Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Reimagine Recreate Restore

Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.

Slogans and tag lines like these are fine.

But what can an individual do?

Can institutions like a university help?

What can corporates do?

Restore what? Restore the environment. Restore the forests, lakes, ponds, parks, rivers, wastelands, habitat for wildlife and birds. In short, restore the life for future generations!

Another World Environment Day has come and gone. Above three words constituted the theme of this year's World Environment Day 2021.  It marks the beginning of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Let us look at each of the three theme words.

Reimagine: How can we restore the environment around us which we as mankind have polluted and degraded? We have to imagine newer ways of doing it. Few suggestions are listed below:

  • Solar charging of devices in parked cars and two wheelers
  • Wind driven pencil sharpeners for school children. More than just fun. Perhaps they can construct it as part of their science lab!
  • Tree plantation in a remote site by a visitor. The company nurtures the plant on behalf of the visitor. Being done by an L&T group company in India.
  • 'One child one tree' program. Recognise best nurtured saplings after a year at a global level.
  • Solar powered school bags and juicers are already a reality. See the pictures from India and Africa.

Recreate: Large part of the environment has been lost or degraded. Examples include encroached wetlands for birds, denuded forests for wildlife, dying rivers, oceans and beaches for fragile marine life etc. We can't recreate the oceans. But we can certainly keep it clean and pollution free. So that marine life can continue to thrive. Am citing an example of recreating the lost nesting sites of Spot-billed Pelicans in Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh. Kolleru lake has shrunk by more than 50% due to encroachment by Fish Tanks. See the maps below. 
As a result of the encroachment, the Pelicans lost their natural nesting sites on Keekar trees. But thanks to the efforts of the Wildlife Department, metal mesh nests were erected in the lake. The Pelicans have adopted these nesting platforms. See the pictures below.
You may browse the full picture story titled 'Kolleru- The Pelican Paradise'. Likewise, we can attempt to recreate the lost environment elsewhere too.

Restore: As we said in the beginning, we have to restore the forests, lakes, ponds, parks, rivers, wastelands, habitat for wildlife and birds. Our collective effort will then restore the life for future generations! Am giving an example of ecosystem restoration and preservation through government-university partnership. The Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve in California is an environmentalists delight. Thanks are due to University of California, Davis for this unique initiative. The government-university partnership model is worth emulating by other countries/ regions. See few pictures of the Reserve and the restoration being undertaken by the university.

Reimagine, Recreate, Restore. It can not be done overnight. It has to be the collective effort of mankind over a period of time. And that is why the United Nations has called the decade 2021-2030 as the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration. 
The Nature teaches us patience and the ways to deal with change. By observing a snail, we can learn many lessons for restoring the environment.

KBG-57, the 57th edition of our online caption contest had featured the above picture of a snail. Despite the ongoing pandemic and the devastating second wave, the  contest evoked good response. All the creative captions received are listed below.



Caption for KBG-57 Contest


Alka Siwach



Aarja Kohli

Embrace your own pace


Amandeep Kaur

He snailed it!


Pradeep Siwach



Yella Prakash Rao

Asli Ghummakkad to yehi hai. Baaki saare part time actors hain!


Vicky Baths

Slow and steady wins the race!


GR Sreenivasan

VIP visitor getting Red Carpet welcome 😀


Shereen Sultana

Fabi-ayyi Ala-i rabbikuma tukadziban {Roman transliteration of an arabic verse}

So which of the favours of your lord would you deny?


Peter de Padua

Homecoming with own home!


Vicky Bhardwaj

Persons who give Happiness, don't go to Heaven.  Instead, Wherever they Go. That becomes  Paradise.


Peter de Padua

Going...going..going home!


Jyoti Dixit

My antennae  are up- food aroma.


Rashmi Bhargava

Sometimes this life seems moving like a snail


Sujata Das

I will make it!


Rakesh Sharma

Snail is frail but does not fail to assail every nail on its trail.


Surendra Bhargava

Slow and steady wins the race


Parag Sharma

We are not in slow motion; we are in complete devotion.


C Raghuram

A winner always moves, despite all odds.



The Salary



The Indian Economy!


NN Pashupathy

Carrying its own residence to your residence!


Rajendra Singh

What Lockdown! Never ever left my home!


Vinod Dhanuka

I Climbed I Conquered


GB Sethi

I am hard outside, very soft inside, have no wings no legs but assure you come monsoon I will be with you.


