Of tamarind and tolerance

An edited and shorter version of this article appeared in The Hindu Sunday Magazine on 17 June 2012. For centuries, long rows of grand tamarind trees have marked our roadsides, particularly in southern India. The wide, old roads radiating from Coimbatore city, in particular, had long rows of grand tamarind trees on either side. One […]

Forest of the aliens

Like the proboscis of a malarial mosquito the Andaman Trunk Road pierces the Jarawa forest. The road carries a steady stream of vehicles, bunched into convoys with guards. By the road are heaps of stones and the claw marks of heavy machinery: the road will soon be wider. Just beyond, on either side, stretches the […]

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, […]

Death on the highway

This article was published in The Hindu Survey of the Environment 2009 (pages 113 – 118) without the supporting footnotes. The original article with footnotes and photographs is reproduced here. Crunch! Splat! Thud! A daily massacre is occurring under the wheels of our vehicles. Thousands of lives are snuffed out tragically, instantaneously, and yet, we hardly […]

Earth-scar evening

The road winds through a disfigured landscape of tea plantations. It skims the contours over the open reservoir with its sloping banks of naked red earth. It passes the checkpost with the inevitable tea stall, and only then does it plunge down. Down towards the rainforest, our destination for the evening. The Nilgiri langurs, on […]

Blowin’ in the wind

Looking up from the road, I see the blue arc of the sky slicing through the forest canopy. Into the arc, the dome-like crown of a tall dipterocarp tree emerges from the dark rainforest. The tree is over a hundred feet tall, its straight bole emerging from a spread of stout roots that snake along […]