Friday, December 29, 2006

Ramnagara school trip

Thorns made red by bleeding hearts.

Well, if not a bleeding heart, I indeed was in a quandary. Chalghatta school - 200 kids - never been on a school trip - wow! lets take them out - but how ??

The logistics was turning into a nightmare. A bus can take 50-60 kids, a long journey makes it 9k/bus, and entry fees. And, food expenses. Mysore beckoned, but entry fees & quite long a journey. Same tale with Shravanabelogala-Tallakad-Bellur circuit.


My morning run ---> solution thrashed. Check with Sunand. 'Yes! we will do it', he says. Bliss.

Funda: Thorns are mostly in our imagination, as in the pic above. The locust intimidates other predators with it thorn like legs.

And, so on a saturday morning 9th of Dec 06. All the 6th & 7th std kids were taken on a outing. The 5th std kids from Chalghatta, along with 3rd to 5th from the Bellur school will be taken to Fun-world sometime in Jan. An elaborate pooja for the bus, seemed to satisfy the bus driver. He had cribbed heavily that only 46 passengers are allowed, and we were 66 kids, 8 teacher staff, & 6 volunteers!!!
And soon, Sunand & Shweta got some major Anthakshari going in the bus. Latest Kannada songs from FM 137.66
Ramnagara was the destination. A rock-climbers paradise. A quite place, with vultures above ur head, place to be. We wanted to introduce the kids to trekking and rock-climbing.
And soon, after breakfast, Sunand launched onto what trekking is....rock climbing is......the equipment you need to be.....water bottles.....discipline....etc etc. At the end of the briefing, a boy promptly fainted!!!!
And soon, the 66 kids were divided into groups with volunteers Leena, Chetna, Shweta & Navrathan leading them. Sunand & Mallesh were the rock-climbing experts and leading the trek/climb. The teachers, esp the school HM Mary had a tough time in the small trek. She kept saying 'Since when have you been scheming this on me'...she struggled.....the kids literally ran.....and after some time 2 kids came back to help their HM!!!

Soon, we reached the base of Ramdevar betta. The joy here is the natural slide thats on this rock....the kids went up & slid down merrily.

We climbed up the hill, pitched in the equipment, and introduced rappling.
And after swift instructions from Mallesh & Sunand, the kids rappled down. It was a good test of their confidence, courage and trust.

Soon boyz & girls clamoured to get down. A few kept away, having a single rappling rope was becoming a botlle-neck.Shwetha took upon securing the harness & gloves.


By 5pm, we had finished with the last rappling kid, and went down for lunch. A good number of the kids had rappled down. The plan was also to visit Kokrebellur, some museum at chanpatna, and Rajarajeshwari temple. But, with rappling taking all the time we ditched it.
The school had raised Rs 2300 from the kids 50Rs each, from all those, who could pay. They covered food charges and also bought some canvas shoes for those needing it. Transport charges was covered by DSF. Rock climbing charges raised from volunteers.
The way back, the back benchers started with some major Ayyappa bajans, and soon being tired gave up and slept. It was 8:40pm, when the bus reached the school. Sunand wanted me to 'de-brief' the kids. And so, for the 66 kids seated in a corridor, that glowed in a yellow light lamp, for those who rappled, and those who didn't, with some of their parents watching, I spoke of 'Why adventure'....'Why push the body'...'Striving beyond the limits'...'Marathon running'.....'Rock climbing'....'Their exams'.....'their studies'.....'little more marks' The kids starred back sleepily, and their parents were quite.
Well, we managed to pull thru this outing safely. And, the kids enjoyed it. A new experience.
A zillion thanks to my buddy & Man Friday (Man Saturday ?) Sunand, who made this happen.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

BR Hills

Billi Rangan Betta, 11th September, Anil & me, went on a 2 hr trek, 6:40 to 8:40 kinds, along with 2 guides from Jungle Lodges. Overcast sky, misty conditions, a wet forest, thick green vegetation, animals seemingly just out of your eye-reach, various calls.

A bison skull, an old tiger kill.

Fungi ??
Tender leaves, wonder why they are red ??
Gaint wood spider.
Unidentified spider.
Mushroom from the bark of a tree.
Wow! this was the find of the trek for me. A spider nest, in the form/size of a football, had over 50 spiders. Bad light conditions, the whight specks are spiders.

