Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Peelu and Those Yellow Vented Bulbuls

The last time i visited Rajasthan it was done with a desire to trace my roots. Mharo des Marwar ( Marwar My Country My Home) was the calling.  The roots of my very own 'Rathore' Clan of heroic Rajputs hail from the land that sings of their bravery as well as of all the betrayals and treacherous deeds of the traitors who plotted against each other and did i trace my roots out there i guess not. Instead i got caught up in retrieving in my mind's eye all of the lost glory of the Golden city Jaisalmer i could afford to in my brief sojourn and went chasing the glorious visions that have braved the test of times. Although it was rather disheartening to feel that much more is getting eroded rather faster than one can even imagine mainly due to human neglect, ignorance and disrespect and that too from none other but from our own country folks. However what i came back with was a pleasant sense of accomplishment of having been to the land of my forefathers. i loved the brilliant colors and getting the whiff of the dry earthy smell which wherever i went i found was also laced with a faint smell of some kind of spice, Sometimes chillies that is roasted in hot oil and other times a faint aroma of asafoetida which wafted out and mingled with the atmosphere making me feel like grabbing some food, and thus so savored the awesome local cuisine that i would never be able to conjure up no matter what in Delhi even if i tried to (for i did get the recipe and the ingredients) because it's not only the hands that cook or the correct amount of spices that needs to be sprinkled in but it's also got to do with the place, the soil the air and everything of that place. At least that's what i feel. Why then the vada pao never feels uniquely tasty if it is eaten in Delhi. i guess the air, the soil the atmosphere plus something extra or everything goes into making that dish taste special...and i call it regional. Don't believe me then try and make the oh so common Rajasthani  Kair Sangri  following line by line the recipe that was handed out to you and then eat it. It will never be as it was when you had in that Guda Bishnoi me on this...
Sry i digressed but i always do...

So the one vision that remains implanted in this tree loving mind's eye of mine is that of Rohido, as they locally call Rohida of Tecomella undulata.

This time my mind got stuck on a particular ruby tree in Jodhpur. i had just finished what i had to of Umaid Bhawan Palace of that part which is open to visitors and was taking my time to admire the areas around at least that part which was permitted for visitors to roam around freely when my eyes caught on to something that shone like a ruby from one of those green bushes that hung about the precincts of the wide campus that surrounds Umaid Bhawan Palace. And up close and personal with those rubies gave me some serious thoughts and they are few but serious enough that require attention so i can enlist them quickly.
a) If you need a good zoom lens then get one. It's such a shame to miss amazing shots just because your own a camera that does not have sufficient zoom.
b) Even after having a good and heavy Rajasthani meal certain things just look just too delectable...too juicy... and you just want to grab them and put them in your mouth even when you have no frigging idea about it's edibility and even when your stomach can't even take air.
But however irresistible a fruit might look please think twice before doing so. Know it first to safely eat it.
c) Chances are that you might be sucked up in a wonderful clueless world of creatures yet it will give you some immense sense of achievement and pride to have at least witnessed something you have never seen before. Enjoy that moment without being distracted about the camera or anything. Absorb every single detail of it to hear yourself speak, " i never did see this color before... all i saw was ... . these definitely look so different and oh God i actually am seeing them for the first time."
d) Then finally pat your own back for having done a total paisa wasool (bang for the buck) tour of the destination you had visited. You did it all...

Okay now without much ado first the image of that ruby studded bush -

i asked the security guards posted there if they knew the name of this bush and one of them beckoned the other, the other called out to yet another who perhaps was the head maali ( Gardener) and sharp the answer came from the third but final an expert perhaps at plants, '' Jhaad ! '' . 
Jhaad actually implies anything , that grows by itself which is given the same status as it being like a weed. Something not of use for humans and definitely not at all ornamental. Something to be overlooked and not fussed over with.

i did not like that maali, that third supposed to be an expert by the other two at all. For not only did he call this beautiful bush jhaad but also that he had no idea if the tiny globules of filled with pink sherbet like juice was edible or not.
i on my part kept gazing and admiring the bush spotting and singling the darker red rubies from the light ones-

How can this be a jhaad i kept telling myself. Such a beautiful ruby laden bush can never be a jhaad... it has to be sure has to be something very very useful.

i tried bringing some branches close to me so that i can see them clearly. i was absolutely charmed by the juicy translucence of varying degrees of the tiny globules of all sizes.

