World Photography day

Lost Time

time lapses _© Gireesh GV

On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time.
But it is never lost, my lord.
Thou hast taken every moment of my life in thine own hands.

Hidden in the heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts,
buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.

I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed
and imagined all work had ceased.
In the morning I woke up
and found my garden full with wonders of flowers.

from Rabindranath Tagore

Trucks On… ‘rail… ‘ the move. Save fuel and save environment.

Trucks on railways wagons

But not good for Delhi -NCR regions.

Indian railway has informed the National Green Tribunal that it will not be possible to provide ‘Roll-On, Roll-Off’ (RO-RO) services with the existing infrastructure and it is not feasible in Delhi as almost the entire rail network in the region is electrified.

“The ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) service by Konkan Railway started 13 years ago is a unique service that has enabled transport of loaded trucks directly by railway wagons.  “The ro-ro service has reduced expenditure on diesel, wear and tear of tyre and maintenance of trucks for operators, and has also ensured on-time and intact delivery,”  adding that in 13 years since its inception, there has not been a single case of accident.

Early morning light on a bird

The Roving Steamer

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. – Benjamin Franklin

Catch the morning rays of the sun on your face. Bask in the warm golden rays, and you will feel wonderful. Take a brisk walk in the open, and enjoy the gentle morning breeze on your face. The morning sun is a good source of vitamins that gives your body a healthy look.

#bird, #environment,

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Identifying more than a billion Indians, another take on Gov 2.0

Bjelkeman's travel notes

Image: Gireesh G V for Forbes India

The Indian UID project is very interesting to me, as the work they are doing is done on an enormous scale. There are other systems which reach this scale, and arguably are more complex than this (Facebook for example), but it is still impressive.

“By 2014, the government wants half of India’s population to be allotted UID numbers. To do that, the Authority will photograph a staggering 600 million Indians, scan 1.2 billion irises, collect six billion fingerprints and record 600 million addresses.”

Read more in this rather good Forbes India article. Another article about this was published on the Economist yesterday (although together with my friend Gabriel I am still pondering what the 14 billion transactions per second actually mean).

Whilst a country like Sweden, where I live, is struggling with a hodge-podge of identification services to be used online as well as offline, India isn’t only going…

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In Delhi, evenings are chilled

_winter-Dec14-Delhi (37)

This year’s winter in Delhi is very unpredictable. During day times the temperatures are higher and evenings are cold. Most of these labours cannot afford an accommodation in Delhi as the rents are quite high in most parts of the city. Many of them sleep on the pavements and the footpaths, under flyovers and bridges. Those who live in rented accommodation spend a considerable amount of their earning on paying rent. He is here in Delhi for work comes from Sikandrabad of Uttar Pradesh state in Northern India. He lives on the pavements near JorBagh, New Delhi

My Camera still works !!

differently-abled sandesh
IS DMRC an unfriendly to ‘differently- abled’ passengers?? Yes Not only that today evening at Rajiv Chowk metro station, Sandesh a daily wage labor come to take a ticket at the counter has been refused and ignored. He standing in the ‘Q’… hardly help. Photos by Gireesh GV

How my camera taught DMRC staff virtue of caring for the disabled?

I love my camera. Not only it helps me capture moments, on ample occasions, I found that it helps those making the moments too. Today, it did its job expeditiously. But, it left me with a question – Why was there a need for a camera to tell Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) staff that they need to be sensitive towards the differently-abled?

Well it is not my story.. or that of my camera. This is about Sandesh, a daily-waged worker – a differently-abled person, who finds it hard every day to commute in DMRC trains – having little use of his lower limbs.

Today was no ‘different’ for Sandesh.

I saw him at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station ‘standing’ in queue at the card recharging machine.

People in the queue stole glances at Sandesh; so did a security guard posted to keep the queue in single file. As he approached the window, he fell short of reaching the slots. Ironically, onlookers looked on.

I can’t say that I was the only one with intentions to help him. But, I was the first. I offered to get him the token.

Sandesh had another issue. He wanted to recharge his card. Since tomorrow was a working day and rush hours would this make towering task for him. The recharging machine accepted only large currency notes and he had small denominations.

DMRC staff on duty at the counter, had no solutions. “What can we do if he is disabled,” was a reply thrown by one of them.

