Sunday, 26 October 2008

Wilderness - 1





Nature truly is magnificent. And this is embodied by the plethora of flora, fauna and foliage that makes the wilderness simply amazing.

I feel that I have been truly lucky to have experienced a part of such a reality, that sadly us humans are destroying mindlessly and may not last for ever unless we do make an effort (however little) to support its conservation. 

Many thanks to Karthik Ramachandran (do vis
it his
 blog: http://conservationofwildlife.blogspot.com/2008/10/small-blue-king.html), with whom I had
 embarked on this magical journey.

A lovely night drive brought us to Theni and then Khambam on the Tamil Nadu border, where we 
got our first glimpse of nature's bounty... 

The pictures I had taken early in the day say it all.












It was here that we also spotted the first set of birds, but the light was not so great as to get a good quality picture.

Having had some lovely tea, we moved up into the Western Ghats and oh boy...what a wondrous moment... totally misty and magical.

It was so ethereal, it was akin to stepping into a different place all together after the dry plains!

And as it were, it turns out that I have all the amateur beginner's luck! We in the trip ended up spotting some amazing birds and animals, which most people normally do not get to see like the grey hornbill and the nilgiri martens.

Continuing on, we finally reached our destination - Periyar (Thekkady) where we were to go deep into the forest. At this point itself, I managed to actually capture an Indian wagtail (as the nomenclature goes, the bird just keeps wagging its damn tail! all the time).

Coming across Bison/Gaur (wild buffalo), Sambar deer, elephants, boars at close quarters while trekking through the forest was an experience that I certainly do have some difficulty in 
describing. Though I really wonder, why nature created leeches!

Though I must say that it was all worth it! The sheer beauty is indescribable.

And the pictures say it all :)

If you would like to see all the pictures, do visit my profiles on Facebook or Orkut.

Here's hoping that the experience doesn't stop with just this! 

 

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Tagged

This is for you: Anila. Since you have insisted outright that I do need to get tagged and it's tough to resist... given that I am doing this post after at least two weeks I must be good but not that good... I must agree resistance wears thin over a period of time ;)

So here goes...

I am : Anish. Rest of all the %#^&&*^@% I will let people who interact with me, fill in. LOL

I am not : sane?

I think : I am (borrowed from Shakespeare!)

I want : to be a bird... unlikely to be even a pilot... so will have to rely on Google earth!

I feel : I must, I suppose, else it is time to ask, can you see dead people?

I crave : Can't mention it here... too much A-rated stuff... LOL... but if I had to make a choice, it is happiness - nothing new here, who does not?

I search : for what I crave

I wonder : mostly on what could be, have been, is...

I regret : Sometimes, too much. Eventually there's no point in just looking back, and falling flat on your mug. I am learning.

I believe : In human capability

I hate : The feeling called frustration.

Here I end this tag... as doing the numbers thing is so tough... too much thinking to do... LOL

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Random thoughts...

An interesting discussion I had with a friend recently, regarding thoughts rather than opinions on blogs, sparked this post off. This is a set of some thoughts... random thoughts. Agree? Disagree? or just don't care? Feel free to write whatever you feel about any of these thoughts.

I recently happened to get a forwarded video about a chap called Matt who's paid by a company to roam around the world (really, how lucky can you get???). Interesting and funny video, but what got some me a bit riled up was, what he has posted on his blog. Do visit the site http://wherethehellismatt.com and you can see his blog entries (check out Jan 2003). While there are some people who feel that he writes as he sees it, some believe that he is opinionated and a racist. My thought was, what is right and wrong in the whole debate that's going on? Is it right to be politically incorrect or is it wrong to call a spade a spade? Is it wrong to defend your feelings about your country and its culture and is it right to demean others in doing so? After all are we not all different yet similar?

I happened to later drift on to a blog by a lady from Aussie land. Very interesting posts she's got about some of the Indian 'customs' and 'traditions' and how it leaves her completely baffled. Like the 'arranged marriage' concept. An ancient tradition, that many a generation of Indians believe in, and this despite all the education, exposure and experience they may have had in their lives. Come to think of it, I too am equally baffled about some of the other traditions we have e.g. leaving the footwear outside the door. When we remove the footwear, our sweaty feet (with or without socks) actually collect more dirt from outside the door and spreads it on the floor on which we step. On the other hand, wiping the shoes on the door mat before entering will in most cases ensure that we do not carry any dirt in, but that would be disrespectful as our homes are like temples. Huh?

