Archive for December, 2012

3rd Sunday Outing of BWFC, Ragihalli area, 161212

December 16, 2012

Hi everyone…

For once, I am going to describe an outing with only words…my bad
memory this time led to a lack of another memory.. my CF.card, which
I’d left behind at home…so no SMS or Deepa Mohan shots…you will
only be getting good shots from everyone else, with several people
having brought lenses that looked like telescopes; and others taking
great shots with simple cameras. Yet others brought binoculars and
captured their images with the best cameras in the world…their eyes.

About 15 of us got together at Shoppers’ Stop, and Geetanjali, having
asked the earlier goup to carry on, waited for us. Today, instead of
birding either at Shivanahalli Ashram or at Ragihalli kola or the
sheet rock area, we followed Ulhas’ suggestion of taking the trail
that leads up-and-down to Camp GeeDee. And what a rewarding trail it
was!

Right at the start, before any of us got there, Geetanjali and the
“early birds” had sightings of Nightjars…and after all of us
gathered together, and introductions of first-timers (many of them
today!) were made, we walked off on the trail. Rod, a birder from
Germany, was a welcome addition to our group today. He seems to be
more experienced in local birding than many of us!

We started with the regulars…the Robins, the Bushchats, and a saucy
Oriental Magpie Robin, several Spotted Doves, and Rose-ringed
Parakeets in the bamboo bushes. We stopped to watch Ashy Prinias, and
Bee-eaters, swooping around to hawk insects, like magic, out of the
air.

The trail, in itself, was a path of beauty. After going through the
village and a few fields, we were in the forest area, and the rocky
path wound through stands of Eucalyptus, Teak, and White Cedar..and
then, of course, the various trees and bamboo thickets of the scrub
jungle. We pondered over the id of one tree with fruits, and it seemed
to be one of the three fruits that the Ayurvedic medicine Triphala
Churna (powder of three fruits) is made of. I took the opportunity of
learning the names of a few common plants from the ever-helpful Ulhas.

Then came what I call the Hour of the Raptors. It was as if Ulhas and
Geetanjali had organized a special Raptor show for us. Normally one
expects Raptors only when the sun is on high, and the thermal currents
can be used by the birds of prey; but today, though the sunlight was
weak throughout, and it was cloudy and chilly…. we saw an Indian
Spotted Eagle, A Tawny Eagle, a question-mark Black Eagle (it looked
like one but the yellow beak and legs were not clearly visible…we
spent quite some time poring over the birdbooks on this!) , a
Short-Toed Serpent Eagle, one to four Oriental Honey Buzzards, were
treated to the spectacle of one Spotted Eagle being repeatedly mobbed
by crows…and then, as we sort-of-trespassed into Vishnu Narain’s
property (Camp Gee Dee), a Crested Hawk Eagle sat on a tree for quite
twenty minutes, allowing everyone to take the shots they wanted. A
Booted Eagle, too, gave darshan right at the end of the outing. All
this Raptor Rapture was interspersed by sightings of the
Golden-fronted Tree-bird, the Rufous Treepie, various Warblers (I am
wobbly on Warblers!), the Common Iora, Munias, Larks, Orioles,
Drongos, Small Minivets, White-eyes,and other birds that Deepak has
carefully noted down, and the list of which he will be posting soon.
(I’ve added the butterfly list, so any mistakes in that are mine
alone!)

The weather, too was beautiful. As I remarked, Geetanjali had even
delayed the sunshine for us, and it started getting brighter only
after 8am. Even then, there was a bracing breeze, and it was very
pleasant indeed, to be walking along the hilly path, looking around,
watching the mist disperse into blue skies and fleecy clouds…. and
overseeing the vistas of the Bannerghatta forest that the crests of
the path afforded us. To have this treasure, literally, in our
backyards, is a stroke of great good fortune for Bangaloreans. It was
so scenic that I would not even have minded if I’d not seen any birds.
Everyone seems to bring along such great snacks, too, that waiting
until 11am to have breakfast was not difficult at all.

The group, too, gelled really well. There was quite a good crowd
today, but we managed to all meet and speak to each other. Rohan and
another little boy (whose name I didn’t get, sorry!) were the youngest
among us, but they kept up with us all the way. I do wish more
children would join us!

