Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Kidoor Bird Fest: Birding on the Border, 10,111118

November 29, 2018

Birds know no borders; the ones that we go to see in Karnataka fly off and can be seen once we cross over into Kerala!

So when the birders of Kasargod announced the second Kidoor Bird Fest, to celebrate both the first sighting of the

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon
obgp by by Sarala Jeevanthi Gamage
Photo credit: Sarala Jeevanthi Gamage

and the birthday of

Dr Salim Ali, the noted ornithologist,

it was clear that this would be a productive birding weekend.

The participants and the organizers.
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The festival was a bigger event than it was in 2017, because this time, birders from all over Karnataka and Kerala attended. 65+ birders made a strong show at the fest, which was held in the hamlet of Kuntangeradka, in Kidoor.

Kidoor Post Office sign.
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The festival began with everyone gathering and registering.
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Beautiful palm-frond birds adorning the hall.
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Raju Kidoor
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and the entire team, including Maxim and Lavina
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worked very hard to make the event a success.

The birders of Kasargod, and some from Mangalore, brought the following local luminaries on the dais: Sri Pundarikaksha K L, President, and Smt Aruna Manjunatha Alva, Ward Member, both from the Grama Panchayath, Kumbla; Sri Biju P, ACF, and Sri Sunil Kumar, SFO, Social Forestry Division, Kasargod; Sri Chikkayya Rai,a practitioner of traditional herbal medicine; and Sri Radhakrishna, an eco-friendly businessman of Kidoor who eschewed plastic.

Dignitaries on podium:
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Sri Pundarikaksha inaugurated the event, and the dignitaries from the Social Forestry Division spoke about the valuable sighting of the Orange-breasted Green Pigeon in Kidoor, on 10th Nov 2016, and the decision to celebrate the birthday of Dr Salim Ali, noted ornithologist, on 11th November as well. Kidoor has proved a birding hotspot, with sightings of several birds endemic to the Western Ghats.

Sri Chikkaya Rai, Sri Radhakrishna, and Chi. Praveen (a young student who has spearheaded several ecological initiatives in his school) were felicitated.
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The local birders took the visitors for an evening walk in the nearby laterite/grassland area.

Sunlight on the grasses.
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and a pond that they are protecting for the birds.
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Participants on the evening walk.
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Children at the evening walk.
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They organized a cultural program, with many people, including these ladies who sang folk songs, taking part.
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Untiringly, they also conducted a night walk along the village roads.

Lavina, a doctoral student, explains about pond life on the night walk.
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Next morning,in the dawn light, they took the visitors on a morning walk, along a scenic trail.
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Apart from many endemic birds , several trees also endemic to the Western Ghats, butterflies, wildflowers, insects and other creatures were sighted (see photos below). The ladies were put up in the homes of the local residents, who were very hospitable.

The family who put up visitors at Kasargod, when they alighted from the overnight bus, on their way to Kidoor
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The family who put up the ladies at Kidoor
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Photo credit: Padma Ramaswamy

One of the impressive features of the fest was that not only was it conducted on a tight budget, but there was no sense of heirarchy amongst the organizers. Every one pitched in to do whatever tasks were required, whether it was setting up a screen, serving the food, or arranging the chairs in the hall. It made for a very homely, pleasant atmosphere, and the visitors also were able to do their bit. Another great feature was that no plastic was used in the course of the meals; each person washed the stainless steel plate, glass or cup that s/he used.

The meals were traditional and were delicious.

Breakfast of iddlis, sambhar and chai.
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Lunch in traditional vessels.
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After breakfast, the gathering settled down to watch some presentations on Odonates (Dragonflies and Damselflies), and Butterflies.
Murali’s presentation on butterflies:
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After this the participants were treated to lunch at the Gram Panchayat President’s home.
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Plantain leaf lunch.
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Full of the wonderful sightings they had enjoyed, and the new friendships they had formed, the birders dispersed.

The District Collector, Dr Sajith Babu, participated enthusiastically in the Fest.

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He promised to spare the laterite/grassland from human-centric “development”. This makes it possible that from next year, the Kidoor Bird Fest will become a larger, well-sponsored event, attracting birders from further afield.

