Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

Passiflora incarnata at the Butterfly Festival, 170617

June 17, 2017

Today I volunteered for the very first Butterfly Festival in Karnataka.

You can see the photos on my Flickr album

here

But amongst other things… This purple variety of the Passion Flower somehow seems to represent, to me, the intensity of passion in life…the force that often keeps us going. I had heard the interpretation of the parts of the pistil representing the Pandavas, and the many petals, the Kauravas. Today I also heard the mythology of the flower representing the Apostles of Christ. How many meanings we invest in these beauties!

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Doresanipalya Forest Research Station, Bangalore, Karnataka, 17 Jun ’17.

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.

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.

The river

May 1, 2017

Rush,rush, rush…
Around me, the seconds flow past
The minutes fly
The hours march,
The months creep slowly.
I hardly feel the year’s progress
Into the lap of what-has-been.
I live in the present…
That’s a conondrum
As with every ticking second
My present becomes the past.
As I sit here, writing,
My heart starts the next beat.
I take my next breath.
I am not what I was
When I first thought of writing this.
What a relentless river Time is.

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Haircut, 130417

April 13, 2017

Snip, snip, snip, go the scissors and bits of my hair fall (the best kind of hair fall there is.) I relax and close my eyes. Will this end well or will I look like Raggedy Ann? I don’t know, but I am content to leave it to fate, and the hairdresser. The lady in the next seat, with her hair in a made-of-dye-cap, smiles at me. Snip,snip,snip…every haircut is a calendar, measuring out the time in the length of my hair. Short hair has been a great thing for me; I learnt how to swim, I didn’t have to put up sweaty hair in a perpetual bun….with a light heart, and a lighter head, I walk home. Snip, snip, snip…a half hour more out of my life, but gone in serenity and peace.

What my friend Ravikiran had to say:

I love getting a haircut – That feeling of getting that weight off your head, the metronomic rhythmic snip-snipping of the scissors lulling you into a state of mild hypnotic drowsiness, the faint musky fragrance of the talcum powder, the slap-whack-rub scalp massage at the end – all followed by a long hot shower when I get home.

I reflect…

March 7, 2017

What if the reflections
Of faith and belief, in my soul,
Are different from yours?
I might see a temple in the glass;
You might see a church spire.
Should we then fight
And argue and shed blood
Over what is right and wrong?
Surely, all these paths and reflections
Lead but to the innermost soul
Where resides the Force, the Being
That we believe in…both you and I.

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The Valley area, 050217: Email to bngbirds egroup

February 7, 2017

Hi everyone,

As I begin to write this, my mind wanders in several directions. One, the wonderful writing of “ixedoc”, Dr Arunachalam Kumar, each of whose vignettes I look forward to reading.

Another: the increasing difficulty of going birding or “naturing” in terms of the hassle it is to drive back home.

Yet another: The increasing difficulty of access to our wildlife areas.

But I will not digress (the digress being the female of the diger) and will write about one area, off Kanakapura Road, where the wilderness of the Bannerghatta scrub jungle awaits us,and where access is relatively easy.

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The Valley, as the area where the Valley School is situated, is a place where the forest leads the nature lover into both open grassland and shaded woods.And recently, bird sightings there have been of the unusual variety. My friend Chandu sighted an Ultramarine Flycatcher when he took the children of Aarohi School there for the HSBC Bird Race (in the space of two visits, we were able to sight a Racket-tailed Drongo, and on Sunday (5th Feb 2017) we were able to sight a Brown Wood Owl (Yogesh Badri’s photo of it is

here

…he quickly followed the bird as it flew, and got the shot)

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Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher

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Verditer Flycatcher

All these “unusuals” lead to a lot of interest in a birding destination….but the true value of a birding “hotspot” lies,for avid birders, not only in the unusual, but also the usual.(MBK made this very valid point when spoke on the occasion of the 2016 Bird Race.)

