Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do You Believe In Rebirth? I Think, I Do, Now!

This happened in our house yesterday, no, the day before yesterday!

After waking up in the morning, I came down from upstairs and suddenly started hearing some sound coming from the living room. First I thought it was the sound of a squirrel! Then I saw...Goalie, our cat sitting quietly and watching something dark in colour. I switched on the light and saw...a small baby bird shouting/crying feebly, continuously. I got so upset that I called my husband and he came running down! I asked him to take care of the cat, threw a small towel on the bird, took her outside, dropped her on the ground and she went hopping under some flower pots in our backyard. My husband closed all the windows and we were opening the doors slowly for sometime so that she did not have the opportunity to run out and catch the bird again!

After an hour, I went out and looked out for the bird. She was shivering, sitting near the pots and I noticed that ants had started surrounding her and biting her. I didn't see any parent birds for more than 3 hours. I took a glass of water and poured it around the bird so that the ants stopped biting her. Crows were roaming above and I was worried about them catching her. I changed her places twice removing the ants as much as possible with a towel. I had seen the bigger birds eating curd rice I usually placed for the crows, so, kept some in a small plate for this little one, near her (I found out later that it was not a good idea, the whole rice was full of red ants but they left the bird without doing much harm!).

After about an hour or so, I heard the bird's sound...the baby bird had started shouting feebly and then the parent birds came and the loud shouts began! All the three of them started 'talking'! The baby bird was happy and the parents were happy! I was happy that the bird didn't die in our house!

Our Goalie, as usual, was just playing with the baby bird, like she is doing often nowadays with all sorts of birds and animals (check here!) without hurting them much! She just wants something to play!

The baby bird was like this in the morning! Tiny scary bird!

By the evening, she was not looking scary, even when we went very close to her!

She looked like this - a bit grown up, the next day...ready to fly!

The mother bird, watching her baby! It was very difficult to take pictures of these birds, they are very sensitive unlike the Bulbul birds and fly away as soon as they see some movement!

I took this video of the amma-appa birds teaching their baby to fly. The teaching went on until the next day afternoon. I didn't see them afterwards!

This is our 'always playful' Goalie...she was born at home and later delivered three kittens at home...even now, she is happily playing with us! A happy kitten, no, cat, she is!

Edited to add on 15.7.11: The baby bird had a rebirth because she was silently waiting for her parents to come near her and then started squeaking...the crows were waiting on the neem tree to take her. As soon as I took her out from the cluster of pots to remove the ants, she flew down and ran under a Teak leaf which was quite big...she was a shrewd baby bird!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Am After Happy News Nowadays And I Got Them, Thanks To Our Media, For Once!

When we open the newspaper in the morning, we come across mostly negative news. They seem to be juicy news and the media highlights them. Now, for the past one week I seem to read positive news often. Let me highlight a couple of them here!

The first one is about a small village called 'Snapdeal.com Nagar' The name sounds funny, but the villagers were so impressed by this company, Snapdeal.com who helped them get clean drinking water for them, that they changed 'Shiv Nagar' (North India, 3 hrs. from Delhi)to 'Snapdeal.com Nagar'!

Snapdeal.com, being an online couponing company that recently raised $12 million and has the lead over Groupon in India and in the local e-commerce space. So what gives? This isn't exactly the first time anything like this has happened (mostly for cheap publicity scoring reasons), but the story behind it I think, is, unique and worth sharing.

Snapdeal has adoped a remote village in India and enabled clean drinking water facilities for its people by installing manual pumps. To show their gratitude, the village's residents have decided to rename their village to Snapdeal.com Nagar, actually taking the company by surprise.

Snapdeal.com CEO, Kunal Bahl says, ' A person mentioned that his family lives near a cluster of villages where the locals have to walk over a kilometer every day and stand in the line just for clean water'. So Bahl figured they should explore if they could easily and and cost-effectively solve their problem. He says further...

