Sunday, May 29, 2016

Buds & Blooms!

My earlier house was an independent house and I had grown many flowering plants.  This is sort of a nostalgic post.  Some pictures were taken from my album, which has got many pictures of flowers from that house, the current flat and some from the tours.  Have a look! Separate pictures of buds and blooms plus bunches of flowers which has got both together are here!

At home! Bud and bloom is the next one!

At home!

On our way to Pattadakkal...sunflower bud and next is flower!

Kew gardens, London

Kew gardens, London

At home!

At home!

At home.

At home

Jasmine/malli home!

At home
Orchid plant...This is an exception...buds are not seen here but I love this flower! I got this plant as a gift for our wedding anniversary....the best gift!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Summer Holiday Games From Pallaanguzhi, Anju Kal To Uno Card Games!

Pallaanguzhi (click this to know about the game)
5 kal game.

Tamarind seeds

My niece had come home for her children's summer holidays.  The children are small kids, 4 and 8 year olds.  My sons have grown up now and the word 'summer holidays' has gone out from my memory! But when these kids came and the way they enjoyed their holidays, brought back my old memories (I am an expert now recollecting old memories, you know by now!).

Now, let me start with the way I spent my summer holidays, during late '60's! I have 4 siblings and during the holidays, either we were going to our native place Udupi (we used to get concession forms in our school to go to our native place which would get us tickets for less than half the price of the original ticket price) or spend time at home playing Pallanguzhi (the first game in the picture either with tamarind seeds, which is shown below the game or with some red beads)
Anju kal game (the next picture) with ordinary stones.  These games can be played by two players at a time and mostly played by girls and women.  Boys used to play outside the house.  For more girls and sometimes boys also joined, we used to throw the tamarind seeds or red beads 100-200 at a time on the floor. Take one bead, throw it up and before it comes down, pick up/sweep up the beads on the floor in 2s, 4s, 6s.  Collect them and count them.  The more seed holder is the winner.  Or play this...sort of chess.  Four people can play at a time:

5 Kal game: I don't remember the game exactly.... Any feed back?!

Then my sons' days, in the late '80's! It was scrabble, chess, card games like ass, rummy etc., carom board....reading, watching TV (TV days had started!).  Evenings were for outdoor games.  In my childhood, we went to movies, very rarely but it increased in my sons' days/holidays! Though I too was reading books, it increased during my sons' days!

Now, during the current summer holidays, we played Uno (card game), snake and ladder with the small kids.

We used to play this game on the nights of Vaikuntha Ekadashi with our cousins...the whole night and it was called 'paramapadam'! The modern version of 'snake & ladders' seem to be interesting for the modern kids!

The youngest one played Uno and Snake & ladder like a pro! She was advising others too, about how to play! Very very shrewd for her age.  She is going to UKG from next month!

And both the kids were obsessed with Barbie stories and movies.  The older one followed the story but the younger one made her own story! Danced with lip movement (without knowing the words or meaning!) exactly like the barbie character and with a serious face! All of us were enjoying watching her than the movie!

We got them Barbie story book (Barbie doll was given during her last visit!) alongwith Panchatantra stories and other mythological stories' book.  We took them to 'Jungle book' movie...the older one liked it more than the younger one.  The younger one was bored and was after her banana (she is allergic to milk and yeast, so we had brought some bananas for her but the security at the gate of the theatre refused to allow us to take it inside the theatre).  My niece took her out during the interval, begged the security to give the banana back saying the child will eat it in front of her. They refuse to allow us to take food items inside so that their sales of food items don't get affected! Inox theatre or any theatre, doesn't allow.

My niece wanted to watch 'Bajirao Mastani' and we watched it at home.  The kids made us to replay the dance songs and they danced (jumped) along!

Visited Railway museum in ICF, Chennai (Post will be written later!) which is very old but we hadn't visited until now.  Visited Light house at the Marina beach...the view from the top was awesome! The children were tired but enjoyed!

I cooked a lot for them and all of us enjoyed their summer holidays at our home!  It was fun!

P.S.: All pictures of the games are from google, thank you, Google!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Feast To The Eyes! Maharashtra's Valley Of Flowers, Kaas Plateau!

Kaas plateau, The Valley of Flowers of Maharashtra! The place is full of wild flowers which are rare to be seen elsewhere.  People come here from far off places for enjoying and research purposes.

We had been here, at the Kaas Plateau, last September...I had never heard of this place before our visit.  Son wanted to have a look at this famous (for Botanical students and nature lovers) place, during our road trip to Maharashtra. We started from Satara at 6 am. Couldn't have even tea, so early in the morning.  The route was good, weather was good and so we enjoyed the ride.

We had reached here at the right time of the blooming of flowers (the season is from August to September...monsoons).  Let me quote some facts about this place from Wikipedia and  their website, Kaas website :

The Kaas Plateau also known as the "Kaas Pathar" is a plateau situated in the Western Ghat Sahyadri range, 22 kilometers from Satara city in Maharashtra and is known for various types of wild flowers which bloom during August-September every year.   The area of plateau is located at a height of 1200 mts. and is approximately 1,000 hectare. It has been declared as Biodiversity World Heritage Site by The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The place has more than 850 different species of flowers.

The flora of Kaas i. e. the entire flowering plants and their related plants are typically restricted to that particular locality only. This is because the plateau is largely formed of basalt which is directly exposed to atmosphere. The basalt is covered almost entirely by a thin cover of soil formed due to erosion and has accumulated a layer of not more than a inch or so. This soil is neither black nor lateritic. At certain places water gets accumulated because of uneven surface. Such places appear like small puddles which harbour a typical marshy flora. Because of this particular situation of soil, the plants growing on Kaas plateau are typically of herbaceous nature of like grasses. Botanically the flora is labeled as “herbaceous”. The small shrubs and trees are located at the periphery of the plateau.

Heavy fog, drizzle, little sun were taking turns to entertain us! That is me walking in the drizzle!

We came here by car.  We can't use cars here, it seems, only jeeps.  We have to hire/book for them before coming here and it is better to hire a guide too. I and son enjoyed walking nearly 3 Kms. on this road. Tab was the guide! Husband was reluctant to walk in this road!

This patch is yet to be covered with flowers and the next one has got flowers!

Karvi flowers, which bloom once in 7 years. We were lucky to see them. 
We met some nature enthusiasts like Mr.Kulkarni who are regulars here.  He said that every year the plants are depleting.  We may not recognize this place after another 5-6 years, he said.  Felt very sad.

Click on the pictures to have a good impact pl.

The plateau seems to change the colours after every 15- 20 days as the cycle of flowering plants progresses with the monsoon progress since June to October. We saw buds of different coloured flowers in between these plants.  They take turns to pop out, I think! Once the whole area will be pink, then white and then yellow!
Carnivorous flower?!        

A Botanist who was there, said that this flower is called Hanuman's mace!

This is the famous 'lotus pond' at Kaas.  Missed to add this yesterday.  We were too early to see them in full bloom.  They need Sun to open themselves.  It is a beautiful sight, we were told.  We were a bit early and the drizzle and fog didn't help them to bloom, bad luck!
We roamed in this area until around 10.30.  Had to drive for another 15mts. to locate a vegetarian hotel.  Poha and masala chai were good!

We could see boards at many places asking people not to walk on the meadow, but our people would not bother to follow them.  Could see some plastic bags and bottles on the sides of the path.  Nothing is given importance here.  We might lose this place soon.  What can government do, if people are indifferent.  

Visit this beautiful place as early as possible and enjoy! Week ends will be crowded, we were told!

P.S.: You can have a look at a beautiful video of the flowers here!
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