Friday, 27 February 2015

Violin Mantis

Few days ago, during my morning exercise in our park, I noticed an insect which looked like a dried leaf. I first thought it was a grass hopper or a leaf hopper. But I was seeing it for the first time. Since it was sitting (or standing, I can't tell!) on the parapet of the fountain water well, it really stood out.
I quickly fetched my iPhone and took some pictures. See for yourself:

Later research revealed that it wasn't a grass hopper. Grass hoppers have 6 or 8 legs, whereas this creature had only four slender legs. What was it then? I mailed a few nature lovers. No joy for a day.

I decided to dig deeper into the net. And viola-- it shot back! 
It was an insect called 'Wandering Violin Mantis'. Why this name?
According to , "The Wandering Violin Mantis got its name because the adults look a bit like a violin. Their body would resemble the soundboard of a violin, the head would be the top of the violin and the long and thin midsection of the mantis would be the neck of the violin." See the next picture and tell us whether you agree or not?

You may have heard of the Preying Mantis-- which is known for being a carnivorous and consuming its partner! Preying Mantis is green in colour.

The Wandering Violin Mantis is not so 'inhuman'! It is one of the most amazing looking mantis species. It is a large mantis with amazing camouflage. It’s body has a lot of appendages that look like dried leaves and its body is long and thin to resemble a wooden stick. See the picture.

The Latin name of the Wandering Violin mantis is Gongylus gongylodes. It's natural habitat is in India and Sri Lanka. It’s not an easy mantis to keep as a pet, but it’s amazing to see it. I missed my DSLR. But few more pictures with the iPhone are here.

The Wandering Violin Mantis specializes in catching flying insects. It can grab a fly straight out of the air! It needs high temperatures and low humidity. The ideal temperature is 35 °C, with night temperatures dropping to around 20 °C. And this was exactly the prevailing weather in Secunderabad at that time!

Before I finished shooting, the mantis gave me a parting look as if to say "You crazy humans!"

Though I go to the same spot every morning, I haven't spotted the mantis again! Hope he is safe wherever he is.

For our Nature loving friends, you can browse our previous post on tiny sand-bubbler crabs and how they produce sand galaxies!

Bye till the next post.

Thanks for browsing.

    -    Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 27th Feb 2015 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Knowledge Sharing

We all know that knowledge multiplies by sharing it.
But many times, people hoard it! Why?
Well, if the value of sharing is inculcated early in life-- you remain a willing sharer!
And, that is precisely what our college at Pilani did to us. BITSians are known to be knowledge sharers.
May be it has to do with remote location. No worldly distractions as in metro cities.

So, the next PQ- Pictuesque Quote on knowledge sharing depicts our alma-mater. In all its glory.
Am sure, readers from other institutions would echo the importance of knowledge sharing. And the role played by educational institutions in inculcating a culture of sharing.

Some of the previous PQ links, in case you missed browsing, are:
Dancing is... 
Life is ... 

Happy browsing!

   -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 25th Feb 2015

Monday, 23 February 2015

Dance is Discovery

Dance is such a creative medium.
Last night while watching a performance by noted Bharatanatyam exponent Ms Rajeshwari Sainath in Secunderabad, I took some pictures.
The picture below of her disciple daughter Vyshnavi triggered the next  post on PQ series--the Picturesque Quotes. How do you like this PQ?

More pictures of the performance in next post.

Just in case you have missed out on earlier PQs, click on the links below:

Nature teaches us .. 


Rose petals and life 

Thanks for browsing and for your feedback.

    -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 23rd Feb 2015

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Nature Unity in Diversity

Continuing with our Picturesque Quotes (PQs) series on Nature, here is what Mahatma Gandhi said way back in 1924.

The picture of a Black Drongo in flight with the backdrop of a harvested rice field along Kerala backwaters conveys Mahatma Gandhi's words. The picture was shot in March 2014 from a moving house boat. For more pictures of that cruise, you may browse the earlier posts on this blog:
Kochi harbour cruise 

Alleppy Houseboat and Backwaters

Of course there is a famous book with the same title of Unity in Diversity by Pandit Nehru.

If you missed browsing earlier posts on Nature, click on the links below:
Nature's Marvels

Misty magic

Rose petals and life

Happy browsing.

  -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 19th Feb 2015

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Rose Petals and Life

Amidst the flood of posts on Valentine's Day, one of the roses in our garden which had just bloomed, caught my attention.
It's petals were so neatly arranged by Nature. As I looked at it again and again after I shot it, I saw a reflection of our lives in it.
Each petal- a phase in our life. Some wilted, some yet to bloom. Like each one of us.
We need to be positive to enjoy our life-- despite ups and downs.

Here is the picturesque quote (PQ) in the PQ series.

Am encouraged by your comments/mails. Thanks for your feedback.

Previous PQs if you missed browsing:
Humility is the foundation of... 
Learning is life long 
Peace comes from ....

More on 'Life' will follow.

Happy browsing.
   -Harsh-theGhumakkad/ 15th Feb 2015

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Ghumakkad hits 20000

Happy to share that your blog 'Ghumakkad' has crossed the milestone of 20,000 page views !
From 10K to 20K, we traversed in less than a year. First 10K however, took 1-1/2 year or so.

20K page views is not a big number for on-line media. However, for a photoblog with a private circulation, it is pretty satisfying.
All this was not possible without your browsing and encouragement.
Thanks everyone.

