Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Care While You Burst And Blast

 

How I wish I could WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY DIWALI!!! And, I do here!!!

Diwali, yes – Festival of Lights, but these days we are making it as Festival of Crackers!!! No Worries!!! Opinion Differs.

Coming to the celebration of Diwali, last year has been my worst experience in seeing personally a number of deaths and accidents, especially because, I regretted till the end that I could not give them a detailed instructions on bursting crackers!!! Here I go, I have the best time to make use of my access to net in peace with the limited time to post some precautions that you could take while bursting crackers.

DO’S AND DONT’S:

  • Choose your place to burst crackers!!! Avoid crowded, congested places, narrow places and lanes, huts and animal shelters, garbage and trash areas and places where sources of fire, including the whole lot of fire crackers that you have purchased and have placed them out to burst.
  • Supervision of children while bursting crackers is a must. Today morning as I walked past, I saw three children trying to burst crackers on the top of a compound wall – Appreciate their intelligence to avoid wet surface – but by the time they lit the fire and get back to a safe distance the cracker would have exploded! No Parents near by!!!
  • Buy branded and sealed crackers – do not buy loose crackers and those which do not have ISI or ISO or that of an authorising agency’s seal and from licensed shops. Your safety first is very important – why? Authorising agency limits the amount of exploding materials that is to be standardised and placed inside the crackers in terms of both quality and quantity.
  • Avoid long loose and nylon or silk clothes – good that you would love to burst crackers in your Diwali dress – but is that worth your life??? I still remember one of my neighbour, an engineering graduate, lighting lamp for Diwali when her grand, expensive silk saree got burnt – I informed only to get abused, leaving aside for her thankful mother.
  • Wear closed shoes for your good to prevent crackers from hurting your feet and don’t examine burst crackers.
  • Keep in handy a bucket of water and sand, and a blanket to wrap yourself if only you get hurt by fire…Also have a burnt first-aid kit, icepack, etc., in handy.
  • Do not burst crackers like rockets or those that shoot up or flower pots near plants and trees.
  • Always use long Agarbatti (incense stick) or lit stick to burst crackers. Avoid using matchbox and candles. Never ever use oil lamps to light your lit sticks or other small fireworks, incense sticks.
  • There is no thrill in holding crackers and throwing them – you could land hurting someone and if that happens to be someone on whom you have a displeasure they may corner you with a murder complaint.
  • Keep a bucket or dig a pit to dispose all the burnt cracker and in the end throw that bucket of water into the pit.
  • Do not intimidate small kids to burn crackers forcefully. They will learn at their own time and pace.
  • Park all your vehicles at a safer distance and never burst them on main roads where vehicles pass-by.

All done and back into your house – STOP – don’t rush to those sweet and snack shop – wash yourself completely with lots of soap and water to rinse off all the toxins from the crackers that you had been handling….

Rush to the nearest hospital in case of injury – be glad to know that there are docs ready to come and help you!!! Be glad to know that there are people in fire department to come in and subdue the fire for you!!!

Do you want to WISH everyone A HAPPY DIWALI – then please don’t hurt others!!!!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Say No To Drugs! Let Your Mind Control The Drug and Not The Drug Control You!–PART I


AngelJune 26th has been dedicated as International Day Against Drug Abuse an information spread across for awareness campaign by Narcotics Control Bureau, Tamil Nadu with the motto of the campaign being “Get High On Life, Not On Drugs!” NCBR SMS Campaign!

Drugs are abused by individuals either at their own will or by others resulting in victimization. These days modernisation and lifestyle changes creeping into the society in the form of night clubs as an instance has led to free traffic of drugs. When I happened to make my trip abroad I was both warned and happened to read in our orientation books and programmes to avoid going to night clubs for the probability of use of drugs to make people stay awake and energize to dance for longer hours is high. These drugs are either mixed in the drinks or thrown as powder in the air. Besides, girls who used to visit these night clubs used to share their experiences of how men tend to lose control and misbehave in many ways and take advantage while dancing with them and how boys accompanying them come to their rescue… in the end they were happy at the adventure they had! I have also read in papers that drugs are used in Indian night clubs as well and recently I happened to read an article on drugs being abused by college students in Sivagangai District! The next day I happened to find a used needle barrel at the campus of my workplace in a primary student’s hand to my despair, which on enquiry I happened to be picked by that student’s sibling in KG….though I have sense that needle maybe used for practical, I have the common sense and still remember the difficulty that we had when we wanted one from the medical shop because we are school students (and managed to get one for the reputation my school had) and we were thought of how to dispose…!

Light bulbAll this led me to decide on to share my part of knowledge on using these kind of drugs… why not there were and are many tele-serials and cinemas telecasted to contribute to their campaign against the use and abuse of drugs.

Why Drugs?

Why talk about drug abuse? Drugs are used to modify the state of mind and mood to create problems causing displacement at place of work or study and at home as a result of which inter-personal relationships diminishes, depreciated health and violation of law will result. The reasons are simple: loss of ability to think and take decisions and make judgements because of blurred vision and other related effects of drug abuse.

