Saturday, 24 June 2017

River and Rocks- PQs

Few days back our daughter Akanksha (Ashi to family and friends) had gone on an all-women hike in Zion Narrows, Utah USA. It is hailed as one of the top-5 adventure hikes by NatGeo. She shared some pictures wading through the river. A river finds its way whether in the plains or rocks or hills.
This story is an outcome of the rocks shown in her pictures. Ghumakkad got reminded of Bhedaghat near Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh India- where the river Narmada cuts through marble rocks. Similarly, Sahasradhara near Dehradun has a short hike where you go up a stream into a cave in flowing water. Next memory which flashed was of Narsing Temple near Bidar in Karnataka India, where you wade through chest high water in a 600-foot long cave for darshan of Lord Narsing. You may browse the full story Bidar-Brimming with History. 

All the above sites got created because water found its way. Not because of its force but its persistence. This is precisely what Jim Watkins had said. Here is a PQ- picturesque quote- for you superimposed on famous marble rocks of Jabalpur.

A companion quote on steadfastness of the rocks follows. This time the picture is courtesy Ashi taken at Zion Narrows USA and the quotation by Thomas Jefferson.

Another quote that comes to mind is by John Muir who had said that Rivers flow not past but through us! You may browse the earlier PQ here.
More pictures of Nagarjunasagar and Zion Narrows will follow. 

Thanks for browsing

    -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 24th June 2017

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Flying with a River Tern

Ever flown alongside a River Tern? Well, Ghumakkad almost did!
This is a real 'flight' story.
River Tern or Indian River Tern is a slender and sleek bird-- grey and white in colour with a distinct yellow beak and forked tail. Ghumakkad had shared many pictures of the Tern earlier. But these pictures invariably showed the River Tern perched on a rock or stationary near a river or canal-- like the picture below taken at Ranganathittu bird sanctuary in Karnataka, India.

To browse the full story on Ranganathittu and its rich variety of birds, click on the story 'Ranganathittu- Paradise for Bird watchers'.

Recently, while on a boat ride from Nagarjunasagar (a dam and reservoir n Krishna river Telangana) to Nagarjunakonda (name of the island), few River Terns decided to fly alongside the boat. These pictures were all taken from a moving motor boat and a 50mm lens. The pictures have not been photo-shopped, just cropped to flow with the story. Feel the low level expertise of River Terns.

 We also captured a short 40 second video of river terns in flight from our boat. However, engine noise has suppressed the commentary. But the terns are clearly visible. After the terns left, a cormorant took over the low level flight!

Hope you enjoyed 'flying' with the river terns.
More on Nagarjunasagar and Nagarjunakonda in next posts.

Thanks for browsing

    -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 21st June 2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

World Environment Day 2017

Another 5th June.
Another World Environment Day.
Press clips, speeches, Government sponsored advertisements (ads), CSR ads, social media footage, tweets.
It ends there.
USA quits Paris meet on environment. Nothing happens.
Proves the point.
Mankind is paying lip service to the cause of environment.

Our previous stories can be accessed at the links below:
Chennai floods are man made
Shrinking of Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh (see the maps therein)

We continue to destroy lakes and ponds and encroach river banks and green zones!

Ghumakkad has selected three pictures taken during 2017 and poses questions to each one of us.

What can we do? What can I do?
Ghumakkad firmly believes that every person's effort counts in preservation of the environment. Be it keeping your surroundings clean and green, or vermi-composting your kitchen waste, or avoiding the use of plastics, or using solar energy at home (for cooking, heating the water or generating electricity or recharging cell phones etc)-- each one of us can make a difference! 
Therefore, let us not wait for somebody else to improve the environment, let us do it ourselves-- however small our effort be.

Some of you may have acted on our previous appeals:
Keep surroundings clean
What every person can do? 

Remember, every person counts in this ongoing battle!

Happy Environment Day!

   Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 5th June 2017

Sunday, 4 June 2017


As the vacation season draws to a close in India, memories are full of mountains, snow, hikes, wildlife, resorts, beaches and sunsets.
Watching a sunset together is like a trance. You don't seem to get out of it. Even after many days or months.  Whether you are single, newly married or like Ghumakkad married for 40 years-- sunset casts a magic spell. Here is a PQ- picturesque quote- on moments of togetherness as experienced while watching a sunset.

Bit of a selfish quote, but don't you agree? One is incomplete without the other?

Previous PQs and stories on Sunrise and Sunset can be accessed at the links below:
Charm of a Sunset (assorted PQs)
Why do people shoot the Sun?
Magic of the Sun (Different hues and locations)

Many thanks for browsing.
    -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/4th June 2017

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Teacher 10 on 10

Teachers expect their students to score 10/10. But are the teachers themselves 10/10? If they are not 'perfect', how can they become 10/10? This was the theme of Ghumakkad's workshop for 200+ teachers of St Mary's Educational Society in Hyderabad on 1st June 2017. Part of an annual two-day orientation program for all teachers, it was a great learning experience. Held at the compact campus of Sancta Maria International School, it caught the eye of Ghumakkad's lens as well.
 The open-air theatre does not guzzle power for ACs.

Ghumakkad as 'teacher's teacher' had many such opportunities in recent past. One criticism against college education is that it is distanced from reality. You can browse a one day workshop titled 'Bringing Realism into Classroom'-- conducted separately for Management and Engineering faculty members. Similarly, how to make 'Classroom a Fun Place' --you can get few practical ideas from Ghumakkad.

