Archive for September, 2013

Two videos from Forest Park, 280913

September 30, 2013

Here’s DS trying out an

Elliptical Scooter

And in another example of something being pushed (this time, the air through pipes)…here’s bagpipe skirling, from the Scottish Games at Forest Park, on the same evening:

KTB was quite scared of the bagpipers and said twice or thrice that they might kill us….!

How demanding can a baby be? STL, 270913

September 27, 2013


I was playing with him, putting a small “tika” on his forehead, before his bath. He batted my hand, and the eyebrow pencil’s mark fell on the space between his nose and mouth. I simply fell about laughing…and very wickedly, completed the unintentional mustache before I took him in to his bath, and washed it off.

I should be very contrite…my poor litte imp…but I simply cannot stop loffing!

The a-door-able baby….

September 27, 2013

Why is he rushing to get that door?


To get to the door-closer:


This has become his most favourite “toy” and it’s also the cleanest thing in the house, thanks to his licking it thoroughly!

Sometimes he gives me a saucy smile…


And sometimes it’s a “sketchy” smile!


He’s soooooo dear to me….

A short but enjoyable stint of birding in Forest Park, 220913

September 24, 2013

I got an email from

Eliot Miller

that he and his girlfriend Sarah (both postdocs in bird behavior) would be birding in Forest Park in the evening, and I decided to postpone my visit to a birthday party to join them for at least a short while.

As I walked to meet them, I was witness to an altercation (or at the very least, a noisy interaction) between two



in a tree, which I have posted about


After I met them


we walked down the path in the prairie area of the park:


Though the sun was still high, there was a fair amount of bird activity in the area. We watched several




We also saw Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Thrashers, and Vireos in the heavy foliage across the creek. The foliage was too thick for photography, so I used my binoculars instead.

The change in the season was quite palpable, and the the first of the fall colours were showing themselves:


Other creatures, which are more “ground-bound”, were making their homes (and arrangements for getting dinner):


We didn’t see any Mississippi Kites, but we certainly saw this Missouri Kite up a tree!




delighted us with their flashes of yellow:




I call this image “flying south” in salute to the millions of birds who do that..




Butterfly, one of thousands on their annual journey, was feeding off the New England Asters (Thank you, Lynda Richards, for the id!) :


The Goldenrods and the white wildflowers (Lynda Richards helped me…they are Pilose Asters) spangled our path with yellow and white:



These seed-pods were setting post-flowering and they were beautiful, too:


I thought I saw a raptor, but doubted my sighting when I spotted a



But no, my sighting was all right…the


too, had landed on the same tree!


An interesting thing happened at the start of our walk. Another couple came along, and asked where they could see the Great Horned Owls, and I told them that they’d have to head over to the Muny. Then, when I mentioned that I was from India, the gentleman immediately said, “Mohan?”…he was

Mark Mittleman

an eminent lawyer who is also a keen musician, and is a birder as well!

Apparently he’d read my posts on the Mobirds list (and no doubt had a hearty laugh over my mistakes, though he was too polite to say so!) Here are Eliot and Mark:


We all watched a


for a while:


I wasn’t sure if there was a nest, or it was just foraging for insects in the wood of the tree-trunk.


Alas, I had to leave in order to catch my train and go to Creve Coeur, so I bid adieu to Eliot and Sarah, and walked back through the Park, seeing several other people who were enjoying the beauty of the evening:


Forest Park will always be a great treasure house for me…


The bird-list sent by Eliot (thank you!) contains species that Eliot and Sarah saw after I left, too. I’ve marked “my” birds with an asterisk:

Blackbird, Red-winged(Agelaius phoeniceus)*
Bunting, Indigo (Passerina cyanea) *
Cardinal, Northern(Cardinalis cardinalis) *
Catbird, Gray(Dumetella carolinensis)*
Crow, American (Corvus brachyrhynchos)* (Eliot and Sarah saw 200, I saw just a few..these snooty crows only show themselves to postdoc students!)
Dove, Mourning (Zenaida macroura) *
Duck, Wood (Aix sponsa) *
Finch, House (Haemorhous mexicanus) *
Flicker, Northern (Colaptes auratus) *
Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) *
Grackle, Common (Quiscalus quiscula) *
Grosbeak,Rose-breasted (Pheucticus ludovicianus)
Hawk, Red-tailed (Buteo jamaicensis) *
Hummingbird, Ruby-throated (Archilochus colubris) *
Jay, Blue(Cyanocitta cristata) *
Kestrel, American (Falco sparverius)
Kildeer (Charadrius vociferus) *
Kingbird, Eastern (Tyrannus tyrannus)
Kingfisher, Belted(Megaceryle alcyon) *
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) *
Pewee, Eastern Wood (Contopus virens) *
Robin, American (Turdus migratorius) *
Starling, European (Sturnus vulgaris)*
Swift, Chimney(Chaetura pelagica) *
Tanager, Scarlet (Piranga olivacea)*
Thrasher, Brown(Toxostoma rufum) *
Warbler, Chestnut-sided (Setophaga pensylvanica)
Waterthrush,Northern (Parkesia noveboracensis)
Wren, Carolina (Thryothorus ludovicianus) *
Woodpecker,Red-headed (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) *
Woodpecker,Downy (Picoides pubescens)*

The Blue Jays

September 24, 2013

I was walking to meet Eliot Miller and his girlfriend, Sarah, both of whom are postdocs in bird science; Eliot is studing at UMSSL, and called me over to go birding with them.

