Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nature Note from Mhow: From a nestling to a flying bird.

Wednesday April 26, 2017.

When I left home at half past ten this morning the Purple Sunbird nest in our verandah had one young nestling in it. I had observed that the young one had been getting more active with each passing moment. I had got a bit scared yesterday when I saw it trying to come out of the nest and spreading its wings.  I had heaved a sigh of relief when it had gone back inside. But I was happy that its 'graduation day' was approaching and it would be soon leaving the safe confines of its nest.

Earlier this morning I had seen it being fed by one of its parents. When I returned home at half past two I saw that the nest was empty. I was flooded by thoughts.  Had the young one flown away or had it fallen from its nest and/or been killed and eaten by a predator? Should I feel sad or happy? I went inside and kept my bag on the table. But my mind was tense, I was consumed by worry.

A moment before I saw the empty nest I had seen the male parent on a tree in our garden not far from the verandah. I came out into the verandah and saw the female parent on the same tree chirping loudly. I asked myself if she was chirping because she was mourning.  Then I heard the chirping of another bird and saw another Purple Sunbird with a distinctively yellow breast.  When I looked carefully I was delighted to see that it was the young one whom I had always seen in the nest.

Seeing the young one on the tree was a wonderful sight. I rushed in and brought my camera and clicked a pic of the young one.  The memory card became full so I had to go through a series of deleting and clicking before I managed to get around half a dozen pictures of the young one before it flew away.

Before the young sunbird flew away my mother had also come out to see it. She could spot it when I pointed it out to her. She also observed its yellow chest. I had told her that young birds look different from the adults of the same species.

This is a nest which was re-used by the parents. More than a week ago I had seen that the nest was on the verge of falling. I had feared for the safety of the two eggs in it so I had used a piece of cardboard and scotch tape to build a scaffold attached to the wall for the nest to rest. It needed attention as it was hanging by just a few strands of grass. I am glad that this platform was successful in keeping the nest and the two eggs inside it safe. And the egg which hatched has now become a flying bird. I think I deserve to feel happy and celebrate.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Tuck's Post Cards: More than 100 year old images of Mhow


"Tuck's Post Card": A Chance Discovery on the Internet of Some Delightful Picture Post Cards on Mhow


These 'Tuck's Post Cards' I discovered accidentally while performing a google search are more than 100 year old (the date I got was 23 Sept 1916).  
This is what is inscribed on the reverse of the cards (italics mine):

 Raphael Tuck & Sons' "Art Sepia" Post Cards
 Art Publishers to Their Majesties The King and Queen
 Kamroodin Mohamedally, Mhow, C India
 Printed in England
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Note: To the best of my knowledge these are public domain images as they are more than a 100 years old and were used as post cards the public could buy. If you think otherwise and have information that can prove that these images are under a copyright please send me an email at dev.kumar.vasudevan@gmail.com or post a comment here with the relevant details.

"Cantonment Gardens, Mhow"



"Infantry Barracks Facing One Tree Hill, Mhow"

"The Best Shop, Regimental Bazaar Mhow"

"Artillery Barracks, Mhow"
"Church of England, Mhow"

"Near Kalakund and Mhow"

"Post Office Road, Mhow"

"Regimental Bazaar, Mhow"

"Section Hospital, Mhow"

"Viaduct Near Kalakund and Mhow (130 feet high)

"Roman Catholic Church, Mhow"

"The Railway Station, Mhow"


"Patalpani Falls Near Mhow"





The reverse of one of the cards. 



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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Nature Note From Mhow: A Noisy Visitor... The Rufous Treepie


Noisy fella...
Feb 20, 2012:  I was indoors when the racket created by
this Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) drew me out ...
 It was checking this dry stick on the temple tree (frangipani) for insects...
 After that it went and drank water from a drum kept nearby
and I managed to record a video of that...




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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Lt Gen J F R Jacob’s Gentleman Cadet days at OTS Mhow.

Lt Gen J F R Jacob’s Gentleman Cadet days at OTS Mhow.

 Lt Gen AAK Niazi of Pakistan signing the instrument of surrender. Next to him is Lt Gen J S Aurora the GOC-in-C of India's Eastern Command. Lt Gen JFR Jacob (then a Major General and Chief of Staff of the Eastern Command) is standing behind Lt Gen Niazi. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 India License
Author Indian Navy


Army Day celebrations on 15 Jan were tinged with  sadness this year as  the nation had  lost the highly respected and loved Lt Gen JFR Jacob (Retd) on Jan 13. Jacob  was  one of the architects of the resounding victory over Pakistan  in the Eastern sector which led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. 
Jacob Farj Rafael Jacob was born in Calcutta in 1923 in a Baghdadi Jewish family. After completing his schooling he decided to join the British Indian Army as he was traumatised by the cruel treatment meted out to Jews in Europe by Hitler and the Nazis.

Not many know that Jacob joined  Officers’ Training School (OTS) Mhow for his cadet  training and he was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery though he wanted to join the infantry. OTS Mhow was one of many  training schools set up in India during World War II for churning out officers for the war machine. One of Jacob’s  batchmates at OTS Mhow was T N Raina who later became the Chief of Army Staff.  In his memoirs An Odyssey in War and Peace (Roli Books, 2011, Rs 350) Jacob briefly describes his short stay at Mhow. He praises the terrain around Mhow for being appropriate for military training. He mentions that though the training schedule was tough and demanding the gentlemen cadets were treated as officers in their off hours and were provided comfortable accommodation and even personal servants – a luxury for cadets!

