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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Hockey medal!

Tokyo Olympics 2020, 5th Aug 2021.

The last few seconds of the bronze-medal match was not for the faint-hearted. Just as well that I wasn’t seeing it live. Carrying 1.3 billion dreams, and making them come true!

When people say that winning and losing doesn’t matter, it’s not quite real. Of course playing the game in the right spirit is important, but not making it to the podium is heart-breaking, especially when it is by a whisker. (Germany, I know how it feels!) Every athlete has the dream of getting a medal around the neck, and when achieved it is so fulfilling!

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Purples and pinks

During our daily afternoon walks, we can’t but notice the hundreds of types of flowers just within our campus. Some have been specifically planted and are lovingly nurtured, but there are many that don’t need any special attention. Just the rain and sun.

The basic construct of a flower is pretty standard, but flowers are found in a variety of sizes, shapes, scents and shades. The range of colours is quite amazing, and this, along with the fragrance, is what attracts birds and insects (and humans as well) to flowers. While the green in flowers comes from chlorophyll, the other colours come from two classes of pigments – anthocyanins and carotenoids. The purples and pinks are a result of anthocyanins.

Here are some of the purples and pinks in varying shades in our campus.

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Danish Siddiqui: a rich legacy

Anyone on the military frontline knows it is dangerous and life is at risk. This is the case if you are a soldier wielding a rifle or a surveyor checking coordinates or a driver carrying a truck of provisions or a cook in the barracks.

Journalists covering war are particularly vulnerable because they are in the middle of the action and it would take a hell of a lot of courage to be out there in Afghanistan, experiencing the life of a soldier with camera in hand. Such was Reuters photographer journalist, Danish Siddiqui. Yesterday, 16th July was a sad day.

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Scarecrow indeed

A video of a scarecrow dressed in women’s clothes has been doing the rounds on social media. With its arms holding a cycle handlebar, she can’t stop jumping, and it would take some brave crow to actually check her out. I’ve traced the video to @yorulmaz025 on TikTok. Seems to be of Turkish origin or so.

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