Sunday, June 24, 2007

I saw Karnataka's state bird today!!

There I was, minding my own buisness today, I was sitting in the Balcony, trying to study that boring Interference of Light chapter from Physics, when this bird decided it would be smart on me and wandered around, right in front of my eyes, challenging my instincts. Only a birder will understand that sudden rush of excitement when he spots a new species. What can be more attractive than extremely pleasant weather and a species of bird that I hadn't seen ever before? Well, it happened. I abandoned my books again ( I needed to convince myself that I was pretty good at physics, having done quite well in the college test, so now was the time to relax), I rushed to the net, and started searching for the species. Well, I found it! It's the Indian ROller I saw today, a pretty little creature, a mixture of sea-blue wings and dull brown--a real treat to the eyes. Did you know something else? The Indian ROller is the Karntaka's State Bird!! Being a Kannadiga, I did'nt know that till today, until I searched the net. More than being ashamed, this has somehow excited me. I had never seen this bird before, and this is the first time I spotted it. I am pretty sure it is an Indain Roller ('almost sure' is called as a 'giss' in birding terms) I think our proud state bird has done something to me today, it has jolted my interest in Bird-watching once again. I had given up some time ago, as I was frustrated that there were not many birds left in Bangalore except the crows, jungle mynahs and tailorbirds, but I guess I need a litte more pateince. I need to fish out my old birding book now, and make a fabulous new entry. After all, spotting the KArntaka's state bird for the first time deserves some celebration!

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Change of Heart

Well, my tests are over, the world is beautiful, and I am back to being an active blogger! Ah yes...after a brief lapse when I thought of stopping blogging, I have realized a simple truth. I need a stimulant to make me read, (no, it's not caffine, that's too intoxicating!),and my blog is just the right medicine to boost my neurons to an active condition. If there is a thought clouding my brian, I write it down, or type it into my comp, and zap, it has dissapeared, and my mind then becomes fairly clear, and concentrating becomes easier. I would like to thank Mr. RK, whoever he is, his reply to my previous blog was very encouraging. Thanks for the advise, Mr.Ramachandran also. One of my greatest drawbacks is that I tend to buckle if too much of preasure is put on me. And I have a major exam-phobia, and exams make me mentally ill. I constantly try to push my limits, trying to study for eight hours in one go, etc etc, and that is when everything becomes mundane and quite boring. Constant studying confuses me, and thoughts get muddled up. I guess that's when I need my dose of medicine, and that's when I step into the blogosphere. Besides, I have convinced myself that I won't give up blogging for anything. It only takes five minutes of my time, and it never hurts to take a small break from studying, does it? Being in second year does not mean I need to give up things which I love doing. I can still stare out of the window of the city bus, enjoy the evening breeze, smell roses and relax on a college bench reading RK Narayan's My Days during lunch break...and blog too, cause I love doing it!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Stray Thoughts

Since the early days, I have always been a writer. Maybe not a very good one, but I have wasted many pages scribbling gibberish in notebooks as a child, and I think I have improved a little, graduating to writing children’s stories. Surprisingly, a piece of paper and pen attracts me more than a TV. I can’t say why. But the thing is that I have always been writing, and it is something beyond a hobby, because recently, I discovered that I can’t live without it. When I was a little younger, my ambition was to become a journalist. All that changed on a memorable day when my English teacher, Mr. AK asked us to write a formal letter, and said that he would pick a student to read it in front of the whole class. I was picked, and later my letter was rated as a 4/10. That was the least anyone got, and from that day, my dream lay shattered.

Well, still, I continued to write, because of the fun of it, never taking writing too seriously. But this year is testing me. It is hard to give up something you love doing. I’m in the second year PU, the “tough” “life-changing” year…and sitting and writing essays is considered wasteful, almost sinful too. Today, we had an English Creative Writing competition in college, and I have a Major test on Saturday. The competition was easy and had just my kind of topics, but it was after college hours, and my hands were twitching to write…but there was also this guilt that I would not study for the test. It took me all my self-control to resist the temptation of participating, so I went straight home and started studying. But I guess the regret is haunting me now, and even concentrating is difficult. I have tried to give up writing because it wastes my time, but it is impossible. You see, because of my regret, I sneaked in 5 minutes from my study time to write this. And after writing, I am a little more satisfied. My regret is dissolving, little by little. Now, I can return to work with a smile. Goodbye!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Having studied two years in the US, I am often faced with the question what I missed most when I studied there. There are many things I missed—the food, the culture and lots more. Prominently, I missed seeing my mom bargaining at the stores. Bargaining, I have realized, is one of those essential parts of Indian living. It is more like a habit, a hobby to some, and that urge to get things at a cheaper price always exists in every Indian heart. Even if you get your vegetables at an admirably low rate, it is difficult to quietly pay up. We would like to prod the poor vendor even more, trying to get our onions at a lower price. I think bargaining is an art, because everyone cannot be good at it. I am terrible when it comes to bargaining, but the older ladies of the city, through years of experience have become adept in it. The philosophy they follow is that every vendor can be forced to lower his prices. Nobody is too tough to crack. There are many types of Bargainers—the vigorous bargainers, the persistent bargainers and the clever Bargainers. I have observed one very clever bargaining technique: (My mom uses this)
“How much is the price of potato?” you ask.
“Blah-Blah-Blah…” says Vendor so-and-so.
“Aha! That’s too much? Could you reduce the price to twenty-five rupees?’
“No, I really can’t.”
Then you bargain a lot; heave a long sigh and say, “Well, I can’t buy them! They are selling the same potatoes for twenty on Market road.” And then you smartly walk away (not too fast to be out of hearing range of the vendor, mind you!) and finally, a gruff voice from behind calls for you. “Alright madam! Alright! Twenty five it is!”

Well, walk into a supermarket or a mall and you will quickly understand that you need to be well-mannered. Visiting a supermarket demands many special things. For example, you can’t barge into a supermarket in that wrinkled sari of yours and a torn shopping bag. Oh no! All those well-bred creatures up there will stare at you. You strut between the Aisles, sweetly take a look at the ridiculously priced corn-flakes cereals, replace them in their position and walk away. There is no bargaining. Prices are fixed. Surely, all those daily bargainers will feel uncomfortable in such a situation. We have been bargaining since many years, if all those American supermarket chains like Walmart and Target do arrive in Bangalore, engulfing the local vendors, then it is no surprise that the old women and the bargaining lot will become uncomfortable and some may even curse these superstores under their breath! While we generally consider it as a convenience, the traditional ladies might end up feeling they were robbed of their right, and the art that they had developed over years of practice has been wasted.