Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A beautiful song in AbhOgi: thanga ratham vanthathu veedhiyilE

November 24, 2016

தங்கரதம் வந்தது, வீதியிலே,
ஒரு தளிர்மேனி வந்தது தேரினிலே
மரகதத் தோரணம்அசைந்தாட
நல்ல மாணிக்க மாலைகள்கவிபாட

செவ்விள நீரின்கண் திறந்து
செம்மாதுளையின்மணி வாய் பிளந்து
முளைவிடும் தண்டில்கோலமிட்டு மூவருலா வந்த காலங்கள் போலே
தங்கரதம் வந்தது

மாங்கனிக் கன்னத்தில், தேனூற சிறு மைவிழிக்கிண்ணத்தில்மீன் ஆட
தேன் தரும் போதைகள், போராட
தேவியின்பொன் மேனி தள்ளாட ஆட
இருவரும்:- தங்கரதம் வந்தது

THANGA RATHAM VANTHATHU VEETHIYILEY – movie: Kalai Kovil (கலைக்கோயில்)

Mysore visit, 171116

November 18, 2016

We drove down to

Mysore

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amusing ourselves on the way.

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Does that remind you of the onion minarets of the Kremlin?

We reached Mysore and went to

Nalpak restaurant

for lunch. Here’s the jOwAr rOti (rotis made with maize) thAli:

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Looking at some of the graceful architecture

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and the majestic trees

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We went to the

Mysore Palace

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Horse-carriages waited to give the tourists joyrides.

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Here’s Krishna dancing on Kaliya the serpent at the entrance:

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It was lovely to see some temple gopurAs with moss and the patina of age:

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This is the swEtha varAha swAmy temple:

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The architecture of the Palace, a combination of Hindu and Islamic styles (true to the broadmindedness of the Wodeyar rulers) is remarkable.

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K1 and K2 walked around the palace with us, looking at the many treasures, but they were also glad to be able to play around in the open air afterwards, and go for camel rides.

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It was nice to see many other people enjoying the sights and sounds, and sometimes, just sitting contemplatively.

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After seeing the Palace at an unhurried pace, we had a snack-dessert kind of meal at the excellent Pearl outdoor diner

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The father is pouring chocolate sauce over the Brownie Sizzler, and several spoons were dug into it!

We drove back home, well-satisfied with our day. This is the first exposure the children have had to the heritage of the state

maNi, and karan C….

November 18, 2016

मेरा देश बदल रहा है।

अमीर डर रहा है, गरीब मर रहा है,
मेरा देश बदल रहा है।

सोना उबल रहा है, पैसा गाल रहा है,
मेरा देश बदल रहा है।

ईलाज करा नहीं सकते, रोटी खा नहीं सकते,
गरीब तड़प रहा है, अमीर सिसक रहा है,
सच में मेरा देश बदल रहा है।

न कोई मज़हब न कोई भगवान,
एक लाइन में खड़े हैं हिन्दू और मुस्लमान,
मेरा देश बदल रहा है।

न सड़कों पर जाम, न बाजार में काम,
हर कोई नोट बदल रहा है…
मेरा देश बदल रहा है।

कोई कहता है देश जल रहा है, कोई कहता है देश सम्भल रहा है,
क्या सच में मेरा देश बदल रहा है?

***********

ameer dar rahA hai, gareeb mar rahA hai…
mErA dEsh badal rahA hai..

My country is changing…
sOnA ubal rahA hai, paisa gal rahA hai..
mErA dEsh badal rahA hai..

Gold is boiling, money is melting,
My country is changing…

ilAj karA nahin saktE, rOti khA nahi saktE,
gareeb tadap rahA hai, ameer sisak rahA hai…
sach mein mErA dEsh badal rahA hai..

(We) cannot treat it, we cannot eat food,
The poor man suffers, the rich man hesitates..
Truly, my country is changing…

na koi mazhab koi bhagwaan,
ek hi line mei khade hai hindu aur musalamAn..
mErA dEsh badal rahA hai..

There is neither religion nor god,
Both Hindu and Muslim stand in the same line..
My country is changing…

na sadkon par jAm na bAzAr mein kAm,
har kOI note badal rahA hai..
mErA Desh badal rahA hai..

There is neither a jam in the streets, nor work in the marketplace,
Everyone is exchanging notes..
My country is changing…

kOI kehtA hai Desh jal rahA hai..
kOI kehtA hai desh sambhal rahA hai..
kyA sach mein mErA desh badal rahA hai?

