Tag Archives: western ghats

Magic seeds lead to hibiscusland


A particular plant becomes the object of our affection and takes over the garden. But this devotion can lead to monoculture, bringing with it an absence of variety that only pests love, jeopardising a garden’s eco-system. Monoculture imperils the organic method, even the semi-organic method that I follow.

A devastating Indian summer this year produced a terrible drought in the hinterlands around Pune where I live. The unseasonably high temperatures brought a plague of mealybugs to my sky-high garden. The cotton-covered, plump little voracious vampires never tired and they multiplied ceaselessly in the scalding summer heat and my garden’s hibiscus culture. On cooler summer mornings, the winged forms of a white pest, I once thought these were immature mealybugs, would take to the air flying off to parasitise yet more plants. Despite many thorough once-overs, brushing them off all reachable plant parts, they would reappear a few hours later relentlessly polka-dotting all those just-cleaned plants, irrevocably mutilating the leaves on which they fed.

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Heat, humidity and Shakespeare

Martin Droeshout, Wikimedia Commons. Title page of First Folio. Courtesy of the Elizabethan Club and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale.

Resonance; I wait for it as I dive into a text. But it doesn’t always happen.

I had watched many of Shakespeare’s plays dramatised for television, but I was a child and to me they were all somewhat alien. Years later, looking into the reedy shade of coconut trees swaying outside my window, I learned to read and understand the language of William Shakespeare. When understanding came, something wondrous occurred. It could only be likened to the physical property of resonance, as you suddenly become one with a text, a human tuning fork.
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A southern deluge that shook us all

There’s nothing a government hates more than a flood. Droughts and floods expose man-made calamities for what these really are, and there’s no hiding behind catchall phrases like climate change or natural calamity. Climate change can only explain the record rainfall, it does not explain why cities do not have contingencies in place to divert floodwaters. Climate change does not explain why town planners consistently ignore hydrology and terrain to allow builders and encroachers to take over river banks, swampland and low-lying areas. Climate change does not explain why a government does not repair and overhaul a city’s storm water drains or its sewage systems.
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