Why was I away!

Not always in life, that you are super motivated or charged up and that ‘not always’ gets longer when you don’t find a reason to rejuvenate your mind or your thought process to be precise. I hate myself for being lazy and pretending to be busy , just so that I can get away from what I used to make time for, earlier. To be honest, I was trying to ignore what I like to do the most and kind of accepted the failure. And why or how is that? I will tell you. There is a thing called “approval”. Getting approved or accepted by the society and the world around you is a very keen need people seek for, and so did I. Call me immature but we all go through it someday. But does it all that matters? Does getting recognized for what you do is everything for you? Cant you just do anything for your own-self and not for the sake of how the world will take it, or if the world will ever absorb it? If you like it, you would do it. Not for the acceptance from people you don’t know , but for it satisfies your soul, for it gives you peace of mind and for it gives you a better sleep at night.

There was a time in my life not too long ago, when I believed in doing it all. May be it was a very small span of time in this long life of mine, but it was there. I would cook, do house chores besides a full time job along with weekend birding, blogging about them, recording husband’s guitar videos and spending hours in editing them. I thought this is the best version of me and this is the best my life can offer so I pour it all, I pour it all ,just except the soul.

” Don’t gain the world & lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold”. -Bob Marley

When you don’t feel it from inside, that will to push your limits, when you start getting thoughts like ‘its not worth it’ or ‘I cant do it anymore’, that’s exactly when you start to getting ‘depressed’ without realizing it. I am not going to bore you on ‘in and out about depression’ now, (or should I? OKAY! may be some other time) not today. When your brain stops pulling the positive strings and starts working on the weak ones, you surely know that its not the best of your time. But if you have HOPE, you will make it. You will definitely get out of it, just like how you get over after loosing a very old friend of yours, who used to share every little secret over lunch break, but now won’t even aid in your life’s hardest time. Yes, you will get over it, if you are willing to praise yourself. If you think, you are capable of more. Yes, you will get to the bright side, if you have the strength of letting go, if you believe in ..

‘ There is a sunrise after every darkness’.

I did what I thought I need to do then but somewhere deep inside , I knew I am doing it all just for the sake of doing it,for getting that one praise or for the welfare of getting all the credit. Not getting the credit that I thought I deserve would make me sad.Just like any other human being not getting praises for baking a beautiful chocolate cake that he/she put so much effort in. I would get sad, I would get annoyed and I would get furious at times. It was just beginning of the worst for the impatient person that I was. It could be anything, but definitely not the best of I.

I was not low on my will power that is what I realize now. It took time, it definitely did but what is more important is that it happened. Giving up on something ‘you may be good at’ can never be a solution of your frustrations. Time lets you realize a lot of things. And CHANGE is one big thing that helps in CHANGing you, positively. When the forwarding time fails to claim, sometime in your own company does the job.

Now that I don’t seek for the fake praise or the unrealistic credit for everything, now that I don’t look up to the numbers but the value of the precious,I have decided to come back here, to write my heart out, to create a space for each and every bit of emotion that I or you have. Because now is the best we have known,

‘Time and tide waits for none. And if you keep waiting for it, believe me , its never gonna come.’

You take charge on life before it does. You be the warrior of your own fights. You be the light to your own darkness. And you be the HOPE to your own sadness. Lets have a great time here sharing some optimism with lots and lots of love and laughter.

Cheers, Riya ❤

Just thinking…

 

Just thinking how the world will turn out, after all the blues is over. Will it be green Or will it be red?

Just thinking how will the nature accept us, after all the blood our hands shed?

Just thinking how will we come across with the faces of ours, with the occupied minds being misread?

Just thinking how the waves will be in time , will they be silent or will they be overheard?

Just thinking how will the flowers bloom in this Era of gloomy mindsets?

Just thinking how will WE turn out to be, will we be HUMANS or yet another junkie following trends?

Just thinking how the world will turn out after all the blues is over.. Will it be green or will it be RED?

Just thinking……

 

~Riya

4th April 2020. I woke up this morning a bit late to usual as it is one of my work-from-home quarantine days that is happening 3 times a week during the nation-wide lockdown in India. Seeing the COVID-19 growth rate and all the negatively spread videos could spoil anyone’s mood for a beautiful day ahead. So I decided not to go through my social media-s ,first thing in the morning and instead look at some beautiful bird images clicked by me (which are finally processed and lying in my phone for quite some time now). So I picked up this very bright and multi-colored bird called Chestnut crowned laughing thrush, that I had taken various shots of in Neora valley National park. Talking of Neora valley, what reminds me of is the calmness in my mind that it gave me. That was a trek which will forever be in my memory as a treasure just for the silence it offers, the silence that Nature offers. So, looking at the image , I started thinking of a good caption to justify it (proving myself as an avid Instagram-er 😉 ). I kept thinking looking at the colors this bird possess simultaneously at the beautiful trees outside my window with the videos,I saw yesterday on the spread of corona virus in India, being mingling in the frontal lobe in one side of my cerebrum, I could come up with this ‘some-what-like-poetry’. Ths is not one of those days that I want to do a lot, but this is one of those days when I want to contribute a lot by doing nothing. You should do the same now too. Stay Home Stay Safe.

Untill next time

Much love

Riya ❤

Beautiful frames to make in OMH

Bird photography at Old magazine house forest resort

In two of my earlier blogs, I have talked a lot about this birder’s den that belongs to karnataka forest department situated in the beautiful location near to Dandeli, i.e Ganeshgudi. If you haven’t go through them, here are the links to them.

