Archive for November, 2011

Unalloyed joy….

November 30, 2011

Sometimes, happiness just looks out from a photograph….

DnK 301111

Father and daughter were clicked by the mother, this morning.

I cannot stop wondering at the technology that lets me share such moments, so fast, halfway across the world, at such low cost. The Internet, I think, is one of the most wondrous of human inventions.

More about KTB…Noah

November 29, 2011

KTB’s daycare,

Urban Sprouts

is a happy place which she’s very happy to spend her weekdays at. Over the past year (I think she started going in July 2010) and a half, she’s found a very close friend, Noah (I still don’t know his last name!)

kms noah hands up stl 281111

Noah is the little boy in the black tee with a white design on it. Everyone in Urban Sprouts describes him as an “old soul”…it’s as if, they say, there’s a mature person inside that small body!

When I was there, I used to drop her mother off at the nearest Metro station in the morning, and then take KTB to Urban Sprouts, often spending a little time there as well. (Families are welcome to spend time at the centre.)

KTB would walk into the room five or six of them share, and before having her breakfast, she’d yell, “NO-VAAH! NO-VAAH!”, in as dictatorial tone as I’ve ever heard! Noah would come over (he’d often have waited to have breakfast, too!) A big hug, and then both of them would wash their hands and settle down at the small table, and have breakfast together, in great harmony!

Noah has continued to be her friend right through, and often figures in her conversation at home, too. In the photo above, their hands are up…but when it comes to spending time with someone at Urban Sprouts, Noah wins….hands down!

kms noah 281111 stl

AM took, and sent, the photos…

I am waiting for some pics from DnAnK’s Thankgiving weekend at Maine (of creatures other than the Bald Eagle!)…and some more KTB pics will follow, hopefully…

I know, rationally, that she’s happy and busy and has a great life where she lives…but emotionally, I do miss her…sometimes less, and more often, a lot. Let’s see how long I can last without going to visit her!


November 28, 2011

This time, the theme on the

Weekly Wildlife, Nature and Conservation Photography Challenge

…a fun forum to post wildlife-related photographs on!

was “spirituality”, and this is what I posted:

Is there anything more spiritual
Than the soaring of a bird?
Most of us only know too well
The meaning of the word
The heart soars like the bird, as we behold…
We feel it…we do not need to be told
What “spiritual” is.
It’s happiness…joy…bliss.

L mhe dhnti 291011 30D

It was a difficult choice, as almost everything in Nature makes me feel spiritual….I call a visit to Bannerghatta a visit to a temple!

Thrilling visitor at Portland, Maine…

November 27, 2011

This morning, emailed me, saying they had all thought of me when they saw this on the tree of their front lawn:

bld egle ptlnd me 261111

I usually drive down to Alton, Illinois, to see this most majestic of American raptors (and the iconic one!) when I visit St.Louis.

And….birders all over will smile to see what was mobbing the bird….

L egle and crow 261111 maine

Apparently, crows are “mobsters” the world over!

Phots by Derek Shaffer.

DS’ mother, L, told me on the phone that someone she met was waxing eloquent about how they’d had a great sighting of the Bald Eagle, and it was all she could do not to mention that they had visit from the bird, right at home!

Pun fun time again….

November 27, 2011

Some old some new….

1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir
Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned
out it was only an optical Aleutian .

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because
it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be

6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for

7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in
Linoleum Blownapart.

8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are
looking into it.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said
to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’

13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the

15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small
medium at large.

16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a
seasoned veteran.

17. A backward poet writes inverse.

18. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s
your count that votes.

19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you’d be in Seine .

21. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The
stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion
allowed per passenger.’

22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and
says ‘Dam!’

23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire
in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you
can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The
other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’

25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a
root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

26. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope
that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten

Two views from Portland, Maine

November 26, 2011

AM sent these lovely photographs of:

The view of the Atlantic from her in-law’s home:

Vw fr ptlnd he's am 251111

And of Portland Head Light, one of the three lighthouses that are visible from their home:

Portland hdlgt 251111 am

New England, I think, is one of the most beautiful parts of the United States of America!

