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OUAT

February 10, 2016

Pretty, lively, and young;
A head full of dreams
A prattling tongue;
Once Upon A Time.

A little more mellowed
Having met Real Life
Some dreams having yellowed:
Once Upon A Time.

Love, family, daughter;
Duties to do.
Music turning to water
Once Upon A Time.

Shattered, and broke.
World dried up and withered.
Tried a smile, and a joke:
Once Upon A Time.

Now, a steadier course;
Happiness again.
Put away, with force…
“Once Upon A Time.”

Mantling, Kaggalipura Kere, Karnataka, 070216

February 10, 2016

I’ve often watched raptors (that’s birds of prey) zoom in on land or water and catch their prey, which they then take to the nearest roost and devour, with great promptness.

However, it was for the first time that I watched another kind of behaviour at Kaggalipura kere (lake).

A

Brahminy Kite

swooped in, took a large fish out of the water, and flew over our heads as we stood on the rim of the lake, and landed in the harvested field on the opposite side. I followed the bird with my binoculars and then my camera, hoping to see it feed on the fish.

However, what it did was to lay the fish on the ground, and then sit upon it.

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It (I use ‘it’ because I do not know if the bird was male or female) proceeded, then, to spread its breast feathers over the catch, and sat perfectly still.

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It seemed to scan the area, all around, for any possible other bird that might be interested in the food.

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Having determined that there was no competition, a process that took quite fifteen minutes, the bird then started eating the fish.

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I googled about such behaviour, and my friend Danny Brown, from Union, Missouri, also sent me

this link

which talks about “mantling”, when a bird covers its prey with its wings to protect it, and prevent it being eaten by another bird or animal.

“Mantling,” says this link, is “the action of hunching or arching shoulders and spreading wings over a recent kill to conceal it from other birds and predators who would be potential thieves. In this posture, the wings are mostly spread and drooped to the ground, exposing the bird’s upper back, also called the mantle, which gives the action its name. The head is usually bent down to feed, and the tail is often spread to provide additional cover and counterbalance.”

However, this bird was not mantling in this precise fashion. It was the breast feathers that were spread about, hiding the prey; the wings were not spread out, nor was the head lowered. But, I suppose, this was also a form of mantling.

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I’ve seen little children in Kindergarten, keeping the lids of their snack-boxes almost closed as they eat their snacks, looking suspiciously around to see if anyone else wants to snatch it away from them. Well, if food is so hardly won, snatched out of the field or the water, I can certainly understand a bird doing a similar thing!

Kaggalipura, Bannur and Harohalli kere, 06 and 070216

February 10, 2016

Having realized that the Bar-headed Geese, our winter visitors from
When we birders realized that the

Bar-headed Geese

(click on the bird’s name to see my blogpost from last year)

which visit us each year (flying over the Himalaya, all the way from Mongolia!)are here,

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we decided to go and try our luck at Kaggalipura Kere, in Mysore Taluk (near Somnathpura). On the first day, it was a group of 13, and the next day, I went with friends who could not make it the previous day…we were 6 in all.

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Part of the group on Saturday, watching the geese.

It is always nice to meet friends and spend time at the bar. Why was Kaggalipura Kere a bar? Because…. if these are Bar-headed Geese, and they’ve arrived at their destination, then that place is obviously a bar!

The kere is a large waterbody, and on the other side of the lake bund are both fields under cultivation, and a water canal snaking its way through the landscape. In this respect, my friend Prem Prakash Garg pointed out to me, the place is similar to Hadinaru Kere, near
Nanjangud, where we had seen the birds last time.

When we reached the bund of the kere, there were no birds to be seen, and we hung around, hoping that a longer trip to Nugu (where the geese have been sighted) would not be necessary.

Our hopes were justified. These geese, from my limited experience of their arrival, both in Hadinaru Kere and here, should be renamed the “9 o’clock ” Geese! Just my watch clicked over to 9.03, a group of them arrived, floating down overhead, and settled down on the lake after a few spectacular aerobatics, sometimes.

