Archive for April, 2020

A tiny Golden Jackpot!

April 29, 2020

Sometimes a small success at home is as satisfying as getting a rare bird far away.

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On our terrace, the Red-whiskered Bulbuls (or as I call them, the Bulbullies) always chase away other birds which come to drink water or bathe , and I have been lying patiently in wait (when I get a little breather from the Endless Dishes in the Sink) in the hopes of getting Purple-rumped Sunbirds, Tailorbirds, a solitary Jungle Myna , and several of these delightful Oriental White-eyes.

Today I managed to click at exactly the right time! Certainly, before the lockdown, I didn’t know that I could find these birds in the middle of Jayanagar 4th T Block.

Blr, 280420.

The question comes back to me…

April 27, 2020

Me: Why do you want the volume on during the ads when we are watching Mahabharat? They are the same ads again and again.
K1: You have been reading and watching Mahabharat for so many years now, why do you want the volume on then?

More doggerel…

April 26, 2020

April 26, 2018 at 5:53 PM ยท

Butterfly on the Moon. (Nonsense verse inspired by a conversation on the Bangalore Butterfly Club, where Kesava asked how much a butterfly would weigh on the moon!

Thought the butterfly as she flitted over the moon,
“I can’t stay here, I’ll have to leave soon.
“It is a matter that’s sad to state
“But on this place, alas, I have hardly any weight.
“How can I lay eggs or perpetuate my race
“If I can’t even land but float off in space?
“Alas!” she added, ” I may be over the moon
“But it’s the worth of the Earth that is my greatest boon.”

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Jezebel, Baevu trip, 091016

K2, from last year…

April 26, 2020

26 April 2018:

I delete a video (K2 explaining his robot jet aircraft) on the laptop after uploading it to YouTube. K2: You have just killed me by deleting that video. You really are an evil grandmother.

Of names, knowledge..and showing off

April 26, 2020

What the scientific, erudite types have to realize: When an Ordinary Person sees a beautiful grasshopper, s/he is quite interested.

But if told that it is a Cyrtacanthacris tatarica tatarica, and that the classification is Animalia > Arthropoda > Insecta > Orthoptera > Acridoidea > Acrididae > Cyrtacanthacridinae > Cyrtacanthacris > Cyrtacanthacris tatarica (Linnaeus, 1758) > Cyrtacanthacris tatarica tatarica (Linnaeus, 1758), s/he would 1) be totally zapped and bewildered, 2) lose interest.

Of course, a side effect would be 3) being very impressed by the person who is giving that information…which may have actually been just gleaned off the Internet (as I did.) This whole thing of having ids in a long-dead language and translating that Latin (and Greek) in a suitably pseudo-friendly, condescending way to These Lesser Mortals is something I find many scientists (and pseudo scientists from WhatsApp University) guilty of.

And it’s true of every field of human endeavour. I appear much more knowledgeable if, instead of saying, “enjoy this rAgam”, I say, “listen to the prayOgams of Podalangapriya”; more learned-sounding if, instead of “enjoy the rocky landscape”, I say, “Look at the mixture of metaingenious rock and the patterns of the earlyite (not the laterite)”; instead of “Look at how beautiful that fish-shaped cloud is”, I say, “Columbusnimbu clouds take on so many interesting forms”..and so it goes. Not you, of course, and never me…but Those Others…!

Morning walk during the lockdown,140420

April 14, 2020

My walk around the driveway of the apartment building this morning. Fragrances spilling from the jasmine on someone’s balcony, and from the Frangipani blooms; much milder, from the Parijata tree. An orchid spray holding its own for the past few days, in spite of the heat.

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A Tailorbird calling loudly, out of all proportion to its size. Mynas feeding on the palm berries.

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Barbets flying from tree to tree. Several people taking their waste to the compost bin. A milk vendor delivering his daily quota. Dust on the parked cars, with no naughty little fingers drawing pictures or names on them. A view of the vegetable shop opposite the front gate, whose narrow entrance makes a joke of distancing. The first butterflies of the morning, flitting, large and small.

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The sun gathering power by the minute. The usual smile and “Good morning” to,and from, one lady who walks regularly, and the absence of response from other walkers, though I see them daily, too. The building security men with their masks on; they are an essential service. No newspaper delivery; I will return to read the Deccan Herald and Economic Times online, and print out the crosswords that make my early morning enjoyable.

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The KK restaurant, Blr, 100420

April 11, 2020

=K1 and K2 opened a restaurant yesterday, and it was called the KK Restaurant.

A beautiful menu was prepared:

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Two customers seated themselves, playing some soft romantic music and dimming the lights:

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The Sous Chef also doubled as the maitre d’hote, and waited at the table:

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The Head Chef also gave the dishes his attention.

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The entree and the main course seemed to be Monaco biscuits with toppings of ketchup, cream cheese, olives and jalapenos, and chips with tomato sauce.

