Archive for July, 2006

When thinking of birds, I thought of eggs….

July 28, 2006

….

Harried mother to father: “I wish humans were oviparous. If we wanted to, we could have a child; otherwise, we could have breakfast…”

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This whole business of identifying birds…

July 28, 2006

…..

Mohan took a picture of a disssstant bird at the farmhouse, and I told my friends, after my brief look at the bird (not the photograph) that it was a Shikra. Then after I downloaded the picture on to my laptop, I had a doubt, and asked kalyan if it was a Peregrine Falcon. He said it was, and I was grinning all over my (stupid) face…then yathin said it might be a Eurasian Hobby; (yes, that’s a bird, not a stamp collection or a carpentry project by an Afghan or a Serbian!) That brought on a different stupid grin as I thought we might have made a rare sighting…. so I also asked a friend of mine, Abhijit Menon-Sen, in Delhi, what it was, and he emphatically said it was a Red-Necked Falcon, which wiped all the grins off my face!

….the debate went on a little while before Y and K agreed that A was right…if this is what happens to such experienced birders…what chance do I have???  K,A,Y….three different id’s, not to mention my own wrong one…that’s not O-KAY! 😉

Well, A tells me that raptors (birds of prey) are amongst the most difficult to id. That figures…all the birds mentioned above look quite, quite alike to me….ok, there ARE some small differences, but…it’s so difficult to spot all those minutiae when the bird is far away, and also there for just a minute or two…..

Sigh. Learning something new is such a great thing…but it can also be frustrating when people half my age have skills that are taking me forever to acquire. However, my name is Percy Vere….

OOOH I LOVE Calvin and Hobbes

July 28, 2006

Friday, July 28th, 2006
c_and_h 3:00a
Today’s Calvin and Hobbes comic.

Calvin and Hobbes

should I? shouldn’t I?

July 27, 2006

….

It’s 6.45 pm…enjoying reading my friends’ LJ entries…it has rained heavily, but it isn’t pouring right now…should I swim? Or should I worry about catching cold and desist?……OK, I am off to the pool!

Pictures from the Farmhouse Bird Sightings, 23 Jul, 06

July 27, 2006

….

Here are a few pictures from our farmhouse visit. If you click on them, they will take you back to my Flickr website, where you can enlarge them to see them better.

The first one….
This is NOT the best photograph that was taken that day, but it is the one that I am most thrilled about, for two reasons: One, I had identified this bird as the shikra to my unsuspecting friends…but just now, I suddenly had a doubt and referred to my Grimmett, and since I believe, when in doubt, ask an expert, I emailed kalyan and yes, I was right, it is the Peregrine Falcon! Two, Kallu tells me that’s the fastest bird in the world…wow!!

Actually, after this, yathin posted that it might be a Eurasian Hobby (that’s NOT a Afghani stamp-collection, but a bird of prey!), and we got a third input from Abhijit Menon-Sen of Delhi stating emphatically that it was a Red-Necked Falcon. And now everyone is agreed, that is indeed what it is; probably a juvenile, as the crown and nape of the bird are not reddish enough yet.

So…here is the Red-Necked Falcon!

IMG_0118 peregrine falcon

It was really far away and it took all Mohan’s ingenuity and his zoom lens to capture it!

more pics behind the cut

Protected: Two pictures from Hari’s birthday, 24th July 2006..see my account earlier

July 27, 2006

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HHH…Hate Heat and Humidity

July 26, 2006

mmk posted that humidity reached 100% where he lives….

heat + humidity for me…inability to keep face from shining greasily, clothes sticking to every part of the body, sweat attracting dust as well, stringy, unmanageable hair, feeling of slothfulness, only possible exercise, swimming, also not a great help once I am out of the water, having to confine myself into a controlled, closed environment (yes, sitting in heated homes in the American winter also is hateful to me…at least there, I can put on extra layers of clothing and walk and walk and walk!)…all my groceries spoiling, clothes getting fungus…oh, the list goes on and on and on….

After moving back to Bangalore, I love opening the newspaper and seeing the Chennai temperature and humidity!

