Glasgow and climate change

The world’s eyes are on Glasgow, the city of James Watt, where the future will be decided.

It was in Glasgow, in 1776, that James Watt introduced the world’s first* steam engine, an engineering marvel that set the ball of industrialisation rolling, leading to the current pollution woes we are all hoping to fix.

[* Watt’s engine was really an improvement on the Newcomen engine that was already invented.]

From Berlin 1995, our leaders and the United Nations have been trying to save the world. The climate change conferences held almost every year since then (twice in some years) are great occasions to be seen and make plans. As we have realised, things have only got worse, and today we need a dinosaur to make us think about how we should live our lives so that there is a future for the human race.

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Navratri Colours of Nature

Happy Dasara / Dussehra and may good win over all the evil in this world.

(Received on Whatsapp)

Leading upto Dasara is Navratri, where people worship different forms of Goddess Durga over 9 nights (hence “Nav ratri”). At the start of Navratri, everyone looks out for the colour that signifies each day of the 9 days.

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Purple pursuits

World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated twice a year, on the second weekend of May and October, to raise awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. So today, 9th October, is the day. Migratory birds are a clear example of how the world is so closely connected and how everyone plays a role in conserving our ecosystems. Something happening in the harsh cold of Europe can affect us here in India, through the passage of these resilient creatures. We currently haven’t encountered any of the migratory birds in our limited urban space in Kandivali East, but realise that our local resident birds are very important too, and we must ensure that we do not destroy their habitats.

When you think purple, which birds come to mind? Having lived near a lake in Bangalore, the Purple Heron and Purple Swamphen are the ones I immediately used to think of. These days, it’s the Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeyonica), found only in the Indian sub-continent, and a resident of our park.

Distribution of purple-rumped sunbird
(Source: Wikipedia)

Tiny at just about 10 cm, and very light, weighing about 10 grams, the sunbirds are delight to watch – if you can keep track of them.

Purple-rumped Sunbird
The male is very colourful, appearing in different shades as the sun shines on it – purple above the tail (which is how it gets its name), maroon, red, brown, green, blue, black, yellow, white.
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Butterflies in our complex

[This post is being periodically updated with new sightings.]

All of us have surely encountered butterflies at some point in time (apart from the butterflies in our stomachs!). We learn about them in primary school. Sometimes they fly into us and make us jump. Often we see them just flutter by, so quick that we can’t even give them a second glance.

Ever since lockdown, we haven’t really been anywhere in Mumbai. No restaurants, no malls, no parks – except for the park in our Whispering Palms Complex, that is usually quite empty. Over the last few months during our daily walks, we looked forward to seeing the different birds in our backyard. More recently though, we noticed the many different butterflies – not surprising, given the sprawling gardens with abundance of trees and flowers, some wild and some nurtured.

Great Eggfly butterfly
Great Eggfly male sucking out nectar
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Remembering grandma at 101

Our grandma Kalyani would have turned 101 today. Always in our thoughts.

1920-2018

The Badminton ball tree grandma planted at Puttenahalli Lake in 2010 is growing well and laden with “badminton balls” during season. The birds love the fruit.

Badminton ball tree with fruit
Grandma’s Badminton ball tree with fruit

My 100th anniversary post has many pictures and can be seen here.

Let the lions roar!

During our childhood, we regularly went to Mysore from Bangalore. We would usually stay at the Mysore Sports Club, where the early morning roars of the lions and trumpeting of the elephants of the Mysore Zoo, would wake us up. The visit to the zoo was the highlight of every trip, and sometimes we would go more than once.

Sometime in 1975 probably, the zoo had three Asiatic Lion cubs (Panthera leo persica) and they had been left to roam in the open, with light chains. Everyone was very excited to see them so close up. I think I had to hold my little brother to stop him from running to play with the cats.

Lion cubs at Mysore Zoo (circa 1975)
Asiatic Lion cubs at Mysore Zoo (circa 1975)
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Manays in the Quit India Movement

The Quit India Movement was launched at the Bombay session of the All India Congress Committee by Mahatma Gandhi on 8th-9th August 1942, during World War II, demanding an end to British rule in India. This August is the 79th anniversary.


1992 was a special year in that it marked the 50th anniversary of the Quit India Movement. There were big celebrations planned all over the country, Bangalore included. It was but natural for the media, to search out people who saw 1942, and were still alive.

Don’t miss the YouTube video at the bottom of this post!


The Manay family residence in Bangalore had a close association with the Quit India Movement. Scindia House, at Sajjan Rao Circle, Vishweshwara puram, Bangalore, was the place where other freedom fighters of the city met and took shelter. My dad used to say that unknown people would be walking in and out of their house, through the day.

Quit India Movement in Bangalore
Procession in Bangalore during the Quit India Movement (Pic: Dore Chakravarty, Wiki Commons)
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Golden dreams of 1.3B

Tokyo, 7th August 2021. India wins its first ever athletics medal at the Olympics – and a GOLD at that! Narrow bronze medal misses by Milkha Singh and PT Usha were the best we’d seen before this.

Congratulations to NEERAJ CHOPRA, the boy who dreamt big! Talent along with hard work, sacrifices and incredible coaches. Just 23. Strong, calm and confident enough to carry through the expectations of a medal hungry nation.

Nothing is final till it’s final, but those who watched the javelin event would pretty much say that Neeraj had it wrapped up from the qualifying stage. In his very first Olympics, and without the pressure of being the first ranked or the favourite, he topped in the qualifying and he stayed on top right through the final.

Can’t imagine the reception that awaits the golden boy and everything else that is in store for him. Not to mention the hundreds of Neerajs at roll calls in a few years from now!

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Birds in our backyard

One of my earlier posts was about some of the purple and pink flowers currently seen in our Whispering Palms Complex. Where there are trees and flowers, there will be birds and other living creatures!

Over the last few weeks we’ve been trying to catch some afternoon sun between the rains, and in the process, we’ve become more aware of the presence of the birds in the campus. The silence during lockdown has made the bird sounds more audible and we try to search them out in the direction of their calls. Many of the birds have their favourite trees and branches, so these days, we look out for them at the same spots, and usually they’re somewhere around there. [Now we know how the guides on jungle safaris know exactly where to stop to show you certain animals.]

Some of the birds sit still for extended periods of time, and even if they fly off, they return to the same place. Like the Coppersmith Barbet that allowed me to go all the way back home to pick up my camera.

Coppersmith barbet
Coppersmith barbet
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