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

In today’s blog, I will be more talking about the beautiful photographs that you can make in their birder’s hide organised by the OMH team just for watching and taking snaps of the birds that come to take a dip in the fresh water and perch on the little branches above them. So lets get into the frames that I created and decide whether they are worth the word ” beautiful” or not.

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Old magazine House bird hide

When in the wild, its quite difficult to first spot the bird, then wait for it to come and take an open perch and then take the perfect shot with correct exposure. But, when you are birding from a hide out, the difficulty level goes down a bit and chances of getting more perfect shots increases quite a bit. So I was quite excited about the idea when i booked my room in OMH. And nevertheless to say I had an amazing first time experience. So lets jump in to the shots that I have selected here to just show you the kind of frames that one can imagine getting here.

PS: Here in this blog, you wont see all the bird species or all the frames that I have made, but a very few of my favorites I recently processed. Others are there in my other posts,the links to which are above 🙂 

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White Rumped Shama

White Rumped Shama was one of the birds that was on my mind when I planned for OMH in the first place.Its probably because of its beautiful pictures that I have seen in my instagram feed. Hence I waited for it to find its way to the bird bath for the two days I have booked room for. But it only arrived an hour before I was about to leave on the third day early morning. My happiness had no boundaries and I clicked the individual in all possible manners. Here it is when it sat on the bird bath for a quick fresh dip. The sun was beautifully lighting up his eyes. I loved capturing it.

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White rumped shama

This was my very first glimpse of the beauty. Stunning ..Isnt it?

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White rumped shama taking bath

And this was the kind of shot I thought of taking. Splashes of water everywhere. What a marvelous bird it is to photograph. Its delighted to see it bath .

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Orange headed thrush

One of the most common birds you will see foraging on the ground around this place or any other wildlife sanctuaries in Goa/karnataka is an orange headed thrush. Still this was one of the positions that I loved taking shots. Eye level shots when you don’t need to lie down on ground on your tummy. The beautiful close up with my 150-600mm creating a lovely bokeish background, nietherless to say about my happiness.

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Dark fronted babbler

Hey, have you seen my tail? Asking the dark fronted babbler 😀 When babblers take bath in low light, you get frames like these. A very low key image making an almost dark background.

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Dark fronted babblers

Discussing about global warming here 😀 They are adorable to watch and even more adorable with their cunning stare. Light was okayish on them as I shoot.

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Oriental white eyes

Talking of adorable birds, there has to be place for oriental white eyes. The spectacled birds come in bunch to play in water and gives you ample opportunities to make frames. I saw them each time I was at the hide.

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Oriental white eyes

This was the number of white eyes that perched on this beautiful branch for me. Isn’t it making an adorable frame? Though it was taken at really low light and edited henceforth to make it bright and more eye catching.

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Black naped monarch

You cannot miss clicking a black naped monarch when in old magazine house. They may seem common there but don’t get misguided by ignoring them. They never disappoint you, so click them each time they show up. Look at the background I have got here. Different and very pretty.

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Oriental white eye & Black naped monarch

Another amazing thing to do in here is to make frames of different birds on a single perch. I have photographed bulbuls, white eyes, monarchs, yellow tits, like this. Sometime, some where they do show up together. Hence an mesmerizing opportunity you should definitely grab.Always look for up the perches and not the bath tubs. My personal preference is to watch them while bathing and click them while drying up.

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White bellied blue flycatcher -male

Here is a close up of this beautiful flycatcher just after the shower. I have had more beautiful pictures of these beauties in here : Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

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White bellied blue flycatcher-female

Another definition of cuteness is the female counterpart of the white bellied blue flycatcher. Such a poser it is. Look at the cleanness it provides . Just beautiful to capture and calm to eyes.

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Spiderhunter

Another close up shot of the stunning spider hunter who did not plan to give us much time to click him on any perch.Takes a quick dip and leave. I missed photographing it on natural perch, you may not.

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Another old world babbler giving a striking pose in between the branch bend.

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Blyth’s reed wabbler

Frames like this are so satisfying to make with winter migratory birds like this blyth’s reed wabbler here who loves to spend winter in India, sri lanka and bangladesh.

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Indian Paradise flycatcher

Who doesn’t love a paradise flycatcher.. everyone does. I saw all sort of paradise flycatchers here but unfortunately shareable images I could only make of this female one. I saw white and Rufus morphed males quite a few times. Using a tripod helps you getting this bokeh.

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Tickells blue flycatcher

Tickells blue is another common flycatcher of western ghats, but perches like this aren’t just everywhere to be found. Look out for them as well. I love this shot 🙂

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Rusty tailed flycatcher

Such a beautiful frame for this cutie. If you are lucky , you can see a lots of migratory flycatchers in winter and obviously make amazing frames.

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Rusty tailed flycatcher

The same bird showing its back asking me to stop for today now 😛

These are just a few example from my recent collection of favorite frames from this particular bird hide. Other beautiful birds that I shot at this particular hide were : Emerald dove ( 4 of them at once), taiga flycatcher, yellow browed bulbul, flame throated bulbul ( giving enormous poses and frames to create), brown fulvettas, jerdon’s leafbird, indian black bird, indian yellow tit, and many more. watch out at this section of my website for more 🙂

Many more to come… See ya there.

