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Friday, November 24, 2017

Bull elephant in musth



The two safaris at Bandipur were blank and on the third safari at Kabini as we entered the forest we saw a elephant with huge tusks and both my companions, nephew and son in law were quite thrilled of seeing an elephant in the wild. This was just the beginning of an excitement that i am sure that they would cherish for ages to come. As we were travelling along the safari path we noticed a bunch of elephants peacefully feeding beside the path and our driver drove towards them slowly and yet these elephants never showed any form of aggression. Just as we crossed them we noticed that one of the female had moved on to the safari path with ears flaring and tail upright and i asked my nephew to get ready to capture a video of the elephant charge... and yes she did a mock charge at the jeep. As our driver sped up a bit we suddenly saw the matriarch charging at us from the side with loud trumpeting and stopping within 5 meters of the vehicle. It was then noticed that there was a young elephant among the group and they were protecting it and so we moved ahead but then we did not notice up ahead in the front we had a huge bull elephant (male)  in musth right on the safari track glaring towards us.
Musth is a periodic condition in a bull elephants when they have a large rise in reproductive hormones and the Testosterone levels can be 60 times the normal times. An elephant in musth can be identified very easily as the elephant discharges thick tar like secretion called temporin from their temporal glands on side of the head. An elephant in musth is very aggressive and even the most placid ones become very violent towards humans and other animals and hence it is not able to predict their actions rationally,


Given the condition of the bull elephant on the safari path our driver did not want to try speeding by the elephant for it would surely attack the vehicle. He stopped the vehicle and hoped that the bull would cross the safari path sufficiently far so that we could speed off but then no, this elephant in musth started walking towards the jeep. 
 







 Now we were literally stuck with the females in the back blocking the safari path and the huge male walking towards us. The driver was slowly reversing the jeep and few of us watching the back and others watching the front with bated breathe and hoping that nothing untoward happens. 







 
 


The bull elephant kept on coming and the jeep kept reversing on the path towards the small herd of female elephants. The herd started moving out of the path when it saw the bull elephant and this was the window our driver was looking for and with a burst of speed reversed the vehicle further back to a safe distance and then we kept watching the scene as to how one female elephant beckoned the male and after a moment the tusker also moved away from the path into the forest behind the females.  



 The rush of adrenalin in all the persons in the jeep was clearly visible and my companions enjoyed these moments for it was their first time in such situations and especially with elephants. The safari vehicle drive and the naturalist in the jeep were very skilled and exhibited coolness and did not panic in this situation and we are thankful to them for a wonderful safari.
Hope you enjoyed these moment while reading the post and viewing the photographs / video.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Writer’s block

Image courtesy Google



It has been over 3 months since I post a blog and each time I sit down and think of penning down some experience or about what is happening around the world my mind goes blank and I don’t write anything. I am not an accomplished and a creative writer to claim that I have writer’s block or the Blank page syndrome for I have too many other things running on my mind that takes up most of my time. Hopefully now that I have opted for retirement from active duty let’s hope that I will be able to restart the stalled process ... well writing this itself is a start isn't it  😀
 
Just out of curiosity i wanted to know about the block and I googled this term and this is what I read (courtesy Wikipedia)

It has been suggested that writer's block is more than just a mentality. Under stress, a human brain will "shift control from the cerebral cortex to the limbic system". The limbic system is associated with the instinctual processes, such as "fight or flight" response; and behaviour that is based on "deeply engrained training". The limited input from the cerebral cortex hinders a person's creative processes, which are replaced by the behaviours associated with the limbic system. The person is often unaware of the change, which may lead them to believe they are creatively "blocked". In her 2004 book The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain, the writer and neurologist Alice W. Flaherty has argued that literary creativity is a function of specific areas of the brain, and that block may be the result of brain activity being disrupted in those areas.

