Archive for December, 2011

The last day of 2011

December 31, 2011

Is there anything special about the last day or the first day of the year? We ourselves calculate two different years, the Anno Domini and the Tamizh year…and I know several more….Parsi, Hindi, Bengali, and so on…I personally feel that it would be logical to begin the year in springtime, not in mid-winter…but a procession of Roman emperors saw to it that whether or not people have a white Christmas, in many parts of the world, they will have a white New Year.

Oh well..on the last day of 2011, we didn’t want to let go of our regular trail, even though the cyclonic weather further in Pondicherry (sorry, Puthucheri) cast a cloudy pall on our own weather. Bundling up warmly, Chandu, Santosh, Vaibhav and I went to my favourite zoo area in the Bannerghatta National Park. This is probably the one forest in India, apart from Gir, where one can hear the lions roar as one wanders around! It’s a different matter that the lions are in captivity in the Zoo….but the noise is rather chilling to newcomers, and thrilling to children!

One of the highlights was seeing this

BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE:

Photobucket

Here are some of the other sights…

It was nice to observe that the windmill in the zoo area was going nicely…good to see a clean, sustainable energy source!

wndml bgz 311211

These weeds in the quarry pond looked beautiful:

pnd wd birds  bgz

Here are the others:

sntsh chndu vbhv birds  bgz

Having bricked up the opening, JLR have not removed the board pointing to their Hillview Restaurant, resulting in a funny sign:

signbd jlr birds  bgz

The birds we saw:

ROSY PASTOR

rsy pstr birds  bgz

COMMON HAWK CUCKOO

(from a distance, we kept having doubts about this bird’s id, confusing it with a Shikra, especially seeing the way it flew, hunting. Now I now why it’s called a “hawk” cuckoo.)

hwk ccko birds  bgz

BOOTED WARBLER:
btd wrbler birds  bgz

SMALL GREEN BEE-EATER;

grn b etr birds  bgz

INDIAN BUSHLARK:

indn bshlrm birds  bgz

PURPLE-RUMPED SUNBIRD:

pr snbd birds  bgz

RED-WHISKERED BULBUL:

rd whskrd blbl birds  bgz

SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA:

scly brstd mna side birds  bgz

BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE:

Photobucket

a Black-naped Oriole Motorcycle:

Photobucket

ASHY DRONGO:

Photobucket

PIED KINGFISHER:

pkf rt look bgz 311211

PURPLE SUNBIRD

(scratching itself busily!)

ppl sunbd scrtching bgz 311211

SMALL BLUE KINGFISHER:

sbkf bgz 311211

POND HERON:

pnd hrn bgz 311211

The mammals we saw included three mongoose, crossing our path rapidly, a black-naped hare, some Chital that we spotted by peeping over the zoo wall, and this

GAUR:

gaur shtng bgz 311211

(Yes, it was going to, and it did.)

The bird list actually was:

Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Indian
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Cormorant, Little
Crow, Jungle
Crow, House
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Drongo, White-bellied
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Francolin, Grey
Heron, Pond
Hoopoe, Common
Iora, Common
Kingfisher, Pied
Kingfisher, Small Blue
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Brahminy
Kite, Common
Lapwing, Red-watled
Munia, Scaly-breasted
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Oriole, Black-naped
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Plain
Robin, Indian
Roller, Indian
Shikra
Shrike, Bay-backed
Shrike, Brown
Shrike, Long-tailed
Silverbills, Indian
Sparrow, House
Starling, Rosy
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Wire-tailed
Tailorbird, Common
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, Pied
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Greenish Leaf

And the mammals list was

Chital
Gaur, Indian
Hare, Black-naped
Mongoose, Common

We did not sight any crocodiles today…not sunny enough for them to bask on the rocks!

I leave you with the sacred markings of this little shrine under a huge banyan tree….wish you all the best for the years ahead!

namam birds  bgz

All pics with the MLC….

Manchanabele Reservoir, 291211,and other nature trails near Bangalore….

December 30, 2011

It’s been quite a hectic time, as I’ve been doing some amount of volunteering and some amount of for-me nature trails, too. Last Sunday, 18 (yes!) of us went to

Maidanahalli

as several people in the UGS (Usual Gang of Suspects, our group of friends who like to go for nature trails), and had a wonderful time, that included an awesome sunset.