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at OMH hide out

Olds:

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

Detailed information about the resort :

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

Other bird photographing activities:

Zuari river ride ~ Birding in Goa

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

Any question or suggestion are most welcome in the comments. Would love to response  all of them 🙂

Connect to me on instagram @riya_wingstofly

Until next time,

Keep clicking, keep sharing love and awareness.  Know birds, Know life ❤

Much love,

Riya

 

 

 

 

 

Zuari river ride ~ Birding in Goa

A warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate animal distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, a beak and typically by being able to fly“- that is how a ‘bird’ has been defined in dictionary. And when you want to photograph these splendiferous creatures, you have to be a part of the silence. You have to be voiceless and blend in with the nature’s quietness. Whenever I am out there in nature, I automatically hush myself no matter how much I
want to shout with excitement when I get to see a lifer or a very beautiful perch or some behavioral enactment by the birds.

Kamat crocodile station

And if you want to experience silence with fresh earthy feeling and chirps falling on your eardrums, a river cannot be the last place you think off . One such tranquilizing experience one can get at this beautiful river boat ride. This
experience is exlusively provided by ‘Kamat Crocodile Station’ below the zuari river bridge in south Goa,India by Dr. Varsha Kamat, A very heart warming lady who has two very talented boat riders and bird guides Frankie and Royson working with her helping out tourists and photographers (mainly bird enthusiasts) taking beautiful photographs of the rare birds that can hardly be seen with normal people with their naked eyes. Both of them are gifted with bird spotting eyes with amazing skills to get close to the birds without disturbing them at all.

Zuari river

Starting our journey from north Goa, we had plans to reach Agonda beach which was our stay for two days to cover Netravali Wildlife sanctuary , Cotigao WLS and few very less visited and less crowded beaches of south Goa in the first week of February 2019. I thought of giving zuari river boat ride (of which I heard a lot about) a try which was on the way to Agonda on this beautiful Saturday morning. I already had a talk with Mrs.Kamat the previous day and she provided me with all the details and when we reached there at around 7am , we found out that we get the 10-12 seater boat all by ourselves as there were no more participants that morning.. yee lottery 😀

As we sat on the boat, I got my gear ready to shoot with probable useful settings. I usually don’t carry tripod on-the-go trips for more flexibility and less hastle. Mr. husband was taking out his binoculars (that’s what he is best at ) while I was a bit conscious/witty and talking to Royson about getting the birds that were on the top of my list for that day. And those were 2-3 types kingfishers (that I havn’t seen yet then), peregrine falcon, sea eagle and other raptors.
And our journey on the Zuari river started..

We were not much far that we spotted a western reef heron. Got pretty good pictures when the heron was waiting on the bottom of one of the pillars of the huge bridge.

Western Reef Heron

We moved a bit and Royson spotted the bird I was waiting for, the peregrine falcon from a good distance. I never knew the fastest bird in the whole wide world is that small for a raptor. We went as close as possible and took some shots but was not amazingly satisfied as it didn’t decide to move from the nut-bolts of the bridge. Wish to get this awing raptor in its wild habitat sometimes.

Peregrine falcon

A big size for a wader was our next sighting. A very pretty Eurasian curlew with a long beak.

Eurasian curlew

The western reef heron was again spotted fishing along with a grey heron , a sandpiper ,a few more water birds and some egrets of course.

Western reef heron

A bold and beautiful brahminy kite roosting here.

Brahminy KIte

 

Time for kingfishers 😀 . A common kingfisher decided to be alone and sat on the wooden stick in the middle of nowhere, all by itself.

Common kingfisher

Next was the time for the very eye catching bright blue colored bird waiting for us from a very far distance. The Black capped kingfisher was spotted and we get nearer to it safely as it changed its perch quite a few times. Finally it was closer sitting idle on the fishing net for a few seconds for me to make images before it flew away in the dense marshlands along with a white throated kingfisher.

black capped kingfisher

A black crowned night heron was spotted from a close distance as our boat moved close to the mangroves. So I took the opportunity to click some closeups of the large beauty.

Black crowned night heron

It was again time for the some kingfishers and this time it was one of my best sighting of any bird in its own personal habitat for a good long time. Can say about 10 mins, that a very very bold and majestically beautiful Collared kingfisher showed off its white collar to us changing just 2-3 perches before it vanished in the marshes. More than just taking shots, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it calling for its mate not annoyed with us being around. That is where you actually listen to the silence.

Collared kingfisher

After spending the good time that we could with the white collared gentleman ,we moved on to see a beautiful couple absolutely blending in with the environment.Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture the female one . So here is a very pretty Orange breasted green pigeon beautifully camouflaging with the tree leaves.

Orange breasted green pigeon

A flock of rosy starlings caught my attention while the bird eyers were looking for some unusual birds.

Rosy starlings

Talking of unusual , here comes the first one. Obviously my lifer and a hard to photograph bird with astonishing features. The blue faced malkoha. I had a hard time while getting to see it only. So only this shot was possible
from the position on the boat. I was happy to at least see the beauty which was not in my expectations list.

Blue faced malkoha

After we struggled with taking pictures of the malkoha was waiting for us the the bird of the day,which absolutely took my heart. A bird of prey- OSPREY. It was visible in the open on the river from quite a long distance. I just hoped it stays put till we reach closer. And it did. It absolutely did and I would thank Frankie for the beautiful 180 degree view of the bird that I am in awe with still, before it took off gracefully right infront of us.

