Archive for January, 2012

Krishna Panyam: Origami, at Jaaga, 300112

January 31, 2012

I have had, as usual, a lot of interesting things to do…and one of them was the Origam workshop I attended at


I found that the teacher, Krishna Panyam, was someone I had met earlier, on the bus tour of the lakes of Bangalore

Here’s one of the pieces that Krishna made:

More photos can be seen on my FB album, if you

click here

(you need a Facebook account).

Here is Krishna, starting the workshop:

krishna starts orgmi 300112

Here are some samples of his work:

some smpls orgmi 300112

some more smpls orgmi 300112

rose orgmi 300112

Here’s a sample of (very difficult) curved origami:

Curved origami Krishna 300112

For more pictures, visit

Krishna Panyam’s Facebook album, click here

Wonderful….I enjoyed myself very much, as did all of us.

Colour and photography…

January 28, 2012

Been gallivanting as usual….Lalbagh on the 25th morning, to Gulakmale on the 26th, to Bannerghatta JLR on the 27th, to volunteer with 48 children from Vidya Niketan, Bangalore…. it’s been a wonderful time.

Here is an image of a push-cart seller from Lalbagh:

psh crt b 250112

And this one, with a shaft of sunlight:

pshcrt  light b 250112

On the night of the 25th, I also went to “Yamini”, an all-night music and dance festival at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Here’s a photograph of light percolating through the smoke of the mosquito-repellents:

smoke iimb 250112

In the dark, I got the colours of this Bougainvillea because of some back-lighting:

bgnvla iimb 250112

I enjoy colours very much…and unexpected effects on my MLC!

One hundred years….Republic Day post

January 25, 2012

It’s been one hundred years since the

Indian National Anthem

was written.

Here is the translation, in Rabindranath Tagore’s own hand:

jn gn mn rob writing 240112

It is a beautiful anthem, and

here are the complete lyrics with a translation

Here’s the Nobel Laureate, reciting it (rather tonelessly, I must add)

Here’s the official version, sung in the “regulation” 52 seconds:

Here is one version of the song:

In spite of the controversy about the song (and its various versions!), it remains our national anthem, and much beloved of the Indian people!

Mistakes nevers ends…

January 25, 2012

The Deccan Herald has been delighting me lately. Here’s a headline from the Spectrum section of the newspaper, 250112:

lrng nvrs ends dh 250112

I will nevers gets boreds with this newspapers!

On the water…

January 24, 2012

Gently drifting,
I follow the star
That gives all life.
Upon the water,
Smoothly floating,
My mind is far removed from strife.

Serene and soft,
The lapping water gives me peace.
Happiness, I think, is made
Of moments such as these.

Boating on Kumarakom Lake, 170112.

All over the windshield….

January 24, 2012

It’s all very well to decorate one’s car with the symbols of one’s faith:

drwng on wndshld 220112

But this seems to leave, quite literally, a very small window of vision for the driver, and almost none at all for the passenger in front.

Are such “windshield decorations” legal? More important, are they safe?

Lalbagh: Republic Day Flower Show

January 24, 2012

To see my article on Citizen Matters,

click here

and if you would like to see more photographs, and have a Facebook account, you can see them


The album is set for public viewing.

Here’s the Glass House at Lalbagh, lit up in the pre-dawn:

gls hs lit lbgh 200112

And the beautiful Sanchi Stupa, under construction:

stpa lbgh 200112


January 18, 2012

sent me this:

Rail surfers (those who travel on top) have been threatened with paint, dogs and religion. Now Indonesia has strung concrete balls above the trains to bonk the overhead riders. Will that stop them ? No!! say the riders. They’ve resisted arrests successfully, as well as the other measures. They like the wind, rush and views up there, plus the free ride is nice!

Here in St. Louis, we would bonk people on the head with concrete balls to MAKE them ride the train!

click here to read about the Indonesian train problem

n the 1970’s in Calcutta (Kolkata), there used to be the “Sardarji” buses (private buses run by this community) as well as the Government buses. The Government buses lost money, and the private buses did well. Travelling outside the bus (in some cases, the passenger would be attached to another passenger and never touch the bus at all) was so common that the private buses had one conductor for inside, and another for outside, the buses! Maybe that’s the solution that Indonesia needs…!

Here’s a pic of the “Sardarji” buses, little tin boxes, that I got off the net:


The “gender-unspecific” pronoun

January 18, 2012

Dr. Beheruz Sethna

who has acheived so many things that I cannot begin to talk about him (it will take several posts…so just see the Wiki entry by clicking on his name!)

wrote this insightful piece about

the sexist pronoun

I too often use “hem” and “hir”, but I wonder…why don’t we adopt “their” as also meaning the singular, depending on the context, and use that? Already, we say, “Someone has to send their stuff” and so on…so it is already in fairly common usage.

