Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Butterflies, Butterflies and More our garden!

Apart from the Bulbul birds, these butterflies are permanent visitors in our garden to entertain us! They seem to love the yellow Vrukshi flowers (Ixora flowers) than the red, white and pink flowers, which are also in our garden! Except the white one, no other colour has got fragrance!

Some of the pictures might be repetitive, but I have taken them in different angles...learning photography!

1. This is one of the best picture! I love the colour combination!

2. I keep seeing many of them, sometimes 2 or 3 pairs! They fly here and there and when I stand in the middle of the small lawn, surrounded by these plants, their feathers sometimes touch my nose...they have got some powdery smell!

3. It is nice to watch them poke their, oh ho, what do they call the needle like straw, they suck the honey from the flower...proboscis (thanks Wiki)

4. Close-up of a black & white butterfly or has it got a brush of yellow or cream in its feathers?!

5. Just black & White!

6. As I told you, sometimes I see many butterflies of the same colour combination, with slight, one more black & white!

7. Really, they are all different butterflies...I don't think I am lying here, because some pictures are old and I tend to forget, you know, I can just say, I have forgotten!

8. This one is with a different colour combination! A close-up photo!

9. Which is beautiful, the flower or the butterfly?!

10. This one is huge like our Zorro, the cat...old man?!

11. This picture is not very clear, but I liked this butterfly!

12. This is the best picture, I feel! The flower also looks beautiful!

Edited on 13.11.12: One more butterfly in our garden is here!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good Times For Tamilnadu?

J.Jayalalitha, C.M., Tamilnadu

For the past one week, we hear about Jayalalitha, everyday, here, in Chennai. Whether we open the magazines or news papers, her face glares at us. She has become the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu for the third time. Karunanidhi, the ex-CM of Tamilnadu (he was a 5 time CM of Tamilnadu!), got only 30 seats out of 119 during this election!

Jayalalitha is very famous for her intelligence, language flair and mainly for her arrogance ! She is very short-tempered and doesn't think twice to hurt any person, whether it is our Ex-PM, Vajpayee or our current PM, Manmohan Singh or the Congress party President Sonia Gandhi. The people of Tamilnadu just wanted to get out of Karunanidhi's family rule and voted for Jayalalitha! When we were discussing about her at home, we just thought that instead of Karunanidhi's family, Jayalalitha's close aide, Sasikala's family will rule, behind the curtains!

Then I read an article in the famous Tamil magazine 'Junior Vikatan' this morning, I thought 'maybe we are wrong' and we want to be wrong! Now, to the article:

As soon as she signed the papers for the new post of Chief Minister, she signed the files regarding the 7 promises she did during the election tour. From the next day, the usual routine of transferring the 'bad' officials started. Then, she started showing some signs of her plans...may be, this time, she really wants to do something good for the state. She arranged for a 3 day 'training class' for her ministers. It was not just full of bland speeches, but action oriented classes! She spoke like a Head Mistress of a school. She was not impatient with anyone but patiently explained how the Ministers should run their department to fulfil the dreams of the people of Tamilnadu. Even the Ministers had not seen this side of Jayalalitha until then!

She had invited the adviser to our ex-President, Dr.Abdul Kalam, Mr.V.Ponraj to give some advice to the new ministers. She seems to be close to Dr. Abdul Kalam and takes advises from him.

Mr. V.Ponraj with Dr. Abdul Kalam

Now, to the gist of her speech to her ministers, during the 'training camp':

The people of Tamilnadu have elected us with a thumping majority and it is our duty to honour their faith on us by giving good governance. This time we we have included new young people in the ministry, in the hope that you will be able to do justice to your department. I have arranged this workshop to guide you to excel in your work. You can always ask them (people like Ponraj) for guidance, if you have any doubts, any time.

Mr. Ponraj spoke for 3 hours on the first day, they say. He spoke about agriculture for 1 and 1/2 hours. The gist of his speech:

58% of our people rely on agriculture but the state gets only 2% of revenue through agriculture. Gujarat gets a profit of 9%. We have to increase production and curtail brokers' influence. Then the farmers will wholeheartedly join together and we can have an agricultural revolution. This will enhance the status of the farmers.

Then the CM said that to improve agriculture, 'first we should clean the water bodies in the villages and improve water collection/storage. The main agenda of this government will be to improve agricultural production'.

Ponraj said that arrangements should be made to provide drinking water free of cost to poor people and with minimum cost to other people, which would reduce health hazards.

Then the CM discussed about the main draw back of the state - power cut. This would be rectified within three months, she said. 'Tamilnadu needs 10,200 M.W. power but we produce only 7,200 M.W. Solar energy plan will be implemented to provide 3000 more M.W. of power. Free power to farmers will be given but the govt. will keep an eye to check if it is used properly', she said. The new Minister for Electricity, Mr. Naththam Viswanathan promised that all steps would be taken to ease the power situation.