Before getting into the depths of drug abuse and drugs prevalent in the community and in party clubs, some of the terminologies that needs to be understood are as follows:

1. Tolerance: Tolerance is the need for higher dosage of drugs when the lower dosage of drug that previously effective becomes ineffective.

2. Dependence: Dependence is the inability of a person to manage without taking a drug specifically when withdrawal symptoms instigates the affected individual to depend on the drug to manage the withdrawal effects.

3. Abuse: Abusers overuse the drug and are addicted to drugs. They tend to hide their addiction, deny substance-related problems and under-report their problems.

4. Addiction: Addiction is abusing drugs without physical dependence on the drug.

COMMONLY ABUSED DRUGS:

Alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, opiates (heroin and Talwin), psychostimulants (cocaine), sedative-hypnotics (benzodiazepines and barbiturates), hallucinogens (LSD), phencyclidine (PCP), designer drugs (ecstasy and meow) and inhalants.

MEDICAL AND MENTAL ILLNESSES:

The overall effects of abusing drugs leads to medical and mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, insomnia, phobias, emotional and behavioural problems.

CANNABIS      Respiratory disorders, pulmonary cardiac arrest, decreased sperm count and motility and menstrual abnormalities.

STIMULANTS  Sudden death, cardiac arrhythmias, fibrillation, infarction, hypersensitive crisis, physical exhaustion.

OPIATES         Increased risk of TB, generalized malnutrition.

What I have understood from the awareness sessions given to us on drugs and from personal readings in pamphlets at various counselling centers is that the effect of drug abuse is more severe and opposing on health when you try to control drug abuse symptoms from affecting you with your mind or by nature if the drug abused is not being acceptable by your body. In other words, trying to control neuro alterations in the brain and the implications thereof on physical and pscyhological effects either by the course of nature or with your mind.

In the next section to follow we will see more of the symptoms associated with different types of drug abuse……




Thursday, 4 September 2014

Story of Two Horses




Author: Rachel Predeepa J

There were two horses and the keeper of the horse took both the horses to the riverside for drinking water and grazing. Both the horses grazed happily. However when he took the horses to the river to drink water, one of the horses drank the water and the other refused to drink. The horse that drank the water was feeling good and energetic because it had its thirst pacified. While the other horse did not drink water and grumbled. In the end when they went ahead of their journey, the horse which drank the water was able to walk steadily while the horse which refused to drink the water found the journey hard and weary.
stock-footage-two-horses-drinking-water-from-a-dam-on-an-australian-farm

MORAL OF THE STORY: Making the best use of resources available is dependent on how you make the best use of the opportunity and guidance.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Borstol Schools In India – Is This A Need Of The Hour?




Borstol Schools was an initiative taken under the British Governance in India for the welfare of youth as part of reformation and uplifting the moral and social status of adolescent girls in specific. As part of this various Acts of Reformation were framed which includes U. P. Naik Girls Protection Act, 1929, Bombay Devadasi Protection Act, 1934 and Madras Devadasi Act, 1947. At this instance for the welfare of adolescent offenders the Borstal Schools Act was also instituted in various states, which resulted in the establishment of the first Madras Borstal Schools Act, 1926.

Objective: The main goal of establishing Borstal Schools is to provide care, welfare and rehabilitation to young offenders failing not to provide education, training and enhancing a conducive environment for offending adolescents and kids. This is the place where they are confined away from the regular prison treatment and acts as a reformation center and as an early identification and correction center for prevention of budding criminals. Besides these young offenders are given industrial training to teach them to earn a living through honest ways.

Borstal Schools, in this context, though governed by the Inspector General of Prisons is under the observation of Probationary Officers: Probation Officers are persons appointed under the Tamil Nadu Probation of Offenders Act, 1936 or 1958. Besides, every school has a Visiting Committee with members appointed by the State Government. Not withstanding the Government of India has recently extended the Borstal School Act to Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 and established Observation Homes for observing suspected and unconvicted prisoners who are young; however, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is yet to detail on the purpose and activities of these Observation Homes for public awareness. Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 was in fact implemented to extend detention of adults offending and abusing innocent children using various means like physical and mental/ emotional harassment, which is one part of the Act, while the other part of the Act “defines those children involved in conflict with law”. Probationary Officers are assigned various duties of which one of the major responsibilities is Rehabilitation of the prisoners which is the backbone of the System of Probation and the objective of Borstal Schools. They aid in securing education, survival aids, securing shelter and homes for destitute children, settling family problems, arranging medical aid and upliftment of wards and family members of the young offenders, if any on case-by-case basis.

Statistics:

As per 2011 NCRB statistics, there are 21 Borstal Schools in India with a total capacity of 2, 218 students. The schools are located in the following states – Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu with the highest capacity of 667 inmates while the states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are the only places where they have facility to lodge female inmates in 3 of their Borstal Schools.

