September 14, 2012

SIX years old on blog space

Six years of Lens and Sensibility. Somehow, this number makes me feel very young :) 

In the past one year, I know have written fewer posts than during earlier years. This could not be helped for there were work-related and personal issues that occupied my mind. A lot of what I posted were also pictorial because it is easy to post pictures rather than write. This makes me unhappy, even though my blog title justifies the presence of photos.

In this yearly writeup, I would like to give a quick update on some stories  I wrote over the years, but did not follow up on. You can click on the stories to read the posts, if you want to know the background. 

Red velvet mite (birba buddi/arudra purugu): One of my very first posts was about this little red insect. I ended this post with the words, "In the meantime, my search for these red beauties continues. I hope I find one on a weekend, so I can show it to my children.". So, did I find them again? Did I show them to my children? Yes, I did find them on one of the rock walks, and both the children were with me. But they were not too excited about having a birba buddi crawl up their hand as we used to be, and as I still am! Oh, never mind! At least, they saw them. 

Surabhi theatre: I saw a few very good Surabhi shows after my 2006 post. I followed their journey closely, and was very happy to see that they were getting much support from the Andhra Pradesh government. I was immensely pleased when they were included in the Qadir Ali Baig festival of drama in Hyderabad a few years back. Then I read that in 2010, with active involvement of the eminent theatre personality B V Karanth, they performed in several state capitals and in Delhi. Karanth also worked on three new plays with them. Read the story here. I am very happy for this fantastic theatre group of whom we should be proud of. 


Vultures: I wrote about the dwindling numbers of  vultures in India, because they feed on cattle injected by a drug called diclofenac. I have been following up on this story in the newspapers, and looks like there is more bad news than good. I did read that the numbers have increased because of conservation efforts, but apparently diclofenac has still not been banned. In the light of this, on our drive in Himachal Pradesh in 2011, we were excited  to see a huge group of vultures feeding on a carcass, and hoped that it was not  infected meat they were eating. There was a talk on this issue in Hyderabad recently, but I could not attend it.     


The garden I planted now has big trees and shrubs, which are such a pleasure to the soul. I can look at  the treetops  from my balcony, and I know that one day, I will look at a bird eye-to-eye, and then look up at them from the third floor....and they are all my babies...ah, the pleasure of planting trees! Right now there are passion flowers, cordia and swastika flowers, and the clockvine creeper has just started to bloom. Then there are pomegranates (still small) and papayas, which I have the pleasure of distributing to different people in this building. I am waiting for the African tulip tree,  the tree jasmine and champaka to flower, and the gooseberry tree to start fruiting. I also have a small fig tree and it looks happy to be part of the garden. Confession: sometimes, I look through a binoculars for signs of bloom! At times I wish I could do more in the garden, but I don't want to be ambitious, and would be happy if I can maintain it the way it is.  More than anything else, it is a pleasant green space, and there are more butterflies and birds now. 

Project Sadhana: I am happy to report that I have continued to be fit. I have gained a few pounds, but the pain is gone, and I am quite regular with my yoga and walks. Again, I am not too ambitious...this level of fitness and health are all I ask for. 

Photographs are an important part of this blog. However, I use them merely as a tool to document what I write. The camera I use is a very basic Kodak. I will, however, soon graduate to a better camera as I will start using my daughter's Canon Powershot G10 next month (she's upgrading!)--something I am eagerly looking forward to. So I begin the new blog year with an anticipation of better photos here.  

One thing I have been wanting to tell people about my blog. When I started it in 2006, the url I chose was www.sadhanasblog.blogspot.com. I was new to blogging and bungled up--I don't know how--and ended up with www.sadhanablog.blogspot.com...I don't like the missing 's' but I have to live with it! The original url still works, and shows the first few posts, and a very simple, neat look!

The friendships I made through this blog remain the most rewarding aspect of this activity.  I am in touch with all my 'blog friends', and this friendship is not limited to virtual space. All of them are bubbly, beautiful people very interested in different aspects of life's many journeys. 

And to my Followers and whoever else is reading this blog (my mother), THANK YOU. The way to my heart is through my blog...do please keep visiting!  

September 08, 2012

My favourite music 2: The Lakes of Pontchartrain

I chanced upon The Lakes of Pontchartrain during my search for another piece of music. This is an Irish ballad about an unfortunate immigrant from Ireland who is given shelter by a beautiful woman, Louisiana Creole. He falls in love with her and asks her to marry him, but she is already promised to a sailor and declines the offer. The song is named for and set on the shores of the major estuarine waterbodies of the Pontchartrain Basin. Lake Pontchartrain forms the northern boundary of New Orleans. 

This piece, however, is instrumental. I find the tune very pleasant and soothing.


The instrument on which this has been played on is called the Weissenborn guitar. According to Wikipedia, The Weissenborn is a brand of lap slide guitar manufactured by Hermann Weissenborn in Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s. These instruments are apparently now highly sought after. It is estimated that fewer than 5,000 original instruments were produced, and it is not known how many now survive.

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...