Archive for October, 2013

Celebrating Karnataka

October 31, 2013

November First is the date that

Karnataka was formed in 1956

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Views from windows , 28 and 291013

October 31, 2013

What to do when stuck into a window seat on an airplane? Take photos…these are views of St.Louis, Atlanta, Paris, dusk, passing-over-Iran at night…

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St.Louis,slipping by beneath the wings:

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The mighty rivers of the mid-west:

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Sun shining on water:

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A bed of clouds…

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The Gateway Arch from right above…

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More…

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Downtown Atlanta:

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Paris:

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I don’t know what this futuristic building is:

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The mountains of Afghanistan:

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Journeys are said to end in lovers’ meetings, but sometimes they are difficult partings, too.

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Jet-lagged, and headachy, and trying to cheer myself up!

My experience with Air France is bad, but there are others who are worse off…

October 31, 2013

For several years now, I have taken Air France flights, and in that time, their service has deteriorated very sharply.

Let me explain why I am stuck with Air France. They are code-share partners with Delta. I have come to the point where, if I make one more trip to the US with Delta, I will get enough mileage for a return ticket. So…this time, too, I travelled AF for the Atlanta-Paris, Paris-Bangalore sector. I didn’t have the horrific experience that

this blogpost

t describes…but the service was atrocious, AF made their daily flight to Bangalore an alternate-days flight only without informing me. We found, when we went to the airport on Sun, Oct 27, that they had scheduled a 26-hour layover in Paris for me! Luckily, a 1.5 hour negotiation by my daughter, with the counter staff got me a reprieve, and I left St.Louis a day later, cutting my transit time in Paris down to 2 hours. Else, I too would be writing a blogpost like the one above!

The food was atrocious, the hot drinks tepid, the stewardesses VERY unhelpful,

As my flight was re-scheduled, the seats that I had reserved so carefully, well in advance, were all cancelled. I was told I would not even know what seat I’d got until I got to the departure gate, and naturally, I was allocated the worst possible seat on the aircraft on each leg. (middle seat on the wing in one, window seat on the wing on the next.) There were a couple of vacant seats but the stewardess and unhelpful fellow-passengers would not let me change. She was not inclined to listen at all. I was speaking in English, asking for another seat, and she kept telling me, “I don’t understand what you are saying!” Thankfully, a young girl took my middle seat on the Atlanta-Paris leg, and let me have the aisle seat so that I could at least get out and stretch my legs once in a while. I cocooned myself into the window seat on the Paris-Bangalore leg and watched movies…. I strongly recommend “The Heat” (English, starring,Sandra Bullock) and Jolly, LLB (Hindi, starring Arshad Warsi)…! Climbing out from the deteritus of a long flight…blankets, cutlery, headphones…across two other seats, to get to the toilet, is a feat of agility I am glad I am still able to perform.

The resultant tiredness and jet lag are with me now, more than 36 hours after I landed, half-dead, in Bangalore. I was so disoriented that I left the liquor and chocs that I bought in Bangalore duty-free, in the cab….I know that the cabbie is going to have a great Deepavali.

I strongly recommend everyone never to travel Air France! It seems to me that the stewardesses scorn all Economy Class passengers, and do their jobs as reluctantly as they can get away with. The ground staff are never available, either, it would be better to call them “underground” staff!

Useless farewell!

October 30, 2013

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Shortly after a series of “together” pictures were taken, I was told that the flight from Paris to Bangalore was now only on alternate days. I could not leave on Sunday, and had to leave on Monday….so, still cuddling, we all went homewards 😀

Surreal day….

October 27, 2013

A surreal day……a series of happenings. First, having to repack my bags dumping several things, at the airport, because they were ONE kg over the correct 50 kg weight.

Then, the discovery that my flight from Paris to Blr is now on alternate days.. Deepa Murphy then would have, instead of 2 hours at the airport, 26 hours. Arranged departure from STL tomorrow.

Came to the parking lot with the suitcases, and D had to help someone jump-start his car, which took 20 minutes.

Then we went for lunch, and the spitnik ate well and played, while the big eater ate too much and barfed all over me, herself, the sofa and the restaurant floor. Resulting mess took 45 min to clean. G

ot home, bathed KTB, had a shower myself, and we have to go out now…some days are quite incredible!

Our own natural and supernatural creatures…

October 27, 2013

Our witches need a break, too!

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And our personal St.Louis lion comes with his own warning:

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Am off on a long journey, far away from these two, in a short while…

Decay

October 26, 2013

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A house in which no one lives
Any more. Dead sere leaves
Floating, spent, on a pool
Of autumn rain. Shut windows,
Reflected in the parking
Reserved for a pastor
Who suffered from cancer,
And passed away: whose wife,
Now the pastor, struggles
With health, herself.
What was once live, and green, and young
Passes into the waiting arms
Of mortality.
There remains, only, the hope
That the cycle will start
Once again, and the sap will rise
In a new spring, a house alive
With a family, and the parishioners
Renew their faith.

