Wednesday, May 31, 2006


It was a recon for the vatsalya trip. Sunand & me, started without any care in the world, had a relaxed trek. Yes, it was that hectic week of the year.

Wed: Rajkumar passes away.
Thu: Hez buried, violence in the city.
Fri: Ramanagara trek, April 14
Sat: Chinnarangala starts, night Ulsoor Pallakki
Sun: Lalbaugh outing for Vatsalya

A sultry day......the clouds gathered and saved us. One of the hottest weeks of the summer.

We lost our way & arrived much earlier than planned. Arrived at the base of the Ramdevar betta...and the small pond there had these frogs. as, we approached I saw a turtle slipping into the water, waited for quite sometime, no sign of it.

Climbed up. Rama temple was closed. Quite tired, lay down besides some Nagara kallu (snake gods), and soon caught sight of these Crimson Rose butterflys mating. They went on for a long time.....despite good breeze.

Thats Sunand doing the final climb. We climbed up, got nostalgic of our previous trek here. Sunand, tried reaching Manasa, but she was sleeping.

Me, posing. Yes, that hat was real helpful.

As we climbed down these Geckos(??) caught our attention. Need to pick up Daniel's book on Amphibians & reptiles and identify them. Yes, these are Rock Agama's.

Yes, saw lotz of vultures - 3 to be precise - Long-billed vultures. Quite far...snaps are quite bad.

A 10 am to 8 pm trek. Lotz of things running in my mind. Thankfully gotaway from the city. And, had a friend, who noticed it all, kept quite & let me be. Thanks buddy.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Chinnarangala 4,5,6

Action continues. The children still come to school. They run around.... fight or climb trees...... and when tired stop, sit, listen to the teacher - write/paint. Thats children, at their very best!

With each passing saturday, I take out my camera less often. The kids & their actions are no more novelties ;-))

We have had good support from other groups.

Firstly, it was the Reuters gang...they came...they saw...they played.....and left behind a lot of crayons/books/stationaries and hazzar clothes for the kids. This coupled with the cloth collection, we had from other donors was distributed 2 weeks back. Except for a few kids, almost everybody got 1/2 clothes. Somehow, more of girl clothes than boyz.

Texas Instruments had a cloth drive as part of their Annual day. And, passed it to us. Here, we had clothes of all ages, and in the children category have ended up with clothes for very young girls & babies.

Then entered FSL India, and after a good look-around, they were clear 'bout what to do....A medical camp.....and a day of funNGames.

So, last saturday was medical camp. Dr Anand lead. It was over 40 kids .... diagnoised mostly with some hygine related disorders. Each kid got a toothbrush/paste/soap and some multi-vitamin be given along with their lunch at school........and ofcourse, the prescribed medicine. Lotz of very young girls were crying, totally uncomfortable in seeing a doctor. My job was to talk to them...get their names....and their ages....had to guess majorly. And their sex....had some problems with some kids with long hair. You think...itz a girl...until they announce their names.....and you look startled......then confirm with kids around...'Hey, is this a boy!'...YES, they declare....I take their word. The camp went eventless until a 4 year old girl slapped me for pestering for her name!!! The other volunteers took the weight, height, pulse & temperature. And, the doctor, who was very enthusiastic checked them up. Lot of Telugu speaking one of the teacher had to translate. Pretty good medical camp. The doc's came back after a few days with the prescribed medicine & passed them on with neccessary instructions.

And that afternoon, we had one of our expert volunteer joining us. Meet Mr. Chaitanya, a 12th std student, he was keen on having some drawing/painting for children. Charcoal painting. Kids were guided to drawing a house, trees, clouds etc. And, then using charcoal on it. I had never seen such stuff before. The kids got going.....once they get in...itz tough to stop them.....they draw...they paint/color....and then most of them get so carried away they color/draw all over the place ;-)

Today...the FSL gang came carrying in lot of things.....a crayon box/pencil/drawing book for each kid. And, 2 footballs......and hold ur breath....2 cricket bats...stumps...3 tennis balls.....the kids were overjoyed.....they have been pestering me for cricket bats for weeks now.....I had been they were maha-thrilled. They somehow think I am behind it ;-))

So, we started with the painting session....the kids soon settled down to it....and furiously got going.....they crayoned colorfully. Some of the volunteers drew pictures/scenes for them to color up. And, met up with Pooja....a volunteer with FSL...a 2nd year BBM student......she zapped me with her push....asking those searching/uncomfortable questions. She wanted that proactive approach. And, as we parted, she said 'Once, you come to volunteer, you should not stand and laze around......start doing things'! thats volunteerism for me ;-)

Yes...we got the kids to kick the football......the kids chased the ball like mad.

