Thursday, January 28, 2010

81% and Class Topper #2

3pm, Im in the shower and a friend is calling frantically. I pick up. "Go to college!! Results!! *pants and coughs* Gooooo!! Get them!! And see mine too!" Panic spreads over my entire house. My mother stops in her tracks. Turns. It's out? Me- Yes Maa. Im going. My friend- Oh my god!! Finally!! After 3 weeks of bluffing! come on!
15 mins later - Venue: Department of Environmental Sciences, Fergusson College, Pune.
Sir! Marksheets out yet? Upstairs? Ok. Thanks!
Upstairs : Hi Ma'am! Shit is it really out?? Ma'am: Yes. Im entering the marks .. here are your's.
I peer at the computer screen. 41, 44, la laalalala.. etc.. I read them again. And again. Finally, softly, I ask - where's the KT?!
Ma'am : Why do want one?? Stop looking for KTs and go away.
Me: Not yet. I gota note down the marks of a few others too.

I start.. looking up names, and marks, and writing frantically. I pause. I do a double take! This can't be it!! This is NOT true! But apparently, it is. I'm second in class! :-o with 81%.

I havent got a percentage in the 80s since the 10th std board exams!! I mean this is even beyond distinction!! :D Yesssssssss!!!
And me, still calculating.. Another double take! What!? Are you serious!? MoGo!? First!? Woooohooooooo!!!

The two students who are reprimanded by ALL the teachers, are snubbed by them too. Are the first two toppers! :)

Me- the girl with the spunk to challenge all dumb decisions that are made on our behalf without talking to us. The girl who back answers if needed but is mostly just point blank blunt. The girl who is thought to be arrogant.. And the girl who they all think is never going to do anything with her life as far as academics go.. because she never attends lectures, ALWAYS has excuses when asked, and bunks like she was born to! You know what? To all those people who told me that I would never make it, and that I can't do something - Score in your face!

Today, I have a newfound respect for the work that I do, and honestly, for myself too. For if I hadn't been the person I am, I'd have never made it anywhere. I had a dog who was almost dead and was on saline for 12 days JUST before this University exam, I, myself was unwell for the 2 days before my exam coz I'd been awake for 8 consecutive days before that. I got exactly 2 days to study for this exam. And look what I went n did.
I feel proud of myself today because not only am I able to prove my academic capability to myself, but I now know that I have it in me to manage everything that I ever put my head n heart to.
And right now.. I wish.. I really really wish that the selected few people who contributed heavily in letting me remain me, were here. I wish I could have shared this joy with them and said to them - Look! We did it! :( Damn.. either way.. this 81% is a toast to all you beautiful people who kept me going and to all of you who still do! :) I love you guys! :D And I love me too! :D Hahaha.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Education?.. Not Quite!

Today, was one of those days when I ended up asking myself, "Why am I studying at this place? I could have done much better!" And the answer is, "Shut up and finish what you started."
We're supposed to go on a college study tour to a particular place where we can study stuff that our syllabus includes. Now it's pretty obvious that everyone wanted to go to a wilderness oriented place. The deal was, we've been pestering them for months that plan something now so we'll have everything ready on time. But no. The department being the wonderfully organized [all possible sarcasm intended], Department of Environmental Science, Fergusson College, woke up 5 days ago. Woke up, to the fact that if we dont go anywhere now, we will not be able to go until after we finish graduation. Dumbasses all of 'em. ALL of 'em!
So it all began. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, and again even Maharashtra itself! We were told to make arrangements like transport, destinations, and a plan. Since the others have no clue about such stuff either way, and the fact that a majority of our classmates are absolutely pathetic, is not much consolation. So I got to it.
Flashback - Last yr, when we were all in Second year, we didnt get to go anywhere for our tour because of the department itself. Even then, I put my reputation with colleagues at stake, made arrangements, and had to cancel and un-cancel some 3 times each. Finally, I lost my temper and said Im not doing anything for you hence forth. Use your own sources use your own brain and do what you want. We had to write a fake report of a supposed visit to Pashan Lake, which is incidentally, about 40mins from our college as opposed to a 3days field trip.

Now, since everyone is all annoyed this yr about having missed the last yr's trip, there's a new problem. The faculty are hell bent on karnataka. And not the better part of Karnataka like maybe Kudremukha or Nagarahole.. They're hell bent on Dandeli and Bhadra. In winter. In january. WHO goes there in January!? What are you?! DAFT!?
So there has been an "argument" going on for the last two days and there are two "teams". One votes for Karnataka. The other, us, vote for Bandhavgarh.

