Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Just when people thought I’d disappeared, I’m back. Since my last blog about the Singapore Kite Festival, lots’ of things have been going on. Dad went into ICU first week of Feb and by 12th he was no more. I was in India for the whole time. Since that is a very personal event, I'm not going to say much except that my Dad was a simple, straightforward, decent and honest to the core. Qualities one can try and emulate. After going back home to Singapore, I started to get calls to come back to do interesting projects in aviation in India and so I came back on 20th March. Since then it’s been Bharat Darshan for me, touring all over the Country in this hot summer weather.

I started in Mysore, Bangalore and Goa, where my little apartment is, and then progressed on to Kolkata. Being the environment buff that I am, and particularly fond of mangroves and the Tiger, it was quite obvious that I’d end up in the Sundarbans, the World’s largest mangrove area. To say it was magical itself would be an understatement and a few lines cannot describe the place. This I will blog about as soon as I go back home to better Internet connection and when I get back to comfort of my desk. I have photos and videos to post on Sundarbans.

Then I had trips to Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi twice and Ahmadabad. There’s more work to be done, mostly with Government agencies and that needs plenty of patience. I’d probably break this on going trip with a visit back home to regain my sanity a bit. I’m so looking forward to more visits to wildlife reserves and Biospheres in the next leg. Wildlife and conservation is something that can get me going non-stop but that’d bore everyone else so I’ll end that topic here for now.

Since I have been traveling so much and working so hard in this trying (and tiring) climate, there’s not been time (or inclination) to blog. Hence this long gap. You can’t keep a good man down so I took solace in twitter, where I could micro blog and find instant gratification. So, anyone who follows me there would have tracked all my movements and stories, albeit in 140 characters at a time! I’m not on Twitter because of the likes of cattle class interlocutors like Shashi Tharoor or that lisping Kingpin of IPL (not any more) Lalith Modi. I don’t follow any celebrity for that matter, just normal people, some of whom have become real good friends now, in the real World.

There’s so much in India that one can be proud about and so much that one can be depressed about, not reached the stage where the former is at higher percentage than the latter, unfortunately. For me, the need of the hour is conservation of Wildlife, we are losing Tigers and forests and our source of water supply, Oxygen, carbon sink and so on. I am studying a more vibrant involvement with small NGO’s that are into this or get one started on my own. That’s a goal for me next, side by side with all the other projects that I am doing, with a plan to offset actively, carbon footprint as a result of such activity. There I go again, pontificating about the environment. But I guess I do so because I am passionate about it and feel the need to have this all -important issue on the front burner at all times. That way, something gets done and directly results in benefits to humans.

That’s it for now next blog will be about the Sundarbans, an area seldom visited during summer and hence pristine and empty. I was there and returned with a story to tell. Till then, Ciao!


Swaram said...

Welcome bk .. gr8 to hear abt ur wonderful travel tales again :) We hv been wanting to visit Sunderbans for so long, but the dream hs nt yet come true. I luv Mangroves too and hv seen only the ones @ Bintan :)
Will wait for ur tales :)

And eh, I dnt follow any celebrity on twitter too :P Nice to know I hv company :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Hi Swaram, thanks for such a warm welcome back! Mangroves are my favorite, Sundarbans took the cake. Was one of my dreams too and hope to get back there again soon! We have a small mangroves area in Singapore too, actually wetland reserve with a bit of mangrove trees, quite well preserved neck of NW Singapore called Sungei Buloh. I had blogged about it in 2007:

India-Bangaldesh Sundarbans is more than 10,000 Sq Kms! Our side has 40% of it and also bulk of the tigers. I am working on writing the blog, will post sometime soon. Gr8 to hear about your twitter following, my twitter page is also linked to this blog site. Will visit your blog soon! Thanks again.

ER Ramachandran said...

Sorry to hear your father passed away, captain... May his Soul rest in Peace.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

ERR Sir, thanks for your kind message. I had not blogged about my father's passing but some people sent condolences in my comment section of the last blog (Singapore Kite Festival) when I had mentioned it in that one briefly. Thanks again.

avdi said...

Sorry about your father Anup.

One cannot pontificate enough about environment, it is what sustains us, though we merrily trample it underfoot.

