Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Photo Speaks - Story of Madhu and Sharada at Uduppi Sri Krishna temple

Photo Speaks - Story of Madhu and Sharada at Uduppi Sri Krishna temple

During our recent summer holidays, we had an interesting tour of South India by road. Kollur Mookambika temple and Uduppi Sri Krishna temple were two destinations amongst it.

On reaching Uduppi temple, we noticed that the temple was undergoing renovation works and hence I was unable to capture its beauty through my camera lenses. A look around suddenly attracted our attention to a beautiful temple elephant stationed next to the entrance, along with it’s mahout, a neatly dressed guy. It was an unusual site – a well dressed mahout!

A welcome change – and we also noticed that the elephant was blessing devoties with it trunk. My mother-in-law got excited and she wanted my son to get blessed. She wanted a picture taken too. I took my son near the elephant and asked the mahout in hindi, what should we do to get its blessing? He said, offer some dakshina in its trunk, and it will bless him. No dakshina no blessing. I said, no problems but I wanted to take a picture… He said, taking picture is not a problem, but make sure, the flash is off, but he was still reluctant seeing a professional camera in my hand. He said, better you not take any picture…

Murmuring in Malayalam, expressing my disappointment in a tone similar to – how many elephants we have in Trichur and how many elephant we have taken photos there, it is the first time, someone is saying like this… We don’t want a blessing like this… I walked back with my son. Suddenly, a call came from behind, chetta… no problems, you are a malayali, you can take photo.. I was surprised, because, he doesn’t look like a malayali at all. I went near to him, asked him, where he was from. He said, he was from nearby Guruvayoor, and his name Madhu. The elephant’s name is Sharadha. More talk, and he enquired about my whereabouts and when told that I was from Irinjalakuda, he told me that, he has once, worked as the mahout of the elephant who killed three devotees last year during Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam temple festival. He told me, how nice an animal it was, and sure that someone might have really provoked him to have done such a cruel and sad thing.

We became friends, and I handed a comparatively bigger note in my sons hand, to give to the elephant to get himself blessed. Positioned myself, as soon as he showed his little hand with the dakshina, the elephant stretched its trunk, collected the money, and in a flash, it swung it’s trunk to the hand of the mahout Madhu stationed close by and then reversed it and placed it on my sons head and retrieved. It all happened in a flash. I couldn’t get the shot clearly. Thought, ok, the mahout is a malayali, let him get some money from us, and gave again another note in my sons hand.. This time too, all actions happened in a flash.. No, myself and my family was not happy.

We requested once more to my son to undergo this blessing sequel to be repeated for an album shot. Suddenly, he expressed, his anger… Papa, you try now…. It’s trunk is very heavy, my head is aching… We realized, how serious and heavy it is and laughed a lot…

It pointed us to a reality. How dangerous is it to get knocked down by an elephant in anger!.

He obliged finally, and we gave one more note to our friends Madhu and Sharada. Blessed more than once, my son wanted to leave soon too. Luckily, I was able to capture it nicely the third time.

Madhu, seems to be enjoying his royal duty with Uduppi devasthanam. As do Sharada. We wished them good luck and moved on to our next destinations, that was Kukke Subramaniam temple… There was more fun waiting for us… Share it with you next time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - New Motorway full of fast drivers

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - New Motorway full of fast drivers

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mind Speaks - Be there with a word at the RIGHT time. Will you?

Mind Speaks - Be there with a word at the RIGHT time. Will you?

14 October 2009

I haven’t come to the Mind Speaks section of my English blogs for some time. It is not that my mind was not speaking or stopped speaking. It is due to the fact that it was speaking too much elsewhere that it didn’t get an opportunity to pass by this side. It was wearing different language and tone caps and expressing it thoughts and moods without any holds as it arrived.

