Jan 29, 2010

The early birds

The Purple Sunbird, Cinnyris asiaticus, is a very small old world passerine bird that feeds mainly on nectar. Less than 10cm long the most prominent feature of this bird is its down-curve bill with brush-tipped tubular tongue.The species is distributed widely from the Persian Gulf through South Asia and into Southeast Asia. They are resident birds in most parts of India distributed over the east of the desert region and south of the Himalayas.
 The Indian Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros birostris) is a common hornbill found on the Indian subcontinent, one of the few hornbill species found within urban areas in many cities where they are able to make use of large avenue trees. About 24 inches long, the call is a squealing call. Mostly spotted in pairs, their flight is heavy and gliding.

The Great Tit (Parus major) a passerine bird of the Tit family, is a widespread species of temperate Europe & Asia. The great Tit does not usually migrate.14cms in size this bird has a variety of calls most familiar being 'tichrrr'.Great Tits are cavity nesters, breeding in a hole that is usually inside a tree and are mainly insectivores.The Great Tit is a popular garden bird due to its acrobatic performances when feeding on nuts or seed.

This information has again been collected from My Ornithology guru Dr.Ajay Pradhan & Wikipedia.  Thanks a ton for the prompt and correct birding observations...

Jan 27, 2010

Phir mile sur mera , tumhara

Unity in Diversity, 
Is today's concern.
Varied though in cultures and tradition,
We all belong to one great Nation.
We love each other
And together  we pray,
May we Indians stay together,
This way!
Happy Republic Day!

Jan 21, 2010

55 fiction

Learnt about 55 Fiction just a few days ago. Theres really so much out there that I'm oblivious about..And I considered myself one of the well-read people walking this earth. Hah!
 So here goes my first attempt at penning one!
Please bear with me friends...

It was a rare sighting in the concrete metropolis like Mumbai.
Ram’s pregnant wife had screamed “ Look!”.
Atop their car was a huge, handsome Golden furred Baboon.
“ It has left a half-eaten banana behind.”
“Bajrang Bali ki Jai!”, said Ram and picked it up with reverence.
 Next day a healthy son was born!

Jan 18, 2010

Some more Birding..

Only these 2 can give me precise info about the birds I’ve recently spotted through my camera lens, Dr. Ajay Pradhan & Wikipedia.  And this is what I’ve learnt the second time around…

The Greater Coucal or the Crow Pheasant (Centropus sinensis) is a non-parasitic member of the cuckoo order,  the Cuculiformes. It is a widespread resident in India.
The Coucal or the Crow Pheasant is colloquially referred to as the Bharadwaj bird or Kumbhar kaola in Marathi.  There are mainly too varieties- The Greater & the Lesser, informs Dr. Ajay  and what I’ve clicked here is the Greater Coucal. It is considered lucky to have spotted one!
With a purplish black body and rust coloured wings it is a large bird at 48 cm. The play of sunlight on its wings when in flight makes it appear golden! An extremely handsome bird it is.

This pair is the Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus Oriolus). As the name clearly suggests, these birds are found in Europe and Asia except for the northern regions. Mostly flying in pairs, the female of the couple (seen to your left) is recognized by the greenish-yellow coloration on the chest. The male has black coloration under the wings, between the eyes and on the yellow bill.
These migratory birds return to Eurasia by March.
The call is a screech like a  jay, but the song is a beautiful fluting weela-wee-ooo or or-iii-ole, unmistakable once heard.

The Small Minivet, Pericrocotus cinnamomeus is found in tropical southern Asia. The Small Minivet is 16 cm long with a strong dark beak and long wings. The Small Minivet feeds on insects, forms small flocks and its call is a high, thin swee swee swee.
Quite a handsome bird this little male is with its chest fading from a bright red down to yellow and white.

Jan 16, 2010

U see what I see?

It was a misty and cloudy morning today. And this is what I saw..
Its really an overwhelming feeling to behold this phenomenon- The Sun & The Moon co-existing in the same picture frame..So close-by..standing side by side!
Not such a great pic' I agree!
But you get what I mean?!!!

