Posts

Water Birds of Bhopal: Shahpura Diaries

Image
Water Birds of Bhopal: Shahpura DiariesMeghna ‘Phoenix’ Ghatak
Every Bhopal dweller who has to commute between Manisha Market, Chunnabhatti, Kolar Road and MP Pollution Control Board, has to cross this man made water body that sits like a bowl collecting rain and sewage water. Surrounded by ornamental palm trees amidst busy traffic flowing from the B and C sectors of Arera Hills and Shahpura Area, the lake is also used for agriculture and aquaculture purposes post its construction in 1974-75. Morning and evening walks in the parks adjacent to the lake, known as Bhagwan Rhishabhdev Udhyan, brimming with young families and energetic toddlers, pushing plastic balls around, is incomplete without staring at the sky changing colors over the still steely hued water. My personal endeavor had been this past ten years, to buy a packet or two of bread from a neighboring Sanchi Milk Store and to drop the bread in the water granule by granule. Schools of fish clamor to gobble them up and chase at e…

Ban Jallikattu or Ban Ban Jallikattu?

Image
Ban Jallikattu or Ban Ban Jallikattu?
Meghna ‘Phoenix’ Ghatak


The demonstration of domination of a ‘supposedly’ untamed beast to cheering spectators has always boosted the ego of men since the initial establishment of human settlements. While in ancient India, Harappan seals indicate the presence of a bull taming ritual, American settlements in Arizona has been celebrating ostrich racing festivals since the very start and wild west still celebrates bareback bronc riding. All of these historic events have faced criticism from animal welfare activists internationally as bulls, ostriches and horses are broken by professional/amateur riders, by hanging on to their bodies in a stubborn manner. Participants in these sports have precariously risked serious injury as well as death to emerge victorious over the scared, jittery beasts with rules meant to favor the humans. 
In all of the forms of rodeo sports, the said animal(s) is/are released onto the participants, or an arena with/without a jock…

Australia and Amazon Forest Fires: Cheering the Champions

Image
Australia and Amazon Forest Fires: Cheering the Champions  Meghna ‘Phoenix’ Ghatak   2019 has been the year of the forest fires where dry season and droughts led to the biggest damage to Earth’s lungs. Naturally forest and bush fires happen and are subject to a lot of folklore around the world as ignis fatuus (fool’s fire) where dry grass along with atmospheric combustion of gases lead to ghostly flames. They are the commonest ways of clearing out a wooded area for agricultural, mining and housing activities which had already depleted the Amazon’s forest cover and its supply of indigenous natural beauty. This method has been practiced by man to satisfy his greed for so long that it has actually been depicted in Mahabharat as the burning of Khandava forest to build the Indraprasta palace for the Pandavas. Apparently, the god of fire asked to be appeased in exchange for ethereal weapons, an entire community of Nagas perished and only selected creatures survived to provide for the const…

Bhopal Pedigreed Dog and Cat Show 2019

Image
Bhopal Pedigreed Dog and Cat Show 2019Meghna ‘Phoenix’ Ghatak
As the year draws to a close, we realize that we will soon enter a new decade of the 21st century. The weather is cold in most parts of India and central India’s Bhopal is no less bearing the brunt of the icy breeze. Yet Hoshangabad Road saw a lot of footfall on Sunday afternoon in a garden opposite Scope College where Kennel Club of Bhopal and Feline Club of India jointly organized 9th and 10th All Breed Championship Dog Show with Labrador retriever Specialty as well as 7th and 8th Championship Cat Shows, (Central Zone). Both the events were jointly advertised as Bhopal Pet Show with exotic birds and animal display and took place on 29th December, 2019. 
The garden was decked with stalls selling pet food and supplies that the audience had to gain access to after paying a basic fee at the entrance. The dog show area was crowded with dog lovers awing at the dogs waiting for their turn in the championship and owners happily obl…

Hagrid : The Unsung Animal Welfare Activist

Image
Hagrid: The Unsung Animal Welfare Activist Meghna 'Phoenix' Ghatak Harry Potter has been an inseparable part of many a millennial's life since 1997 when the first book came out or latest when the first movie was released in 2001. The scar faced boy with round glasses became a household name in India and kids like me hid his tales between our school books and devoured them over and over. Now 500 million and counting worldwide fans recognize with this benevolent boy and his gang so much so that their merchandise simply fly off the shelves. But did you know that Rubeus Hagrid, a half giant who is a gamekeeper and Keeper of Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts, is an animal welfare activist and an unsung one at that. He has, throughout the books, made the lives of many a magical beasts' lives better by simply treating them better and providing better habitats for them. Here are three such selfless examples set by Hagrid.
1. Norbert: the Norwegian Ridgeback Dragon - Hagrid acquired …

Get Cosy at India’s 2nd Cat Café in Delhi: Catsville Le Café

Image
Get Cosy at India’s 2nd Cat Café in Delhi: Catsville Le CaféMeghna ‘Phoenix’ Ghatak
If you are a cat person living in Delhi or perhaps visiting Delhi and have time to kill, visit India’s second cat café – Catsville Le Café.A 15 minute auto ride from Hauz Khas metro station, alighting at Deer Park and then a 10 minute walk will take you to 29 A, where on the 2nd floor rest tabby cats of all hues. 

After paying an entry fee, one has to tackle the escape artists at the door to enter the ‘meow zone’ fitted with mazes and bridges, scratching pads and sleeping pods. Eager noses sniff you closely as you make your way towards the sofas and seats to silently squeal at their multicolored cuteness. The cats willingly play with the stuffed mice scattered everywhere and enthusiastically chase the spring toys directed by you. While most customers darted around the cats bouncing off the walls, the quietest members of Team Pawcept found solace in petting kittens nestled in cat houses. It’s a delight to…

The Flattering Fauna of Banasthali University: A Student's Review

Image
The Flattering Fauna of Banasthali University: 
A Student's Review Meghna 'Phoenix' Ghatak



Banasthali University or Banasthali Vidyapeeth is a women only, deemed university established in 1935 by Rajasthan's first chief minister, Pandit Hiralal Shastri. Lovingly known as Apaji; he,his wife, Ratan and daughter, Shanta dedicated their lives to rural reconstruction in Banasthali, a town in Tonk district, near Niwai approximately 72kms southwest of Jaipur. Here, Apaji and Shantabai handcrafted an educational institute for women, brick by brick initially known as ' Jeevan Kutir' that today provides affordable education to girls from provinces with little or less educational opportunities. Unfortunately, Shantabai passed away at the mere age of 12 but her mission lives on, as myriads of Shantas are trained to pass the legacy to the next Shantas.



Today, one simply has to book a train ticket to Banasthali-Niwai railway station or take a Rajasthan roadways bus from Jaipu…