Monday, May 30, 2011

Unity among Elephants

Received this link via email. It showcases how a group of female Elephants cooperate in order to save a drowning baby. Watching this video is really heart-warming. It’s amazing how the herd of elephants emphasize on the principle 'united we stand, divided we fall'. These mighty creatures are known to move in herds and are always protective about their young ones. They stress on community living and harmony.

A friend of mine had also narrated how a group of elephants had shielded their calf while crossing a track. And another instance where an elephant had got stuck on a railway track. The rest of the herd tried to rescue it and died in vain. :( It was a tragic moment for all of them as they met with their end.

However one can learn such lessons from the fauna kingdom on how to develop unity and cooperation. In today’s busy world, when a fellow human is lying hurt on the pavement, others just stop and stare thinking the other person will come to his/her rescue. It’s time we all joined hands to aid our fellow humans if we just pause to think for a second that they might have a family awaiting their arrival back home.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Netrani: The unexplored paradise

-By Swetha Amit

Experience 'aha' moments of discovery while snorkelling or scuba diving in Netrani's crystal clear waters, says Swetha Amit, who experienced several such moments

Discovering a hidden jewel of a surreal getaway is no doubt a delightful experience. One tends to feel like Christopher Columbus when he stumbled upon a mighty continent during his quest. The only difference was that this was an island, Netrani or Pigeon Island as it is called, tucked away deep inside the Arabian Sea. Its crystal clear waters vied with that of international holiday destinations. The rich marine life beneath the waves at Netrani took our breaths away.

Little did we know that our diving certification course would turn into a fun expedition? When our instructor suggested the idea of finishing our course in a small seaside town in Indian waters, we were thrilled. This was despite the fact that the facilities offered would be very limited. The spirit of adventure surpassed that of expectations of luxury and we geared up for an exciting experience. After a rather tiring overnight journey from Mumbai, we landed up in the small town of Murudeshwar, which is on the Karnataka coast. We were greeted by the soft murmur of waves and a giant statue of Lord Shiva. After getting adequate rest, we assembled at the diving equipment shop the next day.

One with fishermen: After setting up our scuba diving gear, we boarded the boats that would ferry us to the dive spots. We were surprised to see that fishing boats were our transportation. With mixed feelings of apprehension and excitement, the five of us managed to climb on to the boats. The ride proved to be smooth, being blessed with good weather and friendly waves. The sparkling water at our dive spots left us gaping in awe. After essential instructions by our instructor, we soon jumped into the water one by one, lead by our guide. After relaxing for a few minutes on the surface, we proceeded to head down slowly and steadily.

A different kind of nursery: This particular dive site was quite shallow in comparison to others, making it dive-friendly for beginners. We landed on gravel. After performing a few manoeuvres for our dive completion certificate, we proceeded to swim around in this little world. Colourful coral were present in abundance making it a strikingly resplendent world. We saw a giant moray eel burrowed in gravel beside some rocks. Varied schools of fish swam past us. The clownfish stood out among them, and was easily identifiable from the movie ‘Finding Nemo’. Our first dive lasted for around forty minutes before we headed back to our boats. After a lunch break, we did our second dive and exhibited a few more of our skills before our day ended.

A rollercoaster ride: The boat ride on the second day was a rather bumpy one. The waves were restless and choppy. As we cruised along, the boat rocked to and fro and made us feel like we were on a rocking chair. One needs to anticipate such rides and ensure that one hasn't had a heavy meal. The other alternative is taking medications for sea sickness. We finally managed to reach our dive spot, a different one this time. It was called the Grand Central Station. After the usual set of instructions, we jumped into the sea ready to test our skills and explore the marine life beneath.

The Grand Central Station: We were given a warm welcome by the fish as soon as we landed. This was a different underwater haven altogether and busier in comparison to the Nursery. No wonder it was called the Grand Central. The dive site lived up to its name with variety in the shapes, sizes and colours of marine life. It was bordered by a gentle slope of corals, which gave it a fairy tale setting. As we ventured deeper, we were greeted by long barracudas that resembled pikes, with sharp, prominent, fang-like teeth. We also saw numerous parrot fish that added colour to the waters. Their bodies were thick and large with rough scales; prominent parrot-shaped mouths gave them their name. As we continued swimming, we spotted a pair of antennae sticking out from a crevice in a rock. It was a shy baby lobster which refused to venture out from its abode. Lobsters are known to be nocturnal by nature. Our 35-minute dive came to an end as we headed towards the surface for a break before our last dive. Our last dive for the day replicated our earlier one. We soon headed back to the shores on another rollercoaster ride.

