Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The legend of the house sparrow

A blogger I regularly read is Eric, who maintains a philately blog. He recently posted a stamp featuring the sparrow from Belarus. A further research informed me that stamps on Sparrows were around in some quantity. While I am not going to start another collection on sparrows, let me tell you the story of why the male sparrow has a darker chest then the female of that species.

It so happened that once Mrs Sparrow decided that she wanted to apply Kajal (Mascara) to her eyes, but sadly back then the sparrows didn't have any. So she told Mr Sparrow to get some. Mr Sparrow flew far and wide, but there was no Mascara to be found anywhere. After a long futile search, he finally came upon a big black rock. This was the perfect rock that Mrs Sparrow could use for her Mascara. But it was simply not possible for Mr Sparrow to take the big rock to the Mrs. And god forbid the thought of Mrs Sparrow coming out of the nest without her make up intact for applying the Kajal! So Mr Sparrow did the only thing that came to his mind then. He rubbed his chest on the rock with all his might till the color rubbed off. He then returned to Mrs Sparrow and since that day, every morning before Mr & Mrs Sparrow leave their nest, Mrs Sparrow takes a little bit of the Kajal from Mr Sparrows chest and applies it to her beautiful eyes.

There is a Sparrow couple that feels very much at home in the Kitchen. Today they were glaring at us from the Kitchen window as we were intruding in their Kitchen. I took a few snaps of them.

This is probably the reason why they stick so close to each other. You don't find too many women away from their make-up Kit!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Blog on Philitaly

Hi All.

Over the past some time, people who read this blog would have realised my fondness for the Postal service. In view of this, I have decided to start a new blog solely dedicated to the postal dept and my stamps. The blog is called "The Stamps of Velu" (for lack of more imaginative title)

Please do drop by and spend some time there.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More stamps

Some time back I had written about the Indian postal departments philately scheme to let you receive newly released stamps at your home after opening an account with them. This has proven to be very useful to someone like me who doesn't hang around the country for more then half the year.

On returning back home this time, I saw that the postal department has released some great stamps over the last few months. The Miniature sheet for the 2550 years of mahaparinirvana of the Buddha is one of the most beautiful pieces of work I have seen released by this country.

The first of the six postage stamps depicts a statue from the gandhara period of Siddhartha when he was a prince. The second stamp is a sculpture from Myanmar where buddha is an ascetic. The third stamp depicts the blissful head of the meditating Buddha from Sarnath, India. The fourth stamp is that of Buddha holding the nectar of immortality in a jar & the fifth stamp contain incarnations of Buddha past and future. The Hinayana symbols such as the lotus and dharma chakra is shown in the sixth stamp.

"Parinirvana" is the final deathless state where one abandons the earthly body and attains freedom from the cycles of birth and death. I don't think I know much about that, the sheet sure does look great.

The second set of stamps that is good is the set about the fairs of India. The four fairs covered in this miniature sheet are the Goa carnival, pushkar mela, sonepur fair, & the Baul Festival. Sadly I haven't been to any of them. I think I need to see more TV.

The postal dept have not come out with a miniature sheet for the Himalayan lakes, but only with a set of five stamps. The lakes covered by this set are the Chandratal in lahul & Spiti, Roop Kund , Tsangu on the Gangtok - nathula road, Sela Lake near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh & the Tsomoriri Lake in Ladhak.

Of these, I have only been to the Tsangu lake when I went to the Nathula. I missed seeing the Tsomoriri during this visit to Leh. I think I'll do it the next time I go by road.

Finally we wrap up with the set of scented stamps. As far as my memories go, only three other countries have released scented stamps. India released two of them over the last year. The first was the sandalwood stamps and they do smell really nice. The postal dept then released the rose stamps very fittingly on the Valentines day. :)

It feels unreal to think that the total cost of all the above gems is less then four dollars.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The wall

We had gone over to Puja's village home at Astha and I found a most photogenic wall.

I'm not really sure which of the pictures I like to most, so I'll let you people have them all.

I think the Cycle gives it a classic look. I should have clicked one snap off in black and white

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The return of the Lego

I haven't been around for some time. I thought I should begin again with something else that I hadn't been doing for some time. The Lego blocks are something that have never lost their coolness as far as I am concerned. The Lego mindstorm Robotic invention system is something that takes these blocks to an all new level.

As a lego fan, I used to relish working on the technic sets. The gears & springs and interlocking parts would in my humble mind be ample proof of some genius at play. The fact that an assorted pile of stuff could be assembled into into something so obvious was magical.

The beauty of the Lego RIS is that not only can it be used to make what the Lego team wants you to do, but that the Lego team wants you to do what you want to do with the Lego RIS. At the heart of the RIS is the RCX module (That Yellow thingy on the top) that you can actually programme with your PC as you want. The RCX, powered by six AA batteries and assisted by gadgets such as Touch sensors, motors, light sensors and such cool stuff, allows you to make stuff such as cars, robots and other cool stuff that your mind and additional lego blocks might allow. Look at the sort of stuff that JP Brown here has come up with.

I doubt that I will come anywhere as cool as good ol JP back there, but I did come out with this creation. This is a double bumper truck with touch sensors below the bumpers and after the truck reaches a wall and the touch sensor is depressed, the vehicle stops, reverses, turns and then proceeds till encountering another obstacle.

Very cool.