How to Catch Frogs for Scientific Research? #Video

I spent the last month in Borneo with the EDGE of Existence Program by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). It was indeed one of the best experiences in my life. Just that #BorneoFeeling. Being in Borneo, on that remote, unique island of life has taught me so much about life. It has changed me positively in so many different ways that I cannot (correctly) put everything in words. I have found myself smiling randomly.

I created a video with NatGeo’s #sciencetelling Bootcamp. I hope you enjoy it. I purposely refrained from catching live frogs. However, when I start my project, I assure you that I will make another one that would probably give you an idea of my work with amphibians in the Western Ghats of India.

Till then, I hope you enjoy this video! More on Borneo soon.

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Pictorial Guide to Frogs of Manipal

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Frogs have always fascinated me. Moving to Manipal in the year 2012 exposed me to a new environment and a new life. I explored the forests around the town. I learned a lot about the biodiverse life in these forests from the locals, the growing community of bird watchers and other naturalists. Having explored various multitude of fauna, I introspected where I could have maximum impact in terms of scientific research. As I delved deeper, I realized that there was no debate – it had to be frogs!

In an effort to explain my interest in these species – I immediately penned a blog post on “Why I love frogs and Why you should too” – http://girlgonebirdzz.com/frogs/why-i-love-frogs-and-why-you-should-too/

Early in July 2017, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) awarded me a grant with funds to carry out my research on the frogs of Manipal. Following this, I enrolled for a PhD with Manipal University to study these amphibians in greater depth under the able mentorship of Dr. Aravind N.A.

In order to spread awareness of these tiny croakers, with people from all disciplines and wakes of life – I have published my notes in a pictorial guide that even the youngest reader would be easily able to understand and use. It lists the 19 most commonly occurring species of frogs found in our beloved university town. What do I hope to achieve with this guide? Everyone who reads it should be encouraged to take part in the Citizen Science initiatives that we at Frogs of Manipal keep conducting regularly. And use it in the pursuit of their scientific endeavours 🙂

A huge thanks (and lots of hugs) to everyone who’s been a part of my scientific journey – each contribution, however little, has helped shape this guide into what it is.

Download a copy here – Frogs of Manipal.downloadable.pdf guide

I’d love to hear back from you folks so that we can make this guide even more awesome! Thanks and love <3

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#FridayFrogFact – Are There Any Poisonous Frogs In India?

The Poison Dart Frogs are the deadliest frogs in the world. When the poison from a Golden Poison Dart Frog (Phyllobates terribilis) is rubbed on an arrow head and shot at a monkey high up in the canopy – the monkey falls straight down. Natives living in Colombian rainforest used this technique to hunt. Forget monkeys, just one milligramme of poison from this frog is capable of killing 10 human beings. 

giphy_poison frog

Fortunately (or unfortunately) these incredible frogs aren’t found in India. In fact, there are no poisonous frogs in India. While most toads have poison glands behind their eyes, the poison from these glands isn’t capable of doing any major harm to human beings. Most people are worried that if they touch frogs something dangerous might happen to them. Yes, that might be true for people living in other countries but not here in India. We Indians don’t have to fear – our country is free from deadly frogs!

How bright the colours are on a frog’s skin, is an indicator of just how poisonous the frog is! Most poisonous frogs produce poison as a defence mechanism to fight predators. This poison, unlike venon is not used to kill its prey. Indian frogs although have different defence mechanisms. For example, the brightly coloured Fungoid frog (Hydrophylax malabaricus) is known to produce an unpleasant odour when touched. Most toads will either urinate or secrete poison on being touched or picked up. Based on my personal observations, I have noticed that when some people with very sensitive skin come in contact with toads, they feel a burning or itching sensation. Another interesting frog whose looks can be confusing owing to its bright coloration is the Malabar Torrent Toad (Ghatophryne ornata). Rightly named, it is found on the rocks adjoining fast flowing streams in the Malabar region. The frog has bright colours on the insides – over its belly and groins. Intelligently, when the frog senses danger it flips in the flowing stream acting dead and showing off all the bright colours to the predator. 

giphy poisonous frog

 

So the next time someone points out and talks about poisonous frogs from India, you’d know the answer – there aren’t any!

