Archive for February, 2007

The Blue-Capped Rock Thrush

February 24, 2007

I found this delightful view of this delightful, colourful little bird amongst the photographs…I don’t know if I took the picture or KM did; but looking at the detail of that little spider-web thread just next to the bird, and its clarity, I feel it might have been KM rather than me…

Blue capped Rock Thrush, Ganeshgudi JLR, Dandeli, 18 Feb 07

Sadly, we didn’t get any pictures of another colourful bird on the Ganesh Gudi campus of JLR, the Malabar Trogon….

NIce meeting…

February 24, 2007

I went to Lalbagh and then to MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Room, a Bangalore institution that still serves coffee in silver tumblers!) this morning, to meet other people who are writing for Metroblogs Bangalore…and met anitab and as a totally unexpected bonus, cyberscorpion, whose photography and love for Tamizh culture and language have long fascinated me…I was, I think, the only one there without a camera, the place was bristling with Canons and Nikons and lenses that can work magic….

Feeling very peaceful and content. I do love my city and the fact that we still have such lovely public gardens.

I wonder…how many LJ-ers would I be passing on the sidewalk without knowing who they were? Bangalore surely has a large population of them….LJers, if you meet this woman on a bicycle, or with an expensive camera and lenses that she can’t tell you the technical names of…that’s ME!

Everything is getting specialized…

February 24, 2007

Here’s an email from one of the egroups I belong to:


“We have the following groups in DiversityIndia. Please become members of respective groups and send emails in right groups for better responses.

Invertebrates of India
Insects of India
Butterflies in Indian Region
Indian Moths
Dragonflies and Damselflies of India
Spiders of India
Wild Flowers India
Reptiles of India
Amphibians of India

Avoid cross posting unless the emails are of common interest to more than one groups.”


Oh my goodness. What am I supposed to do if I don’t know if what I have seen is a butterfly or a moth? Can both of these not be posted to insectindia? Thank goodness there is only one egroup for dragonflies and damselflies, as I have no clue what a damselfly is (except that I think that many damsels turn into dragons later.) I happen to know that there are other insects that mimic spiders…now where should I post emails about those?

Very soon I am sure there are going to be specific egroups for, say, left-handed toads, or red-coloured five-petalled wildflowers, or birds spotted only in South Bangalore…and of course cross-posting NOT allowed…

Thank goodness for sites like India Nature Watch which has all these categories in one, AND includes landscape also as part of Nature..

I am a “generalist” whether it’s insects or birds or trees or mammals or reptiles, they all fascinate me….and sadly, the world is getting more compartmentalized…if I have a sinus ailment, I will have to go to a different doctor if it is the left nostril and a different one if it is the right..and yet a third one if BOTH nostrils are blocked…

This is REALLY how it is when I travel abroad…!

February 23, 2007

When you have to visit a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place.

Once it’s your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors.

Every stall is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall.

You get in to find the door won’t latch. It doesn’t matter.

The dispenser for the modern “seat covers” (invented by someone’s Mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty.

You would hang your purse on the door hook, if there were one, but there isn’t – so you carefully but quickly drape it around your neck, (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume “The Stance.”

In this position your aging, toneless thigh muscles begin to shake.

You’d love to sit down, but you certainly hadn’t taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold “The Stance.” To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser.

In your mind, you can hear your mother’s voice saying, “Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!”

Your thighs shake more.

You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday – the one that’s still in your purse.

That would have to do.

You crumple it in the puffiest way possible.

It is still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes open your stall door because the latch doesn’t work.

The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet.

“Occupied!” you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle on the floor, lose your footing, altogether, and slide down directly onto the TOILET SEAT.

It is wet of course.

You bolt up, knowing all too well that it’s too late.

Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper – not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try.

You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew, because, you’re certain, her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, “You just don’t KNOW what kind of diseases you could get.”

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, propelling a stream of water like a fire hose that somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in too.

At that point, you give up.

You’re soaked by the spewing water and the wet toilet seat.

You’re exhausted.

You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.

You can’t figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women, still waiting.

You are no longer able to smile politely to them.

A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe.

(Where was that when you NEEDED it??)

You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it the woman’s hand and tell her warmly, “Here, you just might need this.”

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has long since entered, used and left the men’s restroom.

Annoyed, he asks, “What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?”

This is dedicated to women everywhere who deal with a public restroom (rest??? you’ve got to be kidding!!).

It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long.

It also answers their other commonly asked question about “why women go to the restroom in pairs”.

It’s so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse, and hand you Kleenex under the door!!!!!