Well all these findings and terms are too confusing and am not interested in knowing more about these as I do blog for my pleasure and peace of mind... so I cut short the reading.
Well friends I will surely be back to my blogging asap.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Immersing myself into Nature .... My mantra

My life till date has been like a roller coaster ride but with lots of downs and minimal ups and during this journey of life I have had different ways of coping with failures and emotions and it was not that #onething. During the Engineering college days when I feel down and broken I used to go to the beach alone and sit for couple of hours in silence lapping up the salt laden air and listen to the waves crashing on to the beach and then I was back to being normal and take on the challenge of life. Then after the college I took up a job that entailed me to stay away from family and many a times away from the sea coast that I had to find out ways and means to counter the feeling of failures and emotions and I turned to music to tide me over this feelings and yes it did wonders to me till such time I found out a new mantra to overcome these feelings.

Once i was back to India from my overseas assignment one of my friend asked me to accompany him to Mudumalai forest for a stay in a home stay that was adjoining the forest and to be frank that 3 days stay there immersing myself with nature had a calming effect on me and yes i had found the new mantra to combat the negative feelings and emotions associated with failure. So for the last 12 years when ever I feel down with emotions and failures I pack my bags and go into the wild and immerse myself into the nature for couple of days and return refreshed and pepped up to face the challenges of the life.

This post has been written for Indispire edition-182 - When you are down with emotions and failures... what would be the one thing or thought which would lift you up.. push your failures behind and bring you back on track #onething


Friday, August 11, 2017

Indian Movies ... Does it influences the youth's mind???

Current news that is grabbing attention of the people of India is that of the stalking and chasing of a woman at Chandigarh with intent of abduction as perceived by the victim. The police have lodged a FIR and the boys from influential families have been remanded by the law. On the same day a woman, mother of two boys was stalked by an educated middle aged man at Mumbai and he had the audacity to even go up to her apartment and ring the bell and confront the woman without an iota of worry about law and showed no remorse when the cops came over and arrested him. These are only the few of the incidents that has been highlighted by media because the women in question had the guts to take cudgels against their tormentors whereas a large number of such incidents does not make it to the print or news in India.

One politician had tweeted that the stalking of women is nothing new and these are due to influence of Bollywood movies which depicts such actions by hero of the movie to woo the girl. He was trolled on twitter for this comment as the public felt that it was insensitive comment in support of the accused in the Chandigarh stalking case but then thinking back about his comment I personally feel that it is a very valid point with respect to eve teasing, rapes and such incidents.


PC: Google Images
Going to a movie has become a craze among the younger generation and the Indian movies be it Bollywood or regional ones have become an integral part of the current day youth. It does influence the minds of the youth all because of the media blitz that is associated the movie and the stars in the current days and in many cases it mislead the people to construe that if they do the similar things they would attain fame and fortune as depicted in the movie.
Sadly most Indian movies show grossly vulgar and crude romantic scenes with hero chasing the woman, cracking double meaning jokes, and singing songs to woo the woman and finally does so, corrupt politicians and government officials, power hungry villains, rags to riches by immoral methods and so forth, this in turn does create an impression in the minds of the youth who try to do the same in real life enacting their favorite actor hero. There has been various studies on the impact of movies on the youth of this country and it is generally proven that many incidents of eve teasing, rapes, suicides and other immoral activities has festered in the minds of the people influenced by the movies they see.

Gone are the days of movies being simple and conveying social cause for it does not sell in this fast paced society we live in now a days. Not all movies are so bad and some that are made showing positive notes have failed miserably at the box office and hence the producers and directors generally stick to the proven formula of commercial movies with lots of romance, sex, violence and so forth with some tilting songs such as “Chikni Chameli” or “Baby Doll” or “Zandu baam” where women ooze sex simply to arouse the movie goers which in turn leads to experimentation by public in real life.


So definitely movies does play a role in shaping the outlook of the people and if they are foolish enough to believe that what was seen on the screen would work out then they are sadly mistaken. Reel life is completely different from Real life. So my advice is to the generations of people who are movie crazy to take what happens on the screen with a pinch of salt and do not get influenced unlawful acts seen in the movies. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Portrait- Spot Bellied Eagle Owl


Spot bellied eagle owl is also know as the "forest eagle owl" and the sighting of these are pretty rare as these owls are generally nocturnal. It is said seeing a spot belled eagle owl is equal to sight 10 tigers or leopards because of its rarity. I was fortunate to sight these beautiful bird three times in last 8 years of my trips into the wild. Here is a portrait of the spot bellied eagle owl.