This is where my camera came to the rescue. As I lifted it out of the case, the staff members’ demeanor drastically changed. Out came a Rs 100 currency note in exchange of two 50 rupees notes for Sandesh . Along it were please directed towards me: “I am a daily-waged worker.., they will take my job it this goes out,” said the staffer. The guard came with an excuse that he was rushing out for dinner.

IS DMRC a unfriendly to ‘differently- abled’ passengers?? Yes Not only that today evening at Rajiv Chowk metro station,  Sandesh  a daily wage labor come to take a ticket at the counter has been refused and ignored. He neither got any help from guard on duty. When I saw him struggling to draw a token from the machine, I offered a help.

I left it at that. But during my entire journey in the metro train, I could not stop thinking. DMRC had been making tall claims of making arrangements for the differently–abled describing what it operates as – ‘India’s first public transport system with adequate features for differently-abled persons’.

It claims to provide extra-wide automatic flap gates for wheelchairs, lifts with buttons installed at a low level, tactile paths for the visually impaired, reserved spaces for wheelchairs in trains, etc.

The 7 minute episode that my camera helped end, proves beyond doubt that DMRC’s tall claims about training staff to deal with differently-abled were as ‘flat’ as the excuses given by its staff member and the security guard.

{ From DMRC’s guide book,Facilities for the differently-abled:  Delhi Metro is perhaps India’s first public transport system with adequate features for differently-abled persons. These include extra-wide automatic flap gates for wheelchairs, lifts with buttons installed at a low level, tactile paths for the visually impaired, reserved spaces for wheelchairs in trains, etc. In addition, station staff constantly monitors passenger movement and provides personal help to any differently-abled person who needs assistance.”}


dead fish floating after Poornima celebrations

Often described as a feast for the eyes, Pushkar Fair is among India’s famous religious festivals and livestock fairs. Featured in numerous travel shows, films and magazines, the Pushkar Fair offers a once in a lifetime magical experience for travelers – looking for out of the world experience.The Pushkar Fair is celebrated for five days from the Karthik Ekadashi to Karthik Poornima (full moon day) according to the Hindu calendar, about 10 days after Diwali.

Every year thousands of pilgrims congregate for a holy bath in Mathura to mark Kartik and other celebrations, after these celebrations cleaning the ghats is a major task for municipality. There is always a support  from the civilian volunteers and organizations to help municipality in cleaning. Every year the challenge is clearing the dead fish from the lake. This is become a routine story here in Pushkar lake every year, I’ve been told that 50,000 fishes died last year after the festival, said a priest at the ghat. This is due to the lighting ghee and oil lamps (diyas) inside the pond by pilgrims. They never listen to public notices._AA76282full moon apears on a Poornima,  Pushkar. Rajasthan

_AA76315cleaning the ghats by ‘civil defense’ volunteers in Pushkar. Rajasthan


_AA76318 clearing dead fish from the lake, Pushkar, Rajasthan

taking a break after busy Diwali work.

Children in Chawri Bazaar

from the banks of Hooghly river

from the banks of The Hooghly River 2014 © Gireesh GV.






From our road trips


from Fatehpur Sikri on our recent road trip through Rajasthan and Uther Pradesh.

When the rain arrived




Early morning light on a bird

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. – Benjamin Franklin

Catch the morning rays of the sun on your face. Bask in the warm golden rays, and you will feel wonderful. Take a brisk walk in the open, and enjoy the gentle morning breeze on your face. The morning sun is a good source of vitamins that gives your body a healthy look.

#bird, #environment,

Starting FIFA fever tonight, remind me Kozhikode

Starting FIFA fever  tonight, remind me Kozhikode

Football, craze to start tonight.
In Mallapuram is different. Most of the boys get professional coaching in football. For them it’s not just a craze.
. #football #fIFA, #worldCup

from Kumbalanghi… in search of Monsoon

from Kumbalanghi... in search for Monsoon

Fisherman crossing over the reflection of Monsoon clouds and Chinese fishing nets in Kumbalanghy village near Ernakulam. #tourism #monsoon #kerala #fishing

waiting for monsoon

waiting for monsoon

Monsoon to hit Kerala in a day or two, according to MET Dept; #monsoon,#kerala,#photography

If The Family Loses This Hand… ( cover story from Outlook)

If The Family Loses This Hand... ( cover story from Outlook)

Is India without Congress really such a good idea? And is it that easy to wish away the party?  UTTAM SENGUPTA
It has been an effective (but somewhat tacky) catchphrase signifying nothing, except that in its viciousness and vitriol lies a subliminal message directed at ‘the family’. The slogan ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ or an India free of the Congress, seen by some as both tasteless and fascist, is actually a call for a ‘Nehru-Gandhi-family-mukt Bharat’. This is because the family is perceived to be providing an unfair, undemocratic and, more importantly, unearned head-start to the Congress. The RSS, concedes a long-time watcher of the organisation, wants to make the family politically irrelevant. And a seasoned political leader, who has travelled extensively during this election, strengthens the perception when he says he found much more anger directed against the family than against the Congress as such.