On dry land: We returned our equipment to the dive shop and headed back to the hotel feeling rather tired after a long day. We completed our written examination and were officially certified scuba divers. Having time on our hands, we decided to cruise around the small town of Murudeshwar. There seemed to be nothing much besides the temple of Lord Shiva and a busy marketplace. The temple was beautiful, well constructed and serene. After paying our homage to the deities, we proceeded to examine the marketplace. After which, we headed back to our hotel for dinner and a good sleep before boarding our train the next day.

Netrani is ideal for those interested in either snorkelling or scuba diving. It is also a good weekend getaway from the bustling life of metropolitan cities. The entire trip was a relaxing one and made us wonder how many such destinations existed in India that were waiting to be explored.

How to get to Netrani
By air:
Mangalore is the nearest airport, which is about 165 km from Murudeshwar. Other airports include Panaji and Hubli.
By rail: Murudeshwar is the nearest railway station, which can be reached by trains from either Mumbai or Mangalore.
By road: Netrani is well connected from Bhatkal, Karwar, Mangalore, Kollur and even Bangalore.

Where to stay
RNS Residency provides decent accommodation for a weekend. The rooms are clean. Meals are fresh and served on time. It is situated right next to the Shiva temple and offers a spectacular view of the Arabian Sea.


A weekend trip would cost around Rs15,000, inclusive of diving and overnight stay at the hotel.

Best time to visit
The best time to visit Netrani would be between the months of October to May. The weather is very pleasant and one can expect excellent visibility underwater. It is best to avoid this place during the monsoon months between June and September.


The losing side in Cricket

This season 4 of IPL has been a rather boring one due to an overdose of Cricket post the world cup. One of the reasons why many wanted a MI vs CSK in the finals. These two teams have faced each other only once during the entire tournament where MI won against them. Apart from which the Dhoni-Sachin factor evoked a lot of interest among the viewers. However yesterdays qualifier 2 games dashed the hopes of many as MI was knocked out of the tournament by the Gayle storm,not to mention poor captaincy by the Little Master.

Last night's game reminds one of the India-Australia world cup final in 2003 where India won the toss and elected to bowl first against the mighty and unbeaten Australia with the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Mathew Hayden being in top form. The first over began with a rather nervous Zaheer Khan who gave away 20 plus runs-an over which gave away the match to the Australians. A similar scenario took place with Mumbai Indians yesterday where they won the toss and elected to field first against RCB where the Gayle force was the much talked about factor in the tournament. Sachin chose to start the over with an inexperienced Abu Nachim which Gayle took RCB to a headstart of 27 runs. An over which sealed MI's loss. There was no stopping the Jamaican as he smashed all over the park. However when the bowling team got him out finally, the damage was already done. MI did contain them to a 185 which was still attainable with sensible batting and taking a few chances. However the way the wickets tumbled after a blazing start by Blizzard and Sachin makes one question the captaincy factor here. Too many blunders were committed.

1. Why did Sachin opt to bowl when they had the chance to bat first and put pressure on the opponent team?

2. Why start with Abu Nachim to bowl against Gayle when experienced ones like Munaf, Harbhajan and Malinga were available?

3. Why not play Andrew Symonds when he was an all rounder who would have contributed some quality threat to the sturdy opponents?

4. Sending Harbhajan Singh one down was the most absurd decision one could take in a crucial game like this especially since Ambati Rayudu was reliable.

While Sachin may be a world class batsmen, he needs lessons on captaincy and being a good a strategist. He has no doubt done the country proud with his several accolades and giving the best bowlers nightmares. But his captaincy has always been under scrutiny and only time will tell whether he will learn from his mistakes. One can't help but think how Dhoni is truly admired for his calm composure, for being an excellent strategist under tense conditions and motivating his team mates to bring in the best.