The pictures of the birds are on my FB album

here

the scenery and general photographs are

here

and that technicolour sunset is

here

On Saturday last, I took 15 children from Sindhi School, Malleswaram, to the Bannerghatta forest (zoo area) and the pictures from that are

here

On Thursday, just 5 of us (it’s a working day for many, and this time, the children didn’t want to come) went to

Manchanabele Dam and Reservoir

All these were wonderful outings…and let me just show you a few sights from yesterday’s outing…

This is what the sky looked like just before sunrise….

snrise  L mnchnble 291211

And this

INDIAN SILVERBILL

was one of the delightful little birds around…

L slvrbill 291211 mnchnble

Some of the birds…

RIVER TERNS

preening on the water, after finishing their fish breakfast:

L rvr trns 291211 mnchnble

A

BRAHMINY STARLING

showed off a cool hairstyle!

L brmny strlng 291211 mnchnble

A

BLACK DRONGO

showed off its glossy feathers:

L blck drngo stick 291211 mnchnble

A

BOOTED EAGLE

soared above, delighting us:

L booted eagle 291211 mnchnble

So did a

BRAHMINY KITE

much more common, but still, a beauty.

L brhmny kite 291211 mnchnble

Some

RIVER TERNS

behind a rock gave me a funny photograph!
L wing rock 291211 mnchnble

The terns then took off:

L tern tkoff 291211 mnchnble

We enjoyed watching the

LOCAL GEESE

L 3 geese 291211 mnchnble

This

PIED WAGTAIL

and its companion wagged their tails along the shore:

L Pd wgtl rock 291211 mnchnble

We watched this

ASIAN OPEN-BILLED STORK

and its companion, too:

L opn bil stk fshing 291211 mnchnble

The stork made a lovely picture against the water:

Photobucket

Liked the takeoff!

L op bl stk takeoff 291211 mnchnble

A lone

ASHY-CROWNED SPARROW LARK

sat on a granite slab:

a c sprlark  L mnchnble 291211

One of the hightlights of the morning was seeing three of the

HOOPOES

together, I got this one on the shore:

L hpe shore 291211 mnchnble

This little

PLAIN PRINIA

tried to hide in the Lantatna bushes:

L pln prna 291211 mnchnble

this

LAUGHING DOVE

posed for us on the rocks:

L lfng dv rock291211 mnchnble

A

BAY-BACKED SHRIKE

also sat helpfully on the bush:

L by bck shrk 291211 mnchnble

A

SMALL GREEN BEE-EATER

was actually eating a bee!

L beeater with b 291211 mnchnble

I loved the sight of this old pavilion:

sun and pvlin  L mnchnble 291211

And some distance away were people working in a field of marigolds:

L fld of mrglds 291211 mnchnble

I completely enjoyed the sight of this

PIED BUSHCHAT

apparently visiting us to sit on the car!

L bscht on car 291211 mnchnble

Hope you can see my photographs of the other trips, too…

Architects, Genius, and Morals….

December 27, 2011

On KM’s classmates mailing list, we are having a very interesting conversation. It started with Vasu, who teaches in Ohio, posting a link to Louis Kahn’s work, designing the IIM-A campus:

******************

click here for the link to Louis Kahn’s notebook and sketches

A fascinating set of sketches and more.

Today, Fareed Zakaria interviewed architect Frank Gehry on his CNN show. Gehry created the building that currently houses my office. Gehry’s initial sketches also resemble idle doodles.

Gehry said his buildings don’t look weird to him. He said other “normal” buildings look weird to him. That statement resonated with me. He talked about the need to provoke an emotion and gave the example of the Nataraja figure as something that has “movement” built into it. It made me look at the familiar Nataraja sculpture in a new way, even though I have been seeing it all my life.

We are toying these days with the metaphor of “management as design.” That view sees management as largely an improvisational art, like creating a building or a motion picture or a piece of exquisite art often out of materials that happen to be at hand. It is seen as a punctuated process, with lots of zigs and zags and not as the linear and overly rational kind of analytical process that most of us were exposed to.

The examples of “design thinking” in the above blog are giving me all sorts of ideas that I hope to incorporate into the redesign of my classes for next semester.

The design schools seem to be doing more innovating everywhere on management ideas than the so-called management schools.

***************

To this, Raj replied:

*****************

Thanks for this. Did you know that this great and famous architect died a pauper and in debt? That he was a lousy family man? That he had two marriages running in parallel one of them being secret? I wonder whether the existence of one great skill can be a licence to do a lot of not so acceptable things.

It is a debatable point that if we did not have inventive or creative or other breeds of geniuses around, the world would have progressed much less or not at all. Equally it could be argued that the accolades and hero worship that geniuses get, make them take many things for granted, a bit of God play. I am at a loss when it comes to accepting such people with their sharp edges or ignoring them or despising some of them.

