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Sandeep was going birding the next day and asked if I was interested in joining him. I readily agreed. We left Bangalore at 6.30 am. I asked Sandeep where we were heading. He told we were heading towards Kaglipura, a village 140 Kms from Bangalore. I have’nt heard about the place and asked him whats great about the place. He told that Bar Headed geese were spotted at Kaglipura a few weeks back and we were going there to see if we can spot them too. Bar Headed Geese??? I was new to birding and have’nt heard of it before. I referred the bird identification field guide and it looked like another goose whitish with black stripes on the head. So whats special about it?

The Bar-headed Goose is one of the world’s highest flying birds, having been seen at up to 10,175 m (33,382 feet). It has a slightly larger wing area for its weight than other geese and it is believed this helps the goose to fly high.The Bar-headed Goose migrates over the Himalayas to spend the winter in India, Assam, Northern Burma and the wetlands of Pakistan. It migrates up to Magadi wetlands of Gadag district of Karnataka in the southern part of India.

Kaglipura Lake

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My friend Prasad had come from Bombay on a vacation. He wanted to go on an outing. None of our other friends were free and finally we decided that only we two will go. Then we set out a plan.

The next day I reached his place at 7 am. There started our journey. We first headed towards Ramnagaram on Mysore road. I had passed by that place numerous times but never stopped by. I had seen a few pics of vultures taken at Ramnagaram and was keen on sighting one. We finished breakfast on our way and headed towards Ramadevara betta at Ramnagaram. It looked like a bit of an uphill journey. As we were travelling uphill, I saw some shiny bird moving around in a bush. I asked Prasad to stop the car and clicked a pic of the bird. I dint want to get out of the car and shoo the bird away. But the bird was at a distance and I couldnt identify it. I zoomed my pic…and wow! It was a Purple Sunbird feeding on nectar. A good pic to start with. At around 8 am, when we reached there, we were the only visitors. We headed towards the temple, uphill. It was a calm walk uphill…with no noises of urban civilisation.  I spotted Ashy Prinia and an Asian Paradise fly catcher but was too slow to click a pic. After darshan at Ram Temple, we were scanning the place. A small water pool looked cool. Then I looked around if I could spot some birds. The purple sunbirds were flying around and then one yellow bird caught my attention. Wow! It was a Yellow throated Bulbul! A somewhat rare species. Was lucky to click one on my first birding trip! Also shot a closeup of a Peninsular rock agama. After reaching downhill, I went around to spot some birds and spotted a drongo, white cheeked barbet and a pied wagtail. But couldnt spot a vulture. The skies looked blue and I thought I’ll try my hands at car modelling. Then we headed towards Kokkarebellur, a not widely explored place other than for some bird enthusiasts and photographers.

The road to Kokkarebellur was pathetic. Atleast 10 of the 13Kms stretch deviating from Mysore road was of mud. On way we spotted some Ibis, a bee eater and herons. We reached the village at around 11.30 am and asked for the bird sanctuary (I thought it was a bird sanctuary). The villagers told that there was no bird sanctuary. It was only the village. I was confused. Then we saw a few other tourists and were convinced. I got down from the car and looked around. It was a small village and I was wondering where to spot the birds. I just happened to look up and Oooffff! 1000’s of Painted storks and Pelicans resting on trees and hovering in the sky. It was a beautiful sight! These birds are not one bit disturbed by the presence of tourists and clicking them was pretty easy. I waited long to get a decent shot of one of these birds flying and finally got a not so bad pic. It was scorching hot and we decided to continue our journey after a long photo session.

We stopped for lunch at Maddur Tiffanys and then headed towards Ranganathittu. I was very enthusiastic to visit Ranganathittu, a regular spot for many birdwatchers. I had visited the place twice but was not fascinated at that time since I was not that interested in bird watching then. We reached at 3.30 pm and we decided to rest for sometime till the sun cools down. As I was sitting in a place and watching over the river, it seemed to me that a rock on the river moved. I watched it more closely and it was a Marsh crocodile. Not one, but 3 of them, resting. Shot a few pics. It was 4.15 pm and we thought of going boating. This was the first time I was going boating in Ranganthittu and we went in the common boat. I thought it was a half an hour ride but it was less than 10 minutes. But I was able to click a few decent shots in this 10 minutes. It was amazing to watch different species of birds. The Asian Openbill, Egret, Night heron etc. etc. I wanted to hire a private boat, but it was getting late. So we decided to head back.