Juveniles Justice Act, 2000: The problem with this Act is how far is this law is being implemented. Any Act or law be the end as is seen there is always room for improvement; however, when an Act of this kind is being implemented, this is done after years of research and experience. The need of the hour is to distinguish, understand, identify and differentiate the two groups of juveniles and group them for lodging in these centers accordingly.

While the Juvenile Justice Act (2000) and the Borstal Act has been instituted, how far are they being implemented in reality is a question of concern for many. In this day of technology children are exposed to two threats: falling prey to cyber bullying, physical (corporal) and mental (emotional) harassment and sexual abuse - rather is better to word as children being "used" and "abused"; and on the other hand, the number of increasing crimes in which children knowingly or unknowingly are becoming a part of getting involved in the conflict of law which are going unnoticed are: bullying and bossing, cyber crimes involving misuse of technology in forms of sms, videos, photos and websites, besides the regular crimes that are usually noticed like petty theft, stealing, robbery and sometimes physical assault.

On the other hand while implementing these laws, what people actively involved in these issues notice are the lack of awareness to distinguish, discern and discriminate children involved in conflict of law and those who are in need of care and home.

Borstol Schools and Observation Homes are the step towards culminating young and budding criminal offenders to make a better society for tomorrow !

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Join My Venture In Eco-Anti-Cracker Campaign – Less Noise!




When do we burst fire crackers? There are many occasions when we burst crackers with the main festival being the “Festival of Lights” called “Diwali” or “Deepavali”, other ceremonies like weddings, new year, political processions and processions for social cause besides other sad occasions to wade of evil spirits and for the soul to rest in peace. Most of the crackers that are burst in India is at the time of festival of Diwali. Diwali is also celebrated by lighting lamps and decorating houses with lights, besides other customs like sharing sweets and buying new dresses. Diwali is the festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Lighting of lamps also signifies the welcoming of Goddess Lakshmi.

However, with the changing trend in lifestyle this has become a monotonous custom that Diwali has becomes an indiscriminating celebration of bursting crackers from dawn to dusk. Hardly do people understand that they being involved in encouraging child labour in those companies located in areas of Sivakasi and Virudhunagar of TamilNadu, India where majority of the crackers are being manufactured.

But the locus of discussion over here is resting on the argument of overuse of crackers being bursted resulting in increased noise pollution to the environment.

The first part of the discussion will circle around the ill-effects of bursting crackers in perspective of noise pollution:
1. When you burst too much crackers continuously and that too those causing lot of noise this is going to disturb your neighbours who are babies, toddlers, small children, elderly, sick specifically heart patients, those who have psychological disturbances and sensitive ears.
2. The next affected are those lovely little ones at your home – pet animals: birds, dogs and cats are the most affected ones as they sense bursting cracker as a signal of danger and something abnormal to their regular life – leave alone those at your home – they will know that no harm is going to come and you can always let them know with your love and care – but think of those stray animals who do not have a home to hide and someone to show them there is nothing to be terrified of.
3. Besides if your house is located near hospitals, asylums and homes for the elderly, mentally challenged and animals; then you need to care.
4. The greatest challenge of noise pollution is not only disturbance and annoyance, but could also lead to “hearing loss”.

The second part of the discussion on the various laws amended and regulated to :

With the regulations in India is concerned the laws implementing the restriction on the use of crackers and blasting crackers will under two categories – those limiting the noise pollution and the other limiting the air pollution.

A classical example of taking stance on the enforcement of the amended law by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and district administration led to the implementation of the audible limits restricting the use of crackers accordingly. Crackers causing loud noises have already been abandoned numbering to 93 different items. As per the order from Collector’s office the decibel limit for bursting crackers were implemented as outlined: http://www.tnpcb.gov.in/tnbcbambient.html . Furthermore, people violating the rules were warned of immediate custody and spot fine of Rs. 1, 000/. Time limit for bursting crackers has been confined between 6 : 00 AM to 10 : 00 PM. As an additional measure from the local administration side, people have also been informed to avoid bursting or take appropriate measures while bursting crackers in congested streets, near slums or animal sheds. I still remember the days of childhood when I got a rocket right at the bottom of my leg in the living room of our house in Chennai.

One of the other major problem that has to removed from the minds of those mischievous little kids who are not taught to learn to live with the environment is to avoid bursting crackers by tying them to the tails of dogs, cats, birds, insects like dragonfly and sometime calves.

However, drafting laws, words of enforcement and spreading information via campaign like media advertisements, sms and posters/ pamphlets will not do enough good in combating the changing trend of bursting crackers as the only way to celebrate Diwali. What is needed more is the follow up on the law enforced, in other words, real implementation and reporting of incidences in the media officially as a holistic data.

In the end, I am affirming on my point of view that there is nothing wrong in bursting crackers but the motto of joining this campaign is on “wise use on bursting crackers”. There is no cost involved in joining the Campaign!