Participants at the end of the fest:
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Birds and other living beings observed during the event:

Yellow-wattled Lapwing.
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Yellow-footed Green Pigeon.
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Malabar Lark.
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Flame-throated Bulbul.
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Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker.
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Nilgiri Flowerpecker:
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Yellow-browed Bulbul.
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Grey-necked Bunting.
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Chestnut-headed and Blyth’s Starlings:
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Scaly-breasted and White-rumped Munias.
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Curved flower or Woody Chassilia.
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Porcupine quill found on the ground.
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Blue Tiger Moth.
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Memecylon flowers.
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Nag Kuda Tree (Tabernaemontana alternifolia).
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Beautiful grass.
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Beauty of the laterite rock.
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Common Sailer.
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Weaver Ants.
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Red Pierrot.
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All photographs by me, unless otherwise credited.

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Shadow puppetry: Michael and Wendy Dacre at Kathalaya, 231118

November 24, 2018

Sometimes the shadow is just as interesting as the substance.

I was privileged to peep in on a shadow puppet workshop that

Michael and Wendy Dacre

conducted at Kathalaya, BTM Layout, Bangalore, on 23rd November 2018.

Nikhil from the Hindu interviews Michael and Wendy, while Geeta looks on.
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Shadow puppet theatre has long been a part of the traditional arts of many cultures,but when Wendy first got interested in it, she found that there was no tradition of it at all, in the United Kingdom. She built up her shadow puppets, and the shadow puppet theatre, from scratch, using any of a wide variety of materials to hand, and learning the ways puppets can be moved behind the screen, by experimentation. “Traditional shadow puppetry has set rules,” Wendy says, on a cloudy afternoon. “But I invented as I went along.” She did take the help of technology, she says; “If, for example, I wanted to make the silhouette of a buffalo, I would look at images on the net to be able to draw one.”

Michael and Wendy
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Wendy, therefore, describes herself as a “maker”. Whether it is the puppets themselves, or the proscenium on which they act out the story that Michael tells, they are all her own creations.

Michael takes up the story, from the viewpoint of telling the tale. “The puppets themselves don’t talk, in our shows,” he explains. It’s the audience’s minds and imagination, he says, that fills up the details: “The mind has to fill in the other things.” “I see the story in my inner mind,” he adds. Both he and Wendy sometimes improvise as they go along. The occasional tussles of each wanting to do something different, and the resulting compromises, make for interesting theatre!

What is the longest shadow puppet theatre they have staged? Michael talks of the many tales he’s picked up all over…the Icelandic and Irish mythology, the tales from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and the Old English folklore. Their story of Beowulf is about an hour long, Michael says, as is the production of “Into a New Time”. He mentions tales based on the Sargasso Sea. Though the content could be very adult, he explains, he finds that it’s the adults who are most often captivated by the simplest of tales. “It’s been 31 years of an amazing journey with the stories and Wendy’s puppets,” he says. He describes himself, smilingly, as a “wordsmith”, who spins and relates the tale that Wendy brings forth with her puppets.

The puppets can vary greatly in size. “I’ve made some giant puppets,” smiles Wendy. “For the Arthurian tale of

Gawain and the Green Knight

I made a Green Knight puppet with a giant head, with creepers and plants growing out of his face, ears and all…and the puppet had to be beheaded in the course of the story! “Velcro came in handy!” she laughs.

All the pupppets only monochrome shadows? “Oh, no, you just saw the green grass, the coloured flowers and the other things I created as the stage,” explains Wendy. “I use anything, such as glass paper, that is translucent and will let the light through. Sometimes the mixture of colours gets me interesting combination, sometimes the pigments merge into black.” She also uses coloured lights as well, to enhance the silhouettes.

How does Wendy take care of the puppets? She laughs. Her craft, she says, is very much “of the time”, and the puppets can disintegrate into their component parts or, as happened with one giant puppet, get composted! Fabric, willow, glue, ratafia…she uses materials that can decompose.

For the workshop, Wendy has brought along a puppet stage, with three panels, and specially devised lighting. She must have this, as daylight cannot be focused sharply on her little stage. She’s also created a small mobile stage that can be slung across the story-teller’s shoulders and secured at the waist, so that the story teller can move round while staging the shadow puppet show.

Jayashree demonstrates the mobile stage and shows some of the puppets:

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On their first visit to India, at the invitation of Geeta Ramanujam of Kathalaya,this couple from Devon seems very much at ease. Michael tries out a vada with chutney, and interacts with the ten women, from very diverse backgrounds, who have come to participate in the workshop. Anu, Shalini, Rakhi, Savita, Shirin, Archana, Anshul, Rohini, Pavitra and Anusha are learning a bit of this art and craft and creating their own shadow puppet theatre…an exciting prospect for them.

