Monday, March 29, 2010

My Creatives at Malayala Manorama online

My Creatives at Malayala Manorama online


Visit and read my thoughts converted as short stories in Malayalam. It happens during my daily routine as I watch a normal thing which you may also have seen or witnessed many times but not thought of exploring further on the how, why and when aspects.

“My Creatives” section at http://www.gulfmanorma.com is exclusively for young writers to showcase their writing talents. You may write in English or Malayalam and submit it at the specified section to get it published. Give a try. If I can do it, definitely, you too.

Visit and read:

http://gulf.manoramaonline.com/cgi-bin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/gulfProgramView.do?programId=6722890&tabId=15&BV_ID=@@@

Ramesh Menon
29.03.2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Malayala Manorama Jeevajalam 2010 Photography competition

Malayala Manorama Jeevajalam 2010 Photography competition



Malayala Manorama Jeevajalam 2010 Photography competition

The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. To create more awareness on the importance of saving water for future use, several initiatives are happening world-wide. One such event happening currently is the Malayala Manorama “Jeevajalam 2010” photography competition.

The rules are very simple.
• Log on to the link provided below and you may submit 3 photos which portrays the essence of water and it’s importance in life.
• Out of the selected photos from online viewers, 25 best photos judged by a panel will be posted at Malayala Manorama online from 22nd April 2010.
• Online users can vote for their favourite photo for a period of one month (one vote per day).
• Those 5 photos and photographers who get maximum will be declared as winners.
• The competition cut off date for submission is 20th April 2010.

Link to participate in Malayala Manorama online Jeevajalam Photography competition:

http://www.manoramaonline.com/advt/Environment/jeevajalam10/index.htm

I was one amongst the 5 winners in 2009. The winning photo is attached in this notification. I wish to see one amongst you in the winners list this time.

All the best in advance and participate with interest. Submit your best photos that depicts the essence of water and it’s importance in life.

Ramesh Menon
Abu Dhabi
25.03.2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Creatives - Malayala Manorama Online - Dt 24.03.2010 - Kunju Manassile Valiya Lokam

My Creatives - Malayala Manorama Online - Dt 24.03.2010 - Kunju Manassile Valiya Lokam





To read it in original, please visit Malayala Manorama Online

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Taste It - Black Forest Cake by Suraj Menon

Taste It - Black Forest Cake by Suraj Menon





It's a short break after the 11th exam time and my son Suraj is enjoying it in the best possible way he likes. I am not talking about Play station, cricket, friends, movies etc. They are all are there. This is just another passion for him. I always believe cooking is an art and to a certain extent it is an inborn talent. He has it in him. These days, we are in surprise when we reach back from office. His time of operation is the time when his grandmother goes to sleep in the afternoon. And he completes it before she finishes her short nap. I am presenting to you one such item he prepared for us the other day. It is simple and easy to do, and you may try it for the week-end.

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients required:

Sweetened condensed milk - 1 can
Maida – 225 gms
Butter – 125 gms
Cocoa – 3-4 heaped tablespoon full
Aerated Coca cola drink – 3/4th of a can
Baking powder – 1 tablespoon full
Soda Bicarbonate – 1 tablespoon full
Cream – 1 cup
Tinned cherries – 1 small tin
Chocolate – 40 gms

Preparation:

• Lightly grease and floor the baking tin.
• Pre-heat the oven to 1500 c.
• Melt the butter in a pan.
• Cool and add the sweet condensed milk
• Sift together the maida, baking powder, Cocoa and soda bicarbonate
• Mix the maida with the sweetened condensed milk and butter mixture alternating with cola till the maida and cola are completely poured and over.
• Immediately pour this mixture in to the prepared tin (container) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 1500 c.
• Cool and slice horizontally into two.
• Whip cream till light and fluffy.
• Apply on one layer of cake along with decorated cherries
• Place the second layer of cake to form a sandwich.
• Top with whipped cream and cherries.
• Sprinkle the grated chocolate generously as you wish.
• Chill in the refrigerator for some time and serve.

Try this simple and easy preparation out, Taste-it during this week-end. Who said, making and baking a cake is difficult thing?

Surf with Team 1 - How private are you online?


Surf with Team 1 - How private are you online?


Welcome to read the 2nd edition of Surf with Team 1

A slow start but, it will be a steady and sustained journey. I promise you that.

My idea is to keep these short editions as simple as possible. Today, I would like to discuss with you an important topic related to online privacy.

How private are you Online?