Osprey

Osprey taking off

But with osprey , my hopes for seeing a sea eagle on perch and other eagles flew away too as we couldn’t spot a single one. So we turned our boat to return back to the riverside. As the name of the ride organizers suggest “The Kamat crocodile station”, the tour couldn’t complete without a crocodile right? So here is the one I forgot to talk about all this while.. The Indian mugger or marsh crocodile

Marsh crocodile

I enjoyed watching a lot of herons and egrets along the sides while our boat reached from where we started.

Indian cormorant

After this beautiful memorable river ride ,we took off for our next destination towards South Goa. Lets keep it until next time.

At kamat crocodile station, Zuari

Thanks for reading.

Other bird watching activities :

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

An evening with Asian openbill

Stay happy , stay beautiful , keep birding. 🙂

Until next time

Much love,

Riya ❤

Ganeshgudi~ A birder’s paradise

What Can I say more about Old Magazine House that hasn’t been already said by the bird
watchers since ages. A birder’s paradise is what we all know this place being called. And its true to its word. You will loose your mind to reach up little close to your soul in the nature that this resort provides. I had very high expectations (I know one shouldn’t have when it comes to our avian friends who have full freedom to fly away wherever they want) when I booked room in here and let me tell you, I wasn’t at all disappointed even for a minute, not only because it was my first birding trip outside Goa but also because you will be so busy listening to the chirps and watching their tantrums on the bird bathes, that you will be forced to forget everything else in the world and just live in the moment. And these moments aren’t limited there. You just need to grab your camera or binoculars(if) and jump into the moment.
In my last post I have already discussed every keen details about the resort including stay options, activities, staff, food etc. You can always go through it from here– Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

In today’s session I would be concentrating on the variety of birds that I got to see in the first day of my 2 day trip, mainly that is what we want to know right? Lets jump in then.


We left Goa early in the morning but it took time on the way due to deforestation after entering Karnataka. When we reached at around 1pm, we checked in within minutes, settled in for a few minutes, freshened up took my camera ,binocular, tripod and went straight to explore the place. Just outside our building with rooms, a few old people from England were having their silent time watching birds sitting on the edge on chairs, with whom later I made good of friends and shared some nice evening time. I felt calm looking at this view. Moving on amidst the beautiful jungle resort, we reached where we needed to be. The hide and the food court. As soon as I set up my tripod and camera, it was time to feed our starved stomachs.

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Malabar giant squirrel

By the time I went to have lunch, we had an awesome session by two Malabar giant squirrels. I was immensely happy looking at their activities. They are so naughty and cute that I wanted to bring one of them home 😀

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After having an amazing home cooked veg/non-veg buffet, we were back to the hide by
2.30pm that is when the most activities can be seen. If your are there, don’t miss the evening birding session in the hide between 2.30pm to 5pm or till dusk. There were just a few other birders beside me as it was mid week that we went to avoid the weekend rush, who waited patiently for the birds to come and take bath one by one or all at once sometimes 😀

The first bird that came for me was a yellow browed bulbul and a few oriental white eyes. White eyes are quite common there and gives you poses every now and than. The maximum number I could capture in one frame is 6.

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yellow browed bulbul

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The next bird I would like to talk about is a stunning yellow body with black head and red throat is the flame throated bulbul,the state bird of Goa that I saw for the first time in Ganeshgudi. It was quite the show stopper for the day that I personally loved capturing.

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Flame throated bulbul

The Indian yellow tits were also there peeping once in a while on the bird baths along with other yellow feathered species.

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Indian yellow tit

The dark fronted babblers took their positions on the perches to stare at us and giving angry looks. I say this because whenever I go through the images I clicked of this babbler are all with the almost the same look. They depicts the perfect ‘angry bird image’.

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Dark fronted babbler

Another stunning bird that caught everyones attention was the Indian black bird. It should be named as the ‘Indian black beauty’ with its sharp features and eyes. Here is the image of one such rare moments where the Indian black bird is posing for me on the bath while the background was being designed by the very beautiful and colorful Emerald dove.

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Indian black bird

Here is the close up of Indian black bird after a quick bath.

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Indian black bird

How can I miss the color popping bird out of all. The definition of cuteness Black naped
Monarch who is also a known attraction of OMH.

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Black naped monarch

The monarch came quite a many times to attract our attention but failed to when the majestic Emerald doves arrived. It is said that a maximum of 4 emerald doves come there and I was lucky enough to witness them all together.

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Emerald dove

Now its time for some very pretty flycatchers as they are the highlights this season. The white bellied blue flycatcher to get started with. Here is one pretty male.

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White bellied blue flycatcher-male

Here comes the female with no blue patches on it. She became quite common in sometime for the next two days just like the flame throated bulbul.

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White bellied blue flycatcher-female

When we get to click frames like this with 3 species on a single perch 🙂

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Oriental white eye, black naped monarch,Yellow browed bulbul

Another stunning bird without which  my OMH would not have been accomplished. When I planned for this trip,this bird was on the top of my list which I only got to see in the 3rd day morning before leaving that amazing stay. White rumped shama for you all. I will talk to you about the next two days in my upcoming blogs. So stay connected. Lots of beautiful bird images on the way 🙂

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White rumped shama

We were talking about flycathers, so here is one cute migratory flycatcher. Taiga flycatcher

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Taiga or red breasted flycatcher-female

Other birds that we got to see in the campus but did not give us a perch in light were, racket tailed drongo, leafbirds,munias, a few more flycatchers and the great of all- the trogan couple.( wait for my next post )

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One or many, A dandeli related blog cannot end wihout a hornbill photograph. So here is one Malabar Pied hornbill couple roosting under the sun.

