Apr 17, 2010

From me to you!

There are many environment conscious bloggers in this blogosphere and I really admire the way they have expressed their concern for conserving it.
Some birding enthusiasts & wildlife photographers keep the love for nature growing with each of their beautiful posts. It is because of such thinking minds that there is hope for the survival of our depleting 'Green' treasure be it the Indian Tiger or even the snakes.
I wished to express my gratitude and support for such bloggers and was hunting for an appropriate medium to communicate the same.
The blogger badges rotating around didn't connect with what I wanted to applaud bloggers for and so I thought of creating one on my own.
Hope the recipients like this badge design.
Those who've liked it can also feel free to pick it and award it to bloggers they find worthy of this badge!

                              Image courtesy Simon Howden

The rules are:
1. Place the badge on your blog
2. Add a link to the blog if you were given the award.
3. Nominate your blogs of choice (Max.5).
4. Include links of the blogs that you have nominated.
5. Let them know by leaving a message (shout) on their blogs.

The blogs I present this badge to are 

My first Naisaiku

An amateur's first attempt at Palindrome Naisaiku. This is a variation of the Haiku genre of poetry. 

Image courtesy www.bookschristian.com
Love life’s longing
Hearts aflutter,
minds restless,
Souls mated in strife

Longing life’s love!

Strife in mated souls
restless minds,
 aflutter hearts
Love life’s longing.

Apr 15, 2010

Nat Geo Moment Awards 2010

Check out my entries for the Nat Geo Moment Awards 2010..
This is the first time I'll be participating in a photography contest outside College premises..And am happy to tell you that all my uploaded entries were approved for the contest :D
So express your love for photography and do shower my entries with kind appreciation and votes!

Just click at the top right or bottom right hand corner of the Nat Geo window to flip the page to the next photograph or entry.

Apr 14, 2010

Howdy Pardner?


This is a letter from me to my hubby who thinks I’m nowadays wasting a lot of time farming!
This is the husband’s week and I thought I owe this to him.
I have therefore decided to give him an explanation along with full idea of the inventory at my farm. I will try to convince him how profitable it is to be a farmer, in today’s days. I share the letter with you here:

Howdy Pardner?

When I was a kid only Old Mc Donald had a farm! And the rest of us envied him for that. Now most of my friends have a farm of their own. And there’s a cluck-cluck here and a quack-quack there, here a moo, there a moo and everywhere a moo-moo!

I have a farm of my own too. As you know, I began not very long ago, with a small patch of land and little seed money. I plowed, I sowed and the harvest gave me lots of money. I was in profit in an instant. The experience over the period of time helped me grow big, fast. And now my small plot is no longer small. Yeehaw!!!!
I have made my farm a big Ole’ Plantation. I’m trying to save enough to upgrade my farm to a mighty plantation.  Then I can plow more, seed more and earn more. More land is equally proportionate to more yield, you know! 

I’ve invested in a tractor, a seeder and a harvester to quicken the process but they consume a lot of fuel. Fuel is expensive, you know that too and very well, I’m sure! I generally earn it by working some extra time in my neighbor’s farms.

It’s a pretty simple life here at my farm. While the crops grow, I make friends and these friendly neighbors are very generous at heart. They send me lovely gifts regularly and even oblige me by lending a hand at fertilizing my land and crops. This gives me better yields you know! I thank them with gifts too and also visit their farm to lend a hand. So it’s a mutual admiration society here.
 We also indulge in hobbies like accumulating collectibles and when a collection is complete we can trade it in for a reward! Isn’t that wonderful?

I had a small chicken coop roosting 20 chickens. With the help of these great friends I was able to expand it to a capacity of 60 within no time. It was as easy as a few clicks! My poultry yield is also flourishing now. Sometimes I find a few mysterious looking black and golden eggs that I share with my friends, immediately.

With the help of my friends I have recently, successfully built a stable for my horses and now 20 handsome beasts live comfortably. I still have to make space for 3 more of my horses, though. I’d still given home to a few wandering stallions time and again and they have left behind their little Grey and Brown foals.  