The other day, saw a picture of one of our top political leaders feeding a cow on the road. Feeding the cow is an important tradition in our culture. What I couldn't help noticing was that the cow and the person were standing on one of the main roads of that State, right in the middle of a rubbish pile full of peels, rotting food, discarded plastic bags and what not! Does our tradition not advocate public cleanliness? Does sense not advocate cleanliness to avoid spread of disease causing bacteria and of course the stench?

Moving on to relationships. I do believe that any relation between two humans is complex, even more so when the two are from different species. While it is all well and good to read, hear, experience and see the 'he says' and 'she says' angles, who is really right and wrong? Is there a right and wrong? Why is it that the very same thing which seemed so right months ago, now seem so worthless and pitiful to have agonized about? Is it about time? I just happened to see the movie - Holiday starring the very beautiful Cameron Diaz along with talented actors like Jack Black, Kate Winslet and Jude Law. If ever an optimistic movie about the romance between individuals who are unlikely to think of it in the first place, this is it. A playboy father who actually weeps, a sexually charged up successful businesswoman who can't cry, a push over production assistant and yet another push over music director - seem like typical characters, yet the passion that is in them comes out with the right sort of place, time and situation. While this may be a movie story, I think quite often, reel life is nothing but an exaggerated reflection of real life. So does it happen in real life? Does one come across that perfect individual who sweeps all other thoughts out of your head? Why is it that quite so often, a few months or years down the line, one has to work at it? Is there a companion meant for every person on this earth? I have my doubts, but I am willing to be proved otherwise :)

Which brings me to the thought of why do relationships fail? Is it about expectations? Is it about familiarity, breeding maybe not contempt, but maybe boredom? Is it about treading an unknown path?

In my own experience, I have have gone through times, today which, when I look back in one of those crazy flashback moments, seems difficult to believe that it was even actually possible to have felt all those intense emotions at that stage for 'that' particular individual. At the cost of sounding a bit brittle and possibly not so sweet, is there really true love (for want of another phrase)? It is something I am not yet in a position to comprehend or even believe wholeheartedly. It is not that one does not want to have a companion with whom one can share one's deepest fears and hopes and more, but just that it seems increasingly a tough goal to achieve. All one has to look at is the percentage by which divorce cases have gone up - 60% and these are legal situations, not to speak about the many relationships which do not even make it to the legal stage and keep being broken!

What a life!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Price of populism?

Today's the Times of India, had an interesting article called 'Fear of Flying', which goes on to talk about how the growing airline industry is struggling as a result of the high Aviation Turbine Fuel prices, which is the result of some unrealistically huge tax structures practiced in India. Do check out the link (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Editorial/Fear_of_Flying/articleshow/3194392.cms) or alternatively just click on the title of this post.

My comment to the editor was, "It is a very complex situation made by catering to populist demands more than anything else. The air-industry is a business. Waiving [Rs.] 60,000 crores to debt-ridden farmers is a political move. As are so many other examples one can think of. The point is where is the funding going to come from? The centre and states have taxes as their main means of securing funding and the ethos goes that a few will pay for all.

Hence be it the salaried segment of people or the corporate who believe in making profits through honest means, will end up paying for all of those populist promises made in the electoral battlefield. What makes it even more interesting a twist is that it is the so called non-business oriented communist dominated states of Kerala and West Bengal apart from the lone Andhra Pradesh, who have begun to understand that a positive cycle would mean lower taxes, more volumes, better absolute realisation of monies for the state treasuries. When will the other states wake up?"

The point that I was trying to make here is that despite having some of the finest intellectuals running this amazing nation at the centre, they are hardly the majority - who are actually made up of people who have being given the 'job' of running the country on the basis of the very democratic voting process that's enshrined in our constitution. Considering that, the sheer numbers, i.e. votes, is provided by a large part of the Indian population pyramid, made up of people who somehow manage to survive on a day to day basis, where is the question of the educated and supposedly intellectually aware citizen actually making a difference by voting for and electing a responsible individual who will go on to serve the best interests of the nation? Fact is that most of our 'able' political leaders, in a very fragmented power play scenario, are in post based on the votes of just a fraction of the population whom she/he represents and to whom have been made a range of populist promises from loan waivers to clothing to electronic goods?