I suddenly heard a lot of disturbance in a tree nearby, and stopped to investigate. Here’s what I saw:




were having a major altercation in the tree; I never did find out why! Though Blue Jays are bright blue, they managed to still camouflage themselves well in the tree:



As they moved around, scolding, I managed to get a few more shots:


Round and round they went, hopping, yelling at each other (there seemed to be no other intruder.)


Thanks to the West Nile virus, Jay populations have been decimated, and I don’t find these beautiful birds as often as I used to:


I enjoyed my interlude with the Jays as I went onwards to look at more birds, in the company of Eliot and Sarah.


Thoughts about an Indian marriage

September 23, 2013

When a couple move from love tomarriage..they begin to navigate the thorny thickets of social customs, unspoken expectations, implicit equations, and the general interaction of personalities…marriage in India is not to one person but to the immediate, and extended, family…and is more complicated than any corporate management job!

Colours…and thoughts.

September 22, 2013


Even if I am not a happy person, all I have to do is to reflect other people’s happiness, and I will become happy myself. I got this lesson from this dark brown, dull wooden wall, which reflected the bright colours.

On the water, St.Louis Symphony Orchestra, Art Hill, Forest Park, 140913

September 22, 2013


When water is light
When one’s thoughts gently float
On a dream of delight
Serene, upon a boat…
Under a near-full moon
That’s scudding through the clouds
Quiet upon the water: soon
Away from the shore, the crowds…

The seasons

September 20, 2013


The first leaf
Has fallen, and lies
In colourful splendour
On its own, in the pathway.
Yet another season is upon us;
So do the days go on
Heedless of human need, or emotion.
The Earth tilts away from the Sun.
And then towards it.
We are budding leaves, we spring forth
In green. We show other colours.
We then turn sere, and fall
To be covered, and erased from memory
By the first snow.
We return to the earth whence we took shape
And await another spring, to appear again.

Kucch nagmE (some poems)

September 20, 2013

Thanks to Santosh Oak for these.

yehI wafA kA silA hai, tO kOI bAth nahin.
yeh dard thum nE diyA hai,tO kOI bAth nahIn.

This is the reward for loyalty. It doesn’t matter
You’ve given (me) this pain; it doesn’t matter

yehI bohot hai ke thum dekhtE hO sAhil sE.
safeena doob raha hai, tO kOI bAth nahIn

It’s enough that you are watching from the shore.
The boat is sinking; it doesn’t matter.

rakhA thA makAn-e-dil mEin chhupA kE thumkO.
Woh makAn tumnE chhOd diyA hai,tO kOI bAth nahIn.

I’d hidden you in the house of my heart.
You broke that house; it doesn’t matter.

thum hI nE AyInA-e-dil mErA banAyA thA
thum hI nE thOd diyA hai,tO kOI bAth nahIn.

It was you who made a mirror of my heart.
It’s you who broke it; it doesn’t matter

kis kI majAl kahE kOi mujh kO dIwAnA
agar yEh thumnE kahA,tO kOI bAth nahIn

Who has the courage to say I’m a madman?
If it’s you who say so, it doesn’t matter.

therE husne kE hum dIwAnE hO gayE
thuhjhE apnA banAthE banAthE hum khud sE begAnE hO gayE
na chhOdnA mujhE thU, aey zAlim
therE karIb Akar hum duniyA sE dUr hO gayE

I’ve gone crazy over your smile
In making you mine, I’ve become a stranger to myself
Don’t leave me, O cruel one
I’ve come close to you and left the world far behind


milan kI rut sE mohbbat kO tarasnE wAlOn,
akElE baitth kE rOnA bhI pyAr hOthA hai.

To those who are thinking of love as the moment of meeting,
Sitting alone and weeping is also love.


jab dEkhA unhOnE tirchI nazar sE,
kasam khudA kI, madhOsh hO gayE ham

When she looked with that sidelong glance,
By God, we were entranced

par jab pathA chalA, nazar permanent tirchi hai…
thO wohIn khhadE-kbhadE behOsh hI gayE ham.

But when we realized that she’s cross-eyed…
We fainted as we stood there!


AnkhOn mEin namI thI,
aur vitamin kI kamI thI..
jis sE rAth bhar chatting kI
wOh girlfriend kI mummy thI..

My eyes were moist,
And weakened with a lack of vitamins.
The one I’d chatted to all night
Was my girlfriend’s mother…


kOI patthar sE nA mArE
mErE dIwAnE kO…
nuclear power kA zamAnA hai,
bomb sE udA dO sAlE kO.

(2 lines from a famous movie song from “jawAnI dIwAnI”:

let not anyone stone my love:
It’s the day of nuclear power, kill the sob with a bomb.


tAj mehal kyA chIz hai,
issE badi imArath banAUngA.
Mumtaz thO mar kE dafan huI thI.
tujhE thO mein zindA dafnAUngA.

The Taj Mahal is nothing great.
I’ll make a bigger monument than that for you.
Mumtaz was interred there after she died:
I can inter you alive.


hasIn kE liyE gam kurbAn,
khushI kE liyE AnsU kurbAn,
dOstb kE liyE jAn bhI kurbAn,
aur agar dOstj kI girlfreind mil jAyE thO…
sAlA dOsth bhI kurbAn.

Pain can be sacrificed for one who smiles;
Tears can be sacrificed for happiness;
Life itself can be sacrificed for a friend;
And if one can get the friend’s girlfriend,
Then…the friend can also be sacrificed.