Teaching

One of the things I have always wanted to do was teach. And I was fortunate to get the experience recently.

Why teaching? I guess a key aspect for me was the necessity to be a subject matter expert. No matter how much time one has spent working in this domain, when it comes to a field that is so dynamic such as Digital Marketing, I believe that no one can rest on their experience and claim to be an expert. One has to constantly relearn as things keep evolving at a rapid rate. When I started my career in digital marketing, users only had a single screen, social media was unheard of, and we were measuring ‘hits’! Thankfully, my work has helped me keep abreast of all the latest developments, but having to teach helped me focus on the learning aspect even more.

I have also been fortunate in having the freedom to design my own course content, within the given framework. The experience of having created and presented multiple presentations to different audiences helped here.

Of course, as with any new venture, there is continuous scope to learn and improve further. And this is something I intend to do.

If any readers have any tips on what they enjoyed most while teaching, or indeed while being taught, please do comment. Thanks!

Bird watching – Wayanad

I had written previously about my trip to Wayanad. One of the things I was looking forward to in the trip was to do some bird-watching and hopefully see some of the birds that are primarily found only in the Western Ghats region.

I am delighted to say that I had a very enjoyable few days of bird-watching where I got to so a few birds that have been on my ‘to see’ list for a while now! These include the Vernal Hanging Parrot and Malabar Barbet.

 

The full list below (all names as per Salim Ali’s ‘The Book of Indian Birds’):

  1. Little Cormorant
  2. White-necked (Woolly necked) Stork
  3. Brahminy Kite
  4. Unidentified Sparrowhawk
  5. Changeable Hawk-Eagle
  6. Falcon
  7. Grey Junglefowl
  8. Indian Peafowl
  9. River Tern
  10. Spotted Dove
  11. Blue-Winged (Malabar) Parakeet
  12. Indian (Vernal) Hanging Parrot
  13. Unidentified Swift
  14. Malabar Grey Hornbill
  15. Crimson-Throated (Malabar) Barbet
  16. Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
  17. Common Golden-backed Woodpecker
  18. White-Cheeked Barbet
  19. Black Drongo
  20. Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo
  21. Ashy Drongo
  22. Bronzed Drongo
  23. Grey-Headed (Malabar) Starling
  24. Common Myna
  25. Jungle Crow
  26. Scarlet (Orange) Minivet
  27. Gold-fronted Chloropsis
  28. Red-Vented Bulbul
  29. Red-Whiskered Bulbul
  30. Black (Square-tailed) Bulbul
  31. Verditer Flycatcher
  32. Blyth’s Reed Warbler
  33. Indian Blue Robin
  34. Oriental Magpie Robin
  35. Indian Blackbird
  36. Great Tit
  37. Oriental Tree Pipit
  38. Grey Wagtail
  39. Large Pied Wagtail
  40. Purple-Rumped Sunbird
  41. Small (Maroon backed) Sunbird
  42. Loten’s Sunbird
  43. Purple Sunbird
  44. Oriental White-Eye

 

Wayanad

Wayanad is a hilly region in the north of Kerala, bordering Karnataka. It is about two hours from Kozhikode (Calicut) and six hours by road from Bangalore. It is here that we went for a end of year holiday with family.

We stayed at the wonderful Annapara Home Stay, a boutique home stay located amidst coffee plantations with fantastic views of the tall mountains all around. It was a wonderful experience, with amazing home cooked food and awesome service from Pravin and Shibu – the two caretakers.

In addition to spending time at the beautiful property, we also went on a hike to a couple of waterfalls nearby, visited the Banasura Sagar dam, ziplined over tea plantations, visited Pookode lake and the Muthanga or Wayanad Wild Life Sanctuary. Except for the last, which we all felt was frankly not worth the effort, everything else was fun and relaxed.

Definitely a place worth visiting more than once!

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Train Travel – Sleeper Class

Of late, I have been traveling by train more often. We recently took the 24 hour train to Mumbai as a family, traveling in AC coaches. Recently, I took the overnight train to Kerala, traveling sleeper class after a very long time.

I have always enjoyed train travel, liking nothing more than sitting by the window watching the world go by. As a child, I used to look forward to the long (30+ hours) journey from Mumbai to Kerala as much, if not more than, actually visiting Kerala and meeting family. But as I grew older (and with a family), whatever occasional train travel we did was in AC coaches.

While these are very comfortable, they just do not provide the same fun as the Sleeper class where one can open the windows and feel the wind in your face. Which is why, when I had to go to Kerala by myself recently, I took the opportunity to travel by Sleeper class.

The journey to Kerala was in a new coach. It was clean and quite comfortable. The only aspect where I felt that the older coaches were better were in the design of the window bars. Regular train travelers would know that, in the older sleeper coaches, the window bars bend outwards slightly. This is just enough that, if one were to place your face flush against the bar and peer out, you could get a great view along the sides of the train and catch glimpses of the engine around bends. In the new coach, sadly, the bars are straight. Which means that one does not get the same pleasure of peering out the window. Nevertheless, it is still far more fun that the sealed windows of AC coaches.

The return journey was on an older coach. And it was less crowded than the outward journey. The other pleasure of train travel, though definitely not recommended, is to stand by the open door and get a widescreen view of the scenery. This is, as one can image, a popular pastime, so I was quite surprised to find that the doors of the train were vacant and I was able to enjoy the beautiful Kerala countryside.

Some photos from the journey below:

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Bird watching at Hebbal Lake

It’s been a while since I have indulged in my hobby for bird watching. So it was with some excitement that I made my way to Hebbal Lake on Sunday to join the bird watching session organised by Bngbirds every first Sunday of the month at Hebbal Lake, to the north of Bangalore.

Hebbal Lake is a fair distance away from where I live in Bangalore, but thanks to the reasonable efficient bus transport, I was able to reach it comfortably and inexpensively.

It was a cold, quiet morning with surprisingly few people around, even at 7:30 am. We were a diverse group of 10 and observed birds from the periphery of the lake for about a couple of hours.

The list of birds seen:

  1. Great Cormorant
  2. Little Cormorant
  3. Darter
  4. Purple Heron
  5. Indian Pond Heron
  6. Cattle Egret
  7. Median Egret
  8. Little Egret
  9. Oriental White Ibis or Black Headed Ibis
  10. Northern Pintail
  11. Spot-billed Duck
  12. Black Kite
  13. Brahminy Kite
  14. Shikra
  15. Booted Eagle
  16. White-breasted Waterhen
  17. Purple Moorhen
  18. Common Sandpiper
  19. Asian Koel
  20. White-breasted Kingfisher
  21. House Crow
  22. Jungle Crow
  23. Red-throated (Taiga?) Flycatcher
  24. Blyth’s Reed-Warbler
  25. Great Tit
  26. Tickell’s Flowerpecker
  27. Purple-rumped Sunbird
Hebbal Lake
Hebbal Lake
Hebbal Lake 2
Flowering tree – Hebbal Lake