PS: I am not encouraging any of you guys to pick-up or touch frogs unnecessarily!

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3

 

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#FridayFrogFact – What do frogs eat?

Last week I spent a couple of hours answering Quora questions on frogs and amphibians. While I answered questions like ‘Which is the biggest amphibian?’ or ‘Which are the most poisonous frogs?’, one question caught my attention a number of times – ‘What do frogs eat?’ 

Source: giphy.com

A lot of curious people on Quora are trying to answer the question as to what exactly do these small frogs (that often serve as food for others) eat. In my past workshops and talks, a number of people have asked me similar questions. So in this week’s Friday post, I will tell you’ll what are the various goodies they eat in the following points. But for the impatient among you all, a short answer to this FAQ could be – ‘Frogs eat pests- all kinds of pests’

Source: giphy.com
Source: giphy.com

A frog’s diet is mighty interesting. This article will be hugely helpful to understand what exactly is on a frog’s menu – 

  • Almost all frogs are largely carnivorous (i.e mainly insectivorous). They eat a variety of invertebrates and other small vertebrates.  
  • Although an exception to the above is a largely herbivorous frog known from India called the Indian Green Frog (Euphlyctus hexadactylus). 80% of this frog’s diet contains plant matter.
  • Burrowing frogs mainly feed on ants and termites. These globular bodied frogs burrow deep into the ground without any movement and with reduced physiological function- just as their names suggests! In order to maintain this kind of a lifestyle, they need a fat rich diet and ants and termites are a rich source of fat.
  • Some large frogs also feed on fish. An African frog (Aubria subsigillata) who leaps over water specializes on eating fish.
  • In the highlands of Kenya lives a special frog that feeds mainly on terrestrial snails and slugs. A book that I often read says that the frogs haven’t actually been observed eating snails but they possess extensive modifications of their skull bones and teeth that allow them to pull these sticky creatures from the rocks.
  • A frog that lives in the salty mudflats and can tolerate marine environments in the Southeast Asia eats crabs, Crab-eating frog (Fejervarya cancrivora).
  • Tadpoles on the other hand feed mainly on a vegetarian diet. They depend on algae that grow on the rocks and within the water streams.
  • The frog’s head and body size are directly proportional to the prey size. In other words, frogs that are large and have bigger heads will eat a variety of prey from tiny ants to large invertebrates and vice versa.  

Watch the following video to see a bull frog eat almost anything in front of it –

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read – share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3

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#FridayFrogFact – Reflecting Back on 2016 with Frogs in Focus

Heartfelt thanks to each and every participant of “Frogs of Manipal’ club. We are now a brilliant gang of 133 frog lovin’ members! This informal club was created in October 2016 and team Frogs of Manipal (FoM) has made some awesome discoveries since then. So on this first Friday of 2017, let’s recap everything that we have achieved together in the last three months as team FoM –

  1. We surveyed various sectors of Manipal twice every week, taking the total count of our surveys to more than 20 in three months

    From giphy.com
    From giphy.com
  2. We documented about 5 road kills from across Manipal in the dry season

    Picture by Rahul SN
    Picture by Rahul SN
  3. We encountered and recorded an eyeless ‘Endangered’ frog – Uperedon mormorata

    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
  4. We spent 21st Nov’16 cracking delightful frog jokes to have a good laugh together frogjokes
  5. We’ve participated in 3 polls – one each month; and we will continue with monthly polls to gauge the community’s opinions poll_
  6. We shared pictures of ‘Data Deficient’ frogs like the Western Tree Frog sitting on the walls of our hostels