Teacher 10/10? 

We all remember our teachers. Or, at least one such teacher who made an impact on our life and how we learnt things. What was one distinguishing quality of such teachers? An on-line query on social media led to 200+ responses in 24 hours. Summary of desired quality/attribute in a teacher who could be called 10/10 follows. We validated these qualities with 200+ teachers present in the workshop. It was a perfect correlation. We thus felt satisfied with our methodology.

We categorised the desired qualities into six groups. Next challenge for us the teachers-- is how to develop each of these qualities? We shared some personal experiences on each of the six attributes/qualities. Am sure teachers will find it useful- both at college as well as senior school levels. More suggestions are welcome.

Summary of points discussed in the workshop are given below.
 Ghumakkad first thanked all his teachers as well as students for all the learnings in his life. Some of the organisations/institutions where Ghumakkad has taught are represented below.
 A live query was made to all the teachers present in the workshop. Their responses are summarised in the slide below.
 Summary of teachers' responses matched perfectly with on-line crowd sourcing done a day earlier! Whether you are a teacher or not, does your response match with the six groups of attributes which every teacher should have?
 Having identified the attribute how to develop it in a teacher? Few practical suggestions from Ghumakkad follow.

Universities and colleges have lofty visions and catchy tag lines. But as a teacher are you able to walk the talk?

To conclude, the diagram below says it all. Teachers must know the difference between teaching and learning. When the two merge magic happens!
As someone said..

We hope it has helped fellow teachers in soul searching. Please do not hesitate in reaching Ghumakkad for further help, if any.

Ghumakkad's session was followed by a very interesting session titled 'What Leaders should NOT do?' Taken by renowned management professional Prof Abhiram Krishna, it charged up the audience. Pictures.

Mr Reddy Chairman of the Society presented a memento to me. It was a framed painting done by a school child. Very thoughtful indeed.

As we say it's a small world. After the session, one of the faculty members came forward to introduce herself. She comes from a Naval family. Delightful meeting Miss Jyotsna.

While I was taking few pictures after my session, Prof Mathew caught me in the act. Picture below courtsey him.
Ghumakkad wishes to thank the organisers for a wonderful workshop and for the opportunity.

Thanks for browsing

   -   Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 1st June 2017 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Spouse's Birthday is special

Spouse’s birthday is special
When you are married for
forty years
your spouse’s birthday
becomes special.

Special because
you become dependent
upon each other
for everything in life.
Be it eating at home, or
taking your medicines, or
dining out, or
planning the next vacation, or
renovating the kitchen, or
visiting the doctor for creaking knees!

Of course
you may not both agree initially
on a course of action.
But that is the fun of
being married for 40 years.
Disagree to agree
and vice versa!

on my spouse’s birthday
I wish to thank God
for bringing her into my life.

Called by many names
Pinna- by her late father
Arrey Neeta- by her Mom
Bahu Rani/Neeta Beti- by my Dad
Bhabhi/Jiji- by my brother/sister and her cousins
Mom- by Ashi, Ankur, Ankush and Prabjoth
Dadi/Nani- by her grandchildren
Bhua/Mausi/Taiji/Chachi/Mami- by numerous nieces/nephews
Neeta- by her friends and by my late Mom
Madam- by her battery of maids
and lastly
Beigs- by me!
She goes about balancing
all the roles and responsibilities
very ably
despite me!
Yes, despite me!

As they say
"You are never too old for chocolates"
but in Neeta's case
it becomes
"You are never too old for Zumba".
Yes, she relishes her Zumba workouts.
Today's tech-savvy generation
outsmarts their parents
while using smartphones and other gadgets.
Wait till you meet 
surfing the net, or
using WhatsApp
or updating her status on FB
even while in a Shikara शिकारा in a lake!
on this special day
we pray to God
to grant her continued good health
because that’s the only wealth
which you need
to enjoy life!
Join us in wishing Neeta many happy returns and God bless

-          Harsh-the hubby with entire Bhargava parivar भार्गव  परिवार  in Jaipur/Secunderabad/Chennai/Pleasanton

27th May 2017/ Secunderabad
This is what we wrote on her 61st Birthday! Not published earlier.
The Untiring Granny
As she completes sixty one
She remains number one
For all of us in Secunderabad, Jaipur, California as well as Chennai
A daughter, bahu, mom, dadi, nani or as in Marathi- simply our ‘aai’
She does get tired of doing yoga or the treadmill
But not of shopping even if she has to climb uphill
Fond of eating out
She knows all about
The major eating joints in the twin cities and beyond
Through her kitty friends who have forged a strong bond
After thirty nine glorious years
Full of cheers as well as tears
Her first love is no longer me-- her grumpy hubby
But all the grand children who like her to remain chubby
Thanks to Facetime, she relishes being on-line with each one for long
And switch between making faces, telling stories, poems or even a song
Here is saying cheers to the evergreen granny
And wishing her happy returns—many, many!

With love from all of us,
-          Amar Nath, Raj and Sarita@Jaipur
-          Ankur, Ashi, Nikhil and Naman@California
-          Prabjoth, Ankush, Ansh, Anuva and Kruger@Chennai
-          Usha, Harsh and Elfo@Secunderabad

Secunderabad/ 27th May 2015