SEE WITH YOUR HEART

AVGM – A Very Good Man

For the next two years, before I was transferred to Murugalli, my day would begin in the Muster at 0600 reading AVG’s instructions in the Muster Book, written in his very neat handwriting. Brief, to the point and sometimes quite terse. We carried out the instructions and in the evening, I would go up to the Estate Office to meet him and talk about anything important that had happened that day. AVG didn’t just teach me all that I needed to know about planting, but about managing people which was something much more valuable. I remember once, complaining very passionately about some skullduggery that was going on, involving some supervisors and workers. AVG listened patiently and then asked only one question, ‘Yawar, if everyone did what they were supposed to do, why would I need you?’ I didn’t say anything more, then or ever. I didn’t want him to ask me that question ever again. He never needed to.

read more

Jhalana, Jaipur’s secret paradise

The Blue Bull had been killed by hyenas. The Striped Hyena pack, led by the matriarch had lived in this forest for generations beyond number. Their ancestors lived off the kills of tigers, until the last of those great hunters fell to the guns of men. Men, forever on...

read more

Future of wildlife conservation in India

One of our big challenges in wildlife conservation is to stop poaching and habitat degradation which leads to animal human conflict which always has only one ending, destruction of the animal. The backbone of the conservation team in a Reserve Forest or a National...

read more

A day in the life of an SBA student

The Adhaan for Tahajjud was just called. I know Tahajjud is very important but sometimes I'm lazy. Nothing will happen if I don't go. No punishment. There's no punishment here for anything. Except if you tell lies or do anything dishonest or immoral. Then the...

read more

Yala, Leopard Paradise

He had killed the buffalo late the previous night. The dark was his friend. Thanks to the reflectors in his eyes, he could see as clearly in starlight as we can see in bright daylight. If he could have read a book, he would have, reclining on a massive tree branch...

read more

Simple pleasures – Lifelong memories

Uncle Rama at his desk - River Kadam in full flowTime, late 60’s to middle 70’s. I used to spend all my school vacations and later, whatever time I had free from college with Uncle Rama in Sethpalli. Sethpalli is a small village about two kilometers from the bank of...

read more

To an Israeli soldier

Listen and listen wellO! One who could have been our brotherFor we are one people, whether you like it or notYou are a Semite, A son of Israeel (Isaac)I am a Semite, A son of Ismaeel (Ishmael)Our father, the father of both you and IIs Ibrahim (Abraham)Or are you one...

read more

My Thoughts

My deepest fear is that I will simply die one dayCrying for what might have beenThe earth will be free of carrying my burdenAnd there will be no trace of my passingWhat use such a life?That one lives and one diesYet there is nothing to show that either...

read more

Of game drives and choices

He was the king of the forest (or so he thought about himself). He stood over five feet tall at the shoulder, weighed over one thousand pounds, with a massive neck supporting a rack of magnificent antlers rising high above that. The antlers were very impressive to...

read more

We are living beings, not binary code

In today’s world, one of the things that I am most conscious about is the need to connect with the land. In my case, that means forests. Urban living has ripped out the connection we all had with the earth and left us with a lifestyle which is deceptive and...

read more

Eulogy or Elegy?

Don’t wait for a eulogy to become an elegy. I am writing this as a reflection and a reminder to myself and to you. Express appreciation to the one who was good to you and added value to your life before they die. Don’t wait for someone to die before you tell them that you love them or are grateful to them. For after they are dead, everyone else will read and hear what you said, except the only one whose reading and hearing it would have mattered.

read more

My dear friend MP

Today was the first day in my life when I received the news of the passing away of two of my childhood friends. One was Chandramohan Agarwal, my classmate all through school in the Hyderabad Public School and the other was Mohammed, the son of Nawab Habib Jung....

read more

Come to the Okavango

First there was the dry. Then it rained high up and far away in the mountains. And water flowed. Life giving water filled the river banks and overflowed. Life giving water which itself gives up its life in a few months when it sinks into the sands of the Kalahari...

read more

Manjapettai – Yellow Ridge

In Lower Sheikalmudi Estate, on the other side of Sholayar Dam in the Anamallais, we had a coffee area which was adjacent to the reserve forest. The coffee presented open grazing area to the Sambar and Gaur that live in the reserve forest. They did not damage the...

read more

Is it a bird or is it a plane? Homeschooling concerns

Of late I, have been reading many articles on ‘Homeschooling’ – which term when written like this seems to have acquired the status of legitimacy instead of being wrong spelling. The need for a hyphen is apparently no longer felt. ‘Home’ and ‘School’ are evidently no...

read more

Of Mistakes and Crimes

A mistake is one that is made by mistake (sic) and a crime is one that is done deliberately.A mistake must obviously be forgiven. A crime is culpable but can also be forgiven. This is the peculiarity of Islamic Law that even a crime as serious as murder can simply be...

read more

Grass Hills

The Anamallai Hills are a ridge that is between three thousand five hundred to six thousand feet high and goes like the backbone of an elephant right down the Western side of India to the tip of the subcontinent. Even though it is not called by this name all along...

read more

Respect earns respect

There are ocean people and others who are mountain people; and yet others who are city people. I, am of the forest people. Wildlife, open spaces, mountains and forests have always been a very significant influence in my life. There is an instant connection that I find...

read more

Forest days and nights

One of the greatest needs today is for us, human beings, to get back in touch with nature. It is not our evil intent but our indifference, ignorance and disconnect that is the root cause behind global warming, environmental destruction, wildlife extinction, pollution...

read more

Muhammadﷺ, example for all times

They say that reading biographies is perhaps the best way to learn real life lessons. That is because a biography is a record of practice. Of what worked and what didn’t. The life of Muhammadﷺ  is perhaps one of the most well documented in human history.Having...

read more