtle manifestations of life. She is very scary to the bad. She is the great energy. I worship Maha Lakshmi who destroys the greatest sins.

Indra Uvacha: Padmaasana Sthithe Devi Para Bramha Swaroopini Paramesi Jaganmathar Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe

Indra speaks: Maha Lakshmi who has lotus as her seat symbolizes the ultimate reality. I worship Maha Lakshmi who is Parameswari and the mother of the universe.

Indra Uvacha: Svethambharadhare Devi Nanalankara Booshithe Jagat Stithe Jaganmathar Maha Lakshmi Namosthuthe

Indra speaks: Wearing white clothes Devi Maha Lakshmi is adorned completely with jewels. I worship Maha Lakshmi who is the omnipresent Devine Mother.

Palasruthi:

Maha Lakshmi Ashtakam Stotram
Ya: patheth Bhakthiman Naraha
Sarva Siddhi Mavapnothi Rajyam Prapnothi Sarvadha
Yeka Kalam Pathem Nithyam Maha Papa Vinasanam
Dwi Kalam Ya: Pathen Nithyam
Dhana Dhanya Samanvithaha
Thri kalam Ya:Pathen Nithyam
Maha Shathru Vinasanam
Maha Lakshmir Baven Nithyam
Prasanna Varadha Subha


Benefits of Chanting this Sloka: The one who chants the above sloka with devotion will get all desires fulfilled and will inherit great land. Chanting this sloka once daily destros all sins. Chanting this sloka twice daily will bring the devotee wealth and grains. Chanting this sloka three times a day will help destroy powerful enemies. It will always enable to obtain the direct, auspicious grace of Maha Lakshmi.

Devotees are urged to learn the proper pronunciation of the sloka with the help of someone who knows the Sanskrit version

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Performers at a shopping mall during Eid 2009

Performers at a shopping mall during Eid 2009 A set of Lebanese performers during Eid days at a shopping mall. The fun part of this photo was - there were hardly any audience to watch these two performing (probably that is what they were trying to convey through the phone and their facial expressions) where as an adjacent standwith a Jordanian group had a big crowd to cheer them. Enjoy viewing the photos and watching the video.
video

FEKCA Onam 2009 - Kerala Colleges Alumni Onam Celebration details

FEKCA Onam 2009 - Kerala Colleges Alumni Onam Celebration details





Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eid programmes at Kerala Social Centre Abu Dhabi

Eid programmes at Kerala Social Centre Abu Dhabi

Members and families of Kerala Social Centre Abu Dhabi celebrated Eid 2009 with it's full harmony and joy. Here are some pictures from the cultural programmes organised by members this evening.









My Letters - Gulf Today - Wrong attitude

My Letters - Gulf Today - Wrong attitude


To read my letters to the news, please bookmark and visit Letters to the Editor

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Letters - Khaleej Times - All set to handle the crowd

My Letters - Khaleej Times - All set to handle the crowd

I always write about the positive aspects of photography and it's influence on our self to elevate our mind. I believe that interest in photography give a cutting edge to a person to be alert for opportunities and value each and every second that is available. This photo is an example of such a precious moment. At the Terminal 3 of Dubai airport, just after the Iftar on an evening, with not many flights landed and being the first few to reach for the immigration counters, I suddenly noticed a golden scene in front of me. For those who travel through Dubai airport, they will realise the importance of it as they will always find a long queue of passengers lined up for immigration check.

Playing in the mind is another important point which I wish to convey through this photo. One doesn't need a high tech camera to come out with excellent pictures. It's all in the mind and the knowledge of the equipment at your disposal. Like a quick run out on a cricket field or a quick shift of gears on our bike or even sudden change of beats on the Tabala according to varying and demanding situations we come across. One needs to listen and observe carefully every opportunity available and play it in the mind several times and then practise without inhibition and then when that precious moment comes, you will never miss it.

God bless, Keep clicking and have a great day ahead.

Ramesh Menon
17092009

To read my letters to the news, please bookmark and visit Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Calling it a day - Mail from a fellow community journalist based in UAE

Calling it a day - Mail from a fellow community journalist based in UAE

All Clients,Friends and well wishers,

I am sincerely thanking you all for the support given to me in my Profession and motivation for my writing.Eventhough I am Departing from this Goldenopportunity country in the Middle of October to my Home town Chennai,My memory will bealways with you ,because i have spent 16, Glorious years,till the Metro is on the wheels. I am giving below my Mail id as well my blogs which I want your continuous motivation,to present better in the days to come.

write2ragavan@yahoo.com
write2ragavan.wordpress.com
www.ragavan-creativity.blogspot.com

with warm regards.

K.Ragavan.