Will look forward to your post on Sunderbans.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Avdi. I agree, we are merrily trampling everything under our feet. NDTV is running a campaign on the Tiger like they do once in while. Aircell is partnering them, I suppose this keeps the issue alive but I'm afraid the State Governments are dragging their feet and practically not paying any attention to the Tiger sanctuaries that come under them. Unfortunately, many things are left to the States and clearly this has been disastrous for ecology, what with rampant mining inside forest reserves, rampant illegal poaching, degradation of forest systems and so on. Lets hope something more on the ground is done, I for one will be taking a very active, hands on role soon in the area of conservation in India. More on that soon.

YOSEE said...

Welcome back, Capt !
Good to know that you are taking up active conservation work in India. "Save the Tiger"campaign has been on for long now, but there seems to be no appreciable increase in their numbers. But even if their population did swell and thrive, where would we put them ? We, humans, have degraded the wilderness. It is really shameful how the mining and real estate mafia are grabbing all our forest lands,depriving animals of their rightful inheritance. We have increasing incidents of elephants invading human habitat in search of food and water because their natural habitat was destroyed. ( you must have heard of the frequent cases of leopards straying into Mysore from the Hunsur forest ranges.)I am glad that these days, school kids are made aware of animal rights and eco-balance and many young people are showing a more responsible attitude than their parents. There's Hope yet.
Eagerly awaiting your report on Sundarbans . Mangroves are amazing ecosystems, as i had the good fortune to experience one down south.

My condolences on your bereavement.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Yosee, for your heartfelt condolence message.

Regarding Tiger conservation, not much is being done on the ground. The Central Govt Ministry (MoEF) is trying their best, the states are showing complete lack of interest, Tigers don't make them any money, mining and other illegal activity does. I think we have to take the bull by the horns so to speak, can't sit doing nothing, I'd end up as a bitter old man who would look back thinking maybe I could have done something. I'm going to take the bull by the horns, never mind how many enemies this is going to create.

Other TV campaigns are OK just to keep an issue alive, movie stars lending their names is farcical, they only lend their names to a public that's looking to follow movies stars, no real ground level activism results out of such celebrity appearances.

As for Generation Next as this present gen is called, I don't see them improve upon my generation that did not care then (and does not seem to care now). I hope we can get more people involved and get them off their 'making a quick buck' attitude and focus more on their long term survival, i.e. the environment.

I think I remember your visit to Pichchavaram mangroves in Tamil Nadu, right? That's on my list of places to see. Goa has some and I've not been there. Gujarat Kutch area had a large area that is now severely degraded thanks to industry and an intentional campaign to choke the mangroves so that land can be cleared for ports and industry. Thankfully Sunderbans turned out exactly that-Sundar and I hope it stays that way. Thanks again for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I loved ur Tharoor n Modi's liners above :P ... bunch of foolish ppl on earth.

I am so so so looking frwrd to Sunderban pics :) u know I had read Amitav Ghosh's book Hungry Tide which ws based on that region...a very good read.(amongst Indian writers, I admire his writings of the whole lot) Somehow I have a strange fascination towards visitng the place....after finished readin the book.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Hi Dew! Thanks, happy you enjoyed that one liner! I have read the Hungry Tide too, matter of fact read it twice and is on my shelf. Amitav Ghosh is my favorite author, Indian origin or otherwise. I think his Glass Palace was fabulous but seems like the Sea of Poppies trilogy is going to beat everything. Sundarbans is everything that is beautiful. It is magical and grander than what we have seen on TV. Somehow all the TV and youtube videos I have seen on Sundarbans does not convey what it is really like. That blog will take a little time because I am still touring India, I'd have to go back and do this. Watch this space!

Namita Chandra said...

Welcome back. It was good to see your post after such a long time. I know when so much is happening one does not get the time to put in a post. Somehow I haven't been able to get the hang of twitter though I do use it occasionally.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Namita. I read your latest blog about Pattaya, lots of very interesting information. Twitter for me has been great and although I was not looking at this platform to make friends, I made many friends some of whom I have met now and its been very nice interacting with them online and also in reality. 140 characters is a challenge but it makes me adapt & learn to express myself in a concise manner. I tweet, as you know, mostly about spontaneous matters, mostly environment and conservation stuff, things I feel strongly about. Twitter affords me a platform to vent out my anger and frustration also!