They were then followed by others, first in groups, and in ones and twos. On Saturday the 6th, we also saw several birds flying out to some unknown destination, westwards. We then titled the incoming birds “andar-headed geese” and the outgoing ones, “baahar-headed geese”.

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The number of birds floating around on the water, occasionally taking a sip, or more likely tucking their heads into their wings to have a nap, approximated 100. On the 7th, they kept coming in till 11am…they numbered 600+ (I used the 10-bird unit form of estimate,
and it was easy to add as the birds arrived.) On the 7th, we paid a return visit in the afternoon, and found that the birds were dotted all over the lake. Perhaps fewer in numbers, but it was hard to make a count.

On the lake, and on the other side of road, we also got several other birds…Indian Grey Hornbills,

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warblers, a Blue-faced Malkoha,

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Red-naped Ibis,

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and other woodland birds.

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(White or Black-headed Ibis, also called “Sacred” Ibis in Africa.)

A Brahminy Kite, on the 7th, took its large fish across the road to the harvested field, sat on it with its feathers spread across the fish, hiding it. Only after fifteen minutes did it start feeding, when it ensured that there would be no competition for the food.

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I’ve not seen this kind of “hiding” behaviour before…this will be a separate blogpost!

We enjoyed several other things too, like a pair of mongoose playing in the haystacks:

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Blooming waterlilies, with pollinators:

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(Purple Heron in Eucalyptus)

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(Woolly-necked Stork)

On both days, Bannur Kere was also a dream come true. A large lake with good quality of water, hardly any trash (this might change as a recreation area is being built on one side, and a road leading to it is being laid.) Pelicans, Eurasian Wigeons,

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Whiskered Terns, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails,

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Little Ringed Plovers, and the usual gang of waterfowl suspects…how lovely to watch three kinds of Kingfishers working the water at once! Peaceful was the word to describe this beautiful spot.

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(Short-toed Snake Eagle with nesting material)

On the second visit, when I found that the Wigeons had flown off to the far end of the lake, I sat under the huge Peepal tree,

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enjoying the cool breeze off the water, watching two Pied Kingfishers mate, soaking in the serenity. Three young boys frolicked in the water. Truly, this was an example of humans being one with Nature. In all innocence, the youngsters jumped in,

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splashed,

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pulled each other out of the water…

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without disturbing the birds which were at a distance.

We wound up on each day with a look at Harohalli kere in the evening, where we found Garganeys, Lesser Whistling Ducks,

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Jacanas, Purple Herons,

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and other fowl. Of course, the edge of the lake, abutting the kere was foul…with trash of all kinds. The contrast with Bannur kere could
not be more pronounced.

We came home tired but with our eyes, hearts (and memory cards) full!

I have put up photos from the first day’s visit,

here

and from the second day,

here

Birders:

6th Feb: Aravind, Harish, Honnegowda, Mallika, Nitin, Mansi,
Manjula, Pavitrakumar, Prem, Raghavendra, Sharmila, Shilpa, and I.

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7th Feb: Anuradha, Mohit, Devadatha, Raghunath, Tarachand and I.

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Here are the lists on eBird, meticulously made by Mohit on the 7th.

The list from SH209 (Southern Highway) are

here

and

here

Kaggalipura kere list

Bannur kere list

Harohalli kere list

Let me close with two more images..

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(Painted Stork)

IMG_9217//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsKaggalipura, Bannur and Harohalli kere, 06 and 070216

How we travelled and what we ate on our trip to Kaggalipura Kere, 060216

February 9, 2016

Aravind, Mallika, Prem, Raghavendra in one car, and Honne Gowda, Pavitra Kumar, Shilpa, and I went in two cars to look at the

Bar-headed Geese

that I’ve written about last year. This year, though, we saw them at a different location, Kaggalipura kere (lake) near Somnathpur, in Mysore District.

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We didn’t head for the same bar, though, when we wanted refreshment.

We went by an Indian and not an imparted car (who would impart one to us?)

