Friday, July 22, 2011

Another night at SACON campus :)

My visits to the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural history (sacon) has become very frequent in the last few years..I love being in the campus..right from the gate, entering into the main campus, the one km stretch is filled with birds, surrounded by mountains and mist..I walked across watching different birds..

Anyway, I went to the campus again to meet Dr. Pramod, who heads the nature education and outreach division. I work with him. He called me to the seminar room. I am giving a talk, he said. I went and sat with some college students, hearing his talk. His talk is so full for admiration for nature and completely gripping. I sat there listening to him, and then he put on a few slides and was telling the students about each bird. I could rattle off the name of the bird, slide after slide, and I was getting excited like a little kid, that I could identify most of these birds. I was happy for myself. Soon after the lecture, I met two girls who were working with Dr. Pramod. I went about chatting with them and I spoke to Dr. Pramod. Sir, you know, I was able to identify most of the birds. Of course, you had to, you are an author of bird book...but still..something about nature always excites..I get excited hearing about birds..

Soon, we went to the canteen to have lunch and got into a conversation. As we came back from the lunch, I met Shoms, after a month, she had just returned from UK. She is the only expert of small cats in India, and a great friend of mine. I went up and hugged her. She was there along with another prof from Scotland and they were standing there searching for a chameleon. I stood and wondered if we could see it. Soon, he spotted a beautifully camouflaged chameleon in green, sitting on the top of the tree. I pulled up the binocs and saw its splendid color. I was lost in admiration of the pretty creature. The way it walked, and suddenly pulled its tongue out to pull it prey was interesting to watch. We watched it for many minutes ...then I went for a discussion with Dr. Pramod. Shoms, said, hey we are staying back in the campus, why don't you stay with us? Sure, I jumped! I loved the campus, sitting on the steps outside canteen with my hot cuppa, watching the valleys and feeling the cold wind.

Later I met Dr. Balasubramanian who worked on hornbills and told him about what I do. We spent one long hour talking about various things, especially tree bird relationship. He said something about one hour, sharada, I feel you are a very balanced person and your thinking is comprehensive. I thanked him for making my day!

I went to Shoms's room and we started chatting, soon Aarti joined (she worked on fishes). My friend Nikhil came along..he worked on biodiversity change in Bharatapuzha river area in the last 50 years..We all had a great time..soon Ramesh and Ramesh worked on Indian pythons and one worked on a project in Nagaland. Then there was my friend Sheeba, who worked on spot billed pelicans. There were three girls from Delhi who were doing there masters in biodiversity conservation who joined us as well. We all went and trekked a few places from behind the Sacon campus..we had hot tea and bajjis after the little tough night, we got eggs and other things to make dinner..We walked back on the main road to the was pitch dark, we could not see a thing, but we kept talking and walking in the mountain was a beautiful night..soon, we went to the campus kitchen and started cooking...we wanted to make lemonade and realised we did not have lemons..hey wait, said Nikhil, we will go and pluck garden fresh lemons...great idea, I said..soon he came with half a dozen lemons..We were creating ruckus in the kitchen and after dinner, we went to the terrace..and wanted to sit down and sing and have started we went to another place..which actually looked like an auditorium..sat there and sang until 12..we had so much fun and we were all in the same interest group- all of us were nature lovers and were working on those issues..At 12.30, went off to sleep finally, after spending an awesome evening..we would have walked some 8 kms it was great to just crash on the bed..I woke up late in the morning and looked at the mountains and breathed deeply..It was time to get back home..I took my long walk on the winding road, watching robins and babblers flying all over..a beautiful day and a great break after long...

Monday, July 18, 2011

obsessive men? grrr!!!

A few days back I was clearing off "interests" expressed in me on tamil matrimony. As I was sifting through the profiles, I came across one profile and I gently clicked the view profile tab to find who the gentleman was..From what he had described about himself, he seemed to be a person who liked to live and let live-simple straight philosophy and I strongly believed in it. I think like my friend Pri says when I talk about space, its the need for giving time for one's self..people don't get it! So, she says you find someone who needs space..and then he will understand what you mean by having your personal space in the relationship..

Without further digression, I looked at the profile, and he had written a lot about himself, he loved writing, etc etc..So, I emailed him, saying I liked his profile..And left a text message as well. He sent me a message at like 2 am asking me if I wanted to talk..what on earth was that..No sooner, he sent one very long email full of what he is all about. I wasn't that enthusiastic, manybe it has curbed in the years ..but at times yeah, I do talk a lot to people I connect naturally to. So, I thanked him for the long email and said let me think about it.

The next day, a message pops in. It was him. Are you seriously considering me? I was like..pooff..why is this guy after my life..I just emailed him yesterday...I did not reply to the message and the whole of Monday I was out and busy. In the evening another text popped in. I didn't want it to be him. I was already tired of his obsessiveness. Are you seriously considering it? I said, I am open to it, so let's see where it goes. Even then I was willing to give it a chance. The reply came" you don't seem to be making effort to answer my call or make calls to me." That was it. I got ticked off big time and then sent him a message, it is easy to jump to conclusions without knowing about someone and FYI, I have meetings and work and I can't keep answering calls all the time. Also, I wasn't well from one week, with a bad throat. I mean, i hit myself, why was I explaining myself to someone like this? This guy was born to a doctor parents, was an engg, MBA working in a good company, young and good looking, but no sense...its only nonsense..

