June 8, 2017

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When the sky boils over
In shades of scudding grey
When the clouds talk loudly to each other
I wonder what they say?

Do they like to light up the place
Where they are around?
Do they decide upon the spot and then
Zap electricity to the ground?

Do they peal out with such loud thunder
To give us folks a jolt?
Perhaps they feel quite gleeful
When we jump at lightning bolts!

It’s quite easy to feel happiness
When it’s a fleecy, blue-sky cloud.
We feel much more overawed and quiet
When the cloud lights up, and cracks aloud.

The title refers to

an eponymous movie by Satyajit Ray

Bhoochakra gadde or Kandamool, being sold in Bangalore, 070617

June 8, 2017

I found an interesting root being sold on vendor’s cart.

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The scientific name, Manjula Desai tells me, is

Maerua oblongifolia

This belongs to the Capparaceae (Caper) family.

It’s called “bhoo chakra gadde” in Kannada, (it would be better translated as “bhoo shakkar gadde”…earth-sugar tuber”. I am not able to find the name in Tamil.

Here’s a video of a slice being smeared with lemon, dipped in sugar, and served:

Here’s another video, where the skillfully-carved slice is served without lemon or sugar:

Someone says it is from Haridwar.

here

is a scientific study of the DnA of this root.

By Subhashish Panigrahi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56546985

Could someone help with more information?

The beauty of the Baya Weavers: Shani Temple pond and Gulakmale lake, 030617

June 3, 2017

Email to the bngbirds egroup:

Hi everyone,

When Janhvi asked me if I would like to go along for the birdwatching outing of TCS, I gladly accepted…only to find that a grand total of two people comprised the group going with her! Since I’d met both Abhilash and Sushree before (and actually remembered doing so!) we set off, at the very reasonable hour of nearly 8am. Since we were going to observe the Baya Weavers nesting, we were not constrained to leave early.

Stopping for chai at Bannerghatta Circle,

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we drove through the Bannerghatta-Kaggalipura Road under blue skies and feathery, fair-weather clouds. The forest looked fresh and green, washed clean of the summer dust by the rains.

We stopped at the Shani Temple pond, just past the Bhutanahalli Reserve Forest.

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Though Google maps doesn’t even show a pond here, it’s a great place to bird in winter.

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and Baya Weavers nest in the Ficus tree next to the temple. There were nests in several stages of construction,

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and we spent a contented time watching the bright yellow males and the duller-feathered females, flying around between the reeds and the tree.

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Mating flies on Janhvi’s car.

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Since Prasanna was also coming to meet us at Gulakmale, we proceeded there, and once we took the right-hand turn to wards the lake, we took the right turn again, before Patil Parimala Industries, and met up near a temple which had several

hero stones .

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Prasanna had been there since 6.30am, and reported large numbers of Bayas on the maize fields, and nesting on the trees. But apart from seeing them, we also went up the path to the bank of the lake,

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where we spotted several waterfowl: Asian Openbills, Little Grebes, Grey and Purple Herons, Great and Little Cormorants…and several Black and Brahminy Kites soaring overhead.

The muddy bank was also a butterfly paradise, and for some time, we completely forgot the birds as we watched several butterflies (see list below) nectaring, mud-puddling, and basking in the sunshine. It was lovely to see the Blues with their wings open. How I wish I could live by drawing energy from the sun, nectar from tiny flowers, and nutrition directly from the soil! Oh well, I suppose it can’t be great to be snapped up by a passing bird! Most of the butterflies were obviously just-emerged, and with bright colours. The flow of the migrating Emigrants (at this time, aptly named!) continued across the road.

Common Crows

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Dark Blue Tiger

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Striped Tiger

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Tawny Coster

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I looked at several plants, including this Indian Sarasaparilla.

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We met up with two more people from TCS after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as they struggled to find us in an unfamiliar place, While waiting for them at the Ashok Aarna residentiall layout, two Indian Grey Hornbills delighted us as they floated in and out.

