Posts Tagged ‘speaking’

Speaking at the St.Louis Audubon Society Annual Dinner, 011114

November 4, 2014

I was quite thrilled to be invited to speak (with a few photographs and videos) on the topic of “My experiences with birding in St.Louis” at the St. Louis Audubon Society (SLAS)which jcompletes 100 years of existence in 2015.

You can visit their website



Mitch Leachman

the Executive Director, addressing the gathering:


Jean Ponzi


who, along with her husband, Dale, I found very impressive indeed, was the master of ceremonies. Here are Jean and Dale with Anjana:

There was a silent auction, with many goodies available.


My good friend

Danny Brown

had donated this wonderful photograph of a Belted Kingfisher:


Several people, including

Amy Witt


Forest Park Forever

did a lot of hard work to organize the evening:

Several initiatives understaken by the Society were highlighted:


Three of us were asked to be “storytellers”;

I enjoyed

Kim Litzau’s

talk on SLAS’ role in nature education:


Chris Kirmaier spoke about “Bring Conservation Home”, the initiative that Mitch started.

I was the third speaker, and I just told the story of the experience I’ve had with birding in St.Louis.


My final slide featured

Edge Wade,

an incredibly knowledgeable birder, who has also been amazingly helpful to me, and to many others. (Imagine. She’s 70, and she drove over from Columbia, Mo, about 2.5 hours’ drive, to take me birding, and gave me her old edition of the Nat Geo book on American birds, a HUGE treasure for me, and on the November bird walk I met Dane Foxwell to whom she’d given another edition, too!…. Now I am going to take either the Sibley or this book back to India with me.)


I felt very honoured to have been given this opportunity, and whenever I visit St. Louis, I will join as many SLAS outings as I can…as also the first Saturday outings that they organize with Forest Park Forever.

Heartfelt thanks to Anjana, who worked on my photographs, improved the flow of the talk, and provided dynamic tech support while I talked, synchronizing the photos to what I was saying!

Children’s Eternal Rainforest: Fundraiser, St.Louis Zoo auditorium, 230413

April 26, 2013

I’d been to a fund-raising event yesterday, by the St.Louis Academy of Sciences:

even start stl zoo 23041 photo DSC05228.jpg

During refreshments before the event, I captured this angel:

angel stl zoo 230413 photo DSC05226.jpg

click here

for more information about the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.

The fact that second-graders from children could feel this compassion and act upon it, and make enough of an impact that children from 43 other nations also joined in the effort, is quite staggering to me.

Peter Raven

who was named by Time Magazine as a Hero for the Planet, spoke:

peter raven stl zoo 23041 photo DSC05230.jpg

The keynote address was by

Thomas Lovejoy :

peter raven stl zoo 23041 photo DSC05230.jpg

Here are several slides from his talk about the Children’s Eternal Rainforest:

3 thomas lovejoy 1 stl zoo 23041 photo DSC05236.jpg

4 thomas lovejoy 1 stl zoo 23041 photo DSC05237.jpg

I have long wanted to meet Dr. Lovejoy, a scientist who has done pre-eminent work in the rainforests of the Amazon.

Another eminent speaker, who orchestrated the fund-raising by pledge envelopes, and spoke with passion about his farm in the Eternal Rainforest, was

Tom Newmark

Tom Newark thomas lovejoy 1 stl zoo 23041 photo DSC05240.jpg

For more photos of the evening, see my FB album,


KTB: Developing Language

November 24, 2011

AM writes from St.Louis:

KTB’s language is evolving and causes us much mirth on a regular basis.

One morning she stood in front of the fridge asking for “blood”. I was genuinely puzzled and wondered if she was perhaps asking for ketchup, something she loves. I offered it to her. She shook her head getting increasingly frustrated, until she just all out bawled, “Blooood. I need blooood. I need blood now!!”. I was finally able to satisfy my dracula child with what she wanted – a slice of… BREAD!

She also enjoys me singing the bhajan “Subramanyam” to her, and this morning I was treated with her request for “Sublam-mum-yum”.

