Quizzing in the days of eBird

Nothing like a good quiz to get a bunch of bird-geeks up and about. That was the experience of helping with putting together a quiz on birds. In the days of eBird of course, it becomes easier to come up with bird trivia from a given location (first photographic record on eBird of the Jerdon’s Courser, for example, or the Bugun Liocichla).  Continue reading

Can carers decide on assisted suicide

Caring for a chronically ill family member is physically and emotionally taxing. I have seen in such situations people struggling with questions on the larger meaning/purpose of life, death, well-being, happiness and such. The very capacity to love and empathize (either oneself or our loved ones) get tested in such situations. I have heard single mothers working daily wages asking if their severely disabled and mentally ill children can be assisted to die… I have also heard parents in extreme poverty lament caring for a severely mentally ill child. These provoke questions at various levels ranging from what is the role of the onlooker/health worker in such situations to the larger question of who’s to blame and whom to hold accountable for such a pathetic situation that some households find themselves in. Is it not largely due to failure of systems and services. Is it just by pure chance that these situations are more taxing in poorer and disadvantaged households?

Continue reading

Of rainy cities and public health

This is an expanded version of an article published in Sunday Spotlight submission to Deccan Herald dated September 17, 2017

Recognition is famously a passage from ignorance to knowledge

The above line is from Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement, his recent meditation on how literature has engaged with climate change and its effects. Ghosh laments the absence of substantive engagement by contemporary arts and literature on climate change. Continue reading

Goodbye Jadeswamy

“Sir, pls confirm if yellow-throated bulbul is seen near forest IB”

This was his last message to me a few days back. Jadeswamy was checking with me if the bird he saw was indeed the bird Profile Jadeswamy e1492661564160 considered globally threatened and seen only in stony parts of several south Indian hills. He was watching it near his house in BR Hills. Continue reading

Painting with a broad brush: Stereotyping “tribal” identity

Yet another “tribal” story in a national newspaper. Based on my reading, the story is based on the seizure of a consignment of ghee packets at a forest checkpost by the department. Clearly this indicates that some of the ghee packets under a government scheme are finding ways into private markets for sale. Several reports abound about such “hand-outs” entering private markets. Often, these instances are cited as reasons for not giving subsidies or hand-outs.  Continue reading