December 31st, 2013


The Marsh Harrier, 28 and 301213, Karnataka

Oh...apparently it is now called the


Its scientific name is Cirrus spilonotus....and they do remind me of the cloud that bears the same first name.


It's a winter visitor to our country, amongst breeds in the grasslands and wetlands of southern Siberia, northern Mongolia, north-east China, Manchuria and Japan, and migrates for the northern winter to South-east Asia, the Philippines and northern Borneo.

It's a magnficient bird, as it soars on the wind-currents.


It's lovely to see the "headlights" on its wings.


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I got one gliding to a landing at Hennagara Lake:

I enjoyed my observation of these beautiful raptors....and I hope you do, too.

Snake Temple (nAga dEvathA devasthAnA), Hennagara Kere, Karnataka, 301213

While on the birding trip, we visited the large Hennagara lake, and Prashanth, who lives in Jigani and seems very knowledgeable about the area, pointed out he nAga dEvathA temple at Hennagara Kere (lake).

Here's the temple, on the lake-bund (raised bank):


The rock on the right was the original object of worship and veneration:


Prashanth told me a very interesting piece of folklore connected to this temple. In the several centuries that this lake has been in existence, he said, the lake has never overflowed in a flood situation. The people of the area venerated this rock as the "nAgA" (snake, or more specifically, cobra) that "drank up" the excess flood waters, and prevented the lake from ever overflowing its banks.

I wondered if, perhaps, there was some sort of water conduit under this rock that led away excess water to other water bodies around (such as Haragadde...Prashanth tells me many of these lakes are inter-connected)...and whether that might account for it. But since I have no way of finding out....I'll put it down to that intangible thing that yet moves mountains: Faith.

An open-air part of the temple also has various carved figurines.


the old rock images, and some new carved ones, facing the kere, have been covered by a cement structure quite recently.


The image of the nAga dEvathA in the new temple faces the other direction, and there is also a shrine to Ganesha and to Parvathi.


The trash that every temple in our country seems to generate, alas:


The surrounding area of the temple was strewn with the ghee packets, milk packets, agarbathi packets, and old flowers from previous pujas. It seems strange to me that we venerate our gods but do not want to even keep their temples clean!

Just outside the temple are these there hOma kuNdA, where ritual offerings are made to fire (agni) to convey to the gods. They, too, seem in disuse:


We have a million such temples, scattered around our countryside, each with its own interesting mythology and tales. One could spend a lifetime listening to these chronicles!

2013....looking back

A fairly eventful, momentous year.
Some moments brought a tear.
Many brought a smile.
Each phase lasted a little while.

There was the end of my ailing marriage.
The horse separated from the straying carriage.
There was the birth of my dear grandson.
I took care of him ...and the elder one.

Grandchildren are one of life's great joys...
Whether they are girls or boys.
I enjoyed the love of my daughter
And the joys that her life brought her.

I spent a lot of time in another home.
The baby kept me there...I didn't roam.
I managed, through it all to click and write.
I was happy, I seemed to be doing something right.

I fought major issues in my mind, and life.
It was a time of very great strife.
Meditation and medication are seeing me through.
I still dip occasionally..and am blue.

I'm nowhere near where I want to be.
In the mirror I want to see
A much better person than I am now.
I will keep trying...that's what I vow.

Here are my wishes to all of you, too.
I hope this year brings happiness to you.
I must say it gives me pleasure
To wish my greatest treasure.


I'm RICH!!!! (part 2)

I received a loving email (which made it past the spam filters!)


Dear Beloved,

I am Mrs. Stacy Russell.I am writing you this email from my sick bed, I know my message will come to you as a surprise But don't worry. When I heard from the doctor that my condition has become so critical, I had to reach out to a Christian sister, who assisted me in searching for your contact in order to help me utilize this wealth the way I am going to instruct herein, and even the sister that helped me in this regard doesn't know the purpose for which I intend to use it I have prayed about it and it has been revealed to me that you can make judicious use of the resources for its intended purpose.

My husband earned these funds, (TEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND) but he died in a plane crash and left everything behind for me and I will join him soon due to my ill health. Due to my infertility resulting from medical problems I became barren. God has a reason for everything. I would want you to contact my lawyer; he will inform you on what to do. Reply to this email and email my Lawyer:
Barrister Sina HOK
Email: (

Ensure to use a greater portion of the funds for its purpose in fulfillment of my last wish. Furthermore you will never have any problem with the law as far as my lawyer is in concern. The most major part you will use to bless Helpless and Needy Children all over the world

May God Keep you alive and bless you as you help.


Somehow I feel that the barrister (and the lady herself) is not "Hok" but "Hoks"!