Photos Taken During Wanderings

Nature never ceases to surprise us. Most of the times it is benevolent and spreads its unlimited vistas before us. We see its different forms in hills, mountains, rivers, gorges, woods birds singing in them. Even the prospect changes with change in weather. The lush green hills during the rainy season turn into drab dry scenery in the summer. Once I asked my wife while we were roaming in car in the beautiful surroundings of Konkan hills and I tried to give her my camera and asked her to take few photographs. She being no enthusiast of nature, not directly turning out my request, try to tell me that you have taken the photos here many times. No I wanted to tell her that though the location is same but scene is different. The nature has dressed the area in different garbs.

So, if you are interested, you can never get bored in the same surroundings. Something or the other will be offered by the nature as novelty. I went for a drive through the villages near my colony. Scenery is always very beautiful. There are craggy hills. Roads pass through them and suddenly the view is lost due to a sharp turn. Here are some pictures.


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A Visit to Kashid Beach

The coast of India adjoining the Arabian Sea looks on the maps like a moth eaten book page. All along the coast are numerous beaches. The region possess extraordinary physical beauty. There are small hills with very beautiful summits of varied shapes. Some look like a plateau while others like the sharp dagger like cliffs. Around Mumbai there are many good beaches. Farther you go away from the metropolis, the better are beaches.

One such beach is Kashid beach which is 110 kilometers away from Panvel, 160 kilometers from Mumbai and 35 kilometers from Alibaug which itself has many beaches around it. On the way are beautiful rivers, woods and idyllic life. There are coconut and betel-nut palms. Bamboo also grows all around. Other bushes and trees, the names of which I am ignorant about grow all around.

We visited the beach. There were so many visitors. On the beach sand is very clean and white. The waves were gentle and sun shimmered on the waters and water looked like  mercury. At other places where waves were absent, the water was beautiful green. There were horse rides as well horse drawn carts for joy rides. There were joy boats.

We took some pictures and these are shown here.

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Brine Shrimp aka Sea Monkey

Brine shrimp is an unique animal. It is called Artemia, a class of aquatic crustaceans. First unique trait of brine shrimp is that since the Triassic period, it has changed little externally. This fish possesses the ability to lay eggs which are called cysts which can lie dormant for long periods of time. They are hatched when the conditions in the environment become suitable.

These animals are able to avoid cohabitation with most predators like fish by their ability to survive and thrive in highly saline waters. They are found in the enclosed bodies of saline water like Great Salt Lake where the conditions for other forms of life are quite hostile.

The ability of dormant eggs has led to its use in aquaculture. When required the dormant eggs are activated by creating required conditions and brine shrimps are produced as a feed for fish.

In addition, the resilience of Artemia makes them ideal animals for running biological toxicity assays and is now one of the standard organisms for testing the toxicity of chemicals.

Some unique facts about brine fish are:

1. The Great Salt Lake brine shrimp population can produce four or more generations per year.

2. Brine shrimp are crustaceans. Their closest relatives include fairy shrimp, triops and water fleas. More distant relatives include crabs, lobsters and shrimp.

3. Brine shrimp are used in the laboratory for testing the toxicity of chemicals.

4. Brine shrimp cysts have been found in Great Salt Lake geologic core samples up to 600,000 years old, so we know they’ve been in the area for a long time.

5. Brine shrimp cysts are packaged and sold as Sea-Monkeys.

6. Brine shrimp cysts can remain viable for up to 25 years.

7. Brine shrimp come in many colors. From white to pink to green, the different colors are probably an effect of diet and environmental conditions.

Nature is so fascinated and diverse that we know but a fraction of it. Many life times are not enough needed to understand. In fact, it can be comprehended. Only our collective wisdom from many generations can help us to understand more and more about nature. Brine fish is an example of strange things nature produces.

A Glimpse of Punjab in Winter

The advent of winter in the North India brings in its wake many things. The biting cold requires us to fend off the winter with lots of warm clothes. But all are not so lucky. There are poor who let alone the warm clothing are not able to procure the sufficient food to survive. They face the hunger pangs perpetually. Many of them cannot withstand the bitter cold wave and perish.

