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The difference between mounting a photography exhibition and posting a photograph on social media

Photography Exhibition:
Choosing from photographs, keeping an eye on audience appeal.
them printed (without the colours changing).
Framing the prints to one's satisfaction.
Hiring a hall.
Inviting everybody that one knows, hoping that 10% of them will turn up.
Finding some BS (er, Big Shot) to inaugurate the exhibition.
Trying to get the press to cover the exhibition.
Dancing attendance on said BS at the inauguration.
Carting framed photos up and down.
Making sure they are hung properly, at the proper eye-level.
Being constantly on hand through all the days of the exhibition (the warmest admirers will appear when you have gone for lunch.)
Hoping that some photographs sell.
Carting the rest back home. Wondering where to store the frames.

Posting a lovely photo on WA or FB or Insta.....Insta-nt Admiration and no hassles!
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Loss...and grief....

Loss.....a small word (in fact, a four-letter word, but not in the usual sense of that phrase) that can mean such a lot.

All of us deal with it, but it does not make that an iota easier to bear. A loss is a loss when what is lost is of value to us.....a dear possession, a home, a phase of life, a loved one....

The little boy crying over a fallen ice cream is experiencing loss as much as a woman wailing about her dead spouse. How we deal with loss both defines us as people and turns us, too, into stronger, or weaker personalities.

Loss is closely allied to grief, and is one of the staples of the human condition. Sanskrit talks about "viraha taapa"...the agony of loss and separation, and I am sure every language has its own words for this sad state of the human mind.

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Here is a sketch I made, of a young girl, shedding tears as she went through the rites after she lost her father. It still never fails to bring a tear to my eye.

IMG_6042 Outpouring of ghee and grief, Blr, 160819
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Bengali weddings....memories

I am listening to a shehnai recital right now.

My mind takes me back to weddings in Kolkata, where the artistes would sit on the "first floor" (a platform raised to about 10 ft) of the pandal, a gateway arch beautifully created from bamboo and cloth, decorated with pith hangings...

I smelt, again, the aroma of "begon bhaja" and loochi-aloor-dom, a must at every wedding feast, served on stitched leaves, with so many delectable sweets, too (I am a vegetarian so I didn't get the maacher jhol)....

The rustle of men's dhuti-panjabi, with the( pleated folds of the dhuti tucked into the panjabi's pocket. The bustle; the shy bride in her red sari and finery, surrounded by other young women all decked up too.

The pile of "kabuli chappal" at the gate; serial lights; the fragrance of "rajanigandha" bunches, and through it all, permeating the atmosphere, the music of the plaintive shehnai, with the delicate percussion of the tabla accompanying it.

How intense are the memories from just listening to some notes!
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Shyamal

Shyamal is a man of erudition, but he always leavens that learning with humour and interest.

I look forward to his posts, because they first make me laugh, and then make me think.

Here he is, at Keeta Vismaya, an exhibition on insects (a topic he is particularly knowledgeable about) some time ago.

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Here is his latest post on FB:

Shyamal L.

From mini-Annals of Improbable Research ("mini-AIR")
April 2020, issue number 2021-04. ISSN 1076-500X.
<https://www.improbable.com/airchives/miniair/>

The judges have chosen a winner in last month's Competition, which asked for a limerick to explain this study:

"Fame as an Illusion of Creativity: Evidence from the Pioneers of Abstract Art," Banerjee Mitali and Paul L. Ingram, Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 18-74, 2020.

<https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3258318>

Winning LIMERICIST ALLISON BROWN writes:
Yo! Art sales depend on the buzz.
Stop tooting your own horn b'cuz
Skill is unheeded.
Links are what's needed.
Cuz buzz comes from networks, it duz!

This month's take from our LIMERICK LAUREATE, MARTIN EIGER:
Connections, the authors have shown,
Are how reputations are grown.
That's the name of the game
If you want to claim fame,
Which is why these two guys are unknown.