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We ate fride rice for dinner:

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There was also a choice of noodels, amlet, and egg burgy.

However, we could have had young canines, too:

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Thankfully, though, we didn’t eat at this vegetarian “lunch home” that seemed to offer only dresses!

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Nettru Illaatha Maatram Ennathu( what is this change, that wasn’t there yesterday?)

February 3, 2016

The music, the instruments, the lyrics, the lovely voice of Sujatha Mohan, the beauty of Revathi and the scenes she is in…everything comes together in this song. I often think of the late 50’s and 60’s as the heyday of Tamil film music, but songs like this are jewels!

I wonder what happened to this talented singer? I googled for her name, and

here

is information about her. Haven’t heard of here in a while, though.

Here are the transliterated lyrics:

nEtru illAtha mAttram ennathu?
kAttru en kAthil EthO sonnathu!
ithu thAn kAdhal enbadhA!
iLamai pongivittathA !
idhayam sindhi vittathA!
sol manamE….

what is this change, that wasn’t there yesterday?
the breeze whispered something in my ear
is this what is called love?
has youth blossomed?
has the heart spilled over?
Oh, my heart, tell me…

kadavuL illai endrEn…thAyai kANum varai
kanavu illai endrEn…Asai thOndrum varai
kAdhal poi endru sonnEn…unnai kANum varai

I said there is no God, until I saw (my) mother
I said there are no dreams, until affection appeared
I said love was a lie, until I saw you

kavithai variyin suvai, arttham puriyum varai
gangai neerin suvai, kadalil sErum varai
kadhal suvai ondru thAnE, kAttru veesum varai

the flavour of lines of poetry lasts until one understands the meaning
the taste of Ganges water lasts until it meets the sea
the flavour of love, alone, lasts until the wind blows (nEttru)

vAnam illAmalE bhUmi uNdAgalAm
vArthai illAmalE bhAshai uNdAgalAm
kAdhal illAmal pOnAl vAzhkkai uNdAgumA?

earth can be created without the sky
language can be created without words
if there is no love, can life be created?

vasam illAmalE vaNNa poo pookkalAm
vAsal illAmalE kAttru vandhAdalAm
nEsam illAtha vAzhvil pAsam uNdAgumA?

colourful flowers can bloom without fragrance
the breeze can play without a doorstep (to funnel it in)
can there be affection in a life without attachment? (nEttru)

***************

Some of the lines, of course, are prime examples of poetic licence. Eg. “kavithaiyin suvai arttham puriyum varai” (the flavour of poetry lasts until one understands the meaning) certainly doesn’t make rational sense to me!

Biodiversity Heritage Site: Nallur Tamarind Grove, 300116

February 1, 2016

aving read

this article in the Hindu, dated Sept 28, 2008

and also enjoyed

this article by my friend Adarsh Raju about the trees and the temple, written on July 15, 2015.

I’d wanted to visit this heritage site for some time, and on the 30th of January, 2016, when my friend Mallika Rajasekaran asked our mutual friend Arun Visweswaran about the location, I was very happy to finally be able to go

Nallur, a village in Devanahalli taluk in Bangalore Rural district, which once hosted vast tamarind groves, now has a patriarch of a tree, estimated to be 900 years old, still bearing fruit. The grove is now a bio-heritage site and the Karnataka Forest Department has been taking care of it for the last few years.

The tree was among thousands planted during the reign of King Rajendra Chola, at the beginning of the 12th century.The trees can be found on the road from Devanahalli to Sulibele, 40 km from Bangalore.

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‘Amaroy Thopu,’ (as it’s mentioned in epigraphical records) has still more trees aged between 500 and 800 years on an area of 53.02 acres. The youngest one is about 80 years old.

