Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Lions are introverts, and knowing that could save your life (The Funny Side)
I dreamed that TV wildlife guru David Attenborough was narrating a film about my life: "And for the 49th time, the runt of the group attempts to climb out of the pit but does a dramatic face plant into decomposing warthog poop. Let's see if he gets up this time."
 
Yet I remain fascinated by animal news stories. A reader just sent me one about a team of Australians who flew to Botswana recently to paint eyes on cows' bottoms. I showed it to an illustrator colleague and she said: "Artists have to take whatever jobs are available, cow bottoms, whatever."
 
The article said that they were painting pairs of eyes on bovine buttocks to stop lions eating them. The big cats apparently turn away from what they see as ugly "faces", thinking: "She looks like a cow's behind, she's got enough problems without us mauling her."
 
A similar trick has long been used in India. Woodcutters wear ugly masks with big eyes on the backs of their heads to deter lions. "That poor man's so deformed he's got two faces," the retreating beasts say. "Probably give us indigestion."
 
The scientific thinking behind this is that lions are known to hate being stared at. Lions are introverts. If you are cornered by a lion in the jungle, quickly offer to take it to a cocktail party where it won't know many people. The lion will back off speedily, mumbling excuses about having to shampoo its mane.
 
When I mentioned this to a naturalist friend, she told me about the Foureye Butterflyfish, which has two huge fake eyes at one end, and a real face at the other end. Approaching deep-sea predators stop and think: "OMG, that fish is eating with its anus" and are so fascinated/disgusting they forget to attack.
 
Incidentally, National Geographic writers found a giant sea cucumber which eats with its anus. Where I live, some human fans of colonic irrigation treatments have wheatgrass nutrient drinks inserted from below, wasting the time of the people who toiled to make them taste good.
 
But returning to fake eyes, many butterflies have evolved quite realistic eyes on their wings, which seem to work, judging by the complete lack of lion-versus-butterfly fighting videos on YouTube.
 
These tales of smart animals coincided with the arrival on my desk of a travel report containing proof of the astonishing scale of human stupidity. In the US alone, humans left US$765,000 in small change in trays at airport security gates last year, it said.
 
A colleague has just pointed out that this could be 765,000 travellers each leaving a few coins, or Donald Trump alone forgetting to pick up his pocket change. Whatever. It's still stupidity.
 
But of course not everyone appreciates the good qualities of animals. I remember going to a zoo in China some years back where the little name plate outside each cage had words like "Evil" and "Edible" on them. This seemed a bit insensitive, especially since humans are very evil and technically edible, too. Especially if unmasked and approached by lions.
 
Column done, time for a break. And if the office canteen is serving wheatgrass drinks, I think I'll just drink it the old way; so move along, nothing to see here.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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'Temples of India' an ode to geometry, architecture
 It's rare to come across an individual who's adept with both pen and camera -- more so when photography grew out of a casual remark. Tarun Chopra is one such and what he has managed with "Temples of India - Abode of the Divine", his 12th book, is to also trace the evolution of temple building with major architectural trendsetting examples.
 
To this extent, "Temples of India" (Prakash Books/pp 360/Rs 1,295), with its plethora of photographs, illustrations, ground plans and sections, is a valuable resource for both experts and lay persons to understand the fascinating science of geometry and architecture as temple-building evolved over some 2,000 years.
 
Ten years in the making and based on painstaking research of the ancient texts of Shilpa Shastra and Vaastu Shastra, as also interactions with temple priests, the effort is quite an eye-opener.
 
"I visited the temples of varied faiths. It somehow compels you to think if there is a God, He has to be one for all. He cannot be different for each religion. The realisation then dawns that there is one Supreme cosmic power which itself has no religion," Chopra told IANS in an interview.
 
A 48-page introduction makes for a handy primer on subjects like the oral tradition, Vaastu Shastra, Vaastupurushamandala (the metaphysical plan of a building), the legend of Vaastupurusha, temple builders, traditional building rites and rituals, the main architectural features of a Hindu temple, iconography of the temple, proportional measurements of an image, and temples as the markers of energy zones.
 
This sets the tone for Tripping On the Divine: a visual documentation of the evolution of most prominent temple styles spanning more than 2,000 years.
 
"Very few places in the world offer this vast a canvas of art and architecture. This book is not based on the temples of religious importance; rather the temples illustrated in it are purely on their architectural merit. Many of them have unique qualifications to be first of their kind in the Indian subcontinent and in the world. Some temples are the stepping stones of architectural styles and initiated temple styles that evolved for the next 1,000 years," Chopra writes.
 
Most of the 28 temples featured are A-listers -- Sanchi, Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Kanchipuram, Shravanabelagola, Khajuraho, Trichy, Madurai and Hampi, to name just a few. There are also some not too well known, at least for readers in North India. Among them are Teli Ka Mandir in Gwalior Fort, Gangaikondacholapuram (a smaller replica of the Brihadeshwara Temple in Tanjore), Darasuram (Tamil Nadu) and Aihole (Karnataka).
 
The bulk of the temples are located in South India and Chopra explained it thus: "Due to waves and waves of invasions that North India experienced at the hands of idol breakers, the temples in this region bore most of its brunt. Since the temples down south were relatively protected due to geographical distance, there is a wide variety of architectural styles that still exists today."
 
"Temples..." is a logical extension of Chopra's 11 previous books, most of which have India as their theme.
 
"My bestselling book 'Holy Cow and the Other Indian Stories' contains small chapters answering simple questions about India, why cows are on the road, why we get stamped so many times at the airport, the chaos that exists on the roads.. 'India Exotic Destination' illustrates the places frequented by visitors, while 'Soul of India' is a photo book that illustrates the beauty of the land through portraits, landscapes, street life and the like," Chopra said.
 
"I am a photographer and writer devoted to making books on India. My endeavour is to take out books that are easy to read and assimilate. As a photographer, I have been commissioned to do various projects both in India and abroad," he added.
 
All this grew out of a casual remark: "Why don't you start taking pictures since you travel so much?"
 
What is rather unusual about "Temples..." is its standard format rather than the large coffee-table format generally adopted for such books -- and the publisher said this was with a purpose.
 
"We decided to go with a smaller size to make the book handy for the buyer. Typical coffee tables are larger in size, but the sales of these books are down for the last few years, mainly because of the internet. A lot of images and data is now available on the net, but also because it's hard to carry large books because of weight limitations or the general bulkier nature of the book.
 
"We wanted the readers to be able to enjoy 'Temples of India' while they travel through India and visit these temples," Megha Parmar of Prakash Books told IANS.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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BSE gets nod to set up international exchange in GIFT
The BSE on Thursday said it has got an approval from Ministry of Corporate Affairs to establish BSE International Exchange and BSE International Clearing Corporation at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT).
 
In 2015, the stock exchange had signed an MoU with the GIFT SEZ Ltd to set up two entities at the country's first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).
 
"BSE intends to develop an international exchange providing an electronic platform for facilitating trading, clearing and settlement of securities, commodities, interest rates, currencies, other classes of assets and derivatives by international investors in the GIFT SEZ-IFSC, subject to necessary approvals and operating guidelines for IFSCs," a statement said.
 
"...International stock exchange will provide a platform to trade on equity derivatives, commodity derivatives currency derivatives, interest rate derivatives for Indian and foreign investors," said stock exchange's Managing Director and CEO Ashish Kumar Chauhan.
 
It will also provide platform for global securities listed on the international exchanges such as NYSE, LSE, NASDAQ etc., he said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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