Tranquil Reverie

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Food Glorious Food

The Jurong Bird Park in Singapore is a popular tourist destination and is home to several species of rare birds. The park simulates the natural environment of birds from different habitats. While we can walk through alleys and get in close proximity to some birds, the others have to be seen from a distance.
The sequences of photographs displayed below captures the actions of birds in persuit of food. The term "Survival Of The Fittest" was reverberating in my mind when I clicked these pictures. Charles Darwin, used the term "Natural Selection" in his theories of evolution. Herbert Spencer, drew parallels between the theories of economics and Darwin's ideas on evolution. He saw the phrase "Survival Of The Fittest" in a new light as he related it to "Natural Selection". While all living things are constantly in a race to meet their needs, humans are in a race to meet their greed!

Lories are colourful birds found in in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Visitors can feed the lories and their brightly coloured plumage is an added attraction for a nice posey snap. Here are a few pictures of the vibrant lories shot at the "Lory Loft".

From a lake for the swans to snow for the penguins the bird park has it all. While I stood watching the landscape I managed to capture a few shots of this bird looking out and finally managing to grab a fish in "The Wetlands Waterfalls" of Jurong.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Cartoon Kingdom

Spare a minute to name five Indian cartoonists.... Any luck? Now try naming five cartoonists. Indian or not. This must have been an easier exercise. Well, it's not that there is a dearth of toon creators in India. It's just that this talented lot may have not been provided the right platform to reach out to the masses. For these people, who had the will to take the road less travelled, the climb has been steep.
The British brought the art of cartooning to India. While R K Laxman is one of the few who has become a household name, most of the others are still fighting hard to stay afloat despite being powerhouses of talent. The Indian Institute Of Catoonists has set out with an ambitious plan to promote and popularise this art in India. These patrons of the arts are enduring a noble effort to recognize and reward the cartoonists.
Prakash Shetty is a famed cartoonist who hails from Mangalore. In an illustrious career which has spanned over decades he has created cartoons in English and Kannada. Specialising in 2-minute spot caricatures, he holds a record of creating 150 caricatures in ten hours! Some of his latest caricatures and paintoons (cartoons painted on canvas using acrylic colours) are on display at the Indian Cartoon Gallery. Current affairs, eminent sportspersons and politicians are common subjects in the caricature exhibition called "Prakash Shetty Hanged".

N R NARAYANA MURTHY. An exception who proved the rule with the success of his company Infosys...

Dr. J JAYALALITHA.Known as Amma or Puratchi Talaivi (revolutionary leader) in Tamil Nadu.

GEORGE W BUSH. The good, the BAD and the ugly were on display at the exhibition.

A typical tea shop in South India. This is a paintoon of "Meter Chai" on canvas.

P CHIDAMBARAM. He's got money in his hands! Ruling the roost as the Finance Minister of India.

SHANE WARNE. The legendary Australian spinner has trapped many batsmen in his web...

L K ADVANI. Making a cocktail of religion and politics!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Forces Of Nature

In the poem Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson says,
I cannot rest from travel... I will drink life to the lees
I too cannot rest from travel and definitely want to slurp life to the lees! This post is the byproduct of an awesome day trip to two small towns which have etched thier name in history.
Talakadu - A temple town located at the confluence of the Kapila and Kaveri rivers in the Mysore district of Karnataka. Made famous by the curse of Alamelamma, Talakadu has given archeologists and geologists plenty to ponder about...
Shivanasamudra - An island town positioned on the banks of the river Kaveri in the Mandya district of Karnataka. As the river splits and dives into the deep gorge, the spectacular waterfalls Gaganachukki and Bharachukki are conceived.

It was a refreshing sight to see lush green paddy fields and lanky stems of cane that flanked the road to Talakadu. Karnataka definitely lives upto its tourism slogan "One state many worlds". Just wish the government did a little more than putting up those boards all along the way!

Antiquity midst the sand and the sky... Talakadu boasts of rarities like dense vegetation in the sand and a plethora of temples tucked deep below the ground. This is one of the temples that was recovered from the sand dunes and is currently undergoing restoration.

While geologists attribute the sand to the gusty winds which transport it from the dry river bed, the locals believe that it is the result of the curse of Alamelamma which translates to,
"Let Malangi become a whirlpool, Talakadu become sand and let the Mysore Maharajas fail to beget heirs".

The waterfalls at Shivanasamudra. This is our grand lady Kaveri as she plunges into the ravine. The melody of a meandering river and the soothing sight of the green vegetation create the perfect ambience to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature.

A well fed river lashing her fury agianst the rocks. A gentle spray of water carressing my face. The company of some good old friends. Lovely hues in the sky. A sweet little rainbow too! A magical evening indeed.

The fury of the river is channelised into hydro-electricity. The first hydro-electric power station in Asia was set up in Shivanasamudra and the Kolar Gold Fields was the first consumer of the power generated at Shivanasamudra.

As a disclaimer I would like to add a quote by Fitzhugh Mullan,
Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.
Bringing your car home unscathed after driving on the roads which lead to Talakadu and Shivanasamudra is going to be quite a challenge. Embark on the journey if you are upto it!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Create Your Masterpiece

It's that time of the year when the popular Lord Ganesha comes to our homes. Ganesh Chaturti was a family affair until it was popularised as a community festival in the late 1800s. Lokamanya Tilak pioneered the idea of having public celebrations aimed at bridging the gap between various factions of society. For over a century now we have been practising the idea promoted by Tilak. Across the country, huge pandals with mammoth idols are erected. Ganesh Chaturti is celebrated in a big way. This is also the time of the year when we hear the environmentalists talking about the hazards of immersing the chemically painted Ganesha idols in water bodies like lakes and rivers.
Shanti, a friend of mine, decided to do her bit for the people around her and the environment on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturti. She organised a Ganesha making workshop in which people across various age groups could participate and learn the art of idol making. Natural clay was used to make the idols which were decorated with rice and grains. While it was exciting for the tiny tots to get down and dirty and make their own little Ganeshas, it was a learning experience for their parents. The workshop was free but donations were welcome. The funds raised were donated to charity.
After all, celebrating a festival is not just about adorning oneself in fancy jewellery and brand new clothes. Each one of us can make a difference if we try.

Be the change you want to see in the world!
-- Mahatma Gandhi

The only material that is required for making a Ganesha in house. Natural clay!

Learning quickly from here mom. This is Pranathi, engrossed in making her Ganesha.

The kids were quick to latch onto the idea made creative improvisations to fabricate their unique masterpiece!

No gains without pains! Everyone, both young and old thoroughly enjoyed the workshop!

All work and no play makes Arki a dull boy!

Good things come in small packages! This bundle of joy is Riti...