    Picture by Rithika Kalidos
    Picture by Rithika Kalidos
  7. We encountered Nematode infection in an aquatic frog in October 2016

    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
  8. We saw an amazing video of a Bull Frog escaping death right in our university’s backyard by Girish Rajannavar

     

  9. We launched #FridayFrogFact where we read, write and share frog blogs every week. We promise to continue doing this! pixabay.com
  10. We also took #FridayFrogFact to an international platform with a post being published in The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR)

    giphy.com
    giphy.com
  11. Our team members from places away from Manipal showed their virtual support by sharing interesting scientific studies

    impinfofrog
    By Rishabh Birla
  12. With our outreach activities, we spoke about #NotJustFrogs to a total of 256 students- in Manipal and surrounding towns. The change in these kids’ perception of frogs – from ‘icky’ to ‘wow’ was heartwarming to say the least!

    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
    Picture by Madhushri Mudke
  13. We laughed and came up with intelligent strategies to come out of the ditch into which one of our team mate’s car went straight down on 26th Oct’16 as we wrapped up our regular frog walk

    From giphy.com
    From giphy.com
  14. That same day, we also saw a beautiful Scops Owl along with frogs

    Picture by Ashutosh Taparia
    Picture by Ashutosh Taparia
  15. We have successfully maintained high ethical standards within our team – thanks to our moderators and each one of us!

In the future, we will achieve a lot more together. We promise to continue our surveys throughout the year. We will also be conducting fun activities like ‘Frog Movie Nights’. We will continue writing frog blogs. I think, we should take a step into making some fun videos in 2017 to endorse FoM.

I am waiting for your ideas, suggestions and opinions that you think will help us improve in the coming year. Our objective as always, remains:

  1. To spread awareness about the frogs of Manipal
  2. To document abnormalities in frogs
  3. To document road kills across the town
  4. Come up with interesting strategies for conservation
  5. To promote living in harmony with frogs
  6. To change attitudes towards frogs as a whole
  7. To bring more people into this loving community – once they come to love frogs as much as we do!

Let’s welcome the New Year with gratitude and love towards all species on our planet!

Thank you from Team FoM <3

 

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.
Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3

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#FridayFrogFact – 5 Awesome Frog Documentaries You Need To Watch This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here! Without any argument, it is the best season to find a comfortable couch, a warm blanket and some chocolate brownies. Watching Game of Thrones or Netflix is indeed a great idea while snuggling up, but I’d rather watch frog documentaries. Why? Because these have taken me on an awesome trip into the world beyond mine. The movies I have listed here are inspiring, intriguing and hair-raising all at the same time. I think, it is a brilliant idea to make use of the holiday season to learn something exciting while not compromising on the entertainment.  

Following are five of my favourite freely available films on frogs. Take my list and just watch the documentaries below, and soak up in the world that you have never imagined –

  1. Fabulous Frogs –

What’s it about? This is by far, my favourite frog documentary. Not only is it in Sir David Attenborough’s voice but it also tells you about every basic fact that you must know about these incredible lil’ creatures. The movie is a journey into a weird and cryptic world of frogs. It talks about their life histories, their extraordinary anatomies and their unbelievable breeding behaviours. The film shows colourful frogs from the rainforests that live high up in the canopy and glide down to the ground. It also features frozen frogs showcasing their extraordinary hibernation skills. Here’s a preview –

  1.    Frogs – The Thin Green Line

What’s it about? The deadly chytrid fungus that is spreading all over the world. Allison Argo, who is known for lending her voice to animals that cannot speak for themselves, has narrated and directed this movie. In her strong yet soothing voice, she stresses on the major concerns in the amphibian world. This video will take you on a roller-coaster ride and will get you thinking from the depths of your grey matter!