Sex, Love, Affection….. and Morality

July 25, 2006

The act of lovemaking or procreation needs extreme privacy (well, for most human beings anyway)…and over a period of time, much of the other activities/body parts associated with it have also become associated with privacy….they are, indeed, known as “private” parts. But over a period of time, this figurative “cover” has become extended further and further….in our Victorian society, the act of kissing is not something that people like to see performed in public; people do not like to see courting couples sitting close together in public spaces (er, they do not like to see them sitting close together in secluded spaces either); physical contact between men and women is frowned upon; any display of physical intimacy is a no-no. As soon as a couple get married, they are supposed to behave in public as if they have no physical intimacy whatsoever. Holding hands? Arms around each other? WHAT!!! That indecent pair!

I think that physical intimacy is a very important part of a relationship and should be expressed– to some degree, I agree, I too don’t want an orgy-in-public!– without a “what will people think” worry. To me there is nothing more beautiful than a young couple walking along, smiling into each others’ eyes, hand in hand. Not all physical contact has sexual connotations;  who has not had the delightful experience of cuddling up to a loved one without any sexual overtones to it? An embrace can be such a comfort to the psyche, such a battery-recharge to carry on with the mundane business of living….I do agree that sometimes a look across a room can be as good as a hug, but then, sometimes the actual contact is needed, too.

If young men and women cannot express their physical love in these (to me) perfectly natural ways, they are bound to be repressed and acts of rape, molestation and manifestations of what is, after all, one of the most powerful forces on earth will occur more and more….

We are too, too repressed about PDA (public demonstration of affection). Affection towards children, friends can be shown and talked about, but love for a partner or spouse, which is probably the most important and sustaining relationship in a person’s life,  cannot….I cannot but wonder at the logic of this.

This was brought on by reading in various LJs, the accounts of the love people bear their children…but almost never do I read of someone describing, and delightin in, the love they bear for their spouse or partner,…and that’s heterosexual relationships I am talking about. Gay/lesbian shows of affection? Perish the thought, and wash your mind out with Dettol!

A lovely time…

July 25, 2006

….

Both of us wanted to be at wondernoon‘s son’s first birthday celebrations well on time…so naturally, as we got the car out of the gate we noticed the absolutely flat tyre on our Honda City! So we took out the CR-V and off we went, luckily still in time to get ahead of  the office traffic. The venue was right across town from where we live.

Mr B N Ramesh, our friend, had agreed to accompany me on the mridangam, which is he is very proficient at. We reached the venue to find wondernoon looking really pretty in a 9 yard saree, with  a really delightful baby on her laptop…he has a lovely little round face with the most appealing huge “spaniel” melting eyes…he stuck to his mother like glue throughout the proceedings! The whole family made us feel very welcome and it was nice to catch up with Wondernoon’s sister in law who, again, is an old friend.

Of course we tucked into a solid breakfast! And then, when the religious rites were done, the stage was cleared and I sat down with Ramesh for the concert. Meanwhile, a little girl had expressed the wish to sing “Kereya Neeranu” as, she said, it contained the name of the birthday boy. So I asked her to come up and give us all the song, which she did, with commendable self-confidence!

I had been a bit apprehensive about singing at an event where the focus would be meeting and greeting…but amazingly, everyone settled down and listened quietly for the little over an hour that I sang. Meanwhile, my husband and Wondernoon’s spouse both found a common language, Camerese, and happily fiddled with digital cameras, videocorders,and tripods.

But to me one of the delights of the concert was that little Hari certainly seemed to enjoy some parts of it, even though he must have been upset by the crowds, and the change of his body clock!

All my songs were appreciated and applauded and I really enjoyed myself. Once the concert was over, we went and tucked into another grand meal…I am sure I can now do a meme on “How many solid meals can you eat in a day?” I was all appreciation for Wondernoon’s father in law, who had made all the arrangements while running around as his wife had been admitted to hospital for a few days for a cardiac problem…. Wondernoon’s spouse comes across as a warm, affectionate young man, and I feel so happy that my childhood friend has found such a nice family….

Thank you, wondernoon, for the opportuntity to get back to concert-level music again, after a long gap!

Will post the photos, with Wondernoon’s consent….that husband of mine has gone off out of town without giving me that CF card….!

the theatre group makes a difference…

July 24, 2006

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A couple of weeks ago, watched a Monty Python spoof and a Hamlet spoof by a local theatre group, which made a foul play of it…yesterday, watched Evam of Chennai do the same thing…it had me laughing uncontrollably! Evam is a very professional group, their comic timing is excellent, and they ad lib superbly too. What a difference the production makes! We had a great evening, and came home with our spirits lifted…nice to laugh like this once in a while!