Jan 15, 2010

Where is the LOVE?

Here the eyes not care for another soul.
The heart's plea has none to heed.
Fingers touch,
They do not feel!
On friendship's name ,
Company indeed.

You think with your heart?
You are insane.
Why burden yourself with another heart's pain?
Live your life and enjoy it!

The thinking brain overtakes the heart.
Emotions & feelings left far behind.
The going gets tough in this concrete world....
Love hath lost its way mankind!

Jan 14, 2010


Introducing Amitabh Bachchan say the credits. Indeed writer & Director R.Balki meticulously plans every angle of his movie like the great Ad-man that he is! Paa is a very rare Father-Son Son-Father story says Balki weaving the same tongue-in-cheek wise cracks into his script like the previous success 'Chini Kum'. Its truly entertaining to see how he used humour to have all of us fall for the little Auro. No strain of the movie harping on the boy's illness and yet making it a gripping tale! Kudos...
Progeria is that rare genetic condition wherein aging is accelrated and manifests at a very early age. Those born with this condition typically live only upto 13 years of age.Full justice ha sbeen done to the character of Auro by none other than Bollywoods undeniable Badshah Amitabh Bachchan. No one must have imagined how age could have been used to the advantage while playing the role of a 10 year old! The role was so well-played to the hilt that one almost forgets that its Big AB there and not an overgrown kid.
The Make-up artists have definitely done a fabulous job transforming the well-known contours of Amitabh's face into the very realistic lookin swollen head of a progeric patient.
Auro is a very bright and intelligent boy well aware of this disorder who seems to laugh it off with his witty jokes.  Though hes different from the rest he has made quite a fan-following at school with his endearing nature! 'Bum' (Arundhati Naag is amazing.) & Maa  (Vidya Balan) have played the role of doting grandma and mother respectfully. . Though Auro may remind you of Benjamin Button this tale is far more believable.It  revolves around  the generally happy Auro &  his family living in a world parallel to that of the MP. Until they Meet!.
Auro has ignored the nagging feeling of missing a Pa in his life and has also accepted that his Ma never did the 'round, round!' indicating the Hindu Vedic marriage ritual. However once the MP & Auro have a budding friendship between them by destiny's own trick, the grandma can't resist letting the cat out of the bag. Gradually the revelation of his Pa's name by Vidya Balan has Auro pining to bring his Ma & Pa together again. For good!
The first half is a super introduction and the second half has a gripping, tragic tear-triggering end!
The movie is worth the watch for sure.
Magnificent performance by the cast and a narration that wraps you. The father-son bonding is where the movie peaks. However you do tend to wish at many points that film would focus more on Auro than the Slum Redevelopment episode by the youthful MP Amol Arte (Abhishek Bachchan). The dramatic end with Auro actually mouthing 'Paa' and dying a peaceful death leaves one teary-eyed and wishing there was more!
Also all Mas and Pas think! Don't underestimate the power of love and the intelligence of your kids...

Jan 9, 2010

Watch & Learn!

I was suggested by my feature editor to do a story on migratory birds in Pune this winter. Being completely ignorant about our avian friends I owned up and almost immediately declined. The story was taken up by a more knowledgeable pen later but I was left thinking!
How could I have missed out? I came home to peek out my terrace only to be even more bewildered by the blind eye Id turned towards the beauty around. The garden facing my flat, rich in flora & foliage was also being visited by a whole lot of interesting feathered friends.

My friend, the ever-obliging Dr. Ajay Pradhan who’s an avid bird-watcher also came to my rescue and helped me recognize the birds by their names. He started updating me on the basics of bird-watching, “ Just watch them patiently and carefully and you’ll see there’s so much to learn he says!”

So this is what I saw ….

 The adult Ashy Drongo (Corvidae Dicrurini)  breeds in central India and also along the Himalayas. “Next time u see this bird with a fork tail like a fish, watch for the color of its eye” instructs Ajay. And it’s true. This stiffly perched bird has a dark ashen grey slender body with deep red beady eyes and the tail is distinctively long and deeply forked approx. 29cms in length.

