Archive for July, 2011

Snake in the Grass

July 31, 2011

This morning, a group of us went to Valley School, and we saw a baby

COBRA

slithering across the path:

bg snk in grss 310711 vs

All of us who had cameras whipped them out to document it:

big cobra 1 310711 vs

A baby cobra is apparently no less deadly than an adult one, but this one had no menace at all; it was simply scurrying for cover.

big cobra 2 310711 vs

It was quite stressed, and put up its hood a little bit:

cobra3 310711 vs big

The hood came up even more as it slithered past:

cobra 4 310711 bg vs

Here’s the video:

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Insurance: often a racket

July 31, 2011

Frankly, I must say that I feel insurance in India is often a racket with no accountability. When the premiums are being collected and the papers signed, all is gas and gaiters, but if the consumer suffers a loss and wants to claim insurance, it is incredible how the insurance companies try (usually successfully) to weasel out of the claim settlement.

Even their habit of delaying the settlement and making the consumer run around, results in a scenario where it doesn’t seem worth the trouble and hassle. Very often, the insurance companies quote something from the fine print to deny the claim. Corporate customers, of course, get their claims settled but the ordinary Tom, Dick and Hari…they wind up with a lot of hassle, and sometimes a claim settlement that is much less than the amount contracted for at the time of taking the insurance.

If you lose something worth, say, Rs.20,000, have paid the premiums, yet find that you have to go through intense amounts of paperwork and filing-in-triplicate-at-the-time-of-the-full-moon kind of conditions, and finally find that you are getting some 6K as settlement…. and get that cheque only after repeated reminders and a lapse of several months…..you wonder if it might not be better to do without insurance altogether.

Clouds and colours

July 29, 2011

As we flew from Chennai to Bangalore, we almost immediately hit the rain-bearing monsoon clouds….first they were fluffy cotton wool fleecy:

white cld 260711

Then they started turning dark, with ice at their tips:

chni blr 260711 cloud

Soon the frozen water made prismatic effects as the sun hit it:

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There are some disadvantages to a window seat, particularly when you have to cross two people to get to the toilet…but equally, there are some major pluses to be in it, and watch the wonders of Nature and our Earth outside!

My letter in Missouri Conservationist Magazine

July 29, 2011

This is an excellent magazine, with superb articles and photos, that appears monthly. In St.Louis I have subscribed to this magazine, and wrote to them about my appreciation. and they printed the letter!

you can click here to see it

One day, one of my photographs will also get published there…. :)))

Upside down…

July 28, 2011

Sometimes the world feels upside down,
Sometimes a smile feels like a frown.
But sometimes upside down is lovely too..
When you look into the water, at the view.

160711 reflection fp

Long absences….

July 28, 2011

Maintaining things in absentia is a very tough proposition in India.

When we are away and don’t order cooking gas cylinders (we deal with Indane) within a 30-day period, our account gets locked out and this means a trip to the gas agency with a request letter and a xerox copy of Mohan’s id proof. What a customer-unfriendly service!

Chores not only pile up, but assume the proportions of major projects while we are away, and demand a lot of time and effort to sort out on our return. The cooking gas cylinder problem is only one example….

The downside of travelling, alas. People who have relatives/family to take care of these things are lucky…in our case, WE are the ones taking care of things for our daughter, as well as for ourselves.

The Dreamcatcher

July 27, 2011

In my cousin’s car, I found a decoration that I was curious about:

dreamcatcher 240711 ny

When I asked him about it, he told me that it was an Indian dreamcatcher. That intrigued me, and just now (to avoid the work of unpacking or sorting mail etc) I googled for it, and got

The Wiki entry about the Dreamcatcher

How lovely is the thought that hanging one above the bed of a child will “catch” the nightmares and prevent the child from being distressed by them! Here’s the quotation from American ethnographer

Frances Densmore :

“It was said that they “caught any harm that might be in the air as a spider’s web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it.”

I wish I could have a Realitycatcher over my bed….I’d be spared a lot of harmful, not-nice reality that I don’t want to face! The taxes that I must file, the death of a neighbour, bad health…oh, the Realitycatcher would be saturated soon, I suppose. 🙂

Don’t close the window

July 27, 2011

If your mind’s window you close,
You cannot feel the wind’s quiet force
No fresh ideas, wafted on the fresh air
Can replace the old thoughts already there.
Old thinking grows rigid and cold
And festers into bad and old.
Open the window to the currents…these
Will waft some new thoughts on the breeze.

canyon cafe stl 240611

LiveJournal difficulties

July 27, 2011

Checked into LJ today after a few days’ break, due to travelling…I find that I can just see the last few posts, I cannot comment or go to older posts….will see if I can post this or not….no, I could not.

Sad….I like LJ but am now backing up everything on WordPress…who knows, I may have to move permanently, though I started blogging with LJ 😦

Good Queue Design….

July 26, 2011

Good design is needed everywhere, not just in consumer products and clothes. In the early hours of the morning, after about 22 hours in the aircraft or at the gates of various airports, we had to jockey around, to join the various queues in front of the Immigration counters, trying to speculate which line would mean the least waiting time. Surely, a common queue, with the passenger at the head of the line going to the next available counter, would have been far more efficient (and, therefore,a better design) than these separate queues, especially when officials ask people to move from one line to another, which results in further chaos. Good design is people-friendly…but it always needs some imagination.