Saturday, February 26, 2022

Black Drongo

Following Kumizhi, we visited another lake about 10 km from there. On the way to the lake, we took a tea break, and while waiting for the tea at a teashop, I spotted a Black Drongo lepping here and there on a plant. 

Sadly, due to the limitations of my camera, I was unable to capture a clearer image.

My Canon Powershot suffers from blackness around the screen, leaving only a small viewer point-like zone to focus on the image. Taking this one-shot comes only after a lot of effort.

I need to service my camera, but I took it with me on my trip to Yelagiri last week, my first trip in three years. 

One intriguing fact I learned about this small Asian passerine bird belonging to the drongo family is that it is notorious for its aggressive behavior toward much larger birds, such as crows, and will dive-bomb any bird of prey that enters its territory. This behavior has earned it the nickname "king crow." 

Women participation in Local Politics

Young people entering politics is a good thing, and women's participation in politics is both respectable and necessary for women's growth. But, it is also crucial to know what kind of politics they're participating in.

In the recently concluded state local body elections, an unprecedented number of women ran for office. No, this time, more blocks are reserved for women! However, the majority of them have a political background. Their father, brother, or husband is a member of a political party.  

When women are given the required blocks, males are unable to compete, allowing their daughters or spouses to compete, win, and operate from a position of superiority. What else can these women do if they're going to be like this?  

Many graduate women have won the elections, yet it is safe to argue that they will be unable to act independently. They are nothing more than empty capsules that will not cure any condition. Women must have personal political interests, a desire to serve the people, problem-solving skills, the ability to utilize authority freely, and the concept of non-compliance. 

It's amusing how this press portrays young women, graduates, winning municipal elections as a major accomplishment. (There isn't much of a distinction between educated and illiterate people.) The one who perseveres is the one who acts with awareness. Education is mandatory, and I won't get into it right now, but educated people aren't the only ones born to rule. 

I wasn't referring to all of the women. There are many independents, non-partisans, and social activists who would have won. The reality is that they will never be able to surpass the existing parties, although a singular rise is impossible to erase. I applaud such achievements. In our neighborhood, a 90-year-old woman ran as an independent candidate. So it makes no difference how old you are or what grade you are in. It is the service mindset that is needed to help the public, not the commercial approach that earns money. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Kumizhi - The ideal place for picnicking and camping near Chennai!

Last Sunday, I was able to go out for the first time in nearly 5 months. I chose to go to a place that hadn't been much explored by many. But when I got there and saw rows of cars parked in front of the lake, I realized I had guessed wrong. 

Among the row of cars, ours (a black Scorpio) is in the middle, and it was me sitting in the passenger seat.

I learned about Kumizhi from a vlog and knew I had to come as soon as possible, but it took me more than a year to visit. Kumizhi is a village about 50 km south of Chennai, on the Nellikuppam road between Kandigai and Othivakkam. Kumizhi features a beautiful lake and small hill forests at a distance of 700 meters in the western direction from the Kumizhi bus stop.

Being Sunday, I expected to see a lot of bikers in Kumizhi, as I had seen a lot of photos and videos of them on Instagram, but instead, I saw families and kids. The reason I noticed it was because the Kovalam Surf School had set up a camp there, and the students and their families had accompanied them and kept themselves occupied on the peaceful lake. 

Another surprise awaited me: the lake bank had been fenced off from vehicles entering, and a small gap was left for the public to enter. Though it kept me away from the water, as I thought of getting close by car (I haven't taken my wheelchair to get down there), it was a good decision to protect the lake and its environment from damage by vehicles since the bikers take their bikes deep into the woods beside the lake. 

We drove for a km and a half on the road alongside the lake and forest to enjoy the scenery, and the wind was cold since it was evening and the late winter season. It caressed. 

I have marked a couple of peacocks spotted in the forest. Because of the contrasting sunlight, we didn't get a clear picture. 

The forest seems to have many birds, and we observed some peacocks, one of which flew across the road, and I also noticed a mongoose on the road.  Although seeing a mongoose isn't surprising given the number of them in our neighborhood, I wish I could have spent more time there viewing additional birds and creatures. Avoid Sundays if you want to appreciate the peace of nature. 

In addition to swimming, the surf school (that was camped there) appeared to offer kayaking to students, and I also spotted a student balancing on a surfboard on the tranquil lake. During the rainy season, I saw images of the lake where the water level had risen to the road, but when I saw the water level had dropped, it seemed to be an advantage for practicing water sports.

My mom went close to the lake to capture these photos on my behalf. We left the place with a desire to come back, and I wish to come back in my wheelchair to explore the nature out there. I recommend this place as the best picnic spot for family and friends' gatherings and for those who want to spend time in peace and meditation. 