As on today I own 46 cows and my dairy can only do better from here! I also find a few extra bags of fertilizers from here, now and then. Some cute little brown calves were also born some weeks ago. Moo… Aaha! That reminds me that I also own 9 goats and I collect their milk which fetches me a good amount of coins too.  I have 2 pigs that hog all day and collecting their truffles gives me a meager amount but I’ve still let them live here. Our little son likes to here them Oink, Oink! 

I’ve made space near the big red barn for the sheep and ewe. Collecting their wool is very profitable. I also have some rabbits that give me lovely Angora wool. I’ve also given home to 4 lonely bulls and lost reindeer. For that I’ve also received the ‘Animal Shelter’ Blue Ribbon and am a fully accomplished Zoologist now. There are 6 brown geese and a big fat wild turkey too. See them there near the tool shed?

I have an impressive Banana plantation and a line of very strong, tall date palms. In addition to these I have many great fruit trees like Walnut, pomegranate, lime, lemon, avocado, apricot, apple and orange trees. I make quite an amount of money from the fruits too.
There are a few strong Maple trees too. Another source of good moolah!

 I forgot to tell you about the little Leprechaun gnome. I imagine, he’s the one who chops up the wood from the big log and sets them neatly into a pile. I have a wagon for him to load it into and trundle it down to me.

I own 5 cottages, 3 of which are pink and 2 black. One of the black cottages is an Indian home with a coconut tree in its garden et al! The back yard has a washing line where beautiful saris are generally hung out for drying. It is a heart-warming sight you know!
There’s a Black and yellow Indian rickshaw parked at my farm too. Maybe in the future,I could atually ply it for money, if they let the farmers do that. Should suggest it, shouldn’t I?

We have a lot of celebration activities also between us friends. Last X-mas there was loads of gifts under my Christmas tree and at Valentines I received great amounts of gifts too. At Easter, my spring basket was flourishing with eggs and I could redeem them for big gifts. It’s a splendid plan here! In exchange of 150 eggs they gave me a huge Dutch Windmill which I have placed in the North-East corner of my land.

I enjoy checking out what’s new in the market and when I’ve saved enough to spend some extra money on farm decorations, I just go and splurge! My shopping itch is satisfied thus. Now that does make you happy, doesn’t it? I’ve not been awarded the ‘Pack Rat’ Blue Ribbon, (amongst many others) for nothing!

My farm also has a school house and in the courtyard I’ve provided for some source of entertainment for the school kids, too. There’s a sandbox, some soft toys and a spring pond with real ducks and swans in it. Its fun to collect their down feathers you know! There are penguins and cats for the children to play with.
I’ve given home to a lot of stray cats and that’s why they awarded me ‘The Cat Lady’ Red Ribbon.  The big Shoe house is the star attraction though! The Post Office is quite near from here, if the children would like to write home.

I also invested a lot of time and money in building a Maison for my farm. My friendly neighbors helped me with procuring the raw material, very generously and it was ready in no time! You can take a look at the beautiful structure in the South-West corner of my land. I imagine, we’ll be staying in the mini-villa nearby!

Recently this new concept of Co-op farming was introduced wherein some farmers can team up and take up cultivation projects to be completed within a stipulated amount of time. On successfully completing it we are handsomely rewarded. There are Gold, Silver & Bronze prizes awarded according to the time utilized for carrying out given instructions and harvesting the right amount of crops. I teamed up with my best friends and I’m elated to tell you that we‘ve together finished about 4 projects by now, winning the Gold every time!
Last night we won a Mini Pagoda for ‘Stirring Things Up’. Can you beat that? We will start working towards winning the School Bus, tonight. My school needs a vehicle, you know!

As of now, this is my farm’s detailed inventory. I can only assure you that I am making a good amount of money as compared to many other farmer friends. And am rising levels up, above the rest, fast! I’m a devoted and serious farmer, you see!