Santosh said...

Sorry to learn about your loss Capt. please accept my heartfelt condolences.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thank you Santosh, I sincerely appreciate your kind words about my father.

Kamini said...

I am sure blogging is the last thing you want to do after such a loss. I hope you are feeling better now.
Welcome back, and I am looking forward to your post on the Sunderbans.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Kamini: I guess it stopped me in my tracks literally, the whole episode with the ICU and his passing. So many things were happening that time! Personally I am feeling OK, no worries, these things happen as humans and we accept the same. Thanks for the 'welcome back' message! Will surely blog about Sundarbans when I get home to Singapore this month end.


Welcome back to the world of blogging, I always enjoy your writings.
My sincerest condolences on the loss of your father.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Raji Madam, your words are encouraging indeed. Thank you for the condolence message also.

SKY said...

Capt.Murthy, please accept my condolences.

I spent a great few days in Puerto Rico where I went Kayaking through the mangroves. Fantastic experience.

Were you trying to peddle some Lake amphibians to our forest department? :)

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Sky! Great to hear about your experiences through the mangroves. My Sundarbans trip was for scouting. You may have seen my comments above about Tiger Conservation and what I am planning (sort of). Sundarbans is home to Bengal Tiger, I have few more tiger sanctuaries on my list. Just heard news about 3 tigers in Goa forests, need to make efforts to get that notified as reserve so that mining can be stopped. My conservation efforts have started with brief talks here and there about Tigers. My next task is to get involved more deeply, mobilize people etc to think about conservation. This is not a profit making venture, its the activist in me that has been doing conservation work in small dozes in the past and want to do something bigger, just because i am passionate about it. This is net outflow for me, no inflow! If you see me on twitter, all I rant about is Big Cats (well, mostly, because I'm also passionate about gangetic dolhins, Irrawady Dolphins & so on) conservation or lack of it..
Yes, Sundarbans is ideal for Lake Amphb Ops. States say they have no funding for forests. There's still things we can do otherwise.

Rituraj said...

Hi Captin,

I have been reading your blogs and this is my first comment.

You rightly pointed out about India. we have good resources to attract people (especially by tradition, religion and natural resources.

I am just awaiting for your next blog

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Thanks Rituraj, welcome to my blog. My next one is going to be towards the end of May. I hope you find time to read some of my archive stories of last few years of blogging. Thanks again. All the best.

Baron's Life said...

Dear Captain Murthy...please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your Dad...It is never easy to lose a loved one. May he rest in peace.
Are you planing in staying in \India for good now? I think it is an interesting country with many possibilities for future growth.

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Baron's Life: Thank you for your kind words. Also thanks to your comments on some of my previous blogs, agree with you on Bangkok, glad you liked the Kite Day, we are looking forward to the next one in Singapore, thats going to be even better.

India is interesting and growth potential is great but mindset is still in the 80's permit raj although some things have changed. However, things are still not up to speed and still take a very long time to get anything done.

Even some of the private sector is rather slow. Growth is due to internal driven needs, captive market. We have severe shortages this year, worse than previous years, taps running dry in major cities as well as little towns like Mysore, sporadic electricity makes life tough in this heat. These are the areas for growth actually and I hope there will be some better management of resources.

I am not here for good, that is still to be decided in future. I am doing some works here, commercially as well as those that are more like Conservation works that are close to my heart such as Save Tigers etc, those are activism/charity that I want to do in a much more active way than I have been doing in the past. Such business driven and charitable activities will ensure that I am in India half the time! So, lets see how these things pan out! Thanks again.

Javalí Rubio said...

What a fantastic blog for people who love aviation!!! Congratulations!!!
Please visit a portuguese blog which shows aerial pictures from Portugal taken during my flights:
Third Dimension - Aerial Photography from Portugal

Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Dear Rubio, thanks for visiting my blog. For aviation specific stories and pictures, my other blog is a good source also:

I visited your Blog page too, great aerial photographs there! I enjoyed them indeed. Take care, happy flying!