Archive for December, 2013

I’m RICH! (Part 2)

December 31, 2013

I received a loving email (which made it past the spam filters!)


Dear Beloved,

I am Mrs. Stacy Russell.I am writing you this email from my sick bed, I know my message will come to you as a surprise But don’t worry. When I heard from the doctor that my condition has become so critical, I had to reach out to a Christian sister, who assisted me in searching for your contact in order to help me utilize this wealth the way I am going to instruct herein, and even the sister that helped me in this regard doesn’t know the purpose for which I intend to use it I have prayed about it and it has been revealed to me that you can make judicious use of the resources for its intended purpose.

My husband earned these funds, (TEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND) but he died in a plane crash and left everything behind for me and I will join him soon due to my ill health. Due to my infertility resulting from medical problems I became barren. God has a reason for everything. I would want you to contact my lawyer; he will inform you on what to do. Reply to this email and email my Lawyer:
Barrister Sina HOK
Email: (

Ensure to use a greater portion of the funds for its purpose in fulfillment of my last wish. Furthermore you will never have any problem with the law as far as my lawyer is in concern. The most major part you will use to bless Helpless and Needy Children all over the world

May God Keep you alive and bless you as you help.


Somehow I feel that the barrister (and the lady herself) is not “Hok” but “Hoks”!

2013….looking back

December 31, 2013

A fairly eventful, momentous year.
Some moments brought a
Many brought a smile.
Each phase lasted a little while.

There was the end of my ailing marriage.
The horse separated from the straying carriage.
There was the birth of my dear grandson.
I took care of him …and the elder one.

Grandchildren are one of life’s great joys…
Whether they are girls or boys.
I enjoyed the love of my daughter
And the joys that her life brought her.

I spent a lot of time in another home.
The baby kept me there…I didn’t roam.
I managed, through it all to click and write.
I was happy, I seemed to be doing something right.

I fought major issues in my mind, and life.
It was a time of very great strife.
Meditation and medication are seeing me through.
I still dip occasionally..and am blue.

I’m nowhere near where I want to be.
In the mirror I want to see
A much better person than I am now.
I will keep trying…that’s what I vow.

Here are my wishes to all of you, too.
I hope this year brings happiness to you.
I must say it gives me pleasure
To wish my friends…my greatest treasure.


Snake Temple (nAga dEvathA dEvasthAnA), Hennagara Lake, 301213

December 31, 2013

While on the birding trip, we visited the large Hennagara lake, and Prashanth, who lives in Jigani and seems very knowledgeable about the area, pointed out he nAga dEvathA temple at Hennagara Kere (lake).

Here’s the temple, on the lake-bund (raised bank):


The rock on the right was the original object of worship and veneration:


Prashanth told me a very interesting piece of folklore connected to this temple. In the several centuries that this lake has been in existence, he said, the lake has never overflowed in a flood situation. The people of the area venerated this rock as the “nAgA” (snake, or more specifically, cobra) that “drank up” the excess flood waters, and prevented the lake from ever overflowing its banks.

I wondered if, perhaps, there was some sort of water conduit under this rock that led away excess water to other water bodies around (such as Haragadde…Prashanth tells me many of these lakes are inter-connected)…and whether that might account for it. But since I have no way of finding out….I’ll put it down to that intangible thing that yet moves mountains: Faith.

An open-air part of the temple also has various carved figurines.


the old rock images, and some new carved ones, facing the kere, have been covered by a cement structure quite recently.


The image of the nAga dEvathA in the new temple faces the other direction, and there is also a shrine to Ganesha and to Parvathi.


The trash that every temple in our country seems to generate, alas:


The surrounding area of the temple was strewn with the ghee packets, milk packets, agarbathi packets, and old flowers from previous pujas. It seems strange to me that we venerate our gods but do not want to even keep their temples clean!

Just outside the temple are these there hOma kuNdA, where ritual offerings are made to fire (agni) to convey to the gods. They, too, seem in disuse:


We have a million such temples, scattered around our countryside, each with its own interesting mythology and tales. One could spend a lifetime listening to these chronicles!

The Marsh Harrier, 28 and 301213, Karnataka

December 30, 2013

Oh…apparently it is now called the


Its scientific name is Cirrus spilonotus….and they do remind me of the cloud that bears the same first name.


It’s a winter visitor to our country, amongst others…it breeds in the grasslands and wetlands of southern Siberia, northern Mongolia, north-east China, Manchuria and Japan, and migrates for the northern winter to South-east Asia, the Philippines and northern Borneo.

It’s a magnficient bird, as it soars on the wind-currents.


It’s lovely to see the “headlights” on its wings.


You can see two of them here:



We watched them for quite a while, on both days.


The Wiki entry says:
Like all marsh harriers, it favours open, wet environments.


It is frequently seen drifting low over ricefields, (and lakes!)…interspersing long, watchful circling glides with two or three slow, powerful wingbeats.