This image was captured at Bandipur forest recently. Hope you guys like this image.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Eclipse or Grahanam (Sanskrit)


This morning I got a call from my Mother in law who has gone to stay with her niece for few days asking me and my family to finish our dinner very early in the evening on account of Chandra Grahanam. This did piqued my thoughts of the blind faith being followed by us Hindus and wanted to know more about the beliefs that are linked to the eclipse throughout the world and I was pleasantly surprised that Hindus are not the only religion having belief that eclipses are inauspicious. Here is what I got to know

As per the Hindu Mythology eclipses is caused by Rahu or Ketu the sworn enemies of the Sun or Moon. The story of this enmity was the consequence of the fight for Nectar or Amruth- a drink of immortality between the gods and the demons. When this nectar was being churned out of the ocean and given to the gods’ one of the demon disguised as a god drank it sitting among gods. The Sun and the Moon came to know of this and informed Lord Vishnu who in a fit of anger severed the head of the demon who was in the form of a snake. As the demon had already tasted the Amruth he became immortal and the head portion became Rahu and the tail portion became Ketu. Since then they vowed that they would extract revenge from the Sun and Moon by swallowing them whenever they come near to them.

Ancient Greeks believed that Solar Eclipse was sign of an angry god and it was the beginning of disasters and destruction. In Vietnam people believed that solar eclipse is caused giant frog eating the sun. In ancient China a celestial dragon swallowing the sun was considered the cause of solar eclipse; similarly in Korean folklore it was considered the mythical dogs trying to steal the sun and in Norse culture it was the wolf eating the sun. Similarly American Indians believed that the bear fought the sun and bit a part of it. As the story goes the bear then resolves its conflict with the sun then goes to the moon and takes a bite of it too…may be a explanation as to solar eclipses occurring two weeks before or after the lunar eclipse. Traditionally people from various cultures would make loud noises by banging pots and pan or drums during eclipse to scare away the demon causing the eclipse.

Various Hindu beliefs of eclipse that are still being followed by Hindus in spite of no scientific proof are listed below
  • As Eclipse are considered inauspicious do not undertake any work during Eclipse
  • Pregnant women should not go out during the eclipse to avoid deformities to the child they are carrying.
  • Pregnant women should not use sharp instruments like knife, scissors needles etc since the child they are carrying can get cleft lips or birthmarks.
  • Do not cook food during the tenure of eclipse and do not consume anything till the eclipse is over.
  • Should not go out of the house during eclipse
  • Avoid sex during Eclipse
  • Do not look at Solar Eclipse with naked eyes for it could blind you.
  • Take bath immediately after the eclipse and purify yourself

I still remember my school days when we used to take a piece of clear glass and darken it with smoke by holding the glass piece over fire to view the sun during eclipse without affecting the eyes.

Fear of Solar Eclipse still exists in the present day modern world as many see it an evil omen that brings death, destruction and disasters. Scientists and astronomers has debunked most of the beliefs of the eclipse but then people still follow the age old traditions in the event of an eclipse.

I need to thank my Mother in law since it was because of her Comment this morning i made it a point to browse the net and get to know more about these age old beliefs of Eclipse or Grahanam ,not just by Hindus but by people from various parts of the world. I know many would know of all that i have written but this note is for the people around me :) 


Saturday, August 5, 2017

#FRIENDSHIP

Image Credits: Google Images
Having passed out from school at Delhi in early seventies most friends were only boys as the society then were too traditional in India and having a girl was frowned upon. After school most of us dispersed for our studies to various parts of India and the slowly the bond dissipated due to tedious communication protocols present at those times. The bond of friendship at an early age and if it continuous then they are the best as it grows with time and are very strong. Few are very lucky to have such friends in their lives --- langoti yaar with whom you could share everything that is happening in one’s life. Unfortunately I do not have one true friend though I do have many casual friends that I have picked up at work place or during trips out into nature with whom I can spend time and relax but cannot share personal details.

