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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Choices- is it made out of free will?

The hottest topic few days back was " My Choice" a Homi  Adajania's  directed video featuring Deepaka Padukone, made waves those days and has over ten millions of  views on the You tube  . The video has taken the social media by a storm  and there were intense debates happening on the pro's and con's of the subject . The video talks of women empowerment and choosing to live their lives as they please. This message is not being accepted by many women in India, for they do not have  a choice in choosing the life they want to lead and this is quite evident from outpour of comments on twitter, face book and blogs by women themselves.

But then is your life really the choice you have chosen with free mind ?? Majority of human beings  lead their life based on choices they take due to family pressures, a. sense of duty or for love or to the job they have . So what's so great about few urban bred women on a slick video saying it is their choice to choose their profession , to sleep with anyone or the get drunk  and to wear anything .Is it really so??? No its a false facade being put up by those women and I am sure they are not really happy the way their lives is progressing. It is fashionable and cool statement to make among your peer group that you are leading your life as per your choice though it may be someone else's choice.

Millions of women in the villages and by lanes of the cities in India don't have a choice in their lives and they take orders in every step of their lives and abide by it for the sake of their families. So what happens to " My Choice" for these women who are emotionally blackmailed by the family. The prostitutes are not in the world's profession by their choice ..they have been forced into the same and now it is their way of life .

Men do want to live their life by their choices but it never works out like that for  them as  they are bound by their families, friends, office and society and the choices they take has relevance to these factor. People in Iran had no choice but to lead the life as chosen by Muslim clerics once Ayatollah came back into power in that country in late seventies. Life in many of the middle eastern countries in not what one wants to lead but have no option but to live the way it is chosen for you by others.  Take for instance me... I would love to be in India along with my family and to lead a comfortable retired life engaging in my interests but then no  for i had to be away from home working my ass off in a god forsaken place in the just so that I earn handsomely and the family can lead a comfortable life and all commitments are met.

 " My choice" is not exactly my choice :)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Couch Experts

"Empty pots make more noise" is an apt description for the couch experts and I am sure most of you would have come across one such expert in your lifetime. The topic could be anything in the world and you can see quite a few of these special people commenting in social media networks or jumping into the conversation stressing their point of view without having a total knowledge of the topic under discussion. I keep following wildlife and nature on the social media networks and there has been so many topics that has been extensively argued or commented and the experts are good in their comments but then they keep tending to dump all faults on the authorities without out giving any thoughts of the ground realities that exists in the discussions that is being done.
Image Courtesy Google Images
One incident comes to my mind right away about a Man eating tiger that was shot dead in Nilgiris ranges and this topic was raging on both Facebook and Twitter with scores of people just blaming the forest department of not capturing the animal and commuting it to a zoo. To be frank even i have queried the decision to kill the man eater instead of the capturing the same but then in this particular incident i chanced on a post by a facebook friend who is a retired forest officer and while going through the post and its comment i came to understand the other side of the story (authorities) wherein there are so many factors involved that needs to be considered which we as ordinary citizen are not aware of while we make our comments.

It is very easy for all of us to sit in our air conditioned office/home and pass comments on the operations that is taking place on the ground... be it a cricket match, a football match or the hunt for the man eater without an iota of idea the actual conditions in the field. In short the people who are not experts needs to give constructive comments instead of negative or abusive comments that seems to be the trend. We in India have many other factors that has direct implications to any specific issue right from political angle, unscrupulous persons and there is no point in just commenting and winning likes on a post. It is said if you are not happy with what is happening then get on the ground yourself and try to change that is happening instead of crying foul .... this will not happen for who wants to leave the comfort and security of their spaces and be faced with ire of scorned persons. 

This is my opinion and is not directed at any person or group and any such inference if any is by the reader :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stalking Tiger and Chasing Elephant !!!

I have been a regular visitor to forests for quite some time and each and every trip till date has revealed something new in terms of sightings. I see so many photographers in resorts each one vying to capture images of big cats Leopards and Tigers only and in the process miss out moments that are truly wonderful and possibly never repeated. I normally go with group of young professionals who also have interest in photography as a hobby and i keep telling them that it is better to go into the safari drive without any expectations then there is no chance of any disappointments in terms of sighting. The recent trip just concluded and in all the four safaris we had great sightings of the big cat predators and also got to witness two incidents that are pretty rare but does happen within the forest quite often but without any spectators around.

 The first incident was that while on evening safari at Nagarhole forest we had alarm calls ringing all around us and we suddenly saw a huge male leopard sitting beside the path and then scent marking its territory. After sometime i was disturbed by the scent of a larger predator nearby ....Tiger and hence climbed a tree and laid down nearly 20 feet high away from the reach of tiger. We then went in search of the tiger and what we saw was few gaurs standing in semi circle and looking down...and when we looked closely it was the bold male known as Mastigudi male . Then the gaurs made a collective charge and the tiger got up and vanished into the bush.

The second incident happened the next day when the same male tiger stalked an elephant and subsequently the nervous elephant chased the tiger. This incident has been videographed in bits and pieces and i have compiled then into a single clip. The description of the incident in detail is available on Youtube.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Don’t worry be happy!!!

