Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE BEAUTY OF TREES - WHEN WINTER WORKS OUT MAGIC

These pictures were shot around Renton, Washington State, U.S.A. Winter weaved magic all over the place.




Wednesday, October 20, 2010

THE BEAUTY OF TREES - WONDERFUL FORMATIONS

These snaps were shot around Renton, Washington State, U.S.A. Autumn had just set in. 









Sunday, September 26, 2010

A TWILIGHT SILHOUETTE

This is the Kapaleeshwar Temple at Chennai, India. This was a random shot from my camera. I love the golden hues of clouds in the backdrop, with the temple's silhouette standing tall as dusk is slowly taking over. And of course that coconut tree you see right through the door....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

TWILIGHT FROM A CAR AT TOP SPEED.......


I shot this when me and my family were heading back to Renton from the San Juan Islands in Washington State, USA. It was a great trip and I feel nice that I was able to take this shot while in the car, whilst the sun was still holding on out there heading for another sunset.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A FUNNY ENCOUNTER WITH A GHOST

It was on a pleasant evening about 12 years back in November, that this happened. Chennai seemed to be getting colder every year, and a layer of mist slowly started hovering as the evening crept into darkness. Larsen and Toubro's heavy engineering division was a beautiful area with three huge bays, office buildings, raw material yards and a beautiful garden that sprawled a large area of the campus. I being part of the Sales Co-ordination and Planning Department was responsible for the dispatch of machines from the Assembly and Testing Shop from one of the bays. Although we all wished that dispatches happened before sunset, so that we could get home early, most of them crept into the late evenings and or even into the night, due to various reasons that could be attributed to all kinds of pathetic planning.

And on that day we had a machine to be dispatched to GE Plastics somewhere in North India. The truck was already in there and the Punjabi driver, tall and lanky was already going around our machine and making a mental assessment of how he should get it inside the truck. A few hours crept by and I could see small streams of smoke come out of the truck. I went closer to the truck to see if a potential fire was about to break out. But to my surprise, a small boy, who I believe was assisting the Punjabi driver was busy preparing rhotis, using a small stove from inside the truck. I waved to him and he smiled.


The dispatch of the machine was about to happen soon, and it would be through the huge exit right at the end of the bay. And that is where the huge factory back wall existed with the warehouse department just inside. Beyond that wall was a small road within the factory that led straight to the security gate which opened to the outside world. We had security personnel posted at different corners and areas of the company, as there were a few thefts reported in the last two months. And so things were kind of beefed up.


Across that small road lay another small building, beyond which came the company’s wired fence, which divided its property from that of the neighboring company. It was in this small building that the company had its conference rooms and it was also from here that the Sales Co-ordination and Planning Departments operated. There was a main glass door that was used to enter into this building, which opened straight into the several departments with false separations. A small glass door on the left opened into a small aisle that led to one of the conference rooms. The walls of this aisle area had the switch board panels, that controlled all the power to the different sections of the entire building. It was spacious enough to hold a few chairs so that people could sit and wait, to meet someone who was busy while into some meetings in the conference room.


Being part of the Sales Co-ordination and Planning department threw up challenges like these where one did not know when one could get home after a dispatch. But this machine was heading for a 9.30 p.m dispatch. A few more hours went by and I saw the truck with the machine slowly making its way through the exit. The driver waved to me as the truck slowly made its way to the security gate. For one moment I felt that he was carrying the product of the efforts and involvement of atleast five hundred people who worked for it.


With my job done, I slowly ambled to my department building. It was almost 9.45 p.m. There was a small distance I had to cover on the road from the exit of the bay area to where this small department building lay. I walked slowly through the natural canopy that the trees built up over most of this road. Two of the road lamps on this road close to the department building had not been working for the last few days, and the situation was still status quo. The road was all dark and I could only use the reflection of the lights from the lamps near the security gate, to get to know my directions. The factory dinner time was from 9.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. and all the workers and supervisory staff were already into the canteen about 300 metres away. The manager’s and general staff’s closing duty time was 5.30 p.m. And so it was like nobody was there in the factory at that moment.


There was eerie feeling that crept into me, the kind I used to feel when I walked through my house searching for a torch or a candle, when I was alone in there and the power went off. And the sudden silence inside the factory multiplied this feeling. All the machines, blowers, fans, etc had been switched off just before dinner time. I could only hear the silent hum of a huge exhaust that was still running somewhere inside. May be someone had missed out swithching it off.


Up in the sky the moon was full and trying to get out of a pack of clouds. The sky wore a shiny black colour, as though the moon had scraped through it for a distance. A gentle breeze swept past my sweat soaked shirt. I reached the building and slowly approached the huge glass door. It was so dark that I could hardly see anything inside. People had left early and nobody was there to switch on the lights probably.I had informed the security that I would be there this time around, and so they had not locked the door as yet. I felt for the door knob and located it.Then I slowly opened the door. I told myself that my next immediate attempt should be to switch on the power, so that the lights would come on. And so I slowly approached the small glass door on the left.


A little of the moon light crept through the glass and painted the upper part of the sidewalls of the aisle. And I thought I could see some part of the switch panel, but not really enough to discern the right switch. So I ran my hand on the wall and spotted the panel and then started counting the main switches. I knew it was the fourth switch from the left, that would switch on my department's lights all in one go. While I was trying for the fourth switch, I could see another hand, all pale yellow in the moonlight slowly go up and feel the switch panel. At one moment, the hand touched mine and I almost froze. I could not speak although I wanted to yell in horror. And then the lights came on, although I was not sure whose hand did that great job finally.