Trust you are seeing my passion for farming and will let me peacefully continue with my job.
Loads of Love and mwahs,

Ps: I recently bought a brown Border collie pup for 3, 00,000/-. If I feed it enough kibbles, it will grow up into a handsome big dog soon. So, even that worry about our son’s demands is solved.
I’ve sent you an open invitation to join me at Farmville too!
Think about it!

Apr 13, 2010

Two in the bush....

 The Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis)
...has made my day! Spotted it early this morning on our garden fence. 
This distinctive black and white bird holds its long tail upright as it forages on the ground and its perch. 

This passerine bird is native to tropical South and South East Asia. It was considered a member of the thrush family but is now classified as an Old world Flycatcher.
Wish My lens had a bigger zoom to capture a perfect pic' of this restless bird.

Here we see The Asian Koel - Male (Eudynamys scolopaceus..
we know this fellow better as the cuckoo since it belongs to the order of the Cuculiformes.
At 45 cms, this big bird is again native to South & South East Asia and China.
It is famous for encroaching into the Crow's nest for laying its eggs and the young ones are raised by the gullible foster parents. Such birds are known as the brood parasites.

The word koel is echoic in origin and the bird is a widely used symbol in Indian poetry. It has been compared with the nightingale due to its melodious call.  

Info' courtesy Wikipedia and Dr. Ajay Pradhan!

Apr 7, 2010

Youngistaan Ka WOW!

This is my entry for the extra-special Pepsi IndiBlogger of the month contest. 

The Question put across is
- If you were the game master, what challenge would you like to throw to Ranbir?

My Answer:

If I was the game master, I would challenge Ranbir to get to the Pepsi, through the glass door which would open only after Ranbir successfully repeats the following tongue twister.. 
"A pleasant place for sipping Pepsi is any place, for sipping Pepsi is pleasing" 
.... thrice without faltering...And fast!!!

Not bad eh?!

I'm quite proud of my blogging achievements this morning! Had taken up my love for short story writing seriously, only a few months ago and I consider myself an amateur writer. So I'd participated in INDImag's KathSagar Short story-writing competition with really no expectations at all.
I submitted two stories and both were published. WOW! I said to myself and raved about it to all my friends.
The valuable commentators also showered my work with kind words of appreciation. 

Then came the results and I was elated to see that mine was picked as a wild card entry and was 17th on the list of top pick stories (from 70 entries) that would enter Phase-II, the final phase of the KathaSagar Contest. Though mine was last on the list, it was again an unexpected feather in my cap !! :))

And this morning, wonder of wonders...

Just take a look at this table...'Lin had a Solution' is 4th !!!

Isnt that a huge leap?
Mine is not the winning story and neither am I the runner-up but still I'm very happy, you see!
Thanks a ton Respected judges, Mr. Aaman Lamba, Mr. Abdul Rasheed & Mrs. Chitra Aiyer...
You've truly made my day...
Now I see hope for myself as a writer..:)

Heartiest Congratulations to Shail. 'The Pink Skirt' was indeed a league above mine..
And Congratulations to the runner-up Nash Singh tooo...
God Bless INDImag!!!

Apr 4, 2010

Bird on a wire

This is the Red Cheeked/ Red Whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) , measuring about 20cms. This bird can be easily identified by its brown crest, red cheeks and red vent. This bulbul is native to India and is generally seen in the woodlands or in the countryside. That's how I spotted this lone bird, sitting peacefully on a wire at Pratapgarh, while the guide was pointing to a small look-out window in th e wall of the fort. My imagination must have been going wild because I felt like it was staring away into the distance, meditatively. As if it was pondering on the history of the fort, too!
This bird feeds on a variety of fruits, insects and flower buds, and often does so in flocks of three to fifty birds. 
According to most authorities there are 144 species of Bulbuls, Greenbuls and allies in the family Pycnonotidae and I have spotted only 2 of them as yet?! :(

Apr 3, 2010

My first HAIKU

 Sleep my  baby,
Snugly in bed.
Sweet Dreams!