Walking amongst these gnarled ancients, we had a big bonus…the person who was instrumental in getting this grove notified as a Biodiversity Heritage Site, was actually visiting the temple, with his team, when we were there! We had a long chat with him and he showed us how one of the ancient trees has developed adventitious roots within its hollow trunk, a feature not seen in tamarind trees. Here’s Dr.V. Bhaskar, the Professor of Forestry at the National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, along with his group:

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(Dr. Bhaskar at extreme right)

“The longevity and the productive years of old trees belonging to the same family of trees is a matter to be studied by biotechnologists,” he said. “This could be a gene bank in addition to being a heritage site.”

He added: “Some trees here have shown extraordinary growth. They have developed prop roots and root suckers that are uncharacteristic of tamarind trees. I reported this phenomenon in My Forest journal in June 2004. Even though the mother trunk was dead, a series of root suckers have arisen from the trunk roots, which is a phenomenon unknown before this.”

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According to Dr. Bhaskar, prop roots are characteristic of banyan trees and are meant to support lateral extension. But in these tamarind trees prop roots have unusually arisen from within the hollow stems and struck the ground as if the trees were trying to support themselves. Here’s Dr. Bhaskar, showing us pictures of this:

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Narayanaswamy, a horticulture specialist, told us: “It is very unusual that the life cycle of this tree has crossed 900 years, when tamarind trees have a life cycle of not more than 400 to 500 years.”

In one case even the trunk roots put out shoots that are bearing fruits. They are not independent trees but have sprung up from the mother tree.

One tree with the large trunk was struck by lightning 75 to 80 years ago, with the trunk splitting into two. Over the years, villagers made a path between the two halves. Both halves have become independent trees, bearing fruit.

Next to the grove is another jewel…a temple to Chennakesava, that, unfortunately, lies in ruins.

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Dr SK Aruni, of the Indian Council for Historical Research, points out that the friezes on the temple walls are typical examples of the Vijayanagar style of sculpture.

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There is also a temple to Gangamma, which, it is felt, must have been recently constructed over an ancient temple.

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I met this shepherdess, Chennamma, who walks with her sheep amongst the peaceful ruins, trying to eke a precarious livelihood.

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I loved her bangles!

We left the beautiful place to the cattle, the gods, the people and the trees…we hope to visit there again soon…as Dr. Bhaskar told us, “People have to keep visiting the place to ensure that it is reasonably maintained by the Karnataka Forest Department.”

Silhouettes: JaagaDNA/BBMP UFO (Under the FlyOver) event, Hebbal Flyover, 260116

January 27, 2016

I’d responded to a request from JaagaDNA (one of the 3 arms of

Jaaga

to photo-document the process of creating silhouettes so that citizens could claim the public space under the flyovers that dot our city.

Unfortunately, my acceptance was emailed to the wrong id, but when Archana of Jaaga contacted me and asked me if I could come on the 26th of January, I readily agreed.

Silhouettes were chosen by Jaaga as a way of representing both a particular citizen, and the city’s people, in general. “Jaaga wants to address urban issues through community art,” says Kamya Ramachandran, Director, JaagaDNA, one of the three arms of Jaaga .( Mansi Kashatria tells me that the other two are Start-ups and Study).

The process of making the silhouettes involved shining a bright light at a person, throwing a shadow on the pillars of the flyover. The outline would be defined by mask tape, and would later be filled in by paint: Black, white, blue, yellow, red, and green.

Having seen the work done at the Richmond Flyover, I set off for Hebbal early in the morning.

As I approached the flyover, I saw some of the silhouettes that had been done on Saturday, the 23rd January.

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Mansi and Kamya of JaagaDNA were supervising the unloading of the art material, and these used mugs looked quite artistic! “We have so many ‘don’ts’ about traffic and crossing the road…so we thought we could ask the people about the ‘do’s’…what they’d like to do with public spaces,” remarks Kamya.

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The painters, including Badri and Mahesh, mixed the paint, ready for use.

A wide variety of people held up messages that expressed their way of claiming the space.

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The LGBT community, which had actively helped in the lighting and masking process on Saturday, had both dreams and practical requests for the space. Here, Lalitha and Archana ask for “pasumai” (Tamil for greenery).

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Here, they ask for drinking water and a toilet to be provided.