I thought Shyamal merited a limerick of his own, so I wrote:

An interesting person is Shyamal.
He makes you laugh, and then mull
On the serious parts.
The topics he starts
Us thinking on, are never dull!
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Hulimangala, Sun, 250721

I always worry when visiting a bird/nature location either for the first time, or after a long gap, if I am bringing a group along. What will the place be like? Will what they see hold the interest of the group? Will they curse themselves (and me) for coming on the outing?

Well, I have been a fairly regular visitor to Hulimangala Lake, but this was the first time in more than a year, because two lockdowns had intervened. So it was with a little trepidation that I announced an outing...but I need not have worried!

Several people gathered at the meeting point, and though it was gloomy and dark, the avenue of majestic Ficus and Mango trees decided to take pity on us. Had the Spotted Owlets stayed still in those high branches, we would not have been able to see them at all; but for some reason, five or six of them were flying around, with their shapes and silhouettes unmistakable against the cloudy sky. All of us watched them for a while, forgetting the muddy path, and the trash underfoot.

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We do not crowd each other on these outings. There is plenty of space!

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Most of the group. A few more friends joined later.

We then crossed the road and came on to the tank bund, and we spotted a Black-winged Kite. I had just finished saying that these were solitary birds, when another appeared, and both settled on a tree, giving the photographers ample chances of clicking.

The next sight was also a black-and-white one like the kites; two Pied Kingfishers started flying and hovering, and they kept up this hunting/fishing pas de deux throughout the time we were there. Some Grey Herons flying in added to the monochrome, too.

As the light improved, however, so did the variety of birds we saw. A Bronze-winged Jacana, one solitary Grebe, several Coots, Purple Swamphens which darted among the severe overgrowth of the Marsh Glory plants....and then our attention was drawn to the sky, where several Lesser Whistling Ducks flew around,

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landed, lifted off again, and settled down at a different spot. It is always gratifying to be able to explain the name of a bird to a group; these Ducks made it easy by whistling as they flew overhead! Several Spot-billed Ducks also joined the aerobatic show. As villagers walked through the lake bed, they kept rising up,and settling down. Purple Herons followed their example, as did the Egrets.

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Old stone pavilion

We soon found the other Kingfishers too: the little jewel that I call the Vijay Mallya kingfisher, and the White-throated Kingfisher that also flies in a flash of cobalt blue. Red-rumped Swallows swooped overhead, and a few Swifts joined them. A majestic Brahminy Kite seemed to guide its young one in swooping down on the water to fish.

A concatenation of Darters on a bare tree in the middle of the lake gave us their black-and-silver feathers and zigzag necks.

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The black,white and silver of the Darters.

Their darkness was offset by the white of a group of Little Egrets who decided to fraternize nearby.

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Little Egrets.

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Baya Weavers nesting.

One lovely sight was seeing not one but three Cinnamon Bitterns rising up above the plants, delighting us briefly, before disappearing again, in hiding. Some of the more adventurous in our group walked on; I settled down at the little temple on the bund, very happy to watch the show the birds were putting up. As I looked around, I found a Blue-faced Malkoha, some Scaly-breasted and Tricolored Munias, and a few Avadavats too in the bushes, and the Pongaemia trees. Once in a while, it's good to just sit in one spot and watch the birds! Sunbirds and Flowerpeckers....the smaller birds did not disappoint us, either.

We noticed several butterflies as the morning progressed; there were both the Crimson Rose and its mimic, the female Common Mormon, which was being amorously chased by the male! Grass Yellows fluttered around, and I saw Lemon Pansies, Common Emigrants, Common Jezebels, Pale and Lesser Grass Blues, all around me.

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Common Bush Brown

It was very nice to see that Naveen Arur and Swetha had brought their daughters Shaarvi and Saanvi,

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and Anuradha's son Samyak had cycled over, too.

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Samyak (centre, in blue) discussing with the others.

I feel very happy to see children, and have been missing them very much over the past few months. I do hope more of them will come on the walks, if and when the pandemic eases.

I pointed out various medicinal plants and herbs to those near me.

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Vitex altissima, the Peacock's Foot Tree, extensively used in Ayurveda.

