Birds on a wire

This is a longish account of a long drive from Bangalore to Kibber in the Trans-Himalaya. Notes I kept during the 10 day journey are largely conversations I had with myself but also with my partners in travel, and are used here to share what we experienced, saw and spoke of during this journey across […]

Living in an extreme world

by T. R. Ramachandran and T. R. Shankar Raman (This article appeared as a lead on the edit page of The Hindu on 13 July 2013) The recent flood-related disaster in Uttarakhand was labelled a Himalayan tsunami, recalling the deaths, damage, and destruction that followed the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of December 2004. Yet, […]

A red flush of leaves

(By T. R. Shankar Raman and Divya Mudappa) Splashes of red dot the evergreen canopy, like blood on green canvas. The canarium, stately white and tall, holds a red flush of new leaves above verdant, multi-hued forest. Skimming spectacularly over the trees, a great hornbill brushes grandeur onto the canvas. In the company of hornbills, […]

Wildlife beyond boundaries

The elephants stood at the stream’s edge. As the adults drank in measured trunkfuls, calves gambolled in the water. Just above them, on the slope, a large sambar stag emerged silently from the undergrowth. From a cluster of trees above came the scolding call of a giant squirrel, as a troop of Nilgiri langur foraged […]

The elephant in your coffee

Got a cup of coffee in hand as you read the paper this morning? Much of the coffee we drink in India is grown in the hilly, southern districts of Coorg, Wayanad and Nilgiris. To the east of these picturesque and popular holiday destinations is a vast tract of impoverished dry-land agriculture. Farmers here have […]

Sentience for conservation

What would our life be like if we could see, but not discern? If we could hear, but not listen, and if we could touch, but not feel? How would we experience life if we could taste and smell, but not savour? What would we be like, as a species and as individuals, if we […]

The edges of the Earth

How far can one keep going straight up an apparently unscaled peak without falling off a precipice? How far can the march of the human footprint on Earth continue without exceeding planetary boundaries and leading to environmental catastrophe? In an important recent paper in Nature, strangely reminiscent of the publication of The Limits to Growth […]