Yes, pug mark of a tiger. And closeby was the remains of its kill. The hooves & legs of a deer. It was roating & lotz of fly's were stuck to it. The guides said, it must be a one day old kill.

A lovely little trek, pity it was just 2 hrs. Walking in a forest, with an element of surprise around the corner, itz an amazing feeling.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Guess who ?

Blogging is infectious. Mmmm....well, not all my close friends have caught the bug though.
Once you write something, you think it is the best write-up ever. You read re-read. It Looks better & BETTER, as you stare with unconcealed glee, the characters get polished, and the words glitter back at you. Yes, its the very best words can offer!

And now, you march triumphantly into the outside world expecting 'Wow!' 'Great!!' 'Fabulous!!!' Strangely, that doesn't seem to happen. You meet your friends, look at them with that glitter in your eyes......did-you-read-my-blog....shinning all over. Your chums don't pick the signals, instead talk of Munnabhai's Gandhigiri.

You wonder.

And, yes, occasionally people do seem to visit, but you want them to declare it to the universe.


Yes, that wonderful feature. When friends drop in, and say what noble work you are doing. What pictures. What write-up.....waah wah....waah....wah.


But that hardly happens. Blokes seem to chicken out. They read, and their writing skills seem to vanish. All it needs is the skills of a 6 year old first standard kid. But, with my friends, I have my doubts!!!


So...whatz to be done.

Its a challenge.

Well, I know my friends, they need a challenge.

Herz one, they would like.

Identify the flower in the picture. Tell me, which plant ??

What say ?

Don't call me, or mail me......please do leave your comments ;-))

Wow! brilliant idea, isn't it ?

Let me leave behind a clue. This pic was taken in one of the densest jungles of Karnataka.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A marathon run

Bangalore hosted a marathon a few weeks back. And, surprise-surprise, one of our friends - Suma, came second in the women's full marathon. Herz a fabulous account of her experience.


This is Suma.
Fitness turned to serious action:

Did I complete a full marathon?
No, Never, You believe me or not, this is true, I have still a big doubt.

I am very happy that I finished a full marathon with a timing of 4 hrs 23 min 47 sec

Special Thanks to:

1. Ashit Lama: One who accompanied me for the whole marathon in cycle to give Glucon D water

2. Sunand: One who helped me to get marathon details

3. Raj: Who dropped me in the stadium @ 5.a.m.

4. My Aunt: With whom I stayed one day before the marathon.

About Myself: 24 yr. old, Mr. Bean fan, always worried about my 'Slim & Trim' structure. I want to keep my weight below 50Kg. Only for this reason I started jogging.

Why Marathon:

1. Opportunity to run with the people from all over the world
2. To see the beautiful structure of guys and gals.
3. Chance to wear less dress and run around Bangalore
4. To see the beauty of Blr. at no cost.

About my Practice & Diet.

Practice makes Perfect - absolutely true.

I was jogging half and hour daily for my fitness sake till Aug. 2005. Then i got in to a teacher job in New Horizon school . So I had more time for reducing my weight. I was 56 kg in Aug 2005.

I spend one hr. for jogging and exercises till Dec 2005 But lost just 2 kgs, so 54 kgs.

Then I took a resolution in New Year
(Speciality: I never followed any of my resolution in life)

I increased my practice to 2 hrs. continously. I felt easy after a month. I felt so happy that I lost 2 more kg. in the month of Feb. 2006. But still I was at 52.

One day I went to stadum to see the beautiful structure of guys and gals. Casually I got the information about Blr. marathon celebration run for 7km, half-marathon for 21km, and full marathon for 42 kms.

So I thought that I can reduce more fat from my body by running 42 kms.

Yes But how? Then I planned.
(Advice: dont plan this way)

If I can cover 20 kms in 2 hrs. (10/hr) So after 20 kms u think that u have started the race just know. How is it? Great idea?

But problem is not with mind and body, what willl I tell my legs?

'Ok legs, you forget every thing about previous run.'

Then I found that "I am a stupid"

March 2006 I managed to run 3 hrs continously, I cut short my oily foods, automatically I started drinking a lot of water prepared for May 15th.

One more month to go. I gave three day complete rest and ran 4 hrs continously in the month of Apr.

Yes I can do it. But the next two days I was flat. So I thought of doing only 3 and half hrs. I bought a weight less addidas shoe for my marathon.