But since few days I have been thinking over about this particular topic which I am writing here today. It was after one of my Face Book friends Sri Ramachandran Vettikkat wrote on his wall about the death of a fellow blogger named Jonavan (Naveen George) from Kuwait. It was a tragic and untimely demise. But, what happened after that is “his story world-wide”. Suddenly his blog became a sensation for media and readers around. Commenting on this sad plight, Sri Ramachandran wrote about his unhappy feelings on actions of fellow human beings around. I am sure this particularly emphasise appreciation towards creativity. The state is such that, either he/she has to die in an accident or commit suicide. This is what he expressed. Either of them is tragic and deplorable for the development of arts, fields and culture. I agreed with him totally in my reply. Although it is a cruel remark, it is the actual case now. In fact, it is true for every budding artist or talent - people tend to ignore when creativity is submitted and do not even raise a thumbs up or down, or a sentence of criticism or appreciation. I hope this attitude will change, and sincerely wish to see it changed.

We have seen it several times, over and over. The other day, when I posted a photo of Kapil Dev in the photo sections, I got a query from one reader, whether I know him or not? Who do not know him? No, that is not the right answer. I was lucky enough to be with him at the VVIP Stand of Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium some months ago during the SAARC UAE Exchange Cricket Tournament. When thoroughly convinced that he was at ease without any crowd hanging around and in a relaxed mood to speak, I joined him for a cup of tea. We were watching the match as it progressed. Conversation progressed and somehow it came to the topic of that beautiful stadium which remained empty even during the finals. I slowly directed him to the topic of IPL and ICL and asked him why ICL did not get the much required boost where as IPL managed a huge success. His answer to me was an eye opener. He expressed to me that it was lack of interest from the sponsors and also attitude by a certain section of people in authority. “Attitude” - even a man of Kapil Dev’s stature is subdued by this giant killer of creative harmony. It is a serious concern.

We all come from different walks of life, and walk past different routes and directions of it each day. During the same course, we come across several people and some remains within our mind for a longer time and some are easily forgotten. Certain actions by certain individuals will easily capture our admiration and then we follow them and certain others, they might have a slow start and we tend to ignore them totally.

It is time we think about how we could transform ourselves to a society that responds at the right time.

Each day brings out a joy of learning a thing new, irrespective of which side I get up, who double parks in front of my car, and who speeds and misses hitting my car while travelling between work and home. The world is growing in pace and volume and along with it the diverse culture and style. Even during the holy month of Ramadan, I witnessed women dressing scantly, people smoking discreetly, which a few years down the lane I could have never even imagined or seen. Several times I did ask myself, why public has a tendency to violate rules and values when they clearly know that these are not to be violated during this period to give respect to the religion and numerous people who follow it. May be I will be labelled crazy, if I discuss such things frequently. But, how can I resist expressing myself. No, never, I will never keep my thoughts within.

In my own personal experience to promote creativity without any commercial gains bearing solely the flag of TALENT SHARE, I have received support from several unknown sources. Faces whom I have never met, or even never personally communicated and have come forward and expressed their share of experience related with it. The idea behind this came to me as a spark. It happened on one evening, when a small child of 7 years old was brought to my home for assistance to develop an attitude for mathematics. A casual talk with the child and his parent made me realize the brilliance of this little boy who is being really put into test by his parents. Children these days are being forced upon to learn several talents at a younger age whether or not they are interested or have an affinity for them. Because, parents, or a relative or a friends child, or someone else is learning them and doing well, it becomes a necessity for many children to follow suite. Talks with several parents on the way across this programme I realised that many are not aware of what their child has naturally in him. Where is the time? Or, I have not seen him doing this or that? These were the answers about children from some of the parents. However, this was not the case with everyone. There are some who did find time to makes sure to sit with them, observe them, identify their liking and nurture them accordingly. I am with this group.

The influx of financial gains for participation in several talent shows have made it almost statutory for parents to teach their children with dance, music, or cricket. It is now almost a reality that you do not get to see anyone saying that oh, my child is good at painting or good at writing stories. Everything is in short from the childhood days. At the very young age which the child starts going to his play school and the tuition classes following it, he is given a mobile and there starts his membership in SMS (Short Minded Society) life style. Everything he sees and express is short. If this is the state now, I really wonder what it will be in a short time, when we will cease to see any stories, novels or poems? The electronic gaming devices have totally ruled out children from sharing their thought process to be expressed through their colouring or sketching medium.

