Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Pigeon my English friend!

Spending three weeks in the UK for Christmas has been fun cause to keep me company while I cook in the kitchen has been a nice plump pigeon. They say feed the birds in the UK during the winter, so every crust has been broken up and thrown on the patio outside along the lawn. In minutes he will cock his eye at me from the chimney which is his normal perch on the opposite house in anticipation. Then once I throw the pieces of crust he flies down to the fence and checks if he is safe. Meaning, I have to be behind the closed door.
Once I leave the kitchen he flies down and polishes off the crusts in a trice. Sometimes a little sparrow joins him in its feast, but any movement has the sparrow flying away and not coming back. A little squirrel runs around at the bottom of the lawn trying to look for yummies but refuses to venture further.
Everything looks dank and dreary this Christmas day in London, but with us cooking up a storm in the kitchen seems to draw my pigeon friend out and makes him more friendly and looking for a fresh round of crusts 'cause its Christmas day in London!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Compost and go green!

Just six months of composting my wet waste and look at the beautiful Philodendron growing in it! Definitely well fed! Come on, make your own compost and take some of it out of the landfills! This was my status on my FB page and I hope all the people who liked it and responded feel as strongly as I do. I was wondering where Bangalore was going with this massive amounts of garbage? We were just taking the stuff by the lorry load and dumping it in villages on the periphery of the city. The villagers have been getting ill with this rotting waste and the leachate has been percolating down into their acquifers. How fair is that? Why should they tolerate our laziness and our dirt? We need to segregate and compost. That's the simple solution out of this mess. Till it sinks into peoples minds, we will have stinking road sides and street corners where the accumulated dirt just lies teaching us a good lesson. We point our fingers at the west saying they are a consumer society and over consume wasting good food. Well they segregate and really nicely from what I have seen. So its time we stopped and cleaned up our act and pronto! Or we will all get Dengue, malaria, chickengunya, or go back to the dark ages and get plague.

A science journalist's dream!

Out of hundreds of journalists from across the globe, I was lucky to have been selected to go for my second ESOF 2012 in July to Dublin. The first ESOF 2010 I attended was in Turin.So what is this ESOF I am raving about? It is the Euroscience Open Forum which brings the best of scientists from across the globe to speak on panels and deliver lectures on the new programmes they have formulated in Science. So everyday was like going to Alibabas cave of knowledge and letting my brain soak in all the great new concepts these brilliant men and women had formulated for the world.
I heard about fracking which is a wonderful new concept to tap gas from shale. I heard about work on growing GM crops which everyone is dead against in the world. For once I heard the other side away from the rabble rousing Greenpeace elements.
I heard about how social media has become such a marvelous tool to share stories on science. About smart cities and smart grids when the grids back here in India are tripping due to over drawing of energy.
The venue we went to was in the fancy Dublin convention centre and we had a wonderful five days listening to the best in the world expound on various topics.
In the evening we had time to enjoy our Temple Bar Hotel a cultural hotspot in the heart of the city. Take a look at the pictures. Dublin is a great place and if ever you get to visit London, do take a trip to Ireland. The people are more friendly and less dour on that side of the UK!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Precious water

This year I learnt up close and personal how important it is to have a plentiful supply of water.We happily planted a 1/4 acre in Hoskote with tomatoes -- our very first commercial crop. Bonny gave money to Narsimappa to pay the farmers on either side to supply us water as our bore was running dry. The farmers on both sides said they needed the water for themselves and Narsimappa swallowed the money. What happened after that? Well we watched our crop of tomatoes wither infront of our eyes. The rains have come bringing with them water abundance. I have got Narsimappa to dig around our borewell and make a big p-it to collect the rain and replenish the water table. it might not help our bore, but it will help the general table. From the photos you can see the pond dug by the farmers has filled to the brim and the government has built a check dam and water has backed up and percolated down instead of just running off. The rains bring respite and the trees grow in leaps and bounds. I love the rains!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Foot-ball lily

From the internet I have noticed, these flowers are called Foot-ball Lilies and not Thunder lilies which my Dad called them! As soon as the first rain fell and the parched earth was throughly soaked in the Hayes Road garden, one patch which was quite dry for most of the year aprang up to life! They were the bright red Ball lilies. We loved them and the boys too enjoyed looking at them as they grew up running around that garden! Its that time of year now in Bangalore, but unfortunately our garden in Hayes Road has gone and with it the ball lilies. However I did salvage a few and took them to Hoskote where I think they are starting to wake up and hopefully by this weekend we will have a few full blown flowers!

Red Whiskered Bulbul

Today as I reversed the car really early to get to the visa office I was pretty tense wondering if I had taken all the documents needed to apply for the visa.Ticking them off in my head I thought, photos, bank docs, property details, copies of college appointment letters and my PhD registration. And then, I heard the liquidy notes of a Red Whiskered Bulbul, singing in the Camel Foot tree we had planted 15 years ago on the road.What a wonderful feeling to have the notes wash over my mind and almost immediately I relaxed and waited, listening till the end of his song. If you ever get a chance to hear one, just stop and let his serenade thrill you. There is nothing like the perky tones of the bird which can wipe away all that build up of stress which we really do not need at all in our lives.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Love Watermelon

I love watermelon and so when a friend sent me these wonderfully creative artworks made with melons I had to load some on my blog.

Have seen them here in Bangalore at fancy salad bars laid out in 5 stars. But where I saw some as gorgeous as these were in Bali and Bangkok.