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We then proceeded to the road alongside Gulakmale lake, where, on two date palms, we watched several more weavers, going about the business of building their homes, hoping that the ladies would approve. We walked down off the road, where we found White-rumped Munias,

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White-browed Bulbuls, and Tawny-bellied Babblers.

Between the Dharwad pedas I brought and the delicious alphonso mangoes that Janhvi brought from the organic farm she volunteers at, we had a fairly nice breakfast, and returned home well satisfied with our morning. A sighting of the common mongoose crossing the road set the seal on our happiness.

Birds:

The eBird list for the Shani Temple pond is

here

and for Gulakmale, is

here here

Looking forward to a nice Sunday as well,

Cheers, Deepa.

Half the year is gone..

May 31, 2017

It seems as if I was welcoming
The new year only yesterday…
Here I am, at the beginning
Of the sixth month.
Time seems to seep past me
Like a silent, wet flow
From a leaking tap
Rather than elapse
In clearly marked segments.
Time slowly settles
In deepening wrinkles on my face
In accumulated dust
In babies whom I cannot recognize
From my last visit.
It peeps at me from obituary columns.
It winks at me from old photographs.
It bewilders me and fogs my brain
When I stop thinking of what was,
And try to think of what will be.
The dim veil of the past,
The curtained future..
As I contemplate them,
Each second of the present
Slips away, forever, from me.

Gulakmale and Thotti Kallu (T K) Falls, 280517

May 29, 2017

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Sivakumar Mallya, Sudha Iyengar, Janhvi Vyas, Aadya Umesh, Suma Seshadri, Kavitha Umesh, Jayashree Govindarajan, Rishov Biswas, Ramaswamy G S, Padma Ramaswamy, and I, went to visit Gulakmale kere (lake) and T K Falls.

Because of the heavy rain,we started in cool, cloudy and misty weather. Here is the Champakadhama temple at Bannerghatta…an old temple that appears to be lost in the mists of time.

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The mist was everywhere.

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We first stopped at the small pond near the path to the Bhavani temple:

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Having spotted some Baya Weavers,

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We moved to Gulakmale kere,

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where we watched a colony of these birds on a date palm.

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Aadya faithfully documented all that she saw, and as usual, sketched, too. Here’s her sketch of the Baya Weavers’ nest:

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Even as they built their dwellings, a White-rumped Munia arrived to try and occupy them.

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Nature, as a teacher, gave me a geometry lesson.

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The sky slowly cleared

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We then went to T K Falls, where the water had been released due to heavy rain over the Suvarnamukhi river, resulting in a beautiful cascade:

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I took a video of the scene a little further downstream where we crossed to the Muniswara temple area:

Wildflowers were everywhere.

Cleome monophylla, Spindle Pod

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Tarenna asiatica, Asiatic Tarenna:

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Chinese lanter tree

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Hibiscus lobatus (very tiny)

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Grewia damine

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Cadaba fruticosa – Indian Cadaba

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I found a very good website to identify wildflowers,

here

There were plenty of birds, like the

Ashy Prinia on the Marsh Glory

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Cinereous Tit

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Coppersmith Barbets

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Purple-rumped Sunbird

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Southern Coucal

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Many butterflies delighted us.

Crimson Tip

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White Orange-tip

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Blue Tiger

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Plain Tiger on Stachytarpeta

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Common Crow

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Here are three pathologists, one senior banker and one Jobless Person:

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On the way back this beautiful Brahma bull (even though a little emaciated) looked majestic.