And thus i kept looking this way and that at that lush green thicket laden with all shades of ruby colored tiny fruits. Thank Lord Almighty i had that time and the leisure to stop and stare and that i was not in a hurry to catch up with my next destination. Not really. i wanted to be easy and savor all that beauty that surrounded the beautiful palace.

And as i gazed i saw the lovely visitors who came to relish those tiny ruby red berries. The Bulbuls which looked different from the ones that i keep seeing in Delhi. For what i see in Delhi are the Crested Bulbuls and the Red Vented Bulbuls...but these had a prominent patch of white near their eyes plus a major yellow bottom. Just the color of pale yellow almost saffron like,

i tried to take a good shot of that yellow bottom aka vent in ornithology. i was so thrilled to see a yellow vented Bulbul because i was seeing one for the FIRST time in my life. Also now i was noticing many other features too which looked different from the ones that i regularly see. But my cute birds were hungry and very impatient to satisfy themselves than to pose for me. They took some bites from one and would at the wink of an eye flit to the another and thus this pic which finally gets the vent color alright but not of the bird. i know that my bird shots are not something worth a display. But then none of my bird pics are sharp enough because i don't own neither the skills nor the zoom to do so but i shall keep at it. Keep trying. What gives me intense pleasure now is in the joy of sharing my discoveries and keep talking about it. 

And thus i kept watching this couple as it fed on those juicy translucent berries but as i watched the couple it soon became clear to me that the berries were a favorite of the squirrels too.

Now sitting in the comfort of my bedroom and having by my side two excellent books to guide me i am clueless no more. 
The first one is this brilliant work of love and of somewhat the same kind that i can identify with.  i confess that the degree to which this gentleman has loved trees i can never even come anywhere close to that but just like him i too feel a lot of comfort near trees.
Thanks to yet another arduous labor by Shri Pradip Krishen and all those who have helped him my journey to Jodhpur feels an " exhilarating" one indeed. One which has imbued in me that sense of awe and wonder not a "thimbelful" as Mr Krishen  humbly hopes it perhaps could be in the preface of this book of his but of a kind which can perhaps be suitably called brimful. Enough for a not knowing anything at all to be hopelessly glued to it's pictures and descriptions and trying to match her own pictures and feeling the joy of knowing the names and characteristics of those anonymous trees she had taken a picture of. And then letting the knowledge attained thus from one container to overflow through blogging...
 Now i feel like going back and roaming once again those areas of Osiyan where i think i saw many of those that he has so brilliantly sampled, portrayed and explained.
And his book says about the transluscent, juicy, ruby red berries, '' The fruit are edible , sweet with a faint peppery tang".

Meetha Jaal, Peelu, Dhalu/ Toothbrush/ Mustard tree. Saltbush aka Salvadora persica that's what is the name of this ruby laden medicinal evergreen tree now that i know that it is not a bush but a proper tree.
i chose the word Peelu as the title because it sounded better and cuter than Jaal. However i wonder why Peelu and what language it is called Peelu. Because in Hindi Peela means yellow. If it should be named for the color of it's berries then it should be Laalee. For Lal in Hindi means red.
i digress again...uff

The other part of my enlightenment of course i owe it to my most trusted book on birds another field guide by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp , ' Birds of the Indian Subcontinent'.
So my Bulbuls have a name too. White-eared Bulbul (Pyconotus priocephalus )

That should be all for the time being but before i quit i would love to quote from the same book by Shri Pradip Krishen words that he himself has quoted from Gandhi... "What we are doing to the forests...[ of the world] is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to one another."    Mahatma Gandhi


  1. I am sure I had written a comment yesterday when I read your post as soon as you posted, Shivani! Dunno where it has disappeared :)

    Lovely pics as usual. They tell so many stories. Great that you spotted and manage to capture the bird pics! Keep sharing your discoveries! Never knew about Peelu.
    Our world has so many wonders.
    For me, you are a "besotted writer" too :)

    I agree with your views. Hope everyone understands & respects the importance of our trees & forests. Relevant quote by Mahatma Gandhi...