Once again, allow me to say it with a picture. 
The picture in the backdrop was taken during the fireworks at  last Diwali Mela at RSI, Secunderabad India.

Happy browsing.

    -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 12th Feb 2015

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Humility Picturesque Quote

Recent Assembly elections in Delhi have proved the power of humility.
Since childhood we are taught to be humble. 
The elections in Delhi have shown what lack of humility does-- it can humiliate you! Like that national political party got.
Media, both print and electronic have been flooded with the victory and the ridicule!

In that context, here is the next Picturesque Quote (PQ) on humility and its power.
Picture location: 10th century fort at Medak, Telangana India.

Just in case you have missed browsing the previous PQs, you can click the link below:
Learning is life long 

Happy browsing and looking forward to your feedback,

-- Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 11th Feb 2015

Friday, 6 February 2015

Coorg Go Golfers Go

Preface: This post is continuation of our Coorg travel in Nov 2014. Earlier post can be browsed at the link below:

 Coorg-- Go Golfers Go

Coorg is known for its coffee plantations. 
Green verdant forests-- miles and miles of it. 
No skyscrapers. Very little concrete. 
Decent roads. Hospitable folks.

It is also known for its tall, well built and valorous men. 
And equally tall and beautiful women.

With such natural wealth, how can golf be behind?

Yes, Coorg is home to some unique golf courses 
Where you-- climb a hill or two 
Traverse many a stream 
Say hello to several bird species 
Try and avoid leaches sucking your blood 
Attack par-5 holes/greens which are blind till the third shot!

All this and much more. 
Like women caddies.
Remember US PGA circuit--
Where few spouses caddie for their golfer mates?
In Coorg golf courses, it is the women folk
Who maintain the greens and fairways
And double up as caddies.
Very much in their working attire!

There are many beautiful golf courses in Coorg. 
The oldest is called MDGC--
Mercara Downs Golf Club. 
(Mercara is the old name of Madikeri- district HQ of Coorg now called Kodagu)

MDGC is almost a hundred years old. 
Most fairways are on the slopes of hillocks. Undulating and challenging.
You do not need any other exercise. See the golfer trudging up the hill!

The greens are tiny yet challenging.

A helipad also functions close to the greens.

The clubhouse has a dreamy location.
No other habitations close by.

 MDGC clubhouse is under renovation for its Centenary celebrations. Guest rooms are also coming up. 
We noticed two children working near the site of renovation.
It appeared a case of child labour— but apparently not.

Actually the two children were enjoying themselves- though their 

facial expressions do not say so! As long as there is some sand 

around, children are children whether in Coorg or California!

A restaurant on the first floor meets the needs of the golfers.
We had some sandwiches there as our planned lunch at Taj Vivanta did not materialise. (Access to Taj Vivanta is through the MDGC golf course.)
Ladies were really fatigued.
And to add to it, we got the shocking news of a friend’s paralytic stroke in Delhi.
Happiness was gone.

Our second golf stop was at Coorg Golf Links (CGL).

Relatively newer golf course, it is located near Virajpet.
Much more scenic. More info on CGL at 

This is how it looks at dawn. You will fall in love with the place!

It is so secluded that nobody tees off before 8 am.
Because most golfers live an hour’s drive away.

Thanks to Commodore CM Belliappa (Retd), I could get a feel of CGL course.

Here is the foursome: L-R: Mr Venu (Retired banker), Col Vijay (Ord, Retired), Cmde Belliappa (Retd) and Harsh. 

We were actually five. Maj Gen Cariappa (Retd) is not in the picture. 

The picture was taken by Neeta from our Guest Room’s balcony overlooking the 1st tee.

Some more pictures of the tee-offs and the fairway.

The clubhouse at CGL has a well maintained garden. Plenty of flowers, creepers and plants.
Some pictures.

And this is how the guest rooms look during the day and night.

It drizzled while we were at CGL. Here are some rain drops—intentionally under exposed!

We had to bid good bye to CGL after two days of an exclusive 
holiday. Neeta and me at the main entrance. 
Picture courtesy Neeta Bhatnagar.

The third golf club in Coorg—The Tata Coffee Golf Club at 

Pollibetta, is also affiliated to our club in Secunderabad. However, 

there was no room on the days of our visit. Next time may be.

There may be few more golf courses/executive courses (part of 

some resorts) in Coorg. For a golfer there is plenty of variety to 

choose from.

So, fellow golfers and other readers of GhumakkadHB—now you

know which should be your next destination for a golf holiday!

Coorg- go golfers go!

Goodbye till then

-          Harsh the Ghumakkad/ 6th Feb 2015

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Learning is Life Long

Learning never ends.
One who stops learning is doomed to fail.
Learning is life long!

Which picture to use for a picturesque quote (PQ) on learning?
A picture of our alma-mater of course. Because our alma-mater helped us to learn. So, here it is my alma mater in Pilani Rajasthan India. 
School children riding their bicycles to school in Pilani. Vidya Vihar campus in Pilani comes alive every morning-- of course the college going students in BITS are still asleep in their hostels at that time!

Learning is life long!

More PQs on Learning will follow.
In the meanwhile, if you have missed previous PQs click on the links below:
Vision is... 
Nature and its magic... 
Peace comes from... 

Your feedback is welcome as always!

    - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 5th Feb 2015