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Dessert consisted of chocolate biscuits, sadly depleted in the kitchen because the Head Chef sampled them too freely. (The same problem occurred with the Monaco biscuits, the chips and the cream cheese.)

The Sous Chef made a bowl of Maggi all by herself and divided it between the two customers. Alas, the Kitchen Manager-cum-Dishwasher (fired by the Head Chef for “disturbing the kitchen” and rehired by the Sous Chef ) was busy taking photos elsewhere and forgot to click the Maggi fine cuisine.

There were also delightful drinks of Blue Curacao, Orangeade, and Mint-flavoured water. Here’s the Head Chef, in his other role as the drinks waiter:

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The Dishwasher was thankful when service ended at the restaurant, because it already meant quite a lot of dishes and bowls to be washed and dried!

The restrauteurs took a bow from the deeply appreciative customers, as also an extra, elderly customer who came a little later. The customers paid the bill with hugs!

DGA…Doting Grandma Alert!

April 7, 2020

K1 watched Ramayana with me in the morning, and as the crown was brought to Sugriva (after a prolonged weeping and moralizing bout and the terribly protraced death of Vali), she said Sugriva was eager for the coronation, and was saying, “Bring me the corona! Bring me the corona!” I fell about laughing at her apt pun for this time of the virus.

And about Mahabharat…after watching Drona rescue the ball for the Pandavas by shooting blades of grass into a long line,piercing it, and pulling it out of the well , K2 went and pulled something out, too…. the exact Tinkle Digest where the same story was illustrated! I am very impressed.

Birding, now….

April 2, 2020

Gone are the days of birding travel.
The virus has made all my plans unravel.
From planning to see the Myzornis,
My birding world has shrunk to this:
How can I catch the Tailorbird,
Which whips in and out, and is only heard
Upon the terrace that I keep looking at? Why
Should these birds be so wary and shy?
Such a fleeting glimpse of the yellow White-eye…
What makes it so keen to zip and fly?
Why can’t it wait and pose for me
And let me take a photo…or three?
I have forgotten the forests, the deer and leopards
And even the various, colourful birds.
Mountain streams and riverside breeze,
Coastal stickiness and Himalayan freeze.
Life for me is the Barbet in the Bangalore sun.
Sighting a Koel is quite a lot of fun.
It’s the terrace that exerts a recurring pull,
For a sight of the Sunbird or the Bulbul.
Overhead, the v-shaped tails of the Black Kite.
The fluttering Pigeons, blue, grey and white.
I can’t even hear the Crows, of late,
Or see their throats of dull grey slate.
Birding is also memories: I go to my Flickr
And wish my broadband speed was quicker.
I visit, once again, birds all over the world:
Fieldfares, Bluebirds, Toucans, with their feathers unfurled.
I close my laptop and arise from my sofa,
And dream of the day when again I will go far
Looking for my beloved, favourite birds,
Which will then be real, not just photos and words!

grey-headed kingfisher

Grey-headed Kingfisher from Tanzania.

Two Dictators

April 2, 2020

Email to Nanna:

Here are K1 and K2, dictating to me what they want to say about your lemon cake. It has been mentioned at least fifty time in the past two days.

Message begins:

K2: Nana, I love your lemon cake. I want to visit you on Christmas and Easter because in those festivals, your lemon cake is the best (not festivals, times)

K1: Because we have never tasted it other than those times. Your lemon cake is better than potato (which I love very much)

K2: I also want to visit you early because otherwise I will miss Easter.

K1: Nana I love your lemon cake way more than any of the birthday cakes I’ve ever had…Kalyan keep quiet!….I am still dictating….Nanna, your lemon cake is one of my most favourite cakes baked by you.

K2: Nana, I also love your lemon cakes way more than even pizza. Kavya, keep quiet! Nana, your lemon cake is my favourite food.

K1: I think if you are in some kind of cooking competition you would definitely win first prize with your lemon cake….Deepamma, I can see that! Kalyan, please get your hand off my foot!…

K2: If you are in MasterChef Australia, a TV show, you would win with your awesome lemon cake. That is the same thing Kavya said, but with some edits. If I am wrong, please email me.

K1: Anyway, once you do, I’d love to see your first place trophy. I don’t know why we are writing you email about your lemon cake, it’s absolutely weird, when we are in the middle of making brownies and she (Deepamma) called us over here. But I bet the brownies will never be nearly as good as your lemon cake….no, I don’t want to say bye yet!….fine, fine…

K2: Anyway, that was Kavya. But why did she have to add the part that said, it is weird we are emailing you? I don’t know. But if I ever get to eat any food I like, I would pick your lemon cake.

K2 pushes off to the kitchen. K1 : OK, fine, bye.

There are now two dictators in my life!

Love from K1, K2, and Deepa.