Here I am not talking about genuine handicaps that some geniuses do have. Like I attended a highly technical lecture by John Nash, a few years ago. One could see the ghost of man trapped in some kind of an invisible web, reading from a word document projected on a screen and even reading ‘comma’, ‘full stop’, etc. A genius struggling against all odds to do what a child of 10 could do so easily. That was a humbling moment. Not one, where one would despise a human for his shortcomings. But a great painter or whatever, running wild after any one of the opposite gender who is willing or unwilling, is something else. Some may argue that it is a problem coded in his/her DNA…and that the subject is helpless.

Can someone throw some light on how one can distinguish between condonable and the unacceptable behaviour of geniuses?

********************

And my response was:

Raj, my mother had a theory that satisfies my sense of logic…she used to say that the same kink which made a person talented to the point of genius, also meant that the person would often not abide by “ordinary” values of life. “Magic often also means madness,” she would say, and after reading about the lives of many creative geniuses (genii?) I’d tend to agree.

Well, society (the middle class…the upper and lower class never seem to bother!) always has trouble accepting anything which is not the norm….here I am not talking about theft, murder or absolute no-nos, but those things where what is acceptable seems to shift from time to time..exposure of skin, living together, extra-marital relationships, same-sex relationships, drinking, and so on. Our sense of security seems to be threatened by those who do not conform. No, I have no easy solutions for this…I guess such geniuses will still go their own way, and be tolerated by some, and gossiped about (and detested, or secretly envied) by the others!

**************

What are YOUR thoughts, all of you?

Carrying death on its back….

December 27, 2011

I was delighted to take 15 children of Sindhi School, Malleswaram, to my favourite zoo area in the Bannerghatta National Park. Subbalakshmi, a teacher in the school, enthuses the children and organizes nature trails for them entirely on her own initiative…the school does not take any responsibility. Even the van was hired by her! More power to her and may her tribe increase!

Here are the children, posing with the Kids For Tigers poster:

sindhi schol 241211 bgz

For the photographs from the outing,on my Facebook album,

click here

One of the very interesting things the children spotted on the outing was this caterpillar:

pupa cat  bgz 241211

I asked my nature Guru,

Karthik

whether the caterpillar was carrying some eggs…and he, and

Saptarshi, a wildlife friend on Facebook, had a very interesting story to tell.

This caterpillar, apparently, is carrying the Load of Death!

Braconid Wasps

(click on the name to find out more about these wasps)

apparently select caterpillars, and lay their eggs on them; the larvae, when they hatch, feed on the caterpillar, and form small cocoons on the body of the caterpillar…that’s what we saw, above!

The amazing things that happen in Nature are infinite….

Missing someone after a hundred years?

December 27, 2011

How can you miss someone “day in, day out” after a hundred years?

click here for this interesting obit

What a long-lived family they must be, if they know her well enough to miss her, after a hundred years!

….and don’t miss the “US Americans”….!

Merry Chinmas!

December 24, 2011

I got this lovely pic from who was chatting with D, A and KTB on Skype and took a webshot.

For some reaon, everyone has a chin-in-hand (maybe a chin in hand is better than two in the bush?)…so…Merry Chinmas to all of you!

DAK 241211

Off to Devarayanadurga and Maidanahalli today; with 16 of us, it’s going to be a wonderful time!

Barn Owl Rescue, Thirukkadaiyur, 211211

December 23, 2011

A very eventful and enjoyable week, travelling in Kerala and then Tamil Nadu, attending, first, the COSTIIMA (Class of Seventy Three, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad) annual meet, which was held at Cocobay Resort, Kumarakom, Kerala…and then the Shashti Abdha Poorthi (60th birthday) of Anand, KM’s close friend and IIM classmate (a friendship that dates back to 1971!) and Devika, at the beautiful temple of Thirukkadaiyur, seat of Amrita Ghateeswarar and Abhirami.

However, that will all be described later. One of the good deeds that I performed was the rescue of a Barn Owl!

Right in front of the temple, as we were going in, this Barn Owl flew out into the open, in a befuddled state and sat on the ground:

L brn owl bkgrnd 211211 trikdyr

Immediately, I was alarmed to find that the crows started congregating, and a man started hitting the “bird of ill omen” as he called it, with a stick. The bird managed to avoid the man’s stick, but was just hopping out of reach:

L Barn Owl sid Trkdyr 211211

I then managed to catch the bird (I have the scratches to prove it!) and had the bright idea of putting it in the nearby old building which had a pay-and-use ladies’ toilet, where the men, the local urchins, and the crows could not get at it.