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Malabar Pied horbill couple

A few more images from the same hornbill sighting that we got to witness when we were taken on the jeep by the OMH bird guide to the exact place-the bridge where they come to roost everyday after taking dips in the river kali.

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Malabar Pied hornbill pair

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Malabar pied hornbill in flight (low light evening shot)

So, this was almost all about my first day in Old Magazine house. Hope you have enjoyed reading the blog as much I have while curating . Stay connected. Be healthy. Spread love and happiness 🙂

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Me with husband on the River kali bridge after hornbill session

Tell me in comments if you would like to know details of any particular photograph and I would be happy to share 🙂

Until next time

Much love

Riya ❤

 

Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi

“And into the forest I go, to loose my mind and find my soul”

                                                                            – Charles Baudelaire

Said so beautifully and rightfully by Charles Baudelaire. Forest makes you feel viable, forest let you listen to your heartbeat, forest let you comprehend your existence, forest lets you find your soul. To find my soul a little more, I headed towards this amazing forest resort situated in a small place called Ganeshgudi in Karnataka State of India. As I am bird-o-holic in nature, I cant stay away from forest, desert, wetland for longer. So to make the new year most special, I chose to visit and stay in Old Magazine House in the month of January itself. Being around a handful of bird lovers, I have heard enough about this paradise that fall in Ganeshgudi. Dandeli is another place in Karnataka around 20km away from Ganeshgudi. You may hear people saying that they visited Old magazine house in Dandeli or they have visited dandeli for birding when they have actually just stayed in OMH.But that is geographically incorrect. OMH (Old Magazine House) is in Ganeshgudi and not in Dandeli and is one of the BEST places to be.

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I have not been to too many places to be honest, but this surely was the best experience till date. It made a little place in my heart that is going to be like that for long, if not ever….

If I go on and on about this place, this blog will never end and you will feel exaggerated when it is actually not. So not stretching it too much, I will come straight to the point.
We started our journey from North Goa to ganeshgudi via chorla ghat road. It was an amazing  journey till we entered karnataka. We had witnessed that the karnataka government is doing a mass deforestation on the connecting highway to make the lane  much bigger., which is obviously against our eco system. Lots of wild animals and birds are loosing their habitat. And by seeing at it helplessly, my heart ached. Crossing too many road blocks, we reached our destination, OMH, Ganeshgudi on the londa-dandeli road. Old Magazine house is a property owned by Jungle lodges and resorts ltd, govt of karnataka.

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Not a very large area, but this resort is a simple paradise of avian-lovers. They offer one
forest-wodden hut, a few rooms and a dormitory as stay options. We took one of the rooms as the wooden house was not-available, which by-the-way was our first preference. The rooms are real big, clean and well maintained by a superbly friendly and helpful staff.
Manager- Mohan sir
Bird guide- Vinay (bhaiya)
coracle ride bird guide- Pundalik (bhaiya)
Cook- Manju
Jeep driver- Gururaj

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These are the people we conversed with, in our 2 day stay and can’t thank them enough for their cordial and homely service. The whole team of OMH is just awe-inspiring. As I said the rooms are spacious with double beds, sofa with center table, one work table, electric jugs and tea/coffee essentials. A television in the common hall room is also available. They provide buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dinner hall along with morning tea and evening snacks, all included in the room rent that you have already paid. Dormitory is just below the dining hall with bunk beds (mostly preferred by single guys who travel just for birding and photographing).

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There is no wi-fi connection and you will hardly be getting network on your phone too and moreover you are there to connect with forest, so you don’t need one. In simple words, forget about your phone and wallet and enjoy your time in peace and bird chirps. I being a talkative person besides an avid birder, I made quite a few friends from different parts of the world. Some were there to bird like me, and some were just having
a day away from city chaos.

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Once upon a time, someone put a tub of water for the birds to quest their thirst in hot and humid weather. He never knew it would grow into OMH one day. There is this mind blowing hide organized by the property for the birders to set up their tripods and take photographs of birds taking bath and drying up in little branches, just beside the dormitory building where they would organize a bonfire every evening with snacks and soup bowls.

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Timings:
7-7.30 Am- tea biscuit
8.30am onwards-breakfast
1.30pm onwards- lunch
6.30pm- snacks/soup with bonfire
8.30pm onwards- dinner
The food team are cordial enough to call you from your room each time when the food is
ready to be served. The other services that they provide are:
1) Nature walk: After having your morning tea, You can accompany Mr. Vinay, the bird guide for a nature walk just outside the resort, where he would spot birds for you.

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2) Coracle ride: After having your breakfast, you can go for a coracle ride on the kali river, where Mr. pundalik, the bird guide will join you for riding the coracle as well as spotting birds and the Muger.. Coracle is a small, rounded, lightweight boat that floats on water and quite difficult to ride comparing a regular boat.

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3) An evening trek for a sunset view form some point up hill which non of us were interested in as we were all busy birding till late evening until it was completely dark.
Overall the stay is just amazing with delicious home cooked recipes by Mr. Manju.

Overall Highly recommended!! I loved it.

