Archive for November, 2007

From the LJ of

November 30, 2007

Enjoyed this one very much…

High Point, NC, where I live, is located between Horneytown and Climax, North Carolina.

This is true, too. Ha!

Why can’t WE have names like this and not just Bang-alore…! The closest I came to this was a couple of weeks, when we went to Mydenahalli which some people spell Maiden-ahalli….

One of the wittiest Chennai-specific dirty jokes I have heard is this one…

Q.Where is the navel situated?

A. Between Aavin Milk Bar and Woodlands Drive-In….

What are we doing to our children?

November 30, 2007

I went to watch a children’s play at Ranga Shankara a couple of days ago…and though the play was very well done, it set me thinking….

We complain so often about children being made mini-adults well before their time, by all the marketing that is aimed at them, the academic load (very literal, with the amount of schoolbooks they have to lug to school in their backpacks) they carry…but have we ever thought how we seem to be loading them up with adult concerns and guilt, too?

We are such preachers. We tell our children to worry about global warming, about pollution, about water…when WE are the people who are not doing much about the mess in the first place. We fondly believe that our children will listen to our words and not to the examples we are setting. “Oh, air pollution is terrible in our city!” we exclaim to them, as we herd them into our air-conditioned cars to go across town for their tennis coaching or whatever it is. “Trees are precious! You should save our trees!” we say piously, and keep perfectly quiet when the tree in our apartment complex is chopped down.

This awareness-problem has developed to the stage where no child seems to be able to write a nice simple fantasy or draw a picture which doesn’t deal with ecological or environmental issues. And often, I find chilrden just parroting the politically correct stances that their parents and teachers spout on these issues, as their young minds, which should be busy with play and not loaded with worries, really cannot comprehend what these things mean.

“Looks are not important!” we chorus at them, and when they switch on the TV they see ads for “Fair and Lovely” and “Fair and Handsome”, in which jobs and success only follow physical beauty. “Eat healthy!” we admonish them, and then say, “if you are good, I will take you to Pizza Hut… or MacDonald’s”. How many parents serve fresh fruit juice at birthday parties instead of Fanta or Coke? I have not seen a single children’s party where chips and fried food are not on the menu.

We are not only making mini-adults of our children…we are also making mini-hypocrites of them…because the tragedy is, our children are not going to do what we say, they are going to do what we do.

Our children…so often I feel sorry for them. We drive them on in the rat-race, and make sure they can not get off the eternally turning wheel….

Words of Pain

November 28, 2007

My daughter was very close to someone, until the other girl suddenly moved on…..I stood by, watching my daughter suffer. She had to go through this on her own, and grow by the experience. (We had tried to warn her about the other girl’s selfishness, but she wouldn’t hear a word, loyal friend that she was.)

This was published in Target, the children’s magazine, so I can reproduce it. It was February 1995; she was all of sixteen…

I was always there for you
Whenever you needed someone
Through trying times and trouble
When you were in pain…
To share your sorrows….
I don’t understand now
How you can forget that I’m there
And run off to someone else
Passing by me as though I don’t exist.
So you need me only in times of strife
That I may comfort you
But when it comes to sharing happiness
It’s not me you want
When I need someone–where are you?
Not with me…you don’t even know
Nor do you care about what I feel
When you are with me, you are so full of yourself
And your problems that I try to help you with
That you never stop to notice my thoughts…
I never did matter, I suppose;
If I go away, would you miss me?
Or just find someone else?
You couldn’t miss me for what I am
Because you don’t know what I really am.
What I *am* is your friend..but it’s not *friendship* we share…
For *that* is a two-way street.

Nandi Hills…the other things…. IGTK (I Got To Know) and ISDK (I Still Don’t Know…)

November 28, 2007

Nandi Hills was a mixture of things that I got to know, and things that I still don’t know….

While we were in the orchard area, I saw (or rather, noticed) for the first time, what a Lichi tree looked like:

lichi tree nandi hills orchard 251107

And the flowers looked so beautiful, too (at least, I *think* these are the flowers from the same tree…if not, someone let me know!)….

lichi flowers? help...

for more pictures of things I know, and I do not know…click on this

The Einstein Brain

November 28, 2007

I have been establishing contact with wild_guy, because I like what he has been writing, a lot…. So we exchanged emails, and I got his mobile no. from his email, and called him up…and then asked him to send me an email. A somewhat surprised but polite rejoinder from him.

I am sitting here, looking at his email with a bright-red face. (Well, MY face turns purple, but you get the general idea…)

HOW can I be SOOOO forgetful??? Well…the only reply is, I *can*. I confuse events, people, processes, dates, in fine and utter chaos.

Please…all of you…please understand that I am not scatterbrained, I am probably quarterbrained.

The funny thing is, how I can remember SOME things perfectly well. My neighbour’s car licence plate number (er, this was in 1972 or 1973!) was WBF 8084. My father in law’s telephone number in Pondicherry was 23381. WOE ( ‘What On Earth’…a polite variant of WTF.)….why can I remember such UZLISS bits of information and spend an hour hunting for my house keys, and then leave home without them?

Any of you who have fallen foul of this foul memory of mine…I apologize and apologize once again. Please do try to understand that my middle name is, and probably always has been, Alzheimer….