A song by Bobby McFerrin released in 1988 has played an important part in my life and it still does. My father’s close friend who has same name but different initials, would always tell these four magical words  “ Don’t  worry be happy” at times of hardship or on occasions when the person is down. I know it hard not to worry about the future especially when you have a host of people depending on your actions in the face of such situations. I maintain the same attitude “Don’t  worry be happy “ in the face of adversaries and maintain a fa├žade of being happy with what the life is catering to me at all points of time.

I would be quite untruthful if I state that I do not worry about the future even though I maintain a facade of contentment but chose to ignore it since I have realized that by worrying , it only increase my stress and I do not tend to find solution to overcome the situation. I take life as it comes and enjoy it to the hilt without breaking my head about the future for i know that it would work out fine.

It is easier said than done and I am sure each one of you has gone through such phases in one’s life. Try to analyze the situation and arrive at the conclusion as to the outcome if you were to be worrying  instead of finding out the solutions to the hurdle. I am sure you would agree worrying does not relieve you of the situation .Hence my friends Don’t Worry Be Happy !!!! and i am sure with this approach you would find ways and means to resolve your problems.

Here is the original song… enjoy !!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Leopard withs its kill -Nagarhole

My last jeep safari at Kabini River Lodge Jlr on 8th Jan 2014 morning was with the same group i had done the previous two jeep safaris. The group assembled early morning at 6 am and we left on the safari before everyone else toward the forest zone A and the plan was to sight the tiger pair that we had missed the previous day morning which were supposed to be moving around in this area. It was hardly 10 minutes into the forest our vehicle suddenly stopped at the spot where this group had spotted a female leopard previous evening and our naturalist Vijay and driver Anil pointed out to the same tree branch..and lo there was a leopard with fresh kill of spotted deer fawn on the branch. As we were the first jeep in position the cameras of the wildlife photographers started clicking away furiously so as not to miss out any scene that was unfolding there. After about 20 minutes other vehicles started coming to the location...however the leopard did not even budge a bit from the branch and was concentrating in eating its kill. The leopard was in this branch for over 2 hours and during this period it finished eating the kill completely, relaxed and rested on the very branch.Between all these activities it was also calling out for the female leopard whose scent was on the branch. Alarm calls of spotted deers nearby gave us hope that the female leopard is on the way and we would be able to see the mating pair but alas nothing turned up. We left the position for another vehicle and went around and just 100 meters from the spot came across a fresh pug mark of the tiger having passed that path.. tried following the pug marks but then we were not lucky to sight the tiger (however sighted by another group as it crossed their path). 

We then returned back to the spot where we first saw the leopard. It was killing for the wildlife photographers in the group and also the other vehicle and i believe each of them of my group captured over 500 pictures of the leopard eating. I also captured around 100+ but then due to my amateur's folly blurred few initial pictures ...but these images are etched crystal clearly in my mind. As the sun rose the lighting also improved and the later sequence of the photographs were much better for me. Sharing few of these pictures sequentially with all my friends so that they can also experience the thrill of wildlife in its natural habitat as experienced by me in the first place.

Tiger ... at Nagarahole

My second jeep safari at Jungle Lodges on 7th Jan morning at 6.15 am in the same vehicle and the group as requested by me set out with a focused idea of sighting the Tiger since a group that had sighted a mating pair in certain area of the forest. The wildlife photographers from Bangalore were apt in reading the pug marks and also we did hear the growl of the tiger we drove along the path slowly and suddenly the lone lady in the group..the wife of the wildlife photographer from New Zealand started pointing out to the tiger coming out of the bushes just 10 meters behind the vehicle.

 It came out then sat down for about 5 minutes and got up and went on to a log and stretched itself a bit and then started to walk behind the vehicle on the path and then cross over to squirt on a tree to mark its territory and then finally into the bushes across the road. I have also taken a small video of its walking behind our safari jeep which i will be posting separately. Quality of my pictures are not that good for i am an amateur photographer so please excuse me for these are for my personal album and to be shared with my friends.

Leopard sighting at Nagarahole National Park

Jan 6th 2014 evening Jeep safari at Nagarahole National Park ,my first safari during my stay at Kabini River Lodge was quite memorable one for me personally since this was the day i sighted the first big cat in the wild and it was my 19th safari in the forest regions of Mumdumalai, Bandipur and Nagarahole (3rd one in Nagarahole in the last 12 months). Our jeep had 3 wildlife photographers and it was a focused drive into the forest with the aim of sighting big cats since there has been a spurt in sightings of Leopards and Tigers in the past two days. A hour and half into the forest with no sightings everyone in the jeep keeping their fingers crossed and at that point of time our jeep driver got a call that a leopard had been sighted by another jeep and immediately we had a fast bumpy ride to the spot and here are few shots of the majestic and elusive Leopard resting on a tree nearly 30 meters away.

he moment we got to the spot it was a bit difficult to locate the cat since it was in a clutter of branches. Few snaps of the Leopard (out of numerous pictures taken) are posted. I am sure a professional wildlife photographers would have taken much better pictures than what has been captured, edited and cropped by me....but then these images are imprinted in my mind forever.