Whatever be the charges against the family, the grand old party of 128 years’ standing cannot be accused of rigging elections at least. It can, in fact, take legitimate credit for building an institution like the Election Commission and for allowing Indians to take free and fair elections for granted. Ironically, it was also a Congress government under Rajiv Gandhi which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 (as an aside, it was Indira Gandhi as the Congress president in 1959 who recommended the creation of Guja­rat as a separate state). And an estimated 150 million first-time voters this time, almost one-fifth of the total electorate, are said to be so disillusioned and angry with the old order that the fate of the ruling coalition and the Congress is widely believed to be sealed weeks before the last vote is polled on May 12.
Notwithstanding the widespread lack of credibility of opinion polls, there is little doubt that the Congress is fighting a losing battle against a far better-oiled war machine. Political scientists and authors Zoya Hasan and Sudha Pai make no bones about their feeling that ‘India without Congress’ is a proposition both ill-conceived and premature. But they do agree that the Congress has gone through a ‘leadership crisis’. Hasan blames the party for its failure to communicate its policy achievements and laments the weak campaign it has put up against Narendra Modi. Pai agrees to the suggestion that Rahul Gandhi was found want­ing. But both believe it is wishful thinking to suggest the party will wither away.
“Congress failed to resist the rightward shift. It has even been complicit. But it can’t be written off.” Zoya Hasan, Academic “BJP may want to eliminate the ‘family’ politically. But the Congress is in better shape than in 1996.” Rasheed Kidwai, Sonia’s biographer
“Modi has created a Congress-mukt Gujarat, but can its defining traits be a model for India?” Irfan Habib, Historian “BJP thinks it can replace the idea of India with the idea of Hindutva, but India’s narrative isn’t RSS’s.” Mahesh Bhatt, Filmmaker
“Congress has been unable to counter the hype around Modi but it won’t disappear.” Sudha Pai, Political scientist, JNU “Indira built the Congress from scratch after ’77. Do they have leaders to repeat it in 2014?” Sumit Chakravartty, Editor, Mainstream
Modi has indeed taken pains to point out that getting rid of the Congress would essentially mean getting rid of the Congress ‘culture’. The brutal phrases he uses—Congress-mukt or sabka vinaash, the acronym denoting the SP, BSP and Cong­ress—come partly from the RSS, which is rattled by the cases of Hindu terror against it. The second description comes from the BJP’s distaste for smaller parties, which are seen as an impediment to the creation of a pan-India agenda.
But the trouble with the proposition is that his own party seems hardly imm­une to the culture it seeks to ridicule. In Gujarat, a different slogan mocks the original. They are calling it a ‘Cong­ress-yukt-BJP’ (BJP with the DNA of the Cong­ress) there, referring to the fact that of the 26 BJP candidates for the Lok Sabha, 11 happen to be Congress turncoats. By accepting the personality cult aro­und Modi and his authoritarian style of functioning, the party has only diluted the contrasting profile it had imagined for itself.
Rajiv lowered voting age to 18; today, 150 mn first-time voters disillusioned with Congress.
By all accounts, Modi’s has been a brilliant (and hugely expensive) campaign. To pitch a provincial, controversial and even tainted chief minister to a messianic national figure is no mean task. Some Congress leaders, in fact, take con­sola­tion in the fact that if such a divisive figure can be ‘sold’ to the people, there’s still hope yet for the Congress! Indeed, the scale of BJP’s propaganda blitzkrieg and the sweep of its promises have left many aghast. “Media reports that voters are taken in by promises of 10 per cent annual growth, 100 spanking, new cities, millions of jobs and scores of IITs and universities sprouting after May 16 are alarming,” says Hasan. There is some apprehension within the BJP too. A senior party leader confesses that if the party fails to deliver, “it won’t be long before Rahul Gandhi emerges as a national hero”.
India, says Mainstream editor Sumit Chakravartty, will be poorer without the Congress and the liberal-secular space it occupies, especially with the marginalisation of the mainstream Left parties. An overwhelming majority of people find it difficult to accept the conflicting idea of the BJP, which is unable or unwilling to field a single Muslim from Uttar Pra­desh or Gujarat. Yet, des­pite his scepticism of opinion polls, Chakravar­tty thinks the Congress has little time to reinvent itself. That is beca­use if the BJP falls short of the halfway mark, as seems lik­ely, it will certainly call for a mid-term poll sooner rather than later and seek a mandate for stability.
