Monday, August 28, 2006

NBD Ramanagara

Notebook drive, a DSF initiative: Giving notebooks to govt. school children. On 19th & 22nd Aug, 5,500 notebooks were given to 1500 students in 19 primary rural schools around Ramnagara. On 19th, a gang of 30 volunteers, lotz from Accenture, distributed the books. A few schools were closed because of 'Nalkne shravan shanivaara', and these were covered on 22nd Aug. The pics, shot by Sunand, tell the story.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Long Billed Vultures

Aug 15th, a day celebrated as India's Independence day, turned out to be quite special for Murtuza, Dharin, Ami & me. An half a day of trek at Ramnagara, with vultures watched like never before. As you approach Ramdevara betta, this colony of long billed vultures, can't be missed. They eye you from their high perch, as you eye them back with your binoc's, their sheer size astounds. And, as we climbed closer, their size simply got bigger!!!!

I was also checking out my 'Hunter' shoes, picked up at one of the numerous 'Army stores' in the bylanes of Shivajinagar for 250Rs, with lot of rubber, I was hoping that the shoes 'clicks'.

Can you spot Mrs. Rock Agama ?

We counted 12 vultures sitting closely. Now & then, one of them would soar into the sky, or glide back & land softly. The nest seemed to consist of natural crevices at a good height from possible human intervention.

The paleness of the underwing is diagnostic of Gyps Indicus, Indian Long billed Vulture.

Most of the snaps here were taken by Ami on her Sony DSC-H1.

This snap from the top of Ramdevar betta. It turned out to be a pleasant half-day trek for us. I missed my Olympus. Missed Sunand, Rohit & Anil, and as we climbed to the top, was reminded of the first gang I had come here with. And, my 'hunter' passed the test.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Field Manoeuvres

The long autumn grass under my body
Soaks my clothes with its dew;
Where my knees press into the ground
I can feel the damp earth.

In my nostrils is the smell of crushed grass,
Wet pine-cones and bark.

Through the great bronze pine trunks
Glitters a silver segment of road.
Interminable squadrons of silver and blue horses
Pace in long ranks the blank fields of heaven.

There is no sound;
The wind hisss gently through the pine needles;

The flutter of a finch's wings about my head
Is like distant thunder,
And the shrill cry of a mosquito
Sounds loud and close.

I am 'to fire at the enemy column
After it has passed'-
But my obsolete rifle, loaded with 'blank',
Lies untouched before me,
My spirit follows after the gliding clouds,
And my lips murmur of the mother beauty
Standing breast-high, in golden broom
Among the blue-pine-woods.

Published in 1917, Form the 'Poetry of the first World War'

Richard Aldington (1892 - 1962): Educated at Dover college and London university. He volunteered in 1914, but was rejected on medical grounds. He was able to enlist in 1916, joining the Royal Sussex Regiment as a private. In 1918 he was invalidated out ( as a lieutenant) suffering from shell shock and the effects of gas. After the war he wrote Death of a Hero and several biographies.

Monday, August 07, 2006


It is midday; the deep trench glares...
A buzz and blaze of flies...
The hot wind puffs the giddy airs...
The great sun rakes the skies.

No sound in all the stagnant trench
Where forty standing men
Endure the sweat and grit and stench,
Like cattle in a pen.

Sometimes a sniper's bullet whirs
Or twangs the whining wire;
Sometimes a soldier sighs and stirs
As in Hell's frying fire.

From out a high cool cloud descends
As aeroplane's far moan...
The sun strikes down, the thin cloud rends
The black spot travels on.

And sweating, dizzied, isolate
In the hot trench beneath,
We bide the next shrewd move of fate
Be it of life or death.

Robert Nichols (1893-1944)

From 'Poetry of the first world war', published in June 1917

Nichols' First World War military service - which lasted from from 1914-16 - saw him participate in the
Battle of Loos in 1915 in the role of artillery officer.

His front-line service was however brief - after just a few weeks serving in the trenches he was invalided home with
shell shock; an illness which caused him to be sent home to England in 1916. Subsequently serving with the British Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Information, he went on to pen war poetry that he often read to large gatherings, which included tours of the U.S.