  1. Knights of the Monsoon – Frogs of Sharavathi Valley

What’s it about? The Frogs of Sharavathi Valley and the Western Ghats of India created by my dear friends Saurabh and Ramit. The documentary shows life in monsoons in the deep forests of India. It focuses on some endangered and endemic species of frogs. The creators broadcast a colourful and psychedelic journey into the lives of lesser known frog species while stressing on their importance in the ecosystem.

  1.  Deadly Poison Dart Frog?  

What’s it about? Coyote Peterson’s adventures have always fascinated me. This is one of my favourite episodes wherein he handles a poison dart frog. (Some poison frogs have skin toxins potentially dangerous to humans, and I do not encourage anyone to do stunts that Coyote does.) In this video, he handles the Granulated Poison Frog.

  1.  The Survival of the Earth Depends on Frogs: Jean-Marc Hero at TEDx at St Hilda’s School

What’s it about? Professor Jean-Marc Hero talks about the connections between human beings, frogs and the planet Earth. TED talks have always inspired me. And this talk is about something I truly believe in. Professor Jean-Marc’s presentation is inspiring and thought-provoking not only to students and professionals studying frogs but also to people from various other backgrounds. If any of the documentaries above have gotten you a tad bit interested in frogs, you must add this TED talk to your playlist and take a leap further in the world of frogs!

Happy Holiday and a very Happy New Year everyone! I hope you enjoyed that article. Stay tuned for more such amazing frog facts – we post every Friday!

This post was first published on Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) read it here.

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.
Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3

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#FridayFrogFact – These Mind-blowing Facts Will Convince You To Spend Your Christmas With Frogs

pixabay.com
  1. All amphibians lack scales and instead have a highly permeable skin (through which they breathe!). This differentiates them from reptiles. These vertebrates are divided further into three orders: Anura, Caudata/Urodela and Gymnophiona

    Picture Credits – Dreams Of Animals, Reptile Magazine (CRISTI180884/SHUTTERSTOCK), DKfindout.com
  2. Biologically speaking, different types of amphibians are amazingly different from one another. To make it a little more clear, a frog is as different from a salamander as a horse is from a bat!Source - pixabay.com
  3. Frogs have occupied almost every available habitat on earth except the sea and oceans, the distant oceanic islands and the frozen zones in the Arctic and Antarctic. They are seen in desserts for a limited period when there’s water and can tolerate temperatures up to minus 7 degrees for more than 3 months.
    Madhushri Mudke
  4. Triadobatrachus massinoti is modern frog’s oldest ancestor. This species lived in Madagascar about 250 million years ago.

    Credits – Pavel.Riha.CB at the English language Wikipedia
  5. Frogs help control the population of pests around you; the following poster by Vancouver Aquarium strikes the right chord.

    Poster by Vancouver Aquarium
  6. Amphibians are an enormously diverse group. They make a large proportion of living vertebrates, although mammals are often considered dominant. There are about 7,605 species of amphibians all around the world. India is home to about 399 species of amphibians – 358 are frogs, 39 caecilians and 2 salamanders according to Amphibian Web.Source - pixabay.com
  7. In 1997, the first ever fungal infection was reported in amphibians. It was named Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in 1999. In India, a report in 2011 by Dr Gururaja KV showed traces of fungal infection in Fejervarya caperata, a commonly occurring cricket frog.

    This picture appears in a report published in the scientific journal ‘Current Science’ in 2011 and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without explicit permission from the author!
  8. Till date, Bd has been responsible for wiping out more than 200 species of amphibians. Yes, sadly these species will probably never be seen again.
  9. Toughie, the Frog – Toughie, was the last living individual of Rabbs’ fringe-limbed treefrog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum). In July 2013, National Geographic featured him in their magazine and made him a star. He and his fellow mates were the victims of the deadly Bd fungus. He was captured in Panama in 2005 by scientists trying to save his species from dying. He then lived in captivity in Georgia. Despite all efforts to save this rare species, Toughie died a tragic death on 26th September 2016. Toughie was and will always remain a star- the last of his kind, mourned by the world that killed his species.

