Sunday, October 28, 2007

A bouquet

Only for the brave. No entry to pregnant women!!!!!

Requires guts for the 'golden' handshake!!!

Shrikanth courageously married Priya on 29th Oct 2006!!! Hey....itz their first wedding anniversary......wishing them the very best ;-)

Wedding happened in the musical town Dharwad. Tons of his friends, and students from Friends of children landed up, and we had a whale of time!!!

Among other things, we decided to wish him over a balloon ;-)

From all of us, wishing Priya & Shrikanth, wonderful times togather!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Gecko's: Lizards, all around the globe (40 deg latitude around the equator), 40mm to 350mm, eye lacks eyelids, but has a transperent shield.
Devbaugh beach, Karwar, Sep 10th 07.

This gecko caught the attention, and remains one of the best sightings from that place. Chap was moving away, but then was slow enuf for me to catch up, and posed. The green thrills.

Am sure, you noticed the long tail. Tails seem to be major protective/defensive feature. When confronted, the tail detaches, writhes & wriggles, drawing the attention of the predator, while the gecko moves away. Tail regrows.
Moving on, Dandeli forest on a nature trail on Sep 12th. Another gecko with some green around its throat(?) caught my attention, I was so amazed, that I simply watched it, called Lakshmi & the guide, and watched it climb up the tree, before I got to click.
Another 2 hours later, saw one more, but then the green tinge was missing. Chap again moved up the trees. Indian geckos are nocturnal, soberly colored (brown/grey). Food predominantly being insects, bigger geckos may feed on smaller snakes.
Need to identify these geckos. Material from Daniel's book of Indian Reptiles & Amphibians.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tribal kids

Forests; Jungle; Evoke myriad of images. Animals, trees, rivers, streams, falls etc etc and to a lesser extent tribals. A fortnight back, we got a chance to visit the fringes of Nagarholle forest, and interact with school going tribal children. Herz an account.
The much needed push came from the note book drive Sunand had organised for some of the govt. school children in the Heggad-Devan kote area. Off, we left on a rain promising saturday morning with 2000 - 200 page - notebooks. Santosh came witha 4WD, Vishwas & Nandha joined us. Here, with a beautiful girl watching us, we decided to coverup with notebooks.

The books were more targetted at drop out children in various schools. But, we started with a distribution to all kids in a school. Tobaco is majorly cultivated in these parts. Herz how the plant looks.

A web can be seen as a you-will-get-lost puzzle or can be seen as a wonderful supporting structure. The tribals that lived in the Bandipur-Nagarhole-Wynad forests now live in the fringes and try to make a living.

The predominant tribes are

  • Kaadu Kuruba

  • Jenu Kuruba
  • Yarava

  • Soliga

Some of them have some land to cultivate, and also engage in basket making & honey gathering. Most of the seem lost between the jungles and the towns. A lot of them go to Coorg a few months a year to assist in their plantations. The Kabini back waters.

Helping the tribes make a healthy living is the NGO - Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement -

This group started of with health, and have now moved onto education among other things. They have a good hospital in Saragur, where a tribal can avail facilities for Rs 2.

And yes, they have a residential school for the tribal children. This houses 400 kids, studying from first std to 10th std, with 218 boys and 182 girls. The school is close to Kabini back-waters, a place called Hosahalli, on the other side of the back-water one can notice the Kabini Jungle lodges.

We spent a night and half a day at this school, interacting with the children. A lot of the current 10th kids said they have seen a tiger in the wild! And, here, I was going through a bird book with them, and they could identify a lot of them.

The school has wonderful facilities. They seem to follow a montessori like system.
One of their primary school class-room. They have a good library, wonderful lab, and a computer centre.

Leaves collected by 3rs std kids!!!
The class-tribe-sex break-up.

Well....a snake molt....and the spine of snake ;-)

At this point, my kyamera fell and got damaged ;-(

So...the rest of the day, we got to interact with the 10th standard students. It turned out to be intense sessions. They were around 40 of them. What was amiss was the exposure. Growing up so far from the cities/towns - depite all the facilities the school offers - they seem to miss the bus. A desire to go away from the place was there, but what next wasn't clear. A girl who scored above average marks aspired to be a bus conductor!!! We spent a lot of time talking 'bout career options etc etc. The kids lapped everything up.

What was striking was the closeness amongst the kids. The teachers remarked that they don't have a concept of mine/yours. There are no fights in the class when the teacher is not around. And, that the word 'orphan' doesn't exist in their language!!!

The kids look very promising, eager to make it. What they would do well, are more visits by the outside world (you & me), to inspire, show directions, and help them take those next few crucial steps.

Most of the 10th standard pass students are sponsored into higher education by the NGO. Currently, 10 such students are persuing their 11th standard science at Mysore. These children would benefit by regular mentoring by someone in Mysore. Mentoring would involve talking & motivating them, and an easy way is to teach some subjects or clear some of their subject doubts to build the relationship. Interested, let me know.