These days when every other person has a google or Face Book account, the option to remain private is becoming lesser and lesser. Even if, you do not reveal your personal contact details or email addresses to a person of unknown identity, through various means he could collect those details about you from your name.

Your regular interactions on the web, the small bits and pieces of data left over on website, groups and other online social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are oceans of personal information, which ultimately lead from one to another to pin point to reach a person’s identity. Professional from the Information Technology field says that such seemingly harmless bits of self-revelation can easily be collected and compiled by computers to help create a picture of a person’s identity.

Although social networking sites allow users to increase their defence against search and identification by opting tight privacy controls of personal profile, an individual’s actions, rarely protect them and their privacy in the interconnected world of the Internet.

In many cases, even if you do not disclose your personal information, your online friends and colleagues may do it unknowingly for you, referring to your school, college, employer, gender, location and interests. These patterns and style of communications many times reveal a persons interest and identity very easily. Therefore these days, Personal privacy is no longer an individual item. As experts say, in today’s online world, what your mother told you is true, “people really can judge you by your friends.”. A study of a person and his leniency combined together, will give you a pool of information about an individual with a distinctive “social signature".

No wonder, in the recent times we read often about missing persons being found out and family and friends lost many years ago being reconnected. It is also not a new thing that day by day more controversies are spurning out, just like wild fire as and when a small issue or talk or a tweet happens by a celebrity and we see it being twisted and totally reconfigured by interested parties to tarnish the image of the persons who initiated it.

Therefore, when you’re online, it’s better to behave as if you’re doing it in public — because definitely, it is..

Ramesh Menon
17.03.2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - DT 12 March 2010 - Free land on offer to build new Indian schools in capital

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - DT 12 March 2010 - Free land on offer to build new Indian schools in capital

Free land on offer to build new Indian schools in capital
Kathryn Lewis and Hala Khalaf

Last Updated: March 12. 2010 2:46PM UAE / March 12. 2010 10:46AM GMT
Pupils at the Abu Dhabi Indian School, where there is fierce competition for places. Andrew Henderson / The National
ABU DHABI // Anyone with the money and vision to invest in building a new Indian school will be encouraged by the offer of free land from the education authority.

For parents, however, the news does not bring any relief from the immediate problem of finding a school place for their child.

They are battling with too many families for too few places, with the new academic year for Indian schools in this country due to begin next month.

Along with the free land offer, Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) announced yesterday that it would allow one school to increase capacity, but it did not name the school nor say by how much.

It is considering other requests to increase enrolment from schools that meet “acceptable quality standards”.

But there may not be many such schools; only five Indian schools in Abu Dhabi occupy purpose-built school facilities, while the 12 Indian schools housed in converted villas are already slated for closure by Adec in 2012.

The council says that it is in “advanced discussions” with one Indian businessman to open a new school which would create 11,000 new places. It did not disclose his name.

It is also in discussion with others to operate schools under a not-for-profit model.

Other measures intended to grow the number of school places in the long term include opening a new Indian school in an unused government-school building in Al Gharbia with room for 800 pupils.

“Adec is extremely concerned about the current lack of capacity of Indian-curriculum schools and would like to assure the community that it is actively looking into both long- and short-term solutions for this issue,” the council said.

“We need to work in partnership with the community to make this a reality.”

But parents without a place to send their children say long-term solutions will not provide school places next month. They called for the education council to take more drastic action before the school year starts.

More than 3,500 children are on the waiting list at one school alone, Our Own English High School, Abu Dhabi.

Dr Vibha Misri-Ganjoo has been searching for a place for her five-year old daughter, Vanskika, for the past five months, after learning that Vanskika did not have a place at the Abu Dhabi Indian School as expected.

“The long-term solutions proposed by the council are important, because numbers of students are always increasing, so more schools and spots are needed. But where are the immediate, short-term solutions?” said Dr Misri-Ganjoo.

“The problem is time. The new semester starts in a few weeks so the solutions by the education council of building new schools and such are not feasible.

“We need a practical solution. It is a universal problem everybody is facing right now and no immediate solution is available.”

Dr Misri-Ganjoo, who lives in Manasir, said her daughter was on the waiting list at three schools but all were full.

“We don’t know what to do,” said Dr Misri-Ganjoo. “We think we should start looking for admission in schools in Mussafah, but that is really too far to send a little girl and would be a big problem and last resort for us.

“If there are no other options, parents will be forced to look outside the Indian community and consider other schools, as we cannot just keep our children at home. Something is better than nothing and we do not want this situation to drive us away from the UAE, which has become our home. Our children were born here.”