Make your bookings before hand and be ready to loose yourself in nature in order to getting closer to your soul..The only thing that will keep you up is the bird chips-day and night.

Don’t forget to pack your warm clothes along with photography gears and binoculars 🙂
You can book your rooms in http://www.junglelodges.com

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Stay put for my incoming blogs where you will get to see the amazing photograph of the lifers (birds) that I got there in my two-day stay in the Old Magazine House, Ganeshgudi.
Till then, hog on to my other birding blogs:

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

An evening with Asian openbill

Parra – A birding hour

Until next time
Much love,

Riya

Migratory Bird Area, North Goa

Hello folks. I am already a week late to wish you all an amazing new year 2019. May all your wishes come true this year and hope you start doing whatever you have planned and failed to start doing till now. Because you know what, its very important to start, to make the first move, because if there is no 1st move, there will never be a second and you can never achieve what you want. Hence, make the FIRST move. Speaking of first, I am here sharing my first post of the year and it had to be a birding one.. So here it is- my another very beautiful experience of birding adventures in North Goa.

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The next sunday after my Pilerne lake bird watching activity , I was looking for some place nearby to bird. My husband suggested borda lake, as he had heard about the lake from some one but did not have much knowledge about birds being there. I started googling the same and what I end up with this amazing place in Donwaddo in Salvador-do mundo. What we understood is that Borda lake must be somewhere closeby to this area or one of the waterbody in here are named as borda. May be next time when we explore more over that lake, we will know the difference (if there is any).

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This migratory bird watching place is very easy to reach. What all you need is a smart phone with GPS on 😀 Just ask google to take you to “ Migratory birds Area in North Goa”. The first search option will take you to Donwaddo. It is a huge marsh/ wetland seperated with a well maintained pitch road. AS soon as my eyes struck the board, I wanted to jump off of the activa, but I waited till it stopped as it was been ridden by my husband who accompanied me to have a beautiful december sunday morning in nature.
The day started off with beautiful sighting of brahminy kites .We had to stop there and then. The whole landscape was worth skipping a breath. There were more than few adult kite taking the most stunning perch on one broken branches each within a circumference.

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Brahminy kite

After spending few moments taking snaps and satisfying eyes, we moved on to my first lifer Siberian stonechat -female.As it was road side, I quickly set up my tripod to have more stable pictures of my lifer.

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Siberian stonechat

I was not quite happy with its perch on wire and that’s when a little big bird came and sat a meter away from the little one. I turned my cam to find out its a long tailed shrike. Another lifer 😀

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Long tailed shrike

I followed the shrike for sometime till it gave me most beautiful natural pose. As a bonus, he was hungry and had a breakfast bite infront of me. After getting close up and eye level shots of the shrike we moved ahead a bit.

 

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Long tailed shrike

There was this very little blue kingfisher flying here and there not letting me capture him even for a second. While I was tracking the little cutie, a spotted dove flew and sat in one of the bushes closeby. It was that close that my zoom couldn’t even capture its whole body. As I was struggling with zooming in-zoom out , it obviously flew away. (PS: I need more practice :P) But a quite ok shot of a lifer is good to go.

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Spotted dove

My next shot was that of a Stork billed kingfisher. A big sized kingfisher with red lipstick beak with  really loud voice. I cropped off the body part to keep the cemented perch out of my frame. So here is a close up of Mr. Stork billed kingfisher.

 

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Stork billed kingfisher

As we moved ahead, we saw a number of egrets, black winged stilts on one side and a few cormorants on another. As we went a little further, there is an offroad on the right side which we took and decided to take the vehicle along. And there I got some of the very beautiful shots.
Common or little kingfisher (finally on a clean perch)

 

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Little blue kingfisher

Indian cormorant (preening)

 

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Indian cormorant ( drying up wings)

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Oriental darter (shining as a star)

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Oriental darter stretching its long neck further

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We rode till we couldn’t ride anymore. I loved that particular village road. It has what we call “PEACE”. I had my moment with serenity (as always) and we turned back to reach the starting point again. I still had hopes to see a few more birds on the go and get some really good frames.
Purple heron (perfectly camouflaged with the dry grasses)

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Egret escape as I call it

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Grey Heron (habitat shot)

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Common sandpiper

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I saw a bunch of black headed Ibis having a gala. So I waited for a few moments to capture some good flight shots. Here are my favorite ones.

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I would end up the blog here today with almost where I had started. A long tailed shrike close up.

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And a frame shot of sandpiper. Good night you amazing people. Be blessed and have a
prosperous year ahead.

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Other birding activities:-

Prey Prey everyday!

Monsoon vibes with birdies

An evening with Asian openbillAn evening with Asian openbill

Parra – A birding hour

Birding in Chopdem,Goa

etc,etc….

Much love,
Riya

 

 

 

Birding in Pilerne lake, North Goa

With a hope of not having a too hot day, I pulled up my camo pants , hung up my gear bag on shoulders, started my Activa and followed the lady on google maps towards Pilerne lake in Penha de Franca , Alto Porvorim which is hardly 9km from my place in Mapusa but sadly, I had never been there before. But as its said, its never too late. Pilerne lake was my kickoff start to birding this very season after a gap of months. And I am determined this time to not get loose on it. So it was beautiful Sunday morning when I reached this lake at around 7.15am. It has a ‘Bird watching Point board’ showing a few bird images with a small sitting area with 2 benches making it a quite place to sit and relax overlooking the big,beautiful pilerne lake. I parked my Caty ( that’s what I call my Activa 😉 ) beside a bench and stood for a minute. As soon as my eyes struck to a waterhen besides the white flowers I quickly unzip my bag to bring out already set camera and went down the stairs only to never find that waterhen again throughout the morning. Waterhen didn’t show up, no issues, I had my other lifers for the day.