After a long time, a book review…

November 25, 2011

I used to review books for the Indian Review of Books, long ago, in Chennai. Then I gave it up, for what reason, I still do not know…but after a very long time, another book review of mine, which I had put up in Citizen Matters, earlier,made it into print in the Deccan Herald,


Sadhana’s book is a very handy guide for those who want to know the names of common urban trees…and all that surrounds them!

Thanksgiving wishes…

November 25, 2011

thanksgiving 261109

Some eminent birders of Bangalore

November 24, 2011

On the 6th of November,2011, I was privileged to be at a gathering of some of eminent birdwatchers of Bangalore. The gracious host was none other than the doyen of birdwatching in Bangalore,

Zafar Futehally

who has been instrumental in popularizing birding as a hobby in our city; ironically, the hobbby seems to be catching on in ever-increasing numbers as the number of species of birds in the City’s shrinking parks and vanishing lakes are steadily decreasing.

Here’s Zafar Sahib, whose long years of service to ornithology cannot be understated:

S Zafar blr clb 061111

Several other eminent ornithologists and scientists, all of whom share a passion for birding, had gathered there.

A special visitor was

Aasheesh Pittie from Hyderabad.

Er…. the Wiki entry is in Finnish!….the rather funny Google translation is, “Aasheesh Pittie (b. 1961) is an Indian ornithologist.Pittie has completed a BA in economics from the University of Osmanian Hyderabad . His life work he has done, however, bird science. He has published several scientific articles on the Indian and South Asian bird life. He has been provided by various ornithological journals, and is one of Indian Birds journal suppliers. She has received many honors.” Let’s forget the mixture of pronouns, he’s founded many ornithological journals and is the founder of

India Birds

S Asheesh blr clb 061111

I also wanted to get a picture of J N Prasad, Dr M B Krishna, and Dr S Subramanya:

prsd mbk subbu blr clb 061111

This photo also has Praveen J, and L Shyamal….Shyamal is the most prolific contributor to Wikipaedia on natural history in India.

prvn shyml subbu mbk blr clb 061111

All of us got together for a group photo to mark a memorable occasion.

grp photo blr clb 061111

An august gathering, indeed, even though it was held in November! Health, and a span of 93 years on the planet, does not permit Zafar Sahib to be as physically active as before, but he follows the emails on the birding groups in our country, and abroad, quite keenly. We are lucky, indeed, to have ornithologists of his stature amongst us in our city.

KTB: Developing Language

November 24, 2011

AM writes from St.Louis:

KTB’s language is evolving and causes us much mirth on a regular basis.

One morning she stood in front of the fridge asking for “blood”. I was genuinely puzzled and wondered if she was perhaps asking for ketchup, something she loves. I offered it to her. She shook her head getting increasingly frustrated, until she just all out bawled, “Blooood. I need blooood. I need blood now!!”. I was finally able to satisfy my dracula child with what she wanted – a slice of… BREAD!

She also enjoys me singing the bhajan “Subramanyam” to her, and this morning I was treated with her request for “Sublam-mum-yum”.

K has always been one of the biggest poopers there has ever walked (or crawled) the earth. No wonder that she sometimes has a sore bum and has, in the past, asked for “medicine”. This week she said, “Amma, my bum hurts. I need sour cream”. Of course D and I could not keep a straight face. And she had no way of knowing that D and I had a friend (N) who used to call this “Sore cream”. She doesn’t always need the cream, but she really likes to play with the squishy tube. So last night as I put her pyjamas on, she looked at me so very hopefully. And with raised little eyebrows she asked, “Sour Cream ?”. She didn’t know why I was laughing so hard, but she half laughed with me and half, knowing that I was laughing at her, whined at me for laughing. She was just so transparent that she didn’t need any diaper or rash cream, but she was really hoping to have the tube to play with. Combined with her calling it sour cream, it was too much for me.

It’s a wonder that D and I still seek to pay a babysitter and go out for theater when we get so much entertainment at home!