Adec said it had recently met the Indian ambassador to discuss the issue after officials at the Indian Embassy called on the Government to intervene.

It said it had “extended the offer to provide free land for investors who present business plans to build schools that provide low-cost education” that comply with its standards and guidelines.

Adec said it was “engaging” with companies experienced in operating not-for-profit education models in other countries to establish schools in the emirate.

Indian school owners and administrators have protested that the council’s new building standards make it difficult for investors to open more schools.

However, Dr Misri-Ganjoo said that it was important to demand higher standards at Indian curriculum institutions.

“The key is to have both good schools and good solutions,” she said.

“It is important for children to have good schools so, of course, villa schools have to be done with. But solutions also have to be found for the students in these schools. Kids have to go to school.

“The problem is how to tackle this problem right now. Younger students have time to wait for good schools to be built for them, but older students need to be in school immediately.”

Nirmalan Damodaran, a long-time Abu Dhabi resident who works in construction, said the council must act quickly. “Next week is the closing of the schools,” he said. “They have to increase the number of seats.”

Mr Damodaran agreed that there was a need for more quality schools. “They have to create more facilities, like swimming and more outside activities,” he said.

“I think they need to do much more,” said Noble Jose, an Abu Dhabi-based businessman. Mr Jose is moving his family to Dubai because he could not find a school place for his son, Aarnav, who is going into the first grade this year.

“One announcement is not enough, still there is going to be a serious shortage,” said Mr Jose. “It’s a first step – much more could be done.”

Mr Jose said he would stay in Abu Dhabi if he could find a school place for Aarnav. “If I get something immediately I will take it,” he said. “It’s going to be very difficult for me to move,” he said, explaining that his business was in the capital.

“It will be difficult but still we can manage. It’s more important to send your children to a good school. Of course, it would be better if we were still here but we are forced to move because of the circumstances.”

Mr Jose said Abu Dhabi needed more quality Indian schools. “Some parents have admitted their kids to schools, but they are not happy with the quality,” he said.

“Parents have been forced to send their children to these schools because they don’t have any other option.”

My comments as follows:

The news about Free land on offer to build new Indian schools in capital does not bring about any immediate solutions to the problems faced by ordinary and middle class Indian families looking for school admission for their children. Every year-end news and information of this sort arrive bringing hope to the community to find an end to this problem, but these die down a natural death as the school re-opens and season progress. Most of the school operators are interested in opening high end institutions which obviously brings out more operating economy for them. Thus the demand for middle income Indians to seek a standard educational institution within their means remains an oasis yet to be discovered. The news about the villa schools operating within the city and improved facilities are all a repetition of requests and requirements and an immediate solution to this will continue to remain as a dream.

Ramesh Menon
Abu Dhabi

To read this in original, please visit THE NATIONAL online.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My thoughts - MALAYALA MANORAMA online - 12 March 2010 - Chinthakal (thoughts) - a short story in Malayalam

My thoughts - MALAYALA MANORAMA online - 12 March 2010 - Chinthakal (thoughts) - a short story in Malayalam








To read it in original, please visit, Manorama Online

Fr Fancis Kurissery's visit to UAE - March 2010

Fr Fancis Kurissery's visit to UAE - March 2010














Rev. Fr. Fancis Kurissery's visit to UAE - March 2010

Rev. Fr. Francis Kurissery CMI - a Catholic Priest who believed, preached and practiced, Students are not problems, but Students have problems….

* Completed his M.Phil from Oxford University, London
* Lectured, English for 15 years in CHRIST
* Was the Principal of CHRIST in the year 2003-2004.
* Was the Chairman of the Board of Studies (English) for the University of Calicut.
*Is the Provincial Councilor of CMI Congregation, Thrissur Province.
* Presently, is the Joint Director of Amala Medical College, Thrissur
* Presenting to you some photos taken during his visit to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

It was purely a personal visit organised by his students from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. W thank him for accepting it and taking time out to come and recreate our good old college days, where even if we cut classes of our main subjects, we made sure to not miss your lectures.

Regards,

Ramesh Menon
13 March 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

My opinion: IPL puts off choosing 2 new teams, restarts process

My opinion: IPL puts off choosing 2 new teams, restarts process

Amol Karhadkar , Hindustan Times
Email Author

All those anxiously waiting to know who the two new owners of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams will be will have to wait another two weeks.