'We honestly did something very simple - didn't even cost that much...installed 15 hand pumps, which now enable clean water within a distance of 50 meters for all the residents of the village. We must have spent a total of $5000 on getting this and the really coll part about this is, that these 15 hand pumps will give clean water to the villagers for the next 15-20 years!

This statement of Mr.Bahl is more interesting: 'Ours is a fast growing, yet relatively still-to-get there company with just 500 people. There are 640,000 companies incorporated in India, many many of them much much larger than ours. Assuming even 10% have the resources to do anything (and $5000 isn't really a lot), we can solve water problems for 64,000 villages and millions of people in India.

IBN Live says about Bahl: The irony is that none of this might have happened had Bahl's H1B visa had not expired. The special visas granted to skilled workers are good only for six years. Bahl graduated from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After his visa ran out, he packed his bags and went home to Delhi. In February, 2010, he launched Snapdeal.com with his partner, Rohit Bansal. The company became India's foremost online retailer, selling 10,000 products a day.

We need more people who think like Mr.Bahl. The Govt. should take a leaf from people like Bahl and stop throwing freebies to the citizens instead of taking solid concrete steps for improving the quality of life of people, esp. in our villages.

The next news I read says, 'A Visually impaired person takes over as Principal'!

The Hindu says, 'K.M. Prabhu, on Monday morning took charge as the Principal of Chikkanna Govt. College, Tiruppur (Tamilnadu)!'

The twist in the news is, he is the first visually impaired person to do so in the state. Dr. Prabhu, 55, an English Language Teaching expert, had retinitis pigmentosa and his vision deteriorated during his school years. He completely lot sight by the time he finished school. Undeterred, he went on to qualify in English literature from Madras Christian College with flying colours and then to complete his Ph.D.

He served in Govt.Arts College, Nandanam, for many years before he was deputed to BPS College, Haryana, to set up language labs for students. He created six such labs and says he also managed to get the students to converse fluently in English within six months.

"I would like to thank society at large. Every time we open a newspaper and see reports of corruption, violence and death, we seem to get a feeling that everything is wrong with the society. But I am a symbol of the benevolence of society. But for society, I would not have been what I am today," Dr. Prabhu says.

Very rarely we come across positive people like Dr.Prabhu, who is the perfect example for 'positive thinking'!

Now, comes the last interesting news, no it should not be the last, I feel. Here, the Hindu's headline is, 'NO PLUSH SCHOOL FOR THIS COLLECTOR'S DAUGHTER!'

Erode (Tamilnadu) Collector, R.Anandkumar set an example to others as he admitted his daughter in the government school, the title for the above picture says!

Mr. Anandkumar, the first citizen of the district, accompanied the six-year-old Gopika to the Panchayat Union Primary School at Kumarankuttai on Wednesday morning and told the teachers that he wanted to admit his daughter in Std.II. Like anyother children, Gopika cried for sometime and then blended with the routine of her class, it seems.

Now, I really admire his guts. When Erode has got many good reputed schools, he has joined his daughter in a Panchayat School. Only time will tell if this is a right decision.

The positive thing is, this might compel the Govt. to improve the infrastructure and the quality of the teachers. I had written a post earlier about Govt. Schools here. Now, they are improving but still they might need years to implement their plans completely.

Anyway, I was happy writing this post with all happy positive news...what do you say?!

Edited to add: I added the first picture, a day later!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thanks To You Friends, I Have Completed 3 Years Of Blogging, this June!

I am not able to believe that I have completed 3 years of blogging in 2011, plus a few extra posts in 2004!

'My corner' started on 19th July, ''04! The first post was 'Court humour' which I had copied from the Readers' Digest, I still remember! My son pestered me to write something, any crap and keep on writing! I 'wrote' and it is funny to read those articles now! Still, the 'Amarnath Yatra' story is thrilling, though the language is not very good! Then, I stopped writing! I didn't know that for getting some readers, I must visit other blogs! I just left it at that, because I never knew how this 'blog-writing' is done or how we should invite other bloggers to read our blogs by reading and commenting on their posts! I did start reading and commenting, but no one was interested to visit my blog for a long time!

