Thursday, November 28, 2013

A pet to man but enemy to snake - the Mongoose!

In my school days, I have heard my elders tell stories about mongoose apart from that popular story, 'Riki-Tikki-Tavi.' One of such stories is here: the mongoose stole daily a hen from the hen house and left out the hen's body after eating its brain! It simply entered into the hen house burrowing down the earth next to the fence!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The hero of the night's sky - the Moon!

Mothers introduce our Moon to their children in their infancy itself: as they feed them each day with the dinner food, they point out at the serene moon. In the night's sky the moon is the sole attracting object than anything else. Each night it presents a new shape of its phases, that too at different times! It plays such for the kids, attracting them towards it :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grey bug of moisture - the Woodlouse!

Whenever I get some itchy skin rashes, my mother attributed it to the bite of a bug. Wondering about what it could be, I searched for it near me; but could not find one. One day my mother pointed out to that bug: it was greyish on its back and whitish underneath; its body was segmented; it was about 6mm in length.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An alert about Elephants in Musth!

In my boyhood days we were cheered up by elders about elephants approaching us in the street whenever we heard its chiming bells. We rushed out to see these trained elephants with the mahout, the trainer, mounted on it. We also had heard about the stray incidents of such elephants turning aggressive suddenly, and thrashing down the mahout to death. We call these beasts as 'Madham pidditha Yanai' in Tamil; this violent nature of them though temporary is devastating to all those nearby. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Viewing wonders big with this Lens!

Whenever I see hand lenses, I am reminded of my father using it to read fine prints - moving/focusing it towards and away. And also of my experiments with it in my boyhood days. Then I focused a lens on the house wall to get the inverted image of the windows! I tried also to make a camera with it, and a negative film of the inverted windows' image! With it I even viewed film strips on dark room wall using battery light as light source! I also used it outdoors on a piece of paper or a wisp of cotton to burn them - by sharp focusing of sun rays!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Double pump of love, the Heart!

There is a double pump that receives fluid from various places and pumps it to be purified. And at the same time it receives also already purified fluid and pumps it to those various places. This pump is our wonderful Heart pumping the fluid, the blood!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vineyard Snail is to nail you in wonder!

In school days, I found often shells of snails stuck to the stems of bushy plants. I thought they are the shells of dead snails. Then, I tried hardly to remove one of them from the plant's stem till it give in. On inspection of its mouth I found a white paper-like structure closing it. I pierced it with a stick to strip it off. To my surprise there was the snail still alive, retracting itself further into the shell! This snail is the Vineyard Snail (Cernuella virgata or Hellicella virgata , 'Natthai' in Tamil).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An evil bird? No, a wise Owl!

Then, in the heart of  our town we didn't hear any sounds overnight during our sleep. There were no disturbances except for an occasional terrorizing sound - the screeching of owls! We consider here the owl's sounds heard at midnight as portending the presence of ghosts, and a bad omen. But in the modern West and the ancient Greece it is considered as to be a wise bird! What we see here in our town itself is the Spotted Owlet (Athene brama, 'Aanthai' in Tamil). It is a small bird of prey having the size of a dove. It is totally nocturnal.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sacred power with Bael Tree!

In my younger days, whenever I went to a temple, I noticed that there is a prickly tree in its courtyard. It bore oval-shaped fruits that resembled a Sapota fruit or an Elephant apple ('Vilaampalzham' in Tamil). On inquiring the elders about it, I was informed that it is the tree that bears the leaves which are used in the worship of the God, Shiva. And that it is not a sapota or elephant apple bearing tree. Then what is it?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

'Moving planet' - the International Space Station!

In our school days, we used to track any rare aeroplane that we spot on our skies with its booming sound. We shouted at the sighting of it to alert all other fellow students to view it. Now, it is needless to say about the reactions of sighting of a 'planet' that moves like an UFO! As I alerted about its visit this month, both adults and children reported back about its visit with awe. What is this moving 'planet'?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stung by Paper Wasps!

Recently, I was stung twice by wasps unusually. I got the second stinging when I tested the wasps whether they differentiate between my body odours or between the colours of my dress. The result of the test, apart from having a stinging, is only that the wasps have become aggressive recently! This kind of wasp is the Paper Wasp (Ropalidia marginata, Vespa ferruginea, 'Sengulavi' in Tamil). These social wasps are much different from other wasps. I find them often build nests in the dark undisturbed storerooms, inside rain water pipes and also even inside the bedrooms!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Birds take to Sand Bathing!

At my younger age, we walked on at evenings to the outskirts of our town, where the railway station is situated. At such one bright evening we saw sparrows fly down to the sandy path that we tread on. They sat on the ground and began to flap their wings to get sand all over their body! This continued on for sometime when another flock of sparrows joined them in doing it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Delicacy for man and the microbe, the Agar-Agar!

Kids in 1970s enjoyed their summer holidays freed from the school classes and exams. I enjoyed a vacation by doing a small business :) I bought a few grams of a white substance from the mall, ground it into powder; soaked it overnight in a plate full of water. At morning I was delighted to see the plate full of a jelly-like delicacy. I added colourant and sugar to it and then, the delicacy was ready for sales to the boys and girls! What is that substance that I used?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A snake can save you!

Yes, snake's venom can save a person from diseases such as Diabetes mellitus! After venom is secreted in venom glands and it remained unused, where does it go then? Or what happens to it?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Blood siphoning worm, the Leech!

Some years back we went on a trekking through the coffee plantations in Western Ghats (Lower Palani Hills range). After returning back to our residence, we noticed that each one of us having a black sac-like thing on our legs! Blood was oozing out from that spot. We had been bitten by Leeches (Haemadipsa sylvestris, Indian Leech, Terrestrial Leech, 'Attai' in Tamil).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A live bio-audio player - Lyrebird!

At my younger age there was gossip in our group about ghosts' voices that were heard at nights demanding delicacies from the passersby. Now, I wonder whether it could have been the mimicked sounds of a bird! Here, in South India, mynahs and black drongos mimic and then forget the sounds instantly. But it is said that there is a bird that records, remembers and repeats sounds that it heard 30 years back!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The worst wonder weed - Parthenium Weed!

While I was strolling around in my garden I found a carrot plant grown up by itself! I had not sown any carrot seed earlier. I left it as such to get carrot from it. But as it grew up, it had only a straight stem with smaller leaves unlike that of a carrot plant. It also started to bloom differently.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A flower on Martian surface!

We go on trekking to explore about animals or birds in the wild nature. Our such exploration extends also to other planets and moons. But here we include also extra-terrestrial living things, that are similar to us, the human beings. Over the years, we read and heard the news that signs of life, like water etc. does exist in other planets and moons. Recently, in December 2012 it has been reported in the news that a flower is found on the surface of Mars - a Martian Flower!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tender wonder, the Silverfish!

In 1960s, I observed some creatures creeping  on the wall of our house. When I tried to catch them, they ran and escaped behind wall-hanging calendars. Even if I caught one of them gently, it slipped away to safety leaving behind a silvery white powder on my fingers - just like a moth leaves its scales! It is the Silverfish (Lepisma saccharina, Fishmoth, 'Velli poochi' in Tamil).
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