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The Commissioner himself had an ambitious dream for the space:

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Here’s the Minister’s way of using the space:

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Others who were not luminaries were an integral part of the event, too. Here’s the gentleman who was clearing up the used cups, because several people were, thoughtlessly, littering.

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So many people painted in the spaces blocked on Saturday.

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The police personnel put in a wish for cleanliness and security:

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I used a paintbrush, too (and am wondering how to get the stains off my top!)

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The Press came and interviewed Kamya about the event:

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I even enjoyed the colour sense of some of the ladies who were painting:

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People like Sarah from New York, associated with Jaaga, put their hands to work as well:

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There was plenty of photography going on apart from my work. Unnikrishnan and his friend clicked each other while they painted:

And this young man was intrigued by the Jaaga camera being handled by Shayona.

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There were a lot of group photographs as the event wound up.

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This team from BBMP brought in and served coffee, tea and biscuits, till the end of the event.

Here’s one of the finished pillars, with four figures in silhouette in different colours:

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However, given the fact that it is difficult, with the heavy flow of traffic, to access the space under the flyover, and also the dust and the noise, I do wonder if this public space can truly be utlized by the citizens of our city.

Yamini: All-night music festival at IIM Bangalore, 250116

January 25, 2016

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It was very pleasant to sit on the lawns of Bangalore’s premier management institution. In the gathering dusk, people drifted in and took their seats. The stage was well-lit.

 

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Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia started the evening off with sweet notes from his “bansuri”, with the lilting evening raga, Madhuvanti.

 

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One can truly say that, with his flute, he literally breathes  his music! For the audience, also, the composition in raga Yaman that followed, and then a bhajan, breathed relaxation and serenity into them

 

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When one of the impresarios came up on stage, he wisecracked that when pretty girls appear, trouble starts! He proved that his witty repartee is as good as his music, in a question-and-answer session with the audience.

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I do have one request for IIMB and SPIC-MACAY. Everyone seems to be welcome at the event; I was not even asked for my pass. So could the whole process of wasting paper by printing out passes be dispensed with?

However, this is a very minor point, and I’d like to thank IIM-B for hosting this event year after year (this was the 13th year), and making it possible for music-lovers of south Bangalore to listen to fine melody in a beautiful, serene ambience.

My blogpost in Citizen Matters is

here

The poetry of Kannadasan (Ananda Jothi, 1963)

January 25, 2016

I am, personally, an agnostic. I do not know if there is a God, or not…and am of the opinion that I may never find out. But I enjoyed the lyrics of this song, with deep meaning, from the very old movie (1963) Ananda Jothi (Flame of Happiness…named after the names of the leading characters in the movie.)

Here are the lyrics in Tamizh:

கடவுள் இருக்கின்றான், அது கண்ணுக்கு தெரிகின்றதா ?
காற்றில் தவழுகின்ராய் , அது கண்ணுக்கு தெரிகின்றதா ?

இருளில் விழிக்கின்றாய், எதிரே இருப்பது தெரிகின்றதா ?
இசையை ரசிக்கின்றாய், இசையின் உருவம் வருகின்றதா ?
உள்ளத்தில் இருக்கும் உள்ளத்தின் வடிவம் வெளியே தெரிகின்றதா ?

புத்தன் மறைந்து விட்டான், அவன்தன் போதனை மறைகின்றதா ?
சத்தியம் தோற்றதுண்டா ? உலகில் தருமம் அழிந்ததுண்டா?
இதை சரித்திரம் முழுதும் படித்த பின்னாலும்
சஞ்சலம் வருகின்றதா ?

தேடிய்ம் கிடைக்காது, நீதி தெருவினில் இருக்காது
சாட்டைக்கு அடங்காது , நீதி சட்டத்தில் மயங்காது
காலத்தில்ச் தோண்றி , கைகளை நீட்டி
காக்கவும் தயங்காது….

கடவுள் இறுக்கின்றான் ….,
அது, கண்ணுக்கு தெரிகின்றதா ?