“Bursting Crackers = Money Spent” maybe a status symbol today – but if you join here after having a thoughtful contemplation – this will become a “taboo” tomorrow; and you will have many ways to spend the amount saved and enjoy the Festival of Lights or any other occasion.

Let’s learn to keep the Earth Safe for our future generation and Save their Ears! 


Saturday, 21 June 2014

ABUSING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT–TO FOLLOW

 

 

Find here below are more information to read on corporal punishment Awareness Campaign jointly established by Save the Children, UNICEF, CEAPA and CONCAPA  and two videos one on corporal punishment and other on sexual abuse of students. Furthermore I worked in a CBSE school and have given the URLs to CBSE’s stature on the use of corporal punishment in hope that the state government body if they happened to read my blog will take this as an opportunity to incorporate this into their system of education as well if not done earlier.

UNICEF AWARENESS VIDEO ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

 

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AWARENESS VIDEO BY CHILDLINE

UNICEF CAMPAIGN ON BANNING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

BANNING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN CBSE

AFFIRMATION OF BANNING OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Thursday, 19 June 2014

ABUSING CORPORAL PUNISHMENT AS A TOOL TO POWER

 
      
              
I started my school days in a small factory school where teaching staff are appointed in a similar manner like many of the other management schools in Madurai. The only difference is that this school has a bigger space comparatively to other schools from the surrounding villages. Canning, undressing students and kneeling are some of the common forms of punishments that I have observed during my childhood days. My mother has been more of an activist in those days despite being a home maker who knows less of the world and people outside. I say this because she cared more for her children and her friends. I still remember three to four incidents during my childhood when my mother came forward and spoke rather questioned my teachers including the Principal. 
 
mother
Incident 1: When some of my neighbouring class boys shirts were removed as punishment and made to go to other classes, she objected.
 
Incident 2: My speed of delivery of words is much faster comparatively right from my childhood, however the case is much different now. One day this so happened that I finished my prayer after lunch before others and the teacher on rounds canned me and I had a mark on the back of my arms. The next day my mother came and fought with the teacher and after that told her that if she hits me for questioning her she will take things seriously. From that incident onwards I still remember the teacher always used point out, “If I hit your mother will take me to my higher authorities”. I think she was my Maths or Tamil Teacher.
 
Incident 3: Once my sister got canned very badly and all I remember is my mother talking to the teacher angrily for not understanding her problem and discussing with her of how to solve. After this incident my parents sent my sister to Kodaikanal where she stayed with my grandparents and continued her studies. This period of her life, to my knowledge was blissful, of course who will not love the beautiful landscape and a lovely pet dog and cat.
 
Incident 4: Once one of my very good playmate and classmate called Gayathri had high fever and her father I believe is a labourer or a technician. Her mother left her under our care, our group and asked us to take care of her. This so happened the Principal came for substitution and was checking our notebooks for handwriting to the best of my knowledge. Gayathri was not doing well and she had bad handwriting or incomplete work but the Principal got so wild and she started canning her. Immediately we all together told her that she had fever and she canned us as well which made her more aggressive and blindly canned her which caused lot of markings on her legs. After that she did not come to school the next day and we all told our parents of the incident. My mother questioned the Principal the next day for canning me for only conveying the information that she was not doing well. The day after that when Gayathri came back to school, my mother saw her condition and on seeing a few of my other classmates also started complaining to my mother. So she asked her parents to complain on the Principal to the management, but they were scared because of other higher authorities whose children were also studying there. The situation was entirely different in this case. So my mother took this as a personal concern and I along with her told my father. I do not remember following which my mother persuaded my father to chat with Gayathri’s father and he took a written statement from him and personally met the management and the Principal got suspended. She did come back to the school but we all forgot about her by then as is was a year later, but at that time she was reformed.
 
Incident 5: I was in Dindigul and had no idea of computers and never had seen one. Unfortunately, I happened to join my middle school a little later than others I was behind syllabus and missed out a few classes on binary calculations. So I failed in the test and my computer master canned me. This in fact developed an aversion towards the subject until I started enjoying using the technology for research and got admired by my research supervisors for learning to use softwares swiftly and ethically. My mother not only complained to the Principal and later got to know that the computer master was staying in a house which was under the supervision of my father and so my father also had a word with him.
 
What brought me all these memories back? The decision of mine to agree to work as an Academic Co-ordinator though attending the interview for a Principal since I believed that besides other reasons is also an opportunity to understand and gain more knowledge on Indian educational system at school level – primary, secondary and higher secondary. This so happened that the school where I agreed to work in Madurai had compartmentalization system of education. I wonder whether is this the real pathetic case of all the schools and the students in Madurai or not, I am not sure – for my nephew gave me a different opinion of the school where he studied earlier. I have very little idea of his current school as is not even a month since the year started.
 