Participants at the workshop:

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Scenery created by the participants of the workshop:

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We wish Michael and Wendy success with their first foray into our city and country, with their spinning of tales and creation of a world of the imagination.

A moose and a billy goat, in the short demonstration before the workshop:

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Here is a video that Jayashree took, of the short demonstration:

Michael and Wendy will be staging two performances with Geeta Ramanujam on Sunday, 25 November, 2018. Here are the details and the links:

Shadow puppetry Show – Geeta Ramanujam, Michael and Wendy Dacre UK.

Kathalaya, in collaboration with Indian Music Experience (IME), presents a special shadow play by international storytellers, Raventales (UK) . Venue: IME JP nagar opp. BRIGADE MILLENIUM SCHOOL on NOV. 25th 11 to 12pm. Tickets: Rs.300

Link to the event,

here

There will be another performance at 5.30 to 7.pm at Courtyard Koota, Good Earth, Kengeri, on the same day.

Link for the tickets,

here

Or you can call 8277389840 for more details.

Official report: Butterfly Festival, Doresanipalya, 171118

November 20, 2018

I was about to write something about this event for my blog, and realized my official report for the Karnataka Forest Dept would do just as well!

The founder-members of Bangalore Butterfly Club (BBC), from Nagraj’s slide presentation:

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The Karwar Swift, not very common.
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The second Butterfly Festival at Doresanipalya Forest Research Station, celebrated on 17th November, 2018, was very successful.

These ladies, making the rangoli, brought as much of colour as the butterflies did, to the event.
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Though limitations on the space available at the venue, in terms of the hall for presentations, resulted in the event not being open to the public at large, a gathering of more than 150 people in total, with a number of casual visitors, ensured a good attendance.

The event was conducted by the Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) in association with Bangalore Butterfly Club (BBC) and National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS).

The gathering:

The flame that was lit.
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Everyone gathered in the morning and participants signed their names in the register. There was planting of some butterfly-friendly species of plants and trees, by several KFD personnel.

A KFD guard documents the occasion:
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After a delicious breakfast, the children from Janak Academy, and the participants, went on butterfly walks, conducted by various members of BBC.

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Many butterflies, and other interesting living beings and creatures, were observed.

Common Pierrot
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When everyone returned, some freshly-eclosed (just emerged from pupae) butterflies, such as Crimson Rose, Common Lime, Baronets, and others were released, to the delight of all present. This release, suggested by the outgoing APCCF, Sri Dilip Das, was spectacular, drawing exclamations from the audience.

Smt Pushpalatha B K, RFO (Utilization), sang a melodious prayer.

Sri Subba Rao, ACF,Seed Unit , was the master of ceremonies, compering the event and introducing the various guests to the audience.

Sri Jagannath, DCF, Social Forestry (Research), Bangalore, opened the proceedings by welcoming the distinguished guests on the podium: Sri Sanjay Hosur, IFS, APCCF (R&U), Sri Punati Sridhar, IFS, PCCF (HoFF), Sri Sanjai Mohan, IFS, PCCF, and MD, KFDC, Sri Jayaram, IFS, PCCF (Wildlife), and Sri Vinay Kumar from EMPRI. Dr Krushnamegh Kunte, Associate Professor, NCBS, was also on the podium.

Sri Rohit and Dr KK (Dr Krushnamegh Kunte) at the tree-planting.
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RFO, Ms Hima Bhat.
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Everyone admired the stage decoration.
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Sri Manjunath C Tambakad, IFS, CCF (Research) Bengaluru, welcomed the gathering. The other guests also spoke, stressing the need for conservation, and expressing the hope that the festival takes on a national hue from next year. He appreciated the event and expressed his hope that sensitizing the children at an early stage would lead to their playing a bigger role in conservation of forests for tomorrow.

Sri Punati Sridhar hoped that Doresanipalya would be a role model for setting up of several tree parks consisting of butterfly larval host plants across Bangalore, which would serve as a haven for butterflies. He appreciated the importance of organizing events like the butterfly festival as a step towards conservation of butterflies and bees, which, he said, were critical for pollination, and by extension, for the survival of life on earth.