In winter, the species is particularly fond of hill forests. Found singly, in pairs or small groups, during migration they fly in small flocks. The breeding season is May to June with a clutch of three or four eggs laid in a loose cup nest in a tree.

The calls are a little more nasal and twangy, described as drangh gip or gip-gip-drangh. They can imitate the calls of other birds.
It is mainly insectivorous but sometimes gleans from tree trunks.

The Little Green bee-eater (Merops orientalis) is a widespread resident and summer visitor in India.  Ajay raises my interest by informing, “See it catch flies/bees in mid-air &listen to its call. The calls is a nasal trill tree-tree-tree-tree, usually given in flight”
This little (approx. 17 cms) passerine bird is mostly seen in the plains and Migration is limited to seasonal movements depending on rainfall patterns.

The scaly breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) also known as Nutmeg Mannikin or Spice Finch
The Indian Silverbill ( White throated Munia) Lonchura malabarica is a resident breeding bird in India .
10–12cm  in length , it’s a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on seeds, usually in relatively open habitats, preferring to feed on the ground or on reeds and grasses. Several species have been noted to feed on algae such as Spirogyra.
The nest is a large domed grass structure in a tree or under the leaves of a house into which 4–10 white eggs are laid.

The Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) is a member of the bulbul family and a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia and India.
This is a bird of dry scrub, open forest, plains and cultivated lands, which feeds mainly on fruits, petals of flowers, nectar, insects and occasionally geckos.
The eggs are pale-pinkish with spots of darker red more dense at the broad end.They are capable of having multiple clutches in a year. Nests are small flat cups made of small twigs but sometimes making use of metal wires
Their vocalizations are usually stereotyped and they call throughout the year. However a number of distinct call types have been identified including roosting, begging, greeting, flight and two kinds of alarm calls.

The Jungle Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos), is a very widespread Asian species of the Crow. They are very adaptable and are able to survive on a wide range of food sources making them capable of colonizing new areas due to which they are often considered a nuisance, especially on islands. They have a large bill and due to this they are also sometimes called Large-billed Crow or Thick-billed Crow.

"The prussian bluish balck sheen that you have correctly observed is known as 'Iridescence'" enumerated Dr. Ajay.

The Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis), also known as the Spotted Turtle Dove, is a pigeon which is a resident breeding bird. 
This species builds a stick nest in a tree and lays two white, glossy eggs
The call is a low and gentle coo-coo-croo, with the emphasis on last note. The call occasionally is "coo-coo krrroo, krook!"

The Common Myna or Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis) also sometimes spelled Mynah, is a member of the starling family. It is a species of bird native to Asia. An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the Myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments.

Thanks to Google, Wikipedia and the very experienced eye of Dr. Ajay, I am no longer an ignoramus fool as far as birds are concerned!
Promise to get better..:)

Jan 2, 2010

Mooning over the past....

As the clouds sailed over the beautiful full face of the moon, we watched with bated breath, awaiting the lunar eclipse. This phenomenon would not occur again untill 2028. The Blue Moon on the evening of 31st Decemeber 2009 seemed to say peek-a-boo to the New Year 2010. And for a few minutes I thought I could see a blue halo around the floating white moon. My silly mistake was that I actually voiced it. Thats when the real info' started pouring out of the knowing brains around me.
My well-read hubby cleared the sky of any ambiguities, " The term blue moon does not come from its colour,dear!". He continued, " When there are two full moons in a single month, occurring approx' every 2.7  years, the rare phenomenon is called a blue moon."
That's when our other well-informed friend added, "This year's blue moon is even more special because it coincides with a partial lunar eclipse happening on the last day of the International Year of Astronomy."

At this point I really regretted not having a professional camera between us that could capture this phenomenal beauty as our naked eyes could see.
I looked up and the moon seemed to smile back and say, " It's going to be a truly special year ahead!"
Sigh! I'm loving it already....