Nature

Stars Looking Benevolently Down

This was first published on 2nd December 2008. In Mumbai, people rarely look heavenwards because they don’t have time for this leisurely activity. They always move like a sea of crowds and will be trodden if they look upwards. After the end of the day, they reach homes totally exhausted by effects of  pollution and interminable journeys. There is no space anymore in the city downtown and almost all the middle class has moved to suburbs. In a way, the bridges connecting the Mumbai islands to mainland of India are like the tongues of dragons licking away the land without… Read More »Stars Looking Benevolently Down

Is there life on Mars? Again Microbes hold the key

Earliest life of single cell evolved into 3 branches having distinct traits. The branches further subdivide into more branches on the evolutionary tree of life called Phylogenetic tree of life. The first three branches are called Bacteria, archaea and Eucaryota. As we can see in this tree, there is a member of archaea family with the name Methanogen. This microbe holds the answer for presence of vast quantities of methane which is trapped inside the ice cages called methane hydrates. These hydrates are found in Earth’s in permafrost regions having very low temperatures or under the deep sea floor. Water… Read More »Is there life on Mars? Again Microbes hold the key

Red Wattled Lapwing

I think I wrote a post on this beautiful bird long back. Its name is Red Wattled Lapwing. It gets this name from the blobs of red colored mass near its beak. In fact, this bird is very common here and if you happen to live near fields, barren lands and water bodies, you are most likely to encounter them. They are always on alert. Any preying bird or animal, is bravely and aggressively taken upon. They can be heard making alarming calls even during the night. They are said to be foraging even during moonlit nights. They lay eggs… Read More »Red Wattled Lapwing

Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)

I first spotted this bird perched on a electric transmission wire. The area underneath was all shrubs. It was in the hot monsoon season. The bird has a very strange plumage pattern of brown and cream stripes. It’s name is Eurasian Wryneck and here it comes on migration. It belongs to the woodpecker family although it’s beak is not as large and dagger like as the other woodpeckers. It subsists on ants and insects which are found in the dead wood. It can rotate it’s neck by almost 180 degrees. When it senses danger, it makes a hissing sound. The… Read More »Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)

Some snippets from childhood

I am 67 years old now and retired from the service 7 years ago. In the ample time at my disposal, the mind harks back and reel of memory rewinds on the spool of time and this time it stops at the days of my childhood. Our childhood was spent in the village called Manimajra. Nowadays it is in the Union territory of Chandigarh though at that time it was along with Chandigarh a part of Punjab. We were like most others in the village poor peasants with small landholdings. Parents were totally illiterate. In those days, nobody was serious… Read More »Some snippets from childhood

Simply Mind Boggling

Scientists speculate that all the fundamental particles were created from the energy immediately after the Big Bang event in which Universe was formed. Then these atoms combined in different permutations and combinations and molecules were born. Context of immediately in the cosmic events is not similar to the usual terms with which define our world. It may be millions of years. Earth was formed but its climate was not like the present day. There was no life except one algae namely “Blue Algae” known in the scientific language as “Cyanobacteria” where “Cyano” stands for blue color. It thrived in the… Read More »Simply Mind Boggling

Amaltash Trees in My Colony

Amaltash also known as cassia fistula, sanskrit name aragvadha or chaturangula. It blooms in the summer and wherever there are clumps of trees, it seems that sky is melting into gold. Such are its yellow flowers hanging in big bunches on whole of the tree with very scanty or no leaves at all on the tree. There are a few trees of amaltash in our colony. Usually, they flower when the summer descends on the earth in these parts of India. But this year, these trees seem to have forgotten the time. Their biological clocks which keep track of the… Read More »Amaltash Trees in My Colony

Dehradun in Pictures

Dehradun is situated in a valley and a part of the region called Kedarkhand. It lies between Himalayas & Shivalik hills. Shivalik hills are named after God Shiva who is revered very much because this God’s adobe is at Mount Kailash in Himalayas. T he weather here is generally very cold during winters due to its proximity to Himalayas. But it does not experience fog much as compared to the plains. Also there is not much breeze and weather is sunny and pleasant during the day. All around the city, there are beautiful places endowed with natural beauty. The weather… Read More »Dehradun in Pictures

Greater Cormorants: Fishing Experts

During the winter months, a number of migratory birds visit India from the countries where winter is very severe and food availability becomes low. These annual visitors add colour to the season. Many of the migratory birds are water waders and land in the lakes , big pools and other water bodies. Amongst these are greater Cormorants. They are huge birds and expert fishers. They hunt in groups and there is great jostling and fighting for the catch snatching. In older days the trained Cormorants were used for river fishing in Japan and China. A snare was tied at the… Read More »Greater Cormorants: Fishing Experts

Chemistry of leaf colors

Leaves of plants are the factory units for making the food in the form of sugar from carbon dioxide, water and light by a process called photosynthesis. The process is accomplished with the help of chlorophyll which belongs to a class of organic compounds called porphyrins. We also have noticed that plants leaves change color especially when the amount of light available changes with the change of weather. Chlorophyll exists in two forms namely Chlorophyll A and Chlorophyll B. It’s production in the plant is dependent upon the amount of sunlight available. It also decays at a continuous rate irrespective… Read More »Chemistry of leaf colors