Some say the country is burning..
Some say the country is managing..
Is my country really changing?

The Hummingbird Hawk Moth, Pangot, Uttarakhand, 041116

November 15, 2016

India does not have Hummingbirds, those tiny creatures of the light and air that so delight those living or visiting abroad, especially the western coast of America. Our smallest birds are our Sunbirds and Flowerpeckers.

However, even in urban gardens, one may find oneself looking at something that seems remarkably like a Hummingbird, and yet seems different. In India, this probably means that the

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

Is what one is seeing!

The scientific name for this small creature is Macroglossum stellatarum. They belong to the family called “Sphingidae”.

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In our country, these moths can be found in the northern parts of the country during summer, and in the south, too, in winter.

The moth’s long proboscis and its hovering behaviour, accompanied by an audible humming noise, make it look remarkably like a hummingbird while feeding on flowers.

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It flies during the day, especially in bright sunshine, but also at sunset and sunrise…, and even in the rain!

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Hummingbird hawk-moths have been seen as a lucky omen! The British forces saw them flying on D-Day during the Second World War, and took it to be a sign of victory, which eventually proved true.

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These moths are particularly fond of nectar-rich flowers and they can be seen feeding on flowers such as marigolds (which was where I took these photographs).

Here is a short video I took, of this unusual moth that looks like a tiny bird:

So…the next time, during these winter months, you hear a humming sound near the garden flowers…look closely and see if there is a Hummingbird Hawk Moth around to delight you!

Some images from my trip to Delhi-Sattal-Pangot. 011116 and 021116

November 10, 2016

To see more photos, click on one photo and it will take you to the entire album on Flickr.

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Why I had my camera repaired and not replaced

November 10, 2016

I had a conversation with a friend who asked me, “Why do you spend Rs.3.5K on repairing your camera instead of getting a new one?”. My response:

1. The expense. The kind of camera I want would be around Rs.20-22K right now.

2. It always takes me a while to get the hang of any camera…these days, even bridge cameras are complex pieces of engineering. I do feel that I have the knack of handling my SX50 now, and getting the majority of my shots as passable or better. I don’t really want to undergo another long and arduous training session with a new camera.

3. As the official repairer had estimated Rs.12k for the repair, I felt that Rs.3.5K was very reasonable. I took it on a long trip, and it’s working very well indeed. The camera repair guy has also given me a guarantee on this zoom motor assembly.

4. With my eyesight problems, I probably will not be buying another camera when this gives up the ghost at some point of time.

Oh yes, I love sharing what I experience, and also feel I am laying by a store of visual memories for the years when I may not be able to get out much, so don’t the last sentence too seriously!

Mukesh Ambani’s woes

November 6, 2016

YOU THINK MUKESH AMBANI DOESN’T HAVE PROBLEMS. ….

Mukesh bhai gets up from his bed room on 15th floor,
takes a swim in the swimming pool on 17th floor,
has breakfast on the 19th floor,
dresses up for office on 14th floor,
collects his files and office bag from his personal office on 21st floor,
wishes bye to wife Nita on 16th floor,
says ‘see you’ to his children on 13th floor & 19th floor,
and goes down on 3rd floor to self drive his 2.5 Crore BMW to office, but then he finds out that he has forgotten the car keys upstairs.
But on which floor? … 15th,17th,19th,14th,
21st,16th or 13th?

He phones all his servants, cooks, maids, secretaries, pool attendants, gymtrainers, lift attendants etc. on all the floors.

There is a hectic search and lot of running around on all the floors, but the key is not traceable.

Fed up, after half an hour of frantic search, Mukesh bhai leaves in a huff in a chauffeur driven Ikon car.

At 3.30 pm late in the afternoon, it is discovered that 4 days back, a temporary replacement maid had washed Mukesh bhai’s pant and hung it to dry on a string in the balcony of 16th floor, with car keys in the pant pocket.
The key was blown away somewhere by the high winds at 16th floorlevel and was never found.
This was detected because of Nita’s habit of checking clothes given for ironing personally.

Meanwhile, after 3 days of the incident, Nita Ambani with all irritation writ large on her face, complained to Mukesh bhai asking him where he was roaming till 3 am last night.

Mukesh replied that he was at home all night. “Then why did the helicopter land in the terrace at 3 am? I was so worried. I could not sleep whole night,” quizzed Nita.