We watched the waterbirds keeping a wary eye on the predator gliding above them at Hosakote kere (lake), when we visited on 281213:


I got one gliding to a landing at Hennagara Lake:

I enjoyed my observation of these beautiful raptors….and I hope you do, too.

Hosakote kere, 281213

December 29, 2013

My email to the bngbirds egroup:

In so many years of birding, I had never been to Hosakote to watch birds, so I was very happy when Amith, Gowri Shankar, Kiran Baagade (who has recently shifted here from Mysore), Ramachandra Gopalakrishna, and I headed out to the kere (lake).

Sunrise at the kere:

Mist on the ground:


While there, we were joined briefly by Bhanu Prakash, Sanjeev Managoli (on his way to work at Hosakote, he was doing a short birding stint!), and then Rajani Chand, who spent the rest of the morning with us, and guided us to the Raghavendra Talkies part of the kere.

Rajani and Sanjeev:


Amith, Gowri, Kiran, and Ram at the MCS


Little did we know just how rewarding the birding was going to be….but we opened the innings with a mixed bag of water birds and scrub birds.

On the tank bund:




Plain Prinia:


Booted Warbler:


Bronze-winged Jacana juvenile:


Brahminy Kite:


Painted Stork:


Purple Swamphen:


Barn Swallows:


Wood Sandpiper:




A Garganey foraging:

A Marsh Harrier male and female,



A Pied Cuckoo, several Garganeys, a lone Northern Shoveller started off our migrant sightings. We were spoilt for choice as sometimes we didn’t know whether to look towards the kere on our right, or the shore on our left!

Little Grebe:


White-breasted Kingfisher:


Pied Kingfisher:


Marsh Harrier with Garganeys:


Jerdon’s Bushlark:


Lesser Whistling Ducks:


Common Coot juveniles:


Common Coot adult:




Black Drongo:


Bay-backed Shrike:


Indian Spotted Eagle:


Purple-rumped Sunbird:



Black-winged Kite:



Green Sandpiper:


Possibly Marsh Sandpiper:


White-browed Wagtail:


Paddyfield Pipit:


Indian Roller:


We were near a cremation ground!


There were mosquitoes:


Watching water birds fishing is always a riveting experience, and we also watched the raptors instilling fear into the birds on the water.

Marsh Harrier flying over the ducks:


There were more Great Cormorants than Little Cormorants, and we sighted one Indian Cormorant, too, which the experienced birders pointed out to me.

Water level indicator:


Two Black-winged Kites landed close enough on a tree that we could look up into their ruby eyes….a Booted Eagle and an Indian Spotted Eagle filled up the “E” part of our birding alphabet. Well…yesterday the alphabet did not start with Avadavats, but from Babbler to Warbler, the list seemed very well represented! Thank you to those who are more experienced,for id’ing the different kinds of Sandpipers for me.

I have to strike one sad note. At one place, plastic netting was hung into the water (which was in channels and ponds there) , presumably, to keep birds from taking the fish. We saw two Pond Herons, dead, strangled in the netting. It was quite a dreadful sight. I would have minded less if the birds had been caught for eating…then they would have been part of the food chain…but to see the dead birds just lying in the netting that had been so callously set out, was heart-rending.

Dead bird in netting:


We broke for brunch only when the call of the Empty Tummy-birds could not be denied


…and we went back to the kere for round two! I am afraid I didn’t see too many butterflies, though Kiran pointed some out to me. We dispersed, feeling thoroughly satisfied with our morning of birding.


Babbler, Jungle
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Jerdon’s
Coot, Common
Cormorant, Greater
Cormorant, Indian
Cormorant, Little
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Jungle
Cuckoo, Indian
Cuckoo, Pied
Darter, Oriental
Dove, Eurasian Collared
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Duck, Lesser Whistling
Duck, Spot-billed
Eagle, Booted
Eagle, Indian Spotted
Egret, Cattle
Egret, Intermediate
Egret, Little
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Francolin, Grey (call)
Grebe, Little
Greenshank, Common
Harrier, Eurasian Marsh
Heron, Grey
Heron, Pond
Heron, Purple
Ibis, Black
Ibis, Black-headed
Jacana, Bronze-winged
Jacana, Pheasant-tailed
Kingfisher, Pied
Kingfisher, White-breasted
Kite, Black-winged
Kite, Brahminy
Kite, Common
Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pelican, Spot-billed
Pigeon, Blue Rock
Pipit, Paddyfield
Prinia, Ashy
Prinia, Plain
Robin, Indian
Roller, Indian
Sandpiper, Common
Sandpiper, Common
Sandpiper, Marsh
Sandpiper, Wood
Shoveller, Northern
Shrike, Bay-backed
Shrike, Brown
Silverbill, Indian
Sparrow, House
Stork, Painted
Stork, Woolly-necked
Sunbird, Purple
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swallow, Streak-throated
Swamphen, Purple
Tit, Great
Wagtai, Yellow
Wagtail, White-browed
Warbler, Blyth’s Reed
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Greenish
Waterhen, White-breasted
Babbler, Yellow-billed


Blue, Lesser Grass
Blue, Pea
Blue, Zebra
Bluebottle, Common
Castor, Common
Cerulean, Common
Crow, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Mormon, Common
Skipper, Indian
Tiger, Plain
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Three-spot Grass
Yellow, Mottled Grass


Assorted ants, bees, beetles,bugs, damselflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, spiders. wasps


Rat Snake (thanks to Amith’s excellent spotting of this in the Lantana bush.)