Manju Khetan

Even a snail will eventually reach its destination.


Ritu Bhargava

We shell overcome


Avinash Tiwari

Aarahi barsaat (monsoon) meri raftar se!


Sunil Sud

True representation of how life is moving these days (in the pandemic) :-)


Vinay Prasad

Never mind your speed!  Keep going!


JVR Moorty

Losing micro calories one step at a time. Snails lead by example.



I walk with cool head. I draw my direction


Param Bhatia

Come out of your shell to explore the world!


Radhika Sareen

घोंघा नहीं लम्बी race का घोड़ा हूँ मेँ ....


Kausalya Govindan

Just out of quarantine!

The Jury comprising of Manik Srivastava and Neeta Bhargava has selected seven captions as winners of KBG-57. Congratulations to all the winners who are profiled below along with their winning captions.

Kausalya Govindan is a Naval spouse and a teacher now settled in Bengaluru. She loves travelling and being with Nature. She related the snail's picture with the prevailing pandemic through her caption.

Amandeep Kaur holds an MBA(Fin) and works with a US company in India. She loves to interact with people. She has won the KBG contest several times. Her caption with a pun nailed it!

Pradeep Siwach holds a PhD in Management and has been the Vice Chancellor of two private universities in India. A keen photographer, he loves to travel. He called the snail a राहगीर in Hindi, meaning a traveller. Pradeep has won the KBG contests earlier too.

Rakesh Sharma is an alumnus of BITS Pilani who went on to do his PhD. A retired Colonel, he headed many institutions and universities in India. Rakesh's rhyming caption caught the Jury's attention.

Parag Sharma is a former combat pilot who retired as an Air Commodore from Indian Air Force. Keen traveller and Nature lover, he has won many KBG contests in the past. His caption gave another perspective of a snail!

Shiv Nath
is our first time winner. We have not been able to get his profile. His caption is so apt. Our salaries rise so slowly, just like the snail's pace!

Rajendra Singh is a former Maj General of Indian Army. Fond of gardening and golf, he loves all animals and birds. He has captured the lockdown blues in his caption so well!

Are we all not like the snail? We want to be left alone to work at our own pace! Think.
 Once again, congratulations to all the winners.

Snail Climbing A Staircase
Here is a short video clip showing how the snail climbs a cemented staircase at the entrance of our house in Secunderabad India.

Seeing the snail's clip, our daughter Akanksha has penned the following lines.

The climb may be tough
But it will all be worth it
When you give it your best
With true grit
Thanks much Ashi.

We thank both the Jury members and all the contestants for their participation.

We hope we have lessened your anxiety due to the second wave of the pandemic. It is definitely on the decline. However, all of us need to maintain the self-discipline of wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance and washing hands frequently.

Stay safe and stay connected.

    - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 9th June 2021

#worldenvironmentday #reimagine #recreate #restore ##nature #monsoonishere #secunderabad #telangana #ghumakkadhb #ghumakkadharsh #KBG #kaunbanegaghumakkad #onlinecontest #powerofobservation #lockdownfunathome #beatthecorona #lockdown #stayhomestaysafe  #captions #snail #life #craetivecaptions #pqs #picturesquequotations #naturetheteacher #overcomingchallenges #learningthroughpictures #lessonsfromasnail

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Not Far Behind

Monsoon clouds, first showers, the snail can't be far behind.

See the picture below taken at the entrance stairs of our house in Secunderabad India. What does the picture tell you? Give it a caption. Your creative caption could get you the Winner's tag of KBG-57, the 57th edition of Kaun Banega Ghumakkad. It is an online captions contest. 

How to Submit a Caption

Now get going and give your caption pronto! If you feel like, you may suggest more than one caption.

For the first-timers on KBG, you can respond using any of the six channels below:

  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. Send email to   
  3. Respond on the FB post
  4. Comment on Instagram @ghumakkadhb 
  5. Comment on Twitter @HarshBh21184761
  6. Send a WA message. If you want your WA number to be added to Ghumakkad's list, send an email.

Hope we have helped you in overcoming the Covid boredom to some extent.

Previous Contest

KBG-56 showed a picture of a flowering Bougainvillea creeper along with the fallen pink flowers. Just a single picture generated almost 40 creative captions. For complete list of the captions and the winning entries, click the story 'Taming the Second Wave with your Mind'. Two of the winning captions are reproduced below:

Be your creative best and shoot your response. Most catchy captions will be the Winners of KBG-57! All the best.

