Friday, November 28, 2014

Volunteers Training Program (VTP)

Sometime last year (2013), I got an opportunity to attend the Volunteers Training Program (VTP) conducted by the Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board ( in association with Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR -, a week long extensive program with theoretical as well as field sessions to train an individual as a eco-volunteer to assist the forest department in their various activities.

Course content: A diverse course covering all aspects of forests, wildlife, conservation, role of photographers and much more that enables an individual to grasp what happens on a day-to-day basis and what are the challenges than an forest department employee faces and the field sessions like walking the beats along with the forest guards helps you gauge the amount of hard work they put in to conserve the forests and wildlife.

Sitting in air conditioned rooms and blasting out the keyboards on the laptops, we post, like, dislike, comment, share and are very critical of any happenings related to forests or the staff or the tigers or elephants etc.. It's only when you get out on to the field, get in the shoes of a daily wage watcher, eat what they eat and sleep where they do (cut off from their families for months together), you realize how important their role is and how important they are to conserve of what is left today; It literally strikes you in the face the harsh, raw realities that they go through day in and out.

We had various topics that we were briefed on and I'll list out some that I recollect...
> National Parks and Sanctuaries
> History and Role of National Parks
> Mammals  - Introduction and Classification
> Birds - Identifying them
> Reptiles and Amphibians
> Lesser Fauna
> Life in an APC
> Tracks and Signs
> Role of a Eco Volunteer and Expectations
> Tools of the trade

We had talks too by various personalities ranging from park directors to botanists to conservationists to wildlife experts and let me list few that I can recollect
> Role of a Wildlife Photographer and Ethics
> Photography as a tool for Conservation
> Nature Inspires
> Taxonomy of Plants

> NTCA protocols and guidelines
> Wildlife Protection Acts and Schedules
> Man-Animal conflicts
> Wildlife crime
> Poachers and their operative methods
> Initiatives so far

Field sessions
> Walking the 'beats' along with the forest guards on their regular routine
> All about Camera trapping
> GPS tracking
> Bird watching and notes

It was an eye-opener for me and an opportunity to learn many new things (that I never knew) and improving on knowledge of many other facts and at the end committing ourselves to help the department in their various activities and protecting/conserving what we are left with.

To sign up to be a Ceritified Volunteer, please follow this link.

coming up next: Interesting learning's and what are we doing as volunteers now...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dasara Dolls

Dasara is one among the important festivals in India spanning over a period of 10 days symbolizing the victory of good over evil. Dasara is also the state-festival of Karnataka.

Keeping dolls is a tradition that has come along with the festival since a long time and displaying your collectibles and in themes is a time consuming and patient affair. Whilst this practice has dwindled over the years owing to the lack-of-time generation that we are in, some do put in their efforts in keeping this going.

While we didn't have this practice all these years, we have started this over the last couple of years that keeps the kids engaged and enthralled and is a wonderful way to narrate stories and events of our wonderful mythology that is so fascinating how many ever times you get to know about it...

Let me show you our setup since the past couple of years...

(2012 arrangement of the dolls in 4 steps)

(2013 arrangement of the dolls with few additions)

(2014 setup was much more extensive than seen here... bigger than the previous years with multiple new sets displayed)

If you have any similar collections, do let me know through a comment below.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Team Blog-o-holics (week 2)

'A Time To Die' Chapter 12, Week 2, Team Blog-o-holics

Read the first post here from Dola...

Read the earlier post from Akash here...

The receptionist looked quite surprised with two people asking about the same patient. Room No 301, 3rd Floor, lift lobby over there… uttered the receptionist still glancing towards the two people standing over there. Her face still had a quizzical remark on how the little kid had ended up there.

She’s my mom, blurted out Roohi before walking towards the lift lobby leaving the receptionist and Jennifer surprised. Jennifer did a hop and run to catch up with Roohi who was near the lift and frantically pressing the buttons over there only to realize the lifts were not working. Argh! Squeaked both of them together. By the way, who are you and why have you come to see my mom? Are you a reporter questioned Roohi noticing the camera dangling on the shoulders of Jennifer? Jennifer was taken aback at the flurry of questions from Roohi and looked around not knowing what to answer…


Tara had sneaked down along with Cyrus to the parking lot covering her identity with a dupatta and looking to appear more like a visitor than a patient. Cyrus had called for a taxi and it took a while for Tara to get in without anybody noiticing that, a task that was quite difficult evading the security and the hospital staff. The taxi while coming out of the hospital almost banged into an SUV that had a police officer seated in it. Tara hurriedly hid between the seats for not to be noticed by anybody out there…

But she was wrong… the lone figure, out in the corner had seen them and he was there precisely to watch them. He noted the taxi no MH00 AA1144 as he let out a big fart loud enough to get the alarm system on the car parked going off!!! Hurriedly, he vanished into the dar corners leaving behind the cigarette on the ground…


The cigarette, a Sherman special, distinctly brown in colour, half burnt and still emitting smoke caught the attention of the Samson who had come to the hospital to meet Tara. He got down from his SUV and gazed at the cigarette running his hands through his hair trying to figure out something! A phone call interrupted his thought as he picked up the cigarette butt and placed it in a small neat plastic cover and placed it into his pocket.

Hurriedly, he walked off towards the lift lobby. It was a call from an informant having some information about Roger’s death. The lifts were out and as he started climbing the stairs… his phone rang again making him sto midway and after a brief conversation, he headed back to his SUV and drove away…


The taxi sped through the city streets ignorant of the heavy traffic around. Tara had a pensive look on her face while Cyrus was stealing looks at her, somehow he couldn’t stop admiring her. Stop it, boomed Tara frightening the life out of Cyrus and the driver and the taxi came to a screeching halt instantly. Looking out of the window… Rajeev, Rajeev blurted Tara…
Read the next post by Parichita here...

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”
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