Want to see Metroblog?

February 22, 2007

This is a blog which is city-specific; obviously, I write Bangalore-based stuff; I don’t know if anyone would like to read it, but I am giving the URL for my own record…

Today I interviewed two young men who are making a successful business enterprise out of a theatre group, in just 3 years; you can read about it (and see the photograph)at

Malabar Pied Hornbill

February 20, 2007

Here’s a snap KM took of the Malabar Pied Hornbill…the picture has a very Japanese-painting feel to it, because of the tree and the bold curves of the bird….

Malabar Pied Hornbill

Malabar Pied Hornbills are very large birds, weighing up to 4 kg sometimes; in spite of this, their flight (with a typical pattern of flap-flap-flap, glide…) is quite graceful, and the arc of their outstretched wings is so beautiful to see.

The story of Mr and Mrs M. G. Hornbill

February 20, 2007

At Dandeli, this time, we were treated to a lovely family drama, more riveting than any soap opera one could see on the idiot box! Let me introduce the hero and heroine:

MalabarGrey Hornbills

The rest of the Hornbill Story…click here!

Another beauty from Dandeli

February 20, 2007

This is the Blue-Capped Rock Thrush…well, the male (the female of course is dun-coloured and dull-looking!)…

Blue-capped Rock Thrush

That photo was by KM; and here’s the one I took of the bright little chap, as soon as I hurriedly took the camera from my spouse …

Blue capped Rock Thrush

We found the number of birds which are bright and colourful,just amazing. And I am realizing that sharing a camera is all very well when only of us is out on a field trip; it’s tough when both of us are there at the same time….my agreement with KM was, I won’t use the camera if both of us are in the field at once, but I didn’t always stick to that rule… I think KM is getting slowly fed up with me looking over his shoulder, not at the bird, but to see if he has finished with the camera so I can take it!

My next Dandeli-related post is going to be a long one; it is the story of Mr and Mrs Malabar Grey Hornbill; their loving billing and cooing, their nest, and the evil Mynah who tries to stake a claim to their home, and their ultimate victory….watch this space for the sensational serial story! (End of promo.)

First pictures from the INW Dandeli meet

February 19, 2007

Let me start with the disclaimer. I was made to realize that these photographs are not “technically” good; the fuzziness of the beating of the wingtips apparently spoils the photograph and it is not worth printing or otherwise displaying….but that’s to a perfectionist.

To me, it’s different. Firstly, that’s the Southern Birdwing, one of the largest butterflies in this region. I do not know when I will ever get an opportunity of photographing it again. This is the first time I have seen it.

And then, the fact that even in a photograph like this, the wingtips are still quivering fast enough no make that “fuzzy” effect, shows the speed at which the butterfly’s wings must be beating….what a delicate creature,and what a metabolic rate it must have! To me, it is an example of life at its quickest…so here’s presenting the Southern Birdwing, on a bract of bougainvillea.

Southern Birdwing on Bougainvillea

<lj -cut text=”two more butterfly pics here”

Here’s another view of this beauty:

Southern Birdwing on Bougainvillea ...side

The wingtips are still quivering away!

But here, in a somewhat larger perspective, the creature seems more at rest:

southern Birdwing Closeup

I think that I shall never be good enough to post pictures to forums like India Nature Watch….but on my own LJ, I can enjoy myself without worrying about my level of perfection or otherwise!


February 19, 2007

Have you ever been in a mood, after 3 days of hectic activity, when you feel really not up to interacting with the world, where you just want to know what’s happened, but don’t want to engage quite yet?

I am in that mood now. My heart and my senses are still at Dandeli, where a hectic schedule and lack of sleep combined with intese interaction with the other delegates and a need to store, mentally and photographically, a lot of images.

I am looking through my LJ friends’ posts now…but a listlessness prevents me from commenting on each post, as I would normally do. I am content to just see what each friend has been up to, read the opinions, and look at the links….but I won’t become verbal or vocal just yet. Unusual for me to be quiet and not join in like a jungle babbler….

I will be back to the chattertable soon, no doubt. But meanwhile…the images of Nature in her splendour run through my mind…the beauty of the sunshine through the glittering leaves, the velvet darkness of the night, “all creatures great and small”, the wonders of the natural world that survive despite our thoughtlessness and greed and exploitation…and the many good people I met over the weekend, faces and personalities to match to names on the Net…

And of course BSNL broadband is helping this mood by acting up all day long. I am unable even to load my photographs on to Flickr, so the inaction is forced as well as voluntary….

Will bring my mind and heart back soon!