Posts Tagged ‘fire’

Pouring out…ghee and grief

August 16, 2019

The young daughter pours the oblation of ghee into the sacred fire of the “havan”…and her tears pour down her tender young face.

My own eyes fill as I see the sorrow of the toughest part of growing up. If Agni and Swaha do not take her love up to her father, surely those twin streams of salt and grief will do so.

IMG_6042 Outpouring of ghee and grief, Blr, 160819

Sunset, Fire, and Outer Space, 050414

April 8, 2014

As we waited for dusk, so that the Slender Lorises would become active, we were treated to the sight of a beautiful sunset.




However, as the sun sank, I watched a villager set fire to the edges of his field:



When I asked him, he said he was burning the Lantana bushes.


I am still not sure why he had to burn them, but the sun and the flames seemed to compete.


It seemed that, along with the fires, the whole sky was aflame:


I watched the fires rage…


I walked away, down the trail, and watched the moon and stars come into their own:


Lovely to see out into space, while waiting to see something in our little world!

Field Notes, organized by the St.Louis Beacon, 18, 19, and 201213

October 20, 2013

I decided to go to the opening event of

“Field Notes”

It was a bonfire, opposite the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.


are the details.


I was privileged to meet

Bob Duffy founder of the St.Louis Beacon, who organized the event:


Archaeologist Dr. Timothy Pauketat gave a presentation about “A Full Moon Over Cahokia Mounds 1000 Years Ago,” explaining the relationship between the structure of Cahokia Mounds and the lunar calendar, and how it wove into Cahokia’s goddess-based religion.


Here’s Dr Tim Pauketat presenting:


Cahokia Archaeological President Larry Kinsella showed a collection of archaeological tools from Cahokia Mounds, and talked very interestingly about them, too!


We had local farmer Rusty Lee and his family demonstrate how to prepare popping corn using agricultural tools.




Larry Loveless, a St.Louis percussionist and musician, co-ordinated a drummers’ circle.

Another percussionist had brought these Scooti drums from Kenya; he’d bought them there when his son learnt to play the drums.


Here’s Scott Ragland, a percussionist who teaches at Saint Louis University, on the right:


He seems to have just had a bright idea in the photo 😀

Larry said we should all drum together, and entice the Hunter’s Moon (Sharad Poornima for us) out of her hiding place in the clouds, but she was veiled throughout:


Larry had a great collection of drums:


Being used to a culture of being very careful with one’s musical instruments, I was amazed to see him handing them around:


Larry talked to us, and we began with a small bell signalling the start of the drummers’ circle:


Along with the popcorn, we also had a great American tradition…that of toasting marshmallows:


Here’s my marshmallow. This was a first for me! They are made entirely of sugar.


I met so many interesting people…Larry’s fiancee Aimee, her mother Stephanie, and her friend Heidi…and there was more warmth than the fire was providing!


Here’s my hand, ready to drum (while the other hand takes the photo!)


When A came over to pick me up, afterwards, I introduced her to everyone, too, and we had a nice natter together before dispersing. I’m looking forward to the Guided Walk in (where else?) Forest Park, tomorrow…today was a (total) surprise birthday party that DnA threw for me…but more about that later!


All in the day’s work for a firefighter…

September 4, 2013

AM had come home from the De Baliviere garage, where the installation of the new fare-boxes is under way. As she spoke on the phone, she looked out of the window, and in the conservancy lane parallel to our home, she noticed a fire in a dumpster:


As we looked, the fire started taking hold:


She immediately called 911…and we waited for the fire truck to arrive.

It seemed as if a fire cobra were consuming the dumpster…


The fire engine arrived (I go past Fire Station no. 30 every day, on my walks, so I know it’s very close by)…


Here’s a video of the firefighters hosing down the fire:

High-pressure water went into the dumpster:




Soon, the fire was out. The firefighters (they told us later) looked in, and were relieved to find no incendiary substances..or a dead body…


Here are some of the fighters:


Their work done, they accepted our thanks, and drove away.


This was a simple job…but it could easily have been a dangerous and difficult one. My salute to the firefighters everywhere.

Science of the Circus, 080613, St.Louis

June 10, 2013

I’m on the mailing list of the

Academy of Science, St.Louis,

and was very intrigued to see that there was an event at the

Centene Center for Arts and Education

called, “The Science of the Circus”. The

Circus Flora

which is a 26-year-old organization in St.Louis, devoted to fostering circus arts, and the Academy of Science had together organized the event, where performers would share the science behind some of the acts found in a circus. Off I went (I took bus no. 97 to North Grand and enjoyed the short walk to the Center!), and I found that three people were giving demonstrations or talks at the venue….

Zi Teng Wang, a doctoral student of molecular biology at Washington University, was a very dextrous card-handler (I’m sure there is a technical term for this.) One after the other, he showed us several tricks (or “magic”, if you like)….here are the videos:

Here’s his trick with this, that, and the other!

Here he shifts around one Joker and three blank cards, and changes the colour of the back of the card:

He turns the aces face up and face down by magic:

Here he changes the queens similarly, then turns them into aces!