Instead of opening the tenders submitted by three bidders in Mumbai on Sunday as they were scheduled to, the IPL Governing Council decided to re-issue the tender on Tuesday, removing some stringent clauses from the earlier tender.

“We received letters from many companies who expressed interest but said that the $1 billion (Rs 4,500 crore) net worth criteria, which owners of existing franchises had not been asked for, was a problem. They asked why they were being asked for the new criteria, which eliminates them from bidding. Hence the clause has been amended,” IPL Chairman Lalit Modi said after the meeting.

This effectively means the new tender will be available on Tuesday and bids can be submitted till 10am on March 21. The bids will be opened one hour later in Chennai.

Though the IPL also reduced the advance bank guarantee from $100 million (Rs 450 core) to $10 milllion (Rs 45 crore) they stuck to the base price of $225 million (Rs 1012 crore) for each franchise.

“We discussed the possibility of raising this a bit, but eventually stuck with the same base price,” Modi said.

Earlier on Sunday, representatives of the three bidders had to wait for almost an hour before being told about the re-tender. They were the Ahmedabad-based Adani Group, the Delhi-based Jaypee Group, and a consortium including Videocon chief Venugopal Dhoot, real estate giant Atul Chordia and Bollywood biggies Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor (who had submitted a bid for Pune).

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


My comments and post comments of it on Face Book as follows:

Mr. Lalit Modi's greed for money will very soon dump Indian Cricket. The day is not very far that the so called promoted players of IPL will become a national burden with their conduct, as was seen many times during the past year by the highly paid, new generation players in many venues. Wish, the same support is obtained by and for other sports including hockey.

Taking on the recent hockey matches, one of our player was banned for three matches, even though, there was no formal complaint lodged against him by the opposing Pakistani player. It totally disrupted a winning combination and momentum gained from the first match. I believe this would not have happened if the corporate force was there in full strength behind our hockey team. What our cricket team gets is an enviable support and it is almost similar to the “rich getting richer” theory and they continue to enjoy the greater privileges. We need cricket but with lesser money involved.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - Dt 03 March 2010 - Is Tendulkar the greatest batsman of all time?

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - Dt 03 March 2010 - Is Tendulkar the greatest batsman of all time?

When Wisden, the most traditional medium to record the sport of cricket, compiled a list of top 100 knocks in Test cricket, Sachin Tendulkar did not figure in any of them.

Wisden then explained the criteria that none of his knocks were either match-winning ones or those which were did not have enough authority in terms of the match situation to deserve a mention. Now hundred is quite a number but still the man with the highest total of runs in Test as well as one-day formats individually did not figure on that chart.

In ODIs, Tendulkar has scored two hundreds against the top team in Australia in 1998, one to ensure that India made the final and then the second to take the title away from Steve Waugh's men.

A decade later, Tendulkar has had another marvellous season with a brilliant 175 against the all-dominating Australians and has followed it up with an unbeaten 200 against the second-ranked South Africans.

The first to break the 200-run barrier and that too in style, a chanceless innings despite his growing years, Tendulkar's knock is another factor for those who cannot decide in the debate of The Greatest between him and Sir Donald Bradman just because they belonged to two different eras.

Has the Gwalior knock in the second one-day international on February 24, 2010 helped make up your mind on this?

To read this article in original, please visit THE NATIONAL online

My comments as follows:

The way he played this match in which he got to his 200 runs says it all. No doubt, he is the greatest batsman of all time. It will take some time for the contemporary batsman to reach his level of execution. There were legends before, including Sir Don Bradman. However, they played in an era, when cricket was played at a leisurely pace and not many matches were scheduled like these days. Demands, the pace, expectations were all entirely different in those days. To withstand all those and to deliver something unexpected each time to the cricketing fans, shows his creative talent on the cricketing field. The way he picked up those 200 runs at will proves it once and for all, Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of all time.

My Letters - GULF NEWS - Dt 03 March 2010 - Prepare for Emergencies

My Letters - GULF NEWS - Dt 03 March 2010 - Prepare for Emergencies

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

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - Dt 01 March 2010 - India too good for Pakistan in World Cup

My Letters - THE NATIONAL - Dt 01 March 2010 - India too good for Pakistan in World Cup

NEW DELHI // Sandeep Singh scored from two penalty corners yesterday as India beat fierce rivals Pakistan 4-1 at the men's hockey World Cup, and European champions England had an upset 3-2 win over Australia.

Shivendra Singh gave India the lead in the 25th minute after capitalising on a penalty corner rebound, and Sandeep Singh made it 2-0 just before half-time with a low shot.