In toto, I conclude that please do not believe ALL the men who write glorified things about themselves in their matri profile..for you all you know, not everyone can be as honest as you..and all probability, some people might write exactly the opposite of how and who they in this the morning, I got another message, how are you and I blindly deleted it..I am now going to delete his number..I don't know how people can get so obsessed with someone..obsession out of love would still be acceptably but not like 'whiny' guys like my friend Pri says..

Pri, thanks for being my listener of men-rants. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ladoo bhai, salaam

It was a long pending task for me, I was to interview a stuntman from the Gujarat Film industry. He was waiting to talk to me and today I finally decided to pick the phone and call him. I heard a very sweet voice on the other end. Laddu sahib aap hai, I asked? Haan, main hi bol raha hoon, aap mujhe interview karne wali thi na. He could not speak English, so I spoke with him in Hindi.

Laddu bhai (that's how he was addressed in the film industry) was a fun person to talk to. I was asking him if he was ever afraid of doing stunts for many heroes and from what he spoke, there was no space for fear in his life. I took some inspiration from him. As I was talking to him, he suddenly thrust a few questions to me..madam, ek baat boloon, he asked..haan kahiya (yes, tell) I told him, aap dil ke bahut saaf hai (you are very clean by heart). I smiled, and even laughed. Laddu bhai, I don't like lies. Madam, aap dil ki bahut acchi hai (you are very good at heart). I had heard that many times from many people, but here was someone who was talking to me over phone and in a few minutes gauged the real me. Further, he said, you are stubborn, aren't you? And a go getter, you never leave till you achieve things, fighter. I had to agree, that was my true personality. I am stubborn at times, especially when it comes to fulfilling my own dreams, for me that is the only integral part of my life. I was surprised by Laddu bhai's talks. Aap sab kaise jaane hai? How do you know so much about me? Madam, from your voice. I know people. He continued, Haven't people told you have a beautiful smile? I was speechless. Haan bhai, I have heard that very often but how do you know. I can feel it from here. You have a lovely smile and you are a very honest person. I was really moved that I forgot my questions.

Here was a man, who said he was happy, really happy in life. He lived in a match box house, lived a risky professional life, but his voice, soft and subdued, effused with happiness, gentleness and respect for others. I am of course not going to reveal his life story here, but this day taught me a lesson of happiness. How people can be happy despite what.

Laddu bhai is definitely one inspiration. I loved the way he was upfront with me. I loved the way he was himself, not judgemental, but speaking from heart!
Salaam to you Laddu Bhai, aap mahan ho!! Now, I can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meeting a friend after a decade

It was another short trip to Madras, it was wedding reception of my friend Gayatri, who has been my inspiration when I just needed it..I was meeting her after a decade. I never met her after she left for the US. She has been an inspiration to me, from the time I knew her. I was 21 when I met her, and she was 22, we met through a common friend, who was actually my cousin. Gayatri's mother is a renowned carnatic music singer but she never depended on her family to support for her education. She completed her masters in Bombay and left for Ohio to do her MFA and then ended up doing MBA in Arts management. As a 21 year old, I was worried about getting a sanction for every action of mine from my family and only then I would be at solace. I was telling Gayatri about how my brother was influencing me to pursue science and MBA, than economics. You know Sharada. my sister tried telling me that too, do MBA, why ART management, it won't pay, but for us it is the sheer passion that is the driver of life. I was listening to her in full attention. I was seeking her help for my Ph.D apps. I remember spending long hours with her. Walking down from Wadala station to her house, talking to her and relishing food made by her mom, and chatting with her granma. Those were the lovely few days. Soon, it was time for her to bid adieu. She left for the US, with a full scholarship. Indeed, I was proud of her and I knew what I had to do to be like her. I followed my heart, and completely did what I wanted, despite many oppositions. I remembered her a lot. We lost touch...months ..years passed..sometimes I would get her emails..Sometimes her mother would tell how busy she was..

I never met her..One day, she suddenly buzzed me and I chatted with her for a few minutes. That pepped me up. We got back in touch but on and off...And one day, she told me she is coming to India and she is getting married. My joy grew no bounds, of course for the fact that she was getting married, but more for a reason that I was meeting her after a decade.

I went to the venue and my heart stopped looking at her. You look stunning, she said as I went and hugged her..Wished her, spoke to her husband and chatted a bit. Later I spent time listening to the Manganiyars, a folk music group from Rajasthan who graced the occasion. I spent time with her sister, who was a stunner. Didi was pleasant, like her.

I also got a chance to dance with the Kalbelia folk dancers on stage that day, it was fun, was doing spot the celebrity on the side. There were so many of them. :)

In between, I kept bumping into Gayatri and we must have hugged like 10 times by now. It was time to leave. Gayatri was moving to London after nine single years in NYC. I will miss it, she said. Thanks for coming dear, she said. Suddenly, she turned back and said, Sweetheart, you mean the world to me.

I gave her another parting hug. If there are inspirations in my life it is from two women friends of mine-Gayatri, and Shweta!

Gayatri, I love you!! :)