What would one see,if one went, say, in the middle of summer? Would we be looking at the butterflies instead, or would we still see enough birds to hold our interest, and make an enjoyable morning of our outing? We may be more used to the burbling call of the Joker-cheek-patch Red-whiskered Bulbul, or the trill of the Small Green Bee-eaters, but they are no less beautiful than the rarely-sighted birds. Watching a Tailorbird bringing in nesting
material, or enjoying the way a Brahminy Kite soars and dips along the wind currents is as appealing as the sudden and unexpected thrill of a “rare” sighting…and on the days when the latter does not happen, the “usual” is what keeps us going back for more (the English word, not the Hindi one, though “mor” is also a bird frequently found at the Valley).

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Selfie.

As the winter mornings warm up, the thought of the long trudge back through the path where there are only the two banyan trees to give shade until we come back to the School main gate…

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may be daunting,but it’s the “usual gang of suspects” that take us through to the bamboo thicket and beyond.

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Seed pod.

Here’s a happy White-cheeked Barbet, secure in its nest, smiling at us!

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Compare and contrast, 2017

February 2, 2017

Contrasting, in my mind, the tennis match that happened between two men, recently in Australia, and the US Presidential election process over the past year.

One was played fairly, by the rules, both parties were excellent at what they did,and would bring lustre to the title they won. There were no personal attacks, no smears, the process of winning the title was completely transparent.

The other….

Just two leaves left on the daily calendar….

December 29, 2016

I look at my daily calendar,
And feel a sense of closure
When I see that there just two leaves left
To tear off, with the passage
Of each day.
It then occurs to me
That it’s only we humans
Who seem to thus divide Time
Into compartments, and mark
Endings and beginnings.
Time flows continuously in Nature:
The days, nights, weeks and seasons
Follow each other at the same pace.
If I can let go of my need
To compartmentalize Time,
I need not think of what’s ending
And what’s beginning.
But, perhaps…
Taking stock of my life
At regular intervals
Is not a bad thing to do.
So yes, I will tear off the two leaves
Left on my daily calendar.
I will hang up a new one,
And watch the progress of the new year:
See it slip past, day by day,
Much as the old one went,
And the ones before that.

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In defence of non-excellence

December 21, 2016

I read something, nearly every day, on the desirable quality of excellence. In whatever I do, I am told, I must strive to excel. I must hone my skills at that particular activity until I am excellent at it.

I want to present a heretical point of view. I don’t propound this point of view as applicable to everyone, or indeed, to anyone but myself. But it’s saved me a lot of tears, so sharing it.

I am interested in quite a lot of things, and have been lucky enough, in my life, to pursue many activities. Let me list them…academics, languages, music, art, writing, quizzing, theatre, photography, nature/wildlife, heritage and history, travel, getting groups of people together, teaching…and so the list goes.

Yes, indeed most of my interests are pursuits to which I’ve devoted a long time. I’ve tried to attain a reasonable proficiency in what I do.

But…I don’t feel the need to excel. And here’s why.

The margin between proficiency and excellence may often not be wide…but it can be very time-consuming indeed. And I have found that when I strive for excellence in one particular activity, I have to neglect several others.

So over the years, I’ve decided that I would rather have enough time to pursue these interests instead of setting some aside for excellence…in any case, I will not be able to achieve excellence in more than one or two fields.

Striving for excellence can also often be frustrating, with the sobering realization, after much time and effort has been spent, that my level is that of proficiency,and excellence will be beyond.

So..what is wrong in my being reasonably proficient at many activities, instead of always wanting to be the world’s best in anything? I will never, indeed, top the world in any field, because there are always going to be others who will be far better than I in that field.

More and more, as I age, I see the comfortable joy of being good at several things and enjoying doing all of them, rather than frustrate myself in trying to excel and still find that I am not much further up the ladder.

And I notice this in many people I see around me…that they are good, very good sometimes, in several things that they do…but they need not be earth-shakingly good at it!

I therefore adhere to my happy state of reasonable proficiency (and fairly high ignorance sometimes!) in my several interests, giving thanks for being able to enjoy all of them. Excellence in one field does not give me as much happiness as being good in several.

What are your thoughts on this?