We wish you all a very happy New year:)
We wish you all a very happy New year:)
It is the nesting season once more and all around us we birds very busy . They carry dry grass and leaves to wherever they have chosen as the special place to build their home.
There is a dwarf variety of areca plant in our garden and its leaves grow in such a way that they are ideal for nests. A few years ago, a little bulbul built and laid eggs . One day to our horror, we saw a bigger bird which is carnivorous, eating the eggs. The little parent birds were screeching at top of their voices but they were helpless and we too could do nothing. That plant was never again used as a nesting place.
This year the bulbuls wanted to build their nest inside our house but we shooed them away. There are curtains in our verandah and they decided the space above the curtain cloth, supported by the rod an ideal place. We thought it a dangerous place and every time they brought in the dry leaves and sticks, we made the birds go away. We thought we had succeeded .
I was away for a week and when I came back home, I saw a secure nest built and the little bird sitting in it, calmly as you please. It is there and we are very careful not to move the curtains or switch on the fan. It would be terrible if the birds hit the fan. The little bird is there in the nest all the time. It goes out for short intervals. In the mornings, we can see the bird very clearly , but during nights it looks like a grey fluffy ball. Hope everything goes on well.
Perseverance- that is what we learn from such small beings. Anything is possible if we really want something. Where there is a will, there is a way.
The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling. ~Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99 BC – c. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher)
If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. ~Buddhist Saying
My grandfather had been the Headmaster of the Government school in the town of Hospet, in the northern part of our state, Karnataka. My father grew up there, his elder sister and family lived there until recently. Going there for vacations had been a part of our childhood. Going to and walking across the Tungabhadra dam , a must visit, for every vacation . My children too enjoyed it but now fro the past many years tourists are not allowed to walk across the dam. My father saw the building of this dam and he writes –
This is to introduce the Tungabhadra Dam
which had a great influence on my childhood.
Tungabhadra is a major river of
Karnataka. Two rivers, Tunga and Bhadra rise
in the Western Ghats and join each other north
of Shimoga to form the Tungabhadra. It then
flows past Hospet and Hampi and joins the
Krishna in Andhra. At the time of British
rule in India, Raichur District, north of the
river, was ruled by the Nizam of Hyderabad and
Bellary District to the south by the British
Governor of Madras Presidency.
The two rulers decided to build a
dam across the river near Hospet. The foundation
stone on the south side was laid by the Governor
of Madras Presidency, Sir Arthur Hope. After
that, he spoke to a selected audience about the
dam in a cinema Theater in Hospet. My father
translated his speech into Kannada.
The dam is built of stone masonry. The
central portion, called spillway allows the
water to spill over it when the dam is full.
Cement mortar is used here. Lime mortar is
used for the rest of the dam. A few earth dams
fill the gaps on the north side. Shri Tirumale
Ayyangar was the great Chief Engineer at the
south side of the dam. His statue at the start
of the dam shows the gratitude of the people
to him. He went on to build the great Hirakud
dam in Odisha across the Mahanadi river.
For us, students in Hospet, the dam was
the centre of attraction. More than 50,000
workers worked there. The Hospet economy saw a
tremendous change, which the businessmen, schools,
medical practitioners, transporters never
dreamed of. I, with some friends visited the
dam site once or twice a month, to watch the
progress made. We saw the mixing of mortar,
blasting of a stone hillock on the river,
laying one stone over the other, building
of a tunnel in the centre of the dam to
control water-seepage and digging of canals.
On the southside, two great canals
were built. One was the low-level-canal
taking water to irrigate the land. The
other was the high-level-canal for filing
thousands of water-tanks built by the
great Viajayanagar kings 400 to 500 years ago.
The north-side canal was bigger giving water
to irrigate most of the Raichur District.
There were two hydro-electri power house
on either side of the dam.
This dam has made Hospet very
prosperous. The dam and Hampi have brought
millions of tourists to Hospet from all
over the world.
These photos were taken more than 20 years ago.
ONE – In Sept 2012, we had been to Sofia, Bulgaria. While walking along the streets, we saw this old lady selling flowers. There was this expression of calm acceptance on her face. I asked permission to take her photo, she agreed with a smile.
We were watching our grandson trying to turn over on his stomach and as he tried and tried I was reminded of these lines- try,try, try again…. But I had forgotten the rest of the poem. I searched it on the Google and was happy to read it.
Try Try Again
by T. H. Palmer
‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again;
Then your courage should appear,
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear
Try, try again;
Once or twice, though you should fail,
If you would at last prevail,
Try, try again;
If we strive, ’tis no disgrace
Though we do not win the race;
What should you do in the case?
Try, try again
If you find your task is hard,
Time will bring you your reward,
Try, try again
All that other folks can do,
Why, with patience, should not you?
Only keep this rule in view:
Try, try again.
It was really interesting to see him, we take all this for granted, it is something we did long ago and it does not even seem like an achievement. But turning over from the back to the stomach involves so many steps.