The Bangalore Bird Race…my thoughts

January 16, 2012

Over the past few months, we have formed ourselves into an informal, very supportive and affectionate group of people, who always go on nature trails together. I organize the outings, taking care that as many people as possible get included. I call this group the UGS…the Usual Group of Suspects!….and we have a lot of fun on every outing.

So, when the Bird Race came up and it was necessary to have four people on a team, I quickly organized three teams…in alphabetical order, Black Stork (I was the captain, and the members were Kannan, Poornima and Saandip), Crimson Sunbird (Rohan was the captain, and the members were Chandu, Keshav and Vasuki, as Jayashree dropped out at the last moment), and Flowerpecker (Sanjeev was the captain, and the members were Chandu, Deepu and Vaibhav). When Yash came back from his Rajasthan trip, I wrote to the organizers that I would be including him, too.

We had a wonderful day of “birding” instead of our usual “nature trail”…and quite unexpectedly, at the end of the day, our tallies placed Flowerpecker first in the race, with Black Stork coming a very close second! Crimson Sunbird’s tally of bird species was a little lower (we were scrupulously honest about ticking only species which one of the members of each team had seen).

Everyone was very happy, and my friends say that I deserve the credit.

Here’s my response:

“It’s great fun to take credit for a lot of things that others do…three people drive tirelessly throughout the day, two with rather severe back problems….other people identify Little Brown Jobs and Never-Seen-Before-Raptors…youngsters who have learnt birding in the last few months up our count…. people leave their families on a festival day and come along…everyone does most of the spotting…and I get the credit! Very good arrangement, I like it!

“Though, of course, I wish we’d also gone to Lalbagh and sighted those two extra birds (Sanjeev, you should have told us, I would have kept Kannan in your car for that leg, also, and we could have shared the first prize! 😀 ) …I am actually far happier that a team comprising of Apoorva, Chandu and Deepu got the first prize. It is great the youngsters get recognition and this kind of motivation!

“I did think that we had a good chance of getting “Bird of the Day”…the Eurasian Sparrow-hawk is quite a rare sighting. The last time I sighted it, the BULBs pooh-poohed me though I said that in spite of the accipiter shape, it was much larger than a Shikra (now I am thumbing my nose at them, ha, ha!)…but this is the way things happen…a record sighting of the Western Reef Egret is, was, of course, the prime choice.

“I too agree that our regular birding is far better than this “tick-and-run” kind of thing (imagine, yesterday we ignored all the butterflies and other interesting stuff! )….but once a year, it allows us to spend a lovely day outdoors, all together, without guilt! And I think, yesterday, our rushing about was very productive…even the abortive trip to Manchanabele produced that wonderful lifer (for me at least)…the Pallid Harrier. And the confirmation that what I had seen (on another occasion) was, indeed, a Eurasian Sparrow-hawk and not a Shikra as I was told, felt nice. I will learn from this, to stick by my id and not get swayed by more “experienced” birders.

“Kannan, very thoughtful email about what we are, and should be, doing to preserve the habitats…..if each of us does our own small bit, I think we can make a difference!

“I am really proud to call all of you my friends…and it’s not about birding. It’s the kind of people you are…so good-hearted, generous and affectionate. My birdwatching and wildlifing is also about the specimens of Homo sapiens who give me such excellent (and often very erudite) company. I am a very lucky person!

“The spoiler yesterday was Vaibhav losing his camera bag, some cables, and a lens. Vaibhav, which lens was it? Neither Yash nor Saandip have found it in their cars. Anirudh says that he saw one of the boys with the bag at a location later than Bannerghatta. I would agree with this, as when we left Bannerghatta parking, there was certainly nothing left behind. I also got in touch with both JLR and they also checked with the Forest Dept, no bag has been found or handed in. Can you all please once again think about where you saw the bag last? With Sanjeev-the-lost-and-found miracle worker in our midst, I feel we may yet get it back! What an irony that I forgot my camera twice and my scarf fell on the track at Ramnagara (Saandip it still has your tire tracks on it!) and my phone also fell…and every time it was retrieved by my vigilant friends….and then the careful Vaibhav loses the bag!

“Even though yesterday was “quantity” and not “quality” in terms of bird-watching, it was a very memorable day for many reasons, the results being just a small part of them. Thank you, Usual Gang of Suspects…`you make watching every bird, tree, and insect so much fun!”