    1. hahahaha no Anita ur comment didn't disappear it has reappeared on my earlier post. And i was wondering which 'pics' r u talking about because my that post didn't have any of my own pics. hahahaha.
      Happens...i keep doing so many typos and errors such as these so many times i can understand. As bloggers in order to be nice and be good we got to read and sometimes we do get carried away because there is so much and there is more and we have others oh Gawd...time...and i have to write too...
      i understand Anita so don't fret over that.
      i have it safely there...ur that comment too...only thing it is on my last blogpost.
      Thank you once again for your kind words on this one.
      Grateful more and flattered a bit when u call me a ' besotted writer'. But i believe you because i believe in '' beauty lies in the eye of the beholder'' kind of philosophy.
      Yeah true the quote was very relevant.
      love you sweetie and keep me company.
      hugzzz :)

    2. Anita i have subscribed to this page called 'brain pickings' and i suggest u do too for i am sure you will enjoy reading about the writers and seeing the vdo's...sometimes there r original vdos with poets reciting their own poetry. Call it co incidence or anything what i just told you was and i quote from there...“What sustains the artist is the look of love in the eyes of the beholder. Not money, not the right connections, not exhibitions, not flattering reviews.”
      i hope this adds up to what i've been trying to convey all along...
      Today the writer and painter by hobby Henry Miller is portrayed...go through brain pickings and u will love it. :)

    3. forgot to mention brain pickings page on Facebook.

  2. You did indeed do justice to all the rohidos and "domicile" cranes with your camera ;)

  3. It's always good to go back to your roots but a little sad to see the changes which are not required. You have clicked some amazing shots. It's absolute bliss to be close to nature and capture it. Good to see you back.

    1. Thank you Saru for taking that valuable time out to stop by and grace my page with your signature style of few words but well said. i couldn't help but nod in affirmation and just say, '' yeah correct about those changes"
      Thank you for appreciating the pics that i put together to share the knowledge of my new find.

  4. its the same with sikh history i think, so many stories of valour and what not .. and yet there are equally those of traitors who sold themselves for the lure of money and what not ..

    it is sad that we had such people else I ma sure india would have been a great country..

    Glad you went on the hunt to know more .. I also did that a few years ago when i went and searched for where MANN started and all .. and it is a interesting story again full of brave and the traitors ..

    Those are some lovely pics and enjoyed the little story you told .. and what did i read out there .. look at food and then eat na .. :) I cant do that I eat everything he he he he

    and oh boy the urge one gets even after having eaten proper food, seeing some lovely food again .. I eat so much I tell you ..

    and how does it matter what it is called as long as it is yummy Peelu or Leelu

    a rose called with another name will always be scented :) he he he he

    lovely pictures


    1. Dear Bikram i really enjoy all your visits. You come in like a rush of bhangra beat i must say...err i'm not sure if i made it sound correct. What i meant is that there is so much enthu so much life in ur words that it feels like i'm having this conversation with you over a cup of garam chai in this Dilli kee sardi.
      Gud to know u did a Mann trip too. But joyous to know that regarding food both of us match...ekdum same to same.
      But hey i will still ask you to be careful...sometimes in the wild some luscious looking fruit can be toxic. No i am not saying this the book also gives it too.
      Correct about that ' Peelu and leelu' as they say what's in a name...but i loved the way you said it. Hahahaha
      Thank you so much not only for this lively comment but also for liking my pictures. i know the shots could've been better but then," We all learn as much as we wish to and no more. We learn in different ways, sometimes by not learning…. My way is by trial and error, by groping, stumbling, questioning.'' Henry Miller

  5. nice post! same pinch - I ma a Rajasthani too :D

    1. Anita hey welcome or rather i should say ' padharo' :D. Thank you for stopping by and letting me know but let me confess i can't call myself that. My roots r from Jodhpur but i have never lived there. My forefathers migrated to Bihar :( not that it was bad but i feel bad about the circumstances that forced them to do so. That i am here now is thanks to my forefathers and i am indeed very grateful to them and the Kuldevi Nagcheiyana that i was finally able to visit the place from where Ranbanka Rathores hail from.
      Hope we continue to exchange more notes and maybe i get enriched further through you. Anything is most welcome dear. A local
      Keep visiting for i'm going to put up more pics. :)