Saturday, 23 April 2011

Butterflies...of Kerala 2

The Common Indian Crow, Euploea Core

The Common Crow (Euploea core) is a common butterfly found in South Asia. In India it is also sometimes referred to as the Common Indian Crow, and in Australia as the Australian Crow. It belongs to the Crows and Tigers subfamily of the Nymphalidae (Brushfooted butterflies).

It is found everywhere in India right up into the mountains till 8000 feet. Occasionally it swarms in the low wet jungles of South India due to the abundance of its food plants which are spread over three orders of plants.

The Common Crow is the most common representative of its genus Euploea. Like the Tigers (genus Danaus), the Crows are inedible and thus mimicked by other Indian butterflies.

The Common Crow (Euploea core) is a glossy black butterfly with brown underside with white marks along the outer margins of the wing. The wingspan is about 8-9 cm and the body also has prominent white spots. 

Upper side dark brown,broadly paler along terminal margins. Fore and hind wing with sub terminal and terminal series of white spots; on fore wing spots more or less oval, curved inwards opposite apex, the latter series often incomplete, not reaching apex, the spots smaller; often there is a small costal spot, and very rarely a spot in apex of cell and one or more discal spots; on the hind wing the inner series of spots are elongate, the outer conical. Underside is similar, but ground-colour is more uniform; cell, costal and discal spots on both for and hind wing nearly always present.

It is found everywhere in India right up into the mountains till 8000 feet. Occasionally it swarms in the low wet jungles of South India due to the abundance of its food plants which are spread over three orders of plants.

Butterflies...of Kerala 1

The Crimson Rose (Pachliopta hector)
A large swallowtail butterfly belonging to the subgenus Pachliopta (Roses) of the Red-bodied Swallowtails (genus Atrophaneura)
It is found in India and Sri Lanka and possibly the coast of western Myanmar.
In India, it is found in the Western Ghats, southern India (Kerala), eastern India (West Bengal and Orissa) and the Andaman Islands. Generally common and not known to be threatened. It is common all along the Western Ghats up to Maharashtra but rare in Gujarat. Protected by law in India.

This butterfly is at home both in jungle and in open country. During the dry season, it will be found up to 8000 feet (2400 m) in South India, but it is found all the year round at lower elevations.

A very striking looking tailed butterfly with prominent white bands on its forewings. The Crimson Rose is very fond of flowers especially Lantana. Nectar appears to be essential for the butterfly and a higher nectar intake is thought to increase egg production.

Close to the ground, the flight of the Crimson Rose is slow and fluttering but steady. At greater heights, it flies faster and stronger. It basks with its wings spread flat, sometimes in small congregations at heights of 10 to 15 metres up in the trees.

The butterfly often roosts for the night in large companies on the twigs and branches of trees and shrubs. When resting the butterfly draws its forewings halfway between the hind wings. The butterfly sleeps on slanting outstretched branches or twigs of trees or bushes.
The most striking aspect of the butterflies behaviour is its strong migratory tendencies. During the peak of its season, several thousands of Crimson Roses can be found congregating and then they begin migrating to other areas.

Village People..Some people I came across during ma travels...

Pillai chetan, the loyal 'karyasthan' of a famous household in Champakulam

Tears are filling his eyes..Memories of the past came haunting his conscience

Subrahmanion, the oldest member of the Shaliyar community..The Balaramapuram Hndloom industry is on its dwindle and will soon be fading into oblivion.

Susheelan, one among the two remaining traditional pit loom weavers in the Shaliyar community..Balaramapuram Handloom will die out after this generation... Yes, their days are numbered, so is the fate of our proud kaithari..

Mottled umbrella gives a stark reminder  to his monochromatic life. A hard life has eroded the colours off his  core.

Through the villages...

Here I go..away from the hectic city life, to the outskirts and villages. Some clicks i could manage through ma peregrinations...

An otta muri chayakada at Vilapilsala

Waiting for it's turn, Champakulam
A class room from our old movies, found this classroom near Nellimoodu

Light seeping into a small chayakada, Vilapilsala

Crossing Pampa, Champakulam

Idanazhiyil koode.....

Free milkshake to quench your thirst

A group of socially committed people named the ‘Chalai brothers’ provide milkshake / sambharam / water free of cost to everyone coming to Chalai market in Trivandrum.

We are just halfway through the month of March, but the temperature is already a blistering 35C. Predictions are that in the next few weeks it might even go as high as 38C. Tiring for anyone living in the capital city.  Imagine ourselves shopping in a busy market place with the sun on top of our heads! A pretty irking situation naa?…now imagine that you are one of the traders or laborers working in the market or an aged man caught in the heat of the mid-day sales (or mid-day sun). Dehydration, sweat, tiredness, anger and what not. A glass of cold water can bring some comfort to our sapped vitality. Instead if we are given cool drinks or badam  milk, we can’t help a smile appearing on our heat-dried lips! Lets meet a group of ordinary people doing this noble deed for free for the last one year.
Chalai market, 12pm, the roads are busy as usual, sales and shouts on a ceaseless pace, sun is glowing ever brighter over our heads letting no one escape the relentless heat…yes, everyone is tired and down..But the flow is unending! And over there, a throng of people- young and old, purveyors and punters, men and women waiting for their turn. A group of people are serving them with cold bedam milk. Smiling are the ones who got their share of bedam milk, happy and thankful. The sad kids are smiling again, the tired sellers are energetic again, the general mood is happy again. This is not an apparition, this is an everyday picture of the Chalai market- thanks to a  group  of socially committed men who call themselves the ‘Chalai Brothers’.

