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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Migrant worker


Image Courtesy :- Google Images

One of the many heart rendering tale of the plight of migrant worker in the gulf I heard recently from a friend who knew this person who worked in gulf for over 25 years staying a forced bachelor during his entire adult life. One Devan from Kerala, eldest of three siblings came to gulf way back 1986 as a technician and being the eldest son the onus of taking care of the entire family was on him. He toiled for 3 continuous years working from morning to evening and also till night so that he earns a bit more with overtime and then proceeded on 2 months leave to home. During this leave the wedding of his first of two sisters was conducted and it was a lavish affair burdening him with loans. So he leaves back for work in gulf. While he was here the next 3 years his parents had seen a girl for him and also a groom for the second sister and wanted both the weddings be done during the time their son comes on leave. This took place during early 1993 and when it was time to return back for work in gulf Devan’s wife was   pregnant with their child.

Devan goes back to work alone since in his position he will not get family status and in few months’ time he gets the news that his wife has given birth to a son. His joy had no bounds for and was waiting for his leave which was in 1996. He toils even harder for the responsibility of the upkeep of his wife, son and aged parents are still on and towards the end of three and half years he proceeds on his vacations of 2 months. He goes with a thought of discussing with his wife of leaving the job at gulf and finding some suitable employment in Kerala itself so that he could stay with his family. During the vacation wife becomes pregnant again and his added responsibilities did not allow him to discuss the thoughts of relocating to Kerala with his wife. He had now on his own decided the he would work for 2 more terms of 3 years and then retire. So back he goes and keeps working until 2004 during the ensuing period both his parents have passed on and also his youngest sister and her children has come back home due to differences with her husband.

During his leave in 2004 he broaches the topic of returning back to India and settling down at Kerala itself as he is missing the family, but this time the wife says that it is better that Devan keeps working abroad as it ensures good living for her and their children and also the burden of the sister’s family does not hurt much. Now with these discussions Devan is forced to back to gulf for work and during his leave after every 2 or 3 years he keeps discussing about his coming back to Kerala. However now both children are on the verge of entering the college for higher education and also to maintain a status symbol in the society he had built a house on ancestral property he has no choice but to keep working in gulf living away from the family and earning for them.


Devan, finally went back to Kerala permanently in 2014 in a coffin.  He died a lonely death far away from home with only his fellow workers and staff around him. He toiled his entire life leaving like a third class citizen in Gulf country so that his family back home can lead a comfortable life. This is the story of so many workers from India…the burden of taking care of entire family rests on their shoulders and they do take care of it with a smile on their face without giving much thought about their own pleasures of family life. 

This is a true story.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Reduction of forest cover, Wildlife deaths and poaching – Rambling of a frustrated nature lover



2008 Satellite Imagery
The buzz word these days in India is wild life conservation but then little is being done by the government toward the conservation of wildlife. Projects in the name of development are being schemed and it invariably involves reduction of the forest in various parts of India. The forest cover has drastically reduced in last 8 years and it is evident from the satellite image of the green cover taken in 2008 and 2015.
2015 Satellite Imagery
This in turn has a direct impact on the wildlife as the unhampered space for them keeps shrinking due to the avarice of the humans who continuously keep encroaching into the forest land.
States of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana have suffered huge loss of forest cover  .Animals that are affected the most are Elephants , Tigers and Leopards . Elephants keep moving about various forests following a set path for centuries that has been ingrained in their memories and is known as the elephant corridors and due to the encroachment of the forest land and the human habitation coming up on this land blocks the corridor and this is the reason why the elephants keep entering villages and towns. Similarly the reduction of forest causes the predators such as tigers and leopard to move nearer to human habitat as they may have been driven out by stronger animals. Cascading effect of this is increasing human animal conflict in which humans are always the winner.


Next big threat to the wildlife of India is poaching of wildlife and this is on increase due to lack of stringent laws and greed of easy money. Though the government keeps stating that they are doing everything to prevent the threat the ground realities are quite different. Take the case of the National animal tiger... we do have over 50 tigers missing from 2012 till date and their fate is unknown. Quite a lot of the missing tigers are Iconic tigers which have been extensively sighted and photographed by wildlife photographers from all over the world. Sultan, Dendu, Veeru, Jai, Munna are few tigers that were in news as their disappearance were publically noticed since these tigers were from the tourism zone of the wildlife reserve whereas there is hardly any news of the missing tigers which are from the core areas....even the forest department are clueless and a definite number cannot be ascertained and possibly have been poached.