Jacob’s description of how he ended up in the artillery is hilarious. He had done well during cadet training and was confident of being commissioned in the infantry – his first choice. But he was called to the company office and told that he had volunteered for the artillery.  He then proceeded to Deolali, against his wishes, for his pre-commission training for the artillery. He describes the quality of cadet life in Deolali to be much inferior to that in Mhow. Four cadets had to share a tent and they had no electricity. Even off hours were devoted to training activities. Of the  28 cadets in his course only 21 could complete the course. They were commissioned as Second Lieutenants without any fanfare or a  passing out parade on 7 June, 1942.  Thus began a glorious career which culminated in his retiring as GOC-in-C Eastern Command in 1978.

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Links
The Wikipedia page on General Jacob. Click here
An Israeli journalist pays tribute to General Jacob. Click hereRediff dot com's chat with General Jacob in 2006. Click here
Who was Lt Gen JFR Jacob (India Today) Click here.

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Of Bapu And Books....

Oct 2, 2015
Gandhi Jayanti


Of Bapu and Books
In 1981 when Richard Attenborough's epic film Gandhi was still in the making I purchased Vol I of The Life of Mahatma Gandhi by Louis Fischer (published by Bharat Vidya Bhawan) from GMC Bookshop near the GPO Indore for Rs 2.50. The train ticket both ways cost Rs 1.70. The three wheel tempo ride from the Indore Railway Station to GPO cost 50 paise.
I walked back to the Indore Railway Station from the GMC Bookshop with Rs 1.15 in my pocket. I needed 85 paise to get back to Mhow so taking a tempo ride was out of the question. The total expenditure that day came to  Rs 4.70. I had set out with Rs 5 in my pocket. I had thirty paise in my pocket when I reached Mhow. The cycle stand at Mhow Railway Station charged me 10 paise for having kept my cycle safely for some hours. I had twenty paise with me when I reached home.
The next day I took Rs 3 from my mother and cycled to Indore and bought the 2nd volume of the same book which I had hidden behind some books the previous day. I headed back home with fifty paise in my pocket. I stopped at Choithram Chauraha and bought two oranges for the fifty paise I had with me.
Cycling back to Mhow with an empty pocket and a prayer that  one of my cycle wheels does not get  punctured was indeed difficult. But I reached home safely. Those two volumes of Fischer's biography of Gandhi are still with me.
What a day that was and what beautiful memories I have of those two days !!!!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Nature Note From Mhow: Indian Roller Looking Up...


 Oct 15, 2013: "Woh dekho upar kya hai?" Indian Roller looking up... From my archives



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A Mumbaikar's Blogpost on the Patalpani Kalakund Ghat Section of Mhow

My friend Anuradha Shankar of Mumbai who is a well known travel writer writes on her experience of travelling on the Patalpani Kalakund Ghat Section. The journey was undertaken on 27 June. I and my photographer friend Raj Kumar Saini were with her.


One of the four tunnels on this route. From my archives. Clicked in April 2012


It was indeed nice to actually meet a friend after so many years of 'virtual' friendship. Or may I call it e-friendship?


With Anuradha at Patalpani. Thanks to Raj Kumar Saini for clicking this lovely pic.

        Click on the link below to read Anuradha's blogpost

        Taking the train to a journey back in time

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Pipes and Drums Band of 4/1 Gorkha Rifles Mesmerises Indore on I Day

Independence Day, 15 August 2015

Location: Regal Square Indore.

It was a solemn moment when Mrs Tripta Thapar  mother of Kargil martyr Captain Vijayant Thapar (Vir Chakra) unfurled the national flag at the above venue as part of the  69th Independence Day celebrations. This function was being conducted by 'Apna Samooh,'  a local NGO.  The presence of an Indian Army band in sparkling white uniform was noticed by all even before the function commenced.  This was the 'Pipes and Drums'  band of the 4th battalion of the First Gorkha Rifles also known as 4/1 GR and nicknamed 'Fore One.' 



The audience comprising of students, NCC cadets, ex-Servicemen and local gentry,  was  treated to the tunes of many national and martial songs. The smartly turned out Gorkha soldiers impressed one and all by playing the national anthem, the popular patriotic song 'Saare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara' and many more patriotic and martial tunes. The fifteen strong band is led by  band major Havaldar Chandra Bahadur Gurung. It comprises of nine pipers, three buglers cum side drummers also called snare drummers, two tenor drummers and one bass drummer.

In a Pipes and Drums band the entire drum section is known as the drum corps. The tenor drummers and bass drummer are known as the 'bass section.'


All regiments and infantry battalions of the Indian Army have their own bands. The ‘Pipes and Drums’ or ‘Brass Bands’ are the official bands. Many battalions and regiments also have a jazz band which plays light music on social occasions.



Bandsmen in  the Indian Army bands are soldiers first and they have other responsibilities too,  in battle they also play the role of medical assistants and help in treatment and evacuation of casualties. All Indian Army bands are trained at the Military School of Music in the picturesque hill station cantonment town of Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh. This school is part of the 
Army Education Corps (AEC) Training College and Centre, Pachmarhi. The 4/1 GR Pipes and Drums has the distinction of having played at Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, New Delhi.   

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

68th Raising Day of MCTE Mhow...

Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) Mhow was born on Oct 1, 1946 as the Indian Signal Corps School. It was renamed the School of Signals on June 25, 1948. On Oct 1, 1967 it became the  Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE). The college is the alma mater of the Corps of Signals of the Indian Army. 


A Pagal Gymkhana (fun n games) was held on Sunday 28 Sep at the Raman Training Ground of the during the  to celebrate the 68th Raising Day of the college 


"Aayo Gorkhali..." Khukri dance by soldiers of the 1st Gorkha Rifles 
 




Pics courtesy: MCTE  Mhow. 


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