Tuesday, June 14, 2016

LGBT in the news

The LGBT group is in the news for some time for different reasons and the worst is for the horror that took place at Orlando.

 There are people who are for and against the LGBT but nothing justifies one human being killing another.
What still baffles me is why are weapons of mass destruction sold freely over the counter. If one guy can single handedly kill 49 people and maim an equal number, then definitely an assault rifle is a weapon of mass destruction.  

Had witnessed two Gay Pride Parades, one in Amsterdam and another at San Francisco. The later was just after the Supreme court declared same sex marriage legal in all 50 states. 

The parades I witnessed were very colourful and it was a photo opportunity for many. 

I liked the formation in this picture with the flags showing the country, the state, the city and the event (in that order)

 The Recology department of San Francisco was there in formation with their bins.

Posting some pictures at random, clicked on the day.

Some renowned people also took part in the parade. 

It was good to see families coming out in support. 

There was some good Band display too including the Irish Pipers Band.

You can see more pictures and video clips in this 15 min video

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Whale watching

Had written about Orcas Island earlier and one of the activities we had over there was Whale watching.

Even though we had booked on line, we were lucky to get the right type of boat, a small one, pretty fast and not very crowded. 

En route, we did see a Puffin floating but it was not easy to photograph the little bird from far.  
The guides were good enough to tell us some facts about the whales, like the oldest among them (known as the Granny) is 104 years old.
There was a particular area where the whales frolic around and the crew knew the exact spot where we could find them. 

It takes some time to train the camera on them to get some shots.

There were many other boats in the vicinity, all waiting for a chance to get a glimpse of our frolicking friends 

And a few colourful sail boats too. 

It was good to see that all the boats kept a respectable distance from the whales. 
You can see more pictures in the 6 min video that I made. 

When the boat was at a slower speed, I went on the upper deck and got to see the man at the helm (always good to know who the driver is)

One of the lighthouses on the way back (I presume it is a light house)

Some other scenes on the way back

The crew of our boat, answering questions.

Everyone was generous in tipping them for their good service. May be they read what was written in the boat, “you never want to tip the boat, but feel free to tip the guides”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Mumbai Local

Traveled by the Mumbai local train after a long time. I was on my way to CST (Victoria Terminus) to catch the Deccan Queen. Being a Sunday, I was spared of the usual office rush. I couldn’t help but compare travelling by the local, a few decades ago. The rakes looked better and the inside was more airy and brighter. 

 It was good to see the inclusion of an announcing system inside the bogie (with a display on an electronic board)
The Indian Railways had third class bogies too which were scrapped sometime in the  sixties.

While crossing over from the Western Railway to the Central Railway, I was happy to see the absence of the hawkers on the foot over bridge. 

It was good to see some familiar sights and landmarks, like the tower of the Railway Hospital at Byculla.
While alighting at CST, I noticed the big clock. Reminded me of the times when I used to wait to see the big hand move, which looked like an enormous task, considering the size of the clock. 

There was a mural at the station of how Victoria Terminus looked during the British era.

The "statue of progress" which is about 17 ft tall stands atop the dome. I recall reading in the papers (some where in the late sixties) that the head of the statue was broken when lightening struck the dome. It was replaced by a perfect replica (made by the students of the JJ school of Arts which is situated across the road)

The above picture was the last one I clicked before boarding the Deccan Queen to proceed to Pune. 
Talking of Pune, I remember the days when we used to travel down south, the only stretch of electrified line was between Mumbai and Pune. Further down it was the good old steam engine. 
While travelling in Deccan Queen, there was this guy from the pantry car who talked politely and served every one with a cheerful smile. His face looked familiar and I clicked his picture in haste. 

It was only later I realized that he looked very much like the fruit vendor who sits at the street corner close to my residence. 

I captured a few video clips at random and put them together to make it into a 4 min video.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rajesh Chougule

I believe that pictures speak a lot and I am very generous with the number of pictures that I use in all my blogs.
But this post of mine has only one picture.

We sometimes instantly strike a chord with some people, at short acquaintance.  Rajesh was one such guy. Very good at his work, highly skilled, but never a show off. The way he used to apply common sense and logic to get any problem solved was something that always impressed me. A very soft spoken guy, but always in the forefront to help anyone in need was his hallmark.  Being a nature lover, he never missed a chance to take part in treks including a few to the Himalayan base camps.

 His involvement in a train accident was something many could not comprehend.  At Vaibhavwadi railway station (Sindhudurg district) he fell and got trapped between the train and the platform.

A major portion of his right lower leg had been severely damaged and he lost a lot of muscle tissue in addition to multiple compound fractures. The fall on his right side fractured ribs and punctured the lungs, resulting in impaired lung function (Atelectasis) , rupture of intestine and scratches on his liver. Due to all the internal injuries, he had been on ventilator support in the ICU.  

On 24th April, the doctors decided to amputate his right lower limb above the knee. By this time the family had already spend something like Rs 7,00,000/- (mostly borrowed from relatives and friends)

With all the best efforts, Rajesh did not pull through and breathed his last a week ago.
His son is currently being trained as a Marine Engineer with the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala Kerala while his daughter has just appeared for the board exam. Even though his wife is employed part time as an accountant, we all wonder how the family is going to pull through.

For all those who want to help (in any way) can contact the following people for the details:
Clifford Samuel  Ph: +91 9881004899
Virendra Wayal  Ph: +91 9850008609
Mahendra Sokki Ph: +91 8308812657   

Or if anyone wants to make a silent contribution, here are the bank details:

ICICI Bank   a/c No 000 501 504 010
A/c  name:  Rajesh Manku Chaugule / Anita Rajesh Chaugule (joint account)
IFSC :  ICIC0000005
Branch : Bund Garden Pune, India

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kalpataru A Musical

Once in a way you get to see a good play, and if it is a musical, then nothing like it. Kalpataru is an adaptation of an ancient Kannada folk tale which was put across in an interesting manner.

The play in Hindi was put up at Symbiosis Auditorium, Pune on 24th (there was a show held in Mumbai the previous day) 

What I liked best about the play was that it was performed by school children. They had no inhibitions and performed with ease. The flawless performance was an indication of the number of rehearsals that they must have gone through.

The usual story tellers that you see in Marathi plays were present here too in the form of Chota seth and Mota seth. 

To make it interesting they have mixed a little bit of the modern, like the king sitting on the throne taking selfies 

Even though I have a lot of video footage, I made a short video of the interesting parts  which runs to about six minutes and uploaded it on YouTube.  
Special mention should be made about the singers and the accompanying tabla and peti (Harmonium)

Another thing that impressed me was that there were no photographers running around blocking the view and there were no annoying flashes. So I too put up my tripod in one corner and managed to capture some good pictures. 

The costume, the lighting and the music were perfect which goes to say that the funding from Flowering Tree, Inc was properly utilized.

Proof of a good performance is a standing ovation at the final curtain call. 

Edit on 3rd May
Added one more short video today.