Finally after a tiring day, we reached Bangalore at 8.30 pm. My first bird watching trip was an amazing and memorable one. A good one to start off with!

AVATAR – I saw the promos and thought it was another animated movie. But I wanted to watch it since I had never watched a 3D movie before. I also wanted my parents to watch the world’s most expensive movie ever. But my parents generally don’t watch english movies and have hardly been to theatres. I had a tough time convincing them, especially about the premium ticket rates at one of the posh multiplexes in Bangalore. And finally I booked the tickets for a 9.15pm show on a weekday.

I was excited and couldnt wait to watch my first 3D movie. Finally, time to leave my office. I left the office at 7pm, reached home by 8pm- half n hour late than usual, stuck in a traffic jam. I dint wanna miss even a single scene. I left home with my parents and was at the theatre half n hour before the show. I was given a 3D goggle to wear…it was made out of plastic frame with a plastic paper-like lenses. I wore it……and……I looked like a new breed of alien, the goggle covering half of my face!!! I felt a bit awkward using it but when I saw everyone in the hall use it, I felt better.

The movie began….and in just 10 minutes I felt I was in a fairy land!!! Let it be the glowing plants, floating mountains, the weird creatures or the Na’vis…it was just an out of the world experience! It was a world beyond imagination. Pandora depicted in the movie is a glorified portrayal of our earth. In a few action sequences, I literally had to move my face to avoid being hurt…a 3D impact. Each detail of the frame was given the utmost importance. It was also a technological extravaganza. I had an amazing movie watching experience.

And finally what’s the movie about..? Another action-adventure cool movie with lot of technology..? It’s something more. It’s about us…our planet. The movie depicts human greed in the form of humans who are trying to encroach Pandora, in search of valuable minerals. The Na’vis are depicted as the environmentalist who fight against the humans to save their planet.

We come from a planet where we are killing our own mother – Mother Nature. Instead of protecting and supporting the living beings around us, we are destroying it. Out of greed for money and in the name of development, we are exploiting nature rather than exploring it. Let it be search for minerals or expanding infrastructure, we are digging our own grave. Humanity is on the march, earth itself is left behind. Friedrich Nietzsche had once remarked, “The world is beautiful, but has a disease called man.” Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.

We only have one home – “Earth”. Nature has already started paying for our mis-deeds in the form of global warming, land slides etc. We are all the “avatars” of mother nature and have a responsibility of protecting it. It’s high time we realise its importance and work together to stop this environmental rape. In the words of Desiderata “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here”. And with right, comes the responsibility. The world will never starve for wonders, but only for want of wonder.

“Welcome to the World”

Is human, humane..?

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year!

Let me give my disclaimer first. I’m really new to blogging and this is my first blog. I’m just trying to express my opinion and thoughts. Readers must excuse me in case I use the wrong language or if you find it difficult to understand my blog. Comments, criticism and suggestions are always welcome.

At times, a nation is unfortunately the victim of natural calamities like flood, earthquake, tsunami etc. Millions loose their homes and dear ones. These people need large funds to support the basic necessities of life – food, clothing and shelter.            

During these hours of need, various fund raising activities take place like voluntary contributions, celebrity endorsements, road rally etc. The people organising these do a great job. What really caught my attention was celebrity endorsement.

Celebrity endorsement includes organising star shows, musical nights, sports show etc. The proceeds from these shows after meeting the expenses are contributed to these calamity relief funds. What really struck me was whether these celebrity  endorsements are really required to raise funds for these relief programs. Do we need a star dance in skimpy clothes or play a cricket match to raise money for the needy? Is it not our duty as a citizen or a human to help our fellow beings in need? Do we really need to entertain ourselves in such a moment of national suffering?

It is the duty of every man to help others in times of need. That’s what makes human humane. If we need a stimulant like a star show or a sports match to make us realise our duty, I think we are not heading in the right direction. We don’t need anybody to make us realise our duty towards our parents or friends in need. The spirit of mankind lies in his natural willingness to help people in need.

We shouldn’t be setting false examples and trends for future generations. We have the most important responsibility and obligation of leaving a better world and a better society for the  generations to come. Because there’s lots of good in this world, there are lots of people around the world trying to make this world a better place to live in…

Hello world!

Hi

This is just my small attempt to put my thoughts, expressions and experiences in writing.

Cheers