It was all these thoughts and fears and also the liking for non-performing arts that made me work on such an initiative to identify and nurture those little ones who has it in them to take us to an entirely different world. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like performing arts and games. These days, I am excited like an expectant parent with a big belly in the good old days. I do not know whether there will be one healthy child, or many from this. As the traditional doctor with his experience carefully examines and declares that the patient has been well taken care during the various stages and child inside is showing a healthy movement, and declares to the parent, be confident, it is going to be a safe and successful delivery. I am sure you all will be keen to see the result too.

Birth obviously brings me to the topic of death. Recent times, I have gone through emotional stress due to the loss of a few close friends. Sometimes, we think, an accidental death is much easier than to have a painful and slow death. It is not the fear of dying, but the agony of seeing them suffering with pain and trauma. Aspects related to these deaths surfaced harsh realities in life. In both the cases, the people around them ignored them with timely assistance and support to their family. As the person on death bed was fighting with the pain, he was also suffering from added mental trauma of what will happen to his immediate family once the inevitable happens. No assistance from any side and the poor souls departed leaving several tasks incomplete. At this point arrives our social crusaders. Let me be positive here too. At least after the death, their eyes opened! May be they will see it from the heaven, if one such thing exists.

Heaven reminded me of speeding and hell. Due to several requirements, I have to travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai several times during each week. Each drive through Abu Dhabi Dubai highway is becoming a come back to life and normalcy. Drivers are too erratic and every time, I miss an opportunity from being hit from the back or the side, I feel, these drivers do not love to live for self. I am extremely sure they do not love public to live safe too. This is definitely a dangerous world and too short, if people carry an attitude towards his fellow human being.
Let this remark by my friend be an eye opener to all of us. Let us all act with courage, conviction and courteousness to appreciate and criticise a right or wrong at the RIGHT time.

This world is unpredictable, our friends or even ourselves will not be there to cherish our applauses if we don’t do it at the right time. It is time we think about how we could transform ourselves to a society that responds at the right time. Pass a smile; say a word of thanks whenever you have an opportunity. Show your presence and be there with a word at the RIGHT time. Will you?

Have a great day ahead,

Ramesh Menon

GOD for Goodness, i.e. Guru our Direction for Goodness, and that is G4Goodness.

GOD for Goodness, i.e. Guru our Direction for Goodness, and that is G4Goodness.

With pranams to all teachers, gurus, mentors, guides, I am offering another initative.

It is a tribute to all our teachers and gurus. You may use it to offer your words of thanks giving and tributes to your late and living guides.

Following the directions given by them, let us prosper in a world of positive thoughts and deeds of goodness blossom around with sharing of knowledge from one to another.

We all learn several subjects during the course of our life, first from school, then college, then from our professional and family life. During all these periods, we come across several teachers, mentors and of course Gurus, irrespective of caste or creed, size, color or thoughts. They all focus only on our benefit and our interactions with them were only to obtain the maximum source of knowledge intended to be passed on from them.

G4Goodness is aimed to highlight any such individuals, gurus, mentors, their teachings, our experiences with them, and what we thought would be beneficial for our friends and the future generation to benefit from all these knowledge transfer process happening each moment in our life.

At G4Goodness, you are welcome to post about any of your spiritual or educational teachers you follow or any mentors who have groomed you in your life to be the achiever that you are now.

Yes, in another way, it is a tribute to all our teachers and gurus. You may use it to offer your words of thanks giving and tributes to your late and living guides.

Following the directions given by them, let us prosper in a world of positive thoughts and deeds of goodness blossom around with sharing of knowledge from one to another.

Welcome to join G 4 Goodness.

Ramesh Menon

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Team 1 Daily LAWS - Obama gets Nobel Peace prize and No peace around - even for Navagrahas

Team 1 Daily LAWS - Obama gets Nobel Peace prize and No peace around - even for Navagrahas

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Passionate Photography Thoughts - Do you hear the tinggggg?

