When you live on a green verdant campus it is almost expected that you would be interested in nature and wildlife. I have been captivated by animals as a whole since I was young, but my interest in photography and the avian genus began in the thick forests of Kanha National Park. Renowned nationwide for its tigers, leopards and other exotic animals it holds a special place in my heart for igniting my passion for birds.
During one of my many meaningless browsing sessions through absolutely unconnected and random sites (as one is wont to do in the hostel), I stumbled upon a 2009 WWF report on the biodiversity in the IITB campus. It was a long, long report, with no photographs and lots of data and I soon got bored. But I gleaned something from it – there are over a hundred species of birds in the campus and about 85 species of butterflies. This was unbelievable, to say the least, for I did in no way remember seeing more than 20 kinds of birds I guess till then and had identified even less. So started my journey in looking for these elusive birds and photographing them. Butterflies were entirely not on my mind. I was absolutely sure I would never be able to photograph these tiny, flighty, delicate creatures who always seemed to be busy fluttering.
The Ficus tree at Kshitij adjoining the IITB Hospital was abuzz with activity. The Coppersmith Barbet, Mumbai’s official City Bird, rang out its tuk tuk tuk tuk call as it bobbed its head from side to side. Not far away, a male Oriental Magpie-Robin sang uninterrupted, its attention focused entirely on the female close by. The male followed his mate from branch to branch with a string of persuasive, imploring notes, sometimes choosing the highest vantage point for a perfect delivery.
With a wry, half smile he said,
“यहाँ कोई टेन्शन नही है, सब टेन्शन ट्रैनिंग में खतम हो गया.”
I was talking to a Jawan in the Indian Army posted at a border post in Batalic sector. Mind you, this is one of the posts at the border of Pakistan and India. Violation of ceasefire can take place any day, at any time of the day. Gun fires, grenades can hit you any time, nobody is certain of life at the next moment. And this guy was saying ‘No Tension’!!
One hot and idle afternoon in late May, I received a forwarded message from our Mumbai Chapter’s Rural Initiative Group (RIG) WhatsApp group.
भुरिटेक गावात पाणी पोहोचवल्याबद्दल तुम्हा सर्वांचे शतशः आभार.
OK, what’s so great… you would think. But it is a great thing, and I must tell you the story.
Halfway to a marathon, and not 40 yet.
The Hop-Hop Half Marathon course is an out-and-back along the levee that separates Portland’s mile-wide Columbia River from the airport. If Shamrock was hilly, this was about as flat as it gets. I think we climbed up and down off the levee, once. The day of the race was cloudy and cold — perfect running weather! I started the run, again in the finisher’s shirt — my friend Gregg didn’t tell me about race-shirt-etiquette until later in that first year. Feeling strong, fast, and confident, I glanced at the GPS app on my phone — 4:38 min/kim (7:30 min/mile) pace! Oops. However confident I might be, I wasn’t that strong and fast. So I slowed a bit, ignoring pace goals and enjoying the run along the river.
My name is Rohit, and I am a runner. I came to running late in life. I am not the fastest runner I know (by far), and will never be as fast as many of the people I run with. The fastest I have come to running a marathon under 2 hours and 30 minutes is running near Galen Rupp and Peter Bromka. But I have come to love running even when I’m cheering and chafing at the people passing me effortlessly on the road.
Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) teamed up with IEEE Smart Villages to electrify the centuries old Linghsed Monastery and the Lingshed School. The entire project was documented by National Geographic as part of its Breakthrough Series, featuring top innovations of this century that will change the world we live in. The DC (direct current) Solar Micro Grid concept engineered by GHE was showcased as the breakthrough innovation that GHE has implemented to bring access to energy to more than 38 villages in the remote mountain communities of Himalayas, impacting the lives of over 15, 000 people.
The jewel of the mangroves had been luring me since last year to make a visit to Bhitarkanika, a small mangrove sanctuary in coastal Orissa. The name itself had a lyrical ring about it – bhitar = interior and kanika = gold, and conjured up an image of a lush paradise with a hint of mystery and adventure.
For most of us, the land mass called Antarctica is a name we vaguely remember from school Geography, but if asked to name all the continents in the world, most of us would forget to name Antarctica among the continents. That was certainly true in my case, until a friend asked me if I would like to join him and a couple of others on this trip to Antarctica that they had planned.