Archive for April, 2011

Old,older, oldest….

April 30, 2011

Though the bird count at the Bannerghatta Zoo area was on the low side today (this seemed to be more of an “audio” than a “visual” day, with many more birds being heard than seen!)…we did see a lot of interesting stuff as usual. Here’s one:

diatom bgz 300411

Isn’t that really beautiful…and doesn’t it look like the prismatic effect of an oil slick on the puddle? Well…it does, and though it IS an oil slick in a way, it’s far more complex than that.

Diatoms

( here

is the Wiki link about them)

are a type of phytoplankton, which originated during the Jurassic period. Now, they ooze out on to the rock, and the debris forms a slick upon the water…and that’s what I’ve photopgraphed.

Remember, the sheet rock in and around Bangalore (Peninsular Gneiss) is among the oldest exposed sheet rock in the world, at about 3 billion years….so we were standing on the ancient past, and looking at the light reflecting on something from the Jurassic period…enough to awe anyone into wonder, awe…and silence!

Advertisements

Actually, it was an Indian Royal Wedding today…

April 29, 2011

I was tickled pink to get this after watching the Will Kate (Yes, will she? was the question!)…wedding…

I just love the wildlife reference at the end!

Driving on Indian highways….

April 28, 2011

I feel that highway driving in India has always been hazardous, and it continues to be so. Earlier, highways were single-lane roads, and it was, obviously, dangerous having the oncoming traffic, and the oncoming headlights, coming at you under all kind of conditions…night driving, rain, and so on. One slip on the part of an oncoming vehicle could mean disaster, no matter how careful one was as a driver.

Now, we have multilane highways…with grade separators, and wide dividers, too. These dividers have been planted with shrubs and even short trees so that oncoming headlights do not bother one during night driving.

But a lack of enforcment of the basic rules of highway driving continues to keep our highways dangerous…and in fact, I’d say, the danger of highway driving has actually increased, because the speeds have increased phenomenally, without commensurate increase in the safety precautions one must take at such speeds.

The first, of course, is that matter of using the safety belts. Most people (even the most educated of us) do not think it necessary to wear safety belts in their cars while travelling; this is the usual “It won’t happen to ME” attitude. In fact, I was travelling with one driver who, after turning on to the highway, quickly unbuckled his seat belt, remarking, with relief: “Now there are no police to catch me!” We had to explain to him that it was not a matter of rules, but one of safety. Of course, most buses and lorries on the road don’t possess this safety feature at all…and many commercial vans continue to overload their vehicles with passengers, and drive with the side or back doors open, with one or more people hanging out!

At long last (several years overdue!) I do see highway police…well, mostly on the elevated stretch of highway between Bangalore city and the outlying Electronics City (where a speed limit of 80 kph is posted). I did find, once, highway police in Tamil Nadu.

However, for the most part, speed limits are something that no user on the highway bothers about. Everyone speeds as much as s/he can….and I have several times watched two egotistical drivers have a speed race that endangers them and everyone else on the road.

Another major hazard factor on our highways is the very mixed traffic that, of course, is a feature on all Indian roads! It’s so normal to find a Lamborghini speeding past a bullock-cart…having decrepit old lorries struggling along the road…and that brings me to two further problems.

In the old days, highways (or “trunk roads, as they were called…I remember the historic Grand Trunk Road, but that’s another post!) were just mud and soil at the sides, which would mire the tyres, and hence trucks and buses tended to hog the crown of the road. But on today’s highways, the old practice results in slow, lumbering trucks blocking up the centre lane, which is the fast lane. When you add other trucks lumbering along on the other lanes, you get a scenario in which other vehicles have to keep weaving in and out of the lanes, in a manner that both wastes time, and adds to the dangers of driving. And when we have one old lorry trying to overtake another, the painfully protracted period while the two lorries are abreast, is one where other vehicles just have to slow down considerably, and wait.

The design of exits and entrances to the highway is another hazard factor. Though the entrance/exit on the highway, and the break in the median, are kept at a distance from each other for safety reasons, in real life, most vehicles try to go from the entrance to the median (often the wrong way on the highway) instead on going onwards and taking a “U” turn. This results in a major danger to oncoming traffic. On the Bargur stretch of the Bangalore-Chennai highway, there are hardly any breaks in the median, and so, to avoid going round a long way, vehicles (and motorcyclists) tend to just go along on the wrong side…a truly horrific sight to see as one travels at highway speeds.