Then, in 2008, I seriously started reading others' blogs and started getting some knowledge of 'how to write blogs'! My son created a new name, for my blog, 'maradhimanni' and pushed me to write, again!

I used to write long long letters to my son(sometimes 13-16 pages!) and I think this habit is helping me to write posts a bit interestingly and cogently (otherwise he might throw my letters into the dustbin!). My habit of changing topic without warning, while chatting with others, is slowly coming down. People who didn't know me would never know which subject I was talking about! I would think about something and would not express it with right words. Sometimes the whole meaning went wrong and felt embarrassed! These draw backs are going away from me, thanks to writing long long posts and reading them back to check if I had bungled again! Reading others' posts also has become a big plus point for me with so many good writers here!

I think in English about the blog subject which is a new plus point too, remember this post of mine?!

When I checked now, my first reader/commenter was Ashwini, my niece! It was for 'carbon poisoned fruits'! Then the VIP bloggers/readers started visiting...IHM and Smitha came next for the 'kittens' post! Then no looking back! I had tasted the joy of writing and am still continuing and hope to continue for a long long time with all your support!

I have crossed the '200 posts' mark too! I am a very happy person today, writing this post!

Thank you, Friends!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nature's Wonders... Flying Seeds In Our Garden!

This is the story of a flower... from the seed stage...

I saw these 'ajjara gadda-like' (thaaththa dhaadi' or granpa's beard!) things strewn all over my small lawn one morning, last week! I had never noticed them earlier. I have got these flowers for many years now and have seen the long horn-like seeds but not these things, which were inside the long seed! My blogger mind decided to take pictures of them from morning to evening...have a look and enjoy nature's magic!

I saw them like this, in the morning! It took sometime for me to register from where they had come!

They were like this in the afternoon...blooming to fly!

They had literally started flying and touched my face too! So beautiful looking things!

Click on the picture and you can notice the sunlight reflecting on them!

No, it is not yet Deepawali, but these things look like sparklers!

This is the main seed. The closed seed was there for many days now. Looks like a flying bird, right?! It decided to open on that day!

The lone, what shall I call it, no it is not flower, baby seed(!) is still sticking, doesn't want to leave yet! Isn't this beautiful?! I love the colour combination here!

This is THE FLOWER...do you remember something? Yes, my profile flower!

I checked with our friend wikipedia and it says that this (wind dispersal) is one method of dispersing seeds away from the mother plant which gives more scope for survival. So nature has given them feathers to fly away and germinate again!

By the way, I don't know the botanical or common name of the flower, please tell me if anyone knows! This is sort of me, you know!

Edited to add an hour later: My niece, Sharada, has mentioned about the name of the flower...Desert Rose! Botanical name is, Adenium Obesum. Interesting note in wikipedia about this flower: The toxic sap of its roots and stems is used as arrow poison for hunting large game throughout much of Africa!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The King's Speech & Cinderella Man - 2 movie reviews

I watched two 'touching the heart' type movies recently. When my son asked me to watch this movie and after I watched it for a few minutes, I thought it might be boring without any type of thrill or turning points! I was wrong...I watched it twice!

The first one is, 'The King's Speech'! The second one is 'Cinderella Man'. Both the stories are based on true stories and happened in the 1920's and 30's. The King's story is based in London (obviously!) and the Cinderella Man, in New Jersey, the USA. Royalty and a worn out boxer's stories, such contrast! The King's Speech won 4 Oscars and Cinderella Man was nominated for 3 Oscars.

