Feeling Safe in the unpredictable world of United States


Canon balls -wm
These are unused canonballs in San Cristobal, Puerto Rico. I am glad they remained unused.

First a poem on this. It is not a good one but does gun toting require or inspire good poetry?



Nothing ever charmed us more

Than feeling safe


We send our sons and guns  ashore

Then send our missiles, jets and drones

To make it safe.


We crossed out  maps and towns

We took down kings and clowns

We bombed and plotted

Covertly  swatted

Overtly told them off

Wishing that,  would keep us safe.


We marched in arms with great delight

To keep our rifles is our right!

What if a burglar comes at night?

We’d be ready t’ wake up and fight

Our freedom, was feeling safe.


Within our homes and on our streets

At point blank to 400 yards,of yore

The booming noise of shots says more

We know what kept us feeling safe

Can be far from any where secure.


Take what we know, then how we feel

Defiance, ping pong in between

The game in which one can’t just kneel

Go on don’t let me interrupt

(If ) You’re, feeling safe.

–  ID


Statistically, it is much more likely for women to be killed by intimate partners who own guns or whose households have guns. For such studies you look at total number of women killed or injured in attempted murder by intimate partners and then check history, gun ownership etc. The above article I linked to, in the Atlantic, states: ‘In fact, not a single study to date has shown that the risk of any crime including burglary, robbery, home invasion, or spousal abuse against a female is decreased through gun ownership.’ I say let the single or unattached men fight it out, women take self defense lessons, use pepper spray and run to safety and then call 911.

There are several stories published by NRA stating how guns were used in self-defense during home invasions and self-defense remains the reason 60% gun owners say they have them, as expected, it is not to exercise  their second amendment rights that they own them. Apparently, it is good guys with guns that can stop bad guys with guns and anecdotes are not data: the reality of successful self-defense, forget public defense by a private citizen, using hand guns is not very convincing and not at ALL convincing for semi-automatics! In the article above by Politico (‘The myth behind gun ownership’) one of the most often cited (by NRA) digital-dial based surveys studies by Gary Kleck and Marc Getz,  is torn to shreds in three points as the numbers of how many times gun owners have used them in self-defense are ridiculous: the main one being  that the alleged numbers proposed by the gospel study of Kleck, the number of actual instances of legitimate self defense firing has never been verifiable, and in some cases been mathematically impossible. For example, it would need 65% of all burglary attempts be thwarted by gun owners using their guns, most if not all the burglaries would then have needed to target homes that owned guns (even in 1992, that when the Kleck and Getz study was conducted, that was 42% of households in the US ), been at home and awake at the time of burglary. We KNOW that in the US only about 28% of all burglaries happen when there are people (at least one person) at home (we don’t know how many burglaries target home owners owning guns but logically about 42% of this 28% would, but I am ignoring that for now) in other words:(~) 65% of all burglaries cannot be thwarted by people at home using their guns, as they are not even home for that percent of time during a burglary.  ON THE OTHER HAND, actual data indicates reduced suicide rates especially in children as gun ownership declines in households. All life is precious right? Oh, and to spice this up a little this study states: ‘It is noteworthy that in prison surveys, about half of convicted felons who have fired a gun claim to have done so in self defense.

Without getting into even more complexity of reports where using guns has harmed an innocent bystander, or is illegal in itself, I will just ask you to think of the least competent person you know at work and then try to imagine them trying to protect you using a gun. I think a real competent protector will understand statistics and the unpredictability of human nature and circumstance.

And forget all that, if one has 10 burglars in the house, it is unlikely they will need something that fires 100 rounds a second. So semi-automatics are an overkill, to put it mildly. The Las vegas shooter had 23 rifles of which he had modified several to upgrade their firing speed. He carried out the largest mass shooting in US history.

In context of events going on right now, NFL players are being labeled unpatriotic as they kneel to support their ostracized colleague: Colin Kaepernick who brought to national notice (or tried to anyway) the plight of black children growing up in underprivileged neighborhoods. In 2017, apparently showing solidarity to a colleague in team spirit is no longer part of sportsmanship and of course any respect for the PEOPLE of the country is far less important than PERCEIVED (feelings of some other people, clearly not of the ones making the sign) disrespect for the flag /anthem, while remaining within their First amendment rights. People apparently don’t make a country great.

To everyone who has been a victim in one way or another of a gun crime, I have no worthy words of consolation..

Glue: another poem



Did you ever break

Something you could not lose,

Did you ever make

Something you could not use?

Do you know the frame

The one atop our hearth,

The one we left behind

When our ‘palace’ kissed the earth.

I saw it landing where

Our sisters’ dolls had wed,

That is where I want

My ashes to be spread.


You know, I heard their call

In every child’s cry.

Dug out of mud and rubble

In every golden eye,

Small hands and rainbow bubble.


And there it must still stand

Awaiting our return

For song to touch this land

May wheels of fortune turn.


Though they turn for me no more

Don’t weep my dear, so..

I found my comrades here

As every building fell,

Our helmets brought us near.

He who brings me back

Is my brother, same as you

If his helmet looks aworn

You must let him use our glue.


Our planes don’t need it now

I have them here with me,

They fly as good as new

And they have set me free.



Dedicated to the White helmets of Syria.  If you could donate to them, anything at all, perhaps our distilled souls may find some peace

pine with sky-blue and yellow-wm




Simple perfection

flame tree b-w-wm

I have often tried to recall if there was a first scene in a movie that has stayed with me. Nothing comes to mind offhand, and there I used to think I had a great memory.

But, yesterday I think I filled in the blank with the first scene of a movie (that I haven’t watched fully yet, because it just stalled all thought right after act 1). There is a girl’s voice over in it trying to describe the memory of someone precious. The background in the scene is that of a cold, frozen landscape, chilling just to look at and a girl racing over frozen ground, bare feet, in a flight for life.

