Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales
Carved on their hearts
Schools , hospitals and homes serving the needy and underprivileged will be the recipients of a unique initiative on December 20. The Shram Daan Divas (labour contribution day) sees contractors, carpenters and woodworkers donating a day’s labour, doing free repair and other work at these institutions.
Carpenters doing shramdaan as part of last year’s programme
Organised under the auspices of the Fevicol Champions Club, the initiative is carried out in various cities across the country. Mumbai will see over 600 carpenters donating labour at 13 organisations in and around the city.
Pidilite provides participants with the tools and materials required for carrying out their repair work. Vivek Subramanian, CEO of Fevicol Division, Pidilite, says, “Shram Daan Diwas is a unique community initiative where we can witness daily wage earners such as woodworkers and contractors forego their livelihood for a noble cause.
These individuals themselves are not economically empowered, but are taking this valiant step to help society using their skills and intellect.” Indeed a commendable act, and one that each of us should emulate.
Whither the weather?
It is a season of extremes, to say the least. Except that one extreme cold has hardly been felt so far. After a slight chill, sweaty heat followed, causing many to comment that winter was literally “do din ka mehmaan”.
Mist between Dombivili and Diva. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
There’s still the rest of December, however, and January to come. And there is a chill in the air again. In earlier years we have also seen cold or cool Februaries so we can still hope. When it gets too hot in the city, some find excuses to frequent the malls, while others work a little longer to linger in the air-conditioned comfort, as it were, of their offices.
Meanwhile, in the north (not too far, just after Dombivili) we spotted mist while waiting for our morning train. Is the harbinger of winter here at last...?
Go wild over X’mas
If you haven’t made Christmas holiday plans yet, fret not. You can eschew the beaten track of Goa and head to Rajasthan instead, for the Bombay Natural History Society’s Wild Rajasthan Camp between December 20 and 25. It’s an expedition through Rajasthan, exploring some of the most spectacular sites for desert life.
Kheechan: Witness one of the most amazing spectacles of bird congregation, over 9,000 Demoiselle Cranes in the small village of Kheechan which plays host to the normally shy birds every winter.
Jorbeed: An ideal place to see endangered vultures, Jorbeed is also famous for the rare and Vulnerable Yellow-eyed Pigeon and birds like Griffon Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Punjab Raven and Imperial Eagle.
Desert National Park: This is a good place to see the Critically Endangered Great Indian Bustard. During winter, the park comes alive with an array of migrants like four species of Wheatears, Common Kestrel, White-rumped Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Houbara Bustard, White-browed Bushchat, Desert Warbler, Desert Lark, Black-crowned Finch-Lark, Short-toed Eagle and Long-legged Buzzard are found here. Mammals like the Desert Fox, Chinkara, Desert Cat and Indian Gerbil can also be spotted.
Tal Chhapar Sanctuary: If your idea of paradise is golden grasses with graceful antelopes leaping about and birds of many kinds living in harmony, then Tal Chhapar is the place to be. It is the perfect place to see raptors. You are likely to see Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Merlin, Rufous-tailed Lark, Sand Lark, and Sociable Lapwing. It is also one of the few places where you can see the rare Spotted Creeper. But mammal lovers need not despair, this desert landscape is home to one of the largest populations of the graceful Blackbuck.
Charges: Rs 26,500/- for members, and Rs 27,700/- for others (ex-Jaipur/Jodhpur)
Registration: Call at Hornbill House 22871202/22821811, Mon-Fri 9.30 am to 5.30 pm or e-mail at email@example.com.