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Here we all are, about to tuck into brefus at Udupi Banashree on Bannerghatta Road

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Gulakmale bird list:

here

T K Falls

here

Butterfly list

Blues, various
Cerulean, Common
Crimson Tip
Crow, Common
Cupid, Plains
Emigrant, Common
Emigrant, Mottled
Gull, Common
Jezebel, Common
Leopard, Common
Orange-tip, White
Pansy, Lemon
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Tiger, Blue
Tiger, Plain
Tiger, Striped
Yellow, Common Grass
Yellow, Spotless
Yellow, Three-Spot Grass

FB album

here

A life lesson and offer of help, Mysore trip, 240517

May 27, 2017

Everybody can dance…

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We must

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But if,during all that dancing, you get an acute abdomen,

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We can help

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This message comes to you from the

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And of course, from Anjana and me:

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Plastic in my lifestyle

May 24, 2017

I like to think of myself as green, but apart from plastic bags, here’s a partial list of the things I use and see around me , which have plastic in them…the list goes into the hundreds each day. I started with the morning and moved through the day:

My bedside lamp.
Toothbrush/Toothpaste tube.
My “home” slippers.
A lot of items in my kitchen…spatulas, jars, containers
The containers of all my cosmetics, my combs
My mobile phone, my earphones and my bluetooth device
All the electrical/electronic devices at home (refrigerator, television, modem, laptop, wires, and so on)
Since I don’t want to use leather, all my handbags/backpacks, luggage, and shoes/sandals
My umbrella
All the electrical switches
Parts of all kinds of motorized vehicles and cycles, too
My timekeeping gadgets: watches, clocks in the home
My water bottles
The packets of various food items, snack items and sweets
The covers of magazines that are delivered or sold
So many components of the public transport that I use
Reflectors on the road, advertisement banners, sheets used as shelters

I stop at this point, as the list seems unending. Plastics are here to stay, and we cannot be hypocritical and say, “Ban plastic”. I don’t think it’s possible…it’s too useful and cheap material. We can only try to regulate its use.

Blue-banded Bee, 210517

May 22, 2017

Are those enough B’s in the subject title?

As I was walking to my daughter’s home, I noticed the

Blue-banded Bee

(an Australian native that occurs in many other places, too) in my apartment garden,and the beautiful insect cause a delay of half an hour when I decided I’d try and get an image of it in flight.

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I’ve got the bee sitting, earlier:

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I tried all kinds of aperture settings and shutter speeds…but a bridge camera (Canon SX50, see the exif info) has limitations, and I ultimately gave up on the experimentation, being satisfied with what I got!

Kolkata, Jorhat, Kaziranga, 07-130517

May 19, 2017

We visited Kolkata

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had an evening admiring the Victoria Memorial,

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enjoying puchka

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jhaal mudi

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and visited the family who brought me up.

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We visited Pradeep and Sulakshana Barthakur at their home in Jorhat, where they run a centre for children. (Pokamura, 7km from Jorhat)

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The location is

here

Their home is a veritable garden of Eden which they share with all kinds of beings:

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Bronzeback Tree Snake

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Blue-throated Barbet

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We went to Kaziranga National Park, staying at Wild Grass resort.

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Hog Deer

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Red Jungle Fowl

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Elephants

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Rhinos

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Swamp Deer (bArAsinghA)

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Here’s K1’s beautiful depiction of the elephant safari,

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where we saw so much of wildlife.

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The Flickr albums are:

Blr-Kol and visit

Kol, Science City and Gariahat Mod

Kolkata-Jorhat

Jorhat, 100517

Wild Grass, Kaziranga, 11,120517

Jorhat, 130517 morning

Jorhat-Guwahati-Bangalore, 130517

It was a memorable trip and I enjoyed it very much, through my own experience and that of my family.

Thirst

May 15, 2017

I thirst…
Not for love, money or
Even happiness.
I thirst for water
To quench the parched earth
To bring green to the brown
To bring fresh hope to those
Who raise crops and food for us.
I need water
To fill the pots
Of each slum-dweller
Who puts her (it’s never a he)
Vessel in a long line of colours,
Waiting to drink, wash and live.
I have had enough of grishma ritu.
I want varsha…not just the odd shower
Or thunderstorm, but a steady,
Cloudy, drumming season
That will replenish the depleted
Plateau,that we live on
And call home.