Horn OK Please ….

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With the ambient temperature at 36 degrees, Cauvery water supplied once in a week and daily power-cuts by Bescom, we are left in no doubt that summer is here. It seems a bit ridiculous that one would choose to spend the whole day outside, roasting slowly in the sun, but the fact is that summer is a good time for birders. The trees are bare, birds are easier to sight and shoot, and summer is breeding season for many species.

One bird that breeds in the summer is the Indian grey hornbill, Ocyceros birostris. The members of the Bucerotidae family sport a prominent casque or a horn on their beaks. The term ‘ buceros’ means cow horn in Greek.

Hornbills are generally monogamous, meaning that they mate for life (unlike humans). They nest in holes or large cavities in trees. The female prepares the nest by lining it with mud and lays it eggs inside. She then seals herself inside, with just her beak poking out.  She remains sealed in until the eggs hatch and the fledglings are old enough to come out. Till then, the faithful male feeds her and the chicks. Hornbills feed on fruits, insects, molluscs and sometimes small birds.

I snapped this hornbill pair setting up home in a dried-up tree at Kokrebellur, about 120 km from Bangalore. Their grey plumage blends in perfectly with the surrounding bark, making them very difficult to spot and photograph.

Let’s hope they have a long and happy married life!

Cheers … Srini.

Vishnu’s vehicle …

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The Brahminy kite is a familiar sight in our skies. Its systematic name is Haliastur indus. The term ‘haliastur’ means ‘whistler’. The Brahminy kite does have a call that sounds like a hoarse whistle.

In Hindu scriptures, this diurnal raptor represents Garuda, Vishnu’s mount. The Garuda is the official bird of Indonesia’s capital city and lends its name to the national airline of that country.

The bird is also known as the Red-backed sea eagle in Australia. The Langkawi archipelago, off the coast of Malaysia, is named after the Brahminy kite. ‘Langkawi’ means reddish-brown eagle in colloquial Malay.

The adult Brahminy kite has a distinguished plumage that sets it apart from the other urban raptors. It generally feeds on fish, crabs and frogs, and usually nests on trees near waterbodies. When necessary, it will scavenge for food at harbors, slaughter-houses and fish shops.

Cheers … Srini.

Six utterly brainless but eternal Bollywood plots … or Picture abhi baaki hai.

Trishul-19781Before watching a Bollywood movie, leave your brains at home. Bollywood’s plots do not challenge your intelligence, and they have remained unchanged since the days of Dadasaheb Phalke. Here are six such undying plots. With minor variations, you will see these eternal classics in almost any Bolly movie.

1) The Incredibly Accurate Tactile Pregnancy Test, or, ‘Mubarak ho …’

In the middle of her marriage ceremony, the heroine swoons. A doctor is readily available on the spot. He lightly touches swooned heroine on her wrist and loudly announces, “Mubarak ho. Yeh maa banne waali hai”.

Pandemonium breaks out, the groom and his father are livid, the bride’s father gets a fatal heart attack, the bride’s boyfriend is revealed as the impregnator and is beaten to a pulp and dumped into river. Impregnated heroine raises out-of-wedlock child by washing vessels, swabbing floors or building massive buildings with bare hands. Out-of-wedlock child becomes grim loner and plots deadly revenge. After two decades, pulped boyfriend returns as an internationally famous multi-billionaire, sees the girlfriend he impregnated begging outside a temple. Tearful reunion follows. Unfortunately, hero is already married and has several legitimate children. Hero tries to keep his two families separate, but violent clashes occur, leading to the aged hero’s grievous injury or heart attack. Pending issues are hastily resolved between warring families and a hasty reconciliation follows, just as hero breathes his last.

2) The Fantastic Total Eye Transplant, or, ‘Ab dheere dheere ankhen kholiye’.anuraag_1326889403

Hero has sister/mother/helpless friend who is blind. The eye specialist demands an astronomical sum to restore eyesight. Hero goes on a looting spree, but takes care to steal only from the rich and corrupt, gets caught by the cops, and is shot or hanged. Before he dies, he ensures that his eyes are donated to blind sister/mother/friend. In a simple one-minute operation, the eye doctor performs the world’s first double total eye transplant.

After healing within twenty four hours, and opening eyes slowly, slowly as ordered by doctor, the fortunate recipient demands to see the hero first, only to be shown a large photo of late hero with a garland around it. Recipient bursts into tears, and is promptly shown a letter by late hero stating that he did not donate eyes for the purpose of crying. Recipient then smiles bravely and goes on to become a major success in life.