Many other topics were also discussed in the camp. I liked this, the most:

The govt. wants to take steps to reduce the load of books carried by the children everyday to school. They can carry only one book, which will cover all the subjects for the first 3 months. Then another book for the next three months...(if this method is possible and good, the children will be very grateful to the CM!).

The CM took the topic of toilets in the schools. She said, 'many schools in our State do not have proper toilets, even the girls schools. So, steps will be taken to rectify this problem as early as possible'.

During her earlier term as CM, she had implemented 'Rain water harvesting' and the water table of many areas had improved so much that people of Chennai and other States too praised her for this. New buildings without 'Rain Water Harvesting' provision, were not given power connection! Even in our road, the Panchayat officials came door to door to check if the houses had rain water harvesting pipes!

Shall we be happy and hope for a good 'acting' government in Tamilnadu? She need not worry about Karunanidhi anymore. Except Stalin, his second son (I feel sorry for him because he tried his best to do something good for the people), no other family member is capable of coming back to power. She has got a free hand now. Whether she is implementing Dr.Kalam's dream or hers, it will be good for our State. She might become one of the best CM of Tamilnadu. Hope for the best!

Sorry, this has become a very looooong post!

Just one more line...I did not vote for AIADMK because the candidate was a wine merchant and not a ...forget it! He has won, though!

Picture courtesy: Google

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Down Memory Lane...Again, via Sound Of Music!

Picture courtesy: Pixie

We watched this movie, 'Sound of music', a 1965 movie, again, yesterday when my nieces came home! We keep watching this movie, Gods Must Be Crazy II and some other movies which are not serious ones but very interesting, often! We can continue chatting while watching these movies! All the songs in this movie are beautiful and we can keep on hearing them again and again, like we do at home, now!

I had already done a post on one song from this movie, though the scene was not from the movie, but was very interesting, here, it is!

I am posting a song from this movie, in which they show a puppet show, titled 'The lonely Goatherd'. More than the song, I loved the way the puppets 'acted' with expression! I loved their huge moving eyes and the dance, superb! Watch every frame keenly...very very interesting! I got the lyrics of the song too, here!

These types of puppets are called Marionettes. Wikipedia says, 'Marionettes are sometimes referred to as "puppets", but the term "marionettes" is more precise, distinguishing them from other forms of puppetry, such as finger, glove, rod and shadow puppetry.' In normal puppet, the eyes do not move, just the hands, legs etc. move. The faces will turn, that is all.

Bil Baird and Cora Baird are the puppeteers in this movie. Their biography says, 'Bil Baird and his wife, Cora Baird, the driving forces behind the Bil & Cora Baird Puppets, were pioneer entertainers in U.S. TV, when commercial television in the States was taking its first baby steps. Much of what early viewers could view on that seven-inch screen, with its eerie, whitish glow in a darkened room where a family gathered round to watch in wonder, had come from radio. But the Bairds' medium - their marionettes - was strictly visual, and the audience was regaled. You can know more interesting information about marionettes in the wikipedia link for Marionettes, given in the above paragraph.

In the 1950s, Bil Baird and Cora Eisenberg presented a great number of marionette shows for television, and were also responsible for the Lonely Goatherd, from the classic film, The Sound of Music. Bil Baird also wrote a classic book on his work . In Australia, a program called Mr.Squiggle, using a marionette central character of the same name, ran for just over 40 years (1959–1999).

Now, watch the video again and again and tell me how you feel!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

We Got A New Camera...Here Is The Proof!

We never had our own camera for many years...even when we had our first son! We asked some photographer to come home and take some snaps of the baby, when he was 8 months old! He had just started sitting without any support! After the photographer took some 10-12 photos in different poses, the baby fell down and had a bump like an appam, at the back of his head for a few days, I still remember! And according to our neighbour maami, we were not supposed to take snaps of the baby until he was one year old! Even my relatives were not very keen to click their children when they were babies...the importance of camera or photos were not realized, then!

We went on a tour to Mysore with a borrowed camera. We have got many Brindavan garden photos...just heads or half faces and the background was the dark started raining later on!

Then we bought 'Cannon' camera and later 'Ricoh'. The latest one before this Nikon was, 'Olympus' and I have learnt to focus properly...OK nearly! This Nikon camera is very good, though I am yet to learn the nuances.

Now, over to our pictures:

Kochi Port!

Same place, Kochi Port!

Now, to the pictures of cat-women of our house:

Goalie (we call her Gullu, Goalilu...!)

Notice the expression in her eyes in the two pictures, so different from each other! She looks just like a tigress in one and looks like a typical house cat, in another!

Jinju (Jinjillu, Thoppe Raani are her other names!)

Jinju loves to sit in this posture! I must have posted one more picture of hers in another post, sitting like this!

Jinju's Paws...My son's handiwork!

Now, back to humans! Sleeping grand niece! So innocent and happy in her sleep!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday!


Wonder what is inside these pouches?!

Edited to add in the evening: My niece says this is 'Pitcher plant' (wikipedia) . They are basically insect eaters. I saw a few more insect eating plants here, in Kew gardens, London.
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