Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why we love the Palekars ?

Our treasurer , Mrs Patil has a huge grin. She was holding the first ever donation cheque . With almost half the members not having even paid their membership fees , this expression is not surprising . She is also annoyed with me for not collecting entry fees from most of the visitors. She wished that everyone was like the Palekar family who not only paid the entry fees but also wrote a cheque to the Butterfly Conservatory Of Goa.

Jyoti ( my wife -lets call her J ) likes people more easily. That Mrs. Palekar is also named Jyoti helped . Any appreciation of the rainwater harvesting concept or about her house - and that one is in the good books of J. She loved Deepak and Jyoti for their friendly and afflable nature.

When the Palekars came in to the conservatory , there were hardly any butterflies . It was pretty warm and I was mourning the repeated raids of the langurs on almost all of our flowering bushes . But the Palekars waited . Patiently . Watching the birds . The trees . The occassional butterfly - the crow mainly. They took time to examine every nook and cranny of the conservatory . Photographing . They took a break inbetween to check out the house and climbed up the hill again in the hot sun, back in to the conservatory. As if to oblige them , suddenly we had butterflies ! Spot swordtail and the Silverline flew into the breeding enclosure through the entrance opening . And there were quite a few others : Lascar , sergeant , plum Judy , monkey puzzle.

For being patient . For their attention to details . For lauding our efforts rather than the number of butterflies . Thank you !

And That's why I love the Palekars !

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Butterfly cafe

We are struck by the malady of ostentious demonstrations : Which is having butterflies on display anytime of the day , anytime of the year. Why ? Well ! Blame it on Blaise !

I mean , the conservatory is designed like a sanctuary , not a zoo. In a sanctuary , you need patience , stealth and lots of luck to spot an animal . Zoo is , well , a Zoo - animal visuals guaranteed ! But then , they have baits and salt licks in sanctuaries. So it is luck by design.

So we are midst of designing a butterfly cafĂ© – a royal mud puddle treat. Where butterflies of various kind find solace and salt. A gathering for tired wings and thirsty probes – where the male clan shall gather and exchange notes on failed matings and broken thoraxes.

And so what do we serve ? Some initial test offerings of cowdung , common salt , rotten fruits , cashew fenny , some stale beer were left untested . A gang of grateful ants than devoured it all up . Birds took away the salads.

It was time to get the experts out of the woodwork . Col Baindur has given a whole lot of literature that will hold good stead .Urine is good , says Kishen Das . If one wants to vary that diet for the butterflies , all one has to do is vary one’s own. Save it up in one’s bladder ( fermenting it up the whole night is essential, mind you ) , rush to the watering hole in the morning and aim ! It may well get the butterflies , but we are afraid the aroma of a well developed Lepidoptera tea may upset the nasal sensibilities of the human visitors for whose benefit we are creating the spectacle in the first place. Still worth a try !

On an average day we would get 20 to 25 different winged wonders . But that fateful day , not one turned up. But Blaise did . With a few of his local friends . They were getting just introduced to the joys of butterfly watching . Unfortunately they didn’t get the joy at the conservatory .

Matter of luck , I said.

We see more butterflies in our garden, they said

Good if you see more butterflies outside than inside the conservatory. It means we are succeeding !

Yet it hurt - were we taking people for a ride ? A question we ask ourselves.

But now we want everyone to see some butterflies atleast . Most will, hopefully .

A few will choose to see our efforts instead. Those are the ones that keep us going