The girl whose voice we hear is wishing a meadow alive where winter never sets foot.

In her dream,  I can see her tree and feel its shade. I almost wait for it to change colors in my reverie. This is the place in us that guards all memories that make us. Where she holds every memory of someone dear.

But it is the last line of this act that holds me, ‘And when I find myself, frozen, in the mud of the real-far from your loving eyes, I will return to this place and close mine, and take solace in the simple perfection of knowing you.’

While I do go on about how not much is simple, the solace in the perfection of just knowing someone: that is simple. I don’t actually think that everything is complicated, I only think even achieving simplicity needs a complex path to have been traversed first and there are very few people who go through this distillation and form their soul’s pool again, drop by drop. Anyone who thinks they are simple at birth (or more likely, from) is delusional.

Therefore, it is natural that anyone who has met with true: disappointment, betrayal, accomplishments and losses sees the simple perfection of knowing some one and to find solace in that. Writer of such a beautifully simple line: take a bow.

The movie is Wind River.

wind river-wm

And this is a short grook I wrote for the other “simple” people in my life who categorize my hard-earned simplicity as contrived complexity.


I thought I’d like the simple

The straight and the wholesome

Then I met your wife and you

I’d rather chew some gum – ID

Brown pelican in b/w

Brown pelican-wmSome days I just want to hide within me too. But I probably won’t look this good in black and white.

My tower of song: birding and photography

These are, what I believe to be the best images of birds I have taken, IN THE WILD. They are also, concomitantly, a collection of my most favorite birds till date. I have the year the photos were taken in the watermark, as I like to remember the chronology. Other details are in the caption.

(Title inspired by L.Cohen’s song)


Double-striped thick-knee-wm
Double-striped thick-knee, Trinidad, July 2017.   This is likely the rarest bird I have ever photographed, it was last reported in Trinidad in 2007 and has only been reported 5 times (sixth time I was there).  Location details: Abandoned airfield, Agricultural research center, Arima.
Bearded bell-bird-closer-calling-wm
Bearded bell-bird, calling. Trinidad. Location details: Asa Wright Nature Center, Arima
ferruginous pygmy owl-wm
‘Who, me? I din’ do, din’ see nothin’, said the pygmy owl. Ferruginous pygmy owl, Trinidad. Location detail: Blanchiseusse.
oil bird-2-wm
Oil-bird with regurgitated food, Trinidad. Location detail: Asa Wright Nature Center, Arima.
purple honecreeper fluffed-wm
Flustered. Purple honeycreeper (male), Trinidad. Location detail: Asa Wright Nature Center, Arima.
female purple honeycreeper good-wm
Purple honeycreeper (female). Location detail: Asa Wright Nature Center, Arima.
jacobins-young and old-wm
Hanging with the old man.. Old and young white-necked jacobins. Location detail: Asa Wright Nature Center, Arima.
jacobin-young rain karma-wm
Tranquility . Young white-necked jacobin. Location detail: Asa Wright Nature Center, Arima.
White tail nightjar- tobago-wm
Up early  or late? White-tailed nightjar (female). Tobago, 2012. Location details: Little tobago island.


Golden headed tanager-wm
Golden-headed tanager, Costa Rica. Location details:  Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
chestnut colored woodpecker-upside-wm
Chestnut colored woodpecker, Costa Rica. Location details: La Selva biological station, Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
Palm tanager and tobacco fruit-wm
Palm tanager eating wild tobacco, Trinidad. Location details: Asa Wright Nature Center, Arima.
Aracari reaching berry-wm
Collared aracari and its berry, Costa Rica. Location details: Tortuguero
young caracara-tobago-wm
Juvenile yellow-headed caracara, Tobago.
Green honeycreeper-wm
Green honeycreeper, Costa Rica. Location detail: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
Trumpeter swan wings-wm
Trumpeter swan, U.S.A. Location details: Yellowstone National park, Montana.
Northern jacana toes-tort-wm
Northern Jacana, Costa Rica. Location details: Tortuguero
Giraffish-tiger heron-wm
Giraffed. Tiger heron, Costa Rica. Location details: Tortuguero
piping guan with epiphyte-1-wm
Trinidad piping guan with epiphytes, Trinidad. This is the one of the few critically endangered species I have photographed in the wild. Location details: Grand Riviere.
Hoatzin, Peru. Location details: Along the Maranon river, Peruvian amazon
Rufus sibia-himalayan bird-wm
Rufous sibia, India. Location details: Himalayan foothills, Uttar Pradesh
Red legged honeycreeper-throat and tongue-2-wm
Red-legged honeycreeper, Costa Rica.   Location detail: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
Horned screamer-wm
Horned screamer, Peru. Location details: Along the Maranon river, Peruvian amazon
Female barred antshrike-wm
Barred antshrike (female), Trinidad. Location detail: Asa Wright Nature Center, Arima.

These photos have three types of birds I have photographed:


  1. Rare birds in the wild: Double-striped thick knee (because of being a vagrant in Trinidad), Trinidad piping guan with epiphytes, Oil-bird, Bearded bell-bird, Hoatzin, Horned screamer, Rufous sibia.
  2. Uncommon birds: Laughing falcon, Ferruginous pygmy owl, Golden headed tanage, Trumpeter swan, Red-legged honeycreeper, Chestnut-colored woodpecker, Rufous sibia, White-tailed nightjar, Tiger Heron, Yellow-headed caracara.
  3. Common birds (in parts photographed) as art: Palm tanager with wild tobacco, White-necked jacobins in the rain, Collared aracari reaching for a berry, Green honeycreeper, Purple honeycreeper, Barred antshrike, Northern Jacana.