Point? This is supposed to be TY BSc and MSc 2 combined. MSc part2 is a horrid batch except 3 individuals. They're a bunch of absolute dumbos who will blindly follow what our 'prestigious' faculty tells them. If tomorrow, the faculty tells them that we are to go to Mumbai's Borivali National Park for the excursion, they will STILL nod away to deaf glory.
In our department, people who stand up for logic and practicality are shot down rudely and grudges against them are held eternally. On the other hand, people who suck up to the teachers and agree with everything they say, or people who simply lack all logic are looked up to as ideal students. It's exactly this latter category that just pisses me off no end. There is a certain person I could be so violent and cruel to, that people around might just lose all faith in goodness of mankind.
This certain person just screwed up another day of my life and I am just more strong willed about planting a loud crisp SLAP across the person's face. I shall do so too.. :) I know just when!

These people are downright irritating. They just like to screw up people's plans. And not with even an IOTA of logic behind their activities. Rebel for the heck of it. That's just plain dumb! But someone tell that to them! Either way, the good part is, whether the teachers think I am brainwashing my classmates to go to Bandhavgarh instead, or that I am the master mind and the "arrogant" person behind it all, I give a rat's ass! All I care about is, it's my last year in college, and I want this yr to end on a memorable note. I will not pay you 6000 INR to go to a place where I am going to have to count trees and crows at the most.
I would rather go some place I trust and some place I know is going to a brilliant experience. And if this doesnt happen, and we're forced to go to Karnataka especially Bhadra and Dandeli, I take a refund, and I go to Bandhavgarh!! :D Screw you and your 20marks! GET LOST.

And yeah- to the two people who are definitely going to read this, dont get shocked about the crap Ive written about you. You completely deserve it. And more.
If you think this is how you teach your students, by forcing them, threatening them that you'll cut their marks, you're forgetting one imp. thing- we're not 7 yrs old. We're 20! So we dont give a shit about your threats. And another thing. If you call this education, then you REALLY need to open a dictionary. You're not imparting anything apart from negative feelings. It's sad but true that even today, a subject like Environmental Science is treated like something you teach by reading out of a book, instead of taking your students out there, on field and teaching them first hand. But yeah, when you're students are as disgusting as those Karnataka idiots, what can one expect of such a group of clowns?

Ah well.. who cares!? Im happy. Karnataka.. I love you. But I really think Bandhavgarh wins the winter visit :) And Department of Environmental Sciences- man am I hoping May comes at lightening fast speed. Wana be done and over with you forever! Stupid mental ward people!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crocodile Census

Tags : forest, crocodile census
Posted: Wednesday, Nov 04, 2009 at 0226 hrs

The Forest Department in Vadodara is all set to conduct its crocodile census in the second week of November after a gap of almost a decade. The last official survey was done in 2001.

The census assumes significance as Vadodara is one of the few cities in the country to boast of a crocodile population.

Conservator of Forests, Vadodara, D P Tipre told The Indian Express: “We are waiting for the winter to set in. When the temperature dips, the crocodiles come out to bask and that will be the best time for us to count them. In the meantime, we are coordinating with different organisations which are into rescue work.”

During the 2001 census, the official crocodile count was 70. This time, the Forest officers are expecting the count to improve.

The survey holds a lot of importance as there is no concrete data on the population of crocodiles, which will be required for the upcoming crocodile project to be taken up by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) under the ongoing Vishwamitri River project worth Rs 350 crore.
“Conducting a census is not an easy task. We will need properly trained staff for the job. We have decided to take the help of the NGOs as well,” said an officer.

But it is still unknown whether the Forest Department will consider tagging these reptiles.

“Tagging crocodiles will result in several inputs. We will be able to see their migration pattern and routes. But again it requires a lot of funding,” said a forest officer.

Asiatic Lions and Their Unfortunate Abode

First up : Lioness killed in Gir :

Press Trust of IndiaTags : forest, animals, poachingPosted: Sunday , Dec 20, 2009 at 0229 hrsAmreli:

The state Forest Department found the carcass of a lioness from the Tulsishyam range in Gir forest in the district, officials said on Saturday. The big cat was killed by a sharp weapon.

The carcass of a seven-year-old lioness was found on Thursday night from the protected forest area. It was then brought to the Forest Department’s Jasadar medical clinic for animals for a postmortem, they said.