    Brian Gratwicke from DC, USA for Wiki
  10. Amphibians, especially frogs and toads are considered to be the best bioindicators of the health of the environment. In spite of their importance a higher proportion of amphibians is threatened; they require immediate attention if we are to save them!
    Have a look at the graph below –
Source - The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians by Kentwood D. Wells
Source – The Ecology and Behavior of Amphibians by Kentwood D. Wells

Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoyed that article. Stay tuned for more such amazing frog facts – we post every Friday!

If you have missed any of the previous #FridayFrogFact posts – read them all over here! And if you liked this article, join our growing community of amazing froggers on Facebook. Also please fill out this form and tell me what would you like to read in the next post.

Now go and croak it out (read share this article) to the entire world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing the #FridayFrogFact with your friends on social media is a great idea to show your love for these species <3

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Why I love Frogs And Why You Should Too!

A beautiful froglet of endangered Rhacophorus lateralis. (Clicked by Shrikanth Nayak; naturalist in Bagh Villas, Kanha.)
A beautiful froglet of endangered Rhacophorus lateralis. (Clicked by Shrikanth Nayak; naturalist in Bagh Villas, Kanha)

Often when I tell people that I love frogs, one the most important question that they ask me is “Why do these ugly frogs fascinate you? What’s in them?” So to answer this FAQ, I have made a list of fascinating facts about these croaking knights.

I am sure these will not fail to impress even the most unexcitable amongst you:

1. Bioindicators- The word ‘bioindicator’ literally means a creature that tells you something about the environment. Did you know that frogs breathe through their skin? Fascinating- ain’t it! Scientists over the years have explained that frogs and amphibians are good bioindicators because they are affected by the natural environment. Their skin is highly permeable and any change in the quality of air or water will directly or indirectly affect their existence. Sudden increase or decrease in the population of frogs can speak a lot about the environment that we live in.

Watch this video to know more –

2. Hate creepy crawlies? Love frogs- Most frogs feed on little invertebrates on the land and in the water. They play a major role in controlling the population of pests. Frogs will feed on mosquito larvae thus keeping the environment clean and preventing many deadly diseases. This could be most people’s personal favorite reason to love frogs 😀

Take a look at this mind-boggling poster released by Vancouver Aquarium to show you what the world without frogs would look like –

iffrogsgoextinct

 

3. Two lives specialist- Amphibians are specialized creatures that live in the water and on the land. Alfred Sherwood Romer quotes- “The amphibian is.. in many respects, little more than a peculiar type of fish which is capable of walking on land.” Frogs spend one-half of their life in water being tadpoles and other half on land or trees. There are indeed frogs that are fully aquatic but would still spend time at the edges of the pools (half immersed) instead of fully being in the water, unlike any fish.

An adult frog with a tail!
Almost adult night frog (with a tail) chills on a wet rock surface by a small puddle in Coorg, India!

4. Breathing through the largest organ- Just like human beings, frogs have skin, bones, muscles and in-cavity organs. In the early nineteenth century, a number of scientists studied the frog’s respiratory system and found out that frogs could stay alive in the absence of lungs for more than a month! Skin is the largest organ in the body and frogs rely to a great extent on cutaneous (through skin) respiration. This explains why the frog’s skin is highly permeable to water and air, although the only constraint being it must be kept moist at all times.

Such beautiful and photogenic creatures clicked by Dr Gururaja
A group of Rhacophorus lateralis clicked by Dr Gururaja. Aren’t they innocently photogenic?

5. Clean drinking water- Excessive algae blooms have been a major cause for the destruction of fresh water bodies. Most tadpoles and frogs feed on algae that grow in the water bodies. Thus they help in maintaining the oxygen levels of the water. They form a part of natural filtration system in the freshwater ponds. You might also like to know that they are never found in salty water or in the sea!

