It has been quite some time and I have written anything.
The fifth lockdown (or Lockdown 5.0) has been on since 4th of May but my offie has started functioning again and I have been on full-time work since then. Lots of pending works during the earlier four phases of the lockdown took away most of my time and too many deadlines and meetings and webinars and emails and….
Thought I will restart my blogging again. Now we are in a very interesting situation in Puducherry (India) where I live. Before the lockdowns, we had very few cases, and people were extremely scared about the pandemic. Four versions of lockdown, people are fedup with the system and now with the current unlock process, the cases are increasing day by day. Today was the highest increase with 27 new cases registered.
The funny way in which the Indian administration is responding to the pandemic is noteworthy. They have opened all the places of workship – all temples, churches, mosques etc. And people are flooding to these places as this was the ONE thing they have been missing all these days. In most states, the liquur shops also have opened up. The result? Obvious.. the rising Corona cases. And to add to the twist, a border standoff with our neighbours China as well. How politics overtakes all other interests is a thing to watch and learn.
Anyway, this is how the system works. And whether we like it or not, that is how it is. And that’s how it shall be. Unless the people react. But we have forgotten to react or have lost the energies to react in ways where the government will sit up and notice. This pandemic is a chance for those in power (which every country or nation, I think it is the same everywhere) to push their agenda.
The Pondicherry beach part of the White town of the erstwhile French colony known for its metropolis outlook of people of all countries, colour and gender throng for its beauty and the serenity is locked-down due to the pandemic.
Instead of the busy walkers and joggers that usually fill up the promenade, now you can see only lazy dogs enjoying the beach and its cool winds.
The sea is also cool and relatively calm known for its rather harsh waves.
The sky is also reciprocating the mood of the sea as well as the beach with its myriad of moods or colours with beautiful patterns of clouds allowing you to write your own interpretations of visual poetry.
My wife is an excellent gardener. Our small terrace garden has chillies, tomatoes, cucumbers, some greens, ladies finger, eggplants, curry leaves, mint etc. Very small level with a few grow-bags only. But the pleasure of seeing our own cultivated vegetables which are completely organic and poison-free is great…
This was our own yellow cucumber that we harvested yesterday which is called Sambar Vellari here.
These are some of our other vegetables that are currently getting ready to be harvested soon. Of course, all credits of these go to my dear wife…
Caught this bird quite far through my camera zoom.
It was raining slightly. The bird was scanning the neighbourhood quite intensely.
When I zoomed in a bit more, it looked as if it did not have a beak!
It had a brown head with light brown body down.
Not finding anything to eat – perhaps – it turned giving me a better view of it from its back. And before I could click again, it flew away. But I could get a fairly good view of its feathers /wings.
Did some research and with help from my friends, it seems that the bird is “Oriental Turtle Dove” . Maybe they are migrating from the northern part of India as winter is closing in there as these birds are known to migrate to South India during winter.
A couple of days I had this red and black butterfly caught on my camera. But now I see hundreds of them everywhere. Today, while it was still raining, I got a number of the same species fluttering around.
It was raining and it was difficult to catch them on my camera from a distance. But I managed to get a few of them.
They were everywhere. Fluttering around with their magnificent and bright beautiful wings.
I got them through the window of my office on the second floor (Sri Aurobindo Society) from a distance of about 30 meters away.
Some of the shots are off-center due to a high zoom.
Obviously, due to the huge numbers of them, I presume, they are migrating.
It is north-east monsoon in Pondicherry. It has been raining from today morning off and on since morning till almost noon. Because of my vantage position, I could get these butterflies about 40 feet above the ground.
Nature is so beautiful, green and soothing, especially when it rains! It is kind of regenerative even within minutes of its impact. The whole atmosphere changes and transforms!.
Recently when I was in Bahour which is about 20 km south of Pondicherry (India), I came across this beautiful butterfly which was fluttering around… It was late evening around 6pm so there was not much light for a better image. Still, its red, black and white pattern was beautiful, against the green background!!. This is the crimson rose butterfly. Nature is so bountiful and we often forget to realize it!!
I have seen similar butterflies before which used to be more bright. This fellow looked a bit of shabby, dusty one.
Maybe it had a hard day wandering in the dusty routes!!!
I live in Puducherry, or Pondicherry or even shortly as Pondy as it used to be known – and still of course- a small or rather tiny Union Territory in the southern part of India. Having a series of colonial successions like the Dutch, the French and the British in between, Pondicherry still has a metropolitan culture having a true mix of people from all parts of India and abroad. It is also the place of Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, the Aurobindo Ashram and of course, the Auroville, the international city of peace where people of several countries live as communities. Auroville is a beautiful experiment a totally barren stretch of land has been converted into a beautiful green space with several forests, organic farms & gardens, production units, renewable energy options including the solar kitchen, organic outlets, restaurants, model schools and all that is needed to be a self-sustained community
Now coming to my topic of the day, Pondy is really graceful and beautiful town that has a true historic past starting from maybe the 2nd century BC where a small town called Arikamedu had excellent maritime trade connections including the Romans. Pondy also has several small towns – for example, Bahour, which was at the peak of its civilization about 1200 years ago. The first temple constructed by the Paranthaka Chozha is at Bahour and it still stands strong and tall with stone inscriptions telling the excellent governance systems and water management systems of that time.
Fortunately, the water system is still intact and I will write about it later. Unfortunately, due to unplanned, irrational, shortsighted planning, Pondy is losing its shine at a faster pace. Totally berserk town and country planning processes have fast deteriorated the green spaces of this small territory.
Houses, houses everywhere and not many trees or shade at all. This is affecting the birds very much and they cuddle to whichever little spaces that is available. One such space is the Botanical Gardens of Pondy where the film “Life of Pi” was shot. With exploding migratory population, the spaces are shrinking very fast and the bird population is the worst affected.
How can one increase the green spaces? Puducherry had around 1000 water ponds to its credit, but a study done by the government of Puducherry 10 years ago, says that the water ponds have reduced to 600 in number. But now, we would be lucky if we even have half of it, I suppose. Why is this happening? The negligence of the government coupled with the greed of the politicians to illegally appropriate them and distribute them as free house sites to gain political mileage for vote banks!!.
So is there any hope? Yes, there seems to be. Currently, a community initiative under several NGOs and peoples collectives are urging the government to declare the wetlands of Pondicherry and even to try to reclaim the lost water and green spaces. Let us hope it will work !!!. After all, it is hope that keeps us driving… Isn’t it?