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3) The Vein to Vein Direct Blood Transfusion, or, ‘Khoon khoon hota hai, paani nahi’.

Elderly woman is in critical condition, following horrific road accident. Victim has a rare blood type, that is unheard of in medical history and is to be found only in the victim’s offspring, all of whom have been missing since decades. Turns out however, that the doctor’s chaiwallah has the same blood group. And chaiwallah in turn knows a friend with the same blood group. And that friend in turn has a neighbor with that very blood group, and so on. All blood donors are rushed to hospital and doctor saves victim’s life by directly transferring blood from donors to victim with some plastic tubes. After elderly woman sucks up enough blood, she stages a full recovery. It occurs to no one that donors and recipient might be related, and they go their separate ways. They all stumble on the truth at the very end of the movie. On the way, the long-lost offspring demolish the villains who were responsible for offspring becoming long-lost, and pick up brides/grooms, to save the elderly mother the trouble of getting them married off.

4) The Mind-boggling Divine Restoration, or, ‘Patient ko dava nahin, dua ki zaroorat hai’.Deewar

Impoverished hero has a parent with a terrifying incurable disease like cancer/weak heart/renal failure/paralysis/all of these. Hero decides to become deadly criminal to make enough money to save loved one. Impoverished hero turned deadly criminal meets decent girl who teaches him the error of his ways with one or two inspirational songs. Reformed hero takes decent girl home to seek dying parent’s blessings for marriage, and finds that parent is struggling for life in hospital. Reformed hero has no money in hand, since he gave back all that he stole, thanks to his decent girl friend. Penniless hero cannot afford pharmaceutical products, and so he rushes to nearest religious shrine, where he delivers a stirring tirade against the resident deity or performs a very vigorous devotional dance number that culminates in bells clanging, thunder and lightning, earth shaking, and complete recovery of dying parent. Marriage between hero and decent girl then ensues.

With appropriate modifications, the same plot applies in case of impoverished heroine with dying parent. Except that, instead of becoming a deadly criminal, the impoverished heroine decides to sell herself to leering, pot-bellied businessmen.

5) The Even more Mind-boggling Divine Reunion, or, ‘Bhagwan tera laakh laakh shukar hai’.yaadon-ki-baarat-wallpaper

Law-abiding parents with multiple offspring lead a blissful life in a cute cottage. One fine day, parents teach offspring their family’s signature song, just in case they get separated in the near future. Alternatively, they give each child one piece of a precious heirloom that must be worn around the neck at all times. Parents’ foresight proves sensible. One day later, they are slain by intruders. Children get dispersed across the nation, each is conveniently found and raised by nice couples who are conveniently childless themselves. Children grow up, all move to Bombay, and take up residences within walking distance of each other. So happens that all the villains who dispersed the children are also in Bombay, also within walking distance of each other. Eventually, villains and dispersed children wind up in the same room, children exchange verses of their signature song or join up their pieces of the family heirloom, and then proceed to slaughter villains, following which they saunter off into the sunset, without worrying about minor issues like the police and the law.

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6) The Justice-seeking Relentless Reincarnation, or, “Janam janam ka saath hai”.

My personal favorite this. Nasty, greedy zamindar or lustful king casts his evil eyes on hapless hero’s real estate or his curvaceous girlfriend’s curves. Curvy girlfriend is molested or jumps off a cliff to prevent molestation, while hero is beaten, burnt, buried under rubble or meets a similar agonising death. An instant before agonising death, hero and/or girlfriend snarl at the villain and promise to return in the next life and keep returning in subsequent lives until justice is done.

A few years later, hero and curvy girlfriend reincarnate, and live in different parts of the country.

The reincarnated protagonists do not remember who they are, and lead normal lives. Until one day, due to a knock on the head, or a similar traumatising mechanism, they suddenly recollect intimate details about their past life. Then they both revisit the place of their death and proceed to search for the villain, who is now an aged man but still a lecher and a creep nevertheless. A ferocious showdown occurs and the villain is usually killed off by a chandelier or something equally heavy falling on his head or by impaling himself on a sharp object, so that the hero has no legal consequences.

Reincarnated hero and heroine then proceed to consummate their undying relationship and, presumably, stop reincarnating themselves henceforth.

Mix and match these plots in any manner you please, throw in an item number by Katrina Kaif or Mallika Sherawat, and you can become a famous movie maker yourself. If SRK can, so can you!

Cheers … Srini.