The summer of 1948 and the summer of 2008 has some vast differences. As a nation, then we were finally free and making our own decisions. As a nation, today we are poised to grow is the term. Are we going to only remain poised?

Sunday, 29 June 2008

The brain

I came across an interesting article in a newspaper.

An excerpt:
"People go through various hurtful experiences from other people such as insult, blame, violence as well as encounter certain tragic events in their lives. Such distress experiences often leave in them certain emotional scars such as anger resentment fear frustration revenge hopelessness powerlessness, etc. These negative emotions when rerun in a person’s mind many a time become more deep rooted, resulting in mental scars with debilitating influence on the person's thinking styles and emotional states. True nature is obscured or blocked. The erroneous and limiting beliefs as mentioned above coupled with emotional baggage obscures the true nature of human beings. As a result she/he becomes unable to use his thinking capabilities and other potentials to learn and develop herself/himself as well as to cope effectively with various situations in life. The individual becomes intellectually and emotionally constricted and gets stuck with certain types of negative selftalk and self defeating behaviours. They always live in the past unable to live in and enjoy the present. Psychologists say that the average person talks to him self or herself about 50000 times a day and about 80 per cent of the self talk is negative."

I do not know how true the figures mentioned above are, but some of the situations, emotions and logic mentioned are absolutely true. All of us with some sembalance of intellectual capability will have gone through such a situation (if not, lucky you!). Point is how best one can deal with such situations. Indeed the brain is a voracious instrument that nature has perfected, which allows us to do so much yet also has the capability of stopping us completely in our tracks.

Making a thought positive, ensuring it is nurtured and retained is a tough task especially when it is just so easy to become self-centred. This is food for thought, isn't it?

Cheers to life.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Hell and Heaven!

Chennai, what a city! It's been almost four years since I started living in this place and gawd knows, there's enough to crib about, but also loads to praise. Coming to this place with very mixed feelings, it has actually become a place which I'm so comfortable with that it sort of scares me (if that's the term!). I guess, I do have a thing about comfort zones, but more on that later...


Chennai (that was/is Madras?) tends to grow on you in ways that seems profoundly simple and direct yet illogically ephemeral. As a city, I have witnessed it change its character quite a bit in the time I have spent here, yet there is much that still remains as it has been for over a century and more.

Friday night was an interesting experience to say the least. Sitting and talking with a friend and poof the electricity supply is gone. Now, it had been raining, so the normal conclusion is it will come back in a few minutes. Unfortunately not the case. Friend decides to leaves for his house, which is just a couple of blocks away. And as we come out of the building, realisation hits us that all around us, there are lights and air-conditioners being powered away to glory and only our building has been affected. Turns out an underground cable connecting the transformer to our building had short circuited (burnt in three places as it turns out later).

Herein starts the experience. With the power on, the city felt different in that one is living in a safe and secure environment with access to water, sanitation, third party support, etc. Off goes the power and one realises Chennai's nature in full fury. Out of the all encompassing darkness come the raiders who descend on the hapless soul with precision attacking every possible part. As one of the bloggers from Chennai (see link) has asked, how dare we hoard blood, for it is the right of every bloody mosquito in the world to feast on us. Of course, it's not just blood that you are losing. Pouring streams of a saline liquid popularly known as sweat but not so popular when it starts to build and descend from that exact spot on your skull, to gather strength near the brow and together create its own version of the niagra falls! And this is but the physical manifestations. What about the mental? No more connected to the net or tv, one frantically searches through a mental checklist on what to do - can't shut the brain off, won't shut off! Phew, what a night.

Rather bleary eyed, low on the sleep quotient, one wakes up to the soulful morning with a happy realisation - the raiders have gone away for now - Yeah!! Make the best of it. Run. Jump. Scream. In joy. (Funny isn't it, how little things can give so much joy in life?). And then reality sinks in. There still is no power. One of the building's association member actually has to spend a whole day camping at the TNEB Assistant Engineer's office to ensure that somebody is actually deputed to find the fault and sort it out. Finally two people land up and oh dear, the open dug outs reminds you that beneath the surface lies so much! Every time we get a phone connection, or water connection or tv connection or a connection of any sorts, there is digging that takes place. Dig hard enough and you are bound to hit one of the wires in the dirt. Who cares, if a whole building goes without power because the rain water entered into the electricity cable through a cut/multiple cuts left during another connection being setup. Anyways, toiling industrially these two men manually sort out the whole mess and power is restored and life is back to normal.