As per the postmortem report, the lioness had received several wounds on the left side of her chest by a sharp weapon, the officials added.

The Forest Department has launched an investigation into the suspected poaching incident and Regional Forest Officer B P Ranparia is heading the inquiry.

Department officials said that this is a case of poaching and they will leave no stone unturned to get to the culprits.

Two years ago, nine lions had been killed in separate incidents by a gang of poachers from Madhya Pradesh. The Gir Wildlife Sanctuary is the last abode of the Asiatic lion. A 2005 census had found 259 lions in the sanctuary. The next such census is likely to be conducted in 2010.


Next, is this why Gir is in trouble?!

Shubhalakshmi ShuklaTags : forest, Gir National ParkPosted: Sunday , Jan 17, 2010 at 0153 hrsAhmedabad:

Lion census is set to begin shortly at the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, and the state Forest Department may also take up GIS mapping this time. But in an irony of sorts, a recent training conducted by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has shown that only 16 per cent of the total staff manning the sanctuary actually knows the exact application of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. About 490 Gir staff had attended the first-ever WTI training in Gujarat.

Rakesh Singh, WTI Coordinator, told The Sunday Express: “The training was conducted from December 9 to 25 and had two segments. In some cases, it was disappointing to know that the forest officials were not even aware of the application of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Under this Act, every forest officer is empowered to arrest a person, detain vehicles and even seize property if he comes across any wildlife crime. However, not many forest guards and range forest officers were aware about this.”

He added: “There were multiple choice questions in the post training session. Only 50 per cent of the total participants were able to identify the pug/hoof marks of antelopes, lions, sloth bear, chital, hyena, sambhar and black bucks.”

WTI officials said most of the forest officers had already completed 30 years of service as beat guards and range officers.

“The Forest Department has been giving training to the frontline staff, but most of them failed to answer basic queries such as how crime investigation should be done,” Singh said. He also did not rule out that a lack of understanding of wildlife could lead under-reporting of cases.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gov. projects endangering wildlife further

New Delhi: The year 2010 maybe the international year of biodiversity but India's biodiversity hotspots are facing an unprecedented onslaught. The Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife, under the Chairmanship of Minister Jairam Ramesh has recently cleared roads, dams and mining projects through national parks and sanctuaries – the last vestiges for endangered wildlife.

Minister of Environment, Jairam Ramesh who has cleared no less than 15 road, dam and mining projects inside India's National Parks and sanctuaries, may have sounded the death knell for India's most endangered wildlife. These include:

  • A Limestone Mining Plant on the boundary ofRajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh, one of the finest habitats for the Tiger.

  • 65 Hectares of forest land to be chopped for 3 roads passing through Gangotri National Park, home to snow leopard, blue sheep and black bear

  • Submergence of 1000 hectares of forest for a dam at Narasimha Wild Life Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh, home to the critically endangered Jerdon Courser bird.

  • .

  • Diversion of 240 hectares of forest land for a 400 KV Transmission line and 21 hectares for an underground oil pipeline both at the Gujarat Wild Ass Sanctuary, only home to the Indian Wild Ass.

  • Diversion of forest land for a high-power transmission line by Power Grid Corporation in Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary, home to elephants, barking deer, sloth bears and leopards

  • Diversion of forest land for road-widening by the Border Roads Organization in Askot Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttaranchal, home to the highly endangered musk deer.

Such Projects lead not only to more fatalities, they also damage long term survival and breeding patterns of wild animals.

Wild expert Belinda Wright said, “We have such few areas of prime forest land that are within our protect area network. And we just cannot afford to lose even an inch of them.”

However, Minister Jairam Ramesh disagrees.

Jairam said, “You are being unfair, you are being very selective. There are number of projects that have been put on hold or rejected. The job of my Ministry is not to say no all the time. My job is to find a balance between environment and development.”

National parks and wildlife sanctuaries form less than 4 per cent of India's land surface. In the International Year of biodiversity a complete halt on deforestation in these areas maybe the last hope of survival for India's endangered animals.

Gangetic Dolphin Population Affected

BTW, for all those who don't know- the Gangetic Dolphin is India'a National Aquatic Animal.

Subansiri hydel project affecting Gangetic dolphinpopulation
Ajit patowary
GUWAHATI, Jan 2 – The 2000-MW Lower Subansiri Hydel Project(LSHEP) has posed a serious threat to the Gangetic dolphinpopulation in Subansiri, claim two researchers working on a major UGC project on the eco-system of the river. They also called for long-term strategies to save this precious aquatic animal.