Every fruit and salad bar was adorned with them and many as beautiful as these.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

The largest flower in the world- Amorphophallus titanum (Araceae)


The largest flower in the world is blossoming in Blanco , Veracruz , Mexico .It is
2 meters high and weighing 75 kilos, it has the peculiarity of blooming only
during three days every 40 years. You'd only see it once or twice in a lifetime!

Amorphophallus titanum (Araceae), also called "cadaverous flower" has the peculiarity of blooming only for three days every 40 years,
a privilege that Mother Nature bestowed on this town in Veracruz .

The Litchie's have bloomed in Hoskote!

With Climate Change making Bangalore crazily hot, I wondered if our Litchies would ever fruit. Planted around 8 years ago, they are full of flowers and tiny baby cylindrical fruit. Take a look at the trees in the pics.

I have seen trees in Malleswaram loaded with fruit and have written about them around 10 years ago, but now I wondered as the Hayes Road one is definitely around 20 years old and has never fruited.

Now I will have to keep an eagle eye on the fruit with Narsimappa and sons ready to greedily eat all that comes up there. So fed up of the Rose Apples flowering and fruiting and us getting nothing from there ever even to taste.

Anyway this has been exciting and will watch to see if any of the hundreds of little fruit mature!

Bright orange brush like flowers!

Today I walked down to take pictures of a creeper in Richmond Town, on Rhenius Street which is covered with flowers. The flowers are breath takingly beautiful and the buds too look really strange. I have loaded both pictures of the flower in full bloom and the buds as well.

It is a creeper with dark green large leaves and it throws a regular vine out like any other creeper that needs to be trained.

Please look at it and enjoy, and if anyone has any idea what its name is, I would be very grateful if you shared it with me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tricks to cut back on wasted time with house chores!

I had this email sent to me by a friend and thought it would make a great post for all of us who scurry for time everyday.For me my day never has enough hours in it for everything I would like to do and end up rushing and cramming more than I can handle most often.

These little aids help to cut back on wasted time in homes and I know many of them will be a great help personally for me!

The first one is naming cables with the plastic selas used to keep bread fresh. Another is fixing a magnetic strip to stick our clips and pins. Another is to put our shoes into shower caps found in most hotels rather than pack directly in our clothes. And the last and most useful for me is to put the sheet and one pillow case into one case and neatly stack them. I waste so much time finding the second case or even the matching sheet!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creativity unleashed with veggies and fruit!

Was sent these pics by email and was totally tickled with the mushrooms on the see saw, the bunch of grapes, the watermelon piggy and the cutest of all - the chow-chow being coy with a kiss! Enjoy!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Now Water Melons growing in Hoskote!

Yesterday we went to have a dekho of the tomatoes growing in the farm and check when we can contact Safal to buy the crop. It's our first try and I wonder if we will get any money in return!

Narsimappa has also put down a field of Water melon which as you can see in the pic have begun to fruit. They are tiny and yet already have the trademark stripe on them. I am sure like the tomatoes which are organic these too will be delicious!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The scientist and the journalist!

Always, whenever I have worked with scientists, I have just read their stuff and looked for a story and then never really connected. They were faceless academics who touched my life for the period of working my story and we never ever met one another again.

Then I worked Gopi Sundar's story. Gopi a scientist who works out of India and Minnesota and then suddenly he was coming to Bangalore. Kindly and generously he agreed to speak to my class in St Joseph's and what a great interaction that was. The kids initially were in awe of him, but after a while they relaxed and quizzed him no end.

I hope the interaction makes a few of them want to be environmental journalists. We desperately need a few more in India to fight for our poor planet which is in dire distress and sensitize the world about the loss of the flora and fauna desperately trying to stay alive.

Submerged by music!

It was a marvelous two evenings - one after the next where I was asked to cover two musical events in the Alliance de Francaise! When Mini gives me these events to do, it forces me out of hibernation where I am happy just reading scientists papers to write stories from. Or just laze infront of the TV watching junk!

But the second event was even more fun because I asked my students to come for the event and get a blast of fusion music which I was covering. It was their first time going for a music show and they were thrilled to be witness to something they had never enjoyed before. Four fresh faces, armed with their note pads and cameras came and felt like royalty which we journos are treated like at shows -- as we are given the best seats in the house which are reserved especially for us.

I have sent off my piece with the pictures I have shot -- lets see what they write. It's nice to get a fresh perspective to these shows from the younger generation of journos!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Those scented Lilliums!

No celebration for me is complete without flowers and preferably scented Lilliums! Patricia from Daffodil florists outdid herself this time and made the most exquisite arrangements for Bonnys 60th birthday! Look at the pics, people were floored with the beauty of the arrangements.

I saw an orange variety growing in hot houses in Coonoor. It was such a stunning sight seeing these orange blooms growing in such huge numbers and cut in large bundles every morning to be sent to grace our homes in Bangalore.

This particular magenta/pink variety is a stunner. Much nicer than the white and the scent, I wish with all my heart, someone creative learns to bottle it!

Date Palms are fashionable!

Amazing isn't it? How humans see opportunity in the areas least expected.In the last two years or more I have been watching malls shooting up in Bangalore and our lowly date palm which we all ignored in scrub areas, suddenly become centre of attention! Landscape gardeners have found them easy to transplant and even at 6 feet and over they overcome the trauma of transplantation and thrive in their new homes!

Ofcourse as usual we humans are interfering with nature for our benefit, as they are easy to maintain and don't create too much litter which needs daily cleaning.Never thought I would see the day when these palms played natural decorators in the city and though they do not offer too many benefits in terms of cutting back on pollution, at least they are real trees and our own domestic beauties rather than imported exotic varieties.