Stay connected, stay safe.

   - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 3rd June 2021

#nature #monsoonishere #secunderabad #telangana #ghumakkadhb #ghumakkadharsh #KBG #kaunbanegaghumakkad #onlinecontest #powerofobservation #lockdownfunathome #beatthecorona #lockdown #stayhomestaysafe  #captions #snail #life #craetivecaptions #pqs #picturesquequotations #naturetheteacher #overcomingchallenges #learningthroughpictures #lessonsfromasnail

Friday, 21 May 2021

Brahma Kamal Nature's Magical Clock

Five days to go for the full moon on 26th May 2021. And lo, a bud sprouts today in our Brahma Kamal plant in Secunderabad!

How does Nature achieve this magical synchronisation? Come full moon and Brahma Kamal (scientific name Epiphyllum oxypetalum)  blooms. It blooms at night. You may browse our earlier story Brahma Kamal- The Plant With Intelligence to see sequence of pictures taken through a night.

For those readers who have not seen this magical flower, a fully formed bud before it blooms looks like this.

And when it first sprouts from the edge of a leaf, it looks tiny and not as spectacular. See the picture below, taken this evening.

Finally, it blooms at night. Picture below.

What amazes us is the clockwork synchronisation by Nature. Full moon give or take a day or two- and the flowers bloom. The magic continues. Here is another picture of a bud against the full moon in January 2021.

Postscript 22nd May 2021: While watering the plant today, I noticed that it is not one but four buds which are forming. Here is a short 30-sec video clip showing how the plant produces the other buds keeping the harsh summer Sun away.

Am sharing two more pictures showing 3 + 1 bud on different branches, but all the buds get natural sun shade in scorching heat of Secunderabad summer.

Postscript 23 May 2021: Another reader who is a keen gardener and an author sent the comment: "After reading your post on the Brahma Kamal I went to check on mine. There was a bud! 😱Waiting for the 26th". Thanks much Shyamola.

Postscript 27th May: Ek aur एक और , yes there was one more bud making it a sixer! Four bloomed on 27th, Full Moon +1, the remaining two will bloom on 28th i.e. two days after the full moon. Two other neighbours also had one bloom each on 27th. So, the full moon synchronisation seems to apply well. It was an overcast sky, so couldn't take a picture with the moon. Here is one of the six blooms at night, taken from different angles without flash gun.

Hope we were able to take your mind off the Pandemic. Even if it was for a few minutes, we are happy. 

Relax and enjoy the Nature around you.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

    -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ Secunderabad/ 21st May 2021

#BrahmaKamal #Flowers #MarvelsOfNature #MidnightBloom #PlantWithIntelligence #GhumakkadHarsh #GhumakkadHB #epiphyllumoxypetalum #queenofthenight #fullmoon #hownaturesynchronises #nature #secunderabad

Monday, 17 May 2021

Power of Volunteering to Tame the Second Wave

"Need oxygen cylinder for my mother urgently!"

Three hours later, "We lost her thirty minutes ago as we couldn't get a cylinder!"

"Urgent need of an ICU bed, patient critical".

We have seen such fervent and desperate appeal for help coming from all across India. The second wave of pandemic has been deadly and super fast in spreading. Sparing no city, no region or no cast. Taming the second wave has been a challenge. Given the population density in the cities, the health infrastructure could not tame the tide. But collective spirit and efforts of the people of India did it!

This story brings out the collective power of volunteering in taking the monstrous second wave head on. There are numerous volunteer groups and organisations doing a tremendous job. Documenting their effort may take time. But this short story is restricted to the efforts by BITS Pilani alumni who rose to the occasion and took the bull by the horn. The battle is continuing but the volunteers remain spirited.

Whether it is to search for life-saving resources in real time or providing oxygen concentrators or setting up ICU beds in rural areas, BITSAA (BITS Alumni Association) volunteers are doing it all. Many students of BITS Pilani have also come forward and contributing their time and energy. We are overwhelmed with their support.

In the words of Navkaran Singh who leads a team of more than 800 BITSAA volunteers for providing real-time response to SOS requests for life saving resources, "We started the Covid relief initiative with five volunteers to help fellow BITSians with requests related to hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, medicines, Plasma donations, etc. In the last 12 days, we have resolved 1000+ requests from a variety of sources. What started as an alumni initiative has turned into a war against Covid."