The Government of India declared river dolphin as the National Aquatic Animal of India on October 5 last year and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red-listed it as an endangered animal in 1996. Following this, the Gangetic dolphin was included in the Schedule-I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Researchers Dr Debojit Baruah of the Department of Botany, Lakhimpur Girls’ College and Lakhi Prasad Hazarika, of the Zoology Department, North Lakhimpur College, said, while talking to The Assam Tribune, that the LSHEP dam may be responsible for complete annihilation of the Subansiri dolphin species. They are doing research on the present environmental and biodiversity status of the downstream of Subansiri river basin, riparian zone and forests, assessing the pre- impact of the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri dam.

They alleged that the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC, the implementing agency of the LSHEP, had deliberately avoided inclusion of Gangetic Dolphin in the environment impact assessment (EIA) report of the project for easy environmental clearance.

Moreover, the NHPC authorities have repeatedly been committing serious violations of both the Forest Conservation Act 1980, and the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 1994 of theGovernment of India.

These violations have led to increased sediment load in the Subansiri downstream. The sediment load comparison is made taking 2003 as the base year, when the construction of the LSHEP dam was not started. The data for the purpose were collected mainly at Chawldhowa Ghat.

Increased sediment load has compelled the dolphins to change their original territory. The migration of the dolphins towards the deeper regions of the down stream during the lean period in 2009 is an indicator of river health degradation caused by sediment dumping.

The sediment load on the river increased by 39.21per cent and 43.65 per cent in 2008 and 2009 respectively in comparison to 2003.

A recent survey conducted under the research project, indicates that there are now 29 Gangetic dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica Roxburgh) in the downstream of the river. In 2006, there were 21 dolphins in these areas. The year-round sufficient discharge— minimum 252 to 550 cubic metres per second (cumecs) in lean period itself— of the river provides the primary survival condition for the animal.

As a whole, dolphins are usually sighted in the confluence point with the Brahmaputra and in certain spots like confluence of river Dikrong, Ranga, Luit etc with the Subansiri.

Unregulated Subansiri maintains downstream hydrology by longitudinal connectivity, facilitates adequate, biologically productive water, and creates a safe habitat for the dolphins.

Greater richness and diversity of preferred prey fishes like Aorichthys, Wallago, Eutropiichthys, Clupisoma (Ahri, Bheu, Borali, Vacha, Neria) make the Subansiri more suitable habitat for this aquatic mammal.

The awareness of the entire down stream people of the riversystem makes it a safe haven for the dolphins.

However, the LSHEP EIA report says that after commissioning of the hydroelectric project in 2012, only 6 cumecs of water will be released to maintain the down stream flow for 20 hours in a day. This massive reduction in down stream flow discharge, will wipe out the Gangetic dolphins from the Subansiri forever, warned the researchers.

NTCA in Nagpur soon

NAGPUR: Tiger conservation in the region will get a boost with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) monitoring all the tiger reserves in the country, planning to set up a regional office in city.

Dr Rajesh Gopal, member-secretary of the NTCA, confirmed that plans were afoot to start a regional office at Nagpur for better co-ordination with tiger states Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. "Nagpur is known as the tiger gateway and hence our choice. The office may be set up during the current year," Dr Gopal stressed. It will be handled by an officer of conservator of forests rank.

Setting up of regional office in Nagpur is significant as there are seven tiger reserves nearby. It includes Melghat, Tadoba-Andhari, Pench in Maharashtra, Pench, Kanha and Satpuda in Madhya Pradesh and Indravati in Chhattisgarh. Besides, there are at least 15 sanctuaries in the Satpuda region bearing tigers. These reserves and part of its landscape, as per the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) 2008 status report, has a presence of over 500 tigers or over one third of all animals in the wild.

According to NTCA sources, the regional office would ensure that NTCA guidelines were implemented effectively and there was better cooperation between the tiger states. Currently, it took a lot of time for vital messages and guidelines to reach these states. Besides, the decision-making is slow and ultimately hurts conservation efforts.

This will be NTCA's first expansion. The authority, earlier known as 'Project Tiger', came into existence on September 4, 2006 after amendments to Wildlife Protection Act, 2006. Following the changes, a Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) was considered for Nagpur but was set up in Jabalpur.

Forest officials feel setting up of NTCA office would help streamline release of funds for the tiger-bearing areas. Getting money in time was the biggest problem today. NTCA releases money in September and state government delays it by another three months.

