Desktop wallpaper Calendar for the month of May 07 is ready. This is an image of strands of a waterfall with the major flow of the fall seen in the blurry background. I am in double mind about whether the image is suitable for being a desktop calendar though. A browser resized version looked ugly and pixellated on my computer, so I advice seeing the full sized image. Click on the picture to get the image in 1024x768
About the Image
This image was made at a place called Muthyala Maduvu, or Muthyala Madu near Bangalore, occasionally also called as 'Pearl Valley'. It is a small fall with not much water going down, but when you look up from the bottom of the fall, the drops of water look as though it is pearls falling down(and hence the name). I was with my friend, photographing the fall and was unhappy about the result and told my friend - "The fall is like a poetry, but the images are like snapshots." This was the picture I made immediately after I said this to him.
Green folks in Pooh's Den have an Earth Day competition up and running. Here is the details of what they are looking for.
"What do you think needs to be done to get Indians more aware of their environment and how do we go about protecting it? What in your opinion will be the ideal law to get things moving in the right direction?"
First question first.
People become aware of something in a few situations.
1. Spoon feed the knowledge and information to children. 2. Force feed the knowledge to adults.
As for children, what is fed to them properly in young age remains in their mind forever. The criticality of things is high enough that we need a subject or at least a sub-topic called 'environment' in the schools. Of course children are already burdened with too much to study, so this could be entrenched as part of science topics, by reducing the study material in some other areas of science. But there must be at least one class a week teaching children about environment, conservation and impact of today's problems in our lives. This could go on from, say - class 5 to class 10, without reducing emphasis on the topic in any class.
As for adults, few things are actually registered in the minds of adults unless it is repeated to them again and again and a lot of work is done to keep them aware of things all the time. It is not that adults do not know the problem. People already know simple things like 'avoid using too much plastic', 'avoid driving too much', etc. But it is not exactly something that stays in their mind all the time, and comes as a later priority after tackling all the problems in the daily world. The next time we go shopping, we hardly care to register if we are driving that half a kilometer and if we are bringing things back in a polythene bag. What is needed is a constant reminder. Nothing short of a mass campaign no smaller than the ad campaigns of FMCG companies can help here. Even such a campaign will not find results easily. It needs a lot of money. It should be strong enough and widely covered that each time a person comes out of home, he sees many instructionals on conservation. Each time s/he switches on tv, radio or reads newspaper, s/he must not escape the awareness campaigns. And even such campaigns become effective only with further marketing from viral and personal modes. It is not easy, it needs lot of time, effort and money. But it is the only way. We need to create a system where being eco-friendly is a 'cool thing'. That's how we need to go ahead.
Now to the question of ideal law. Laws probably already exist, but have never been helpful in the absence of sufficient enforcement. The problem of corruption is deep rooted enough that the laws that do not emphasize on making quick buck don't really work well anywhere in the world. So it really comes back to awareness again. When there is awareness sufficiently deeply rooted in each person, there is really no need of any more laws; things automatically move in the right direction. Awareness causes people to comply. And the same awareness keeps the enforcement agencies working as they should, when people don't comply.
* Watching the clouds take over the skies, blocking the harsh sun, and suddenly the light is mild and the weather is pleasant * The gentle cool breeze that precedes the rains, kissing the face and reminding of the impending rain * The first drops falling on the body, just enough to make you feel the rain, and make you feel like the person that is rain itself! * Realizing the intensity of the falling drops, trying to run for the nearest shelter, and finding one only after getting completely drenched! * Slipping the feet into the small, clean and freshly formed puddles * Sitting somewhere deep in the forest, watching a stream gushing down with renewed vigor supported by small and narrow streams forming out of nowhere and hurrying down the slopes * Remembering the days of sailing down the stream with a paper boat * Watching the smiles of the little school girl in her rain coat and umbrella on the way to the school, braving the torrent * Looking for an isolated place on the road with a puddle and driving over it in full speed, watching the fountain of water rushing out all over the place * rainbow! * Holding an umbrella against the rush of water down the roof and listen to the sudden noise under the umbrella * Getting into the swimming pool in April showers * Listen to the lingering tup.. tup.. sounds long after the rains are gone * Bright sun shining over the green and wet earth and the cool air after the rains
A few days back, out of the blue I thought I will live without cell-phone for a few days, and switched it off immediately. Thinking about it, I don't think I had any purpose defined for it. It is not like I am a much-wanted socialite who gets a call every other second and wanted to escape from it. And I was no Mr. Helpful whom people would keep calling for favours either. But somehow I did feel irritated about the phone and decided shut it up at that moment. Hopefully, I will let it stay shut another 3-4 days.
