Archive for January, 2013

Bird-watching…

January 31, 2013

How, Madhavi says, some of us sight far more birds than others do…

click here!

Peanut-Kalyan, 280113, St Louis

January 30, 2013

Kalyan Mohan Shaffer made his appearance at 12.42 am on the 28th of January, 2013. MY parents, and grandparents, belonged to the same century as I did…but my grandchildren truly belong to a new Millenium!

How much will I have in common with them? And how much of a fossil will I turn out to be? I wonder…

I call him Peanut (that’s what he looked like in the very first Ultra-sound Scan)…but here he looks more of a coconut!

280113 stl  pnut coconut

Here he is, with …

280113 stl  bdi holding pnut

“What are these?” he seems to ask of his fingers…

280113 stl  pk and fingers

and I tell him,these, and that blue thing, are your choice of all-day suckers!

280113 stl  nails and sucker

Here’s the DnAnK2 family…

280113 stl  happy family

and another one (no one can accuse me of minginess with photos…I was only waiting for LJ to open up for me, as it does once in a while!)

280113 stl  happier fmly

A profile pic of the New Kid on the Block:

280113 stl  pnut

I’m jet-lagged, sleepless, and tired…but SO happy!

Children….

January 27, 2013

260113 svnhalli children

In the sunshine, the children play.
Cheerful shouts, and innocence.
Adulthood is yet a while away…
Cares and worries, worldly-sense…

But right now, they laugh together,
In the welcome, wintry sun.
I look at them, and wonder whether
They’ll look back on this day of fun.

Our immortality lies in our children.
I’m off to welcome the latest one.
I love children…so then
It’ll be a joy to greet my grandson.

The dolmen of Bannerghatta forest

January 26, 2013

<a href=" Dolmen

are ancient burial sites…and there are many of them to be found in the Bannerghatta forest area. Here’s one, at sunrise, on the Ragihalli sheet rock area:

260113 bg sunrise dolmen

There’s also a warning about wild elephants…

3 snrise sign 260113 bg

But without anything else, the sunrise is beautiful, too…

sunrise ragihalli 260113 bg

2 sunrise 260113 bg

Permanence and transcience…

January 24, 2013

On the banks of Kunigal Dodda Kere (big lake), I found the age-old temple of Someshwara, and on the gopura, which has stood for centuries, I found this already broken wasps’ nest:

wsps nest 120113 kunigal kere

It made me muse on what is permanent,and what is transient…the reality of the matter is that this gopura, the land on which it stands, and the earth on which we are…are all, in their time, as transient as the paper crescents and the honeycomb cells of the wasps’ nest…

My life is short, compared to an ocean’s or a planet’s; long, compared to the termite which flies out at dusk after rain, and dies in a few hours….all creation, I think, is just a drop falling into the infintie sea of the Universe. What, then, IS permanent? I do not now…and as I turn to other matters, my transient thoughts, too, pass away….

Enjoyed these very much!

January 24, 2013

ANGRY NOTES:

Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn’t leaving till 5.
Sincerely,
Unicorns

Dear Twilight fans,
Please realize that because vampires are dead and have no blood pumping through them, they can never get it up. Enjoy dreaming about that.
Sincerely,
Logic

Dear Icebergs,
Sorry to hear about the global warming. Karma’s a bitch.
Sincerely,
The Titanic

Dear America ,
You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.
Sincerely,
Canada

Dear Yahoo,
I’ve never heard anyone say, “I don’t know, let’s Yahoo! it…”
Just saying…
Sincerely,
Google

Dear 2010,
So I hear the best rapper is white and the president is black? WTF happened?!
Sincerely,
1985

Dear girls who have been dumped,
There are plenty of fish in the sea… Just kidding! They’re all dead.
Sincerely,
BP

Dear Skin-Colored Band Aids,
Please make one for every skin color.
Sincerely,
Black people

Dear Scissors,
I feel your pain… no one wants to run with me either.
Sincerely,
Sarah Palin

Dear Customers,
Yes, we ARE making fun of you in Vietnamese.
Sincerely,
Nail Salon Ladies