I managed to run 4 hrs continously from apr 10th onwards.

But my worry was always about my weight. let me go and check my weight

'Amazing i was just 49 kgs.'

May 1st: the month of all expectation to complete a marathon.

I had a doubt, whether I can finish within 4 hrs or not.

Not possible, I can't, so after 4 hrs what will I do, I planned it out
(Advice: dont follow this)

1. Shall I quit the race
2. Shall I catch a volunteer bike for help
3. Shall I walk and finish(that would be better)

But its not that easy after a long jogging, its difficult to change the leg movement. I thought of jogging 4 and half hrs.

'I think i am in love with u, no no, i am thinking about u. May be i am in love with u'

my letter for marathon race.
(Love ur activity what ever it is)

My prayer to God has increased. I packed my bag.

Message from Sunand:
'Marathon has postponed to Sep 3rd'

Very sad. I felt punishing myself by jogging 5 hrs continously at the same day of my expectation i.e. May 15 th.

I prepared for a marathon alone. But I couldnt. I lost all my energy in 4.45 of continuous jog.

Atleast I did this. Thank God.
Then I continuod my usual practice.

June 4th:

Sunand, Ashit, and myself planned for Nandi hill 60 kms walkathon. We covered the distance in 12 hrs.

Confidence and Trial make our way stronger

42 kms became very very small in front of 60 kms. A lot of thanks to Sunand and Ashit.

I knew that i can complete this race. I felt that God has given me the opportunity to practice more. i came to 47-48 kgs. I felt that I became thin, not slim.

'Marathon is the best way to keep ur structure slim and young forever'

Sep 16: (3 days before itself I stopped my practice)

An unusual day I called up Shaheen and Sunand about my stay. They gave me a tough picture of staying with a gang of marathon runners.(New place, New people)

So I thought of staying with my Aunt. I drank 5 glasses of pomogranate juice without- milk, sugar,& ice. and 2 boiled eggs. I got blessings from my pappa and mamma. I got in to sleep @ 8 p.m.

I prayed God

1. Help me god to complete this race
2. Oh Sun, u ar the grt God. Shall we play hide and seek tomorrow(Sep 17) You hide but I never seek u. Bcoz then u will show ur hot sun light.
3. God plz adjust my loosemotion for a day.

(But god agreed only for 2 wishes)
Bcoz god too never likes the loose motion problem)

Sep 17 : 1 a.m.

I got my 1st loose motion. At 4 o clock I had one banana and 2 apples and dry fruits. When they were announcing the 1st call for marathon I was inside the stadium toilet @ 5.45 a.m. That was my 5th loosemotion.

Then I thought not to drink water till 20 kms. so that I can control my problem.

I crossed my start line thinking that 'oh line when will i see u again I love u Iwant to see u again.'

Many of them accompanied me. They felt 'a girl running with boys'. I felt so happy. Bcoz I was the centre of attraction among boys.

I had a lot of energy but I don't want to pull myself. I know my own pace.

I croossed hebbal fly over, a traffic police man said I was in 4 th position
Never mind, I just want to complete the race.

"Finishing is more important than winning"

I crossed my 21 kms mark. I say many of them standing there and encouraging runners I got my old point of view.

'Think Suma, think u are just started the race, u have to run just 21 kms. only.'

So stupid no, what can i do? No other way, I have to think like that.

I crossed the 3rd girl. Then volunteers said I was in 3rd position.

For the next 5 kms. i was dreaming about 'standing in the 3rd victory stand, photographers, autograph to boys, bla, bla, bla.....(Day dream)

"Good day dream will give u more enery to our harmones"

I drank my first sip in 25th kms.

Once again Hebbal.

One prayer in my mind:

" God show me the stadium, I dont want to enjoy the beauty of Blr, I dont want to see beautiful gals and handsome guys, I dont want to run with less dress"

That time Ashit gave me good encouragement saying "Suma u ar in 3rd position, u can do it"

I saw my timings. it was 3.15 Wow. I have 45 more minutes of my practice. I have to cover 10 kms. Yes I can.

I can see nobody running marathon, everyone got into their own pace, no company of boys, some thought that I was jogging after 9 a.m. stupid girl. Some two wheelers and travellers turned and laughed at me so sad, many of them doen't know abt the race.

I was counting my each step in the last 5 kms. Casualy I saw one bus standing in the traffic signal, one boy was clicking my photo in his mobile camera.