Objection to implementation of corporal punishment, leave aside schools in Madurai, I got inspired through my mother from childhood because she always used to tell that women who hit other’s children are not good women and do not make a good mother (why my sister’s-in-laws used to bother my mother for sparing the rod for they do not know to discern between pampering, disciplining and use of corporal punishment). This is how I had been growing up and this so happened that I spent the last four years of my education is one of the best schools in South India at Chennai. I owe a lot to the nuns and other teacher who had put in lot of effort on me and made me a confident person and brought the innate personality to life. I still admire the leadership of the Principal of my school at that instance and only when I last visited my school before leaving to Australia, I got to know that might be the last visit to my school as on old student for most of the teachers were already retired and others were in the verge of retirement.
 
The person who got appointed along with me here in Madurai as Principal also bothered about canning when I was feeling they are better for I know that is much worse in some of the other schools, or maybe I did not get a chance to observe . But I only got to know that the teachers are encouraged by the attitude of some or rather I should mention it as most of the parents who come to teachers asking to can their children while I even had the experience of a parent telling me that they are using medication on their son for being naughty. Of course without a change in the attitude of the public this is not possible to ban and prevent the use of corporal punishment entirely while parents themselves question teachers for not using corporal punishment. This was at this juncture that I got appointed to Thiruppuvanam, Sivagangai as Academic Co-ordinator to a CBSE school that is to be established. Need not say accepting the mode of education by itself was a problem which I found on arrival for many parents used to keep complaining and have displeasure on the amount of time and effort that parents need to spend on their children unlike Matriculation/ State Board. It was at this juncture I found that many parents also used to complain and question the Principal of that school as well for implementing corporal punishment. Initially I observed that she used to implement only when teachers bring students stating that they were doing mischief. I do not know what happened or maybe because right from security to few attenders started comparing indirectly on how students get scared for making mistakes and immediately regret with no need to hit or scold them, if I happened to find out. In fact even after scolding they used to smile happily. This could also be one the reasons besides other personal contempt and displeasure or jealousy and me not agreeing to nod “yes” to say that a mobile phone that I got for myself for my birthday as gifted by someone else or might be because not being bothered about the story of an “alliance” that she made up and asking to fall in love and marry that “man” and much more than that. What ever be the reason the ploy was laid before – but the point here is that corporal punishment was used rather abused on small students below 10 years – to teach me to use corporal punishment; to hurt me since I cannot see others being hurt for innocence thinking that I will not ask and an idea for what reason I do not know that either to make me go meet men in uniform and/or human rights commission people. banningcorporalpunishment-page1
 
The point here that I want to convey on this blog is, despite as seen in the map of India, Tamil Nadu falling under the circle of banning of corporal punishment and the act against the physical and mental (and  I believe should be better framed as emotional) abuse leading to deterioration in mental health and physical well-being of the child has been incorporated into the Act to Right to Education Bill and UNICEF, India, one should be practical that corporal punishment cannot be banned completely without a change in attitude of the public (as parents), despite schools, management, principals/heads, in-charges and teachers get together and prove their ability in moulding students without implementing corporal punishment. Here I have incorporated what the media has published further on the decision issued by Ministry for Women and Child Development and this news not only from one single representation of media, but is a well cited article in detail that corporal punishment is punishable to imprisonment and penalisation with money. However what is pathetic in the country is that when corporal punishment has been abused to harass students and to pent out their emotional imbalance, I believe that a little more than penalisation and imprisonment is required.
 
Corporal Punishment Laws in India
 
People who are heading such institutions leaving aside their duties and responsibilities, showing negligence towards the responsibility of safety which is under the direct supervision of the head of the school and monitored by him/her and work towards their own selfish gratification, I believe they need a little more bitter treatment and lesson learnt for life. The case that I faced here is much more of irresponsibility and abusing students for selfish purpose and the acknowledgement of parents towards the misuse of children in helping to gain more power and maybe money as well, besides the personal harassment that I faced which I need not discuss here.
 
The consequence of abusing corporal punishment and mental, which I will call as emotional harassment in this context on students, could have more implications and stress on students for this instilled fear of sharing problems with someone whom they can rely on and doing things which they believe is wrong for no one will like to hurt someone whom they like. Besides when the government and activists are banning corporal punishment with common cause that this instills the spirit of learning to use violence, what will be the end result of abusing corporal punishment for no valid reason for cases similar to Gayathri?
 
I believe this needs no great psychology to understand that all students are not equal in learning to speak a foreign language and some depending on the environment and society they grow, may not be able to spell out clearly certain words, why my nephew at the age of 11 still cannot spell out certain big words clearly; not because he is a dull-head because he knows the usage of vocabulary but is not able to pronounce the word clearly like a grown up individual and is still a kid.
 
However taking things positively forward on my personal side since I had no trustworthy contact details or appointments to raise my concern, I believe in the interim I maybe spending time at home and not earning my daily bread, but in the process I gained knowledge which I would have gained even otherwise if required as a matter of job responsibility and also learnt more about the Indian system of education at the level of school.

Read the blog to follow for further readings.....

