Plastic in my lifestyle

May 24, 2017

I like to think of myself as green, but apart from plastic bags, here’s a partial list of the things I use and see around me , which have plastic in them…the list goes into the hundreds each day. I started with the morning and moved through the day:

My bedside lamp.
Toothbrush/Toothpaste tube.
My “home” slippers.
A lot of items in my kitchen…spatulas, jars, containers
The containers of all my cosmetics, my combs
My mobile phone, my earphones and my bluetooth device
All the electrical/electronic devices at home (refrigerator, television, modem, laptop, wires, and so on)
Since I don’t want to use leather, all my handbags/backpacks, luggage, and shoes/sandals
My umbrella
All the electrical switches
Parts of all kinds of motorized vehicles and cycles, too
My timekeeping gadgets: watches, clocks in the home
My water bottles
The packets of various food items, snack items and sweets
The covers of magazines that are delivered or sold
So many components of the public transport that I use
Reflectors on the road, advertisement banners, sheets used as shelters

I stop at this point, as the list seems unending. Plastics are here to stay, and we cannot be hypocritical and say, “Ban plastic”. I don’t think it’s possible…it’s too useful and cheap material. We can only try to regulate its use.

Blue-banded Bee, 210517

May 22, 2017

Are those enough B’s in the subject title?

As I was walking to my daughter’s home, I noticed the

Blue-banded Bee

(an Australian native that occurs in many other places, too) in my apartment garden,and the beautiful insect cause a delay of half an hour when I decided I’d try and get an image of it in flight.

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I’ve got the bee sitting, earlier:

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I tried all kinds of aperture settings and shutter speeds…but a bridge camera (Canon SX50, see the exif info) has limitations, and I ultimately gave up on the experimentation, being satisfied with what I got!

Kolkata, Jorhat, Kaziranga, 07-130517

May 19, 2017

We visited Kolkata

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had an evening admiring the Victoria Memorial,

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enjoying puchka

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jhaal mudi

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and visited the family who brought me up.

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We visited Pradeep and Sulakshana Barthakur at their home in Jorhat, where they run a centre for children. (Pokamura, 7km from Jorhat)

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The location is

here

Their home is a veritable garden of Eden which they share with all kinds of beings:

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Bronzeback Tree Snake

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Blue-throated Barbet

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We went to Kaziranga National Park, staying at Wild Grass resort.

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Hog Deer

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Red Jungle Fowl

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Elephants

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Rhinos

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Swamp Deer (bArAsinghA)

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Here’s K1’s beautiful depiction of the elephant safari,

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where we saw so much of wildlife.

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The Flickr albums are:

Blr-Kol and visit

Kol, Science City and Gariahat Mod

Kolkata-Jorhat

Jorhat, 100517

Wild Grass, Kaziranga, 11,120517

Jorhat, 130517 morning

Jorhat-Guwahati-Bangalore, 130517

It was a memorable trip and I enjoyed it very much, through my own experience and that of my family.

Thirst

May 15, 2017

I thirst…
Not for love, money or
Even happiness.
I thirst for water
To quench the parched earth
To bring green to the brown
To bring fresh hope to those
Who raise crops and food for us.
I need water
To fill the pots
Of each slum-dweller
Who puts her (it’s never a he)
Vessel in a long line of colours,
Waiting to drink, wash and live.
I have had enough of grishma ritu.
I want varsha…not just the odd shower
Or thunderstorm, but a steady,
Cloudy, drumming season
That will replenish the depleted
Plateau,that we live on
And call home.

The river

May 1, 2017

Rush,rush, rush…
Around me, the seconds flow past
The minutes fly
The hours march,
The months creep slowly.
I hardly feel the year’s progress
Into the lap of what-has-been.
I live in the present…
That’s a conondrum
As with every ticking second
My present becomes the past.
As I sit here, writing,
My heart starts the next beat.
I take my next breath.
I am not what I was
When I first thought of writing this.
What a relentless river Time is.

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Nandi Hills, 220417

May 1, 2017

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Venkat, Varun, Shanthala, Kedar, Akansha, Nitin, Janhvi, Padma, Vidhya, Ramaswamy, Nandi Hills, 220417

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Puff-throated Babbler

The blossoming Gulmohar..

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The floral carpet below.

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Vanda testacea, an orchid that was growing wild.

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Tipu’s summer lodge:

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Owl’s Eye Moth

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“Oooh, see the Nilgiri Wood Pigeons!”

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Here they are, billing and cooing together:

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It was a lovely morning, you can see the album

here

The eBird list is

here

for Nandi and

here

for Jakkur kere.

Govind

April 22, 2017

Should I wait
For it to be exactly six months
Since you decided
To change the plane of your existence?
Do I not remember you
Very often, never mind what date
Or day, or time it is?
When two of my friends
Had surgery recently
To remove growths
You come to mind
Whenever I lift a camera
I often see you,
Before I see the scene in front of me.
When I see good planning
And crisp execution
You slip into my thoughts.
When I laugh at jokes
I recollect how you used humour to heal yourself.
The determination that got you through so much,
The travels all over the world
The staunch affection…
You are there in every thought I have
About such things.
Time will flow past:
Six months may turn into years.
My friend, you are always here
Where it matters.
In my heart, and in my memories.

