September 05, 2012

Fountain pens

My collection of fountain pens or ink pens,
 (The yellow band on the green pen was for identification purpose, in case of thefts  )
It has been a long time since man developed his early writing instruments, and how they were modified and changed with time.
My first writing instrument was probably a crayon or a pencil, for I don’t remember which exactly. That art of holding a pencil was taught by my father and later my kindergarten teacher. I should probably owe her so much respect since she was my first teacher who taught me the alphabet, my first steps in learning how to read and write.
My 'Hero' pens 
Pencil was my writing tool till my 4th grade, and I can still remember my excitement in getting my first fountain pen with my promotion to the 5th grade. I got my first fountain pen as a complementary from my school; a rather small, green pen fit for beginners, and it drew rather thick strokes. My little green pen meant the world to me; I even carried it everywhere in my skirt pocket, until one day the ink stained my skirt and forced me to leave it in my pencil box. It was the PT period and I always longed for one to come as a kid. Unmindful of what was going to happen, I was lost in my play session. And it did not take me long to discover that my precious green fountain pen was missing! Being a kid, I always dreamt of being a detective and I suspected a theft there..! I had always suspected one of my classmates for my random disappearances of pencils and erasers, but this was a major theft. Finally I confronted the girl and politely asked her to return my pen to which she denied having it with her. I threatened to report it to our class teacher if she didn't return it. And after much of coaxing I got a pen, but a new one, and I never got to see my first fountain pen after that! For all that care I took, by delicately washing it, and polishing it I hoped it would be in good hands! :D
But that fountain pen craze did last for long though, and I have made a good collection till date. Modified, good ones called ‘hero’ pens were too much in demand and the one who owned it as a kid was all on cloud nine and I was aiming for those ‘heroes’. I wanted to own those in all colors and all types. I made a deal with my mother to buy me a pen of that each year so that I would have all the colors and the types by then. And it so went like that deal and that craze slowly died down. Still I am the proud owner of 6 such fountain pens which continue to give me excellent service till today.
It is today that I realize that authentic value of those fountain pens, my handwriting became lucid and neat. It was those fountain pens that made me frame my cursive writings, and develop a good handwriting. I have noticed that the same handwriting is hard to obtain in a ball point pen or a gel pen. That fountain pen stands its way. The father of all modern pens! My love for fountain pens is also because of those beautiful cursive handwriting that the people of olden times had, which inspired me not to lose my touch with them! That joy is never the same…

August 22, 2012

Withered, still green

The Tippu express chugged its way past the plains which were once filled with luscious green crops, but now lay parched. There was utter chaos inside the train compartment; kids weeping, the chatter of people and to add the coffee/tea and maddur vade sellers asking for business in an advertising voice. I had my earphones on, so I was not bothered by these chaos, and outside awaited a bigger scene to worry about. The outside view signified drought. It was clearly visible, which the misery was upon. The once so healthy, standing tall sugarcane crops lay bent out of thirst. Most of the crops were poorly developed, which any person could find out by looking at it.

The train sped away, with the wind hitting my face. For a moment I was lost, thinking about the consequences and the outcome. I saw some cattle there, searching for fresh grass, which was also deprived now. Some coconut trees also stood there diseased and withered. The sight was a clear sign, representing the coming hurdles for man, for meddling with Mother Nature. It was a gruesome realization; a major problem was being shunned. Failed monsoons, imbalance in the weather and seasons spelt of the lurking danger.
But someone in the fields stood there undeterred, a Farmer. Still tilling his fields adhered to make it verdant once again. A heartfelt feeling aroused, seeing his plight and efforts. The sight was not abstruse. It was not only a farmer’s problem, but one day the whole world might have to suffer. The sight of the fields spoke a veracious fact; that the future may have to face some severe outcomes from the present. This problem may be momentary, but it signifies eventual destruction. The solution was rather simple, all it needed was to realize and act to it.

Vagaries may take place, far we cannot say how or when. Yes, nature was showing its vengeance, or rather teaching us, humans a lesson for our wicked deeds committed for our selfish reasons.
The music in my earphones ended, and so did the sight of the fields. I had reached the outskirts of Bangalore by then and a . This view outside the window was contradictory to the view I had enjoyed before. There was complete urbanization, lots and lots of buildings, huge dumps of garbage was haphazardly strewn. The train halted there for a while and the view was unbearable, while I could sense the pollution in the air.

Zillions of thoughts had whizzed past my mind in that three hour journey.Yes, they were concerning. This was probably the first time that I had not got bored and fallen asleep in a journey. Thus I reached the apotheosis of my thinking that something needs to be done. Water is very scarce and it needs to be saved for the betterment of the future. Everyone should contribute in saving the world, for a better future ahead. The message needs to be spread and people need to be enlightened about the crisis.
I was rather reluctant and resentful upon taking this trip, but I don’t regret it now because it sure taught me was a happy journey indeed. :)

June 20, 2012

The Songs of my Heart: Birds

Everybody has a passion; it’s just that one needs an outlook to realize it. As a kid I loved writing essays, drawing pictures, collecting stamps and coins and I had a vivid imagination. As I grew up my hobbies too grew up with me. Some of the hobbies slowly turned into passion.
I was a young birdwatcher, back then I had a small binoculars (my dad’s old one) and excitedly used to sit at the windows and look through it to find some birds! It was a mere pass-time back then, but at present I felt the love for the winged creatures that lies in my heart. I first heard the word Ornithology from one of my good friend, Lakshmi Bharadwaj. I was also glad to find out that we sailed in the same boat.
My love for birds is probably because of my dad, who himself is a bird enthusiast. Adding to the lovely garden we have in our house, attracted more of those pretty winged creatures. Our garden can be called a bird’s paradise (despite being in the main road adding to the noise) a perfect bird bath, to cool off during hot noons, trees to rest on and the soothing greenery around!

                                     My sketch of Dr.Salim Ali,
Dr.Salim Ali (1896-1987), the greatest Indian ornithologist who introduced the ethereal spirits of the air to the earth. With his hard work and efforts, today we know what kinds of birds exist in our country. Hats off to this great personality! His achievements are indeed praiseworthy. What helped me to develop my interest and build my knowledge was alone this great man’s book ‘The book of Indian birds’. This book was a gift for my father from a friend, which today tops my list of favorites. All that I know today, all the birds that I can identify today is only because of the book. My veneration for ornithology will always be high.  If I had another life I would definitely choose to be a bird, flying devotedly!

Whenever I see a bird gleefully chirping, flying, or even playing in the birdbath, my heart takes a merry-go-round. I can feel a sense of joy, a close touch of nature’s creation. My love for Mother Nature knows no bounds. The captivating song of a bird has the power to make me get over my laziness. It is a delight to watch them timidly stepping into the bird bath and splash water to beat the heat. What more can I expect!

Ornithology is a song for me, a song that my heart sings for me to pursue, the only song that I cared to stop and hear it. A passion which will die with me, an ardor that can only exist in my heart and not my mind! And so my heart sings…