But the brain refuses to stop thinking. In our man made heaven or mess of a city, whatever you call it, as long as everything is going in the way that leaves you happy, then all is fine. A change in that situation and the realisation dawns that nature has a way of showing you who really is more powerful (more on that later; met an interesting conservationist yesterday, check out the link to his blog too).

Chennai has evolved from a small fishing village into a giant metropolis. Have people and the place always been in tandem - absolutely not. Has the planning of the city been in tandem with the present needs, let alone future needs? Not is the sad answer. But have the people lived in tandem with each other? Yes and that is what makes this such an interesting city to live in. It grows on sub-conscious self in ways that's akin to a creeper, eventually becoming a part of your consciousness, without one even realising that it happened. But of course, a change (albeit temporary) like a power shut down leads you to realise what all. Here's wishing the best to this old lady of a city and its denizens.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Human relations et. al.

This a response blog, because as I started writing a comment, I realised that it was just getting longer and longer, thought might as well make it a blog! I also would like to state outright that all of what I will write here on is debatable, so bring it on... the more the merrier ;)

Call it Hum Tum or the hot topic of relations that opposite or even same genders of the human species could have, especially of the 'love' variety.

There are a few points I would like to say here:

1. There are no absolutes in any relationship. To think so would be foolish.

2. Right or wrong, as said in Anila's blog (check the link) is from 'a' person's perspective. There is my truth. Your truth. And the truth... LOL

3. While I do not backtrack from what I'd written, I must admit that those were written during a state of emotional trauma (or shall we say, a steep learning curve...LOL), so are liable to be very subjective.

In one of the comments on Anila's blog, a friend asks why do guys flirt at all. Yet another says, a flirt is somebody who's not ready to be steady (excuse the pun). Some say that it is part of the male psyche...it is also hard wired into our genes. I feel, that all of us flirt - consciously or unconsciously. As someone had mentioned in one of the comments, both girls and guys do 'check' each other out. Sometimes, the chemistry/connect/vibes et. al. is so strong that the flirting can get deeper and move on to something much more like a relationship. But to me the basic point of flirting (no rose tinted glasses here) is to get to know a person that much more than what one would get to know otherwise.

Body language is as much part of flirting as are verbal expressions. Flirting can have various styles, standards and goals. And not all flirting is with the intent as deciphered by the receiver. Having said this my point on perceived truth versus the truth still remains.

Civilisation, education, societal evolution - these and many more factors have brought in various elements that 'condition' us to what is behaviourally acceptable or not. There are also certain deeper factors, which not all of us recognise all the time.

While I agree that trust is the basic principle of any relationship (especially between lovers - maybe because the link is based on purely voluntary reasons?), the moot point is what is the trust for? For example, would it be appropriate to say, "Because you are in a relationship with me, I trust you not to flirt with other men/women"? or would it be better to say, "I trust you to be open and honest with me on every count, including the flirting?" or would be better to say, "I trust you to be with only me, in this manner, and no one else?" or would it be best to say nothing at all?

One of the movies that I have recommended - What love is - a recent release is worth watching, as amongst themselves, it shows men talking about women and women talking about men and both have a lot to say on this whole flirting thing. Yet when they meet up, all those discussions taken on a completely different hue. Please do see it, if you can, and add a comment/response to this topic. I will be very happy to take up a discussion.

More on this tomorrow...

Saturday, 21 June 2008

It's the weekend!

Finally... the best part of the week's here and the question looms large, what are you going to do, to make the most of it? Good question, eh? LOL...

From a stage, where the weekend was dreaded for it meant even more time with nothing to occupy, it has been a full reversal, with not enough time to do/experience everything that one wants interspersed with the mundane chores of a single person household!

With an imagination fired up, high energy levels (thank you chocolates!) and the idea of being in servitude to Bacchus high on the agenda later in the day, there's quite a bit to accomplish before one gets to that point of time.

