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Studying environment in the city

The most efficient place for children to study environment is the environment!

Received these two pages from my mother. Saved by one of mom’s teacher-colleagues, from The Instructor magazine of May 1967, it explains how teachers can teach children in urban areas, about the environment.

Today’s children will, at some time, control decisions affecting the future of their environment – the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat.

Given that the article is over 50 years old, these “children” would be those in the 55-65 age group… almost the generation of our parents. It is evident that some of decisions taken in the last 50-odd years (like the loss of lakes in Bangalore), have had a detrimental effect on our environment. While we are trying to take corrective action, we need to teach today’s children. Despite all the changes we’ve encountered, it is amazing how relevant the article is today.

Outdoor Science pg 1

Outdoor Science pg 2


Keep the faith

Money stolen in 2006, returned in 2017. That’s a whopping 10-11 years!

Jane with her cheque 30 Dec 2017

Jane (radiant in pink) with her friend Ezme D’Mello, Police Inspector Jadhav (with cheque) and Head Police Constable Choudhury, at Bandra Railway Police Station, 30th Dec 2017 (Photo courtesy Jane)

On 26th Dec 2017, my friend Jane Sequeira-Rodriques, a social worker and activist who runs a hearing-aid centre in Mumbai, was surprised and happy to receive a postcard from the Bandra Police. It asked her to visit the police station to collect a cheque for Rs 5000/-. This was not some prize she had won in a contest or lottery. It was the amount that was robbed from her at Bandra railway station way back in 2006.

At that time, Jane had immediately lodged a police complaint at the station at Bandra West. She kept following up with regular visits and letters to the police station. In 2007 she was summoned to Mumbai Central Court to identify the robber. Subsequently, she found it difficult to follow-up and this was put on the back-burner, almost forgotten.

10-11 years is a long time. And getting back stolen money, that too from a pickpocket! How many people would actually approach the police to lodge a complaint? The common man does feel intimidated by the men in uniform. And then how many would pursue the police to remind them that the case will not be forgotten? I am not sure if Jane’s case is an exception, but to see that the policemen do put in the effort to help deliver justice to citizens, gives us hope.

Jane says, “Thank you God. Thank u to cops. And thanks to my government for finally getting my cash back from the pickpocket.”

Well done Bandra Police! And well done Jane, for the patience and persistence.

A heart-warming story before we step into the new year. Wishing you all a fulfilling 2018. And yes, keep the faith!

Dusk at Puttenahalli Lake

A visit to Bangalore is incomplete without a visit to the JP Nagar Puttenahalli Lake. This Diwali holiday, it was late evening, and as I rushed down the Brigade Millennium Avenue alone, I was happy to bump into one of my former neighbours, Meena, who said it was a while since she visited the lake. We went together, chatting about our children, and made it to the lake just before daylight vanished.

A splash of yellow Coreopsis flowers against the blue tranquil waters make a pretty picture indeed! It was almost a year since my last visit. Last year too there was a lot of water, so the lake itself did not look different. But this year the trees looked much bigger, washed clean, greener and more lush.

Lake 1

Lake 2

Lake 3

As we made our way along the pathway, we were struck by the richness of the island’s foliage. Many years ago, a single date palm was all that was there. Now, this date palm, though still head above the rest, could go unnoticed by a first-time visitor. We spotted one bird in flight, one lone egret.

Lake 4

The line of coconut trees in the erstwhile neighbouring coconut grove could well be a scene from the backwaters of Kerala.

Lake 5

This dry sheesham tree at the viewing deck looks like an artist’s installation. The boys playing on their mobiles were probably oblivious to its background. I had got it as a sapling during a visit to the Golden Temple, Amritsar.  While it grew well for a few years, something seems to have happened, causing it to dry out.

Lake 6

In half an hour we had walked back to the entrance. By now it was dark, and the waters were lit by the electric lights of the neighbourhood.

Lake 7

Then all of a sudden, we saw movement in the water. Boating was anyway not allowed, so we wondered who could be in the water in the darkness. We soon saw the nets and figured that it was the fishermen, setting out to work in a coracle. They were placing their nets for the unsuspecting catch. With abundant water, fish must be aplenty for them.

Lake 8

Till next time…

Pics taken at Puttenahalli Lake, dusk 21st October 2017
using an iPhone 7

The Dingy Bushbrown

It’s not everyday that one sees a pretty flying creature inside a 9th floor apartment in Mumbai. One that is not a pest or predator that is.

I watched it, settled on the floor for a little while. Ran to the cupboard and grabbed my camera, returning to find that it had not moved. Then it fluttered off and I followed, not to let it get out of sight. As long as it was not being bothered, it was fine sitting at a spot for a few minutes. But I guess I kept bothering it, trying to get close. I switched lenses for better shots. The light was not good so I needed the flash. Carpet, floor, kitchen towel… it settled here and there. The pictures didn’t come easily, but the effort was satisfactory! And then it vanished.

Dingy Bushbrown

As I pored over my butterfly books trying to ID it, I was amazed at how many different butterflies look like this. Differences are so minute that they could easily be passed over. Dingy (or Common) Bushbrown butterfly (Mycalesis perseus) it seems to be.

Dingy Bushbrown 1

Dingy Bushbrown 2

Dingy Bushbrown 3This morning I found that it was still inside the house. Poor thing, I thought. It must have spent the night searching for a space to escape. Or maybe it just rested. With the lights switched on, it started flying around like the night before. I gently opened a window and the cool morning air flowed in. The butterfly found its way out… to freedom.

The Badminton Ball Tree on G’ma’s 97th

On my grandmother’s 90th birthday, on 19th September 2010, she planted two saplings at Puttehahalli Lake.

The first was a Kadamba, that along with most of the other saplings planted on that stretch did not survive. The ground underneath has a lot of plastic, and this could be one of the reasons. The area is now a butterfly garden with lots of shrubs.

Kadamba tree planting

The Kadama did not survive, but I do so like this pic with my mom, g’mom and me! (taken by Usha)

Read more…

Ganesha speaks

The Ganesha festival at our apartment complex in Mumbai, is never complete without the inter-wing Rangoli competition.

The ladies (we haven’t had gentlemen interested in taking part) take a lot of effort in designing the rangolis, deciding on the materials they would use, preparing the colours (yes, some colours are made at home), and then drawing and finishing their art works. The theme was “Go Green”, so all the rangolis had to be centred around this.

It was indeed hard work! With six wings, there were finally six beautiful pieces of rangoli for us to enjoy. And through each of them, Ganesha speaks.

Thanks to Meeta for sharing the pictures.

The rain is no dampener

Continuous rains have lashed the city since the early hours of today. Lokhandwala Circle hasn’t got flooded since it was relaid a couple of years ago, but today was different.

The road became a river, washing away whatever could not resist the force of the swiftly moving water.


Read more…


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