Sri Sanjai Mohan expressed his hope that the Doresanipalya campus would be declared as a butterfly reserve. He emphasized that he was glad that events such as the butterfly festival were being organized with participation from public at large and passionate butterfly enthusiasts and butterfly scientist community. He expressed that this kind of participation from public was important to spread awareness about conservation of forests and its creatures

Kum Snigdha sang a beautiful song on butterflies, “Patharagitti Pakka”, on butterflies, by D R Bendre.

The guests and several of the schoolchildren also planted some plants and trees, such as Taare (Terminalia bellarica) and Kadamba (Neolomarckia kadamba)
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Sumptuous breakfast
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In the hall of the KFD office, three presentations were held: Dr Krushnamegh Kunte spoke about butterfly research and citizens’ initiatives in conservation; Sri S Karthikeyan, Chief Naturalist, Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) spoke about butterfly diversity in India, and Sri Nagraj Veeraswami, a member of BBC, showed the audience the many butterflies that he has photographed in the Doresanipalya campus, with an erudite commentary by Sri Ashok Sengupta, one of the founder-members of BBC.

Simultaneously, there were three activities in the building: a display of photographs of butterflies, by various members of BBC
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a painting competition for children, with butterflies as the theme

and an origami workshop, conducted by Sri Seby Manalel and Kum Arpitha Bhat.
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The children, and some of the adults, too, enjoyed these activities. There was also a counter for playing games from “Kadoo”, where many people were seen enjoying themselves.

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Dr Krushnamegh Kunte donated some of the butterfly brochures (a guide to the butterflies of Bangalore) designed by NCBS to the KFD for their reference, and announced that NCBS would also donate the brochures to any schools that needed them.

Sri Rohit Girotra, another of the founding members of BBC, spoke about how the festival took shape, and his hopes for the future of both the event and the butterflies of Bangalore.

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The audience again gathered for the prize-giving and closing ceremonies. Dr Krushnamegh Kunte, Sri S Karthikeyan, and Sri Nagraj Veeraswami were thanked for their presentations.

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The prizes for the painting competition were distributed,

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and the certificates for the origami workshop, the photography display, and general participation were given out.

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The sound engineer did a good job, too.
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The teachers from Janak Academy expressed their appreciation of the event and the opportunity to have the students participate.

A formal vote of thanks concluded the proceedings, and the gathering adjourned for lunch, dispersing afterwards with happy memories of the festival.

Plains Cupid
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Deepa Mohan
Freelance writer and member of BBC
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I have put up the photographs of all the events of the day on a Flickr album

here

And on an FB album, set to public viewing,

here

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Accuracy in journalism today

November 14, 2018

Journalism today is exemplified by the following apology:

“Yesterday, in an article, we stated that Mr. X is a defective in the police force. We sincerely apologize. Mr. X is a detective in the police farce.”

What brought this on? A photo of mine in the Hindu has been credited to Deepa Menon!

here

is the link to the article by Marianne de Nazareth, who has used my photo of the beautiful Sesbania grandiflora flower…

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To a dead butterfly

November 1, 2018

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Oh, little one…why did you die?
Were you attacked by a bird
That wanted you for food?
Or did your energy just give out,
As your wings folded up for good?
With so many others about,
Your death throes not heard?
No answers.You lie there…why, oh why?
The stilling of life, the departure of breath…
The profound mystery of life…and death.

mahishAsura mardhini, 191018

October 19, 2018

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अयि गिरिनन्दिनि नन्दितमेदिनि विश्वविनोदिनि नन्दिनुते
गिरिवरविन्ध्यशिरोऽधिनिवासिनि विष्णुविलासिनि जिष्णुनुते ।
भगवति हे शितिकण्ठकुटुम्बिनि भूरिकुटुम्बिनि भूरिकृते
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ १ ॥

Ayi Ranna-Durmada Shatru-Vadho[a-U]dita Durdhara-Nirjara Shakti-Bhrte
Catura-Vicaara Dhuriinna-Mahaashiva Duuta-Krta Pramatha-[A]dhipate |
Durita-Duriiha Duraashaya-Durmati Daanava-Duta Krtaanta-Mate
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 5 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
5.1: Salutations to You O Divine Mother; I Invoke You; Who Manifested to Destroy the Battle-Intoxicated Arrogant Demons and Who is the possessor of Unrestrainable and Imperishable Power,
5.2: (I Invoke You) Who made Lord Shiva Her Messenger, that Shiva Who is Distinguished by Cleverness in Deliberation and is the Lord of the Ghosts and Goblins,
5.3: Who is Honoured for Bringing an End (i.e. Rejecting) to the Proposal of the Evil-Minded and Ignorant Messenger of the Demon (Shumbha) (and hence bringing an end to the demons themselves),
5.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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सुरललना ततथेयि तथेयि कृताभिनयोदर नृत्यरते
कृत कुकुथः कुकुथो गडदादिकताल कुतूहल गानरते ।
धुधुकुट धुक्कुट धिंधिमित ध्वनि धीर मृदंग निनादरते
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ ९ ॥