I'm guessing the lake is already a campsite, with small hikes and tent stays arranged in advance. The road is well tarred for less than a kilometer from the lake up to the Siva temple in the middle of the forest, and it continues to be a perfect off-road for riders alike. 

I went for a short ride on this road just for fun, and I believe that the road that is less traveled or offroad provides the best experience of nature, and I enjoyed it. And it wasn't difficult for us because we were in a high-ground SUV, but cars will suffer. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

RGB Monday

 Few colorful Kolam from Pongal

On the evening of Pongal (Jan 14), I went for a walk around the neighborhood, like what I was doing for the last few years on Pongal day, looking for colorful Kolams drawn from the neighbors. Same as last year, I couldn't find many kolam, but somehow managed to click some.

Happy Valentines to all 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Narai Ezhuthum Suyasaritham (A Tamil movie review after a long back)

Manikandan of Jai Bhim, Aela, Kaala fame’s directorial debut “Narai Ezhuthum Suyasaritham” is an excellent reflection of a middle-class retiree’s life and his struggle to cope with the younger generation.  With Manikandan himself as an actor in the role of the unemployed, survives by just drinking tea is a motion poster of a youngster who seeks jobs by trekking across the streets of Chennai. 

For Delhi Ganesh, as a retiree, “NES” is another imprint on his career.  Hats off to the team for coming up with a simple story, the contemporary reality of the former generation that struggles to move along with the IT-based younger generation. 

I admire Manikandan as an actor on screen for revealing realistic acting, and now as a director and writer, my admiration has grown. And he had tried well to fill the generation gap through this beautiful and emotional flick. Manikandan's acting in Jaibeam as a lockup victim is exceptional and sent us to an emotional peak, and his appearance in unkempt hair and beard resembled a typical tribe.

The comedian-actor and anchor in Tamil, Aadhavan, had done a role opposite to his character in nature (as lighthearted) with a formal face and scornful against his retired father is a different experience for him and us as well. A couple of songs in the movie had significantly woven to suit the emotional texture, and the lyrics were of pulling the right strings of the heart. 

The importance of the later generation and their memorization of what the automated and computerized world missed had well captured the director's notice impressed me. Overall, a must-watch movie with the family. I think every family who has a retired person could easily connect with the subject likewise. 

(The movie is available on SonyLiv)

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Pruning Trees and Tree Maintenance Platform

Our state (Tamil Nadu) is busy these days with upcoming local body elections for all corporations and municipal councils, and I assume perhaps because of this, the ruling government has arranged for tree pruning in our neighborhood. Our street has many trees (planted by volunteers) on the streetside, and they didn't prune in a long time resulting in overgrown branches, as any heavy vehicle or lorry passing the road got rubbed against the same. 

The trees opposite our house had grown dense and spread widely/wildly, blocking the light and wind at our receiving end. We used to cut a few branches of the trees now and then, and last week too, we cut a branch that extends to our balcony using a worker from the cousin's bike service. The raintree on the east side of the road opposite our south-facing house had grown wildly or improperly in shape, disturbing the view outside - blocking the light from the streetlamps. 

The same thing happened with the Indian tulip tree right opposite our house, except the tree took a neat and beautiful form. These trees were planted after the 2016 Vardha cyclone - the natural disaster that had taken an abundance of trees in the city - these trees were planted by a neighbor without knowing what saplings they were. The pruning of trees should take place before the monsoon to prevent tree falls and to encourage growth, but this pruning is purely for positive results (in the local body election) for the ruling party. 

The Greater Chennai Corporation uses a tree maintenance platform - a three-wheel vehicle with the driver standing on a bucket lift controls the machine completely, cutting and moving from the same. It's the first time I see a pruning machine or pruning tower in use, though there are bucket trucks or truck cranes where the crane is attached to the back of the trucks, and the trucks had to move independently and the crane separately. But this pruning tower is entirely controlled by someone standing from the bucket is amusing to watch.

In a few minutes, with the help of the tree maintenance platform, the corporation worker pruned the trees to half, letting us a sigh of relief as if we had come out of stuff. They say pruning trees will help it to grow better and more productive. The trees look bare now, the sky widely visible, and the balcony is full of sunlight, the wind blows freely, and this is the best time of the year, with summer not far away - the rising sea breeze lifts the spirit. 

(Clean view of our street from left to right, after pruning)

I wish the trees grow again, but not the way to look uncomfortable and block other natural elements. I love trees and don't wish to cut any trees, but rather desire to see more trees planted and forestation happens. We need more forest landscapes to prevent human-animal conflict, which had risen lately never before; to increase the oxygen level and to reduce carbon dioxide, growing trees are the only source. Let's trees grow and protect the resources of life.