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Showing posts from 2011

Happy New Year!

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Dear friends,

I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and a prosperous new year! It has been long, yet seemingly quick, as every year. It has been, as always, a year of tragedy and hope, yet I feel this year was a rather encouraging beginning of the new decade, for we learn from our own mistakes. We have seen things this year on global and local level that we all can relate to, all of which gives us hope of a better future. My heart goes out to those who suffered, and those who’re taking every effort to make this world a better place.

Today, we’re the most populated planet in the universe that we know of. And if someone’s watching us, they’re probably facepalming themselves at our misery, caused by our own kind. Yet they’ll be astounded to find that our world is the best place there is to be, for amongst us live the greatest people, most kind and godly, who’re doing every bit to save our souls from every dark thought that takes root in our minds – and that’s us.

Of natura…

Scenes by the Sea

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He’s lived in this town long enough to forget the breath of the morning. Although he plans his escapades on practically every weekend, he longs for the smell of the warm summer air. In this town that he lives in, you can’t smell a thing. The first rains drips over the garbage dumps, restraining the petrichor from reaching your senses. The scent of Alstonia is overridden by the stench from the drains. When you walk on the street, you must watch your feet for cracks in the pavement. He maybe complaining like a subterranean homesick alien, but last week, he and his friends vowed to escape. For two days they remained aloof, cherishing the breath of the morning, the smell of the fresh air, and the sound of the sea.
By the coast of Maharashtra, a little over hundred miles south of Mumbai, lies a little town of Nagaon – a small, cosy place dotted with cottages and hotels, looking over the mighty Arabian Sea. It has been a place of nirvana for many, and dipping yourself into this sacred sea is…

Ovalekar Wadi: The Butterfly City

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7 AM SHARP, said the text on my phone. I calculated I’d have to wake up only thirty minutes early.  The alarm clock went off at thirty past six.  I saw myself wake up and, as I finished the routine in a blink, stood near the gas station. I sat in the car that approached from the highway connecting the messed up old city to the new unplanned one. The scene flew by swiftly, and switched to me sitting under tall shrubs with low thickets; a late morning sun filtering green sunlight through scarce but broad leaves.
Everything was glowing softly, but it was very hot. I was looking at a boulder. Out of curiosity, I upturned the rock, to find a dead Bronzeback Tree snake lying there. What on earth was an arboreal snake doing under a boulder? I turned to look up to a passing lady, and my eyes met hers. She was slender and tall, and hung delicately from the lean shrubs. She was Mrs Bronzeback, wearing a necklace of turquoise jewels beneath her scales.
She investigated me thoughtfully with her l…

Vasai Killa: A Fort by the Sea

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Its facades lie in ruin, its stone walls all but crumbling, its towers are frozen in time – looking out to the sea for the past 600 years, except that they are now headless, and palms now tower above them. I’m looking at Vasai Fort after about four years, and things haven’t changed a bit. There is that State Transport (ST) bus (which makes a fine bumpy ride on pleasant mornings) that I boarded early in the morning from the city of Thane, lying to the west of Thane Creek.  The road winds and curls around the creek which continues northward for several miles, unequally bisecting Sanjay Gandhi National Park into the smaller northern range, called Nagla Block – dominated by semi-deciduous forests and large swathes of mangroves, and the southern, or the mainland SGNP. From here it is called Vasai Creek (or Bassein Creek), which then turns west and spills into the Arabian Sea. And on the northern shore, near the estuary of Vasai Creek lies a fort that was once magnificent – whose magnificen…

A Pleasant October

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Monsoon officially came to an end with the end of September. What didn’t come to an end was the sheer variety of plants and animals that were born in this season. They grew through the rich season and became adults, and these adults mated and either sowed seeds or laid eggs. The tiny embryos will lay dormant until March, which is a short but amazing season with soaring temperatures and surprisingly diverse flora and fauna – also called Vasant Ritu (that is Spring), while some will wait for their time to come until next monsoon showers bathe the grounds.
I did a fair bit of explorations in October, of which I already talked about Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. I also trekked Korigad in Pune district, Karnala Fort in Raigad district and Yeoor Hills in Thane district. This is quick glancing-though of the observations made in this season. I’m also spending more time on Monsoon Trails 2011Report, and therefore this post will be short and full of names.
October is a great month if you ca…

Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary

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I had decided to take a break for a month, but now I’m taking a break from the break since I was compelled to write about my visit to this Sanctuary on 15, 16 October 2011.

I woke up before the alarm went off and peered through the window into darkness. I did not sleep well that night – shifting restlessly in the bed, awaiting the break of dawn. With hesitation I looked, hoping that it wore the colour blue, praying that it were not shrouded in the dark by a delayed force that had caught us by surprise last evening. But it was blue, and that meant a clear beginning for the day. I smiled, and cleared my mind of last night’s invasion by a thunderstorm.
We reached Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary at noon the previous day – two rogues on a long road trip round the Sahyadris – from the humid coastal plans of the Arabian Sea to the tall cool plateaus and peaks overlooking the central plains far in east.
Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the brink of a humongous cliff – at the hei…