Monday, April 30, 2012

saving sequins


I have just had my first encounter with a job search portal.
Definitely not accustomed to thinking along those lines. Guess that's something I shall have to learn, and soon!
How does one present oneself properly using another person's format?
28042012463.jpgNo idea if this will work for me, but if it doesn't, I might have found another job: Rescuing sequins!
Alright, fine, it's more an avocation than a vocation.
I take the sequins off the scraps of cloth that can't be used for much  (except as stuffing), and look for ways to reuse the little bling.
30042012478.jpgHere's one possibility- jazz up plain white envelopes. Create your own gifting possibilities. Better yet- pay me to do it for you. (Nyeh heh heh!)

In other news: I gave Sputnik II away. Lopsy and Flotsam too will find a new home today.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Darn it!

a mild swear word?
nope, just something i like getting done.
too often our clothes get ripped and we set them aside, planning to repair them someday. but someday never comes. so we throw the garments out, or cut them up for rags or bags.
i can offer you a better way.
for years now, off and on, i've been going to a 'darning centre' in panjim.
a title that seems grand, right (like executive assistant)? well, it's two men, whose fingers are nimble (and I've yet to see a thimble - sorry, that rhyme just begged to be released), sitting outside Lakaki (opposite Tato's, near Panjim church).
denim. silk. cotton. lycra. these are the things i've seen them working on.
over the last couple of months, i've gotten jeans (two pairs), cargoes, t-shirts, cotton pants and a bag repaired.
i think they do a pretty darn good job (pun intended). and they aren't too pricey. Grand total for all that stuff? something like 300.
where is the darn(ed) thing? the horizontal line  close to the base of my small steps bag

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Tis Jambul season. And kantam season. And Chunnam season.
Bought the jambuls in the picture on the streets of Panjim. 100/- for 80 berries. Quite nice.
Support local fruits and fruit pickers and vendors. The greater the demand for something, the more the people who make money off it are likely to fight for it (in this case, the trees)

Bird update: a coucal ate the eggs. It dropped one down- mum found some pieces.
Oh well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012



What are these?
Some ingredients for a crustless quiche. (basic recipe from The Frugal Gourmet, by Jeff Smith)
Why should they figure on a blog that is supposed to be about the environment?
Elementary, my dear Watson (am I misquoting?)

The ingredients in the picture are local and as close to organic as possible- almost there, but not quite. The brinjal was bought in Mapusa from a vendor from one of the surrounding villages. The local spinach was grown in our garden. And the eggs are free range, laid by two hens I love. And look after. (Yes, they’re mine).
The flour came from a nearby supermarket, Gipsy Mart, where they have their own mini-mill (or so my mother informs me). Flour without preservatives. Pure Atta. The pepper came from a friend’s creeper, ground by my mum.
The cheese, corn, salt, baking powder, butter- these were all packaged FMCGs.
BUT- I’m making an effort.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

red whiskered bulbuls

Remember I said I love observing the creatures around me? (In Robin and I)
Well, now I actually have a chance to observe, at close hand, a pair of red whiskered bulbuls nesting.

How do creatures without opposable thumbs form something so well? The nest's on an evergreen tree that you wouldn't think could take the weight of a bird as large as a bulbul, but so far it's doing well.
We weren't sure the bulbuls would choose to stay- we thought they might abandon the nest halfway because of the activity near it. (hardly my fault they chose to build near the front door)
We do our best not to disturb the parent that is in the nest. It (male? female? no distinguishing marks) doesn't sit on them throughout the day. I guess it gets hungry. And maybe it doesn't want to poach the eggs.


This was taken rather hurriedly, in a moment when the parent birds were on a break. Don't they look like candy-coated chocolate eggs?

I'm so excited! I hope I get to see the chicks! The countdown's begun- 10 days more...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Little blue book

I wrote and printed a book for my littlest cousin.
Before you criticize the waste of paper, or electricity, read about the evolution of the book:
My cousin tells me he ordered a book (from Flipkart) about how to save the world. (Hmm. Just realized this is a fact I did not check.)
You might not understand this, but the possibility of his caring gladdened my heart.
I decide to write him a letter about the little things he can do, as first steps towards saving the world. Based on past experiences with things I’d written for his elder brothers, I know my handwriting is not the easiest to read. Therefore, type. Mum offers to assist. (Thanks, Mum)
And then I think- how cool would it be to have a book with your name in it?
(I mean, I know how excited I get when I see my name on screen, or in print. I’m not usually the person being referred to, but I still get a kick out of it. Wouldn’t a 10-year old?)
Therefore, book.