First ,he turned to the sideways position and his legs were together. Second, when he turned on to his side, he learnt to put one leg forward. Third, with one leg forward he moved his body in such a way that the lower part of his body was facing downwards. He had to learn how to lift his head. Then he learnt to lift his head from the sideways position but it was still touching the floor. All this time one of his hands was beneath his body and he could not really turn over. He used to try and try but could not cross the final hurdle. Then on 3rd, the day of our Deepawali festival, after lunch, we were sitting near him, when he heaved himself and turned over completely, he was on his stomach and had lifted his head up, he was smiling at his accomplishment and we were all smiling too. The first milestone in his life, with many more to follow. After that first time he loves to turn over, it is like a game which he enjoys. Sometimes he cannot turn over and he cries out and when he can, he is happy. Now he is an expert and is doing something new, a new movement which will lead to the next stage of life.
“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
The Kailasa temple Complex of Ellora Caves, Aurangabad
The Ellora cave complex consists of Bauddha, Hindu and Jaina caves. Like the Ajanta caves, they are a marvel.Only when we are there, standing inside each cave, can we experience their beauty and majesty. Unlike the Ajanta caves, here there are only sculptures and no paintings. Each cave is a work of art . The Buddhist caves are the earliest. They show the Buddha in various attitudes. The Jaina caves have sculptures of the Thirthankaras. We found symbolism related to ‘Padma’ or the lotus in all the caves. All the caves are beautiful, but the climax is the KAILASA TEMPLE. We feel that this temple is in Kailasa and not on earth.Seeing the Kailasa temple and its courtyard we can just visualize how those long ago artisans chiseled the huge rocks from the top to the bottom.Along the way they created such beautiful works of art.We can just wonder about the imagination of that person or persons who must have planned the whole edifice and then executed it. One wrong move and the whole thing would have been marred.There must have been a divine hand at work because it is really difficult to imagine mere humans creating this exquisite work of art. It is not only delicate and exquisite but is on a mammoth scale . We feel so tiny when we walk around the temple.
This temple complex has been sculpted out of living rock.We can feel its magic even today. Generations of artists worked at it for about two hundred years.
We do not know who they were, but their work lives on.
My father is 82 and we have been asking him to share with us his childhood memories. Those days were very different and it is really nice to listen to him. He has been sending us some of his special moments. He grew up in a town called Hospet in the northern part of our state, Karnataka.
Hospet is now a major industrial centre of Karnataka. It has Iron & Steel Factories and iron mines. The river Tungabhadra flows very close to Hospet and there is a large dam across it near the town. But, when I was a child there was only a sugar factory there,called India Sugars & Refineries. Two old irrigation canals were flowing in the middle of Hospet. These helped farmers to grow sugarcane in fields between Hospet town in the south and Tungabhadra river in the north. They produced large amounts of jaggery in their fields; they also supplied sugarcane to the factory. The cane was hard and difficult to eat, but suitable to make jaggery & sugar.
The sugarcane was carried to the factories in open bullock carts. The road they took passed in front of our house. The cane season was from November to May. We, children eagerly waited for this season. Outside our house, there were two granite benches and we children used to sleep there. The bullocks pulling carts and the bells tied to them made a lot of noise while moving. When the carts came near our house, we went to the drivers and requested them to give us a few sugarcanes. Most of them agreed. We pulled out one or two canes. Some of the carts were without any driver, but simply followed their leader. Assuming the drivers’ permission, we did not hesitate to pull out one or two canes! I do not know if you have ever eaten sugarcane. Try. It is one of the greatest pleasures of life.
Many farmers used to make jaggery in their fields for their consumption and for the local market. They used a big iron vessel called ‘kopparige’ in Kannada, It was about 2.5 metres in diameter. A sugarcane crusher operated by bullocks was used to extract the juice. After sufficient juice was collected it was poured into the kopparige and placed on fire. The juice boils to form a paste. The thickened juice was then poured into specially prepared receptacles in the ground which were about 1.5 metres square and 25 cm deep. Mats made of dried palm leaves were placed in these holes, covering them fully. The paste starts drys slowly.A cream starts forming on its surface. We used to visit these farmers and they would take a sugarcane and roll it on the surface of the jaggery which would stick to it . We relished eating these newly made sweet stuff. It was one of the greatest moments of our life.
These photos were taken near sugarcane fields in Aurangabad i 2011
Let there be light
Every day we hear the sounds of ‘living’ all around us. From early morning we hear birds calling out to each other.
The whistling bird (Malabar whistling thrush) is back again. For the past one week we have been hearing its beautiful whistling. Long back people must have heard it and tried to imitate it and have succeeded . But we in our arrogance call its whistling as so ‘human’.
The little Bulbul is searching places to build its nest. It thought a place inside the room ideal and kept coming with leaves and sticks but we had to shoo it out. The consequences of building a nest inside would have been tragic for the little birds. There is this beautiful big tree outside our house which has yellow flowers. When in full bloom it looks like a huge yellow bouquet. This year during the monsoon season we had heavy rains and winds. One morning we heard a loud crack and we saw that one big branch had fallen across the road. Then some other branches had to be cut down as there was the danger of their falling on the electric wires. The poor tree looked like a skeleton of itself. About two weeks ago we saw the branches slowly turning green and now they are enveloped in a blanket of green.
So much of ‘living’ makes everything so much more precious.
“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”