And there standing right in front of me was a young company security guard in his formal attire. He got up and gave me a funny smile which I thought he was slowly trying to develop, to come out of the embarrassment. My immediate reaction was that I expressed my anger at him for all what happened, but in the next few minutes I realised that he was there as part of his duty, although he could have done that keeping atleast one light on. But then he told me that he was trying to catch some sleep, and that is the reason why he did not switch the light on. On that day, this happening really shook me, so much so that I took time to come out of that feeling.But today after so many years, when I recall the whole thing, I feel it to be something funny that went by in my life. But then, is it real fun when we encounter the real ghosts???

DREAM STREAMS THAT QUENCH








Our heart is replete with dreams,
Dreams that we hold on with such passion.
It runs through our life like streams,
Leading to the sea of our mission.

We see oysters of coarse talent,

Lie within us as in a deep sea.
Let’s gather the hidden pearls without relent,
And exhibit them for the world to see.

For a thrust of love we yearn,

For a pat from a dear or near one,
Who could drive us in our zest to learn,
And explore all the oysters under the sun.

Let us work to realize that big dream,

When every pearl of our talent refined,
Would prove to be a quenching stream,
For mortals with lives confined.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

BEAUTIFUL STRETCHES OF WATER...

When you take a drive from Coonoor towards Ooty, we have the Pine forest somewhere in between. Take a walk down through the trees and you will reach this beautiful piece of still water you see below..



The snap below is that of another spot closer to Ooty, the Pykra lake. We missed the boating stint out here, but enjoyed the view from this height. You will notice that the banks are plain, slopy and smooth and there is a kind of emptiness lingering all over here.

And the rest are that of the Ooty Lake. We had a boat ride here. The banks are full with green growth in total contrast to the Pykra Lake. We spotted more birds here and the emptiness was never there.



Saturday, May 29, 2010

THE RESULT OF HARD WORK AND COMMITMENT


In Coonoor, in the little space of a small guest house, we spotted this beautiful garden. It's gardener Munnuswamy is a very diffident and unassuming person, known may be to a few in and around that place. But his enthusiasm, hard work and commitment is very much out here for all of us to see. Munnuswamy's garden bagged the trophy for the first prize again this year, at the Ooty Flower Show, and he has been consistently winning the same for the last 4 years under more than one prize category.


Often I analyze, to understand, if a human can generate hard work and commitment on the fly. The truth is that he can't. The main fuel that generates these two, is the interest and enthusiasm. We all have to enjoy what we do, and only then will our outputs reach higher planes of quality.


Many times I read about our great national leaders, sportsmen, business leaders and draw inspiration from their lives , from the way they carry about themselves, and from all the things they are able to do as though it happens with a wave of a magic wand. But we have ordinary humans in the small corners of this earth, who are never in the limelight, who are unknown to most of us, but still generate work and outputs of such high quality.





And Munnuswamy is certainly one of the very few, who have grabbed my attention, giving me a high and an inspiration in what I do everyday.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

WHAT CAN WE DO FOR THIS MARSH AND THE BEAUTIFUL BIRDS OUT THERE???

Atleast thrice every week, I spend some time watching the Pallikaranai marsh from the top floors of my office building. This wetland is part of the Pallikarnai Forest Block in Thoraipakkam. This is a wonderful swamp with bio-shield reeds that saves Chennai from floods. It has been declared a Reserve Forest and approximately 114 bird species have been recorded.


This is the remaining part of the huge marsh that once existed and where a large number of birds flocked. A large part of this marsh got eaten up, by the dumping of waste and the still unquenched real estate thirst of real estate heroes that hit the city years back. Birds still flock this wetland and the surrounding trees in huge numbers during the seasons.…


An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem located within a body of water. Here we have communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment.


The Wikipedia states that the topography of the swamp is such that it always retains some storage, thus forming an aquatic ecosystem. It has been a home for naturally occurring plants (61 species), fish (50 species), birds (106 species), butterflies (7 species), reptiles (21 species) and some exotic floating vegetation such as water hyacinth and water lettuce, which are less extensive now and highly localized.

Recent reports of the appearance of the White-spotted garden skink which belong to the family of lizards, for the first time in Tamil Nadu, and Russell’s viper, the largest and the most widespread among Asian viper snakes, confirm its invaluable ecological status. Fish such as Dwarf gourami and Chromides that are widely bred and traded worldwide for aquaria, occur naturally in Pallikaranai.
Besides, the Windowpane oyster, Mud crab, Mullet, Halfbeak and Green chromide are some of the estuarine fauna present in the marsh. Birds like the Pied avocets and the Greater flamingo also frequent this wetland.

The pictures below are a proof, of the extremely bad situation of a part of this lake, lying on the opposite side, of the road that cuts across this lake. The city's garbage dump is growing in size out there and right now it's almost the size of a small mountain.What is seen as greyish stretches beside the water is the garbage slowly attaining mountainous proportions. We can see almost a small road running through this garbage mountain.



The waste and bacteria that seep out of these dumps, have started slowly polluting the water in this lake.

Extracts from an article published in the HINDU on the 6th February is below:
“Chennai is running short of dumping space: The Chennai corporation area has a population of 4.2 million people. The solid waste generated in daily is 3225 tonnes – ends up in dumping yards in Kodungaiyur and Perungudi. This is excluding 400 tonnes of construction debris generated daily. The city is running out of dumping space and fast. According to Chennai Corporation’ s estimates, the capacity of the dumping yards will be exhausted in eight years.
The non-composite waste like plastic has increased from 10 per cent to 30 per cent of the total garbage in recent years. The corporation should dialogue with ragpickers and recyclers, who play an informal and insignificant role in waste management.”
The Hindu, 6 February 2007, page 3.


The situation is so grave. I am still carrying on with my life......but am not sure what I can do to see some good things happening here for the birds, the flora and the fauna...not sure whether I can do anything at all..........

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