No one, however, is writing off the Congress, at least not yet, never mind if right-wing websites have been writing its obituary since long. Though dee­ply disappointed with its leadership and management, historian Ramachandra Guha told an interviewer in 2010 that the alternative to Congress was either “Naxalism or balkanisation”.
M.J. Akbar, in his new avatar of BJP spokesperson, would, of course, beg to differ. The Congress, he says, was indeed central to the idea of India once, but no more. Muslims, he goes on to say, were gifted only fear during the UPA regime. “You talk of secularism, but in West Bengal, arguably one of the most secular states, the Muslim population is around 28 per cent but they occupy only 2 per cent of government jobs whe­reas in Guj­arat, which has only 9 per cent Muslim population, the figure is over 5 per cent,” he claims. Akbar also believes the BJP is moving to a more centrist position and is the new Congress. Every word in the party’s manifesto, he insists, was vetted by the RSS, suggesting even they’re ready for change and are now more flexible.
The suggestion outrages the liberals. The proof of the pudding, they point out, is in the eating. And there is no evidence to suggest that the RSS has deviated from its core beliefs on Hindutva. The BJP’s transition from a rabid, somewhat irresponsible right-wing party to a sober, responsible and centrist party, they ins­ist, is at best a work in progress. It would take several years.
A broad social coalition is required to govern India, says Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president, Centre for Policy Research, but he goes on to question the ‘inclusive’ idea of the Congress. Inclusion on the basis of identity, he suggests, leads to fixity. “The basis of inclusion has to be equality and freedom,” he suggests somewhat enigmatically, parrying the question whether India stands to lose if the Congress gets decimated and whether it can bounce back in that eventuality.
If such a divisive figure as Modi can be ‘sold’ thus, the Congress may have hope yet.
History could provide a few pointers. In his book, 24, Akbar Road, Rasheed Kidwai provides vivid details of how Indira Gandhi and her sons were forced to move into Mohammad Yunus’s house on Willing­don Crescent after the electoral debacle of 1977. The party office shifted to a Type vii bungalow on Akbar Road. There was no money to pay the staff; Kidwai quotes an emp­loyee who completed 50 years of service in 2009 as saying that the party could not pay his salary of Rs 800 a month. Yet, three years later, both Indira and Sanjay hit the streets to craft a comeback. Rajiv Gandhi too, after being voted out of power in 1989, rebuilt the party from scratch and pulled the plug on the Chandra Shekhar government in 1991 when he sensed a shift in the public mood.
The Congress, he suggests, was in poorer shape in 1996, when it lost power again. There is no reason, says the veteran Congress-watcher, why the party cannot rally around a member of the family again. Congressmen themselves believe the party has paid a price for flirting with free market and for liberalising the economy. “The party made the mistake of trying to ride two boats. Now, both big corporate bodies as well as the poor seem to have turned against us,” complains a Congress leader.
While electoral reverses are hardly uncommon, several commentators admit to a sense of disbelief at the unfolding scenario. While acknowledging the all-pervasive anger against corruption that prevails in the country, they wonder why it would consume even the mainstream Left and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which spearheaded the anti-corruption movement. Be that as it may, Congress-watchers warn against jumping to hasty conclusions. Indira, they recall, was dubbed a “goongi gud­iya”; she proved to be anything but a dumb doll. Sanjay was written off as a rogue cannon while Rajiv was not exactly known for his vision. Yet they rose to the occasion when the need arose. And since politics abhors any vacuum, the grand old party, they hope, will weather the storm and stand up to be counted.
Personality Test
How the Congress and the BJP are not that different, after all
Dynastic Rule
Congress: For all Rahul’s talk of meritocracy, the Nehru-Gandhi and other regional political dynasties form the core of the grand old party