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Pilerne lake, North Goa

To start the day, I had this close encounter with the little blue kingfisher or the common kingfisher which is actually not very common anywhere in Goa. It perched for me on tree branch ,then on the stair railing and then on this beautiful stone with background full of flowers.

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Common kingfisher or river kingfisher

 

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Common kingfisher in pilerne lake

Pond herons are everywhere near any kind of water stream in the konkan state. I quickly made a few frames as nothing is more natural and beautiful than the combination of flower,water and wader.

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Indian Pond Heron

Then I turned my camera towards a non-water tree branch where two red whiskered bulbuls came to have breakfast. It is one of the most common birds in the area but I still don’t miss a chance to capture them feeding. They appear very pretty with the crown.

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Red whiskered bulbul

And there comes my first lifer of the day. White browed bulbul. Supposedly it replaced the red whiskered bulbuls and took the perch. It quite gave me a few moments to capture him satisfying myself. Aah, it is a pretty bulbul.

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White browed bulbul

There were this couple on a scooter that disturbed me while clicking this beauty to
show me a bird taking a high perch across the lake. I quickly told them, its a white throated kingfisher and way too far and turned to found out the bulbul was gone. I was quite okay as I had already made my shots.

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White browed bulbul

Talking of WTKF ( white throated kingfisher), there has to be atleast one WTKF for me everywhere I go. My kingo never leaves my back :D. Here I got this individual on natural perch with a fresh seafood for breakfast.

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White throated kingfisher with fish kill

Again I made a few more captures on this one. As close I go to them, I feel delighted with their details.. Sparkling feathers I say..

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white breasted kingfisher

My next target was to capture the snake birds (Oriental darter) that were flying in a circular manner over the lake for some time. It was my bad day for flight shots and I got a good shot only in water.

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Oriental darter

I waited for them to feed but they weren’t hungry I guess.
Made a few take off shots I wanted to share with you people.

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Oriental darter taking off

While the beautiful butterflies surrounded me as I sat on the lowest stair to get the water level shots of the darter, my eyes got glued to a very pretty duck who seemed alone on the whole water body. I zoomed in to 600mm, make my mind to have a reflection shot as it came a little closer. It was a stunning “Little Grebe”. My first of its kind. I was greatly pleased from inside to have captured my another very beautiful lifer of the day.

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Little grebe , pilerne lake

Also happen to spot a group of lesser whistling ducks moving away from my side of the lake. One leading the others way. Love to watch their landings all together.

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Lesser whistling ducks

There was this constant bird call that I couldn’t recognize coming from within the marshlands that made me try to look and overhear. But alas I had to satisfy myself with a female Asian koel playing hide and seek with the sun-rays.

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female asian koel

As it was more than 2 hours then, the couple on the scooty had come back to find me in the same state and get amazed 😀 Aah, it was a beautiful morning to start the day off. An absolutely stunning place for a morning birding session.

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Butterflies in pilerne lake

The only thing that bite me a little is that, this lake being a bird watching location also served as Ganesha idol visarjan ( immersion) place, that is in process of making the beautiful lake dirty in coming days. If people in the area can understand the importance of the place in our eco-system and stop throwing puja garbage,plastic bags and immersion of idols by making eco-friendly idols in festivals, then the nature can be remained as it is for coming lots and lots of years.

Well, it was my time to go back home and make some sunday breakfast, I again spotted the WTKF with a kill that made me unbag my gear again and take a shot. 😀

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White throated kingfisher

Pilerne lake is a strong recommendation to bird watchers and photo fanatics like me.

Gears I use :

Canon 80D with Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary OS lens.

Tell me which image is your favorite among these and I will be happy to share the Camera settings (EXIF) details.

Also find me on Instagram as @riya_wingstofly for regular updates.

Until next time

Much love,

Riya

Chopdem birding continues…

Hey you peeps, having a cozy saturday? Cool! Don’t even have to get up from the couch. Its raining cats and dogs here and staying in is the best thing to do on a holiday. No raincoats,umbrellas and wet legs for a single makes me enjoy the rain even more. Its not that I complain on other days as I love monsoon. Everything is so green and fresh. Earth seems much more beautiful and lively.

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A tree full of black headed Ibis

Beautiful. Isnt it? Let the monsoon come everywhere. Plant trees and stop cutting trees in the name of development. What will the world do with the development if there will be no air to breathe and no water to drink? Spread the word!

In  my last birding post (Birding in Chopdem,Goa) I was in this beautiful spot clicking birds on a beautiful morning. Today’s post can be concluded as its continuation as I went on to this nearby spot to click some beautiful cattle egrets in full plumage colour. I see them often these days from vehicle’s window while traveling but hardly get to click them. So I wanted to give some special time to shoot them in complete silence. So it was the day.

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Plumage colours on an egret’s feathers

In my last post, I promised I would start with Swallows , So this is it. While leaving Chopdem birding area, we ran into some swallows on a wire.I got so carried away clicking them , I was about to lean on a 2000 Volt electric poll. [ Thank god, I was accompanied by a responsible person to alert me soon enough, phew]. Keep exploring and clicking but with an active mind. Keeping yourself safe is the basic necessity. Isn’t?