Posting plentiful signs on the highway, reminding users of the rules, cannot, alone, result in better driving and highway practices. There has to be an active highway police force..which enforces the rules impartially, does not take bribes to let offenders go, and also makes sure jaywalkers do not cross over the highway by climbing the medians. With the political will to enforce our laws, we could have far safer highways than we do at present.

A beautiful wedding…

April 27, 2011

I attended a lovely wedding today; here are the happy couple, exchanging garlands, a ritual signifying one soul in two bodies:

vv wedding 270411 garlands

The bride wears white, and the groom has a “jariga pAga” (gold-lace turban)….he is showing “arati” to her, as if to say, let the purifying fire protect you from all evil, and harm…

vv wdng arati 270411

Here’s the bride, in a shower of rice, thrown as a benison…

rice vv wedding 270411

You want to see lots more photos of the wedding ceremony?

here you go

(Facebook page!)

Wishing my friends many years of happiness together….they met when they were teaching!

A childhood favourite…

April 27, 2011

I don’t even remember how, or when, I learnt this song. I think I learnt it by osmosis!
I didn’t know that it was a movie song, and I didn’t know the movie. I just suddenly decided to google for it….and there it was…in Asha Bhonsle’s lovely voice.

here

is my rendition of it, obviously, a little different, with all those years of never hearing the original. And I have taken it at a much lower pitch.

Nandi Hills…people, and scenery….

April 26, 2011

Having had to postpone our trip to Nandi Hills due to torrential rains on Saturday, we decided to make the trip on Sunday morning, and Anand, Kannan, Priyanka, Sushil, Vaibhav, and I left at 4.30am on Sunday morning.

I rarely post black-and-white photos, but this view of the ramparts of the Nandi Hills wall, the trees and the clouds…and that monkey sitting there…needs bnw!

slhte nh 240411

Here’s one of the things that’s special about Nandi Hills:

ndi hls monolith 240411

Here we are, having stopped on the road up, to see what we could sight:

on the climbnh 240411

I used the little Fuji camera to capture the beautiful view of the hills rising out of the mist:

mntns nh 240411

I tried to get the spectacular effect of the sun’s rays through the clouds:

sns rys 240411 nh

We walked down the sheet rock:

rock slps 240411

and enjoyed the view:

on the slps 240411 nh

The villages below smiled in the slowly emerging sunshine:

view nh vllage 240411

But most of the time, we were avidly looking into the trees, spotting and observing birds!

bdwtcng 240411 nh

By the afternoon, the tourists had started arriving (I think the prospect of heavy rain kept them away in the morning, which was good for our birdwatching!) Some of them, obviously, had their hearts flying!

hrt blns 240411 nh

I cannot take enough pictures of this old pavilion, shaded by the timeless, majestic trees:

old pavilion nh 240411

Have posted some of the birds we saw to my Facebook album,

here

…but I’ll post a few pics here, too, for the non-FB people!

Tailorbird…a little bit of fluff!

April 25, 2011

We had a very productive and enjoyable trip to Nandi Hills on Sunday; the trip was postponed from Saturday, when it poured buckets. On Sunday, too, we did contend with very low light for the better part of the morning…but Nandi Hills never disappoints.

I’ll be posting other pics…I’ve already uploaded the pictures of several birds

here

but I thought I’d like to share the time we spent watching one little Tailorbird choosing a bit of fluff for her nest, and doing all sorts of acrobatics with it….

We suddenly noticed the bird (which, by the way, has a loud call out of all proportion to its size!) in the long leaves by the path. A ray of sunshine lit her up:

tlrbd 6 240411 nh

Her movements made us watch her:

tlrbrd 5 240411

Up and down she went, on the leaves:

tlrbrd 2 240411 nh

She got a little bit of fluff that she liked:

tlrbrd 5 240411

More jiggling:

tlrbd 3 240411 nh

We continued to watch:

tlrbd 4 240411

But ultimately, though she was beautifully illuminated by that ray of sunshine, we had to leave her to her home decoration and move on!

tlrbird 1 240411 nh

Easy Solution….

April 25, 2011

Why go to all the expense of getting married, when easier solutions are advertised at the top of Nandi Hills?

lds to let nh 240411

There is another name for this arrangement, but this is a family blog and we’ll not go there….!

