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Showing posts from 2014

By the campfire

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Every season is marked by an event or a phenomenon that defines that season, and is so skillfully woven onto a timeline that it forms a periodic rhythm – the beauty of which lies in a meshwork of colours, scents, songs, and something that cannot be seen, smelled, or heard – a purpose, which I think comes close to what we humans call love. The purpose is but the only force that drives every plant or animal to display colours, release pheromones, and sing melodies.
What’s special about man is perhaps his way of appreciating nature’s mysteries and sharing it with others of his kind, and not in building bridges and airplanes; those feats were long conquered by nature.
What’s special is this: no bird can sing of an autumn sunrise or of sound of the crashing waves, although we and they equally feel it, and our lives depend upon it. Our greatest strength perhaps lies in understanding what gave birth to us, and to them – indeed to all of us – and in respecting that wisdom than manipulating i…

Life in the Woods

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It is pitch dark outside as I sit and write this. The tree-line has dissolved into the empty space above, with only a few stars gleaming down upon the darkened earth. I am sitting by an incandescent light I switched on at the click of a button, and I plugged in my computer, turned on some music, and began to think.
There in this darkness that has set in at six o’clock in the evening is a village devoid of all that I possess right now. This village probably lies within a hundred kilometers around me, is devoid of electricity, is devoid of any form of artificial light save for the kerosene lamps hung from corrugated ceilings. This village is older than you and I, and dates back to the bygone era of our forefathers. Its houses have been surrounded by woods for eons, and the darkness that falls on this village tonight is no different from the one that engulfed it last year on this day. Every morning since the harvest moon hung low in the sky, men, women, and children alike have been hacki…

The Last Wave by Pankaj Sekhsaria: a review

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I have always wanted to visit the Andaman Islands, and I had written to Pankaj nearly half a decade ago about it, but I didn’t intend to visit the islands as a tourist, especially after the tsunami. The trip however never materialized and years later, today, Pankaj helped me visit the great islands through “The Last Wave”, and I learnt much more about the island than I would have if I were to visit as a mere tourist. Simply put, the book is relevant to those who have been to the islands as it is to those who wish to. The Last Wave’s cover is outlaid on a mellow shade of green, with sights and signs distinctive of the Andamans: a Jarawa standing on what appears to be the Andaman Trunk Road, a fish and a dinghy signifying the basic livelihood of the island, a mugger basking near the base of the book, and between the title and the name of the author rests the flower of Papilionanthe teres. The back-cover, in continuation of the front, shows a Leatherback turtle along the sea, a Narconda…

Sewri: the perfect picture?

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by Vishal Rasal
I have visited Sewri only twice, and on both occasions I’ve asked myself: what on Earth are these birds doing here? There are answers that are quite startling. In this article, Vishal talks about Sewri and its renowned visitors, Lesser and Greater Flamingos, the plausible reasons why they chose this place, and what we can deduce about their future from recent updates on the conservation-versus-development debate on Sewri. In Vishal’s words… The city of Mumbai is never short of surprises. From skyscrapers cluttering the precarious coasts of the Arabian Sea to the forest fringes of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, this city is one of the handful few to harbour great biodiversity sandwiched between a large human population. And just as Mumbai proudly boasts of whales off its coasts and leopards in its forests, it is also peculiarly famous for its purple-winged migrants – flamingos. Not long ago Sewri was just a bleak and drab railway station on Mumbai's harbor-line rail ro…