L brn owl st trkdyr 211211

I was rewarded, a little later, by the bird’s flying away through the front porch bars, to a heavy-foliage mango tree, where it seemed safe. I was very late for some of the Shashti abdha poorthi rites, but felt very happy about the rescue..otherwise, this bird would have been the main course for the crows’ breakfast!

Childhood’s Look

December 14, 2011

ltl grl kbn 091211

She looks at me, through the chair.
Intent, serious, candid stare.
What,I wonder, does this little one think?
What makes her look without a blink?
Does she really look at me,
Or is she living in her world of fantasy?
Just this moment our eyes meet…then we part ways…
If we meet in future days,
I’ll not know her when I see
Her…and neither will she know me.
But for this magical moment, our eyes meet.
As I look into the face of innocence…sweet.

A wonderful part of my childhood…and life….

December 14, 2011

suddenly changed his Facebook userpic to that of a little devil, red, with cute little horns, a forked tail, and a trident….and that brought my “comic-book” past rushing back to my mind.

I grew up with a world of comics. Dell,Disney,Classics Illustrated,Gold Key, Harvey,…my mother bought them by the dozen, and had them bound (the whole collection is still there in Chennai!). Little Lotta, Spooky, Casper, Little Dot, Little Audrey, Baby Huey, Richie Rich, Wendy the Witch (Casper’s girlfriend!) and Hot Stuff (the little devil mentioned above) were all part of

Harvey Comics ;

You can see some of the images

here

Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and Unca Scrooge….the Beagle Boys, Mickey, Goofy, Pluto and the lesser-known characters like Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle, and Gyro Gearloose (along with that little bulb man who was SO smart!) were all part of the world of Disney. I particularly loved the work of

Carl Barks

which was very witty and gripping.

Classics Illustrated introduced me to so many works of literature, that I read in the original later. The artwork was always brilliant!

We also got the British weekly comic magazines, The Topper, The Dandy, and The Beano. Some of the characters (a Dennis the Menace different from Hank Ketcham’s creation, a Beryl the Peril, a Julius Cheeser, and Mickey the Monkey…) were superb. Earlier, I also remember comics for younger children which had characters like Sooty, and Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men…I can’t remember the name of those comics.

Oh…these comics…were just wonderful. Off I would go, into a world of fantasy, adventure and laughter, while the new comics lasted…and I would often read the old ones. I realize, now, how high the quality of work was, consistently!

Of course, then the Archie comics also came along and I also loved Hagar the Horrible, B.C., Garfield, some (not all) of Charles Schultz, Blondie, Mutt’n’Jeff, and the magical, superb Calvin and Hobbes…

Amar Chitra Katha was also a major part of our reading, and introduced us to Indian mythology and folklore. Tinkle was a regular part of my daughter’s childhood, and she enjoyed contributing, too. Suppandi and Kalia and the rest kept her childish fancies happy….

Comics have always formed a great part of my life…and I salute the extremely talented artists that have enriched my life and imagination. I may not read the depressing headlines in the morning paper, but I never fail to read the comics!

Thank you, Ga, for the happy trip down memory lane.

This whole morality thing…

December 14, 2011

I just saw something on Facebook (I suppose a friend sent the wrong link) which showed a photo of three girls smoking, and a series of comments about them being “bad girls”.

Why, in the twenty-first century, are we still such prudes and hypocrites? And why double standards? Well, at least one person said, ” Only if you don’t smoke and drink you can say ‘bad girls’…”.. but there were several other comments, which included the word “bitch”.

The questions I am asking are:

So…men can drink and smoke and be “good” people?

Does not smoking and not drinking automatically make a person “good”, the way drinking and smoking seem to automatically make a person “bad”? I don’t smoke or drink, and I know how bad I can be.

I simply cannot understand how a society that was so open, became such a society of prudery, and utter hypocrisy…being so judgemental about things that do not matter at all.

I am reminded of another FB update…a cleric has said that women should not handle cucumbers or bananas because they should “avoid sexual thoughts”. That cleric seems to be to be the most dirty-minded person! He is like the Roscharch-test patient who was shown a series of blots, and asked what they reminded him of. For every blot, his answer was, “Sex”. Finally, the psychiatrist told him, “You seem to be obsessed with sex.” “Me!” exclaimed the patient. “It’s you who’ve been showing me all the dirty pictures!”

Speaking of which, I saw the movie, “Dirty Picture”, and liked it very much. Excellent acting by Vidya Balan, and very well directed, too…and the photography is superb. It shows our double standards…and the way women are utterly exploited. They have to use their bodies as their strengths, and soon the strengths become their weaknesses….

Smoking is bad for the health, that’s been proven, but why attach a morally bad tag to it? And many cultures advocate moderate social drinking….