During this digital age you gather over thousands of friend be it on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media networks but then you may hardly know about the person unless your interaction with the said person is regular basis or meet in person. Many of these friendships are based on your interests or for mutual benefits … you scratch my back and I will scratch your type. This is very evident on the social media networks including on this portal… you like a person’s blog and you would notice immediately find that person liking your blog irrespective of the content of the blog. So these friendships gathered on social media networks hardly pans out in real life unless you know the person in real life. No doubt you may share all your personal problems with your efriend since you are very comfortable to venting all your feelings to a computer screen which is the medium of communication with the knowledge that you are anonymous and would not be ridiculed or judged.

Real life friends who move away can be in touch easily this day through various medium available and the bonds of friendship does not break so easily. So my take on the friendship during this digital era is that you can be in regular touch with friends irrespective of the distances and maintain the same. Due to this advancement in technology I was able to reconnect with few of my classmates from school at the dusk of my life and we do have a very lively group meeting up and reliving our school days.

Make good friends in life and maintain them throughout and I am sure you would reap the benefits of friends.

PS: Written for Indispire 181-#Friendship

Surviving Cancer yet again


It is said that Lightening does not strike the same place twice but then it did to my wife. In my Earlier post I had written of my wife surviving the breast cancer after 8 months treatment plan including 8 sessions of Chemotherapy, Left breast mastectomy and a month of radiation therapy. All was well after these treatments and the entire family started picking up the threads of life and moving forward. But then the providence had something else in store for us. Within months of stepping out from the dreaded disease my wife had lump on the right axial which grew big in days and she rushed back to the medical oncologist who was reviewing her for a checkup and she was asked to undergo a surgery to remove this lump immediately. The biopsy of this lump came back positive for cancer i.e. Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (a type of nodal cancer). This news indeed shook up my wife as well as us for it is pretty rare for a back to back cancer of different variety. The treatment plan advised by the doctors was six sessions of Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy with gaps of 3 weeks between each session which we started immediately.

Unlike the previous treatment of Chemotherapy which used to take just about 3-4 hours this time around the session used to last for over 9 hours and quite painful. After each session of the therapy my wife would become very weak and have bouts of high fever by the 7th day thereby emergency admission as in patient at the hospital. I was quite worrying mentally and also quite expensive financially. So during the entire course of the treatment she had been admitted into hospital on emergency 5 times in addition to the therapy admission. Finally the treatments were over by end January 2017 and three weeks later a follow up PET scan confirmed no presence of cancer cells in her body. I sincerely hope that the threat of cancer has vanished and I say this because I have read the NHL can only be treated but not cured and there is a possibility of re-occurrence over a period of time and if it does happen same treatment needs to be done.

In addition to my wife undergoing painful treatment process, the mental and physical stress on me was immense. My pillars of strength during the first cancer, my sisters’ were not around this time since my youngest sister had emigrated to USA and the younger one had taken up employment. This meant that I had to be around in the hospital each time my wife was admitted. I could not go out of the country where I was employed and work peacefully…if I do not work I would not be compensated and this did add financial strains and tensions. I was almost mad with all these stress and I really did not have a shoulder to cry on and I do not know how I pulled through these times. Fortunately I have been able to tide over these hurdles and I hope that these never repeat in my life again for surely I will not be able to take up the stress and strain once again.



My wife is a survivor again the second time and am proud of the way she has faced this dreaded disease even though there was a threat to her life during the treatments.

This post is just to vent out my frustrations which has been building up inside me and I am sure you would all understand the feeling

PS: Image Credits : Google Images

Monday, July 31, 2017

A trip without any agenda --Jidar chala rasta

My friend Visu was traveling to Mysore with his mother to his sisters place and he calls me at the last moment and he calls me to come over to Mysore so that we can go on a long drive into the nature. So I pack my bags and go to Mysore and we leave the city after breakfast and coffee at his sister’s place. The original plan was to go the Nagarhole forest at Kutta side but then on checking up we were told that the solitary Jungle Lodges jeep safari on that side has been stopped because of monsoon rains and hence we decided to go to Kabini backwaters side and try our luck as walking customer at JLR Kabini. As luck would favor we were able to get accommodation for 2 nights at JLR Kabini and then first two safari’s we did not see any predators but sighted other animals such as Elephants, deers, langurs and few birds.