The majesty of the trees, of course, was clear for everyone to appreciate.

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One of the huge trees.


In my haste in the morning, I had picked up the box with the remnants of the snacks from the previous day's outing to Pearl Valley, instead of the biscuits that I wanted to share with everyone. That was probably my only disappointment of the morning! However, Gayatri and Balaji shared their snacks generously with everyone.

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Gayatri's yum snacks.

I do hope that the magnificient tree-giants of the avenue at Hulimangala last for years more...the fact that it has been made a dumping yard may actually keep them from being cut down. Would there be a way to have them declared heritage trees, and protected? These thoughts went around in my head as we made our way back home, very satisfied with all that we had seen and observed this morning.

The eBird list (70 species) made by Naveen Reddy, is at

https://ebird.org/india/checklist/S92262401

My Flickr album of the morning, with very few birds, but whatever I noticed, is at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/86494503@N00/albums/72157719587290829

The FB album is at

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10158672321823878&type=3

Already looking forward to the next outing,

Cheers, Deepa.
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Loss and grief during the pandemic

Keep calm and carry on" only works for some people, but this unwritten rule seems to become mandatory. We're expected to get over our grief by hiding it, and always it, and always showing a cheerful face. In these unprecedented times of isolation, when not everyone has a family to touch and hug, it can aggravate the stress.

I've been lucky that I have lost no one in my immediate family. But friends, good friends, close friends, have succumbed.

It's not only death. The loss of other things. Many of us identify with our work, and I have seen several friends lose their jobs. Part of their paycheck, because of pay cuts. Their time, because of the blurring of work and leisure hours. There is what I would call "lateral grief", when I see my friends struggling and trying to keep the smile on their faces, pasted on, covering the sadness.

Children are, I think, among the most affected, because of not being able to be with others of their age, without adult supervision. My grandchildren seem to have coped. But the effects on this isolation may not be known for a long time.

I have coped by trying to turn loneliness to solitude. To switch from the external locus of control, to the inner side. My nature walks have truly been a lifesaver for me. They allow me to both be with other people, and be contented in myself. The lockdowns have been far easier for me, and I am very grateful for that. I am grateful for the internet, and to electricity, which has kept us going. My family was not here through the present lockdown, but the fact that they were in a relatively safer place was a comfort.

Is being "comfortably numb" the way to deal with this? I don't know. I am a gregarious person, but have become more of a solitary one. Is it me, the ageing process, or the pandemic? I don't know. I was someone who would rush to hug a friend. Now I have controlled that impulse.

We all need the human touch, both figurative and physically. The lack of Vitamin T is a serious lack.

Covid has affected us on more levels than are immediately apparent.
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A puzzle and the different ways each of us solved it

On QuizFamilies, the quiz group which I have moderated (off and on, mostly on!) since 1991, my friend Sutanu posted this puzzle:

puzzle

(Do try your hand at it, if you like, without looking at the rest of the post!)

It intrigued me that three of us got the solution...but we got it in different ways!

What Sravana did was this:

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Being tech-savvy, she'd put it on her laptop to solve.

Socro did this:

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He said he'd tried the grid, and abandoned it.

Me? I just cut out pieces of paper and fitted them together. The "J" in one piece was the "cornerstone" for me as not too many words can be made with that letter.

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This also gave me thought. Just like there are different and valid solutions to a problem or puzzle, surely, there are different ways to achieve the same goal...including that of achieving the Godhead or Nirvana or whatever we choose to call it!
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Art by Biju

Pettikada by Biju, 130721

Just look at this painting by

Biju Cherayath .

This is (was, it's almost gone now) a ramshackle shed at the edge of Gulakmale Lake. It had a nice extended shade and we birders used to share our snacks under it. Over a period of time, it came to this. I have passed it and looked at it a zillion times, and never thought of it as a subject of art. But Biju has elevated it thus! The end of human use, the reclamation by Nature, creeping in at the edges....Biju's vision and inner eye is just breath-taking. `

In your case, Biju, your 'third eye' is not one of destruction (like that of Shiva) but one of creation! I salute your talent.