Dear Ragavan Sir,

We travel by bus or train on a regular basis and interact with a fellow passenger on the way inside or during our walk to the station and then it becomes an everlasting friendship or bondage. Ours have been a similar one. We met through the columns of Khaleej Times, Gulf News, Gulf Today and The National and although I got to know you and interact with you at this later part of your stay in the UAE, it has been a short and sweet one. Our objectives have been more or less the same, i.e. to react pro-actively for the welfare of the society around us. This is a continuous process, and I am sure, wherever you go, you will not be able to stay away from it. Loss of UAE, is going to be a blessing for Chennai and India.

Good luck Sir for your retirement life and God bless you to have many more peaceful, prosperous and socially active years ahead.

Ramesh Menon
Abu Dhabi

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kadugodi Fly Over - A need for Bridging a commuting gap

Kadugodi Fly Over - A need for Bridging a commuting gap



Being a resident of Kadugodi village, whitefield area, I always have to depend on the Whitefield railway gate to go across to the main town. The fly over to ease the smooth flow of traffic at the Kadugodi area / Whitefield station, which is situated just in front of the Sai Baba ashram has been remaining incomplete for a considerable period of time. Every train passing through the station, a lot of man hours is being wasted, waiting for the railway gate to be opened for another couple of minutes of traffic flow, before a train arrives. This is to be considered as this road connects the village to Whitefield and has an easy access towards the airport road and many prominent institutions situated in and around. Precious time lost by all every time they use this road, without any sign of this incomplete work being carried out in the near future enabling smooth passage too and fro. Photo of the incomplete bridge is attached herewith.



Through a series of email and news postings, I sincerely request authorities to consider completion of this essential fly over for general public without any further delay.

Thanking you in advance and sincere regards to all your excellent administrative and public convenience measures.

Ramesh Menon
Team 1 Blogs

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Letters - GULF NEWS - Reader Pictures of the day

My Letters - GULF NEWS - Reader Pictures of the day



It is interesting to participate in competitions as it gives an idea to where we stand, even if we ends up as a loser. With this always in mind, I regularly participate in various opportunities in the field of photography, writing, drawing or playing percussion instruments or even sports to make a self assessment. I was surprised to receive an sms as earl as 6:30 am yesterday from my friends and emails also after seeing the above photos coming in print in the Gulf News Daily. There was no mention, other than Ramesh Menon and Abu Dhabi and of course their title "extremely active community journalist". As one of them said to me quoting the old saying from Mahabharatha - if it is Kheechaka then, it is Bhima who killed him, we were sure it is you only, whether it is a photo or an article for the need of public facilities.


True, I do care about the society around, whether it is here in the UAE, or back home in Kerala or at Bangalore. Thank you all for your continued support.

Team 1 blogs and the thoughts and messages through it is slowly evolving as an inspiring group of members, who not only react to the anomalies happening around but also come out with progressive measures for the benefit of the society. More than that it the assurance that we are there for those who need, when they are in need. We can and Together we try.

God bless and have a great day ahead.


Ramesh Menon
14092009


To read my letters to the news, please bookmark and visit Letters to the Editor

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Passionate Photography Thoughts - Photos that speaks


Passionate Photography Thoughts - Photos that speaks

Dear Friends,

First of all let me welcome our new members who joined the Passionate Photographers group since my last communication with you. As the name denotes this is a group intended to ignite your passion for photography. How this group and your presence as a member can fuel the growth of your photography knowledge and photographic output depends on your active involvement within. Please therefore read the limited number of discussion threads present here to get a basic idea of interactions happening here.

Our interest in photography make us curious onlookers of any photo posts either in print or web media. Many times some of the best creations are produced by experts with the latest equipment available to them. It may be wide variety of lenses, lighting equipments or even models or subjects who are professionals to modulate the subjective topic into a magical visual experience. However , many of us do not have these advantage factors and the same should never hold us from continuing our passion to go in without inhibition and capture that magical and price moment which comes in front of you.

How can you do it? This is where an open attitude towards this hobby and creative activity comes in. Many of us are fond of cricket. Now imagine getting a chance to play at the beautiful Sheikh Zayed cricket stadium for a T20 match. A golden opportunity from out of the blue. You get to bowl only 24 genuine balls against your opposition. It is here your mind plays the key role. If you have been a player who plays cricket, you always play the game in your mind several times. The situations, the pros and cons, the weather conditions, the batsman whom you may play against. All those things are practiced and perfected in mind. Also your own positives and negatives, the effectiveness of your equipment like bat and other gears. All the factors compares to a photographic opportunity which comes to you suddenly.