Dear Ugly People,
You’re welcome.
Sincerely,
Alcohol

Dear World,
Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendars end there because some Spanish d-bags invaded our country and we got a little busy, ok?
Sincerely,
The Mayans

Dear White People,
Don’t you just hate immigrants?
Sincerely,
Native Americans

Dear iPhone,
Please stop spell checking all of my rude words into nice words.
You piece of shut.
Sincerely,
Every iPhone User

Dear Trash,
At least you get picked up…
Sincerely,
The Girls of Jersey Shore

Dear Man,
It’s cute, but can you pick up peanuts with it?
Sincerely,
Elephant

A feel-good incident this time

January 23, 2013

I’ve been interacting, on FaceBook, with the MD of BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Corporation), Mr Manivannan (though our interaction is not mainly on civic issues..he’s quite a poet!). I have been getting the sense that he’s shaking up this behemoth and making them more accountable and user-friendly.

I realized that if I was going to be away for a long time, I could ask for minimum billing on my apartment. I wrote to the contact email (Ms Jayanathi) on the BESCOM website…and promptly got a return email from her, telling me whom I had to contact, and the phone nos…and additional ones if I wanted more details.

The first few times I called Mr Lokesh, the AE at J P Nagar 6th Phase office, there was no response on the mobile. However, a couple of days ago, he responded, and told me what to do. Since my electricity bill is paid by ECS (Electronic Clearance Service), it was even simpler…I did not even have to pay anything in advance by cheque. He told me to bring a letter asking for the minimum billing, and a copy of my latest electricity bill, for reference.

When I went to the BESCOM office, of course, I did get some of the usual runaround. I Go to Desk A, Desk A says Go to Desk B, Desk B says Go to Desk A, I say, Desk A sent me here, Desk B says go to Desk C, Desk C says go to Desk D…at this point, I ask why I am being sent from desk to desk in this way. I take Mr Lokesh’s name, and say that he asked me to come here. The mention of the name has a salutary effect. The person at Desk B takes up my paper, and goes through the records on the computer. He tells me that I will be billed only the minimum charges for the time period that I have specified in my letter. I come home, rather happy. I will have to check from the US, online, if my account is, indeed, getting debited with only the minimum charge.

Change happens slowly…but with a dynamic person at the top, it IS happening. I want to thank Mr. Manivannan, and other officers down the line, for making things easier for us consumers.

January 22, 2013

It was great not to be in any kind of competitive mode, but to take a lot of people (and children) around, to show them as many birds as possible.

It started with sunrise (each day generally does!)

200113 bd race snrise

Here’s our group….5 teams…25 people….

200113 bd race gp

It was delightful to watch a flock of

ROSY PASTORS

land on the Palash tree to feast on the flowers.

rosy pastors 200113 bd race

The “Zoo Parking Lot

RUFOUS-TAILED LARKS”

did not disappoint us!

rt lark 200113 bd race

A

WHITE-BELLIED DRONGO

was apparently a lifer for many in the group.

wb drngo 200113 bd race

I liked the morning light on this

LITTLE CORMORANT

at the Kingfisher pond.

crmrnt 200113 bd race

Beautiful raptor alert!

rptor 200113 bd race

Here’s team Black Stork, receiving the prizes, that we later gave to a Green Team, because they deserved it more than we did:

prizes 200113 bd race

If you saw my verse and the cartoon in my last post, here are the perpetrators of the crime:

tuni and me 200113 bd race

If you’d like to see more photos of our day,

click here

Bangalore Bird Race, 200113

January 22, 2013

Here

is the write up about the Bird Race 2013. Don’t miss

Rohan Chakravarty ‘s great cartoon!

Well, here it is….

200113 bd race crtn rohan

Bird Race time again! Or to be more precise,
The HSBC Bangalore Bird Race is what it’s known as to the wise.
As soon as the registration was declared open,
Thirty-six teams registered, every person hoping
That he or she would be the one to sight so many birds
That “You’re the best!” would be the judges’ appreciative words.

