College days saw me devouring Robert Ludlum, Jefferey Archer and the like. Back then I could squeeze in the time to finish a fair sized book in about a week and the local library served up interesting fare to whet my appetite.
Things have changed since I plunged into my profession. Time is premium, and my tastes have changed too. Nowadays I pick up classics from literature but Amitav Ghosh has had the favour of my attention recently. "Hungry Tide" was finished in a flourish since Sunderbans is a place on my list of "things to do before I die"! The only problem is that I've been wading through a "Sea of Poppies" for a few months now; not because the book is uninteresting but because I am hard pressed for time!
You might be wondering why the Woodcrawler is rambling about literature. There is a sound reason. I have been a resident, first a student and then a teacher in the famous university township of Manipal in Udupi District of Karnataka (formerly South Canara). Two of Karnataka's literary personalities trace their origins to Udupi and the neighbouring districts of Shimoga. Late K.Shivarama Karanth is from Kota in Udupi district and late Kuvempu (K.V Puttappa) was from Kuppalli in Shimoga. While the former was an author and social activist with a genuine concern for the environment, the latter was a poet, author and educationist.
|K Shivarama Karanth|
|Kuvempu (K.V Puttappa)|
Ullas Karanth, the son of Shivarama Karanth, is a tiger conservationist and one of the main influences in my interest in wildlife. I have never met him but I own many books authored by him on tiger conservation. (Now you have an idea why my mail ID is tigertracker!).
Late Poornachandra Tejaswi was the son following the footsteps of his father, writing in Kannada and also doing many other things. Of the many interests of his, I share a couple, photography and bird watching.
I had an occasion to interact with him in his house in Mudigere since he is 'related' through my wife! It was just the time I was transitioning from film to digital photography. He reminded me of the bird man of India Dr.Salim Ali.
This meeting was many years ago but it was about to change my view of photography on it's head. I was one of those skeptics who swore by film but when I saw what a 5 MP digital camera could achieve, I reluctantly decided it was time to switch. Not only did my outlook on digital photography change but I started looking at birds differently. Till then only large mammals were visible to my myopic eyes. When I saw birds through the eye of someone who really loved them I started noticing these prettiest of God's creatures.
The Woodcrawler had matured. A jungle was not only about tigers, leopards, elephants & gaur. There were little creatures too that caught my eye. If it caught my eye, it had to be recorded and I needed to change my gear. Gradually, over a decade, I graduated from a prosumer 5MP 10x digital camera to a DSLR with a range of lenses that reached from 9mm to 600mm. It has left a big hole in my pocket but I've never regretted it.
In late July I got a call from my Alma mater. They wanted me as a speaker in the conference they were conducting. I couldn't refuse so I had to find something to do when I was there.
Agumbe beckoned, so did Kuppalli; the birthplace of Kuvempu and Poornachandra Tejaswi. A plan was born..........
................................................................................. watch this space for more