Ek nagm

October 25, 2013

Ek bachpan kA zamAna thA,
jismE khushiyOn kA khazAna thA;

There was a world of childhood,
Where there was a treasury of joys;

chAhat chAnd kO pAnE kI thI,
par dil titli kA dIwAnA thA.

The ambition was to get the moon,
But the heart wanted the butterfly, too.

khabar na thI kuch subah kI,
na shAm kA thikAnA thA;

There was no knowledge of mornings
No certainty of the evenings;

thak hArke AnA padhAyI sE,
par khElnE bhI jAnA thA.

We’d come tired from school
But we could go and play.

mA kI kahAnI thI,
pariyOn kA fasAnA thA;
bArish mEn kAgaz kI nAv thI,
har mausam suhAnA thA.

There were mother’s stories,
Stories about fairies;
There were paper boats in the rains;
Every season was pleasant.

har khEl mEn sAthI thE,
har rishtA nibhAnA thA;
gam kI zubAn na hOtI thI,
na zakhmOn kA paimAnA thA.

There were friends for every game,
Every relationship was important;
There was no sorrow,
Nor the pain of wounds.

rOnE kI wajah na thI,
na hansne kA bahAnA thA;
kyOn hO gayE ham itnE badE,
isse achhA tO wOh bachpan kA zamAnA thA…

No cause to cry,
No pretense in laughter;
Why have we grown up…
Our world of childhood was better….

“Field Notes”: Guided Walk in Forest Park, 201013

October 23, 2013

On Sunday, the 20th of Oct, I went on

a walking tour of the nature reserve areas of Forest Park

with

Peter Van Linn

of Forest Park. Here he is, with Bob Duffy of the St.Louis Beacon:

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Here we are, heading out on the path:

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We walked through the prairie grasses:

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Peter talked to us about native and exotic plants and trees, the re-routing of the Des Peres river underground, the inter-connection of the various man-made water bodies in the park. I learnt something I did not know before…that all the water bodies in the Park contain tap water…the Des Peres river flows underground right through the park, and does not surface at all!

However, converting the habitat was one of the efforts undertaken by Forest Park Forever. Through controlled burns such as the one

the controlled burn of 2011 referred to here in The Beacon

he said that they were trying to convert this particular area into a prairie/savannah, but thanks to earlier-planted trees, and resurgence of plants, pines such as this beautiful one

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were very common.

He told us how bare, or even dead, trees, support wildlife. This picture of a leafless tree with many

AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES

on it

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and this, of a

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER

pecking at the trunk of a tree, illustrated his point:

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Here’s some dead wood in a picture I like:

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Does this look like a bird walk? Because of the presence of Jocelyn Clogston (who took me to Rockwoods Reservation the first time) and her friend, Tom Bailey, who pointed out quite a lot of birds, it did, indeed, become one, too!

We saw this

TUFTED TITMOUSE

eating its breakfast:

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Tom pointed out this beautiful

RED-SHOULDERED HAWK

waiting patiently for prey:

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This

EASTERN PHOEBE

delighted us with another one, swooping along, catching insects:

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The usual

RED-TAILED HAWK

did a fly-past for us:

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I got an

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH,

duller at this time of year, having lost the bright yellow of summer..

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A

NORTHERN FLICKER

sat high on a tree:

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Even the Robins and the Starlings are looking different now:

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Tom showed me several Yellow-rumped Warblers, but I couldn’t photograph them.

Here you can see the various kinds of land: prairie, shading into savannah,shading into woodland (it’s not thick enough to call a forest)

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I was still riveted by sights such as these:

this (thanks to help from Fran Fulton)

VARIEGATED FRITILLARY:

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at the outset of the walk;

this

DELAWARE SKIPPER

on a

CHICORY flower:

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and this

GRASSHOPPER:

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Tom told me that this

WOOLLY BEAR (Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar)

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was supposed to presage the severity of the winter to come, by the width of its brown band!

These aphids on the milkweed seed-pods

I walked back, enjoying the fall colors:

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I peeped in on the

Orphan Car Show

(Apparently,Packard, Hudson, and Studebaker automobiles are considered glass and steel “orphans” because they are no longer in production.)

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Let me close with the Halloween display at the Visitors’ Center:

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and the

NEW ENGLAND ASTERS

that bloom in the fall:

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It was a very enjoyable morning.

Museum of Contemporary Art, St.Louis, 181013

October 21, 2013

These are four short videos I look of the work of

Jennifer Steinkamp

which was showing as I walked past….it was just fascinating. (I’ve just added some music, rather than just the street noises.)

This is called “Orbit”, and is the first exhibition in the Museum’s new Street Views series of large-scale video works that will be projected onto CAM’s facade.

here’s more info

Hope you enjoyed that projection as much as I did!