Another one face up amidst 51 face down:

Here he mixes up half the pack and puts them one side up again:

He then proceeds, in these two videos, to explain how our brains supply the “gaps” in our eyesight, and hence we are fooled about what we think we see:

Semilla Bland went to watch “fire eaters” at the age of 18, and wanted them to teach her their arts; she said they had a group which later disbanded. Her parents, she says, are not thrilled about this activity of hers!

She, too, explained how intense patience and practice are necessary, and told me how she uses camp fuel instead of lighter fuel, and always wears pure cotton clothes; any polyester fabrics could be dangerous.Her “torches” are made of kevlar, so that they can soak in the inflammable fluid and burn it off each time. She would have preferred her act to happen at night, but sportingly did it in daylight, on the terrace. She is a Life Sciences Gallery Assistant at Saint Louis Science Center. With her bandanna and flowing skirt, though, she looked every inch a Romany gypsy, a look that she cultivates carefully, no doubt!

The third person was Dr Brian Zanghi, who works for the Nestle Research Center, at the Pet Care Center. He gave a presentation about how dogs are naturally far more athletic than human beings, and their VO (Velocity of Oxygen,measuring efficient use of oxygen), could be 120, compared to the average athlete’s 35 to 82. His dog, gentle and beautiful, was an advertisement for his talks!

I would like you, if you can see this post, to watch these videos, one by one, and be as delighted as I was!

Wonderful words, by an unknown author

May 8, 2013

Six men were trapped by happenstance,
in the bleak and bitter cold.
Each one held a log of wood,
or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of wood,
the first man held his back.
For of the faces round the flames,
he noticed one was black.

The second man sat back and looked,
but saw none of his church.
He could not bring himself to give
the fire his stick of birch.

The thrid man sat in tattered rags,
as he gave his coat a hitch.
He simply would not use his log,
to warm the idle rich.

The rich man sat and thought of all
the wealth he had in store.
And how to keep what he had earned
from the lazy, shiftless, poor.

The black man’s eyes bespoke revenge
as the fire died from sight.
All he saw within his wood
was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group,
did nothing except for gain.
Giving only to those who’d give
was the way he played the game.

The fire died, the men grew cold,
Icicles formed on their chin.
They would not die from the cold outside,
They would die from the cold within.


is where I got the poem.

Chasing the devil out of the bottle

February 26, 2013

When a bottle of whisky is finished, we like to chase the devil out of the bottle.

AM makes a start which doesn’t yield good results:

chsng dvl stl 250213 photo DSC01286.jpg

So KM tries:

2 chsng dvl stl 250213 photo DSC01289.jpg

He cheats (imagine, cheating the devil!) with a little drop of whisky added, and tries, this time with satisfyingly blue results:

3 chsng dvl stl 250213 photo DSC01291.jpg

So I decide to take a video of it, the last time around:

Er, you actually want to SEE the devil? Seems to be resident in the bathtub:

devil stl 240213 photo DSC01242.jpg

A thousand points of light

July 7, 2012


Quickly flaring, as quickly quenched,
In the sky ocean;
In all sorts of colours,
Outward-spiralling motion.

We have a Tamil saying,
“Don’t make carbon of your money…
“Buy fireworks!” and indeed
The saying is witty…and funny.

It may not be prudent;
It may be waste;
But for that minute of wonder
We rush and watch, in haste

While the fireflowers bloom
Across the sky’s velvet black,
We are lifted out of our daily cares
And to pure joy, wafted back.

Fleeting, evanescent,
Leaving smoke and murk…
But on our hearts they cast their spell.
In our gasps does their magic work.

Car on fire

July 17, 2011

We were driving down to Columbia, Missouri, yesterday, when a huge plume of black smoke alerted us that something was wrong:

brng cr 1 stl 160711

A car was on fire; the fire truck had already arrived:

brng car 2 stl 160711

We felt that the firemen were trying to assess the situation….was there a lot of petrol in the tank? Was it worth dousing the fire, or was the car past saving?

brn car 3 stl 160711

The presence of another car next to the burning one was worrying, but we could not, obviously, stop and gawk at the scene…so on we went, wondering if the firemen would douse the other car, at least, before it, too, caught fire.

The burning car was well and truly alight (I got these photos from a quickly moving car):

brng car clsup 160711 stl

How ironic that next to it is a sign that says “Icehouse”, and promises 24 oz. cans at less than a dollar each!

I looked in the local newspaper today, but there was no news about this, so I guess this is going to be an incident about which I will never know anything more…but I am still speculating about what happened…before, and after, we were briefly at the scene.

Flowers in the Night Sky: Independence Day Fireworks, St.Louis, 020711

July 5, 2011

There were fireworks at 9.15 pm scheduled on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of July at the Gateway Arch. We went on the 2nd….on the 3rd, rain resulted in the fireworks being cancelled, and on the 4th, we looked up at the sky at the fireworks everyone around us was letting off (private fireworks are permitted on the 4th of July.)…and enjoyed the flowers in the sky from home.

Here are two videos I took at the Arch grounds:

Videos are always better for fireworks, but I’ve posted some photos, also, on my Facebook page,

click here

Yesterday, as I walked in the evening, I saw the fireworks which several people were letting off privately …and the noise and the light took me back to India for Deepavali 🙂

Next year, July 4th will be a Tuesday…I wonder if they will have a 4-day weekend with a compensatory working day later?