Monday, 24 November 2008

Water birds come calling

As winter sets in, the water birds come to roost in the mounds inside the Red Lake in ICRISAT. Raji and I have a field day shooting pictures.

Friday, 29 August 2008

No rainbow here

Though the water drops from the sprinklers don't produce a rainbow, they have their own beauty against the setting sun.

Come rain or shine

Come rain or shine, the plants in my small garden live their lives in glory.

Thursday, 14 August 2008


Dragonflies have fascinated me since childhood. In my young mind I have fantasized them to be nature's helicopters, hovering over shrubs and flowers. As kids we have persuaded them to lift tiny stones. Though not as colorful as butterflies, they have their own sinewy beauty, spartan in build - like Ernest Hemingway's prose.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Wild berries

I don't know whether these wild berries are poisonous. But they certainly have tempting form, color and texture.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Enchanting Ellora

Unlike Ajanta, the caves of Ellora are not exclusively Buddhist. They also have Hindu (top four pictures) and Jain (last picture) temples, adding to the diversity.

Transcendent Thiruvannamalai

Situated under the Arunachala mountain is the Thiruvannamalai temple in Tamil Nadu dedicated to Shiva as Arunachaleswara. The huge temple with four compound walls and multiple temple gates (gopurams) is said to date back to the 8th Century. In the scrub jungles of the Arunachala mountain live many sanyasis, or Hindu holy men and women

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Awe inspiring in simplicity

Aurangazeb's grave in Khuldabad, near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, is awe inspiring in its simplicity. For the man who ruled the whole of India, the grave is spartan. Aurangazeb chose to spend his last years in poverty, inspired by the Sufi tradition. He died in 1707, and the history of India went through radical change in the next 50 years, culminating in the British colonialisation of the country in 1757.


The Buddhist caves, carvings and paintings at Ajanta in Maharashtra are both rugged and sophisticated.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Morning has broken

A savanna landscape with sparse trees standing on grasslands has its own beauty when silhouetted against the rising sun.

Anything but a castle

Though called Manmool Castle, this structure inside ICRISAT campus has served many roles, except that of a castle. Constructed in the 16th Century, this building was used as a taxation center, hunting lodge, shelter for the poor and later as a shelter for animals. The building was recently renovated and has become a museum of sorts displaying early ICRISAT history.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Shooting the shooter

It is very rarely one gets an opportunity to shoot those who fill our lives with news morning, noon and night - the television crew. I had the opportunity when the crew from Doordarshan (India's national channel) was at ICRISAT to do a story on our research.

Cat genealogy

From the time we moved into the ICRISAT campus quarters in August 2003, we were never short of feline company. Ashley (top picture) was the first to join us in September of the same year. She delivered a litter of kittens after every mating season. The current crop (bottom picture) are growing up secure in our yard. They are (from left to right) Honey, Candy and Toffee. Toffee is the tom cat, rogue.

Almost at the time Ashley appeared, a grown male cat also appeared. Varun, my son, called him Gundu. Gundu's partner was Ashley's enemy, called just that. Gundu and Enemy produced a lineage, whereas here Ashley and her Boyfriend produced another. One of the earliest lots from the Ashley-Boyfriend partnership were three kittens - Snowflakes, Bruno and Aerial (so called for his/her penchant for climbing). Aerial disappeared one day, Bruno was gifted to our neighbour, where he has grown to a handsome young male, and Snowflakes is also a handsome male with long legs in the lookout for good-looking females. Snowflakes and Bruno befriended two of Enemy's children - Ching Ming and his sister. Boyfriend in fact is Enemy's brother.

In the next litter Ashley delivered another three - Silver-Moonbeam, Mixed-Pickle and Dark-Chocolate. They disappeared one by one mysteriously. The current crop is growing, rearing to face life.

In the meanwhile, Gundu competed with Boyfriend for territorial supremacy. He routinely chased and bit Boyfriend, till one day when Boyfriend was cornered he fought and realised that unknown to himself he was stronger than what he had expected. Gundu sulkingly disappeared from the scene. Now Boyfriend continues the tradition by attacking Snowflakes and Bruno.

Boyfriend and Ashley fell apart. Why I don't know since I am not tutored in cat psychology. Last seen, Boyfriend was dating Enemy's daughter. A case of avuncular love.