இருளில் விழிக்கின்றாய், எதிரே இருப்பது தெரிகின்றதா ?
இசையை ரசிக்கின்றாய், இசையின் உருவம் வருகின்றதா ?
உள்ளத்தில் இருக்கும் உள்ளத்தின் வடிவம் வெளியே தெரிகின்றதா ?

புத்தன் மறைந்து விட்டான், அவன்தன் போதனை மறைகின்றதா ?
சத்தியம் தோற்றதுண்டா ? உலகில் தருமம் அழிந்ததுண்டா?
இதை சரித்திரம் முழுதும் படித்த பின்னாலும்
சஞ்சலம் வருகின்றதா ?

தேடிய்ம் கிடைக்காது, நீதி தெருவினில் இருக்காது
சாட்டைக்கு அடங்காது , நீதி சட்டத்தில் மயங்காது
காலத்தில்ச் தோண்றி , கைகளை நீட்டி
காக்கவும் தயங்காது….

கடவுள் இறுக்கின்றான் ….

Here are the transliterated lyrics from another webpage:

M: kadavul irukkinraan athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
kaatril thavazhuginraay athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
kaatril thavazhuginraan athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
kadavul irukkinraan athu un kannukku theriginrathaa…

M: irulil vizhikkinraai ethire iruppathu puriginrathaa
irulil vizhikkinraai ethire iruppathu puriginrathaa
isaiyai rasikkinraai isaiyin uruvam varuginrathaa
ullaththil irukkum ullaththin vadivam veliye theriginrathaa…
veliye theriginrathaa..
kadavul irukkinraan athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
kaatril thavazhuginraan athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
athu un kannukku theriginrathaa…

M: buththan marainthu vittaan avan than
bodhanai maraiginrathaa
buththan marainthu vittaan avan than
bodhanai maraiginrathaa
sathiyam thotradhundaa… ulagil
dharmam azhinthathundaa
ithai sariththiram muzhudhum padiththa pinnaalum
sanjchalam varuginrathaa…. sanjchalam varuginrathaa
kadavul irukkinraan athu un kannukku theriginrathaa…

M: thediyum kidaikkaathu neethi theruvinil irukkaathu
thediyum kidaikkaathu neethi theruvinil irukkaathu
saattaikku adangaathu neethi sattaththil mayangaathu
kaalaththil thonri kaigalai neetti
kaakkavum thayangaathu….. kaakkavum thayangaathu
kadavul irukkinraan athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
kaatril thavazhuginraan athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
athu un kannukku theriginrathaa
kadavul irukkinraan…..kadavul irukkinraan….kadavul irukkinraan…

The translation as I see it:

God exists, but can you see Him?
You walk through the air, but can you see it?

You wake in the darkness, can you see what is before you?
You enjoy music, can you see its form?
The form of the soul that exists within you–can it be seen outside?

The Buddha has passed away, have his teachings passed away?
Has Truth been defeated? Has Dharma been destroyed in the world?
Even after reading of this in history, do you still have doubts?

It can’t be found by searching…Justice is not in the streets
It won’t be sudbdued by the whip; Justice will not be hoodwinked by Law
Appearing on time, Justice will extend a hand
And not hesitate to protect….

The music, the lovely visuals (especially of the shadows in monochrome in the last stanza)…all of it goes to make a very memorable song, about what can be know, and what cannot.

Shivanahalli trip, 230116

January 23, 2016

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Email to the bngbirds egroup:

Just 6 of us, Mallika, Prem, Raghavendra, Snehasis, Soham and I,
decided to take a late morning trip to Shivanahalli. We actually
started past 9am, and were sure that we would enjoy whatever we saw
and observed.

Well, certainly the Banyan tree at the entrance to the apartment
building where I waited for the others, was a delight. I sat there,
quite riveted, as the red figs attracted White-cheeked and Coppersmith
Barbets, Asian Koels, Jungle Mynas

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and Common Mynahs, some warblers at the top of the tree where I could barely see them, a couple of Cinerous Tits, several Rose-ringed Parakeets (some of whom were romancing each
other in true Bollywood fashion!)

