It can be said with a high level of confidence that we have a new neighbour at Ibaadat!
This beautiful Shikra is being sighted often!
What a blessing!
Wikipedia tells me some interesting facts and lore about the Shikra -
"The shikra was a favourite among falconers in India and Pakistan due to the ease with it could be trained and was frequently used to procure food for the more prized falcons. They were noted for their pluck and ability to take much larger birds including partridges, crows and even young peafowl.
The word shikra or shikara means hunter in the Hindi language (the male was called chipak or chipka based on call).
The word Shikra is borrowed from an Urdu word which is derived from the word shikari meaning hunter. Hunting in Persian and Turkish is referred to as shikar and in Arabic the hunt master in the Mamlook Era was known as Ameer Shikar.
The word Shikari may also be used in English in the sense of "hunter". In "The return of Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes says: "I wonder that my very simple stratagem could deceive so old a shikari" (The Penguin complete Sherlock Holmes, 1981, pp. 492, 494).
The word is also used in the French name Le Chicquera which was however given to the red-necked falcon by Levaillant in 1799.
An Indian Navy helicopter base was named INS Shikra in 2009.
The shikra is also the mascot for the 149 Squadron of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, which operates the F5S/T Tiger IIs fighter jets."
Two kinds of absolutely polarized views are put out every day on both the formal and social media; opinions on the current crop of political leaders, their policies and its impact on the country and the common man.
And one doesn't know what to make of it anymore!!
Modi's Demonetization has been a bad decision, as everyone had thought from the beginning. It led to huge Government and personal losses, it brought in abjectness, delayed projects, killed business and took lives.
We were told to wait, be patient and then see the fruit it would bear. Now experts are waxing eloquent on what a bad decision it was. To top it, one wonders if it has indeed brought back ALL the black money and ploughed it back into the mainstream.
As a bystander, one feels the current Government has been far less plagued by scams and money laundering than the previous one, when each day one multi crore scam stumbled after another and most politicians and bureaucracy was tainted with graft and corruption.
The current lot seem to be much less corrupt. Is that true?
A lot of them stay to be as stupid and inexperienced as the previous lot. This, one did not expect of Modi and his selection process.
In the previous regime, we all - the middle class and above - were hugely taxed with a string of taxes. The current Government made that string longer by adding one cess after another to it. And then came the mother of all - the GST. I don't know about you, but I feel almost everything has become only dearer.
Yesterday, there was another report that came out, saying that when Dr. Man Mohan Singh handed over the reins, India's growth was at about over 8%. Today it is at around 5.2%.
Maybe three years is too short a time to judge, yet I don't see any change for the better in our lives - be it infrastructure, quality of food, water and air, social security, education, public health, job opportunities.
I find myself paying more taxes for far less Return on Investment on my tax outlay.
What's worse, there is also much more negativity now and both the left and the right are raging with tempers, impatience and bad blood. We don't appear to be as secular anymore....a plank the idea of India as a nation was built on.
Sadly, Modi invites more strong reactions in either direction - more reverence and then more hatred - far more than a Sonia or a Rahul or anybody else. And that is not good. There must be a sense of balance.
So amid all this, please tell me where are we now and which way are we heading. Is Achche Din a Chimera then?
I strongly believe in the idea of India and hope that we are on the right path towards creating individual excellence and national brilliance!
The best way, I am beginning to realize, to fight an adversary is to first own it.
The adversary could be in the form of stress, a chronic ailment, low confidence, self-doubt, lack of a certain requisite skill-set, loss or even a person with villainous intent sitting on the edge of your circle.
The trick is to first acknowledge that such a situation exists, be comfortable with its presence in your life, own its influence on you and then go hammer and tongs with a well-defined strategy to combat it and minimize or obliterate it from the zone of influence.