March 29, 2012

On the borderline drive 4 -- flora and fauna

This is something I should have posted after I got back from the borderline drive with Harsha and Prabha, but couldn't get down to doing it.

These photos are really not in any order, and I could not identify all the flora you see here. Would appreciate help with identification.
This is the red billed blue magpie. This photo is from the net...I couldn't take a picture myself, but we saw lots of them. I saw three pairs early in the morning at Oakwood Hamlet, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, where we stayed on the way back from Kalpa...it made my day!

Crocosmia, spotted at Manali

Yak in Manali, for the benefit of tourists

Beautiful woman and mountain goat, Manali

Saw this at Corbett, Uttaranchal. On a variety of palm.

Hydrangea...

Fern at Corbett. Found the white leaves interesting.

Pretty moth at Solan. Please ignore the date.

Stopped for lunch on the outskirts of Hardwar, and chanced upon this Floss silk tree.

Saw this as we passed through Shimla. It looks a lot like copper pod, but these are flowers, not pods.

Velvet sage at Oakwood Hamlet, Solan

Alstroemeria, Oakwood Hamlet, Solan

Found this beauty in the bathroom at Oakwood Hamlet

Bee keeping...found these in many places all along the drive

Some wild berries...on the drive back from Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh

Ahhh..apple tree at Kalpa...the place was full of them!

Walnut tree at Kalpa!

More apple trees

At Kalpa...yet to identify

Apples and Kinner Kailash
A persimmon tree

As we drove from Manali through Kulu, towards Kalpa, we were driving through pine forests in thick fog, and suddenly we spotted these vultures! Stopped for a good 20 minutes looking at them feasting on a dead cow.

Hello...I'm here too!

Mountain goats

Fuchsias at Manali

Pearly everlasting...

Manali...wild flower

Indeed, there's something wonderful about the mountain air, and about life in the mountains. As Prabha told me, "People can be categorised into two...those who have seen the mountains, and those who haven't!"


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Note: Thanks to Shubha and Kobita for help in identifying the flower species above.

March 19, 2012

Friends and interests...

"What are your hobbies?"

A familiar childhood question. It was a question I liked to be asked because I had many hobbies.

I have always believed that interests other than academic contribute to making a person complete. It is good for both the physical and mental well being of an individual. However, as one grows up, somewhere along the way, one stops having interests. Men become overly involved with their careers; women either bend backwards juggling home and career, or become full-time careerwomen or housewives/mothers. In any case, they find that they have no time to think about themselves and what they like to do. Often, more than men, it is women who lose touch with the interests they were passionate about at one time. Dust gathers on the guitar; paints dry up; embroidery threads become a tangled mess.

Many busy years later, they wake up to emptiness. The children have left home, and they have nothing to do. They stand before a blank wall, having forgotten what they liked to do and what they used to dream about.

It is so important to hang on to one's dreams and passions. There are several things a person with free time can do. Whether it is social service or entertainment, or the learning of a new skill...there are many possibilities. One must only bother to look in the pages of a newspaper, or a local magazine. Theatre and dance workshops, photography, travel and cycling groups, nature and heritage walks, philosophical and spiritual lectures, music programmes...the list is endless. If nothing works, one can teach a group of neighbourhood children, volunteer at a school or join an NGO doing valuable social work. The important thing is to get involved.

It is also therapeutic to have a small group of like-minded friends with whom one have unguarded conversations. And for this, one must work at having friends and keeping them, despite pressures from family and career. This is an investment one should make for that day when one wakes up with a blank canvas before them.


An apology to Africans

We have had a professional connect with Africa for a long time. While at ICRISAT during the eighties, we met and were friends with sever...