Monday, September 11, 2017

When Nature is the subject!

How's this for a Scape Shot?

No filter! No enhancements or Insta-like embellishments! 

Just focused and shot with the old-style, manual, film roll Kodak!

Chilla Range, Rajaji National Park.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Tiger spotting, well almost!!

When I almost spotted a Tiger; but then had to make do with these paw tracks!!! 

Only the very blessed can see these divine beings in the natural habitats.

This was at the Chilla Range of the Rajaji National Park, in the winter of 2007, I think.

One day, perhaps!

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Shikra, our newest Neighbour!

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."

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Creative recycling ideas for Home!

What sort of recycling and reuse do you do, at your level?

Here's what my list looks like -

1. Good clothes, that one does not wish to wear, are passed on to Staff who are happy to receive and           use them.

2. Old, torn clothes are turned into dusters and sundry cloths used around the house.

3. Chipped cups and mugs and bowls become planters.

4. Empty wine bottles become wind chimes.

5. Left over wood pieces were turned into boards and re-modelled as chests and bird houses.

6. Our fur babies' toys, coats and goodies are gifted forward.

7. Empty mineral water bottles are filled up with filtered water and given to Colony Service Staff.

8. Karva Chauth Karvas, Kulfi Matkis and Kulhads become planters.

9. Plastic or glass containers given to staff for their pantry.

10. Bits of left-over soap added to the new soap bar.

11. Water from Water Purifier collected to use in washing bathrooms and patio.

12. Old ladder and an old bicycle turned into pot stands.

13. Old towels are cut down to size to become mop cloths or Kitchen towels.

14. Print-outs and back of bills used to make "To-do" lists or for rough work.

15. Old Tin boxes become a storage box to hold needles and threads or other sundry items.

16. As I am in the process of banishing use of plastic from our home, I have discarded a bulk of plastic     
      ware from the Kitchen. A lot of those plastic bowls and cups have been used as hanging planters.

This is what another friend - Sumir Narasimhan does at her home - 

"I make bags and cushions, etc out of old jeans, sweaters and other clothes. 

Empty Wine bottles are used as water bottles at home. 

Jam or pickle Jars are used as glasses or fir storing masalas, etc.

Chipped Cups and mugs become planters. 

Tin boxes are used for storing knick- knacks."

Do share your ideas? I would love to learn from the novel things you may be doing.

Picture courtesy - Google Images

Monday, September 04, 2017

So what's our report card looking like?

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!

Picture courtesy - Google Images

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Own it!

Own your fears!

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.

What's your take?

Picture courtesy - Google Images

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pimping my Crispy Ride!

Last evening we were in crispy heaven. The Living Room was infused with the aroma of baked potatoes, grilled cheese and oven-dried tomatoes.

There is no better bouquet than this, emanating from a zestful Kitchen.

Scent for all the senses, indeed!