I have put up my SMS on my FB album at

I think I still need correction on my Sandpiper ids, I’d be grateful for it! I am still rather Sandpiper-illiterate.

Zebra Blue:




Pumpkin flower:


Hanuman Shrine:


Sri Gangamma shrine:


Bridge over the kere:


All of us:


Dawn on the kere:


A wonderful day, with a dream list of birds, and great company!

Black wings…and ruby eyes, 271213, Hosakote

December 29, 2013




used to be known as the Black-shouldered Kite, which I think is a better description…but the ornithologists have their own litte ways..Oh well, more about that later, I just want to talk about ruby eyes!


Here’s what the wiki says about bird’s eyes, and red eyes, specifically.


Some bird groups have specific modifications to their visual system linked to their way of life


Birds of prey have a very high density of receptors and other adaptations that maximise visual acuity.


The placement of their eyes gives them good binocular vision enabling accurate judgement of distances. Nocturnal species have tubular eyes, low numbers of colour detectors, but a high density of rod cells which function well in poor light.Some birds have red or yellow oil drops in the colour receptors to improve distance vision especially in hazy conditions.


So…now that I know the facts…I can give myself up to just the wonder of those sharp gem-like eyes of birds such as these!

jInA…aur pInA…

December 26, 2013

भरी महफ़िल थी । हम सब मिले ।
दोस्तों की कमी न थी ।
पुरानी यादों में दिल रोया
पर आँखों में नमीं न थी ।
हॅसते हैं हम , और
अपना काम किये जाते हैँ ।
जाम पीते हैं कुछ लोग महफ़िल में;
हम अपने आँसू पीए जाते हैं ।


bharI mehfil thI. ham sab milEy.
dOsthOn kI kamI nahIn.
purAnI yAdOn mEin dil rOyA
par AnkhOn mEin namIn nahIn.
hasthEy hain ham, aur
apnA kAm kiyEy jAthEy hain.
jAm pIthEy hain kucch lOg mehfil mein;
ham apnI aansoo piyEy jAthEy hain.

We met at the gathering.
There was no dearth of friends.
The heart wept with old memories,
But there was no moisture in my eyes.
I laugh,and
I go on with my work.
Some people swallow intoxicants at the gathering:
I swallow my tears.

What is my definition of age?

December 26, 2013

On an FB post of mine (which is where, now, all the interesting conversations and debates happen for me….LJ is a closed door), someone asked me, “What is your definition of age?”

Hmmm….let me think.

Just…the addition of Anno Domini.

We all age, in different ways. My age does not necessarily confer wisdom or maturity on me…and if I don’t learn from experience, all the expeirience of life is just a passing show, too. Age, to me, is (nothing more than) the time elapsed since I arrived on Earth.

To me, wrinkles, white hair, lack of muscle tone, the general beginnings of complaints from various parts of the body…are part of the parcel. I do what I can to take care of myself, on a moderate level, but the rest I leave as Nature’s gifts.

What I do try to do, is to convert my life’s experiences into wisdom, maturity, and grace. That is a hard task, and I am not very successful, I am afraid.

So…to me…aging is different from maturing, and I want to do the latter…I have no control over the former.

And talking of age…do you want to see what I looked like at 24? Here…


batAO, dOstOn, kyA karE? /Tell me friends, what would you have done?

December 25, 2013

sAmnE manzil thI..
peechE thI AwAz uskI.

The destination was ahead.
Her voice, behind me.

ruktE thO safar chhoot jAtA.
chaltE thO ussE bichad jAthE.

If I stopped, my journey would break.
If I continued, I’d be parted from her.

manzil ki bhI hasrat thI
aur ussE mohabbat bhI.

I wished to reach my destination,
but I loved her, too.

Ey dil, yE bathA mujhkO…
uss waqt mein kahAn jAtha?

O, my hear, tell me,
Where could I have gone then?

muddat kA safar bhI thA…
aur barsOn kI chAhat bhI thI.

It was a long-pending journey…
And it was a long-standing love.

rukthE thO bikhar jAthE,
chaltE thO dil toot jAthE.

If I stopped, my concentration would be scattered.
If I went on, my heart would break.

yUn samajh lO, ki
lagI pyA gazab kI thI..
aur pAnI mein bhI zeher thA.

Take it that I had a raging thirst,
And the water was poisoned.

pIthE…thO mar jAthE.
aur na pIthE thO bhI mar jAthE….

If I drank, I’d die.
If I did not drink, I’d die…

Thanks to Santosh Oak for this gem.