Home-maker, Doresanipalya Reserve Forest, 120317

March 12, 2017

We saw a White-cheeked Barbet, idle, and free.

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It seemed to suddenly twist itself, right towards the tree.

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I’d wished to see a woodpecker, and as if granting that wish
It pecked to make a nesting-hole, work that it seemed to relish!

Here’s the bird, hard at work, rat-tatting away.

“Go and build your own home!” is what it seemed to say!

Yes, we took its sage advice and homeward went our way,
But the thought of the home-building barbet we carry through the day.

Raindrops

March 12, 2017

Inside her little box of an apartment
Lies the elderly woman,
While I tell her about the rain
That is wetting the roads
Outside. Confined to her bed,
She cannot even move
To the window, without help,
To look at the few drops
Falling from the sky.
The plants she has in pots
Cannot feel the rain, either.
All they can get
Is the “filtered water”
Whenever the sullen maid
Remembers them.
The woman is able
To have a roof over her head…
But some simple joys,
Like savouring the raindrops
Which wet that roof,
Are beyond her,
Small deprivations
Can sometimes be big ones.

Raindrops

March 7, 2017

Inside her little box of an apartment
Lies the elderly woman,
While I tell her about the rain
That is wetting the roads
Outside. Confined to her bed,
She cannot even move
To the window, without help,
To look at the few drops
Falling from the sky.
The plants she has in pots
Cannot feel the rain, either.
All they can get
Is the “filtered water”
Whenever the sullen maid
Remembers them.
The woman is able
To have a roof over her head…
But some simple joys,
Like savouring the raindrops
Which wet that roof,
Are beyond her,
Small deprivations
Can sometimes be big ones.

I reflect…

March 7, 2017

What if the reflections
Of faith and belief, in my soul,
Are different from yours?
I might see a temple in the glass;
You might see a church spire.
Should we then fight
And argue and shed blood
Over what is right and wrong?
Surely, all these paths and reflections
Lead but to the innermost soul
Where resides the Force, the Being
That we believe in…both you and I.

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Blooming in Lalbagh now…010317

March 2, 2017

Several blooms to delight the senses!

A walk in Lalbagh is always something that will bring a lot of joy. I decided to capture some of the blossoms that appealed to my eyes, my nose, my touch, and sometimes, as they rustled in the morning breeze, to my ears, too! Some of them are quite uncommon…but can all be found in the park.

The Purple Bauhinia (Bauhinia blakena)

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These are the flowers of the Cabbage Bark Tree (Andira inermis)

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The Pride of Bolivia (Tipuana tipu)

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It tickles me that a tree which is apparently called after the Tiger of Mysore should have the common name, Pride of Bolivia!

One of the many cultivars (cultivated flowers, not wild ones) in the flower beds:

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Here’s the “octopus” flowers of the Umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla), just beginning to bud:

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Children, as well as birds, love to sip the drop of nectar that can be found at the base of the Rangoon Creeper (Combretum indicum):

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The flowers have a lovely, heady fragrance, too.

Another variety of the Bauhinia, this time, a creeper (Bauhinia alba)

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The delicate blooms of the Silk-cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra)

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The flowers of the Weeping Boer-bean (Schotia brachypetala)

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Sometimes even the seed pods are as beautiful at the flowers. Here is the fruit of the Pithraj tree:

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The purple of the Jacaranda (Jacarada mimosifolia) is a harbinger of “vasanta ritu”that is just begiinning.

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The Kanaka Champa (Pterospermum acerifolium) is another beauty to behold:

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Finally, here is one of the most beautiful…. the Philippine Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) that blooms annually at this time.

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Here are the unusually coloured blooms, in close-up:

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All these photos were taken in Lalbagh on 1st March 2017.These are only a few of the many flowers you can see right now…so do go and visit our beautiful public park, and enjoy the flowers in one of our lung spaces.

Forms of poetry and verse

March 2, 2017

My friend Janet asked for 10 prompts about which she would write haikus.

To this, someone asked:

“Yeh haiku kaiku?” (Why this haiku?)

And my response was:

When we cannot think
Straight, or write words as is done–
We pen a haiku!

