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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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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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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Keep off the grass

Some people like grass. I mean, the kind that is greener on the other side of the fence.

Lawns are a matter of great pride in many residential layouts. “House with a lawn” is a sort of status symbol. There are people who claim to have bought flats in a particular apartment complex because of the beautiful lawns that they saw in the marketing brochures. Maybe the green carpet gives the feeling of being at the golf course. So, it is not surprising that they go up in arms if the children are found running around or sitting on the grass. A few weeks ago, I saw this complaint e-mail about how the gardeners were planting shrubs on a part of the lawn to “reduce their maintenance work”.

Lawns
Grass is being replaced by shrubs
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Reincarnating the Buddha

What do you do when an artifact or statue gets broken?

If it is a small break, it can be easily stuck using some superglue. If it is broken into pieces, it is harder but possible if you have kept all the pieces. If pieces are missing or it is smashed to smithereens, one may think that it cannot be salvaged, and it is usually thrown out like any other broken furniture. Many people are brought up to believe that broken items must not be kept anywhere in the house, so they have to be discarded.

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Watching the world go by

A couple of weeks ago, my 18-year old son got his first dose of Covishield.

When vaccination for the 18-44 year age group opened out on May 1, we already knew that vaccines were in short supply. Getting a vaccination slot would not be easy and there are many in professions that are at high risk – shopkeepers, delivery people, road vendors, labourers, cooks, maids, drivers, who should rightfully be prioritised.

“I think I should wait. Let those who really need the vaccines get their shots. I am anyway at home only.”, Gautam said. This I did think was was a noble thought.

Getting a slot was and still is indeed difficult. I had been trying for friends and acquaintances, and though I had managed to get a few appointments, it was a very time consuming exercise, requiring one to be constantly online and vigilant.

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Buddha Purnima 2021

As we observe the full moon tonight, we celebrate the 2583rd birth anniversary of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

Our home is adorned with many different Buddha statues, including this life-sized one.

While in Hong Kong in Aug-Sep of 2019, mom and I visited Lantau Island to see the large bronze statue of the Big Buddha or the Tian Tian Buddha – Buddha Amoghasiddhi. It is located in Ngong Ping Village near the Po Lin Monastery.

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After many days

After many days, I stepped out of our apartment block, within our Whispering Palms Complex. Just a half-hour afternoon walk, to move my limbs and take in some sun.

With lockdown, understandably, there were just a few people around, going about their business. Cyclone Tauktae’s rains the other day have washed the trees and streets clean. The air too.

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