Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Regatta and Sketching

The thrill of sitting out in the open and painting to your heart's content. 

The 92nd Regatta practice was held at College of Engineering Pune (COEP) last month. The Urban Sketchers of Pune held a sketching/painting event when the action was on. 

This was perhaps the last outdoor event held by the Urban Sketchers before the lockdown 

The college students were in full form, waiting for their turn to practice as the Regatta was to be held in a weeks time.  

As always noticed in the Urban Sketchers, the participants are from all age groups. 

Any point is a vantage point, as long as you get a clear vision without any obstruction 

Sometimes, sketching the sketchers is also a challenge and the results can be very impressive. 

As the sketchers were busy, the participants went about their regular activity 

Like the way these two were sitting. They were looking in the opposite direction but doing the same activity - sketching.

Some of the regatta participants were interested in the art form and were closely following the process of catching the action on paper. 

Exactly two years ago, I had covered another sketching activity by the same group. It was at the Heritage building of Moti Mansion in Pune. 

After sketching, the new members introduced themselves.

 The mandatory group photo along with a glimpse of their Sunday morning effort 

I had made a short video as soon as the event was over, but could write about it only now.

Thursday, April 23, 2020


Decided to do Microgreen cultivation and we started off  with Moong (Green Gram) 
After following various YouTube instructions we finally got this.

The procedure was easy, especially when soil is not involved. You just tear some old news paper and make that your base in a flat basin (the bigger the better as you get enough crop for a one time use) On top put a layer of tissue paper and sprinkle the sprouted green gram. 

Keep sprinkling water on a daily basis to keep it moist. Direct sunlight is not necessary but keep it in a well lit place. 
It is nice to see the tender leaves sprouting up  

After eight to ten days it is time to harvest 

You can gently lift off the green along with the stalk and the roots. 

Some say that you can consume the roots too as there is no soil, but we chose to take only the stalk and the leaves.

Apart from it being highly nutritious, we found it to be tasty too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Watering hole

Looking out from the balcony I could see a palm tree in which one palm had broken off leaving a hollow on the side. There were a couple of red ringed parakeets hanging around in that area. 

My guess is that there was some water collected in that hollow and they are using it as a watering hole. I have seen them taking turns to have a dip in it.  The setting sun gave the perfect light to make a video of it.

I captured the action amidst the cacophony of all the birds. I could identify the calls of the Koel, Crow, Sunbird, Myna, Parakeet, Red Vented Bulbul and the Kingfisher. 

(Maybe bird experts could identify some more calls)
I noticed that this Kingfisher is a local guy who does his daily routine of calling out by parking himself at different locations. You can clearly hear him even if he is sitting at a distance of hundred meters. 

While editing the video I had to make a decision where to stop as I did not want the video to be too long. Then I realised that with nature, the show goes on and it is we, humans, who are in a hurry to stop it and move on with "the next pressing matter"

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Lining the Pan

Wifey said "why don't you make yourself useful and help me in the kitchen. I am going to bake a cake."
Me "That's good. So what do you want me to do?"
Wifey "why don't you get the baking dish ready by putting in the parchment paper, and make sure you do it the right way. Last time you did it, all my batter leaked out into the pan"
Now this was a challenge for me as I know how bad and sticky it will be if the batter leaks out.
The pan being circular made it all the more difficult. So I put my engineering skills into use and made some sort of frills (sewing skills here) so that there was no open ends left for leakage. 

After greasing the pan, sticking in the paper was tricky but finally managed it with some fine tuning 

Pouring in the batter was wifey's department as she had to make sure that it was equally distributed in both the pans. 

the two pans after baking 

Once baked I had to make sure that both the layers were exactly one on top of the other. It was not an easy task as the cake was very very soft and any mishandling would break it. 
I tried my best and this is how the second layer finally landed on the first one 

After a little bit of cajoling and pushing, I managed to align  both the layers. 
Wifey took over and did the icing part and the final product was not bad I must say. 

Oh by the way, the batter did not leak.    

Friday, April 10, 2020

Vibhor Saini

It was very disheartening to see that this Harmonium was used as a doorstopper in a shop catering to musical instruments. Maybe the keyboard has replaced this basic instrument. This was clicked many years ago in one of the streets in Pune. 

But it was heartening to see a young lad from Delhi named Vibhor Saini  who put his Harmonium to good use by modifying it to work as a ventilator. Something that the current world desperately wants. 

He has modified his Harmonium where the bellow works as an air blower 

All the electrical parts are salvaged from his vehicle and his computer. For example the motor running it is from inside the door panel of the car 

The voltage and ampere was controlled by the SMPS used in the computer 

He has added an additional pipe for the input of oxygen 

There are many young enterprising people like this who require encouragement.
 I came across this article and the video on FB. 

In his own words :
This is an emergency ventilator idea based on the same concept as the resuscitation bags used in ambulances. This needs the attention of doctors and engineers to develop it further in case they feel the concept might work.
The good part is that we have millions of harmoniums available which can me modified and converted into ventilators as required. I'm not a doctor so i'm not aware of the technicalities involved, like rate & volume of air/oxygen that is to be pumped into a patient, etc etc...

but I request doctors and engineers to at least consider this as an option and try to make it usable. This is one kind of harmonium i have used, there are other kinds with multiple bellow systems with more air pressure capabilities. The rate and volume can be set with variable motor speeds i guess.
I also request people to NOT make these at homes or use it on anyone, this is just a prototype made with a simple idea that every harmonium is also an air pumping device just like the emergency resuscitation bags.
iIfurther request doctors/experts to let me know if this concept is of any use at all or else i must delete the video asap. I'm sorry if i have made a blunder, just wished to at least try.
May God bless us all with health and happiness and give us strength to fight through these difficult times.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Rip Kirby

There was a time when I used to read all the comic books that I could lay my hands on. Rip Kirby was one of the books that impressed me, mainly for its perfect line work and of course the interesting stories. 

After WW-II, Alex Raymond returned to making cartoon strips and created ex-marine Rip Kirby as a private detective. I think the wonderful line work was the skill of John Prentice.

The comic strip used to come in pocket book size (A5 size)

His butler, Desmond, was an important character in all the books and managed to give a twist to the stories.

I was so impressed by the drawings, that I tried to draw Kirby from a comic book. I did it by putting in grid lines with pencil and did the final drawing with black felt pen. I drew this in the early seventies, so this is about five decades old. 

I have placed a pen there to give you an idea of the actual size. The enlargement is to the scale of 1:5 
When this turned out well, I tried my hand at one more character from the same comic book. 

Now that I have all the time in the world, I think I should try some more enlargements. Maybe Lord Greystoke's son (Tarzan)