I even posted This Verse about my memory once. It is not a joke…. as they say in the Orbit Chewing Gum ad, “it is a TRUE!!”

November 27, 2007

This whole post is about the Amtutzes. Uma..thank you for introducing me to Karen, and then the whole family. Prashanth and Deepak also enjoyed their company, and it was a great group to spend the day with….

Here they are, in these two photographs:

deepak,karen,deepa,prashanth,paul,eliza,lupin,sylvie amstutz



(You can see the three daughters rolling around on the rocks!)


Some of the birds we saw at Nandi Hills

November 27, 2007

There’s going to be another, and more interesting post on the whole outing, and especially about that delightful family, the Amstutzes…but first, I want to put up the bird pictures that I got..

The morning was so excellent in terms of spotting birds…and so terrible in terms of bird photography. On the way, we saw a GREY JUNGLE FOWL, the WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER, SMALL GREEN BEE-EATERS and the INDIAN ROBIN. On arrival at the orchard area, in quick succession, Prashanth Badrinath pointed out two birds that I had never seen before…the PIED THRUSH (which was a first-timer for him, too, he said. This is a visitor that one can see on its migrant path at this time, or on its way back in March) and the INDIAN BLUE ROBIN. Then we continued to see the TICKELL’S BLUE FLYCATCHER, the TAILOR-BIRD, the ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER, and as soon as Dipu K met us (he was on his way home) he pointed out the RED-THROATED FLYCATCHER. We also saw the ORIENTAL WHITE-EYE, the GOLDEN ORIOLE, the BLACKBIRD, the RED-WHISKERED BULBUL, the BLUE-CAPPED ROCK THRUSH, the GREENISH LEAF WARBLER, the BLYTHE’S REED WARBLER, the BOOTED WARBLER, the SPOTTED BABBLER (forgive me for an interruption at this point. To me, all these warblers– especially spotted for fractions of seconds– look quite, quite alike. But Prashanth talks about wing-feathers and bars on the tails and coverts and supercilium and things like that, and tells each and every bird–and its brother and sister– apart. Me, I will say “warbler”, and let it go at that. Dr. Kumar Ghorpade would probably murder me within five minutes of my meeting him.)

Up in the air, we saw ALPINE SWIFTS, BARN SWALLOWS, RED-RUMPED SWALLOWS, DUSKY CRAG MARTINS, the BOOTED EAGLE, a JUVENILE EGYPTIAN VULTURE, a KESTREL…we especially saw the kestrel swooping along with a lizard in its claws, and do you think we got a good shot? What do you think? Yes, indeed I got a nice brown glob on my camera….

As we finally went towards a welcome lunch, we saw a NILGIRI WOOD PIGEON shoot across the road, and we finally got a good view of the bird…and a male Asian Paradise Flycatcher tantalized us so much that we were quite a good hour late for lunch!

I was quite disheartened about the photography part, though I was thrilled with all the sightings. I thought that I would probably go home without any good photographs ( which would NOT a first-timer for me by any means!!) but then Fate took pity on all of us….

So here they are:


tailor bird

A lovely pic of a TAWNY-BELLIED BABBLER (thanks, Uma and Yathin, in alphabetical order!) with food, taken by Uma to try out the 20D….

warbler  with food

Here’s the kestrel in flight. I asked why the bird could not face me, and Prashanth said if I could wait for six months, the direction of the wind would change and I would get the shot I wanted….!

kestrel in flight nandi hills 251107

And then, of course, when the light conditions were none too good, both the female Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Asian Paradise Flycatcher female nandi hills 251107

and the male

Male Asian Paradise Flycatcher nandi hills 251107

decided that they had teased us enough, and showed themselves long enough for us at least to aim our cameras, if not get great shots!

The next post will talk about the sweetness of the Amstutz girls, who troubled us not a whit, the parents, who have done such a great job with their daughters, and the various other things that we saw, and enjoyed….

But this is the birding post and I am sure I have left out several birds that I will add after I get Prashanth Badarinath’s list!

We can’t keep our environs clean…though we can put up boards…

November 27, 2007

November 25, 2007

We had a fantastic trip to Nandi Hills today, with Uma K, Karen,Paul, Eliza, Sylvie and Lupin Amstutz, Deepak Arya, and Prashanth Badrinath…more about it later, but meanwhile, here is an ovine ice-cream ad…

What Ice-Cream would Sheep eat? Nandi Hills 251107

I suppose another flavour (especially in our Silicon Valley) would be “Baa Baa Black Chip”…?

Woo hoo I love sharing serious, earth-shaking stuff like this!

Madivala Lake….short but sweet

November 24, 2007

Adarsh and Nisarg took me along to Madivala Lake this morning, and though we didn’t have a great variety of birds, the SPOT-BILLED PELICANS, the ASHY PRINIAS, the TAILOR-BIRDS, a magnificient BRAHMINY KITE, CORMORANTS, CATTLE EGRETS, POND HERONS, PURPLE MOORHENS, GREY HERONS (apart from the usual crew of KMC…KITE/MYNAH/CROW) made for a very interesting time indeed.

Here’s the scene that greeted us as we entered the gate:

pelicans and grass madivala lake 241107

You can see the pelicans serenely floating around…the water-hyacinth that has choked up the lake may actually be keeping the boaters from approaching the birds too closely….

For the story of my experiments with light, click here