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Showing posts from March, 2010

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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

White Breasted Kingfisher

Last week, I left home to pick Samhith up from school, and there, on a tree right in front of me, was a kingfisher! I fumbled for my camera, only to realise that I had left it behind! For the rest of the week, I berated myself for my stupidity, and took to carrying my camera everywhere, but it was too late - not a bird turned up to be photographed! Finally , lady luck smiled at me, and this White Breasted Kingfisher turned up right opposite my house and sat still long enough for me to take a few pics... I wondered if I should put up just one, but then gave in to temptation and decided to put up all three.... So, now its up to you to tell me which one you like best!

Afsaneh: Bai se Bioscope Tak

Given a choice between a movie and a play , I would choose a play any day...... But ask me how many plays I have seen, and the answer is - negligible! There are many reasons, mostly to do with distance and timing, and in the past, the cost of the whole outing....But today, the primary reason is Samhith. I would love to take him along to plays, but for one thing, he does not have the patience to sit still for an hour (he can't even do that for a movie!) but more importantly, given the time plays are usually put up,and the distance from our place, it totally throws him out of gear, and that leads to problems for me. However, all of a sudden , Shankar insisted that we go to see a play at the Ravindra Natya Mandir , and after a bit of argument, both, Samhith and I gave in..... Off we went to see Akvarious Productions ' ' Afsaneh : Bai se Bioscope tak ', staged as part of the Vinod Doshi Theatre Festival . The play is actually a dance drama about the nautanki and baitha

Skywatch Friday - Mountains on my mind...

Earth, Water, Sky and Mountains......... at Karjat just on the outskirts of Mumbai..... Mountains occupy my thoughts as I head towards the mountains... for a short holiday. I am off to Delhi today and onwards to Binsar as Samhith's school closes this year. We have a week before school resumes for the new term, and we plan to make the most of it....   I shall not be able to access my mails for a week... but please do leave your comments on this as well as the other blogs I have scheduled... I shall certainly reply as soon as I get back!! For more skies around the world, go to SkyWatch Friday

A Handkerchief For Peace

Friday marked the end  of the exams and we all heaved a sigh of relief! (not that we had worked too hard for the exam, but the fact that it was over was enough for us to rejoice...). The school diary came back full with instructions for the coming week - the last week of the current academic year. We have one week of freedom before we begin the new year...Samhith will go proudly to the second standard...after a much awaited holiday.. But more of that later.... Let me tell you about what marked a beginning of Samhith's free time..... he made a handkerchief for peace! Confused????? To read more about Samhith's handkerchief for Peace, click here .

Tulika Blogathon 2 - Water

Tulika’s blogathons are giving me lots of things to write about, more importantly, topics which I relate to. This week’s topic is their book ‘Water Stories from around the world’, launched just recently. Take a look at the slideshow about the book . The topic triggered so many things, I just had to write about it at once. Warning! This is going to be one long post, with no photographs at all! these are a compilation of my thoughts at the moment, not all related to the book, but to water, in general, a topic which is very much at the forefront of all my thoughts these days……. When we first came to Bombay in 1980, it was a wonder to see water flowing 24 hours a day, since we came from Delhi , where water cuts were a regular feature, and something we were used to. In no time at all, we were so used to the constant water supply that if the water did stop, all we did was rush to call the watchman, and ask what the problem was. Usually it turned out to be something connected to the pump

Wishing for rain..... Skywatch Friday

Summer's here in no uncertain terms for its just too hot to manage, and the fan is just not enough! I went out to pick Samhith up from school, and the heat was too much to bear... Some people wore sunglasses and sleeveless kurtis, but perspired in the heat... some waited in the comfort of their AC cars,blocking the road and being a nuisance to others..... the kids came out from the cool comfort of the classroom to the glaring midday heat.... happy that the exams were over, but the heat getting to them, tiring them out within minutes...... Faced with such heat , we wished for rain.... hoping for an early and a good monsoon... we are already facing a water shortage this year... and if this heat continues, things can only get worse. In such a scenario, it is difficult to be cheerful and optimistic, so I tried to improve my mood by looking at some of my pics from the monsoon.... Here are a couple of photos taken at Sringeri in August 2009 .  The clouds make me wish they were right

The Junior Wanderer

Samhith has been taking up quite a lot of space on my blog recently.... After all, my life does revolve around him and his activities.....He is the main reason I am at home and have so much time and matter to blog! Well, of late, I have been feeling that it is time to give him his own space, at least on the WWW and allow him to express himself. As of now, he has the least inclination to write anything himself, but then he is just six and a half, and has just about learnt to write......But he loves seeing his name and his work on my blog, and loves all your comments and encouraging words. He knows most of your names, at least your screen ones, and asks about some of you regularly......    Anyway, I have finally decided to start a separate blog just for him and his doings.... As of now, I shall be doing all the writing, and simply putting up his work...... mostly as an encouragement for his creativity.... and an effort to make him sit in one place for at least a little while....  I hav

