Bottlebrushes in Bloom

In March spring season heralds here. The nature awakens from its hibernation of freezing cold and there is a thaw in the season. The plants and trees after shedding the old leaves adorn themselves with fresh light green leaves. Within days the skeleton branches are covered with leaves. The days are becoming longer and hot. Soon it will become very hot and unbearable.

The weather in India are not uniform and almost every 3 months weather changes. This is why the natives here are in continuous struggle with the weather. There are extremes of weather in North India. This gives India a vast variety of vegetation.

The bottlebrush trees also called Callistemon so called because their shape resembles the brush used to clean the bottles. These days the trees are laden with these flowers of red color. There is a strong contrast between the rich green leaves and these flowers which hang like garlands on the tree.

All day long different animals and birds visit these trees to lick the pollen from the flowers. First in the morning are monkeys especially their kids which can easily reach the ends of the branches where the flowers are located. They eat the nutritious pollen and then snap the flowers from the branch. After this parrots come in big groups. They chatter, make noise and lick the pollen. They are the worst and break most of the flowers and the ground beneath is littered with fresh broken flowers.

Nightingales also come. If you look closer you will find the honey bees hovering around the flowers. There is a continuous buzz. They are the gentlest and use the flowers to make honey-one of the nature’s best gift to us.

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 on the ground. Nest is nothing but a collection of few pebbles, grass pieces. The selection of pebbles is done very intelligently so as to camouflage the eggs. While one partner sits on the eggs to hatch, the other stays nearby to alert about any danger.

People in north India believed that if it makes nest on the elevated places, there are chances of rain ahead. If the best is at lower level, the weather is going to be dry weather.

Here are some of its pictures.

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 is changing here also due to the deforestation and intense building activity and summers are becoming oppressive.

I have come here 2012 ago and during this time whatever places have visited, I have tried to capture in my camera. Here are some of these.

Foggy Morning

This story is based on the weather after monsoon and rains have abated. The weather becomes so suffocating due to the humidity and pollution.

No, I should not call it a foggy morning, because it is not the fog but smog which descends on the earth during these days of the year. The monsoon has ebbed and except for an occasional shower there are no rains.

The weather has become muggy and suffocating. It is not clear and there is a lot of heat accumulating over the earth. A pall of heat covers the earth.

There is lot of humidity and when the night become clear, in the mornings with the drop of temperature, smog begins to form. In fact it was so dense today that nothing was visible even a short distance away.

The moving figures of people looked like wraiths, suddenly appearing and disappearing round the corners. Fog seems to be floating here and there, over the tree tops, inside the boughs, hovering over the buildings making them appear and disappear now and then.

The tree dripped the water which had condensed on the leaves in the night and coalesce to become drops heavy enough to stay up and fall on to the earth. It seemed that the trees were weeping but why or for what is not known only to them.

It is the school time. Children in their uniforms, unwillingness on their faces prodded towards the building called school. Some come on vehicles like buses from far off places, other riding with their parents who have great hopes for the bright future of their children, and others who live in the colony on feet.

Walking in this scene looked as if one was walking a dream. Other figures seemed to be gliding like particles in a colloid. Whenever there was a wisp of air, the fog seem to be shifting places sometimes giving way to the sun rays.

The rays looked like shafts or threads of silk. As the day progressed the mist began to thin away and completely disappeared by the time most people wake up. They even didn’t know that when they were asleep, this magical phenomenon was unfolding outside their home.

Clothes in Vedic Times

The garments worn in Vedic times onwards did not fundamentally differ from those worn by Hindus in later times. A single length cloth draped around the body, over the shoulders and fastened with a pin or a belt. This was a comfortable dress to be worn in a hot and humid climate which prevailed in India in comparison to the weather from where these people migrated.

Lower garment was called paridhana or vasana. It was usually such a cloth fastened around the waist with a belt or a string which is called mekhala or rasana. Upper garment was called Uttaiya and worn like a shawl over the shoulders. This upper garment was usually discarded at home or in hot weather especially by the people belonging to lower strata. Third garment called pravara was worn in cold season like cloak or a mantle.

This was general garb of both sexes and varied only in size and in the manner of wearing. Of poor people, sometimes the lower garment was a mere loincloth, but of rich was up to feet. In many sculptures, the lower cloth is pleated in front and held with a long girdle. Sometimes the girdle appears to the end of cloth itself. This might have been the precursor of the modern sari. Sometimes the end of the cloth was drawn between the legs and fastened at the back in the manner of dhoti.

Stitching was not unknown as is evident from the depiction of women in jackets and bodices. Invasion of Sakas and Kushanas from Central Asia led to the introduction of trousers at least in the upper classes in the Gupta times. In fact, Kushana kings have been shown in the coins and a headless statue of Kanishka wearing long quilted coats, trousers and boots of typically Central Asian style.

Clothes used for preparing these clothes varied from wool worn in North India in winters, diaphanous silks and muslins which were transparent and showed the limbs of the wearers. Clothes were often dyed or otherwise patterned with gay stripes and checks.

Foot wears were generally worn to protect the feet from scorching heat of earth in Indian summers.

Winter is here

The winter season is here and I am really afraid. It is because although we belong to North India and were used to the bitter cold and harsh summers but we have been living in Mumbai for the last 25 years and become acclimatized the weather of the place. There is hardly much winter in Mumbai. But now I have returned to North and stay in Dehradun which experiences a very severe winter.

The changes are taking place. The sun is rising late each day. Earlier I went out for morning walk at around six o’clock. It is dark now at this time and the walk time has been delayed by about an hour. The nights are long and dark and day seem to be over even at the noon. The houses where I live have an awful design which prevents any sunlight from shining on most of them. Whenever the sun comes to pour its benevolent light there are trees everywhere acting as shields and prevent the sunlight from reaching the homes. The home has already begun to resemble a cold storage and feet become cold and numb.

The darkness never leaves these houses and I always feel like running away from them to get into open for some sunlight. In summer these houses become furnaces. No air ever circulates in them.

So I try to go for walk at around 45 minutes past six. The sun is not out yet. There are crows sitting on the branches of an dry tree and make incessant noises. There are kites surveying the area on the ground for any rats or other game. Sometimes I went out in the dark and found the stars shining in the sky along with the moon. I walk about 4 kilometers and find so many people walking. Almost all of them are regular.

The darkness in the East begin to dissolve and a red color hue spreads across. It is the advent of sunrise. Now you find a bunch of storks flying in a formation towards the place nearby where they will land at a river and forage for all day. Each day they make this journey and return in the evening to rest on the tree tops.

I return to the home and coldness envelopes me again. I take tea, some breakfast, bath and dress and leave for the office. The coming days shall be even more harsh when the real winter will set in.

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