This gave me push to run 2 more kms. i.e. till 40.

Then I saw 2nd girl running before me. She is also very tired. She is covering by walk and jog. But I can go without walk. But I already completed my 4 hrs of daily practice.

Last 1 Km

" I felt i was going to fall, my leg was carrying 100 kg in each People were thinking that I was handicapped, 7 kms runners thought that I was cebration runner with a crying face"

When I crossed the stadium gate many of them clicked my photo in thier camera. There was an annoucement
'give a big hand to women full marathon runner " I felt that I can run 10 more kms. easily. But so sad I have only 400 mts. to go.

I completed the race with 4:23:47. I didnt sit, fall, thinking that I can run 1 more hr. non stop (Not in Reality)

"Thank God I completed the race"

This exp. taught me a lesson: "How to live life"

- Prepare and plan urself before u do
- The only way to reach goal is keep going
- Get confidence by way of practice, it makes perfect
- Love ur activity what ever it is
- Thank God for all the Good and Bad things
- Finishing is more important than winning

"Life is like a Marathon"

Stage I : till 10 Kms. School and College age (till 20 yrs of age)

We have more energy, but dont do things extremily. it will effect ur coming stage. u will enjoy the beauty of every thing (Nature, company of boys and gals, etc)

Stage II: Till 21 kms (20-30 yrs of age)

We are still young and energetic, dont misuse, take up career 1st, then go for love.

Stage III: till 31 kms. (30-50 yrs of age)

Middle stage, got in the job and responsibilities. After marriage I saw very few of them are happy, but no way, u have to live with ur partner(marathon) and family(pains).

Stage IV: last 10 kms. (after 50 years of age)

Life will be boring, Bcoz u know about everything. Relax and prayer is very important. Love ur partner (marathon) more in this stage. Say I love u in each step u make.

Special tips for my marathon friends:
(If u think u can also run a full marathon, follow my steps below)

1. Increase ur practice - step by step - otherwise get confidence that u can complete the race by walking.

2. Dont skip ur streching exercises for next day. Do it after the jog. it helps u to relax ur muscles.

3. Intake of water should be 5-6 ltrs. per day. include more vegi and fruits, egg and fish is o.k.

4. You have to sleep atleast for 7-8 hrs in a day.

5. Get a comfortable weight less shoe, bcoz dont carry ur shoe along with ur body weight

6. Take ur friends and cover more kms,. like Nandi hill walk. So that u will get more confidence. Make 42 kms smaller than that.

7. Prayer to God and blessing from ur parents will give more satisfaction.

8. Find out ur own pace Dont follow others pace.

9. Practice on staircase steps by jogging, then u will feel high slopes and bridges is like stairs. (once in a while)

10. Drink buttermilk with salt in previous day of race it will control ur tension as well as ur loosemotion.

11. Put foot powder in ur legs, shoes, and socks. it will control swetting.

12. Try to be in ideal weight, bcoz your legs have to carry ur full body weight while jogging.

Thank u all for seeking my marathon experience - looking out for more life games and company of marathon friends. Send me reply about this exp.

"You come with me, I will also come with you"

" I didnt complete a marathon, I just completed my practice timings"


Ur Suma.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The General

'Good morning, good morning!' the general said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we were cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
'He's a cherry old card', grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

-Siegfried Sassoon
Written in April 1917

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wild Pigs

Billigiri Rangan Betta - BR Hills - beckoned us like never before. Promptly Anil & me made an appearance, after close to 7 hrs of travel from B'lore. And that included a broken Volvo bus, a jeep that threatened to breakdown any moment in the ghat sections, via Mysore & Chamrajnagar. Jungle lodges at Kyathrayana Gudi - K Gudi - was our base. They have a nice library. And soon after lunch, we just hung in front of our huts. Looking for flowers, staring at the green vegetation, distant hills, and waiting for something to happen.

Suddenly from my left came these black figures, sloth bears ?? nope.....wild boars!!!!!! I stood transfixed, clicking, trying to get the frames right, and not moving much.

As I choose the pics for uploading, felt the green vegetation looked boring, so I played around swapping the RGB colors, now...behold the magic!