Pictures of 7 Cat Species Found in 1 Forest - A Record

I stumbled across this as I was surfing through the net, aimlessly as always...... and then my eyes fell on this, and I was absolutely stunned! This article from the National Geographic News tells us of a rare sighting of seven different species of cats - one of which was totally unknown there. But what was really surprising was the location - Assam ! Yes,  in our very own country!!!! Hard to believe isn't it, considering the state of our forests?? Maybe everything is not yet lost....Let us salvage what we can while we still have it. You can read the whole article  here . Meanwhile, I couldn't resist downloading the pics onto my blog..... All the photos belong to Kashmira Kakati, the wildlife biologist whose research led her to this wonderful sighting. Thanks to Kashmira and National Geographic for these wonderful pics.. Leopard Leopard Cat Clouded Leopard Golden Cat Jungle Cat Tiger Marbled Cat

Talking of Languages..

Tulika Books has come out with a blogathon , and here is the first topic…… How different are the written and spoken forms of your first language? If you want children to become familiar with their first language, which form would you look for in children's books - formal or informal? Why? The minute I read this , I wondered what to write about my mother tongue, which I speak, but barely…. read, just about, and write, not at all…. Contrast this to the fact that I can speak, read and write English, Hindi and Marathi very well, can read and write Sanskrit, and even talk passably good French, in addition to writing and reading well in the language. Add this to the dream I have of learning German some day…. and you will wonder if I ever wanted to learn my mother tongue, which is Tamil. Growing up in Delhi and Bombay , my mom tried her best to teach me Tamil. My summer vacations were devoted to learning the language with her, and she even brought me loads of books from T.Nagar on ou

Utterly Butterly Amul....

These days, reading the newspaper hardly gives me the pleasure it used to, which is why I barely scan through it as I have my coffee, a habit which continues simply because it is hard to break.....In today's newspaper, there was just one item which captured my interest - here is a link to the same... take a look. Butter than the Best It is an obituary to Eustace Fernandes, the creator of the Amul girl, and words are simply not enough to describe the importance or the beauty of his creation. An ad that started way back in 1966, almost 10 years before I was born, is still going strong enough. I am not qualified to write an obituary for the creative man, but I thought of putting up some of the beautiful hoardings which have brought a smile on my face every time I set eyes on them... First escalator at Chowpatty seaface, Mumbai On compulsory sterilisation introduced during Indira Gandhi regime. Indian Railways introduces cushioned chairs in the first class compartments. 

Skywatch Friday

Sunset over the concrete jungle of Mumbai

Sunbirds in the garden

Bombay has no winter to speak of . For us, it is winter when there is a slight chill in the air late and night, and early in the morning, and that too, thanks to living in an area full of open spaces and lots of trees. Which is why, I was surprised to notice that most of our regular winged visitors were missing for the past few months! Finally , with the slight chill too having disappeared, some of the birds are back. A few days back, we noticed that the sunbirds have returned, and yesterday, one of them sat long enough on a branch for me to photograph it... So, here's a Purple rumped Sunbird, and hope more birds return soon..... Purple Rumped Sunbird Purple Rumped Sunbird

A jungle crow in my backyard

Every day , we put out food for the crows and other birds before we begin eating. This has become so much of a habit that the minute we hear a crow sitting and cawing outside our window, Samhith says, "Mamma, haven't you given the crow its food today?" The crows themselves are bullies and extremely choosy. Not only don't they allow any other birds anywhere near the food till they have their fill, but they don't eat all thats kept for them. Samhith is sometimes less of a problem! For one, the crows want Curd Rice all the time! If there is no curd rice someday, they make so much of a racket that sometimes we talk to them the way we talk to Samhith, and try to explain that we are sorry, but there is no curd rice at present, but we shall give them as soon as we cook! Thank Goodness we have no neighbours on that side, so there are no curious witnesses to this exchange.... otherwise, we would surely be classified as 'weirdos'!  The crows then have to be pacifi

Wildlife on Marine Drive

Wildlife? In the midst of the city? I am sure all of you must be wondering what I am talking about. So, read on to see what I noticed last weekend when I spent hours on Marine Drive.... To begin with , I spent quite a lot of time sitting on Marine Drive, thinking about all the kinds of stuff the Forum was bringing up. The sea always has a calming effect on me, and I find myself thinking much straighter. The waves seem to talk to me, and I am at peace with myself and the world. All I usually notice when I am at Marine Drive are the waves and the horizon.... nothing else seems to matter. I usually even discount the scores of people walking, running, jogging, skating, cycling... along the promenade.  However, this time , having too much time on my hands, I suppose, I started noticing all the kinds of things happening around me. While most of my attention was still riveted by the sea, I noticed a few people walking among the huge boulders and breakers at the sea shore. Curious, I watche