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…and then a flock of Rosy Starlings flew in, only to be promptly chased out by their orange-eyed, and blue-eyed cousins. Could anyone ask for a better “opening over” for a
morning? This was on the arterial Bannerghatta Road, and though I was rather dusty by the time I met my friends, I was pretty happy!

We had heard that the Ramakrishna Ashram at Shivanahalli was not open for birding any more, and wanted to see if this were really so.

Any group that I belong to takes its vittles seriously, and we stopped at Bannerghatta Circle at an “outstanding” darshini (meaning one has to stand outside and eat the food!).This was one occasion when the white-breasted iddlies, rufous sambar, speckled chutney, and chestnut
vadais were not our closing, but our opening, sightings!

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We drove through the Reserve Forest and the Ragihalli area, and though we didn’t see too many birds, except ones like the Jerdon’s Bushlark:

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and a Black-winged Kite:

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The scenery we were driving through was quite beaufiul.. The mild morning sunshine and the slight nip in the air made the warmth of our camaraderie all the better.

We were blocked for a while at Ragihalli village, where the road isbeing widened; a van was unloading material.

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However, we finally crossed, and wound along the beautiful valleys of the Bannerghatta
forest, to the Ashram.

There, we found Swamiji very busy overseeing some earth excavation and clearance personally (hands on is always his style.) He told us that at 11 am, we could not go birding, but luckily for us, Sreeja and her family also arrived at the same time. She’d emailed the Ashram a weekago, so Swamiji gave us all permission to bird for just a bit beyond
the Ashram back gate (up to his house and back.)

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As we ambled along, enjoying the fresh air and the planted series of chandan, jamun, jackfruit and other trees, several interesting birdsdid make their appearance. A Puff-throated Babbler had us scrabbling to see it better; an Orang-headed Thrush teased us with a quick darshan, and at two different places, an Asian (ooops, sorry, Indian) Paradise Flycatcher delighted us with its half-rufous, half-white tail, flaunted ribbon-like as it flew. As we returned, mindful of our word given to Swamiji, a Blue-Bearded Bee-eater (or the 3-B eater!) sat on top of a tree, allowing us to get a good look…but only silhouette shots.

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The calls of Gray Francolins also accompanied us as we returned to the gate.

A lot of construction is now going on in the Ashram, and the trees towards the front gate have been thinned down.

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We missed seeing the usual Tickell’s Blue and Asian Brown Flycatchers that were once
fixtures there. The sound of the earth-moving equipment was,probably, too loud for them to stay around.

A Shikra was the only other raptor we saw, but a beautiful Praying Mantis (I need a more precise id)

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on the steps to the Sharada Mandir kept us all clicking away, proving that the new mobile phones truly produce stunning macro images. A few butterflies on the ramble also kept us
busy.

Plain Tiger:

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Common Sailer:

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Pea Blue:

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Pioneer:

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Some beautiful flowers and plants caught my eye, too.

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Kalanchoe pinnata

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Very happy with the mornings spent amidst the greenery of
Bannerghatta, we returned home, trying to avoid the usual heavy
traffic on the arterial roads by taking the side roads…and hoping
that they were not dug up!

So folks..even if you get up late, it’s not too late for go for a
birding or nature outing in this gentle weather…you’ll have a great
time! We were also celebrating the new vehicle that one of us had
bought, and it was with a lot of joy that we spent the morning
together.

My photos are on my FB album at

https://www.facebook.com/deemopahan/media_set?set=a.10153514545088878.1073742554.587058877&type=3

Oh, yes, I need to describe my visit to Kaiga for the Bird Marathon, and the side trip to Kulgi to meet people at the Karnataka Bird Festival…both very well-attended events, which took place at the same time…and the Bangalore bird race last Sunday too. I’ve been
rather caught up and have not been able to post about them on time…but will do so!

Let me close with two beauties now:

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