June 2020

Why lobsters and Crabs turn red on cooking……..

Popular Food Lobsters and Crabs are the two Sea foods are mouthwatering and popular all over the world. So much so that fairs are held to celebrate the lobster.  One such festival is held in Rockland, Maine which is attended by thousands. Cooking Chemistry When cooked these creatures turn coppery red. Although it is not necessary to become a chemist to become chefs but cooking is a science where chemistry takes place at each step. Some chemicals break down to get converted into edible and easily digestible form. Similarly in many foods there are color changes when cooked which is… Read More »Why lobsters and Crabs turn red on cooking……..

Last Days in Assam

Peculiar things happened with me as I made preparations for leaving Sibsagar on my transfer back to Mumbai. A few days prior to my planned departure, the weather became very hot and humid as it becomes there during summer days. But on the day of my journey to airport at Dibrugarh, it began to rain and rained so much that it became a deluge. Without any respite, the rain was falling in solid sheets. Visibility became very poor. My flight was canceled on the scheduled day despite the fact that our luggage was boarded and boarding passes were issued. Such… Read More »Last Days in Assam

Where is Gopal?

I was working in a place called Sivasagar in Assam. There was a shopping centre. In one of the shops a boy named Gopal used to work. Gopal was a runty-bodied boy from Bihar; he was working in a shop here in the mini-shopping center. Anyone who saw him will take him for the proprietor of the shop which sold eatables, victuals and phone service and has a xerox machine. Shops generally are all-in-one type here. Gopal was very agile and competent and extremely good-natured. He has a gift of gabbiness and it did not take him long to make… Read More »Where is Gopal?

Sanjhi: Almost forgotten Festival of North India

When we were small boys, every year ten days before the festival Dussehra, our mother would choose a small area on one of the mud walls and make a crude image of a woman, stars and moon and bullocks with the cow dung. We lived in the village. Almost everyone has some land on which agriculture was done. Also there were plenty of animals like cows and buffaloes. Houses were made of mud and walls and floors were plastered with wet cow dung. We did not understand all this and thought this as some folk art. It was called Sanjhi. Now… Read More »Sanjhi: Almost forgotten Festival of North India

In dreams we act out our fears

In one of his dreams, he feels so frustrated and helpless. He fails to find the presentation in his pen drive. Where has it gone? Got deleted? or did he copy it at all? His Embarrassment is so great as the audience is waiting, fretting and fuming. He is standing with his head down. He is so angry with himself, his whole body shakes and he wakes up all nervous, beads of perspiration on his forehead . His hands are clammy. He jumps out of the bed and goes to computer table and grabs the pen drive, inserts it into… Read More »In dreams we act out our fears

Indian Bullfrogs

Indian bullfrog is a large species of frogs. It is inhabitant of mainland Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nepal. It scientific name is Hoplobatrachus tigerinus. It is also known by the names Indus Valley bullfrog or Indian bullfrog, popular name Asian bullfrog, Asean bullfrog or Asia bullfrog, Here in our area of North India, when the pre-monsoon rains come, the water after quenching the thirst of the parched soil, makes poodles in the troughs. God only knows from where these big frog come. Their croaking fills the air. When they croak their two bulbs swell and contract. They usually fight among themselves for female partners. Yesterday got to see some spectacular… Read More »Indian Bullfrogs

Irresistible Palm Dates

Palm date trees are laden with golden fruits. The ripen not at once but successively so that fruit is available for longer periods. These sugary treats are a great attraction for birds like crows, Asian Koels and Grey Hornbills. The fruits bunches are surrounded by big thorny fronds. So smaller birds can easily approach them. But even peafowls find them irresistible. I was surprised to find two peahens which had climbed the tree despite their very large sizes and were plucking and eating the fruits. Here is the video.

Three Cuckoo Visitors !!!

Introduction: Come summers, many birds arrive in India for nesting. Some come from as far as Africa. They come here just before the onset of monsoons and for this reason are connected to the arrival of rains. Three types of cuckoos are generally seen in our area. All these are brood parasites which means like Koel they lay their eggs in the nest of other bird who thinking that these are their own eggs hatch them and raise the brood. These cuckoos choose the nests of Babblers for this work. Now we will talk of three cuckoos. Jacobin Cuckoo: Also… Read More »Three Cuckoo Visitors !!!

Baya Weaver: Making the Nest

This bird is extraordinary. I was awed by their intelligence. Every year they came here to make nests. Last year the acacia trees in vacant plots in our area were uprooted due to heavy rains and construction activity. I thought this year they will not come here because there seems to be no trees for hanging the nests. What is the Criteria for selection of a site? Suitable tree which is not easily approachable by predators and humans. Food and Water Availability Nesting Material. Yet some 10-15 days ago, I noticed these birds in bullrushes collecting the nesting material. I… Read More »Baya Weaver: Making the Nest

Black Breasted Weaver: Master Craftsman

All birds make nests to raise their chicks. The nests range from simple twigs heaped together to most elaborate. Weaver birds excel as craftsman in making intricate nests. The area they choose for nesting is carefully chosen. There should be thorny tree like acacia or lofty trees like palms. Idea is to deter predators like snakes, shikra etc from destroying the nest for eggs. Then there should be plenty of food available near by. So they choose the areas near agricultural land. Then there should be nesting material available like bulrush grass in bogs. While baya weavers make the nests… Read More »Black Breasted Weaver: Master Craftsman