Sura-Lalanaa Tatatheyi Tatheyi Krta-Abhinayo-[U]dara Nrtya-Rate
Krta Kukuthah Kukutho Gaddadaadika-Taala Kutuuhala Gaana-Rate |
Dhudhukutta Dhukkutta Dhimdhimita Dhvani Dhiira Mrdamga Ninaada-Rate
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 9 ||

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Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
9.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You; Following the Rhythm of Whose Great Battle the Celestial Dancers Dance the rhythm of Ta-Tha-Theyi, Ta-Theyi, expressing the sentiment of the battle with their Dramatic Acts,
9.2: (I Invoke You) Following the Rhythm of Whose Great Battle the Celestial Musicians Create Music capturing the Tense Eagerness of the battle with the Talas (musical beats) like Ku-Kutha, Ku-Kutha, Ga-Da-Dha, Ga-Da-Dha,
9.3: Following the Rhythm of Whose Great Battle a Steady Deep Sound of Dhu-Dhu-Kuta, Dhu-Kuta, Dhim-Dhimi is played in the background from the Mridangam (a musical drum),
9.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

सहितमहाहव मल्लमतल्लिक मल्लितरल्लक मल्लरते
विरचितवल्लिक पल्लिकमल्लिक झिल्लिकभिल्लिक वर्गवृते ।
शितकृतफुल्ल समुल्लसितारुण तल्लजपल्लव सल्ललिते
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ १२ ॥
Sahita-Mahaahava Mallama-Tallika Malli-Tarallaka Malla-Rate
Viracita-Vallika Pallika-Mallika Jhillika-Bhillika Varga-Vrte |
Shita-Krta-Phulla Samullasita-[A]runna Tallaja-Pallava Sal-Lalite
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 12 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
12.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You; Who is Accompanied in the Great Battle against Excellent Wrestlers (Fighters) by Girls who appear Tender like Jasmine Fighting against the Enemies,
12.2: (I Invoke You) Whose Accompaniments are Composed of Girls from the Bheel Tribe who are Tender like Creepers of Jasmine and buzz like Swarms of Bees,
12.3: Whose Face Play a Smile Created by Joy which appear like Dawn Shining forth with Red Colour and Blossoming the Excellent Buds of Flowers,
12.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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विजितसहस्रकरैक सहस्रकरैक सहस्रकरैकनुते
कृतसुरतारक सङ्गरतारक सङ्गरतारक सूनुसुते ।
सुरथसमाधि समानसमाधि समाधिसमाधि सुजातरते ।
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ १७ ॥
Vijita-Sahasra-Karaika Sahasra-Karaika Sahasra-Karaika-Nute
Krta-Sura-Taaraka Sanggara-Taaraka Sanggara-Taaraka Suunu-Sute |
Suratha-Samaadhi Samaana-Samaadhi Samaadhi-Samaadhi Sujaata-Rate |
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 17 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
17.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You; Who Conquer Thousands of Enemies who fight against Her with Thousands of Hands (by manifesting Her Own Thousand Hands); Who then Make Thousands of Hands (of Devotees) Praise Her,
17.2: (I Invoke You) Who Created the Rescuer of the Devas (Son Kartikeya) to Fight with Demon Tarkasura and then Urged Her Son for that Great Fight,
17.3: Who is Pleased with both: The Devotional Contemplation like King Suratha for Worldly Gains, and also the Excellent Devotional Contemplation like Merchant Samadhi for Spiritual Knowledge,
17.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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पदकमलं करुणानिलये वरिवस्यति योऽनुदिनं सुशिवे
अयि कमले कमलानिलये कमलानिलयः स कथं न भवेत् ।
तव पदमेव परम्पदमित्यनुशीलयतो मम किं न शिवे
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ १८ ॥
Pada-Kamalam Karunnaa-Nilaye Varivasyati Yo-[A]nudinam Su-Shive
Ayi Kamale Kamalaa-Nilaye Kamalaa-Nilayah Sa Katham Na Bhavet |
Tava Padam-Eva Param-Padam-Ity-Anushiilayato Mama Kim Na Shive
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 18 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
18.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You knowing that Whoever Serves Your Highly Auspicious Lotus Feet Everyday, Which is an Abode of Compassion, …
18.2: (He Serves) That Lotus (Lotus Feet), Which is an Abode of Kamala (Goddess Mahalakshmi); (Therefore) Will He Not Himself Become an Abode of Kamala (i.e. filled with Purity and Prosperity)?
18.3: Your Feet Indeed is the Supreme Feet (i.e. Supreme Refuge); Therefore How can I Not Practise Devotion Towards them, O Auspicious Mother?
18.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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अयि मयि दीन दयालुतया कृपयैव त्वया भवितव्यमुमे
अयि जगतो जननी कृपयासि यथासि तथानुमितासिरते ।
यदुचितमत्र भवत्युररीकुरुतादुरुतापमपाकुरुते
जय जय हे महिषासुरमर्दिनि रम्यकपर्दिनि शैलसुते ॥ २१ ॥
Ayi Mayi Diina Dayaalu-Tayaa Krpaya-Iva Tvayaa Bhavitavyam-Ume
Ayi Jagato Jananii Krpayaasi Yathaasi Tathanu-mita-Asira-Te |
Yad-Ucitam-Atra Bhavatyurarii-Kurutaa-Duru-Taapam-Apaakurute
Jaya Jaya He Mahissaasura-Mardini Ramya-Kapardini Shaila-Sute || 21 ||