The Bird Race team consisted of a lot of names with Esses…
Srihari, Subbu, Sunjoy, Swarna..to sort out all the messes
And successfully stage the event.
Thanks to their work, it all went
Smoothly, with sponsorship from HSBC…
A day of being in the open air, sighting birds happily.

One team dropped out ,alas…
But , in spite of that, there was
High enthusiasm amongst the rest.
At dawn, they fanned out north and east
To partake of the birding feast
They also travelled south and west
To make sure they were the best.

Over hill and dale they went
As the “hunting parties” spent
The day near water, near grass, under trees
A team could tick only what its member sees.

A surprising thing happened this year…
Something that will bring great cheer
To each and every birder’s heart…
Seven teams decided they’d not be apart.

Of these, one had to drop out, and the other
(Three young men, a daughter…and a father
Who’d done surgery till the early hours)
Started late..but used their powers
To ultimately win the race,
And accept first place with smiling face.

(Team Flowerpecker: Vaibhav Choudhary, Apoorva Managoli, Chandrashekar M, Deepak T M, Sanjeev Managoli, all aided by Surekha Managoli….155 species)

The second-placed team, led by Mr Jagirdhar
Wandered over the city, near and far
Managed to get a hundred and forty…
Enough reason for Bangalore birders to party.

(TeamWhite Throat Jayram Jahgridhar, Mani, Hemanth, Vikram, Vinaya….140 species) Hemanth

The third prize went to Team Black Stork;
They did not have to do too much work.
Between breakfast and lunch, snacks (and jokes) and chai
They sighted birds, looking low…and high.

(Team Black Stork: Deepa Mohan, Chandrasekhar Bandi, Mani K, Santosh B S, Yashpal and Yuvi Rathore….128 species)

The White Stork was the Bird of the Day
Spotted by Team Florican down T G Halli way
One team had no rare bird; they decided to use
As their own own choice, the “Chased Wild Goose”!

(Bird of the Day: White Stork, spotted by Team Florican: Krishna Murthy Dhananjaya Kulkarni , Deepika , Gowri Kulkarni ,Srihari Kulkarni)

Ibis, Falcon, Spotted Owlet and Ruff
Got several birds…the number was enough.
All the other teams, also, enjoyed
The day very much and filled the void
Spaces on their list of birds.
With common names or scientific words.

Whether they saw just one or a flock
They’d seen enough by five pm on the clock
To satisfy them at the end of the day
As towards AF they all wended their way.

Several Green Teams went walking or by bus
And got their sightings without any fuss
Kaadu Goobe were the team with the most
Birds seen…However, the host
Of other birders “racing” this day
All met each other at Alliance Francaise

(Green Team Kaadu Goobe: Sahana Balkal, Ashwini Kumar Bhat, and Sainath Vellal..108 species)

The judges, Dipu, Shreeram and Karthik
Carefully identified every click
That the birders brought them, and did the sums.
They weeded out the doubtful ones.

Swarna invited Mr Vivek Sinha
And his wife to cheer the winners
Sunjoy spoke about how tough
It was to get funding enough.
Karthik and Dipu spoke from the heart
About birding’s most important part:
Getting to know the birds by their “jizz”
Not just wanting the winners’ champagne fizz.

Prizes were given away to the teams.
Then dinner, till each was bursting at the seams
Happy and tired, all then dispersed
They’d all won even if they’d not come first.

Hoping to be, again, in the next Bird Race
The community of birders parted ways.

Hope you enjoyed that!

I’m boiling over…

January 22, 2013

On Friday, 11th Jan 2013, a few of us were going for a birding trail, and we were waiting at the chai shop at Mantri Residency Apartments, on Bannerghatta Road, for a couple of others to arrive.

Suddenly, in the pre-dawn dark, my friends (all young men) said there had been an accident, and rushed on about 10 yards ahead. Then one of them came back and told me that it was a girl who had been hit. A Tata Sumo driver had started the car and speeded up, and a young woman (about 19 or 20, I’d guess) had suddenly walked across without looking. There was no way he could avoid her, and he hit her. He stopped the van, and did not attempt to flee. One could say, literally, that he was petrified with fear.

