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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

More clicks from Sultanpur

A few kilometres drive from home...and the new craze of bird watching, delight of spotting the winged residents...and a step close to nature...

Little Cormorant

Jungle Babbler

Grey Heron

Red Wattled Lapwing... .. A discovery indeed  :-)

In action... Painted Stork

Pond Heron... Proud of spotting it and was the click of the day

Painted Stork

Purple Moorhen...

Purple Heron... Another find beneath the bushes....

White Breasted Kingfisher

Prey hunt may be....

Lesser Whistling Duck

Black necked Stork


Northern Shoveler...(Hopefully...) or Northern Pintail may be...

White Tailed lapwing.....very difficult to identify...we reached the conclusion after a lot of debate..

In all probabilities .... spot billed duck...thanks to the binocular...

Wayside...old Gurgaon Road...

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary

The best part:  Miracle really, so close to Gurgaon, nature awaits in such a lovely form, and can be a starting lesson for any budding bird watcher. Also a hot spot for a date with nature

Couldn,t identify them...the birds..but the view was breathtaking, as we stepped inside the park and started walking by the marshy lands

 Common Coot.. Black body and white beak..

A pleasure to have spotted her... Purple swamphen.. i guess..zoomed and focused binoculars to get a glimpse of the rich colour

In all probabilities Grey Heron (With due respects to my limited bird knowledge, humble camera and smart eyes)

After a great confusion over egrets, cormorants, ibis...settled for black necked stork...rather love birds..!!!

Again have doubts regarding their identity...( more Salim Ali for me!!)

Painted Storks... their colony

Babies are grey in colour , mostly resting in trees, waiting for food

Well agreed could not spot or identify many of them, but as a beginner it was a delight to spot, focus and find. Even without much briefings ( our Bharatpur trip a few days back awakened the bird lover in us..plus the knowledge showered upon by the guide) the place was worth a dekko...abundance of nature..open places, water bodies specially in the winter. The birds basking in the sun, floating in wetlands for prey...and the different chirps and twitters ( for once not the microblogging site!!)... reminds me of old times when the continuous chattering of various birds would ensure beginning of dawn...how the chirping would be started by one and joined by many gradually till it,s a pure mayhem in my hometown. Not sure when those voices ebbed off  save an occasional odd cawing of crow sounding terrible....

Different voices beckon to a different world...and even without the knowledge of  names a mere look brings us so close to nature.

The worst part: May get overcrowded on weekends in season. No guides or binoculars on rent  available. Write up about birds is minimal. Have to carry your own food... not sure about the adjacent resort...might just have a restaurant inside it. Most people were seen picnicking at a designated place outside which is not bad of course. We satisfied ourselves with the mooli gajar, guava sold outside with a sprinkle of lemon and masala.

And ended the trip with posing slyly in the mustard field on the opposite side of the road... Yash Choprasque pics minus the chiffon... since it was a all girl trip..we could take pics and pose as merrily as we could without a frowning bickering man screaming after us !!

P.S Yes photographs by an amateur...with a not-so-competent camera and its zoom..but the fun inside multiplies nonetheless without digital or optical enhancement!!!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Year that was

Poor performance.

How many books does one read in a year rather can one read in a year given hosts of other responsibilities and myriad bonds and so many tempting distractions to lure one away..... Well haven,t been much of a reader this year...and then how do we decide what to read..well whatever i can get my hands on for me.. wonder how others decide.. wonder if one is always supposed to be conversant in classics and talk about the latest talked about books....but then no rule works for me fine and with no answers to give to anyone...

Started the year with ' The Trial'. Took time to catch the magic, the starkness, the unpredictability..sheer meaningless of it all..but the magic catches on as you wait for it all to unwind... and ironically nothing does.Guess the poignancy lies in this very fact as reader gets entrapped in unwinding the tangles only to realise you get more and more into the maize and then the irony and the beauty of the truth within strikes like lightning... the maize of courts,lawyers, police can a ' common man'  ever get through these...and the trial of conscience we all face justifying our actions... The incompleteness of the book may be one of its USP,s and the entire dark world of K... a bit on the tougher side yet an intriguing start to the year.

Next i picked up something which has been lying on my bookshelf from long...the much loved Jeeves...well some books are immensely popular and it is difficult to have the feel in a different time perhaps...i was not totally able to get through the British jargon and enjoy the humour... i know many jeeves fan would disagree with me...i did enjoy bits and parts..but somehow finished it with relief. Better luck to me next time for Jeeves!

My father,s recommendation the next  one and not only that he handed over one of his favourite book to me to bring back with me...as i left ' The Trial' with him. Well blessed with having a father for whom i read
 ' Deshe Bideshe' by Sayed Mujtaba Ali. About Afghanisthan ...Afghanisthan of early 20th century...began with the incredible journey into the fascinating country through Khyber Pass..the vastness of the land from Kabul city to the ' other' part as he hears the most from his servant and most loyal friend...the poitical and social turmoil the country was in, interesting royal tales of the throne...an insight into a country perhaps misrepresented in modern times...well one of the best reads for me in the year...and my benchmark for a good book... wiped my tears as i closed the book..!!

Finally a read by a book given by a younger friend, pure mush...but then will have to admit most girls grow o a staple diet of mush... very irritating at times but the mush and the sheer delight of it and we read on... Movie was quite a let down after the book..

After a hiatus..i opened up ' Panchagram' again another possession of my father, though it is a sequel to Ganadebata which i was unaware of, just picked up the book because of its light weight amidst heaps of my clothes while i was out of Delhi for training.. Sometimes i just feel blessed that i am able to read and understand Bangla... i know i am supposed to..but given the limited number of persons i know who read this language.. i do not find myself unjustified as i relate to Debu the protagonist, the peasants of  Bengal oppressed by zamindars, Debu rising like God with light of education...the struggling peasants, the joy of farming, the flamboyant  low caste Durga, the killer flood...you can finish the novel at a go...curse yourself for being born in this country, country of peasants and zamindars and Brahmins and Dalits..and the country of hope which the book is able to imbibe from the immense negativity all around... and leaves me yearning for Ganadebata... a distant memory of the novel being made into a serial long back in Doordarshan.. which i used to watch with my father.

This was one of my buys from traffic light..after a bargain. Still reading it in the beginning of the year with about a hundred pages to finish... Afghanistan again albeit in a different form...though a jumble of too many characters and many sub plots... initial story of  Pari the little girl with gap toothed smile from a remote village of  Afghanistan ,the story teller had grip over the plot...which lost mid way but the language and lucidness somehow binds the reader..which is why i guess i would finish it in a couple of days..

A year that was....
How to pick up reads for this year as i cannot get past the second page of the newspaper..with all the ' Aam' news!!!
Will have to steal father,s collection again i guess...as he advises me ' Get the latest Desh... catch up with the short story collection'

And i buy a little bit of  Bengalipan from Haryana, from the fish shop which sells Bengali magazine Desh and Sanada as well...a total package which sells and works for the Jat owner!!