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Showing posts from 2013

Grays in my hair

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Every year if you consider it as a number, you’re getting older. Every year if you consider it as a lesson, you’re getting stronger. And every year if you consider it as a journey, you’re getting wiser. I consider a year as a layer of all of this. People count years for you too, and they do it pretty well in my case by counting the grays in my hair. To those who’re worrying about salt-and-pepper, add a feather to it than cover it in fake colour!
I look back on this day at the journey I’ve been lead on. Fortunately I always had my camera with me on these occasions, but have also missed it on many other. Along the way I learnt a few great lessons, but today I’d like to focus on memories of the time I spent in Maharashtra’s untouched shorelines and the historic central Indian highlands. I learnt that photography is not always about your subject, it is about you envisioning your subject, it is about you presenting your vision of the subject to the viewers. Here’s my vision of the journey…

Story of the Yellow Crazy Ant

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I need no call of clamant bell that rings
iron-tongued in the towers of earthly kings.
-Mettanyƫ by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Book of Lost Tales Part I
Deep in the woodlands of Konkan, there are areas reigned by a particular creature: the forest floor, the leaves and the tree trunk, are booming with a frenzy of this small, nimble-footed, bright yellow-coloured insect carrying a lethal spray-gun of formic acid. It is called Anoplolepis gracilipes, and is more commonly referred as the Yellow Crazy Ant. This story is about these ants, on what they mean to be in India’s forests (more specifically northern Western Ghats), and forms a prelude to a larger story which has not been enacted in India yet, but has been and has lead to drastic changes in landscapes in several parts of the world. Taxonomically, the Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) is an ant in the family Formicidae (subfamily Formicinae, tribe Plagiolepidini). There are over 22 species identified so far under Anoplolepis genus,…

Jamunia

Subtly she sings, her tone a murmur, carrying An aura upon her skin, unwavering, enchanting And brushes along the shores, ever waking To glorious mornings, and ever shimmering On pleasant evenings, since time’s beginning.
Subtly she sheds her satin, a fair lady treading Down the vale, where leaves form her bedding And dreams of younger days, her thoughts flowing Tireless but patient, tender but bold, reminiscing Of distant past, where shores in greens lie dancing.
Subtly she dons a veil, dark and menacing To the eyes that see naught but riches, unbecoming And tramples along the shores, taking everything To the sea, biting, gnawing, deceiving, unforgiving For she is worth not in possessing, but in being.
Jamunia (or Jamuniya) is a river flowing from the village of Mandai, across the buffer zone of Kanha Tiger reserve, and uniting Banjar River in Bhimlat, in the southern district of Balaghat, which then joins River Narmada in the district of Mandla, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It i…

Mother Wasp II

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Think wasp is a stinging machine? Think again.
If you’re a curious naturalist, and are amazed by little natural, but seemingly supernatural, feats all non-humans are capable of, be it your pet dog, cat, the wild tiger, or your unknown companion the ant, you are bound to have understood how closely related we all are albeit the fact that we’ve classified ourselves and made them appear quite distant from us. One of the startlingly familiar features common through almost all, if not the entire, Animal (or Plant) Kingdom, is motherly care. Mother was chosen to be the most beautiful word in English, and indeed it is, for it has a profound meaning incomparable to any – and by this I mean it is universal in (almost) all life.
I talked with much enthusiasm in 2010 about a mother wasp I had the fortune to be amazed by. It was an Ammophila wasp (Digger wasp), I had documented in the October heat of 2008, absorbed in ensuring that her offspring received plenty food and protection from outside el…