As per various newspapers and the electronic news media there are 12-15 tigers missing from Ranthambore,6 tigers missing from Nagzira including the current heart throb Jai, 3 tigers from Telangana, 10 tigers from Pilibhit UP and from various parts of India for which there is no information unless recorded by wildlife enthusiast.  A tiger cannot be declared dead unless the carcass is found and the tiger mortality count does not consider these missing numbers. Iconic Jai gone missing has garnered so much publicity and you have so many NGO’s, individuals and the FD searching for him, even a reward has been announced by Maharashtra Government for finding him.

In addition to the missing tigers this year has seen a total of 82 tiger deaths as per Wildlife Protection Society of India and this includes mortality, poaching and skin seizures as of July end 2016 as compared to 92 tiger in whole of 2015 ...this is quite depressing especially after having cheered the increase of tigers in the wild to 2226 numbers in the last census.

List of various animals being poached keeps growing and it is quite depressing to read or hear and as a frustrated nature lover i sincerely hope this threat is neutralized at the earliest so as to retain the wild life that is in the forest of India safe.Jai Hind

 PS: Images Courtesy Google Images

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Magical Kabini – Stress buster




Disclaimer: This write up is my personal opinion and it does not endorse or market trips to this forest


The normal sounds of the forest is suddenly shattered by the alarm call of the forest watcher “Langurs” and the chorus taken up by the spotted deer’s indicating movement of a predator within the thick bushes along the path and suddenly there seems to be flurry of activities breaking the tranquility that was prevailing till then. The herd of deer’s all of them alert with their tails up looking toward the possible predator movement.
It could be the big cats Leopard or the Tiger moving about the forest. If Sambar deer gives out an alarm call then we can be sure it is a Tiger in most cases. If the naturalist is able to pinpoint the exact spot of the alarm call then we will be able to sight the predator as it comes out in open. Many a times we have been concentrating on the herd of the deers and the predators have circled and crossed the safari path behind the vehicle thereby missing head on images. The adrenaline that rushes through your body during such times and the thrill you get is something to be experienced and I would be doing injustice describing it in words. Once you are hooked on then you would want to get this feeling time and again. You can experience such feelings and thrills only at Kabini unlike other reserves in India and this is the reason why I keep going to Kabini on a regular basis and not to any other reserves or sanctuary in North India where  tiger sightings are quite common and that too in large numbers.
During the recent trip to Nagarhole forest one of my face book friend whom I met there asked if I have visited other wildlife reserves in other parts of India and my response was no since I visit only Kabini, Bandipur and Mudumalai reserves in addition to Nilgiris biosphere in all my trysts into the nature for last so many years.  He was pretty surprised with my response for he was under the impression that we visit the forests for capturing the images of wildlife. Yes that is collateral but that is not the only reason!!!! 

Currently this forest has a Black leopard or melanistic leopard or two residing in the tourism area and there has been high influx of wildlife photographer to sight and capture image of this black beauty. Recently it has been sighted quite often though the first sighting of this was nearly 18 months back.. In addition we do have the tigers, leopards, elephants in large herds, wild dogs or the dholes and other wildlife to make your tryst into the forest a real interesting experience. It is said that you have to be at the right place at the right time to catch the action as it unfolds and all of us try to be there when it happens.
So my friends this is why i keep going there time and again to Nagarhole

Friday, May 6, 2016

Prophet Nabi Ayoub or Prophet Job




Browsing through my old photographs taken during my stay at Salalah I came across the images I had captured at the tomb of Prophet Nabi Ayoub or Job (English name). I did write of this tomb briefly in another blog about 3 years back but did not delve into the background then. Prophet Job or Ayoub has been mentioned in the Old Testament as well as the Quran. Christians often refer to “Patience of Job and Muslims refer to Ayoub’s Patience and try to emulate him in the face of adversities. 


Ibn Kathir, a famous Islamic scholar has written about Prophet Ayoub and the story is based on the Quran. As the story goes Ayoub was a descendant of Noah and he was steadfast in devotion of God and was considered as the best man of the generation. He was very rich with two wives and 15 sons living a humble life and Satan’s heart was filled with jealousy. Satan attempted to distract Ayoub from his prayers to god & the righteous path he was following but Ayoub remained resolute and remained as he was before. Satan rage grew and he then complained to the God that Ayoub is so devoted worshipper because the God had given him wealth, health, happiness and processions. God then allowed Satan and his helpers to destroy Ayoub’s wealth and possessions. Satan and his helpers then went on to destroy Ayoub’s wealth, children and his health and yet the Satan could not destroy the steady fast devotion of God in Ayoub’s heart. Ayoub endured the ordeal without any complains and he became frail and weak with maggots on his body. Because of his conditions he had to leave the place of his birth since he was unwanted and unwelcome there. He then came to Dhofar region and it was when his wife who accompanied him through this ordeal left him and went elsewhere he called upon God begging for mercy. Pleased with the unflinching devotion God told him to stamp his foot down on earth and Lo when Ayoub did that a small spring of water pour out from that spot and this water cured Ayoub of his illness and he recovered to once again to be healthy and his possession slowly came back including his wife. He went on to live for a very long time after that in the similar fashion as he was throughout his earlier life. (This story is pieced together with help of Google and I apologize if I have made errors in the story