Passionate Photography Thoughts - Do you hear the tinggggg?

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled today because my memories are taking me to my childhood days, when I lived at my ancestral home at Oorakam near Trichur within a big joint family amongst a group of children of various ages within the family and surroundings. Not like these days, gifts and pocket money were occasional and we had to wait for either Onam, or Vishu to get a pair of new dress or some money within our pocket for utilising for our own dream requirement. Money those days remained within the boundaries of maximum of a one rupee coin, which was by itself huge. It came to us only during Vishu when we get Vishu Kai neettam (gift of coins by eldest member of the family). At our home, it was the right of Appettan, who is my grandmothers brother and eldest male member of the family to give this customary gift to all other family members including children. He keeps several coins with him of various denominations within the boundary of one rupee and distribute it to all according to age and his liking. Whatever the denomination we were all thrilled to get that precious gift from him on that auspicious day and very happily wait for it after our daily religious rituals.

Once we have this gift, all the boys turn group themselves and then go and get a rubber ball, to replace the existing old ones for us to play with. Those days, we used to get a medium 8 to 10 cm diameter sized for a nominal amount, and it was the only luxurious play item we all shared.

On some odd years, we had special appearances during these Vishu season by other senior male members of the family who were working outside of Kerala. So, as a mark of affection, they also discretely gave us additional coins of bigger denominations, even one rupee itself. This made a huge difference to all of us. We will then group ourselves and run to Devassy’s shop which is in the nearest town, that is Cherpu for a bigger ball, say about 25 cms diameter in size. The generous contribution means a lot. Bigger in size, bigger in temper, and the more reach it has. The “tingggggg” sound it produces when hit makes a huge thrill to all of us and the thrill of it keeps us grouped and cheerful for many days to come.

I am experiencing that odd gift and that tinggg thing in the Passionate Photographers group today, by the visit and submission of a huge collection of photographs clicked by Sri Sangeeth Sivan. His and other great photographers visit and submission of their works at the groups gallery makes a big role transformation for us similar to that of a school, which started with KG classes, growing into the Higher secondary levels. Education in all fields is mainly a self interest process. Many times due to various reasons, we do not get time to study a subject. But a systematic self learning process will take us to greater heights in those fields interesting for us.

I am inviting you and your friends, who have not yet joined to travel through the photo gallery of Passionate Photographers where you will get to see Professionals and Amateurs with pure passion submitting without count their clicked photos. Observe each one of them, the characters in it, the nature, the presentation, the angle, and learn a tip and trick or two from each one of them. If you have a large heart, leave a comment of appreciation or criticism before you proceed to the next picture. This makes a huge difference.

Now you know where to freak out if you have an interest in photography. Invite your friends and intereact without inhibition.

God bless you all and Enjoy your weekend by having a great time viewing and submitting your favourite clicks at Passionate Photographers group.

Ramesh Menon

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Short Film Competition based on Love story - Love in 60 seconds

Short Film Competition based on Love story - Love in 60 seconds

Short Film Competition based on Love story

Film 15, the movie production company of England, headed by Emma Macy is conducting a short film competition in association with the Indian film maker Sohannlal.

The contestants of all ages and nationalities are eligible for participation. The main content of the film should be based on a love story or a romantic situation.

The duration of the film do not exceed one minute. The film can be made in any language however other language films requires English subtitles.

The entires need the below mentioned detials:-
· DV, MiniDV or DVD format
· Script of the film
· Bio data of the director and the producer
· List of the artists
· List of technicians and crew

The winners of the competition will receive a cash award as well as invitation to various international short film festivals.

The entires should reach the following address before the 31st of December 2009.

Love in 60 seconds,
GNA 177,
Gandhi Nagar,
Phone:+919895625321,+919387330604, +919495022014, +919847359046

Watch this video, taken by me by chance during my recent holiday and which came apt (as usual) for making this promo for Sohanlal. It required only 11 seonds for them to express their love, so you have an additional 49... seconds more to make it a winning movie. An opportunity not to be missed. All the best to all contestants.