Its a great disapointment for Cricket lovers who were expecting a CSK vs MI final. However if Gayle does play over the park today it will be interesting to watch how Dhoni and his men combat the mighty caribbean force.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Kingfisher Crew BLIND to compassion

-By Swetha Amit

There are days when the morning headlines makes you see red at our system's unfair doings. Today was one such instance where Midday's front page headlines generated shock and horror about a shoddy treatment meted out to a visually challenged woman and her children.

She was travelling from Ahmadabad via Mumbai to Goa to meet her husband. Midway, she was ruthlessly disembarked by the insensitive Kingfisher airlines crew in Mumbai stating there was a VIP booking in the last minute. The poor woman was shamed beyond belief when she was asked to get out of the aircraft without proper reasoning. The faith she had in wanting to lead a 'normal' life had probably been shattered.

It brings to notice a few pertinent questions about the courteousness of the airlines staff. Is this the way to treat ANY passenger? Especially when the person travelling requires extra care, compassion and attention? Is this what the staff is taught during their training sessions? The crew is expected to kindly adhere to the requests of the passengers and make their flight as comfortable as possible. Not to discard a person like a ragged piece of cloth.

With atrocities occurring in the dark corridors of pavements and streets, this one bounds to take the cake especially when it occurs during broad daylight by the so called 'classy and sophisticated' sector of the Indian subcontinent. It’s a shame on Kingfisher Airlines.

Written for


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Uncertainty of life

Life is mostly like a smooth sailing ride on the friendly ocean waves until the day nature decides to vent her fury against you. One experiences that severe jolt which leaves you shaken enough to take that solemn vow of never taking things for granted again.

Friday afternoon was one such day which left me dumbfounded. As I logged on to a popular networking site, I saw a condolence message written on a friend’s wall. He was usually active with his updates. That statement took me by shock as I learnt of his sudden demise the previous night in a car accident in Delhi. He was recently blessed with a second bundle of joy in his life.

You follow a person's regular updates only to learn one fine day that there will be no more of them. Such is the uncertainty of life.

RIP dear friend. May God bless your soul. Amen.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Finkler Question: A riveting journey

The Finkler Question, Man Booker Prize winner for the year 2010, is reviewed by Swetha Amit, who finds it an engrossing read that delves deep into the psyche of the characters

Author: Howard JacobsonPublisher: Bloomsbury PublishingPrice: Rs499Classification: FictionCertain events tend to trigger thought processes in an individual that lead him / her to extremes of behaviour. Religious fanaticism, self absorptive behaviour, obsessive interest in worldly affairs, etc, constitute patterns of behaviour that can take root in the cognitive sphere of an individual due to stressful events. The Finkler Question explores this theme in detail.

The story commences with one of the protagonists named Julian Treslove, a former BBC employee, being mugged by a woman and cursed, which shakes him up. This propels him to start obsessing about the particular abuse or curse, something on the lines of ‘you ju’, which leads to his eventual conversion into Judaism.

The book describes Treslove's relationship with two Jewish widowers, namely Libor Sevcik and Sam Finkler, who mourn the loss of their wives; Treslove is a bachelor but is ascribed the status of a widower because he never has had a longstanding relationship with a woman. Treslove envies Sevcik and Finkler their religion and their pain of loss; he always dreams of a young love lost to death and about kissing cold lips good bye. The book delves deep into the psyche of each of the protagonists who reminisce about their lives and losses, and have heated discussions on pertinent issues that affect the lives of millions across the globe.

Written in a powerful yet poetic style, the book has an even mix of dark humour and wit. Though the narration requires the reader to read between the lines to grab the essence of the book, it is worth a read for those keen on reading something different from the usual run-of-the-mill potboilers. It is bound to appeal to a category of readers whose tastes go beyond a conventional narrative. The unique portrayal of characters is probably what earned it the Man Booker Prize for the year 2010.

Written for


Sunday, May 08, 2011

Moms are the best

She's the place you came from, your first home, and she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space .............. not even death! That's your mom for you.

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.

Happy Mother's Day!