Monday, March 29, 2021

Why one should get vaccinated against COVID-19

I am sharing below an explanatory video put out by Vox, an American news website, on a few issues associated with the vaccines that are available against COVID-19.

I saw this video in a post of my blog pal, Yamini MacLean.

This video tells us:

1) What is the meaning of a vaccine's efficacy rate; like when we say, for example, "This vaccine has an efficacy of 95%"; 

2) Why we shouldn't compare different brands of vaccines; and

3) What is the ultimate objective of the global vaccination programme.

A video worth watching and sharing with others, because there is so much misinformation surrounding various COVID-19 vaccines.

Friday, March 26, 2021

'Bee boxes' to keep away wild elephants

Invasion of human habitations by wild animals results not only in the destruction of crops but also loss of human lives. As a deterrent, some people put up electrified fences. Some others even kill the animals. Not the right solution, for sure.

Now, taking advantage of the fact that elephants are known to have a fear of bees, Khadi and Village Industries Commission recently launched a project called RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees) in Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka state. 

It involves placing boxes of bees along the periphery of the villages. There are strings that connect the 'bee boxes'. If and when an elephant tries to cross the boundary, its impact on the string causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds, deterring them from moving forward.

Source: The Hindu

To begin with, around 20 such bee boxes have been placed at four locations, and high-resolution night-vision cameras record the impact the bees have on the elephants.

Undoubtedly an innovative solution. It would be interesting to know if this works.

(This post is a part of the monthly We Are The World Blogfest that goes out on the last Friday of every month to highlight the positive stories around us. On Facebook and on Twitter.)

Monday, March 22, 2021

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

Ever since I began blogging (properly) in 2004, I have come across many blogging challenges. Resisted signing up. Always.

A couple of reasons: One, every day, I am battling deadlines, and I didn't want another one staring at me. Two, I wasn't able to relate to many of these Challenges.

In 2018, on March 23, I found a blog post by Jayashree on "A to Z Challenge". Via a link on that post, I landed on the home page of the contest organisers. I found the concept so interesting that I lost no time in signing up. My name, name of the blog, its URL etc appeared on the Master List.

Of course, it was another deadline to keep up. But I thought it was just for one month. Thus, that year, I blogged on whatever came to my mind on the 26 weekdays of April. 

In 2019, however, there was a theme: journalistic jargons. In 2020, it was, what kept me going as COVID-19 spread its tentacles around all of us.

This year, on March 8, the window to reveal the theme opened and it closed yesterday. And like all those three years, this year too, I am undecided if I should have a theme, if so, what it should be; or should I randomly blog on some topic. Anyway, there are a few more days.

Theme or theme, this series has introduced me to many blogs and bloggers. I hope the trend continues this year too. Looking forward to April ...

Friday, March 12, 2021

Unique hometown sojourn

I left Kerala, my home state, way back in 1988 when I landed my first job in Bhopal. Ever since then, I have worked in many cities, wherever my work has taken me. 

In January-February, thanks to work from anywhere, for the first time in the past 32 years, we (my wife and I) stayed in Kerala for close to one and a half months. That was never possible before because the duration of "long leave" from the office is usually a week or 10 days or at the most two weeks.

For as many as 43 days -- from January 9 to February 21 -- we were in Kerala. Now I can say, "Though I haven't worked in Kerala, I have worked from Kerala." 

It was at times an odd feeling. Because I have always been in my hometown only on holiday. And this was the first time I was working as well. It took some time for me to adjust to this new reality.

My home is in the countryside, in the midst of trees. Every day, I used to wake up to fresh air wafting through the open windows and to the sound of birds. A walk on the undulating pathways in the neighbourhood, soaking in the early morning sunlight and the refreshing coolness of the verdant surroundings. The air is clean and the nights are pitch dark, the peace and quiet occasionally punctuated by the chirps of insects. 

The greenery can be truly energising. This was in the backyard.

Thanks to the pandemic, our visits to friends and relatives were very limited. In January and February, the number of daily cases was quite high in Kerala, though our neighbourhood was relatively free of it. We chose not to visit some people rather than risk spreading the virus. Now the numbers in Kerala has come down.

Kerala's temples are well known for their architectural beauty. Below is the Kallooppara Bhagavathy temple. 

One of my nieces made this out of paper:

Below is her artwork on a wall in the house. I am very happy that the parents didn't stop their children from drawing on the walls. You know at a particular age, kids prefer to draw on the walls rather than on a paper or drawing board. They grow out of it soon.  

Somewhere before Hosur in Tamil Nadu on our way back from Kerala. 

I wanted to click the setting sun, but I was a bit late to take out my camera.

We are back in the hustle and bustle of Bengaluru (Bangalore), with some wonderful memories of a (working) holiday in Kerala.