Then there is fog. Many a times it is so thick that there is no visibility beyond a few meters. This creates many problems for the transportation. So many flights are cancelled and trains crawl late. Many a times, unfortunate accidents happen. Fog creates a thick veil of white color. Sun is barely visible and its energy is very feeble.

Yet, there are good things also in the winter. You can enjoy many kinds of food like carrot’s halwa. There is a glut of vegetables in the market. Truck loads of these vegetables arrive in the vegetables market and sell dirt cheap. There are cauliflower, carrots, radishes, turnips, green peas. Potatoes are forming below surface under the plants. The wheat stalks in the fields are persistently trying to ward off the winter and grow rapidly.

Here are some pictures of the Punjab in the winters.

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A whiff of Freshness: Poetry of Irshad Kamil

I am sure many young people may not be knowing his name but humming the songs written by him. The young writer hails from Malerkotla, Sangrur, Punjab. His name is Irshad Kamil. He has breathed a freshness in the Bollywood film songs. It is just a beginning. I am sure, he shall blaze a trail in this field.

Man of many gifts, he has dabbled in various professions like a reporter for newspapers in Chandigarh. He wrote scripts of many serials for television. Some of the films he had written the songs for are Jab We Met, Rockstar, Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani.

Recently, I watched his interview on Rajya Sabha television. Besides discussing so many things, he told the interviewer about a popular romantic song from Jab We Met. He met a woman who told him that she listens this song daily in the morning as a prayer song. Just have a look at the lyrics.

Na hai yeh pana,

Na Khona hi hai,

Tera Na hona jane Kyun,

hona hi hai
Tum se hi din hota hai,

Surmaiye shaam aati hai,

Tumse hi tumse hi
Har ghari saans aati hai,

Zindagi kehlati hai,

Tumse hi tumse hi

It is just a matter of perspective. Lyrics are just like a prayer. Kamil said he was himself surprised and went through the lyrics in his mind and realised that they are really like a prayer in the praise of God.
Well done.

Rock Garden at Chandigarh

Rock Garden is located in Chandigarh. As such the Chandigarh is called City Beautiful because it is a planned city based on modular units called sectors. Every sector is a complete city in itself with a market, milk supply centers, dispensaries and schools. Then there are some sectors which are commercial sectors having big stores, cinemas and offices. On one end of the city in a row are Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Legislative Assembly and Secretariat which incidentally is biggest building in the city and houses the offices of Punjab Government.

Rock garden is a unique creation. It was designed by Nek Chand who was an engineer in public welfare department of the Chandigarh. The area where the garden is located was a forest of thorny trees and was used to dump the waste materials like tubelights, bangles and other broken articles like cups and plates collected as garbage from the homes. It was piling up there.

Nek Chand, being a man of few words, used to sit there contemplating alone. After days of thinking, he decided to turn all the waste into garden with figures made from the broken elements and create magic out of the waste materials. He created scenes from the rural culture of Punjab like marriage parties, well to draw water with a bucket and rope moving on a pulley, drunk men and girls on the swings. There is a water rivulet which runs along most skewed paths like falling from a high point then running along the pathways.

We have some photos from the garden.

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Goa and Ratnagiri

If you go to Goa from Mumbai,  you have to cross Ratnagiri. It is big historical town located on the coast of Arabian sea. The area still is not polluted because there are few industries. The area which is full of craggy hills and beautiful beaches is an treat to eyes. Arabian sea on the west coast of India is adjoined by the hilly area which is full of forests and rare birds and animals. At a distance of 25 kilometers from Ratnagiri is a place called Ganapatipule which has a historic Ganesha temple. There is a beautiful beach in front of the temple.

Beach with its blue waters is a favorite place for tourists. In the evenings, there is great crowd of bathers who also witness the setting Sun and watch the coppery Sun diving into the sea. The road from Ratnagiri to Ganapatipule crosses hills and winds like a snake. There are trees of Kaju (cashew nuts) growing in abundance. Coconuts trees adorn the coast. Most of the people in the area are fisher folks. The sea when you look from the lofty heights looks like a heavenly place.

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