It has been 4 days already and I haven't really had any problems at all. Yes, I could not make a few calls when I wished to and a few people who tried to call me would have heard a switched-off message, but missing those things hasn't really made any major difference.
In these four days, there are other basic features with the phone that I have missed though. The phone doubled up as a watch and I now don't even have a means to see time! On Sunday night, I realized I have no easy way to wake up next morning on time, since I did not have another alarm clock. Today I missed the phone when I wanted to listen to the radio on my hour-long commute to work. And occasionally I wished to play chess puzzles but did not have the phone around.
But there are some good things too. I now no longer have to feel that mild pressure to answer my calls even if I did not want to. And when I am not in my seat at office, people can't call me up now on the slightest excuse. There are times when I expected a call, message or some information and would not like it when it doesn't happen, but now I had no calls to expect!
All said, it still matters that I did not switch off the phone because it was becoming a pain. It was just one of the many things I would do without a reason to backup the action. I will most likely be back online in next few days.
Yesterday evening was a time for house cleaning. And this was not something I am used to doing in the last few years.
It is my maid's fault in the first place - she has gone on a 10-day vacation. I think she might have got infected with taking-a-vacation disease from me. She would have observed my staying away from work for long days and might have thought she must do it. Well, she decided, informed, and took off!
And from the day she stopped working, my abode started degenerating. No work got done on the first day of her absence and yet, things looked fine just as they always did. But a couple of days passed, and everything was in a mess. I tried to do a little bit of work here and there, now and then everyday to make sure that the house did not look like a garbage bin, but it was simply not good enough.
I came home yesterday evening with a determination to set things right. I started with the pile of vessels to clean first. By the time it was done three-fourth, I had had enough of it and decided to leave the remaining few in the sink, and come back later. In the process of cleaning the vessels, plenty of water had spilled on kitchen floor, part of it soapy with dish cleaning bar. I looked around a bit and saw plenty of grime accumulated around the stove in last few days. All of them needed immediate attention and I started working on them next.
That took another long cleaning session and I was beginning to feel I had enough of this work too, but managed to finish the task. By this time I was beginning to feel like quitting, hardly having done much work. Next, it was time for the clothes. I stood in front of the pile of clothes that begged for attention, and had a good look at the small mountain. After thinking hard on it for a few minutes, I finally separated a small portion of the mountain to work on for the day! Another 30 minutes gone and when I was done, I was not up for any more work.
I took a walk around the house, had a look at the remaining vessels in the kitchen, noticed the dust bin content level raising higher than normal and felt the slow gathering of dust on the floor. Would I step out of the house, I knew there was my car screaming at me for leaving several kilograms of dust from all over the city on it!
Looking at the state of things, I immediately knew what to do next - I turned on the comp, started off with a game of packman and got into playing it blissfully, leaving all the worries for the next day! Now I have emerged wiser and back to doing what I did before - taking care of only things that need immediate attention, and also waiting for the maid to return from her vacation! And play packman of course!
Reading write-ups spanning several pages in a few Kannada Dailies on the way to work in the morning, I was almost fighting tears. Tejaswi's demise was something I was not prepared for. He was someone I looked forward to for inspiration in many ways. I hoped to continue soaking in his works for many more years to come; but he left us suddenly.
When I first heard that Tejaswi is no more, my emotions were more selfish than anything else. Does it mean I can't look forward to reading more of his work? Does it mean Mayaloka-2 will never come out, and we will not get to read more of those amazing stories where he makes reading on most complex secrets of nature no more than a sequence of comical experience? Would we not get to read amazing novels that expose the realities of life? It was not easy to accept that he is no more.