This tiny rests on the rock overflowing a stream
This tiny croaker (Micrixalus Saxicola) rests on the rock adjoining an overflowing water stream in the Western Ghats of India

6. Eggs so weird- Frogs lay their eggs in water or on very damp surfaces. Their eggs are unlike any other reptile or bird eggs – they are not covered by hard shells. Frog eggs are little squishy bundles made of a jelly like matter that protects the growing embryo. Most amphibians use external fertilization (the female lays eggs first and the male fertilizes it later). This again explains the need for damp surfaces and requirement of fresh water for their survival.

A male Nyctibatrachus grandis guards it's eggs
This male night frog (Nyctibatrachus grandis) sits alert to guard his egg clutch!

7. Psychedelic calls- ‘The sound, which the scientific books describe as “croaking,” floats far and wide, and produces a beautiful, mysterious effect on a still evening’ – W. H. Hudson (1919). You might have heard continuous trrrr-trrrr-trrrr during damp, dark nights in your backyard. Have you ever wondered how these little beasts call all night? Well, the answer lies in their wonderful and functional three-unit “noise-production-system” inside their body cavities. This system consists of trunk muscles, larynx and vocal sacs. Trunk muscles give power, larynx helps in the production of the sound, and the buccal cavity and vocal sacs together transmit the sound to long distances. Sounds are either produced for attracting mates or for dominating other males in the area.

This clip by Ramit Singal tells you how interesting the music can get –

8. Highly intelligent- These tiny wonders are extremely intelligent. They are smart enough to manipulate their sounds and signals according to different needs. Some frog species, considering the habitat they live in (torrential streams), call at different pitches and manipulate their frequencies.
The ones living near heavy flowing rivers might give “click” sounds with long breaks to stand apart from the continuous background sounds. And there are frogs that have evolved to give ‘visual signals’ to convey their message. Foot-flagging is one such visual signal. The genus Micrixalus (endemic to India) is popular for their foot-flagging signals. They are popularly nicknamed Dancing Frogs. There are about twenty-four known species of Dancing Frogs in India.

This video by Dr Gururaja shows how a frog dances –

These are only but a few facts that I have listed due to time and space constraints. If I sit back and start to mention each hard-to-believe fact of these slimy creatures, I could write an entire 100-page magazine dedicated to frogs. Now I’m sure you understand – why I’m crazily in love with frogs <3

I would also like to tell you, that I am starting Part 1 of my campaign #NotJustFrogs in India. All you have to do is click pictures of frogs (add date and location) and share them with me using the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.

You could also join this facebook group!

Also, if you would like to take one more step towards saving frogs then click on the link below. You will be asked to make your profile and then you can show your support towards my project with Roots&Shoots by Dr Jane Goodall.

https://www.rootsandshoots.org/project/notjustfrogs-part-l

Don’t forget to tell me your reasons to love (or hate?) frogs in the comments below 🙂 

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A Window In The Life Of A Physiotherapist Lost In The Woods

The best window ever!
The best window ever!

“Open the window of your mind. Allow the fresh air, new lights and new truths to enter.” -Amit Ray

The above quote popped into my mind as I opened this beautiful window in one of the best rooms I had ever lived in. I thought about my journey, a very difficult one, from being a professional physiotherapist to being in the wild, always! From rejections to depression, from working under a really terrible boss to standing up for it and quitting on my own terms, with only the last 500 bucks in my account to calling a friend and asking for some money to have a meal. At 26, it is rather difficult to call a friend or parents to ask for money. Lucky are those who haven’t faced this situation in their lives and those for whom this task is easy!

When I re-think of what life (which I once thought was a bitch) has done to me over years- my eyes hold tears and nothing else. The subtle difference being, now these tears aren’t just the tears of sadness. There’s a whole lot of happiness and sometimes a lot more emotions! Why in the first place had I, a doctor from a reputed university working at a renowned hospital ever quit her well paying job? I now know the answer!

Because life is all about the little joys, smiles and real happiness. 