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Parakeets Versus Love Birds

 

PARAKEETS

gp parakketParakeets are also called the Australian Parrots belonging to broad-tailed parrots and they have been in existence on this earth for nearly 5 million years. Parakeets are usually 18cm long weighing 30 to 40 g. Usually the wild varieties are green in colour with a small change in colour at the back (mantle) and wings which are black edged in yellow. The actual colour or plumage of the parakeet comes into vicinity when they are old enough after 3-4 months of age. the parakeets have zygodactyl toes with olive grey beaks and bluish-grey legs. Generally parakeets are smaller in size than parrots but when bred in captivity they can become beautiful and grow bigger than normal size. Some of the other colours in captivity are white, blue and purple while blue, green, yellow and white is also available. They fluoresce in UV radiation especially during mating season and this is a characteristic feature that the opposite gender uses for selecting their choice of mate. The colour of the cere (the nostril region) is usually royal blue in males and is from pale-brown to white or brown in both the sexes. in juveniles this is pink in colour.

colourbluebluepairfly

Male Versus Female: Parakeet male birds coexist with mutual understanding but not female birds. However, when female birds are kept together they usually land up fighting. However, in pairs they are much happier and are easy to tame in contrast to other birds, including parrots. 322

Habitat and Nurturing Parakeets: Parakeets usually are seen in the wild as wanderers in open grasslands and woodlands. They usually live in flocks feeding on seeds, spinifex, grass weeds and wheat from the fields. They love to preen themselves which might become a habit in captivity. Parakeets are excellent and intelligent companions and in Indian mythology “Parrot” was considered to be the best friend of Goddess Meenakshi, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. 331

At home you can make your little greeny comfortable in a rectangular cage by spreading paper towels or tissue paper, but I would suggest from my personal experience newspaper or magazine paper for they have the habit of tearing them into pieces. Decorate and bring to life the cage with perches (my mom used pressure cooker gasket and CD to keep them engaged), water and food dishes, besides toys. Some of the suggested toys for parakeets are those with bells, trucks where they can perch and peck, spinning toys, toys that move with touch and toys made of paper and soft wood. The cage should be kept in a place which is least disturbed and from where they can enjoy soft music with you. This is difficult to have a parakeet with you for one need to really take care of them, but they get habituated to you changing water and food; and if you forget one day to fill their food day – not to worry they will come to the door to call you and ask for food.

The best food for parakeets are seeds and bird food; besides fresh vegetables like parsley leaves, mint, coriander leaves, kale, beets, peas, carrots, parsleys, cooked yams, sliced apples, mandarin oranges and citrus – all chopped into small slices using a food processor and dispersed into their little bowls. Food to avoid to be given to parakeets which otherwise will make them sick are: canned veggies, non-organic fruits or veggies, avocados, eggplant, rhubarb, potato and tomato leaves, bean plant leaves, apple seeds, alcohol, coffee and tea, chocolate, apricot, cherry, peach, pear and plum seeds, peanut and gravel.

334Time is the most important criteria that you can give your little ones so that they will feel at home and one among you. The best way to tame and pamper the little birds is to keep talking to them, feeling them, patting them and allowing them to climb over your fingers and peck. Once you tame one of the birds in the cage, the rest of them are automatically nudged by the rest of the birds to be pampered. They are better friends, intelligent observers and talk to you when you come back home. This is no scrap to do with God; just reverting the love and care that you give them.351

Parakeets should be allowed to fly within confined spaces to give them some exercise and keep them active and healthy. Weight loss and weight gain are two major problems of parakeets in confinement. Measuring them regularly is very important, and of course not all of us bother much but when enough exercise is given, this becomes unimportant. Parakeet shows signs of illness which could be observed from their droppings, vomiting and swooping down on the cage floor. they stop flying and prefer sitting, of course my nephew’s parakeet likes to perch on me and get pampered, which when it keeps pecking, which is not a sign of illness. One will notice fatigue in them.tamed parrots

Talking Parakeets: Parakeets learn to sing and make sounds like how we speak to them while pampering. This has got nothing to do with Amman or any other superstitious beliefs. They mimic people who spend and interact more with them. In fact, male parakeets are much easier to tame and quick to learn than female parakeets.

LOVE BIRDS

Love birds also belong to the family of parrots but are much more smaller than parakeets. Love birds are much more sociable and affectionate to the owners. These birds are native to African continent and Madagascar. These birds are so named because they prefer to have monogamous relationships and live in pairs for a long time. The pair likes to spend time together for hours and when the bonding breaks the lifetime of the birds decreases. Though found in pairs, pairs remain together in flocks.

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Species: There are 9 species in love birds. The common domestic love birds are peach-faced, fisher and masked. These birds usually weighs around 50-55 gm and live for nearly 8 to 10 years reaching a maximum of 15 years.

