26 May, 2011

Things of Beauty



'Go away now..come back when you are a butterfly'.... in his books,
Ruskin Bond throws out caterpillars from his room with these words. My exact sentiments!!

It is so magical that an itchy, creepy, crawly thing like a caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly after a few days inside a cocoon. That's what's called 'beauty sleep', I guess :)

Born and brought up in Bangalore, I was quite indifferent to nature. Now, living in the most beautiful Malnad part of Chikmagalur, I'm surrounded by nature on all sides... I only have to look out of an open window to see these fascinating creatures flitting and fluttering by - seemingly careless, while performing the duties assigned to them by nature.



Butterflies love the lantana flowers and sunshine. Infact, lantana makes up for 50-60% of the plants in a butterfly park. Once the rains arrive, the butterflies disappear - to goodness knows where! Old timers here, in the Malnad, missed the butterflies so much during the 4-6 months of rain, that they called this variety of 'monsoon rose', ChiTTe gulaabi (Butterfly rose)



North East India is supposed to be a haven for rare butterflies. Often, one reads about the rampant smuggling of butterflies from Sikkim, etc. Now, what does one do with dead butterflies?? Well...they are chemically treated, mounted and framed. Such pieces are touted as great things to adorn the walls of well decorated homes. A recent trend is to wear such butterflies as pendants, rings,... :(

Huh!! the ideas that the human mind can come up with!!

Come to think of it, this one, resting on a Canna plant will make a great brooch!



Not for me, though! I like to let my fellow creatures be....taking a pic is the closest that I can ever come to catching a butterfly!

18 May, 2011

The Town Crier

Come summer, and its time for the annual car festivals (Jaatre) at most temples in Karnataka. It is also the only time when an unusual professional in our town gets to exercise his vocal chords...the town crier.



On some days in summer, this man walks along the length and breadth of the town - beating his drum and shouting out the Jaatre notifications in between. He is probably meeting the ritualistic needs of some culture. I feel so, because, even in a small town like ours, for most public announcements, he has been replaced by loudspeakers and ads on the local TV channel.

Once upon a time, a town crier must have been a very important professional all over the world - the only advertising medium! His distinct drumbeat would have made everyone sit up and listen to him. He was probably entertained with refreshments on any veranda he chose to stop by after those long, tiring hours in the sun....

The town crier may now be extinct, but , we still use this expression when one is asked to keep a secret...'Don't tom-tom it to the whole world' (Tom-tom is the name of the town crier's drum).

Did I say extinct? Wait a minute! I don't think so!! I sometimes feel that his tribe has increased! Didn't get me???
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Don't you think that in a stange way, we're all town criers (global town criers, actually!!!) ..... thanks to networking sites, blogs, etc!

Century on the Bronze Anniversary!

This is my100th post, and today is the eighth birthday of Alter Idem !! That's an average of a post per month......1.04 to be precise!!...