My first exposure to Tejaswi happened with Karwalo. It must be more than fifteen years since. Reading Karwalo was like a world changing event. Suddenly I wanted to be in those magnificent forest ranges. Suddenly I wanted to go on an expedition looking for his lizard. I wanted to leave everything and go on a long expedition on some strange and amazing mission that words can't describe. I was an instant fan of the writer, who, I did not even know is the son of Kuvempu.
His novels and other works that I read later continued to have similar impact. The way he mixed stories of his experience with complex rules of nature made me yearn to be in his shoes. When he wrote of the Pond Heron that tried to befriend him, or described the fight of Drongos with a snake, it felt as if I was there with him watching it all happen. When he wrote about his discovery or origins of a stream that runs behind his house, and eventually unfolded the science behind the origin of all those rivers that fed our plains, it was a revelation and amazement. As he wrote about these things, he carried his reader everywhere he went.
There were many things that Tejaswi taught me, and inspired me into. I became crazy on bird photography just by reading his experiences and looking at his pictures. He taught me to look at the obvious with an awe, and go beyond what eyes can reveal. He was an inspiration for me to travel and observe. There are many more things he would have inspired in me that I may not even know about.
I have never seen or met Tejaswi, but his demise makes me feel as though I have lost an old friend with whom I shared many things, and spent many hours chatting on varied topics. I wish he lived on for many years telling us the fascinating tales from Mudigere. I miss Tejaswi as though an old buddy suddenly left me. May his soul rest in peace.
I rarely write about news making and larger than life subjects in this blog, and try to keep it more like a personal space. That is why this space does not see a mention on India's loss in the world cup or on the issue of reservations. Of course I would have my opinions on these things too, but I keep them to myself.
But Subhash Chandra's idea of floating a cricket academy really caught my attention, and I had to write a little about how things would change if he succeeds. It is not just about cricket. If Chandra's academy works as his plans, the idea may soon expand to other games like Tennis and Hockey, on which people have substantial interest, but there are few teams and players in India to whom we can look up to perform. A success in cricket might soon see Chandra trying to expand to these games. If not Chandra, other smart investors with truck loads of money(especially media companies) might definitely see an opportunity. That would mean widespread corporatisation of many sports, like it now is in the US and Europe. That would lead to encouraging sports beyond cricket and popularization of these games across the country, allowaing more and more aspirants to take up sports as a career.
The fact that most of the sports have to survive on government dole has made today's aspirants to take sports as a second priority after academics. That is probably the primary reason why Indian athletes and sportspersons do not shine in the international arena. Every four years when the Olympics begin, or when the football world cup happens, we keep hearing noises that a country of billion people is missing completely from the scene. Obviously, when ensuring your daily bread is the higher priority, academics are far less risky than thinking of a career in sports. But corporatisation of sports and infusion of money from investors like Subhash Chandra would be able to change all that.
Shruthi's post on comfort food got me thinking a little about the food I would rather not miss for many days.
I am generally open to any kind of food. I don't mind trying or living on alien food for a long time. In fact I love trying and tasting new stuff. In the days I have been away from home, I have never worried much about what I am getting to eat and have lived with what is available. The longest I have lived with completely alien food was probably for only two weeks. I spent fifteen days in Alaska having to live primarily on Mexican food(Tex-Mex), and was pretty delighted about tasting their delicacies. Even though I have been away from home for longer periods, I was not alienated completely from my regular food.
But when I was travelling in North India last year for a month, my weakness for food surfaced. I could manage pretty well with whatever is available for lunch and dinner, but I craved for regular breakfast every morning. That's how I realized it is hard for me to live without the usual Idli, Dosa, Uppittu and such southern delicacies.
I hate having to eat steamed rice or its derivatives(Pulao, Fried Rice,..) in the morning and would rather stay empty stomach instead. I am not so fond of Rotis of any kind either. South Indian food was not available in some areas where I was travelling. That put my with little else to eat in the morning, except Parathas. I like Aloo Parathas and enjoy eating them, but despite that my system was not very willing to accept them in the mornings. I guess it had to be the stuff I am used to eating everyday - Dosas, Idlis, etc.