Meaning:
(O Divine Mother, I invoke You and take refuge in Your Auspicious Feet)
21.1: (Salutations to You O Divine Mother) I Invoke You; You Must Bestow Your Grace on Me, O Mother Uma, Who is Compassionate to the Miserable,
21.2: (I Invoke You) O Mother of the Universe; Just as Your Grace is Showered (on the Devotees), In the Same Manner are Your Arrows Scattered (on the Enemies) (destroying their egos),
21.3 Please do Whatever is Appropriate at this time, O Worshipful Mother, to Remove the Sorrows and Afflictions (of the world) which has become Difficult for me to bear,
21.4: Victory to You, Victory to You, (I take Refuge in Your Auspicious Feet) O the Destroyer of Demon Mahishasura; (Victory to You) Who Shine with Beautiful Locks of Hair and Who is the Daughter of the Mountain.

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For the full Mahishasura Mardhini Stothram, click

here

clicking on each Sanskrit word will also give its meaning.

How different birders would describe the same outing….

October 13, 2018

On World Migratory Bird Day, three of us went to Hulimavu Lake. We were hoping to sight the Greater Painted Snipes and the Indian Eagle Owls. When I returned home, it struck me that different kinds of birders would have different perspectives on the morning…so here are three diametrically different versions that a “focus” birder and a “hobby” birder would give!

The “tick” birder

We sighted several Pelicans but we could not see even a single Snipe. We then went to Hulimavu hillock but there again, only one of the Eagle Owls showed itself very briefly. Altogether a disappointing morning. Hope to get to see these two birds soon.

The “click” birder

We went to Hulimavu kere to try and sight the Greater Painted Snipes that had been so easily seen when Vidhya took the group on a birding walk on October Bird Day. However, the mist soon obscured the sun to the point where we could not even see the far shore of the lake. The lack of light proved a big hindrance as we could not take clear shots even of the many Pelicans and Herons we saw on the lake, The mist made even the sun appear like the moon and the colours were very muted because of it. We could use our cameras very little, and went home without many satisfactory shots.

The “pick” (whatever one wants to see and observe) birder

We went to Hulimavu kere to try and sight the Greater Painted Snipes that had been so easily seen when Vidhya took the group on a birding walk on October Bird Day. However, the mist soon obscured the sun to the point where we could not even see the far shore of the lake. It was quite magical to see more than a hundred Spot-billed Pelicans dotted over the lake, later coalescing into a fairly large pod. A few other migrants like a juvenile Rosy Starling, a Brown Shrike, a and lots of Barn Swallows swooping around, kept our eyes glued to the binoculars. The sighting of the Eagle Owl was brief but Robins, Bee-eaters and other birds practiced their ground exercises and their aerobatics. It was delightful to see a single Brahminy Myna amongst the Common Mynas on the Jamun tree. We wound up with the wonder of about a hundred Barn, Red-rumped and Streak-throated Swallows in a huge flock. We observed several insects, wildflowers, plants, and the lives of the people living near the lake shore.