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Peach-faced love birds are the most popular ones and are highly tamed, independent and friendly birds owing to their remarkable intelligence. These are the most beautiful of the lot coming in vivid colours like light red-face, blue rumps, grey feet with a brightly coloured beak. The eyes have a white halo. Some of the variations of these birds include cream, orange faced, white faced blue, lutino,  blue pied dilute, cinnamon and fallow. colour

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Fischer’s love birds are one of the smallest birds with the most brilliant variations in colours. The face which is usually bright red in colour for the male bird in particular, which is somewhat orange tint in female and also dulls out as orange as it goes down from face to throat and while reaching the breast is yellowish-orange in colour and has a smart green body colour. These birds have blue rump and orange and black traces on their wings. While as usual the feet and legs are grey and the beak is red in colour. Other common colour variations in these birds will include black or dark eyed white colour bird, dilute blue and yellow, cinnamon, Lutino and albino.

madagascarBlack-masked love birds are the second most popular types of birds next to peach-faced. These birds are marketed for their wonderful brilliant colour contrasts like dark factor, blue, dilute and pied. these are one of the most noisiest birds that keeps chirping throughout the day, especially at high-pitch during dawn and dusk. black wingedgroup

Food: They eat grasses, fruits, vegetables and seeds. Black species of love birds are omnivores in a sense that they also feed on figs and small insects.

Love birds lay nearly 4 to 6 eggs and is the female which plays a major role in building and preparing the nest and hatching of eggs. peach faced

pair1Taming Love Birds: These gentle yet boisterous birds are often called “Pocket Parrots”. They are capable of mimicking human voices to a certain extent, especially of those who are closer to them, unfortunately are good as “talking parrots”. If you are looking for a bird to talk then these are not of your choice. However if you are looking for someone who will adore you like a dog or a cat and yet you can leave them inside your house for a holiday with a bowl full of seeds and water, then these are the best pets. However, your absence will make them aggressive, still you can pamper them back to normal by giving more time than usual. Sounds human indeed! One of the main problem in having these love birds is that they are much prone to feather picking if you leave them unnoticed. As these birds are quite used to chew the barks of woods in nature, this is advisable that you get them toys that are chewable especially those made of soft wood and of course, there is no better toy than their dropped feathers.

 

 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Science and Cultural Talk on Tamil Nadu - My Career and Life



This is an exemplary presentation made by myself to my colleagues in Colmer’s laboratory of Ecophysiology in the School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Western Australia on Culture of Tamil Nadu and Tamil People. Besides this was also an introductory talk of myself and my parents – of course, my dad as usual was always busy away over his phone when I was taking a photo of everyone who came to drop me in the airport. The little brat is my nephew peeping out of tears – who knows for what? He was so happy to send me off as he had the privilege to help me until clearance and enjoyed being the “centre of attraction”!
Well memories will remain forever – but is time to watch the presentation!

Tamil Nadu and People of Tamil Nadu–About Myself in Tamil Nadu

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

More about Viralimalai Peacock Sanctuary – Secrets Revealed


Peacock has been adorned the title as not only the National Bird of India in the year 1963, but also of Australia by a few Australians by “word of mouth”, as Australia have not adopted any National Bird until now. In India the most common peacock or peafowl which is usually spotted is the Blue Peafowl (Pavo cristatus).  This bird is also known as Indian Peafowl or Common Peafowl. Spectacularly stunning beauty abounds these birds and make them attractive giving a very pleasing personality.
Scientific Classification:
Scientific Name   Pavo cristatus
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum   : Chordata
Class       :  Aves
Order     :  Galliformes
Family   : Phasianidae
Genus   :  Pavo
The blue peafowl has been part of Indian cultural and have its reference in the Hindu myhtology as vahan of Karthikeya, Goddess Saraswathi and Goddess Mahamayi. Peacock dance has been part of Indian folk dance of Tamil Nadu and Bharathanatiyam. Lord Krishna is always found to adron himself wiht a peacock feather as his head ornament. Besides dancing of peacock during monsoon and rain has been mentioned in Indian poetry and prose. This in fact instigated a scientific temper in one of my friend who tried showering peacock with hosepipe and wanted to know “WHY” peacock dances before rain or monsoon? What makes them to dance? While many studies points out as seasonal dance that happens to coincide with the weather which is time for mating and is a ritual dance before mating. However, the observations cited in prose and poetry by great poets and poetess and that of scientists still needs to be validated. Notwithstanding in Christianity Peacock stands symbol of eternal life and is compared in alchemy or in Harry Potter to the resurrection of the Phoenix.
Peacock5natbi2
Authenticating the relationship and tradition of peacock dance to Barathanattiyam stands true is the Shanmuganathar temple on top of Viralimalai Sanctuary. Most of the inhabitants of the village can trace their descent from Isai-vellala (Melakarar) community. This temple belongs to the Chola dynasty and is still a prosperous village ever since 9th A.D. The hill is covered with non-thorny trees mainly Wrightia and is aslo the place for kuravars who display their classical Kuravanji dance every year on the hill top inside the temple court till 1993 the “kuravanji dance” in front of large crowds of people like nobles, officials and ordinary folks.
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The location of the Viralimalai Peacock Sanctuary as seen on the map.
Capture some of the scenes of of the Viralimalai sanctuary and the Temple of Lord Murugan.
 