Imagine you have a digital camera which is not a very high end model. First thing for you is to study it’s numerous features and their effectiveness on different light situations and surroundings. For this you have to keep on clicking, changing each and every option and testing it out. Like the bowler, who bowls numerous overs in the nets and perfect that unplayable Yorker, doosra or theesra or whatever, you too have to test the various options several times. This will make you comfortable and quick fingered to change the settings to the required mode to capture your object within the minutest of seconds available. In photography, seconds or milliseconds are precious. It teaches you the importance of time within time. This is why I say and propagate, those who are interested in photography, normally succeed in all other fields of life.

Constant practice make you comfortable and experienced with your equipment. Like the same way you change gears on a fast track, you will be able to switch over to various modes within the applicable precious seconds available at your disposal. This is how you get to see extremely interesting photographic moments captured by photo journalists. Regular members of photography related groups can visualize the amount of devoted effort by professional photographers to give us a golden moment. Examples like a boy jumping into a running bus, an mad elephant attacking a man, a sprinter finishing the race etc are some of them.

Lighting is another important factor that aides to a perfect picture. What do we do, if we are not equipped with specialized lighting equipments. What more you need than the natural and greatest light providers – i.e the Sun and the moon. Through constant observation, a photography enthusiast will be able to learn about different light options available during different times of the day and night. Your photography life becomes easy once you start understanding these natural settings better. Positioning yourself in the right spot to gain the advantage of these lights will then do wonderful effect your otherwise normal equipment and settings. By constant practice and observations you will learn the best settings for any particular scene to look priceless.

Observe closely each and every photo you get to see, especially of experts and professionals. Play the settings in your mind like a bowler and you will never know when that priceless moments comes clicking in front of you. Try it and your Photo will definitely speak the next time.

Our growth has been slow, but steady. A look at the photo section of the Passionate Photographers prove how we all grow each day. We can see several examples from passionate photographers.

I sincerely look forward to your comments and guidance notes from experts who are members here. Mere onlookers will never do good for the growth and knowledge share of this community. I repeat what I wrote in my previous communication about the accidental death of my brother in law holds good here also. Timely interactions and active involvement is extremely important for keeping the pulse of a community clicking along. If you are a professional with experience, please do not remain an unworthy onlooker. This is my sincere request.

God bless and have Passionate Photographic days ahead.

Ramesh Menon
10092009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Public Safety concerns - Measures required to control the speeding of cars carrying Ministers and other government officials

Public Safety concerns - Measures required to control the speeding of cars carrying Ministers and other government officials





My Letters - GULF NEWS - Make dreams come true

My Letters - GULF NEWS - Make dreams come true


To read my letters to the news, please bookmark and visit Letters to the Editor

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ramadan lightings - Abu Dhabi Corniche Street

Ramadan Lightings at Abu Dhabi Corniche Street. In order to welcome the holy month of Ramadan, Corniche Street, one of Abu Dhabi's major drive way, is decorated with beautiful lightings. Traffic is light during the post Iftar time and here is a video taken by my wife Rajashree during a pleasant evening drive, with our favorite music on.
video

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - Anxious wait for taxis and buses

Anxious wait for taxis and buses
With schools starting and most expatriates back from holidays, we are facing the same old problem: no taxi or bus available in the morning. During post-iftar time, the scene is no different. Everywhere, huge crowds wait anxiously for a taxi or bus to come. I request the authorities consider more transport services during peak hours.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Anxious wait for taxis and buses

To read my letters to the news, please bookmark and visit Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Taste It - Sweet and soft Coconut Vada


Taste It - Sweet and soft Coconut Vada

I believe cooking as an art. I enjoy doing it as I do passionately several other hobbies. Starting on this auspicious day of Onam, a new series for my blog. Taste It. A delicacy each time, tested and tasted. Hope to recieve your comments.


Sweet and soft Coconut Vada



Ingredients:

- Fresh Coconut grated – 4 nos
- Jaggery – 500gms
- Ghee – 25gms
- Roasted cashew nut
- cardamom powder add to taste


Take jaggery in pan, add water and boil it to melt it uniformly so that it forms a smooth syrup. Sieve it well so that any unwanted particles of stone etc are removed from it.

Now add this jaggery syrup to a heavy bottomed pan and keep it on medium heat.

Once it starts boiling, add the freshly grated coconut to this syrup solution.

Stir continuously and let the coconut cook well in the jaggery syrup.

Add the ghee and cardamom powder to this syrup.

You may add little water if the mixture is looking too dry.

Keep stirring until the mixture comes close to a thick form.

Turn off the heat and keep it aside for few minutes.

When the mixture is still warm grease your palm with ghee and start making small oval or round shaped vadas with the mixture.

Display it nicely on a plate and then garnish each one of them by placing a roasted cashew nut on top.

Enjoy your Onam or Iftar evening with a Taste It recipe and let me have your comments. I dedicate the first of the series to the Sharadechi, wife of late M N Vijayan. This was one of the delicacies she served to us when we visited her during our recent holidays.