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Wire tailed swallows

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Close up of a wire tailed swallow

As soon as we reached the farming space almost full of egrets and pond herons, I spotted a huge black crowned night heron.

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Black crowned night heron.

He was huge and calm, giving me time to get closer and get a few shots of him. I already knew I was going to have a great time there though Mr. Sun came up on us really fast making it hot and uncomfortable. Oh wait! Uncomfortable for whom? Not me when I am birding 😀

While my husband was setting up the tripod on a steady flat space near this crucifix, I was already into the mud and almost sat on the ground to be away as well as close (through my lens) to these feathered creatures. So here are few of the images that I got of the very pretty Cattle egret in breeding plumage.

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This is one of my favorite shots and had been my mobile wallpaper for all this time.

 

Different moods, different shots. First one with a little prey.

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In my opinion, this made a nice frame with wings half open and the egret being walking away with pride.

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Portrait, Cattle  egret.

And the mesmerizing portrait of this lovely egret.

while I was busy clicking the colours, my husband spotted a non breeding one in another mood variable.

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Though I wasn’t satisfied with clicking them, I went on and on.

 

Lets introduce their acompanies.

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face to face: Cattle egret and Pond heron

Stupid me, I couldn’t focus on both their eyes at the same time 😦 as the heron was a little behind. Anyways, lets have a look at some Indian Pond Heron clicks with extended flexible necks.

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Indian pond heron

I found it very enchanting to click these really tall and thin ones as I usually come across the bulky and short pond herons who usually don’t stretch their necks a lot. But to my surprise these ones here did and looked really pretty I must say.

 

Different moods, different shots. Second one with little prey.

And finally a portrait with extended long neck.

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Portrait: cattle egret

All these shots were taken handheld with my Sigma 150-600mm contemporary OS lens and hardly been edited or post processed as they were naturally very pretty and full of colours. I really enjoyed watching their behaviors and activities in the morning time with some searching for breakfast, some flying here and there. So I got clicked myself at the end 😀

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Happy me 🙂

A long ago, I had posted a blog on Egret (great egrets mainly), have a look if you want. ~ Egret

That was a beautiful sunday and so tomorrow should be. Make everyday beautiful by doing at least one thing that makes you happy. Every day is a special day as we got to live that one. On this note I will take your bid to see you soon again on my new post.

My other birding activities.

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Crab plovers taking off.

Until next time, Keep birding, keep smiling, spreading love 🙂

Much love,

Riya

Smile-laugh-repeat

We have heard since forever ‘smile, because its free’. I say smile,obviously smile not because its free, but because it purifies your heart every time you do it from your heart. That beautiful curve on your face is directly connected to your heart beat. Trust me on this, Each time you stretch your lips in U shape, Mr. heart normalizes its speed and tells you ‘ everything is good buddy, keep going’. At least that is what keeps me going. So I try to smile as much as possible with as many people as possible.

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We all have so many things going on in our minds simultaneously. Don’t lie to yourself on this and listen to your mind’s craziness for once. I know, I know its difficult to even to listen to yourself sometimes as our lives are so damn puzzled up,confusing,motionless at times, but all you need to do my friend is to cry. Yes I m not joking, crying helps lighten up the burden. And once its not heavy anymore, smiling would be easy, very easy. And nothing is better than a easy smile. Have you seen a child smiling ___  heart out?  Of course you did, we all did and it is so soothing to eyes to see them smiling or listening to their laughter which is usually loud. Similarly, its far better to laugh your heart out than bursting out in emotions.

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Have you heard the quote ‘ fight back with smile’ .You might not but now you did. I say fight back your emotions with a lovely smile. Once your happiness empowers the sadness, life will be easy. If not easy,then easy to handle. None’s life is as easy and perfect as it looks on the social media. We show people what we want to show and hide the rest inside us. We are in such time of yuga, people don’t even show their real sides to their close ones. And why would we? We are so very good in pretension. I say, stop pretending for a day and be happy from within.

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We all are very sure about the fact that we don’t/wont look good while making a cringy face or crying. And hence we pose, we smile for photographs to look pretty in the pictures. But does it all that matters? To look pretty and happy to the outside world? What about the world inside? Doesn’t it needs a bit of relaxation, freshness and get rid of the tiredness? The tiredness of over thinking, controlling the emotions, molding the feelings from one to another, suppressing the child who wants to be free and smile carefree. Doesn’t your inside world needs a make-over too? Yes it does! It badly does! So for once, throw up your make-up, wear the real smile on your face and feel the difference.

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Smile for yourself, smile for you have a family, smile for people loves you (at least a few really do), smile for you got a human life, smile for you get to eat, smile for you are breathing. Smile for your strength, smile for your hidden weakness, smile for your achievements, smile for the lost battles. Keep smiling and stay smiling forever. It not only nourishes your mind but also the one’s you are smiling at. Make yours and other’s days beautiful with a priceless smile every morning.

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Someone said to me, my smile has a healing touch. I believe every smile ever has the power to heal.Smile is the best therapy for all the disease and sadness in the world. So, forget anything and everything. But don’t forget to smile and laugh. Lets make a routine to keep our hearts healthy. Smile-listen to yourself- laugh it out- repeat.

Most importantly smiling doesn’t harm .So keep smiling and spreading laughter.

Much love

RIYA