A group of 10 people who doesn’t want to reveal their identity forms the Chalai brothers. For the last one year, they have been providing juice/ water free of cost to everyone coming to the market from noon to 2pm. Mostly they do this 3 days a week- Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. One day it is mooru/sambharam, next day rasna/drinks,  another day bedam-milk or pista-shake. About 700-1000 cups are provided per day. “Per day expense comes around Rs.1300, and the 10 of us share this expense equally between us. Once in a while some kind-hearted customers give us small amounts to help us with this”- said one of the brethren.

“We aren't doing this thing for any publicity or profit, but to serve the ordinary men in small ways possible to us. But we wish other people out there in another parts of the city to come forward with something like this and serve the common people, then our place can be a much better place”- said another member of the  brotherhood.

“The rich and young people of this generation are only concerned about their fortunes; they are not concerned about the lives of others- their fellow human beings. There are so many ways in which they can help others, not necessarily very big things, but even small deeds like this. And they can help bring a smile to the faces of many”- expresses another member of this group.

You don’t have to be a keen observer of the subtle nuances of our fellows to understand their problems, just have an open mind and an open eye. There are so many things worthwhile and interesting happening out there. And through our subtle deeds of kindness we can bring smiles to many lives out there. Have a go, see smiles galore!...

ps: this was written a month back..:)

Sasneham Oru Vishu Kaineetam

Pediatric ward of RCC enjoyed and assuaged under the spell of Sasneham group.

Once again the paediatric ward was filled with laughter and happiness. This Vishu too, claps and merriment resonated in the otherwise gloomy and sepulchral Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) Paediatric ward. A place where pessimism is so commonplace, that the antipodal state of optimism is nearly forgotten, was shrouded for once with optimism and hope. ‘Sasneham’, a community of G. Venugopal fans under the auspices of Malayalam’s favorite singer himself and veteran actor Jagadeesh celebrated Vishu with the kids, parents and staff of the paediatric department. Joyous voices of singing and mimicry reverberated in the paediatric ward.
A happy cherub receiving her Vishukaineetam
Inside the ward, curled down on their beds or slumped against their mother’s lap the kids looked apathetic. But when their favorite stars showed up on the ward, a shimmer of happiness appeared on the eyes of wearied kids with exposed heads. It soon turned into a smile as they received ‘Vishu Kaineetam’ from their much loved ‘Echoose Me’ uncle and ‘Unarumee Gaanam’ singer Venu Chetan. The kids and their parents wanted to have pictures and they were not left disheartened as they all had their chance to pose gleefully with their loved stars.
This was followed by a cultural eve on the paediatric ward foyer. Renowned mimicry artist Sabu Thiruvalla , Manoj (Idea Star Singer Program Producer and Singer), Vivekanadan (Idea Star Singer Fame), Baby Athira Murali (Munch Star Singer Fame) and playbacks Divya and Saritha made the eve a memorable one with Venugopal and Jagadeesh. Dr. Kusuma Kumari, Chief Paediatrician, RCC, with her quick wits and exuberance supported by ‘Sasneham’ volunteers Gireesh and Manoj made sure that the kids were left with a treasure chest of beautiful memories.
Manoj with a kid
‘Rainbow’; a collection of poems, drawings and short stories by kids and staff of paediatric ward was released during the event with the first copy being handed over to Jagadeesh by Venugopal. 
“I want to tell our people to come and see the children here. It makes us forget the 'we' in us. For once we forget about ourselves. Physical presence is very important to these kids. One should come here and be present for them.”- Said an impassioned Venugopal during his speech. “Today Vishu has got a meaning in my life”- expressed an emotional Sabu Thiruvalla during his performance.
Sasneham has been organising events for the children at the paediatric ward in RCC on Saturdays, with the help of Dr. Kusuma Kumari. Through events like singing, drawing, painting, mimicry, clay modeling and magic show they try to bring some fun and happiness to the children's lives. Last Vishu too, the group organized a cultural event for the kids.
Jagadeesh with his sense of humour filled the place with laughter and sang the melody ‘Sruthiyil Ninnuyarum Nadha Salabhangale‘ for the kids. Then it was Sabus turn to enthrall the kids with his mimicry performance. The kids had a joyride with all their loved film stars and politicians. Songs by Venugopal, Saritha and Divya carried away the woes and worries of the spectators. Manoj and Vivekanadan with their powerful singing made the kids dance on the foyer.
An engrossed kid.

Let us support these kids through our prayers and presence. It would be worthwhile to spend an hour of our busy schedule with people like this. In our fast paced, competitive life, we tend to forget about others, but amidst all this there are people who do selfless deeds, trying to make a difference. Many a times, the patients and their family’s optimisms are flagged and they lose hope. A support group can really make a difference. May be we can keep the cherubs face radiant with a smile on their way through the ordeal.