Vishnu hospitably allowed us to enter the Camp Gee Dee property, and
later, some of us went and said hi to him and his wife, too, at their
home, adjoining the Camp Gee Dee campus. We made our way back to where
we’d left the cars, and off we went to the Lotus restaurant, where we
were still not able to foil Geethanjali’s paying of the breakfast bill
for all of us. However, we collected some money and gave it to her and
Subir, to use for the valuable work they do in the area. Geetanjali
and Subir take so much trouble to scout out locations in the
Bannerghatta area for all of us, and they always pay for breakfast for
all of us at the Lotus Restaurant, no matter how many of us are there.
Subir and their daughter, Avantika, joined us for breakfast, and we
exchanged notes, made the bird and butterfly lists, and chattered and
laughed together as we refuelled ourselves.

We bid goodbye and dispersed, having thoroughly enjoyed the morning.
Thank you, Ulhas, for suggesting this trail ( a first for the BWFC as
such, though several of us have done it in individual groups before).
Thank you to every one…you all contributed to making it a lively,
enjoyable outing!

All you DL’s (Dodda Lenswallahs) , please post the pictures to the
BWFC page on Facebook; we’d all like to see those birds, and revisit
the happiness of this morning again!

Looking forward already to the next outing…..why can’t Saturday
immediately follow Sunday after preceding it!

Cheers,

Deepa.

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Friendships…

December 15, 2012

I’d posted in Facebook: “There are times…when I wonder whether people do like me..or are just too polite to tell me otherwise!”

To this, one response, from Sharbari Lahiri in Canada, was:”Are you wondering that about your fb friends or life in general?”

So I must make the distinction between friends and “friends”. Friends are those whom I know WELL (I may not yet have met them face-to-face, but they are good friends…when I finally met Carolyn,with whom I’d been friend on LJ for 4 years, it was no different from “e-knowing” her, and we spent so many days together in perfect amity!

“Friends” are those whom I have liked some facet of, or those who have liked some facet of me; we have not yet met, face-to-face, or if we’ve met, the chemistry has not gelled; we don’t mind the occasional meeting, but it’s unlikely to go beyond this.

But there is a third category…when friends become “friends”…I further responded to Sharbari: ” “I was thinking of life in general…when feelings of liking wane, as interests diverge…I feel the gap and wonder if the other person feels it too…”

It’s sometimes difficult, especially if meetings are perforce not regular, to know if friends are turning into “friends”…and one does not like to ask, in case they are still friends and are hurt by the query…

I am a person who values friendships highly, and do not consider any friendship worth giving up. Most of the friendships that have cooled in my life are due the cooling on the other side.

Just a few random thoughts, that’s all! I love my friends, and they are the greatest treasure of my life, and the source of a lot of my energy.

Phobjikha, Bhutan, 271112…scenery

December 14, 2012

We see, in Bhutan, a land full of prayer, in the form of wheels and flags that flutter in the breeze:

Pryr mantap Scenry Phobjikha 261112

Perhaps, if we were surrounded by such beauty in the mountains and clouds, we’d send prayers winging up, too. Here are some views:

1 Scenry Phobjikha 261112

3 Scenry Phobjikha 261112

4 Scenry Phobjikha 261112

5 Scenry Phobjikha 261112

6 Scenry Phobjikha 261112

7Scenry Phobjikha 261112

8 Scenry Phobjikha 261112

9 Scenry Phobjikha 261112

2 Scenry Phobjikha 261112

And, perhaps, benison would come down like the sun’s rays through the clouds….

Sunray Scenry Phobjikha 261112

121212,some things I clicked

December 13, 2012

In a small improvement, I can now post and comment on my own LJ,at least and at last…

Everyone made a big fuss of the date, 121212, but I found the following interesting things yesterday…

It may be the twenty-first century, but even a metropolis like Bangalore has this form of transport, quite common:

2 hrs crt  131212

Then I clicked this Apt Number Plate:

1212 no plate, 121212

(Doesn’t this look like a picture of two asteroids in the solar system? No, it’s only the lovely flakes on my granite kitchen counter-top.)

And would you call the following image a photo-graph juice?

dk grph juice 121212 jngr

What could this fruit be?

December 13, 2012

In a small and welcome change, I am at least able to post and comment on my own LJ….so here’s something I found intriguing…

In Bhutan, Geetanjali suddenly asked Karma, our guide, for “Chhup!” and curious, I asked for one, too. He gave me one of these dried fruits:

chhup nut and seed 131212

“Chhup”, he explained (the “u” is pronounced as in “push”) was just Bhutanese for “sour”…these fruits were from India! I’d never tasted one; it was nice and tangy-sour with a sweet aftertaste, somewhat similar to amla (Indian gooseberry) but not as tart. It was quite delicious to chew on.