The office at Nagpur would facilitate implementation of normative standards for tiger conservation, providing information on several aspects which include protection, ensuring measures for addressing man-wild animal conflict and fostering preparation of tiger protection and conservation plans by neighbouring states. The NTCA, which functioned from the MoEF till now, has itself got a new building at Bikaner House in Delhi.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Step

For months I'd been contemplating this move but somehow, I always found a reason or two to delay what I had thought of doing. For a background check, Im someone who can be an extreme hard heart and the entire opposite as well; obviously depending upon the circumstances. A few months ago, something happened that should not have happened. Someone was misguided and someone else had to bear the brunt of that. Someone lost what they had worked very very hard for.. and for that person, who lost it all, this stuff wasn't just work. It was the world. And when that world came crashing down in front of that person's eyes, the person, being someone who strongly believes in endlessly trying to solve problems and misconceptions, tried and tried and tried to resolve issues. All in vain.
People that were once her own deserted her and walked right away. Most of the people she knew turned her back on her just when she most needed them. As if everything hadn't already gone wrong, she was faced my a massive health crisis. And yes.. she dealt with a LOAD of crap the entire time.. all alone.
If at all it taught her something, all this nonsense taught her to value herself and realize, that no one , I repeat, NO ONE is worth her trust.
Anyway, after all the crap that happened, a few hours ago, I did something I never imagined I would do. I just clicked, and said "Delete". Literally. I deleted someone who I was hoping would someday, understand how he had behaved, how it had affected relationships, how it had devastated somebody.. and how it had ensured that one should only be labelled as a "friend" when the person deserves that title.
I felt proud of myself for a bit this evening because I realized that due to my stubborn attitude of never giving up my habit of categorizing, I've gone through these things way infrequently compared to most others. I categorize and yes, I admit it. Acquaintance, Friend, Family. The end. There's no such thing as a best friend.
There's someone who did not value what I did for him and I forgave and forgave, and finally it just ended up making me completely messed up. Today, I realized that this one "Delete" now will save me a lifetime of mental torture. Some people, just don't deserve you. And that's how it should stay. Today, I took that step. Something I should have done ages ago.. but like I keep saying, or rather, kept saying - Im too good for my own good. :-/
I guess Im back to "hard-heart n' work" combo. Works fine and keeps me away from all the bullshit that happens around me. Does not feel good to be alone but it feels superb knowing that I did what was right, even when I got chucked out for something I didn't do, and even now. So, to those of you who ARE reading this and know what you've done.. go find yourself a new person you can falsely accuse n push around. Adios.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Dog and A Degree

First up, hope everyone has a great 2010. Its a new year, hence newer problems will arise, and hence, it's best that the old ones are left wayyy behind in the memories of 2009 and forgotten. For those of us who can't forget, focus on what's there NOW.

Was just thinking, now that I'll be gone in the months of July or August, I have only a few more months to set things right here. No doubt it will be a heart wrenching time because though I know I am coming back, I really am going to miss the dog the most. I know some people who would give me horrid looks at this point, but no amount of looks can change the truth. The prospect of leaving my dogs behind and going off to some new place is scary.. because even though they will be well looked after, I will feel all alone without them. Wish there had been some sorta provision to take ones dogs along with oneself while going abroad. As I look at that 10month old fawn coloured Lab sleeping peacefully with her blanker on her, I know Im going to miss this li'l one like crazy. I may not cry about leaving family at all.. but Im downright positive I will create half an ocean while leaving Ginny behind. Those floppy ears, that wet black nose, and those completely divine eyes.. No matter what happens, at the end of the day, when you come back home, those eyes are just as happy to see you as they are everyday. That constant shower of love just never stops.. that tail which wags endlessly and is capable of breaking a huge heavy vase. The "wufff" when she's hungry or just wants to play.. and the mad jumping! Dear lord! And it's a miracle she is even surviving today! To me, my divine gift from Mother Nature.. :)

Somehow, it's very hard to convince myself that it is important for me to go.. and with that, comes a very quick mental response to myself which says, "and you'll be back in no time!" But I know I wont be back for 2 yrs at least.. Not a very inviting thought.

What IS an inviting thought though, is the prospect of having a degree called "Master of Science in Conservation Biology"! :) And then the prospect of coming back here and kicking ass! Cant wait to go, learn, and come back!! A more educated and capable person is always better than a hard working, less experienced person as regards wildlife conservation. So, MSc Wildlife Conservation n Biology, here I come! :)