The other day, our house maid had quit and my wife was looking around for a replacement. With the dearth of blue collared workers, we knew it was going to be a long and hard grind ahead.A two pronged strategy was chalked out as a BCP (Business Continuity Plan). a) Check with the cook if she would double up as a housemaid for the extra wages until a replacement was found b) Everyone chips in with their bit (do their own bed, dishes, rooms and equipment) until the replacement comes in
Option a) as expected was shot down by the cook, even before it was explained in full, for the extra wages were unimportant compared to other priorities.
Option b) was enforced at home, like an emergency declared across the country. The first day started in right earnest with a whole set of learning from folding the rug to fluffing the pillow. When the coffee mug arrived, the thought of cleaning it actually took the zing out of the drink and my attempts at stowing the mug away after a quick rinse was caught by the wifey. The same was repeated after breakfast, where the soup bowl, the plates and spoons used needed to be cleaned. By the time I was done, I had figured out that you don’t get anything clean, without something else getting dirty – in this case, Me!.
My daughter was faring no better. Her idea of making a bed always was to spread out the blanket. Her style of cleaning plates and spoons was to dump them into the sink and turn on the tap. Collin, Mr.Clean, Dr.Scrub, etc were medival torture chamber weaponry. Her idea of cleaning her room was even better. If guests were coming on a visit, all the mess in the room which included ipods, ipads, clips, watches, dryers were all dumped on the bed and covered with a blanket, the clutter hidden from view. If guests were coming over to stay, dump all of those in her study room and lock the door. Her idea of room cleaning is to sweep the room – with a glance. Plan B was a rude shock and awakening for her. Her efforts to skip the dishes were brushed aside by a song from my wife: I like hugs and I like kisses, but what I really love is - help with your dishes!
A couple of weeks later, there was still no sign of the replacement (or was Wifey actually delaying it to get even with us?). Realization began to dawn on multiple fronts. For example, we began to realize that Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it. My daughter is convinced that Housework is the reason why most women go to the office. Reluctantly, we went about it, while my conscience was singing - Some days you are the pigeon. Some days you are the statue.
Finally, we found a replacement, who had one look at my daughter’s room and said: -This mess is a place!
Mark Davidar, a blessed son of the well-known
conservationist E.R.C Davidar is no more.
Rivaldo, his most cherished
tusker will miss him more than anyone else. Having lost a good portion of his
cheek and trunk to heartless poachers, Rivaldo was all at bay, when Mark
decided to take care of him, and the rest is history.
Though fortunate to have spent a bit of
time during my visits to his wonderful place, it took me a long time to see
beneath and beyond Mark's complex, sometimes intimidating yet mature persona. Yes, he had a short fuse, true the huge
influence of alcohol was disturbing, agreed that his profanities (especially
when drunk) were annoying, yet here was a simple man, with a mature head on his
frail shoulders. A man who had an uncanny ability to have a serene, calming
approach to the wildest of the wild, and a love for the wilderness which is simply unmatched even today.
A wonderful human being, like his
illustrious father, Mark was a great lover of the wild from his e…
The wilderness has been my second home since my teens and among the long wish list of animals to be photographed, the pride of the place was obviously the Black Panther in the wild. Over the 3 decades of wild life photography across the world, the list had considerably shrunk to just a handful and yet the ‘Ghost of the Jungle’ remained the most elusive.
August 6, 2017 would be etched in golden letters in my memory. My family and a few friends were on our last Morning Safari of our holiday at Kabini, which had been a great one for the previous days were filled with action including the elusive Tigers and Dholes.
The morning was a bit cloudy as we set out on a Jeep Safari
into Zone A of the jungle. Hardly 10 minutes in, we heard a clear Langur warning call. Switching off the engines, checking for the direction of the call and the wind direction, we waited in silence, when a message from the jeep ahead confirmed the call and the spotting of BLACK !!! the infamous code for the Black Pant…
Friday, the 12th of July would be etched in our
memories for long. This would be especially significant for Suresh and Deepa,
who probably have had their first such experience.
For me, Lalli (Wife) and
Vaishu(Daughter) being frequent jungle goers and experiencing such incidents,
we were quite used to this though this was possibly one of the closest we came
to a brush with disaster.
It was a cloudy evening as Suresh, Deepa, Lalli, Sanjeet (a
fellow wildlife photographer) and me along with a naturalist from Jungle Lodges
Resort set out for an evening Safari. As
we entered the Mysore – Kerala road stretch, we were greeted by Langurs,
Cheetal and even a Crested Serpent Eagle. Turning into Zone A in front of the
forest office, we ambled along past the first salt pit to the right, when we
saw a jeep in front of us signaling a ‘T’ (the left hand horizontal to the
ground and the right under it on a vertical position – similar to the timeout
sign or the decision review sign used by cricket …