I went to the girl, who was sitting, propped up against a tree. She was moaning, and unconscious. Her bladder had voided. I gently lowered her to the ground, and checked her pulse (it was steady, not thready) and checked her limbs for obvious fractures. There were no external bleeding or bruises.

The girl was dressed in jeans and a top, and we were surrounded by men, so I could not check her body beyond a limited examination. Someone had already phoned for an ambulance. I knew that if there were spinal or head injuries, moving the girl might result in an increase of the injury…or worse..so I held her head, keeping it low, so that she could get more blood into her brain. She tried, several times, to sit up, and twice, actually got to her feet, but had to lie down again.

At this point, another lady came up, and exclaimed that this girl was a maid, working in the apartment building (Mantri Residency). She said, “Her name is Sudha”. So I left the girl after trying to get her to drink some water, went to the security personnel at the gate, and asked for the identity card of any “Sudha” that they had. They produced one, and yes, the photograph WAS of the girl. It gave her name as Sudha Ramesh, but contained no home address or contact number. I asked the security people to call up the people for whom she worked, and get them to contact her home, and ran back to the girl.

The girl seemed to open her eyes and look at me. She said, “Madam!” twice or thrice. Some people tried to ask her where she was from, but it was obvious to me that she was in no coherent condition. But I held her.

The ambulance arrived, and a lady paramedic got out. I was intensely relieved, that now this young girl would be in trained hands, and she would get over whatever injuries she had. I felt that they would treat her for shock, too.

To my horror, the lady paramedic did not even come close to us. She stood her ground next to the ambulance door, and kept asking if we had phoned the police. None of us had thought it was necessary to phone the police as well as the ambulance, but someone then did call the police.

The paramedic also asked if any of us would come with the girl to the hospital. She said they would not take the girl unless there was someone with her.

I asked the paramedic to at least check the girl’s pulse, and check her for injuries. Her reply was, “I don’t know what happened to her.” Well, neither did we, and that didn’t stop me from checking the pulse and for obvious fractures, so why could the paramedic, whose job this was, not do this? No, she still kept her distance.

The girl was lying on the dusty road; I begged that they take out the stretcher and at the very least, put the girl on the stretcher instead of letting her lie on the road. They need not put her in the ambulance until some family member turned up. The driver and the lady paramedic turned a deaf ear to my entreaties.

Finally, the police arrived on a Cheetah motorcyle. Also, someone had succeeded in informing the girls family, and her brother turned up. Then, and only then, the girl was taken into the ambulance (not in a stretcher, she was made to stand up, and helped into it)….and the ambulance went off.

I was utterly horrified by the callousness of the ambulance people, but seeing that the girl had stood up and got into the ambulance (though with a lot of assistance) I hoped that she would be OK.

All this happened from about 6.15 am to 7 am.

On Sunday evening, I came to know that the girl had died at 9.30 am.

I am not sure if the ambulance personnel could have saved this girl. But I do know that the inordinate, inexcusable delay in their even touching her could have wasted precious minutes of the “golden hour” that follows any such accident…and they *might* have been responsible for her death.

Why are the ambulance personnel so callous? Surely, their job would be to help the victim first, and all questions later? Obviously they must have had some major issues with the police earlier, which is the only thing that would explain their stance.

Why must it be the duty of the general public to infom the police? Can the protocol not be ensure that the ambulance people themselves call the police as soon as they are informed of an accident? Knowing that the ambulance was calling, the police would also respond faster. And definitely, there should be not a second’s delay in the paramedics’ attending to the accident victim.

I am totally shocked by the fact that we, as bystanders, did what we could, and yet, we could not save the life of a young accident victim, and had to watch the indifference and red-tape attitude of the very people whose job it was to do their best to help her. Not even first aid was provided.

The ambulance was a BBMP ambulance, in the rush of events, I did not take the number or the names of the paramedic or the driver, as my attention was focused on the girl.

Please…somebody…tell me how and where I can take this up further. I want to ensure that other Sudhas do not lose their lives in this tragic, needless way.