Durga on a Lion….

April 21, 2011

Durga, the slayer of the Buffalo-demon, Mahishasura, appears astride a lion:

ktb at llbgh 060311

If you don’t want to see more photos of KTB, just pass on…but if you do, here she is:

dechu's dog and ktb 070311

We visited G and R and they, and their garden, delighted her:

gr and ktb 080311

avr and gdn hose 080311

avr km and ktb 080311

Her mother visited another friend and this is her son:

ktb and gayu's son 040311

ktb and gayu's son 040311

and when we visited Lalbagh, Amok entertained her:

ktb and ajs pshchr llbgh 060311

ajs and ktb llbagh 060311

And..when I love someone, I confer nicknames on them. She started as “Eli”, became “Biddly”, then GD, then “The Biddles” (well, that’s KTB…Kavya-The-Biddles!) , then “Boodi” and is now “Beedool” (how horrible!) which I suppose is a corruption of “Biddle”…I’ll be spending a couple of months with her, soon, and I wonder what other nicknames are going to appearing!

Urdu Verse….

April 21, 2011

Unki gali se guzre..ajeeb ittefaq tha
Unho ne phool phenka..gamla bhi saath tha.

(Went past her home..she threw a flower…along with the flowerpot.)

Tumko dekha to ek khyal aaya
Tumhari saheli ko dekha to doosra khyal aaya

(When I saw you, a thought occurred to me…when I saw your friend, another thought occurred to me.)

Na woh inkaar karti hai
Na woh ikraar karti hai
KAMBAKHT mere hi sapno mein aakar
Mere dost se pyaar karti hai

She doesn’t reject me, she doesn’t accept me, the awful girl comes in my dreams and loves my friend.

Jab Jab ghire Baadal, Teri Yaad aayi
Jhoom ke barsa Saawan, Teri Yaad aayi
Bheega main,lekin phir bhi teri Yaad aayi
Kyon na aaye teri yaad?
Tune meri chatri ab tak nahi lautai

When the clouds loomed, I remembered you….when the monsoons poured, I thought of you…I was drenched, and yet I thought of you. Why? You haven’t returned my umbrella.

Unki gali ke chakkar kaat kaat kar,
Kutte bhi hamare yaar ho gaye,
Wo to hamare ho na sake,
Hum kutton ke sardar ho gaye…

Haunting the roads where she lives, even the street dogs became my friend. She could not be mine, but I became a Master of the Hounds.

haseen tum ho to bure hum bi nahi,
mahalo mein tum ho to sadak par hum bhi nahi,
pyar karke kehte ho shaadi shuda ho,
kaan kholkar sunlo, kunware hum bhi nahi

If you are beautiful, I’m not ugly, either;
If you live in palaces, I’m not on the streets, either.
First you love me, then you say you are married…
Listen…I am not a *ahem* very young boy, either.

Macchar ne jo kata…
dil main mere junoon tha.
Khujli hui itni
dil besukoon tha.
Pakada to chod diya yeh soch kar ki….
sale ki ragon main apna hi khoon tha

When the mosquito bit me,
My heart went crazy.
There was so much itching
That I was irritated.
But when I caught the mosquito, I let it go, thinking…
the SOB has my blood flowing in its body.

Aaj dildar, kal yaar, parso pyar, phir ekrar, aur phir-intzar,
phir-takrar, phir-darar, saari mehnat-bekar,
aur akhir mein Ek aur Devdas at a beer bar

Today, a friend, tomorrow, a dear friend, day after tomorrow, love, then acceptance, then waiting…then conflict, war, all the work gone waste…and at the end, another Devdas (jilted lover) at a beer bar.

tere dar pe sanam hazar baar ayengey,
Ghanti bajayengey aur bhaag jayengey

I’ll come to you a thousand times….
Ring the bell, and run away.

Duniya mein bewafaon ki kami nahin hai.
Ab suraj ko hi dekh lo-
Aata hai Usha ke saath,
Rehta hai Kiran ke saath,
Aur jaata hai Sandhya ke saath

The world has no dearth of traitors.
See Suraj (the sun)…comes with Usha, stays with Kiran, and goes with Sandhya.

And a last one in English, for birders:

Little birdie in the sky,
You look up and it shits in your eye.
You don’t mind and you don’t cry,
You just thank God that cows don’t fly