When I’d finished chewing the outer, dried covering, I got this corrugated seed-pod which I tried to break open. It did, revealing a tiny almond-like seed inside…

chuup seed broken 131212

Since it was so tiny, the seed tasted rather…there is no word for it in English, we call it “thuvarpu” in Tamizh. Slightly bitter, is the phrase which would describe it nearly.

Drinking water after chewing this fruit made the water taste sweet (again, like amla).

Can someone tell me what this is likely to be? I have no idea from which part of India it goes to Bhutan.

A wonderful old song

December 12, 2012

A ghazal is, technically, Urdu poetry. But Hindi is very close to Urdu, and some of the most beautiful ghazals are from Hindi movies.

Here’s one of the most delicate ghazals I know. What a difference between these scenes, where all the hero can see of the heroine at the time of the first time of meeting is her eyes, and just now, during the song, he can see her at a distance…and the all-skin-leave-nothing-to-the-imagination love scenes I watch nowadays. Love, I think, is as powerful clothed as naked….

(मेरे महबूब तुझे मेरी मुहब्बत की क़सम)-२
My love, I swear by my love
फिर मुझे नरगिसी आँखों का सहारा दे दे
Again, give me the aid of those beautiful eyes

मेरा खोया हुआ रंगीन नज़ारा दे दे,
Give me back my lost colourful vistas

मेरे महबूब तुझे…

अए मेरे ख्वाब की ताबीर, मेरे जान-ए-ग़ज़ल,
O, stuff of my dreams, the life of my ghazal
ज़िन्दगी मेरी तुझे याद किये जाती है
My life just goes on remembering you
रात दिन मुझको सताता है तस्सवूर तेरा
I am oppresed, night and day, by your memories
दिल की धडकन तुझे आवाज़ दिए जाती है
My heartbeats call you
आ मुझे अपनी सदाओं का सहारा दे दे
Come, give me the aid of your songs
मेरा खोया…..

भूल सकती नहीं आँखें वो सुहाना मंज़र
I cannot forget that wonderful meeting of the eyes
जब तेरा हुस्न मेरे इश्क़ से टकराया था
When you smile stumbled upon my love
और फिर राह में बिखरे थे हज़ारोँ नग़में
And then, there were thousands of poem scattered on the path
मैं वो नग़में तेरी आवाज़ को दे आया था
I’d dedicated those poems to your voice
साज़-ए-दिल को उन्हीं गीतों का सहारा दे दे
Give the musical instrument, that is my heart, the aid of those songs
मेरा खोया….

याद है मुझको मेरी उम्र की पहली वो घड़ी
I rememer the first hour of my life
तेरी आँखों से कोई जाम पिया था मैने
I had drunk some intoxicant from your eyes
मेरी रग रग में कोई बर्क़ सी लहराई थी
Every pore of mine was filled with a wave of electricity
जब तेरे मरमरी हाथों को छुआ था मैने
When I touched your marble-white hands
आ मुझे फिर उन्हीं हाथों का सहारा दे दे
Come, give me again the aid of those hands
मेरा खोया ….

मैने इक बार तेरी एक झलक देखी है
I’ve seen a glimpse of you once
मेरी हसरत है के मैं फिर तेरा दीदार करूँ
My wish is that I appreciate you once more
तेरे साए को समझ कर मैं हंसीं ताजमहल
That I think of you shadow as a smiling Taj Mahal
चाँदनी रात में नज़रों से तुझे प्यार करूँ
And, in the moonlit right, I love you with my eyes
अपनी महकी हुई ज़ुल्फ़ों का सहारा दे दे
Give me the aid of your shining tresses
मेरा खोया….

ढूँढता हूँ तुझे हर राह में हर महफ़िल में
I hunt for you in every path, in every assembly
थक गये हैं मेरी मजबूर तमन्ना के कदम
My steps of hard-pressed need are tired
आज का दिन मेरी उम्मीद का है आखरी दिन
Today is the last day of my hope
कल न जाने मैं कहाँ और कहाँ तू हो सनम
Tomorrow, who knows where you, and I, will be
दो घड़ी अपनी निगाहों का सहारा दे दे
For a short while, give me the aid of your looks
मेरा खोया …..

सामने आ के ज़रा पर्दा उठा दे रुख़ से
Come before me, and raise the purdah from your face
इक यही मेरा इलाज-ए-ग़म-ए-तन्हाई है
This is the only treatment for my trouble of loneliness
तेरी फ़ुरक़त ने परेशान किया है मुझको
Your memories have oppressed me
अब तो मिल जा के मेरी जान पे बन आई है
Now, having met, my life goes out to you
दिल को भूली हुई यादों का सहारा दे दे
Give me the aid of the forgotten memories of the heart
मेरा खोया …..