Prabhjot Singh struck in open play in the 37th after a pass from Arjun Halappa, and Sandeep Singh scored with a drag-flick in the 56th.

Pakistan pulled one back through a penalty corner conversion by Sohail Abbas three minutes later.

India last beat Pakistan in a world cup game 35 years ago in Kuala Lumpur. This win in front of a huge partisan crowd at the National Stadium also was sweet revenge after Pakistan inflicted the most crushing of defeats, a 7-1 thrashing in the 1982 Asian Games at the same venue.

The India coach Jose Brasa, however, asked his boys to keep their feet on the ground and not get carried away.

“We have to see this win as just another win from which we got three points. My boys have to keep their feet on ground and celebrate tonight. But from tomorrow we have to think about the next match and move ahead,” said the Spaniard.

Brasa was particularly happy about the fact that the Indians kept their emotions under check and played cleverly to outsmart the Pakistanis, who had won the last three encounters.

“Players were calm and not emotional. We were clever in the mid-field, cutting their passes. We had complete control of the game and am happy that we ended on a winning note,” he said.

The captain Rajpal Singh said that the gameplan was to create more short corners. “We had an aim to create more penalty corners and give Sandeep Singh more opportunities,” he said.

World No 2 Australia, who won a record tenth Champions Trophy in December, dominated the first half with speedy forays but failed to convert any of their five penalty corners.

Captain and forward Jamie Dwyer finally put them in the lead through a penalty stroke before Ashley Jackson equalised through a penalty corner after some solid goalkeeping by England's James Fair.

Tindall then converted a penalty corner and made it 3-1 when following up for an opportunistic goal.

Dwyer cut the lead with four minutes remaining through a penalty corner but England defended well in the final minutes for their first win against their traditional rivals in the World Cup since 1975 and only their fifth in 52 meetings.

In another Pool B match on the opening day, the Olympic silver medallists Spain recovered from a slow start to beat South Africa 4-2.

* With agencies

To read this in original, please visit THE NATIONAL online:

My comments as follows:

Congratulations to Team India Hockey for their win over Pakistan and the national hockey team need more support from the nation. No live coverage of the matches on prominent broadcasting TV channels. No wonder the sports has limited takers these days.
The hockey team need more support from the nation and readers around. The team played brilliant hockey and the margin of victory would have been even more. Even a small achievement by a cricketing novice would come up with half page write-up and photos. Hope the remaining matches will get adequate attention and coverage and yesterdays victory be an inspiration for Team India to get the championship this time.

Ramesh Menon
Abu Dhabi

My Letters - GULF NEWS - Dt 01 March 2010 - World Cup hockey: England surprise Australia, India beat Pakistan

World Cup hockey: England surprise Australia, India beat Pakistan

New Delhi: James Tindall struck twice to enable European champions England pull off a surprise 3-2 victory over tournament favourites Australia on the opening day of the men's hockey World Cup on Sunday.

Olympic silver medallists Spain beat South Africa 4-2 and India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 4-1 in the day's other two pool B matches at the Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium.

World number two Australia, who won a record 10th Champions Trophy in December, dominated the first half with speedy forays but failed to convert any of their five penalty corners.

Captain and forward Jamie Dwyer finally put them in the lead through a penalty stroke before Ashley Jackson equalised through a penalty corner after sone solid goalkeeping by England's James Fair.

Tindall the converted a penalty corner and made it 3-1 when following up for an opportunistic goal.

Dwyer cut the lead with four minutes remaining through a penalty corner but England defended well in the final minutes for their first win against their traditional rivals in World Cup since 1975 and only their fifth in 52 meetings.

Spectacular victory for India

India's penalty corner specialist Sandeep Singh inspired the hosts to a spectacular victory in the clash between two former powerhouses with two goals, four years after suffering an accidental bullet injury that threatened to scupper his promising career.

Olympic champions Germany begin their campaign for a third straight world title with a pool A match against South Korea.

Results on Sunday on the opening day of the field hockey World Cup:

Pool B

Spain 4, South Africa 2
England 3, Australia 2
India 4, Pakistan 1

To read this in orginal, please visit GULF NEWS online.

My comments as follows:


Congratulations to Team India Hockey. The hockey team need more support from the nation. Readers where are you all. Cheer them, especially yesterday, the team played brilliant hockey and the margin of victory would have been even more. Surprisingly, there was no live telecast of the match. More matches to play in this tournament and let this win be an inspiration for Team India to get the championship.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates