Monthly Archives: September 2016

A new visitor in our garden

The number and species of birds that visit our garden is increasing! They patiently wait for me to click pictures…the main attractions for them are the flowers of the ridge gourd and the lemon, chickoo, and harshringar trees…but they do not love the neem or gooseberry tree any less. They are delightful and have begun to accept the whirring of the zoom of the camera lens as it tells me to stand further away, since 3 feet is too close for it to focus!!! img_8600 img_8595


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Taj Mahal, India

One of the wonders of the world, this monument is a mausoleum built in 1653, on the banks of the river Yamuna, spread over 42 acres of land. The moment one enters the elaborately decorated and imposing gate, one’s jaw drops in awe….and remains that way for the rest of the tour. The central, imposing marble dome  houses the graves of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1631,  in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess who died giving birth to their 14th child. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The Taj Mahal is visited by  millions of people in a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the New 7 Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.The complex consists of the marble dome surrounded by 4 minarets, garden with flowers and fountains, other tombs around it with the graves of some of the Emperor’s other wives and a servant. Estimates of the cost of construction vary…… The total cost has been estimated to be about 32 million Indian rupees,which is around 52.8 billion Indian rupees ($827 million US) based on the values in 2015. The marble inlay work, the calligraphy, the stone carvings and the layout and location of the Taj Mahal leave one spellbound. It is a must see, definitely one of the places to visit while on this planet…………..

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Mawsmai Cave, Meghalaya

The natural limestone caves in Meghalaya are many…the only one that has been provided with lighting is the Mawsmai Cave or group of caves in Cherrapunjee. It stands to reason that there would be a lot of underground water in this region as Cherrapunjee was the place with the world’s highest rate of rainfall for a long time. Some parts are very narrow but miraculously generously endowed people squeeze through! There are  stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes and sizes inside and the lighting makes them take on an alien hue. If you love Star Wars or horror or science fiction or supernatural TV shows….you’re in for an extraordinary experience !

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Rainbows beneath your feet

Wonder why we search for rainbows in the sky

When all it takes is a lowered eye

To see a rainbow beneath our feet

Tiny flowers of every hue

Peeping through the carpet of grass

Nature sings if we stop to listen

Through the birds, the brooks and bluebells

But we are so tightly bound in our shell

Too busy making a living, to outdo, to excel

When we these thoughts do expel

The rustling of leaves

The flowering cacti

The busy bees, the butterfly

The cobra shaped plants

The orchards on the steepest slopes

The goats that defy gravity

Captivate and enthral us

The majestic mountains, with ridges and peaks….

When you stop talking, nature speaks

Hot sulphur springs bubble

Close your eyes and listen awhile

There is the cover of thunderous clouds above

Which shower us with blessings as rain drops
Cleanse the soul as they pour down upon us

Wash away ambition and materialism

Each water droplet is a prism

Through which a million rainbows sparkle

But we see them not

We aim too high

As our eyes are fixed upon the sky……

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Yoga Peacock!

Ah, something always happens on a Monday morning that makes me feel good….today it was this peacock that decided to imitate my rooftop Yoga….(I was hidden from the world but birds can fly to locations far above me and look, perchance accompany me )……

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In flight Yoga!!!

An airline is India is offering ‘simple in-flight Yoga’. A demonstration of sorts is given and passengers are expected to carry out some ‘maneuvers’  sitting in their seats!! It is India, and I saw this on a domestic flight…………Indians do their Yoga at home, in ‘unusual’ positions and are either passionate about it or indifferent to it. A person who appeared to be from an offshore location seemed intrigued though……and filmed the ‘Yoga’………………it made me smile, and that is always enjoyable.

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Green with envy! Green Bee Eater

Indulge me while I relate the chronicles of the birds that fascinate me, in my own home!! When one bird gets the ‘prize’ catch, the others flock around…..they follow, attempt to distract and gaze at the catch till it is devoured. Then they fly away from the bird that has had a heavy meal. The bird that has just eaten more than seemed possible for its little body, then sings with glee……Unbelievable ? Here is proof of the envy…….remember the 3 Kingfishers I clicked a while ago, among whom 1 had a fish in it’s beak and the others were glaring and making noises and following it around…..Birds just get as emotional as us, sometimes !!!!

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Beautiful dustbins -Meghalaya, India

Near the village voted the cleanest in Asia in 2003, we noticed beautiful baskets that were anchored to the trees and shrubs at an appropriate height. Yes, we looked inside to see that they had been used by people to throw their trash. A unique and attractive idea that is prevalent throughout the villages of that area….

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The toss of the Dragonfly by the Green Bee Eater

The birds in the garden think I’m a plant…..they fly around me, almost perch on me, sit by me…the moment some other human comes along, they fly away as if their collective tails were on fire!!! They ‘hunt’ in our garden and I have pictures where they ‘offer’ an insect to me….This dragonfly made the mistake of flying into the bird zone…..after a million dexterous maneuvers, the fly was tossed into  the bird’s mouth…..I have the satiated look afterwards and the song that followed from the bird stored in my camera..for now this image speaks a thousand words….the ecological balance has to be maintained…

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Mr Wake-Up call

The rooster has a clear, loud tone, meant to wake you up. I have no clue how he is always on time, at sunrise…………In our home today the wonderful, musical sound of a dozen Koyals woke me up at 5.30 am…..trust me, it was far from musical at that hour!!! I went out with my camera, but they did not show themselves, I could make out from the rustling of the dense foliage in our mango trees that they were thoroughly enjoying themselves………….

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