Making a home in the city, 190417

April 20, 2017

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As I stepped out of my daughter’s home, early in the morning, the liquid, burbling call of the Red-whiskred Bulbuls had me looking around. I spotted them flying around and landing near the front entrance:

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I soon realized that two of them were busy trying to build a nest in the ornamental palms flanking the entrance.

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Look at the beauty of this bird, very common in our city:

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Are they also pondering about building apartments, one above the other?

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In Shivamogga, too, two of these birds had made a nest in my hosts’ home:

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The lady of the house (er, nest) was well-ensconced in the cup-like nest, with only her beak showing:

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I left the birds to their breakfast, and walked on.

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Visit to Shivamogga, Mathur, Kudli, and Sakrebailu, 080417 to 100417

April 19, 2017

Kiran Kannappan and I went to Shivamogga to help conduct a summer camp for 85 rural children, under the aegis of

Vatsalya

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run by Shaila, Shruthi and Adarsh

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Morning prayer

Story-telling, some Sanskrit shlOkAs,

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nature around the campus, basic birding

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Red-wattled Lapwing on the school campus

basic origami,

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basic cartooning

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…these were some of the things we went through with the very receptive children.

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On the 9th evening, we visited

Mathur

where Sanskrit is taught, and still used extensively. We visited a couple who have settled down there, having built this beautiful house:

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Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Mathur

We then went to the shAradA temple at Kudli

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as it was about to close.

On 100417, we visited the Sakrebailu Elephant Camp.

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Kiran decided that we would return by the afternoon train rather than wait for the overnight one…so a memorable visit to Shivamogga came to a conclusion!

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Doresanipalya Forest Research Station, 160417

April 18, 2017

It was still very pleasant when several of us met up at the Millennium Avenue gate of DFRS, and Harish led us, literally, up the garden path.

Knowing what it is to drive long distances for birding, I must appreciate the interest of people who do this. For example, Latha and Satyan came all the way from Vidyaranyapura! Others in our group have the DFRS as their backyard and they just walked to the outing.

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The place is green and lovely now:

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A Shikra started off our sighting and bird list, and in fact, the sightings of these birds (probably two individuals, a male and female) were a recurring part of our whole morning.

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It was nice to have several knowledgeable people talk to us about plants, insects and several other things, as we walked. Since we are still at the season where some trees and plants are in flower, the walk was punctuated by plant and tree information too. We started with the exquisite flowers of the Sesbania grandiflora, commonly called the Vegetable Hummingbird tree….

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The list went on. Ajit was delighted at finding Ixora pavetta:

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Here’a closeup of the fragrant flowers:

For example, Ajit powdered the resin of the Shorea roxburghii, and told us the common name of the tree…”dhoopa”, as the resin is ignited during the puja rituals. We heard an interesting story about why the cashew is so called (ask Harish if you weren’t there!)

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Resin of Shorea roxburghii

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When powdered, the “dhoopa” resin gave off a stronger fragrance.

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Nest of Social Spiders

Perhaps there were no “unusual” surprises…but the “usual gang of suspects” were enough to keep us interested throughout. A few Flycatchers, the flowing song of several Magpie Robins, both seen and unseen, a tailorbird flitting in the bamboo thicket…so the list, and the walk, went.

There were some very interesting mammal sightings too. A group of these, known as the Bangalore Butterfly Club

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Rohit, one of the founders of the Bangalore Butterfly Club, RHS

were having their fortnightly “buttering” walk there, and we had a Tiger sighting ….as well as Jezebels, Skippers,

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Indian Skipper

…and a few Blues in the short time we
spent together. They were beginning their outing while we were finishing ours. I think the time frame is one of the things that determine whether one devotes oneself to birds or butterflies!

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Common Picture-wing, a dragonfly.

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A dead Tailed Jay allowed us to see this butterfly close up.The antennae and the body were eaten away, probably by ants.

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Funnel web spider waiting for prey

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Exoskeletons shed by Cicadas

A few mongrel puppies looked delightful as they settled at the base of a bamboo plant, but the few bonnet macaques I’ve noticed once in a while were absent. Since these invariably try to snatch the processed food and drink from people’s hands, it was good not to see them!

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We shared biscuits and khakras, and that made the walk all the more pleasant…but after 9am comes Breakfast O’ Clock, and soon, a few of us were seated in Adiga’s, getting outside some calories.

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I’d like to add that I missed Deepak, and would like to take this opportunity to thank him for every 3rd Sunday outing that he’s tirelessly organized. On any 3rd Sunday walk, of course, Geetanjali and Subir Dhar, who started this outing with a few of us pitching in,
are never far from my mind.

The eBird list, diligently compiled by Prasad, is

here

and my photos are

here

Hoping to meet many of you again next weekend,

Cheers, Deepa.