Thursday, October 30, 2008

Unusual flowers?

I found these flowers unusual when I first saw them bloom. Of these two I am told that the Jasmine flower in the first image is Adukku Malli. One person even told me it is Mysore Malli but a single flower was as big as a small rose. The regular sized Jasmine buds are in the background.

The second image shows you white Arali flowers blooming from a bunch of red Arali flowers. Note that it is from the same plant. The whites aren't pure whites as they have a tinge of pink to them. You can see two in the foreground and two in the background but they are from the same bunch that produces only red flowers. This happened only once.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Solution if you get the "Invalid Update Control CTF file" while updating AVG Free anti-virus

I have been using the AVG Free Anti-Virus for about two or more years now and I must say I have had little or no spyware and virus problems. I have used both the 7.5 and the 8 (with anti-spyware) versions. Over the past two days whenever I tried to update the program I was getting the "Invalid Update Control CTF file" error. So if you are getting the same, click on the following blog link for the solution.

I tried the solution and it worked perfectly for me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Some incredible pics

I do get a considerable amount of e-mail with pictures but this is one I want to share with you. The tile of the e-mail is Times when you just have to trust the pilot. Just check out the runways on these airports. The mail concludes with this extraordinary photograph of a rescue mission in Afghanistan. With the usage of Photoshop on many of today's photographs I hope this one and the one before that weren't fakes. All photos are published with due credits to the owners of the pics, whoever they are. You can also view the pics in their original full sizes by clicking on them.

Tioman Island , Off the coast of Malaysia. The tiny runway is just ahead of the waters.

Wake Island, Pacific Ocean

Maco International Airport

Kuujjuaraapik, Quebec

Canadian Labrador Military Helicopter atop a rock, off the coast of Greenwood. This one could have been a Photoshop trick but the next one is unbelievable.

The e-mail says that the following photo was taken by a soldier in Afghanistan of a helicopter rescue mission. The pilot is a PA National Guard guy who flies EMS choppers in civilian life. He has placed the rear end of a chopper down on the roof top of a shack, on a steep mountain cliff, and held it there while soldiers load wounded men in the rear.

The rains are here

Last week Chaithu's school was closed for two days. Every time there is a heavy downpour I wonder where the animals and birds take shelter. I am sure many also perish, nature's way of controlling animal population.

Many places in Chennai are still inundated with water. My greatest joy, the high decibel, ear splitting crackers are quiet, many dampened by the rains. Let it be a peaceful Deepavali.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tragedies behind a moment

It has been well over a week since I recovered from my illness but I still haven't started posting on my blog. There's work to be done and work has also been scarce. So here's one that I wanted to write about when I was sick. During this time I realised that the Koel egg I tried to hatch wouldn't. Another squirrel baby I tried to rescue also died. It was real sad to find it dead one morning, 5 days after I found it abandoned. I learnt that day after reading on the Internet that there's a lot more to rescuing an abandoned new squirrel baby than just feeding it.

Anyway, now for the post I was wanting to write.

In the movie "Saving Private Ryan" there is a beautiful line the character Upham tells Tom Hanks, ..."war expands the consciousness...". In my opinion illness does that to you too.

If you have a watch where you can observe the passing of a second or look at a clock where you can do the same as the seconds needle makes a movement, take a moment and do so. In that one second that passed an innumerable number of tragedies have happened, many natural over which we have no control and others too cruel to describe like rape, torture, killings, bombings. Many good things take place too but take a moment to contemplate on the bad things or tragedies. It took just a fraction of that second for bombs to go off in beautiful Jaipur, Rajasthan killing over 60 people. Bombs later exploded in Bangalore and Delhi killing more people. Elsewhere in the world there is civil war, extortions, assassinations, and more bombings. In the papers and the news there is death, destruction, disease, calamities of all kinds, suicides and the list of tragedies is endless.

So what are we supposed to do. Go on with our lives as though nothing affected us. Do we need to bother only if we are or our own kith and kin are involved?
On the other if we are to do something, are we to stop everything we do and lend our selves to the prevention and cure of this enormous suffering. But then what would happen to our lives, our families and our livelihoods?

The Vedas explain that if it is in our capacity to help and if we don't our part then we are only adding fresh bad karma to our already huge karmic debt that we need to live several lives to exhaust.

But then if we want to do something, how much can we do?

One thing that came to my mind is to be thankful for every waking second we live without the fear of death, disease or other kinds of suffering that so much of humanity is going through. This thankfulness can be in the form of a prayer, the more it is said the more grateful you will become to the goodness that has been bestowed upon you. No wonder the Muslims pray five times in a day. It was for a reason after all. Does that also mean we need to keep praying all the time? I guess a sincere thought of gratefulness all the time when we go about doing our daily routine is also a kind of prayer.

Then there are other ways of alleviating the suffering by doing things like charity.
Tithing is a procedure followed in many Christian homes where 10% of the monthly income is donated to the Church. The Holy Koran also prohibits hoarding of wealth without giving it in charity. All great and true holy scriptures of God teach us these good things by which society as a whole can benefit.

Pray for others and help them to the best of our abilities. Feel for their pain and suffering instead of just reading/hearing/seeing about them and just moving on without any bother. Isn't it said in The Holy Bible in the Psalms that "Blessed are they that mourn for they will be comforted".

In our busy lives where we don't give much thought to the pain of others let us do whatever best we can to help, pray and mitigate the suffering in the world. With our busy lives how much we can do so is the question but certainly even one small step in feeling and mitigating the suffering the pain of our brethren is worthwhile.

By the way I also know that many people out there don't need this post because they are already in the process of serving humanity to their best of their abilities. God save these noble souls. If you are one of them I respect you and pray for you.