The spot where Prophet Ayoub stamped down by his foot is imprinted and is still visible just outside the tomb where the remains of the Prophet rests on top of Jebel Ittin, about 30Kms off Salalah. The first thing you would notice is that the foot print is quite huge and as you enter the building housing the tomb you can visualize that Prophet Ayoub was a big man around 12 to 13 feet in height and about 4- 5 feet wide by seeing the burial spot. I have not comments of this since I was not able to find physical attributes of Prophet Ayoub. The walls of this building is adorned with sacred writings as seen in the images shared




Today this spot is a tourist attraction and during Khareef seasons tourist’s throng to this place in thousands. Beautiful road to the top of the mountain is filled with mist and is very scenic and I am sure most of you would enjoy this spot.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kabini Diaries -04 Giant Indian Squirrel

The Giant Indian squirrel or the Malabar squirrel (Ratufa Indica) is a large tree squirrel native to India. It is a large bodied squirrel and it is the state animal of Maharashtra. Here are couple of images of the Malabar squirrels


 The Indian squirrel is herbivorous and is often found on the tree tops and hardly ever seen on the ground. 


The Malabar squirrels has conspicuously two or three tone color which may be tan, rust brown, dark seal brown or beige . The underside of it is generally cream color. Raptors and leopard are a threat to this squirrel and when in danger it does not flee instead flattens itself on the tree trunk .

Monday, May 2, 2016

Depression and Suicides



Image Courtesy-Google Images
Recent spurts of suicides by persons from the films and television medium and has been widely reported in Electronic & Social media networks. The recent one being that of a TV artiste Pratyusha Banerjee who supposedly committed suicide. There are scores suicides that take place among farmers of rural India that hardly get a mention in the news unless being stoked by political parties. Come to think of these deaths, the causes in most of the suicidal deaths have been due to depression. So logically depressions can kill you unless you are able to overcome the same. 

Depression occurs when one feels burdened beyond an extent… it may be non-repayment of loans or mounting loans, no success in chosen field, lack of love, lack of companionship and so forth and some of the reasons may be out right silly too. Depressed people will never admit to being depressed as they think that they would be ridiculed by their peers. Most of us do feel low sometimes but then if you are suffering from depression the down period is for a longer duration say weeks or months. This feeling of depression is considered by most people as very trivial matter and not a medical condition but then they are very wrong and they should consult a doctor for this condition since this can be treated by medications. If left untreated it could lead to the person taking very harsh steps in life that cannot be retraced. Here I wish to narrate an incident that occurred in Gulf where I work, a colleague of mine was totally depressed since he had an affair with a Vietnamese woman who was insisting on marriage though he was married with two children. This caused him to neglect his work, stopped communication with family, friends and colleagues and was suicidal in nature. He was sent back to India for treatment and when he returned he seemed to have overcome the depression since he was able to convince his first wife to accept his second marriage. All was well for a year or so and then the second wife travelled to Australia to her higher studies and there she delivered their first child for which he had gone and come. During her second visit to Oman she came back pregnant with someone else’s child for which my colleague threw her out of the house after taking custody of the child. Now he was alone at Muscat with a 2 year old son and somehow was managing work as well as home. The second wife being Vietnamese brought in lots of pressures on this person to release the child to her custody and one such letter to our management from this woman and also from the Indian embassy pushed him beyond all control. He then one weekend afternoon smothered his two year old son to death and then hung himself to death. 

Depressions can cause a person to become alcoholic, violent, withdrawn, and listless. At extreme moments it sure can make a person suicidal and this tendency may dissipate if they are able to communicate their thoughts to either a family member or friends. Communication plays a vital role in helping people who are depressed and hence it is said that not to keep your feelings bottled up inside you but to vent it out to your companion, friend or relatives thereby avoiding volcanic eruptions of the feeling that can hurt the people around and self. It is very easy for us to call a person who has committed suicide a coward but then it takes immense courage to take the final step in the suicide. I have known of a friend who took this extreme step within a blink of an eye by taking poison but repent after having done the act and we could not save him because it was too late and the poison had entered the blood stream. Had he communicated his worries and thoughts to someone and maybe he would have been alive this day.

I am sure that all you readers would also have come across various incidents that would have resulted in a suicide and when we think about it find it to be a very silly reason to have thrown the precious life away. Do share your thoughts