Guyz...thats how Chinnarangalla is progressing, we are seeing a good turn out, after 6 weeks too. And, hope to get them to continue with the regular school. We have a couple of saturdays to go, interested, join us.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Dame shall fly

Here I go with Damselfly's. The first time I really observed them - an year back - I was taken aback....such think stick like abdomen....and wings neatly folded above.
Coromandel Marsh Dart Male (IISc marsh, in front of CEDT)

Stream Glory - Female (Ranganthittu, Hotel Mayura, Kaveri bank)

Black tipped forest glory (Kukke Subramanya, on a tree besides a stream)

Blue Grass Dartlet (IISc, behind lecture halls)

Blue Grass Dartlet(??) (Ramanagara, atop Ramdevaru betta in the pond)

Identification thanks to Subbu's online book.

Enter the Dragon

Yes guyz, finally found the book I was looking for quite sometime.
A wonderful & simple introduction to Dragons & Damsels, with color pictures by K. A. Subramanian. Online & free.

Thought will start using the book by putting up pics of the odonates I had captured earlier and use the pdf's to get to know their names. Would like to write more detailed accounts later.

Ladies & Gentlemen, Dragonfly's.....popularly called as helicopters are a treat to watch.

Common Club tail

Green Marsh Hawk

Blue Marsh Hawk - male

Blue Marsh Hawk - female

Wandering Glider

Ditch Jewel - Male

Ditch Jewel - Female

Crimson-tailed Marsh Hawk

Hope, I have got the labels right. The pics have been taken at IISc, Whitefield, and Ramanagara. DragonFlys are seen very much in the city too. Keep looking out, sometimes an entire species will be migrating across the city. The kites line up for their meals. Yeah! don't forget to check out the online book.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Big Question

For those of us, reading this blog sitting in the comforts of IT industry, it may be just about our promotions, projects, deadlines etc.

But for the Kids who have written their 10th Exam it is a BIG '??", what next after 10th ? and for kids who have written their II PUC Exam, what now ?

Its is one of the most important choice a child makes in his/her life, but sadly more 45% of kids have no choice in this, because their parents cannot afford their education. At the tender age of 16 they end up dropping out of school.

I am sure, YOU care.... and would want to support their education. Join hands with us.

We at Friends of Children sponsor & mentor such children. We ensure they get into higher education leading to better employment & life.

You can support

By referring a college where they can offer discounted fees to deserving less privileged students

By sponsoring a child his/her college education

Provide mentoring, academic teaching and/or career guidance


If you believe in "catch them young"

Team up with us to teach in Government schools, we are desperately looking for volunteers to work with Adugodi Government High school for Girls and Madivala Government High school.

If this calls you, get in touch with Shrikanth /Ravi/me immediately or visit Friends of Children

Children need your support to realise their dreams...

PS: Shrikanth's writing.....flicked.


April 22nd, Ulsoor, Bangalore, 23:00 to 0:45 of April 23d.

Pallakki - a Rathyathra - a chariot of Gods & Godesses. An Annual event in most old parts of south-India. On a particular night, each temple or a sponsorer would come up with a pallakki, and a diety is seated in the rath, and with all devotion, gaiety and josh, the chariot is taken all around the village. Its a matter of great prestige, honour and faith. People from the surrounding parts throng in thousands. Its mostly associated with the village fair.

Halasooru (Ulsoor), an old part of Bangalore, this year hosted close to 80 pallaki's.

It also turned out to be a meeting up of old boyz. Vasudev, Vasu, Thulsi & me, met up after ages. And, soon it was the old laughter and leg pulling.

Preperations start a lot earlier, that night as you walk will see the franatic making of the pallaki's. Busy workers. Its more a chariot of flowers. So flowers: mostly Jasmine & Kanakambara.

Temples usually have a 'Utsava moorthi'. A metal idol for such occassions. For normal prayers & darshan in the temple, we have the dieties made of some stone, fixed permanently. I have noticed idols in south India made of darker stones (granite ?), while those from North India are whitish (marble ?) . The inner temple, normally is quite dark (without Electricity), and thus the aarathi (camphor light taken close to the idols) become very important.

Usually, during a Pallakki night, the Electric power in that area is shutdown, due to fears of the overhead cables coming in contact with the tall chariots. And, so its typically a dark night, generators run and supply the much needed spotlight.

Each Pallakki has it associated music. This gang was playing some carnatic stuff. Not a common sight I wud say.

Mmmm...definitely needs a closer look.

Pallaki's create a sense of competiton in the neighbourhood. Quite a lot of people associate themselves with a certain chariot, and would like to believe theirs is the BEST. Again, the architecture is interesting. Normally bigger the temple, better their funds, and grand their pallakki.

The above is from the Kempamma temple. Pallakki's are not only from the rich. Here, every temple, however small, raises money & makes one. Not surprisingly, even children, collect money, build small pallakki's....toy pallakki's......and take them around. Taking them around....thats interesting....the chariot may be physically may be housed on a matador or pulled by a tractor.

Lord Aiyappa, I somehow find his sitting (squatting) pose very different from the other gods. Any funda's ??

Yes, what are these chaps doing ?? This ladies & gentlemen is THE music. 'Thamatte' music....high decibel beats......with lots of energy....and we guyz simply love it. Its a music, you can't just listen too, but simply start dancing along.

Pallakki's happen during the summer in almost all old-parts of Bangalore. An old tradition that continues strongly. Drop in, I will love it.