A long song…but one of my great favourites 🙂

Rest,Ever rest, and Everest

December 12, 2012

Deepak Edwin, one of my FB friends, asked, “Do you ever rest?” The answer is….

Everest is the name of a mountain
For me, an unscaled peak.
I toil along in the foothills
With the ills and with the thrills.
Only I’m dead, I’ll be blest
With eternal Ever-rest!
So as long as I draw breath
I’ll be up and doing, and only death
Can still my heart in my chest
And give me my Ever-rest.

And Deepak, here IS Everest…

Photobucket

As I photographed His Majesty, on 271112! I say “His Majesty” but in Tibet, She is known as Sagar Mata….

Going by train….

December 12, 2012

I am still young-at-heart enough (or foolish enough) to love a train journey.

Photobucket

I love going over river bridges (this one is on the Godavari)

281112 godavar

I love stopping at stations…

Photobucket

I enjoy looking at old stuff that’s still in use…

Photobucket

The design of new stuff:

design of seat 281112

I like speculating on the lives around the tracks…

281112 woman on trcks

I still am thrilled when the train curves on the track, and look backwards and forwards at the other coaches:

Photobucket

281112 train

I like passing by temples lit up in the evening

Photobucket

And the twilight…

dusk 281112

From October 23, when I became 58 years old, I have got a 50% off on tickets…and that’s a great boon for me!

Coming on a train journey with me? I’ll be only too happy to take you along!

Revisiting an old post…

December 11, 2012

Click

here

for a five-year old smile. Jayesh now has two more shops, one at Ananda Rao Circle, and another at Koramangala…. and is such a celebrity himself, that he didn’t recognize me when I went to buy the Sony camera 🙂

Valley School, 081212, Saturday

December 10, 2012

Chandu Bandi, Job Joseph, and I went on a nature trail at the Valley
School yesterday (071212, Saturday), and the Valley never disappoints.
We managed to see 66 species of birds and several species of
butterflies, and we were also able to observe many things at leisure,
such as the courtship dance of one Coppersmith Barbet pair all over a
couple of trees, ants tending to aphids, wasps laying their eggs on
figs, and a wasp collecting mud for her nest..

We were especially fortunate to see wasps laying eggs on the Ficus…I
*think* it was Ficus benghalensis, but I am not sure. Chandu pointed
out one wasp to me with a long ovipositor, and I managed to get that!

It was sad to see every water body completely dry.

We we managed to see several Flycatchers, and when, on the way home,
we overshot our turning to Bannerghatta Road, and went ahead on the
NICE road, we spotted several Painted Storks and Little Cormorants far
away from the road, at what we think was Begur Lake. Overhead, we
sighted a Booted Eagle being mobbed by a Black (Common) Kite.

I have put up some photos on an FB album at

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151194598328878.468744.587058877&type=3

Birds:

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Large Grey
Babbler, Puff-throated
Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Small Green
Bushchat, Pied
Buzzard, Oriental Honey
Cormorant, Little
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Large-billed
Cuckoo, Common Hawk
Cuckoo-shrike, Black-headed
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Eagle, Booted (NICE road)
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Little
Egret, Intermediate
Flameback, Lesser
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed (Tickell’s)
Flycatcher, Asian Brown
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise (White)
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Francolin, Grey (heard)
Grebe, Little
Heron, Pond
Iora, Common
Kestrel, Common
Kingfisher, Small Blue
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite, Brahminy
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Minivet, Small
Munia, White-rumped
Mynah, Common
Mynah, Jungle
Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Sandpiper, Green
Shikra
Stork, Painted (NICE Road)
Sunbird, Purple
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swamphen, Purple (heard)
Swift, Palm
Tailorbird, Common
Tit, Great
Wagtail, Grey
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed
Warbler, Greenish Leaf
Waterhen, White-breasted
White-eye, Oriental
Wood swallow, Ashy

Butterflies:

Albatross
Baron, Common
Blues, Various
Cerulean, Common
Crow, Common
Emigrant, Lime
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull, Common
Jay, Tailed (?) need help with id
Jezebel, Common
Lime, Common
Pioneer
Psyche
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Yellow, Spotless Grass

There were several other butterflies and skippers that I could not
identify…except one Chestnut Bob and an Indian Skipper.