Have a look at the trailer of The King's Speech, first and you can have a glimpse of how the story goes:

This is the story of King George VI (the current English Queen's father). When King George V is in his death bed, he wants his second son to take over as King. As we know, the Britishers are sticklers to rules and follow strict discipline. His first son wants to marry an American divorcee, which is not applicable to the British monarchy. More than that, the King is the Head of the Church too and so, has to be with good behaviour! The second son, who suffered from stammering, cannot speak clearly even for a couple of minutes, which was an embarrassment to the royal family. But now, he is the only one, who could sit in the King's throne! He goes through many therapies and in the end his wife finds a speech therapist (an Australian), who hasn't got a proper degree but has got vast experience after treating the World War I shell-shocked patients in Australia. He hasn't got a hi-fi clinic but asks the King (then, the Prince of York) to come home for treatment. Then the treatment begins without revealing the King's identity.

The therapist, Logue treats his patient like an ordinary man and calls him by his first name, Bertie (Albert). It was very difficult for Bertie to digest this treatment but slowly with the help of his wife (she has acted superbly here and looks very beautiful too!), he overcomes the stammering and gives a nice Wartime speech (II World war) with the help of Logue, his therapist. Many touching moments make our eyes wet with tears! The therapist brings out the psychological background for Bertie's problem of stammering. We feel like hitting his brother when he teases Bertie 'b...b....b...Bertie'. We feel sad, watching the pain in Bertie's face when he finds it difficult to speak continuously.

Colin Firth acts as Bertie and has done his job superbly. I remember his movie, 'Mama Mia' (hilarious movie!) and some more. The therapist role is done by Geoffrey Rush, who is also a famous actor (Pirates of the Caribbean, Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, etc.). The Queen is played by Helena Bonham Carter (acted in Harry Potter!). I loved her acting. She gives full support to Bertie (the role is of the Queen Mother, who died a few years back).

Do you love serious movies? Then, don't miss this movie! The video shows some interesting scenes about the therapy and I loved every frame of this movie.


The second movie is 'Cinderella Man'. First, I started watching the movie reluctantly, (phoof...how will I like a movie of a Boxer's story?!). I was wrong. I loved this movie too! Have a glimpse of the trailer:

This movie stars one of my favourite actor, Russell Crowe (Gladiator and Beautiful Mind fame) and actress, Renee Zelweger (Bridget Jones's Diary and Chicago fame). I have watched Russell in some other movies also and he is a very good actor and this movie is another feather in his cap!

The story is based on an ex-prize fighter (boxer), Jim Braddock, who broke down during the 'great depression' - before the World war II started. Nobody had much money or job and he had a family of a wife and three small kids. He was ready to do any menial job to feed his family. It was very sad to watch his home's power connection get disconnected because he couldn't pay the bills, that too, in the severe winter. He was forced to go for 'public relief money', which was equal to begging. Still he keeps on looking for big money in the boxing ring though he had a broken hand and no food to get the stamina. His trainer who was a sincere friend gets his chance to fight and in a final bout with a 2 opponent killer Baer makes Braddock a legend.

His wife never liked her husband fighting in the ring and she often gets upset when he teaches boxing to the children. But Braddock was a good fighter and boxing was the only way he could make good money, so with just will power he was winning most of the fights.

I read somewhere that this Boxing legend's house is still there in New Jersey!

If you have got the guts to watch some boxing violence, then this is a good movie for you!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wordless Wednesday! Guess who/what is this ?!


Edited to add in the evening: Kavita, Bikram and Shail have guessed it right! This is a small frog. We call it 'Thaerai' in Tamil!

For the past 3 days, I saw this frog sitting inside the cup (same cup!) in the morning. I used to hold a cloth to cover the cup in my left hand, lift it from the hook, take it to the backyard and throw the frog out! I was really scared and felt sick, doing this job! I found the frog at the same place, the next morning too...for the next 3 days and I had this job of throwing it out in the morning! Yesterday I threw it into my neighbour's compound...(how mean, you might think...I was!) and voila...I didn't see it since today morning! It might have forgotten the route to come back!

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