“Oh that helicopter”.. That helicopter came from Germany, sent by guys from BMW to deliver the duplicate car key… “mumbled Mukesh.

Moral of The Story :
A two bed room flat is better. So guys, be happy in your tiny flat….
it saves lots of hassles!

The other women in MS’ life, and some of my interaction with this famous Carnatic musician

October 27, 2016

My friend Jayasree Thiagarajan sent me

this link

about “the unsung pathfinders who helped M S Subbulakshmi.

In case the link doesn’t work, the author, Gopalakrishna Gandhi, talks about MS’ mother, Shanmukhavadivu, and Sadashivam’s first wife, Apitakuchambal, who both were left behind in the journey of MS to superstardom.

Reading this suddenly made me remember my own connection with MS. She was quite ill in her last years, and especially after Sadashivam passed away, did not come out at all.I’d gone once to get her to autograph the sketch of her I’d done some time earlier….which she did. (Note the dates in the sketch.)

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MS was a personal (and close) friend of my mother’s elder sister Saraswathi, and even I didn’t know about Apitakuchambal! I knew, of course, that there would have been a discarded wife in the offing..men of Sadashivam’s age did not remain unmarried in those days.

Madurai Shanmukhavadivu was appointed to teach my young,newly-married periamma, who was married into a progressive family in Madurai. The mother in law wanted the young woman to learn the fine arts, rather than be relegated to the smoky kitchen. She was to teach her the veena, but most of the time, she would send her 14 year old daughter, Kunjamma. My Saraswathi Perimma was not much older, and the two became firm friends. When Kunjamma went for her first concert, my periamma lent her jewellery to wear, and was scolded by her mother in law for lending her valuable jewellery to someone who, after all, was, to use the less-than-elegant term, a ‘thevadiya” (a corruption of “devadasi”). But her father in law, apparently a good astrologer, predicted that this girl would become very famous, and not to underestimate her!

The last time I visited her in Chennai, she was bed-ridden. There was a manager called Atma who was screening everyone, and she told me, “This atma (inside me) wants to meet people, but that Atma (outside) doesn’t allow it.” She was rather disoriented, and forgot that my Periamma had passed away some years ago…she enquired fondly after her, and seemed to think that I was a very young girl.

Memories…I look up at the sketch I’ve made of MS, that carries her signature, and my mind slowly floats back to the present.

Upon viewing a Chloropsis

October 27, 2016

I go thinking that I’ll see a nice bird, that’s the Beliefbird;
I finally spot a bird that others have seen five minutes ago, that’s the Reliefbird;
There’s one bird that’s the highlight of the morning, that’s the Chiefbird;
There’s one that I fail to see, that’s the Griefbird;
There’s the bird that steals my heart, that’s the Thiefbird;
I spot a bird for just a few seconds, that’s the Briefbird;
The bird that poops on my head, that’s the Mischiefbird….

…Why don’t the ornithologists list all these, along with the Leafbird!

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Leafbird,Kaiga, 11 Jan2016.

Line 6 by Vikram Hiresavi,
Line 7 by Adnan Raja.

Lalbagh Walk for Divya, 25 Sept 2016

September 28, 2016

I was requested by Irina Ghose and Gopal to conduct a nature/birding walk at Lalbagh for their daughter Divya, who was celebrating her birthday.

I reached there early:

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And got in some early-morning images:

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This vendor of wheat-grass juice has his own power supply!

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We gathered most of the group together for a “landmark” shot:

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And off we went.

We started with the commonest of birds, the Blue Rock Pigeon:

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and the Black Kite (here, a silhouette in the sky):

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At the lake, we saw a Little Egret and a Purple Heron:

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A Purple Swamphen:

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A Common Moorhen:

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A White-throated Kingfisher looked out over the rose garden.

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The Spotted Owlets didn’t seem too enthused to see me back again with another group:

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It was very nice to see several of the children jotting down the birds’ names:

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The birds were not the only beautiful things around!

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Some of the historic structures in the park also seemed lost in green dreams of long ago:

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In the middle of the cultivated gardens I did find some tiny, exquisite wildflowers.

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Here’s everyone at the end of the walk, they seemed to have had a good time!

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Divya cut her birthday cake, which attracted a few more children.

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I left the children and the adults celebrating in the park, one of the jewels of our city

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More photos in the FB album

here

and the eBird list is

here

I do enjoy such walks a lot!