Monday, 16 June 2008

And then there were those days.....

Those were the days I would fondly remember throughout my life. Sitting in the nights staring in the freezing skys and wishing sometimes that we remain in those beautiful surroundings through out our lives and at other times wishing that we run back homes from being isolated and sitting there. Now it all seems like our college days. What days were those. We had powerful telescopes to see the activity at the enemy posts and I thought -- why can't I click some photographs of moon through it? It took me so long to finally get the photographs -- first there were problems to align the camera lens and the telescope. Then was the problem to keep the camera steady with so much of zoom. The light was so less that I could not increase the exposure speed beyond a certain setting. After so many trials and misses -- finally got some good shots. Three by night and two by day to be precise. Hope you like the shots.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

I love animals.....

Route down from my post

A group of mountain goats on route to my post

A closeup of one mountain goat.

Infact my love for wildlife is so much that when I was a kid I never wanted to join army as a profession as first choice. I wanted to be a naturalist. I wanted to be part of conservation and be near to nature. I was once advised by my father that if you do not settle first and do not earn a living -- it will be very difficult to establish in this field -- till you have an identity of your own. You have to earn, be independent and then take up a social cause once you have established your self in any sphere.

I took heed to his advise and never ever debated this point. To bring it out today is again not with a sense to debate it. I/he may have been wrong or right. the point is that my life took a turn and I went to NDA. After four years of whatever I became an officer.

My mother side of the family were very found of hunting. I used to join them off and on. It was there I learnt how to track animals, recognise birds. They were not the kind of hunters that you find in everyday life now-a-day (like some people walk with a gun in hand and shoot the first thing you come across) -- they were a kind of royals who hunted and were very strict about how and what they hunted. I remember they went on a deer hunt and the first deer they came across I pointed out. I was promptly told that it was a female and that was not to be touched in this season. After some while a big group of wild boars came in our view and when I once again pointed out -- once again I was told politely that -- they were out only for deer. It did confuse me a lot at that age and time -- especially so when we came home without a bag.

Today I look around and realise -- we are not going to loose our wildlife to hunting with such principles -- but to the senless so called hunting where in just the lust to kill womething is so great that we don't give a damn to age, sex, season and whole lot of other things associated.

Anyhow what I have talked about was a very long time back and I was very young. Then I hunted myself - a lot of birds, rabbits, deer, wild boar and so on. Then I started flying -- I have now flown in helicopters over the entire country. You cannot imagine what India I have seen from above. Miles and miles and miles of endless towns, villages with nothing that you can call forests. I have seen logging in so called hearts of national sancturies. I seen people I could not influence gun down the first thing they see on four legs and then throw that carcass -- lest they are caught. It was all senseless.

Then I decided that I will start shooting of a different kind. Unfortunately on my salary I could only dream of the kind of eqpt I dream't about. A Digital canon or nikon SLR with good telephoto lens -- however the fire burns and whenever I can -- I do not permit killing of wild animals any more. I look at a wild snake - a bird - and animal with the same kind of pity -- If someone or all of us do not do something fast we will not have wildlife to show to our next generation.

There was a time just 10 years back that I flew over areas of bathinda and saw herds of deer and bluebull. Today I do not see such concentration in the deepest of rajasthan -- and mind you no one is bothered. We sleep and eat and be merry -- we are too busy to live our lives that we no longer seem to care about anyone or anything for that matter.

I have another outlook that is not shared by many (Meneka Gandhi to start with). Another major cause of this is stray dogs and cats. The amount of wildlife that they have destroyed is phenomenal. They life on the periphery of human population. They grow with the human population and they push out the wild life even further than humans as they roam miles and miles. Maul and kill deer, fox, patridges, and what not. I feel that if we eliminate stray dogs and cats then the wildlife will be closer to us even in cities and towns. If we go a step further and teach our population not to chase - kill wild life just for the heck of it we have a chance to save them for our next generation to live with peacefully.

Please do leave your experiences and share your views with me. Today I post photographs of mountain goat that I clicked in my last posting in the Himalayas.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Some more flowers.......

Thanks for such encouraging words. I am now going to bore you to death with my collection of photographs of flowers. Just by the way -- the photograph of the first flower in the last post is barely a few milimeters across. The flowers bloomed on moss on the stones.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Insignificant life.... or .... is it?

Sorry for such along time since my last update.

Okay today I would like to talk about something that I noticed -- once again when I was on my post in the Northern tip of our country. It was summer time and the entire place was lush green with so many colours floating in the sea of green. One of those days when I had nothing particular to do when I was sitting on the grass after a gruelling patrol that had lasted the entire night -- I noticed a very small fluorescent flower. I noticed that the flower had been tramped upon so many times but it refused to smile. Infact the flower was so small that I really would not have noticed it had I not been sitting down and looking closely.

I wondered -- there in front of me were thousands of colours that were floating in front of my eyes and I never had time in my routine to sit down and admire these small wonders. I was also sure that once my tour of duty that would last for 2years in that place -- I would never on my own climb a mountain for 11 hours to admire flowers. I then stared to photograph the flowers of the valley. In all I counted 100+ varieties and a total of 190+ colours (probably varients of the same types) I tried to photograph and keep a tally/record but unfortunately as was destined probably, one of my memory card (I am talking of a time when I had to save for two months to buy 128mb mem card) gave up. I hunted for some software to retrieve the photographs - but was unfortunate. I am now posting a few of those photographs. Hope you like them.