The happiness that you discover within yourself. When I spent time at an Ashram of a renowned Saint Maharshi, I learnt that each human being has a whole big universe within. This encompasses our emotions, feelings, wants and needs. Within all this lies a piece of happiness and that genuine happiness, I have discovered envelopes me when I am lost in the woods. That enlightened mind full of thoughts, with the feelings that I need no-one when I am in the forests watching infinite little croaking frogs and colourful flying birds! They are indeed my best friends. Maybe they couldn’t give me money when I needed it the most. That’s when I realized “I love man no less, but nature more.”

When I get up in the morning, I feel extremely mesmerized by the forests with fresh, happy and peaceful thoughts every single day. How beautiful life gets with these thoughts, I thought, looking out of that window. A woodpecker comes and knocks at the panel by the side of this huge window. I talk to him, he tells me he’s confused. But I still continue talking. I smile at him and he’s still confused as to why he can’t make a hole in this bloody thing? He checks along the panel to make his nest, a place safe for his family. I tell him, we are human beings, the smartest species on earth, and no matter how hard he tries, he wouldn’t be able to make a hole there! Probably after some time he understood and left my window, leaving me again to lose myself in my own joyous thoughts of the forests and rains.

Many people ask me- do I ever feel lonely in the woods? The answer is an empathetic NO! And it will always be NO. I am merry within, my thoughts are pure and I have made friends with nature and creatures. How many of us today can think of making friends with and getting close to nature? For now I have known how to make money for myself or at least live a life with just the basics! The forests taught me something very important- it taught me to be less greedy, less needy and still be happy!

How many of us today are fighting for a job, a girlfriend or a companion, a lot of money, a house, a vacation, exotic food and some more luxury like new trendy clothes, smokey makeup and latest skincare? But I am just standing at my window and looking at the forest, lost within myself, being joyous!  🙂

Do I need more from life, no!

And you? What is that one thing that gives you happiness. Share in the comments below, I will be more than happy to read!  🙂 

PS: Any help to my travel fund will be highly appreciated.

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How I Met My ‘Courage’

‘Courage’ the little frog sat comfortably across this fast flowing stream. It looked as if he had made friends with the stream and her fast flowing water. The very strong wavy water was trying to protect it from predators.

DSC05245

The rocks neighboring the water made it even more difficult to reach the frog. As soon as I stepped in the stream the water flow increased and the waves stopped me from getting close to Courage. But I knew I wasn’t supposed to give up. I had to prove to the stream and her friends that I am different. I am not the human being who throws plastic at them and usually comes to destroy them.

DSC05239

I am going to observe this frog and help conserve him. So I put my foot down and went ahead. While I played with the fast flowing waves, another Whistling friend joined in. Thrush, the bird, occupied the canopy above me and watched all the drama below. He looked at me like “Oh just another creepy human being”. But wait, there’s more to me, I thought as I struggled to keep my foot down in the waves.

Look at the frog

The rocks had decided to stop me as well. They turned slippery and asked moss to cover them. I knew, these are not inanimate objects that we look upon them as. They are in fact the beloved children of Mother Earth, live creatures in themselves. All these life forces come together to make a brilliant cradle for the survival of human beings. In return it is our duty to give back, as much as we can.

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As my mind recited these thoughts, Mother Nature seemed to guess this already. She calmed down a little, after a good twenty minutes of my struggle through the rocks and waves. I had reached where Courage was. He posed for me and said ribbit-ribbit. Two more frogs jumped in and these I decided to call- Moxie and Energy!

Mr Courage

As I got out of the stream, I felt super happy. All the adrenaline rush and this new bond of frogship felt really wonderful. I was on top of the world. When I first decided to cross the stream, I was afraid. But as I gathered my courage and decided to take this path, I made friends on the way. These friends might not be able to party, wish me birthday or Whatsapp me, but they will always be there. Having them as companions, I realized, I don’t need anyone else!

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