Butterflies and other bugs – Mallathahalli Lake

This isn’t the season for birding. The winter birds are gone, the monsoons have set in. We are left with the usual suspects – the coots, egrets, lapwings, a few stilts, and some ibises. The Monsoon has also meant a spurt in the Parthenium that takes over the entire path of the Mallathahalli Lake. This usually discourages walkers, and encourages different forms of urban wild to take over. What you usually get is butterflies. Lots of them.
Yesterday, as I made my way for  close to a km through the Parthenium, I ran into at least 5 types of butterflies – Plain tiger, Pioneer, Mottled Emigrant, Common Castor and Common grass yellow. And surprisingly, a tiny spider which turned out to be of the Rhene species.
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End of June

June is not expected to be a great month. Unlike popular perception, it isn’t wet and gloomy usually; among wet months, it ranks below May. It’s windy as the Monsoons sweep through. This brings in a lot of dust and garbage from all over. I like the winds, coming as they usually are after a hot summer, and sometimes a rainy and stormy May. I like the weather in general. It is usually sunny with puffy clouds and lots of winds. Later in the day, you get windswept clouds. Early on in the month, it gets cloudy, and rains to show that the Monsoons are here.

This year has been crazy. You wake up to cloudy weather. Some days even drizzly weather. You watch those clouds hanging by all day. And then in the evening, they let go and it’s the usual chaos. You wake up again the next morning, hoping that all those rains would’ve cleaned things up, but no, it’s the same charade all over again. It feels like October. You’d think it’s nice to have these bountiful rains, except that KRS and other important dams have barely registered anything. Pretty much, all these rains fall on concrete and roads, and not adding up to any value. And you have flooded roads and a potential water shortage. Maybe I should put in a rainwater harvesting thing. But the area we have is pretty small, not sure how useful it will be.


The part that gets me is how things are turning out for me this month. All cycling has been advanced to the morning, when am also needed at home. This means waking up crazy early, and pedalling out, hoping to return as early as possible and then deal with things.

By evening, the mood is generally off. Not too many people like a house that is dark at 4 PM. And then it starts drizzling and raining. An entire evening’s worth of cheer is gone. I like rains, mind you, except that I like them when they should be raining. Supposed to be dry and windy, and it’s raining means that when it should be raining heavier, it probably might not.

img_2892Oh well, sometimes I wonder if this is just a phase for me, and the weather is something I am railing against for not helping. A bit of sunny love would be nice though, but what does one do?

June is pretty much over. It’ll be July now. Supposed to be wetter than June, but not as much as August. I only hope for a break, something that I can catch my breath in, before I have to run again, cos God knows when I’ll get to stop again. But I feel hopeful at times when I realise I’ve been through all this with Amma’s health in 2012, then again in 2013, hitting a nadir in 2014 and getting back to some semblance of something in 2015. 2016, I feel hope with, but it might just turn out to be worse than 2014. The signs are all there.

But there isn’t much to do but fight. And fight we will. What else is there to do?


So it isn’t just perception. Bangalore has received more than 170mm of rainfall so far in June, while the average is around 89mm. Source: The Hindu.

Back in the ghats

It’s odd charting the same path after 2 years. That novelty is no longer there, and you almost always brace yourself for disappointment. Seldom are things better the second time around, at least in these times where you only see a larger and deeper human presence, and the consequent decadence in the form of plastic covers and garbage.

Two years back, we drove to the Jog falls via Tumkur, Tiptur, Arasikere, Kadur, Birur, Tarikere, etc. The rains caught up at Kadur and didn’t let go for the whole journey until the last day when we crossed Bhadravathi and got back into the inner side of the Ghats. The whole place looked like a gigantic bathroom, and was damp and wet all the time. This time there were sporadic bursts but nothing steady or substantial. There was that feeling of cloudiness, but even when it rained we knew it would let up soon. We could even see stars in the sky at night!

This meant that while Jog Falls 2 years back looked like this:

Jog falls

This year was mostly this:

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Chasing the monsoons

So after much inspiration from Twitter and a mind-blowing experience in the Western Ghats during peak monsoon season last year, I decided to head to South Kerala and welcome the Monsoons as they crossed over into mainland India. Anand, ever game, also signed up for the treat that lay in store. Tickets were booked well in advance to fly into Thiruvananthapuram on the 30th May and then back to Bangalore on the 2nd June.

Over the next one month news trickled in about the El Nino effect, and after some misfires that the Monsoon might make landfall on the 28th itself, the date turned out to be the 5th of June. We still decided to go ahead and just make a good time of it.
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The rains that weren’t…

It was a cool, cloudy afternoon, bang in the middle of August. The usual precursor to rains – massive torrential rains. I parked my bike outside. Borewells being dug all over the place had left a thick coating of light grey dust all over it. No amount of manual cleaning would be enough. And being August it would be criminal not to use rain water for this. It rained. After it stopped I dragged the bike inside. But the cement was now a sloshy coating on the bike. Wasn’t quite the rain I had been expecting. And unfortunately that’s what I would have to be satisfied with the rest of the season.

BBMP, through a rare stroke of common sense, decided to ban boring wells in Bangalore unless some restrictive conditions are met, like no other source of water around. But then, BBMP being BBMP decided to enforce that ban from December, which left open a huge window of 5-6 months for people to dig all they wanted. This explained the sudden spurt in borewell digging all over Bangalore in August. Of all the months during which you could forgive people digging borewells, if you indeed can somehow, it would have to be August or September, mainly because the rains can clean up after the deed. The main ones happened in August – the two most painful ones as we had to clean up both indoors and outdoors after they left. It’s been close to two months now and I can still find the dust outside.

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