"There are daily planning and review meetings going on every night from 10-12. The kind of enthusiasm of the team is infectious. If you feel that you have seen the most enthusiastic team in your life, please join our WhatsApp group for a day and see the passion of the volunteers to resolve each and every request. It seems like everyone's life depends on that request. We have seen more deaths in the last 12 days than what we have seen in our lifetime. What remains the same every day is the enthusiasm to save another life. Thank you to all the volunteers and all the Alumni who have supported us in whatever way possible. Your small contribution has saved a lot of lives in the last two weeks." 

Go Navkaran go! He is not alone. Alumni across all batches and geographies have come forward to do their bit. Following table summarises some of the initiatives by BITSAA volunteers. The list includes links to respective websites where you can browse further details and contribute if you feel like. We would love to augment the list based on readers' inputs. Please feel free to reach out to us on .



BITSian Volunteers in Action

BITSAA Covid Relief Imitative

To help fellow BITSians/families find pan-India resources for hospital beds/ICUs, oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ambulances and medicines in real time

Akash, Saksham, Kalyan, Chandrakala, Sneha, Rahul, Arkapriya, Kathesh, Palak Oswal, Subham, Kunal, Srikar, Ankit, Mayank Anchilia, Navkaran and team of 120+ active volunteers including students working 24x7


To provide oxygen concentrators and cylinders to the needy in Jhansi, Kanpur, Lucknow and other towns in UP

Siddharth Seth, Pratyush Rawal, Rishabh Mehrotra, Astha Dhayal and team

To supply oxygen concentrators to the needy across India

Sharat Chaudhary, Anu Khendry, Pankaj Vaish, Arun Chatterjee, Vinita and team 

To provide 200 oxygen concentrators and 150 ICU beds in 15 villages in Telangana

Mayur Patnala and team

MOFA Medical Oxygen for all.

To support the medical oxygen needs of tier-2 and tier-3 cities and towns across India

Anish Sinha, Anchal Goel, and a team of eight volunteers. 

To deploy 40,000 reusable oxygen cylinders and 20,000 oxygen concentrators in 20 urban and rural centers across India.

Diwakar Pingle, Ramanan and team

Pilani Atmanirbhar Resource Centre (PARC)

During Covid, to provide oxygen concentrators and allied equipment to the needy in Pilani, Rajasthan. PARC otherwise works for community development around Pilani.

Sunil Nanda and team

Donate Plasma (Postscript 18 May: Since discontinued as per ICMR's announcement)

To mobilise plasma donors and connect with the needy. Being done in association with and NSS, BITS Pilani.

A team of BITSAA Volunteers and students

Oxygen Concentrators for BITSians and families

To provide oxygen concentrators for BITSians, families and the needy in Jaipur and Hyderabad.

Kailash Gupta (Jaipur) and Ashok Agarwal and Sanjay Khendry (Hyderabad) and teams


To provide oxygen supply to the needy in Hyderabad in association with Nirmaan.

Praneeth, Sai Rama, Anshool, Venky, Avinash Reddy and team

Oxygen Plant for Pilani

To set up a dedicated oxygen plant for Birla Sarvajanik Hospital in Pilani

Hanuman Bengani, Rakesh Sharma, Sanjay Guha Arun Kumar, Jayant Sogani and team

Am sure similar stories by alumni of other institutes and friends coming together are aplenty. Collectively we can tame the second wave successfully. We will.

Postscript: 18 May: Plasma drive has since been discontinued based on ICMR's recent announcement. Thanks K Srikanth for pointing it out.

Postscript 20th May: The work of BITSAA volunteers has been covered by the media. See the picture below from Amar Ujala, a Hindi daily in UP.

BBC Radio has also featured the efforts of our Volunteers' Relief Support Initiative. 

We close with a quotation by Mahatma Gandhi who said that "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others". 

Once again hat tip to each of the volunteer-led initiatives featured above and to countless others who are not featured in our story.

Together we will. Jai Hind.

    - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ Secunderabad/ 17th May 2021

#covid #pandemic #2ndwave #india #volunteering #powerofvolunteering #riseup #wewill #hailvolunteering #bitspilani #bitsaa #alumni #bitsians #rockingvolunteers #tamingthe2ndwave #togetherwecan #ghumakkadharsh #ghumakkadhb #bitsstudents