I had a thought though... it is indeed in amazement that I look at how time changes so many factors for us. For instance, having met a person almost a decade ago, it is only recently that I can say, we have gone to stage which could be described as close friendship (a much abused term, but what the heck). That it took almost a decade to reach this stage, even when we were part of similar circles just possibly gives a bit of credence to the saying that 'there is a right time for everything'. There is not too many other reasons, why it took so long to connect.

Which brings to me the question of what exactly do we qualify and quantify as a connect between two human beings? Is it that feeling of being comfortable with each other? Being comfortable with the pluses and minuses that we all invariably have? Being more trusted and therefore more open to communication? Why is it that at times when, people move in and out of our lives, either, we get closer or equally we go so far that it makes no sense at all? While the theory of relativity may hold good for many, I feel that beyond the regular factors which one can logically pinpoint, there are facets, attributes and influencers not necessarily logically explainable.

Funnily, it is like doing the never end 'why' question. For example...

Q: Why is India named so? A: It was linked to the Indus river.
Q: How did the Indus river get that name? A: Possibly, the migrating tribes around 4000 BC gave that name.
Q: Why were there migrating tribes? A: Because they were following the changing rivers.
Q: Why were the rivers changing? A: Because the earth is an evolving planet.
Q: Why is the earth an evolving planet? A: Because the universe and everything in it is constantly evolving.
Q: Why does the universe need to constantly evolve? A: aaaaargh!!!

...you see there is no limit to the 'why' question. So I guess it is, in the end, sometimes, just one of those things we have to positively accept rather than persistently but pointlessly question.

Time to get to those mundane chores ;) Ciao for now.

Back in action!

Hey... it is a new or shall we say, renewed me back on the blog and this time with the objective of actually chugging along if not running at full speed :) consistently.

I must admit here that an inspiration has been a person about whom I keep getting to know something different each time, we talk. And one of the recent revelations has been the whole blogging concept.

Some feel that blogging is nothing but a public diary. Is that so? I suppose it depends on how each individual would make use of a facility to put down their thoughts... whether it should be their innermost thoughts or just what they feel at this point of time. All said and done, it is up to that individual, isn't it?

Here's looking at a great re-start. More anon.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Brain dead!

There comes a stage, when an overabused brain can either just quit, snap or simple fizzle off! Too much thinking is also an issue... lots of people will say, don't think too much... but it is not easy to listen to and worse, adhere to. For unbidden thoughts, memories, emotions... nobody has understood completely how the human mind works, but it does work.

Sometimes, just too much. It then, that you get the feeling - maybe the stone age was better. Having said that, I do believe that it is the present that one is in, that matters the most. Hope is the only thing that a human mind will retain, even in the darkest moments. Hope is the elixir that sustains humans way beyond what would be in the realm of real time possibilities. Sometimes, it turns out to be a mirage, and at times becomes real.

If there really was a way to turn that switch off or to even slow down the pace at which the brain works (and many take help of alchohol or other such substances), it just may help. I do not even know if anyone will be reading what I have written here, but if you do and you actually know the secret switch, do let me know!

What is satisfaction?

Really, what is satisfaction? So often I feel that we could be much better people, if we were to be satisfied with what we get. For many of us, despite possibly having got the best, we still look for more. Is this a human trait? To keep looking?

There will be a school of thought, which says, well if we were the sorts that would be satisfied with what we had, then the human race would not have reached where it is today. It is the pursuit of more that has led to some of the world's best inventions be it in technology, health care, travel and many such products.

But when it comes to relationships, if we apply the same yardstick, one ends up feeling absolutely bad. Realisation leads to remorse which does lead to resolve, but it is not a one-way street. And so often, it is too late. And free will is a fact of life. Unless it is given by free will, it can not be had satisfactorily.

What a life...

Friday, 8 February 2008

Friends...

Friends are who make you what you are... or the old-fashioned way of saying it, you are what you are, depending on the company you keep!

Well, I have a slightly different view as of this stage in my life. I have now come to see, not only how much friends matter, but who really are friends. There are many sorts of friends. Some just above the acquaintance level, some friendly, some deep, yet some really sort of psuedo-soul mate! And by this, I mean that there are some individuals who really do understand you, feel for you, want you to be happier and actually make an effort to support/help you as required.