natbi4VIRALIMALAI_MURUGAN_TEMPLE
Talking more about the Indian Peafowl are its variation in colour dividing them into two subspecies – blue-green and green colored plumage. The peahen or the female has a mixture of brown, dull green and gray plumage.
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Bragg reflections explains the reason for the vibrant colour changes that one could observe over a distance of the change in colours which is not because of the presence of pigments in the feathers rather due to the presence of regular, periodic nanostructures of barbules which causes changes in colours. Other types of peacock that could be spotted sometimes are the white peacock, the black shoulder and the Palawan Pheasant.
avian11palawan
These peacocks which abode in the hills and in the sanctuary area nearby are omnivorous and eat most parts of plants, seeds, seed pods,petals, leaves and grass, insects and arthropods, reptiles and amphibians. They usually nest on the ground and rest on low tree branches , and if they are male peafowl will lie the beautiful tail touching the ground spreading like a curtain of colours.
One more variety or species of peacock that could be occasionally spotted in Viralimalai is the Palawan Pheasant, a species that belongs to the country of Philippines, Palawan Island which has a beautiful iridescent blue plumage and has been branded as Vulnerable by IUCN.
BirdLife International 2013. Polyplectron napoleonis. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 27 May 2014.
Below you will find snapshots of various peacocks species that could be spotted and identified in Viralimalai Sanctuary when you make your trip:
Above all, peacock happened to be the symbol of commercialisation for NBC used eleven-feathered peacock abstraction with a slogan of pride of success “We are proud as a peacock!” showcasing yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and green in the year 1986.
Besides Peacocks, other attractions that you could spot in the Viralimalai Sanctuary are gazelles, porcupines, panthers, sloth bears and hyenas with the best time to spot them is in the season of October and April.
What is more left to do with the sanctuary besides spotting them on the factory walls on the roadway is to the sanctuary is to spot other wildlife and birds that could your trip more fulfilling and enjoyable.
And what is left more is that I never had an opportunity until now to visit the sanctuary ever since it was established rather than only passing through it.

























Sunday, 4 May 2014

Ratan Naval Tata–A Business Icon



This is a presentation prepared in five days by a group of students of Alpha Arts and Science College with a staff guidance, who was also registered as a student for a one credit course on Creative Leadership conducted by the Concordia College, USA. Even though the presentation was originally done by a student the narration for this video was done by me instantaneously. The choice of the Business Leader for group discussion and the presentation at the end of the course was taken in consensus by all the student members of the group. The research on their choice of Business Leader was done by the students.

More than a Business Leader–Ratan Naval Tata

Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Peacock Sanctuary at Viralimalai


Peacock

When I was a kid my father’s parents used to live in Tiruchirappalli. He used to takes us for most of the holidays to their home. On the way to Trichy is Viralimalai where Lord Muruga abodes in the hilltop Shanmuganathar temple and his vehicle the Peacock flourishes on the richness of the mountain. With every trip I found as I grew up I found that the number of peacocks that I counted started going less. I was very sad and was wondering why on earth the authorities of that area are not taking any initiative to make this place “A Sanctuary for Peacocks”? While I was contemplating on this question, and do not know how well my peers at my college remember that we even used to discuss on these issues – for one reason losing the abode of our National Bird is losing the Pride of India.
Viralimalai Wildlife Park as is named now is a very popviraali malaiular destination and a popular Holy Place for Lord Muruga worshippers. This village is located 30 km away from Thiruchirappalli and 40 km away from Pudukottai. To know more on how and what is the best way to get to this place, look at the table below:
Air Rail Road
The nearest airport is at Tiruchirapalli (30-km)
Tiruchirapalli junction is a main junction on the southern railway. It connects Chennai, Chidambaram, Madurai, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, Kollam, Rameswaram, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kochi , Kanyakumari and Mangalore. Pudukkottai is also well connected by rail with the important places within and beyond the state
There are regular buses from Tiruchirapalli and Madurai
If you are looking for a place where you can spot peacocks in their natural habitats, learn, understand and enjoy their way of living, then Viralimalai is the place that you have to visit with your camera. Viralimalai, besides being the shrine for Lord Muruga and abode for peacock, this is the place where one if chance permits can witness the tribal population called the “kurvanjis”. However, with modernisation and civilisation creeping into this society many of their cusotms and culture including costumes, festivals have dwindled to nothing.
Talking more about the peacocks making this hill as their native, one if lucky will get to see six species of peacocks from different parts of India and South East Asia. The most attractive of all the peacocks that one can witness and must see to mark their visit a memorable one is the most attractive species of all the peacocks with vibrant colours that one can hardly find at one place in this world is the Palawan Peacock Pheasant or “Tandikan”.
If you are interested to learn more about the different species of peacock before you make your visit and jabber about this to your friend accompanying you, then do read the next post that is to follow…..