To this Chiddu said:

I love to ride my bike-u
This is my 1st two line haiku!

and I responded with a limerick:

When we talked of haiku
And someone asked, “Yeh kaiku?”
Though you made a bhool
And you broke the rule
Your haiku on baiku…I laiku!

(bhool=mistake in Hindi)

I love bu**-shi##ing in verse!

To live without love

February 9, 2017

Who will drop loving kisses
On the cheeks of motherless children?
Who will hug them, tease them, scold them,
Tickle them, cuddle them, laugh with them?
Children need food and sleep…
And so much more, to thrive.
I sing two little children to sleep.
Tears fall from my eyes as I think
Of every child without parents in this world.
The refugees, the orphans, the lost children….
Surely the greatest cruelty in our world
Is to let children live…. without love.

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Chennai, 041216

The Valley area, 050217: Email to bngbirds egroup

February 7, 2017

Hi everyone,

As I begin to write this, my mind wanders in several directions. One, the wonderful writing of “ixedoc”, Dr Arunachalam Kumar, each of whose vignettes I look forward to reading.

Another: the increasing difficulty of going birding or “naturing” in terms of the hassle it is to drive back home.

Yet another: The increasing difficulty of access to our wildlife areas.

But I will not digress (the digress being the female of the diger) and will write about one area, off Kanakapura Road, where the wilderness of the Bannerghatta scrub jungle awaits us,and where access is relatively easy.

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The Valley, as the area where the Valley School is situated, is a place where the forest leads the nature lover into both open grassland and shaded woods.And recently, bird sightings there have been of the unusual variety. My friend Chandu sighted an Ultramarine Flycatcher when he took the children of Aarohi School there for the HSBC Bird Race (in the space of two visits, we were able to sight a Racket-tailed Drongo, and on Sunday (5th Feb 2017) we were able to sight a Brown Wood Owl (Yogesh Badri’s photo of it is

here

…he quickly followed the bird as it flew, and got the shot)

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Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

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Verditer Flycatcher

All these “unusuals” lead to a lot of interest in a birding destination….but the true value of a birding “hotspot” lies,for avid birders, not only in the unusual, but also the usual.(MBK made this very valid point when spoke on the occasion of the 2016 Bird Race.)

What would one see,if one went, say, in the middle of summer? Would we be looking at the butterflies instead, or would we still see enough birds to hold our interest, and make an enjoyable morning of our outing? We may be more used to the burbling call of the Joker-cheek-patch Red-whiskered Bulbul, or the trill of the Small Green Bee-eaters, but they are no less beautiful than the rarely-sighted birds. Watching a Tailorbird bringing in nesting
material, or enjoying the way a Brahminy Kite soars and dips along the wind currents is as appealing as the sudden and unexpected thrill of a “rare” sighting…and on the days when the latter does not happen, the “usual” is what keeps us going back for more (the English word, not the Hindi one, though “mor” is also a bird frequently found at the Valley).

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Selfie.

As the winter mornings warm up, the thought of the long trudge back through the path where there are only the two banyan trees to give shade until we come back to the School main gate…

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may be daunting,but it’s the “usual gang of suspects” that take us through to the bamboo thicket and beyond.

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Seed pod.

Here’s a happy White-cheeked Barbet, secure in its nest, smiling at us!

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Compare and contrast, 2017

February 2, 2017

Contrasting, in my mind, the tennis match that happened between two men, recently in Australia, and the US Presidential election process over the past year.

One was played fairly, by the rules, both parties were excellent at what they did,and would bring lustre to the title they won. There were no personal attacks, no smears, the process of winning the title was completely transparent.

The other….

Lovely lyrics…

January 19, 2017

Just love the lyrics of a jewellery ad, which is something I never thought I’d say!

The visuals are coy and cloying, but the words…lyrics…are:

விண்ணில் மின்னும் தாரையை என்னில் கண்டேனே !
தங்கம் என்னை தீண்டிட காதல் கொண்டேனே!
இரு கையில் வளையல் குலுங்க…
காதோரம் காதலன் சிணுங்க…
நெஞ்சத்தில் தஞ்சம் கொண்டாய்…!

(I found a star of the sky in myself/As gold touched me, I found love/ With bangles clinking on both wrists/ My lover whispering in my ear/You found a refuge in my heart…)