Well, sometimes we are a combination of all three!

My eBird list is

here

(not a bad haul for a “focus” dip on the Snipe!)

And I’ve put up photos on my FB album at

here

Looking forward to the next outing, already!

Here are a few photos (not only birds) from my Flickr album (clicking on any of the photos will take you to the album.)

Sunrise:

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High-rise with its “head in the clouds”:

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Shyleaf, a fodder plant:

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“Washington”, where laundry is dried:

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“Washington Echo”, about a kilometre away, where the sound of the clothes being slapped on the stones echoes from the granite bluff:

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Flies:

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Pea Blue:

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Red-wattled Lapwing:

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Pied Paddy Skimmer:

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Streaked Weaver:

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Swallows on the wire:

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Jai with our food at Sri SLV Bhavan: Neer dosa and khara baath.

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Mist on the lake:

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Weeds? 131018

October 13, 2018

If I have a garden, it will be full of weeds;

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Plants that thrive on neglect, and spring forth fast from seeds.

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I do not have the patience that a delicate garden needs…

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So my weed garden would grow and thrive with no gardening deeds!

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All these are wild flowers, from “weeds” that grew along the path as I walked at Hulimavu Lake today. They seem very beautiful to me!

The beauty of Kasavanahalli kere, 021018

October 3, 2018

I’m just posting some shots of the beauty of the lake, as the rain-washed sunlight and the fleecy clouds were reflected in the water where waterlilies were growing. I thought of Monet’s paintings when I saw the waterlilies…

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Let me end with this surreal image of fishes “kissing” under water:

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Turahalli State Forest, 180918

September 27, 2018

Warning, contains images that may be disturbing.

The Bangalore skyline from Turahalli

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Post to the bngbirds egroup:

Today was the fourth time in a few days that I went to Turahalli. After Vijetha Sanjay discovered the patch of the carnivorous plant, Drosera burmannii (Sundew plant), I have taken friends to see the plant; they have all been surprised by how tiny it is!

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Today was the first weekday that I have been to Turahalli in a while. As we climbed the path to the Muniswara temple, we heard the temple bells being rung and some chanting too. What, however, the three of us were unprepared for, was to have four chickens beheaded and their bodies thrown in front of us, twitching as they bled to death.

The family offering the worship included young children; they were obviously inured to this, and everyone seemed quite matter-of-fact about it.

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Sacrifice is a part of many rituals of worship, and I cannot presume to judge such customs. But being completely unused to it, it was very unsettling indeed. Even more upsetting was seeing the head of one of the birds lying amongst the flowers offered for worship.

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So if anyone is not used to watching such customs, please do not go up to the temple on a Tuesday, as it seems to be the day for such sacrifices. I have never, in all my years of visiting Turahalli, seen this before.

However, the rest of our outing was very pleasant indeed. The patch of the carnivorous plants was rewarding, as was the brightly-coloured male Red Avadavat which seems to sit regularly on some dried trees near the top of the hillock.

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Several kind of insects,spiders and flies showed us their beauty. Four Southern Birdwings flashed their bright yellow and black as they flew overhead near the Eucalyptus trees. A Pale Grass Blue opened up the blue as it repeatedly sat on the freshly-fallen petals of the Cassia senna.

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Spotted Dove
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A dog near us charged at a young peacock, which flew up into the Eucalypus and afforded us a shot.

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A young family who’d brought a professional photographer (and a plastic sign saying “BABY GIRL”) to capture their daughter’s infant moments, kept yelling at her to look at the camera. (“IL NODU, PUTTA!”) Patient for a while, she finally started her own bit of yelling when she was made to put on a pair of blue plastic butterfly wings and a blue antenna headband!

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Such lilttle vignettes kept us quite happy as we slowly wended our way back, and went home after a nice hot coffee at SLV Coffee, where the ever-smiling Triveni was working as hard as usual.

A fly:

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Blister Beetle with pollen from the Stachytarpeta flowers:

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I have put up the photos from the outing

here

and the Flickr album is

here

And have made a short video of the wonderful “pot” entrance that the ants were making to their nest:

Also rather struck by the exponential growth in the human habitation in the less-than-ten-years I have been visiting Turahalli, I made a quick video of the skyline:

The eBird list is

here