14 Mar 2017

Changing Charlie

Charlie pupated 5-days ago, gradually transforming into a green chrysalis

Changes to external appearance have been minimal over the last five days. Here is Charlie this morning 

Charlie will possibly transform into a Common Mormon butterfly ( http://www.ifoundbutterflies.org/sp/603/Papilio-polytes ).

Now to wait patiently and watch...

10 Mar 2017

Charlie is here

Some insect was stripping bare one of my 'curry leaf' plants for the past few days. The dark globular droppings on the floor under the branches were growing larger with every passing day, indicating that the leaves were possibly being devoured by a caterpillar.

But try as i did, i could not locate it.
And then yesterday morning, i discovered my new Charlie...

Charlie is smooth and hairless and extremely well-camouflaged. I could spot it only because the plant had become considerably defoliated over the last few days and Charlie, now a couple of inches in length, was munching away on a stem stripped bare in the foreground. I have never seen this particular variety of caterpillar earlier...

I couldn't spot Charlie on the plant last night. Went looking for it this morning and Charlie was not to be seen. The plant had lost a few additional leaves overnight, but where was Charlie ?

After some looking around, i discovered it on an adjacent hibiscus plant...

It was dormant and had begun to pupate. Clutching the stem with its posterior legs, the free-standing anterior was harnessed by a couple of fine silk threads....

22 Oct 2013

...the enigmatic emu farm

Further to my earlier thoughts on emu farming, news of the emus exit. And lots of money made on the side

May we feed the starving.  Amen.

17 May 2012

I Just Won A Lottery !

Come, let me share it with you.

Early this morning there was a call on my mobile phone from a number not on my contacts list. The call disconnected after just a couple of rings, before I could pick it up. Calls early in the morning (and late at night) are often from someone looking for help. Heck, people do change numbers. So, I returned the call.

To my surprise, it was answered in Hindi by someone identifying himself as Jai Prakash from Airtel. Apparently, he had called earlier to inform that I had won a 25Lac lottery (aha, this was new, I had received many such fraudulent e-mails but never a phone call !) and he would provide me his supervisor’s phone number which I would have to call to obtain details. I disconnected immediately. Boy oh boy. I noted down the caller number +92-34166-87801

I called up the Airtel helpline to report the scam. The executive patiently heard me out (probably the zillionth time she was hearing such a complaint ?) and double checked if the caller number began with 92. I requested that Airtel ought to do something to protect customers from such fraud. She replied that while they want to, they were unable to block such incoming calls and my only recourse was to add my mobile number to their “Do Not Disturb” list. She was empathetic, I ended the call.

Coincidentally, my mobile had always been on the DoT’s “Do Not Call” registry and it was only recently that I had voluntarily moved out of it. Does this imply, that like many sales callers, these scamsters are also somehow able to identify mobile numbers that have moved out of the “Do Not Call” registry ? Or, was it a simple sequential hit-and-miss and my number’s turn had come now ?

A quick Google search of ISD codes returns the caller country as, Pakistan !

And there are plenty of similar experiences shared – examples here, here and here. Just try “calls from +923” in a Google search to gauge the extent of the scam.

There is always another sucker.