K has always been one of the biggest poopers there has ever walked (or crawled) the earth. No wonder that she sometimes has a sore bum and has, in the past, asked for “medicine”. This week she said, “Amma, my bum hurts. I need sour cream”. Of course D and I could not keep a straight face. And she had no way of knowing that D and I had a friend (N) who used to call this “Sore cream”. She doesn’t always need the cream, but she really likes to play with the squishy tube. So last night as I put her pyjamas on, she looked at me so very hopefully. And with raised little eyebrows she asked, “Sour Cream ?”. She didn’t know why I was laughing so hard, but she half laughed with me and half, knowing that I was laughing at her, whined at me for laughing. She was just so transparent that she didn’t need any diaper or rash cream, but she was really hoping to have the tube to play with. Combined with her calling it sour cream, it was too much for me.

It’s a wonder that D and I still seek to pay a babysitter and go out for theater when we get so much entertainment at home!

Two expressions that I love….

June 26, 2008

Through the past week (yes, it is 7 days today since my brother suddenly decided to move on), I have heard two lovely expressions that are very common here….

1. “What’s there!”.

This is said in response to your thanking someone for something. “Thank you for the efforts you have taken for us.” “What’s there!” (Roughly, “it doesn’t matter, don’t mention it, it was no big deal.”

2. “That’s there.”

This is said in agreement with some point that you have made. “BMTC is not doing enough to solve public transport issues in Bangalore…but they are also working under a lot of contraints, like bad roads.” “That’s there.” (Roughly, “yes, I agree with you, the point you have made is valid.”

I am totally used to both expressions…but they never fail to tickle me. They are there….


April 14, 2008

Attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoeller (1892- 1984) about the inactivity of the German intellectuals during the rise of the Nazis to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

They came first for the Communists. And I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.
And then they came for the trade unionists. And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
And then they came for the Jews. And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
And then they came for me….and by that time, there was no one left to speak up.

Thanks to Das (Dasarathi of Cadem Technologies ) for this lovely poem. He quoted the first line in this month’s quiz of QuizFamilies…..

And somehow, in my mind, this poem reminds me of this song by Simon and Garfunkel

Learning to speak Kannada

June 20, 2007

When I moved into Bangalore, one of the first things I felt happy about was that I would be learning a new language. I took up my daughter’s textbooks and learnt to read and write Kannada. I can now read and write the language, including Kannada numbers.

Alas, I found that in the Cantonment area, Kannada was NOT the lingua franca. My knowledge of the spoken language remained rudimentary.

I thought that once I moved to South Bangalore, my spoken Kannada would improve. But no. The reasons for this were:

I was living in an apartment building, where many languages were spoken when residents meet, and the link language remains English. And neither shopkeepers, servants, or service providers spoke Kannada. There being no need to speak the language, my knowledge improved only very marginally. Yes, I have still been making efforts to learn, as I believe that learning another language can only enrich me.

With my increased interest in wildlife and the many trips to the jungles of Karnataka, I have WANTED to improve my Kannada, and have been trying to speak it, and keep trying at every opportunity where I interact with someone who may not have a good command over English.

But I was really sad today, when I found that rather than appreciate the fact that I am making an effort, these people actually have been laughing at me behind my back for my fractured Kannada. The person who told me this has also told me,on an earlier occasion, not to speak Kannada (as I murder it)! True, no doubt..but then, how am I going to learn?

Well…NO ONE can speak a language with the fluency of one brought up to speak it as a child. And the fact is… that in the very cosmopolitan Bangalore there is NO NEED to speak Kannada at all;I know several friends who have lived here for over 20 years and do not know more than 3 of 4 words. Those of us who are trying to learn are doing so out of a respect for the language. Instead of being encouraged, if I know that I am being laughed at, my instinct is to stop the effort altogether. And when I say this, I am told that I cannot take criticism! And when I try to speak, every small mistake is objected to, instead of trying to see the broad picture.

There are no good conversational Kannada classes in my area; the language is generally taught as a “subject” and not as a living language at all.

Pouring scorn and laughter over someone’s efforts to learn anything is surely to put the greatest obstacle to the goal. I am sorry..but if this is the attitude of Kannadigas to those who try to learn the language, I am not surprised that so few people do try to learn it.

I must, however, give thanks for my friend Nirmala, who is taking a great effort to encourage me on the path to speaking Kannada….but I must confess to a great reluctance to speak it now!