It’s a slim volume, printed on waste paper. I used my sister’s old colors to jazz it up a little. So, yes- I used resources to create the book, but I also tried to compensate.
Big green possibility: Once I give it to him, it could help make him a wee eco-hero.10042012421.jpg

Let’s face it- the only thing that doesn’t generate any negative environmental impact is not doing anything, including breathing. I’m not ready to kill myself for the planet yet. And while I’m here, I’m going to do what I can. 
I’m going to write.
I’m going to walk.
I’m going to take the bus/ train.
I’m going to stitch little bags.
I’m going to make it my business to know about the world I live in. And protect it. And photograph it. Today.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

birding in Goa - 2

Last time I introduced you to Lloyd Fernandes, who runs Birds & Breakfast. Here's a little more information...

Lloyd's busiest period is from November to March, because that is when the two-legged visitors arrive- birds and people! Goa plays host to several migratory bird species and people, usually foreigners, come to see them. They arrive with long lists and tick off what they’ve seen, making notes about where they’ve seen which kind, how many times, etc. They have lists for each region, each country, and even each county, monitoring species and numbers. Lloyd believes that Goa too should have some sort of ‘bird audit’- this will help keep track of the birds of Goa and encourage people to watch them.

Every business needs publicity in order to grow. So far, Lloyd has relied purely on word of mouth. He recently started blogging to make himself and his work accessible to more people. Birds & Breakfast is also accessible on Facebook.

So, should you feel like waking up early one morning to gaze in awe at the birds, Lloyd’s the person to go to. He’ll even feed you!

Friday, April 6, 2012

birding in Goa- part 1

Most people in the bustling village of Calangute have tourism-related businesses. Lloyd Fernandes is no exception. The owner of several vehicles, he will ferry you to and from a place. He will drive you around Goa so you can see her natural and historical wonders. Besides these rather mundane activities, he will (if you are so inclined) take you bird watching.

Lloyd owns and runs Birds & Breakfast, which are exactly what he delivers. Each group that comes to him gets a custom-made experience, based on the kinds of birds they want to see and the places they want to visit. You walk through forests, stand beside lakes- just watch the birds, with Lloyd softly pointing out something you don't want to miss, like a golden oriole or Indian Pita (not the bread). And after that, a simple but delicious breakfast of tea or coffee, bread, boiled eggs, homemade mango jam, honey, and fruit.

Lloyd has been doing this for fourteen years now. He’s had a number of interesting bird experiences in that time: he’s held the chick of a red-wattled lapwing, seen a drongo eat a sunbird, and, in his own backyard, watched a pair of tailorbirds raise their young. The first group came to him in 1997. They gave him his first pair of binoculars and a book by DrSalim Ali. There’s been no looking back. Learning from and alongside the avid bird watchers who have hired him, Lloyd has seen over 400 of the birds that can be found in Goa. He can even recognize more than half of them by the sounds they make.

Next time- how you can get in touch with him!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


18032012345.jpgGod grant you trees
to live among
If not in reality
then in imagination,
trees of such variety and beauty
that you can’t help
loving yourself
among the trees.
from Poet, Lover, Birdwatcher by Nissim Ezekiel

I don't know if this post was inspired by the blog of one of my seniors in college.
Or the fact that I am trying to put together a series on trees for my blog.
Whatever it is, I regard finding this quote in a book I borrowed from Goa's Central Library yesterday as serendipity of the odd-link sort.

God grant us all trees!
(Is it also a coincidence that the syllable 'tree' is part of 'poetry'? I think not!)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

robin and i

I love James Herriot and Gerald Durrell. They make the natural world come alive and sparkle with humor.
While I am nothing like them (in the first place, I’m a girl. And I’m not British), I love observing, and if possible assisting, creatures around me.
The Magpie Robin has figured prominently in my life- my sister and I tried to rear a chick once; we watched a pair come to eat big black ants under our evergreen tree; we saw their wee speckled eggs in a hole in a guava tree brought down by a storm; I’ve listened to robins imitating the song of the Tickell’s blue flycatcher.
And now I have watched a magpie robin dart at a gecko and fly off with its tail. That was the most vicious thing I’ve ever seen that little bird do!
And they say Robin’s just Batman’s gay partner! Pfft!

About Me

Greetings, citizens of the world! We are united by planet and species, so what say we do our best to look after our handfuls of earth?