Some fundas:

  • Pigs live in groups called sounders
  • Female pig is called sow
  • You may know this, kids pigs are called piglets ;-))

Ah...there they are...the piglets are light brown with pale stripes, the stripes last 6-7 months. The adults weighing close to 100 kg, have a black mane (hair sticking out from the head to tail on top of the body), you can notice it in these snaps.

They live/move in groups - the sow & her piglets - Adult male joins during the breeding season. They first fight for sow, and once victorious they male froths at the mouth or produces lip pheromones to attract the sow. The sow gestates for 100 days. And may bear a litter of upto 12 piglets (a rare thing amongst hoofed animals).

At this point, the pigs were closest to me, I wasn't hiding anywhere, and this chap noticed me, and made his/her displeasure very clear. It stared at me...and grunted....waited for a few seconds...the rest of the clan stayed still....and having warned me, got back to business.

They had their noses to the ground - have a stronge sense of smell - as they foraged. I moved to my binocs & watched them for sometime untill they disappeared behind a hill. It is so satisfying watching wild animals in their natural habitat. I look forward to see them again, the adult males with erect manes fighting amongst themselves, and the female cooly watching the show!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rosy Periwinkle

A flower, that looked very familiar, but seen in the premises of Jungle Lodges at BR Hills , it caught my attention. Took the usual snaps, expecting to label it with Kehimkar's Indian Wild flowers book. The flowers were not seen in the book, surprise, and somehow I stumbled upon the label Rosy Periwinkle, a plant from Madagascar that has given some major cancer saving drugs. I can't believe it, I seem to notice this plants almost everywhere now.....

Traditional healers in Madagascar used this plant for treating diabetes. Curious with this, western researchers, dug in, and studied the effects of the chemicals in the leaves on rats, they noticed that the blood sugar levels of the animals were not affected but rather their white blood cell counts had decreased, thus its anti-cancer properties were discovered. Vincristine and Vinblastine are powerful anticancer agents, and are two of the most important medicinal compounds found in plants in the last 40 years. Vincristine is a standard treatment for Hodgkin's disease, and vinblastine for childhood leukemia. Although extracts from Madagascar periwinkle have been shown to lower blood sugar levels, simple preparations of the whole plant may not be effective.

Long before modern researchers learned of the plant's valuable and varied properties, folk healers in faraway places were using the Madagascar periwinkle for a host of medicinal purposes. In India, they treated wasp stings with the juice from the leaves. In Hawaii, they prescribed an extract of the boiled plant to arrest bleeding. In Central America and parts of South America, they made a gargle to ease sore throats and chest ailments. In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and other islands, an extract of the flowers was commonly administered as a soothing eyewash. Periwinkle is used in folk medicine in the Philippines as a remedy for diabetes. Most of these practices are still followed.

Rosy periwinkle grows up to two and a half feet tall. Leaves are oval and have a glossy surface. The five-lobed flowers are usually white or light pink. Note the leaves in this pic. Periwinkle was called "sorcerers violet" by the French, in reference to its use in charms and love potions. Europeans also believed that periwinkle had the power to exorcise evil spirits. Medieval Europeans used rosy periwinkle frequently in garlands to protect the bearer. The Italians placed garlands of the plant on the graves of infants, calling it the flower of death. During the Enlightenment in Europe, the French considered periwinkle an emblem of friendship.
Low light conditions, some of the flowers have come out bright!!!!

Lets look at Vinblastine in detail. Vinblastine has become a widely applied drug, and is today used primarily in the treatment of the following conditions by interfering with glutamic acid metabolism (specifically, the pathways leading from glutamic acid to the Krebs cycle and to urea formation).

  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Lymphocytic lymphoma
  • Histiocytic lymphoma
  • Advanced testicular cancer
  • Advanced breast cancer
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Letterer-Siwe disease
Vincristine is interesting too. This vinca alkaloid is a spindle inhibitor and is a cell specific agent, blocking cells in the metaphase of mitosis. During mitosis, the DNA of a cell replicates, dividing into two new cells. The vinca alkaloids therefore affect all rapidly dividing cell types, including cancer cells but also as intestinal epithelium and bone marrow.

Vincristine is used primarily to treat

  • Acute leukemia
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Lymphomas
  • Breast cancer
  • Multiple myeloma.

Well, I don't know most of the listed cancer disorders, anyways these two alkaloids are impressive. Herz the chemical structure of these two guyz.

So, Rosy Periwinkle, you can't miss this plant. Look for it, and take your hats off to it ;-))