When a friend, cries thinking of what you are going through, and wishes that you would get out of the negative situation sooner than later, you know that, that is a friend. Somebody who really cares.

As a basic tenet, to me friends are connections between hearts and minds of dissimilar individuals, and is the bond on which many a life really is lived!

Emotions, logic, truth

It is said in psychology texts that a person goes through a shock, denial and finally acceptance phase. This is apparently valid for any situation, but mostly for the negative experiences.

Yet, have you ever had this feeling that however much, you try, you don't seem to be able to get over a situation that has developed in a manner that hurts you? While it would be easy to say, this is the denial phase, fact of the matter is that emotions and logic do not mix with each other.

Rather logic can be applied in any manner to suit emotions - which range from sadness, rage, disillusionment, despair to lower self-esteem. It is quite often surprising, that one tends not to look at the larger picture of life. One seems to get focussed so specifically on a certain objective, that everything else which may still be going very well, gets put down. Some may revel in brooding, I do not. That a blog becomes an outlet (not completely satisfactory, albeit better than anything else), it is a tad scary too.

It also tells you the truth - humans (at least most of us) are not loners. We like to be with other like-minded individuals with whom you can relate on various levels. Sometimes a situation can lead to questionning - is this life? Is this the truth about living? When the situations are positive, it is not even a thought that crosses one's mind - one is blithely carrying on being 'happy'. And while you may agree that the definition of happy varies within each person, isn't it a fact that we are constantly in the pursuit of happiness?

If one is losing sleep over a situation, then I guess one is letting the situation get to a stage where it relegates everything else to the background. It is easier to say, focus on the right things, keep moving, keep busy, blah blah blah, but is it that easy to do? I don't know. You might even say, it is the part of maturing, growing up... hey, if this is the wake up call of adulthood, then by no means is adulthood what it is made out to be. And if this is childish in thought, then what is the truth?

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Men and Women - 2

It is indeed scary at times, what women can do to men. And the word that usually goes around is that only women are emotional. Wrong! Men are as emotional as women. In some case even more so. Sensitivity is not something that can be measured so easily in everyone. Sometimes, it is hidden so deep and so well, that some people never manage to see beyond the superficial.

But it is true that men are emotional. Especially, when it comes to their partners. Every relationship is fraught with hurdles and joys. When it is all good and great, everybody is happy and the world is golden and heavenly. Yet the very same place becomes hell, when things change, people change, times change. It is all very good and easy to say that somethings are meant to be. I say that it is nothing but a way of justifying to yourself that it is not within your control and therefore there's no alternative but to accept it.

Yes, we live in a world where mostly free will exists and can be exercised. But when it happens and as a result, someone who means more than you had ever realised moves on, it hurts. It hits so deeply that there are hardly any words that can convey how much and where all it hurts.

Some men take it very positively. Some scream - Freedom! Some just scream. In pain. I am one of those. Today I don't feel on top of the world, rather I feel like the world is on top of me. And yet there are so many 'friends' who will tell you that 'you've got to move on'. Sure, if my stupid brain and the resultant ego allows me to!

There will be a school of thought that will say, it is but natural. Humans are not destined to be partners for a very long period - yet this eschews the whole theory of lifelong partnership.

Well, I do not know what lifelong partnership is, but I do know that it feels like you are smaller than even the tiniest atom in the world, when you are at the receiving end of a -- sorry, it is not working!

Monday, 4 February 2008

men and women - 1

humans - yes. two species - yes. but so very different in our approaches to life, to relationships, to things that bring the two together or take them apart.

i'm sure there are many people out there who can confidently state that they have had it worse than me and i'm sure they may be right. but as with any human being, what's happened to me is most important to me than anybody else. and right now, i'm in a vaccum. a place where i feel zoned out. why? take a guess!

why is that men and women can't see eye to eye on things that have got to do with relationships? why is that women are almost always seeking out that 'life partner'? why is it that men who are in a relationship, still 'check out' other women? the former have a compulsive need to 'settle' down, whereas the latter have a compulsive need to go after every one of the former species that they take a liking to.

anyways, i digress here. the point that i have been trying to understand is why do feelings change? situations change and quite possibly we can't control it, but feelings? answers anyone?