Third safari also was dull for about an hour for the forest was still with no movements of animals being heard. We then reached a place from where we could see a shape of an elephant far off nearly a mile away and on zooming in to check we saw that it was another safari vehicle parked with all photographers taking images of an animal on the tree and so off we went at a fast pace to that spot and to our amazement saw the animal in question was indeed the Black Panther on the tree branch. We were able to get few decent pictures of the same. Now the other vehicle while maneuvering for better angle of the Black Panther broke down as the clutch wire got cut and the drama began there with people trying to start the vehicle so that they can go back to the resort, but then even after pushing the vehicle downhill to start it would not start. As the safari timing was nearing closing time it was decided to abandon the vehicle there itself and all the guests from that vehicle transferred to our vehicle and we drove back… 17 persons in the jeep which normally carries 8 …. Black panther sighting had pacified most of the guest so all adjusted by traveling standing J. Read here about my earlier sighting of this beautiful animal Here

Fourth safari on the day out check out we were quite lucky to spot the sub adult male tiger that had just separated from its mother and female sibling. Two other vehicles crossed us and went ahead of the waterhole without any pause and we also similarly were moving out and i noticed yellow mushrooms. Our vehicle had stopped to talk to the forest department official who had come the opposite way and after he had left i asked our driver to reverse so that i could take images of the mushrooms. After few moments we started moving out and suddenly our driver stops and says Tiger tiger... and we see this magnificent animal lying down in the open raising its head now and then.


After checking out from JLR Kabini we drove down to Masinagudi and stayed at Glanton resort which is just before Sigur bridge while you get down the Kalhati road from Ooty. The high light of this place was that we had a huge tusker just in front of the room. From Masinagudi we drove back towards Mysore and while we reached Bandipur we decided to spend one night at JLR Bandipur. As this is off season there we were able to get 25% discount and we were the only guest at the resort and during the Safari time we met another regular who had just checked in… so the entire resort had just three of us for the night. 

Both the safari’s we had no sighting of the tigers or leopards however we were able to see Spot bellied eagle owl.. an extremely rare bird and is considered equivalent to 10 tiger sighting, wolf snake and elephant right on top of the mountain along with its calf.

Trip without any agenda ended on 28th afternoon and my friend dropped me off at the Railway station for me to catch the Shatabdi Express back to Chennai.







Friday, July 21, 2017

Glimpses of ordinary people - Fish seller


Be it any city in India you can find scores of vendors pushing cycle carts and selling various items like vegetables, fruits, plastic vessels, fish and so forth earning a living .


 Here is an image of fish seller who is carting the fish on a two wheeler.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Kabini Diaries - National bird Peacock


During the recent visit to Kabini during the second week of July we did see quite a lot peacocks some dancing with their brightly colored feathers spread. However i found this Image of the Peacock high up on the tree branch showing of its extremely long feathers very beautiful


Hope you guys liked the Image

Monday, July 17, 2017

Burning Paan



Traditionally in South India betel leaves, areca nut, coconut, turmeric and flowers are given to females on most auspicious occasion and is known as tambulam During weddings this given to both males and females in decorative carry bags when the guests leave the marriage hall. Chewing the combination of betel leaves, areca nut and lime (Chunna) is supposed to help digestion after heavy meals and you can see in most South Indian weddings a plate with these ingredients are place outside the dining hall for the guest. This combination is generally chewed and swallowed.



In North India it is also consumed and is known as Paan and various combinations are eaten. Saada paan that just has betel leaves, areca nut and lime, Meetha paan with additional ingredients such as sweetener and so forth, or with tobacco. Normally the paan with tobacco is chewed and then spat out… you can see splotches of red markings on roads, walls, railway platforms etc in most Indian cities on account of these.  Each of these paan shops try to bring out unique paans with assorted ingredients so as to catch fancy of the consumer and one such paan is the burning Paan. I came across this video about this paan and am sharing this with you all. It is all in the taste of the consumer and I find it quite surprising that such things happen in spite of the health hazards. Enjoy the Burning Paan :)

Adaptation of a book into screenplay


#Screenadaptation


I have always have been an avid reader right from my younger days and have seen quite a few Hollywood movies based on those books. Most movies have been extremely well adapted from the book and as I had read them it was a pleasure to watch the scene unfold in visuals before my eyes. Couple of names of these books crop up in my mind as I write this blog for Indispire as examples


Guns of Navarone a fiction written by Alistair Maclean : A second world war story where a small team of soldiers are inserted behind German occupied Greece to blow up guns that guard the coast so that allied invasion can take place.I read this book long before I saw this movie and re-read the same after seeing the movie . The movie did do justice to the story told in the book.




The Day of the Jackal a thriller written by Frederick Forsyth a story of an assassin who has been contracted by dissent French paramilitary force OAS to kill the then French President Charles de Gaulle . Truly a gripping movie even if you have not read the book. Again the adaption to screenplay is faultless.





Well there are others such as Where Eagles Dare, Puppet on a chain, Way to Dusty death, Angels& Demons, Da Vinci Code, Exodus, The Godfather, Absolute Power, The Count of Monte Cristo, Sherlock Holmes, Bourne Series and lot more that I have read and seen too. As usual in Hollywood the adaptation of the books into screenplay is well done with little changes unlike in Indian film industry where the screenplay is tweaked to cater to our local population thereby changing the entire meaning of the story as written.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Do you believe in Ghosts and do they exists



A lively discussion at home regarding the final rites as per Hindu culture to be done in case of death of the family member and the reason given was that these rituals are conducted so that the soul of the departed is appeased and proceed to heaven. In other words if no rituals are done, then the soul is left wandering as a ghost on this earth forever. Does this mean the persons of other religions who do not have any specific rituals when they die remain in this universe in form of a ghost???

If you do believe in ghosts/ spirits you are not alone in this world since millions of people do believe in them, in terms of percentages of the population it could be in the regions of 30-40% which is pretty high considering the fact that there has been no scientific evidence of the spirit or the ghost. Now why do people believe in them in spite of no proofs is that our fear of our own mortality plays an important role in belief in ghosts. Most of us desperately want to believe in life after death – and the idea of ghosts seems to offer support for such an idea. The belief offers many people comfort — who doesn't want to believe that our beloved but deceased family members aren't looking out for us, or with us in our times of need?

Right from medieval times stories of ghosts or spirits have enthralled and also frightened people in this world. Medicine men or the Oracles have swayed the thoughts & decisions of many Tribal chiefs and Kings by their actions or statements of talking with spirits and deciding the events that were to unfold. They were the most powerful personalities of the times revered even by the kings and people had blind faith in them and their bidding.

Even I used to believe and fantasize about the ghost while I was young and one particular story comes to my mind where it is said that if you get a strand of hair of a woman ghost and hide it in your body beneath your skin then you will get all that you aspire in this materialistic world. Thinking about the way I used to be looking for that strand of hair during my childhood does bring about a smile on my face even today.

The thoughts of ghost may arise as the result of honest misinterpretation of naturally occurring phenomena (for example, seeing faces and figures in the shadows or hearing noises made by animals in the night), or common but frightening anomalous experiences. An example of the latter would be sleep paralysis episodes that can occur between sleep and wakefulness. During such episodes, the sufferer is temporarily paralyzed and may experience a strong sense of presence and a variety of bizarre hallucinations. Although it can be terrifying, sleep paralysis is essentially harmless and I have written about this in a blog titled Amaku Pishsasi (Crushing ghost) few years back. I also wrote of a person hallucinating after excessive drinking while on night duty at Iraq and the blog was titled Neither here nor there..floatingin air.

Well friends many more pages of incidents by people can be written and there would be no end to this blog and so I rest my views here. I am not an believer of ghost or spirit now that i am grown up and added to it the fact that there is no scientific proof of its existence. I do not berate people who believe in them and I would surely like to know your experiences if any of paranormal activities that you have come across or some interesting stories. Please post your comments