BJP: Not dynastic at heart, but it hasn’t discouraged the emergence of smaller dynastic fiefdoms and authoritarian personalities
Personality Cult
Cong: Is inherent in the dynastic tag. You just have to look at the number of public schemes bearing a Nehru-Gandhi name.
BJP: Has never shied away from building up, say, a Vajpayee, but it now seeks votes for Modi—above and despite the BJP
Congress: An old-party tradition was carried forward by UPA-2, thanks to the 2G, Adarsh, Commonwealth Games and coal scams
BJP: From disinvestment to telecom, the BJP has had a history of scams; more recently land scams in Gujarat and Karnataka
Congress: Despite many attempts to change its “culture”, sycophancy forms the core of the Congress party’s being
BJP: Though there have been attempts at independent positions, quick retractions point to a growing Modi cult
Cong: Despite 1984 and other riots, positions itself as a secular champion, but not averse to using soft communalism
BJP: Post the ’92 Babri demolition and the 2002 Gujarat riots, push towards hard Hindutva has intensified; Muzaffarnagar is latest
Cong: Panchayati raj to forming more states, it has tried to decentralise power and engage with states—but not always effectively
BJP: Also likes to push big, national schemes; for all the talk of reaching out to states, remains a centrist party
Inner-party Democracy
Cong: Despite some reforms, inner-party democracy remains a myth; Rahul’s ‘primaries’ in 2014 were a non-starter
BJP: Holds no elections, displays same cult-building traits; Modi imposed, not elected, as campaign committee chief and then as PM hopeful
Dual Centres of Power
Cong: Party and govt have been two parallel centres for a decade now; Sanjaya Baru book suggests otherwise
BJP: RSS parallel power centre, Modi could be unitary force now
A Short History Of The Congress
Some of the seismic events in the lifetime of the grand old party
1948: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is assassinated by right-winger Nathuram Godse
1966: Indira Gandhi is made prime minister over Morarji Desai in the wake of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death
1967: Samyukta Vidhayak Dal challenges Congress hegemony and wins large number of seats in north India
1969: Indira’s fight with the ‘Syndicate’ leads to split in the party
1975: Alienates nation with declaration of Emergency; faces countrywide protests
1977: Further split in the party leads Indira to lose power at the hands of the Janata Party
1978: Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay face charges of ‘misuse of power’ by the Shah Commission
1980: Sanjay Gandhi, Indira’s heir apparent, dies in air crash
1984: Indira Gandhi is assassinated in the wake of ‘Operation Bluestar’ on the Golden Temple
1987: Rajiv is charged with accepting ‘kickbacks’ on Bofors deal; senior party leaders defect
1989: Congress loses power to V.P. Singh-led Janata Dal coalition government
1991: Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated by an LTTE cadre in an election rally
1996: Loses power to BJP and other opposition parties in the wake of hawala scandal
2004: Sonia Gandhi’s ‘foreign origin’ issue forces her to choose Manmohan Singh as prime minister
2008: Faces Mumbai terror attack—the worst terrorist attack on India. Earlier, survives a no-confidence vote in the wake of Left parties withdrawal of support on Indo-US nuclear deal.
2010: CWG scam in the wake of Commonwealth Games in Delhi and reports of widespread corruption
2011: 2G spectrum irregularities, leading to subsequent arrest of key members of coalition partner DMK
2012: Scam over unauthorised allotment of coal blocks to private players leading to loss of crores of rupees to exchequer
2014: Perceived non-performance leads to its marginalisation in run-up to Lok Sabha polls
By Uttam Sengupta with Pragya Singh, Pranay Sharma and Namrata Joshi

Power to young India!

Power to young India!

India’s or World’s largest election started this Monday. Recently, the Election Commission announced that it expects the voting percentage to touch 70 per cent or more; 90,000 of these voters will be between the age of 18 and 22 — this will be their first election as electors. An overwhelming 814 million people will be eligible to vote, the largest in the world.

Bangalore city is first free Wi-Fi zone

Bangalore going Wi-Fi

Hopefully rest of the Karnataka soon will have the facility. Bangalore has become the first city in India to have free wifi spots.

Pix: A construction worker surfing on his mobile at Ramanagaram railway station, 50kms from Bangalore city. The town is famous for its contribution for the bollywood movie Sholay, which shot entirely in Ramanagaram.

one from the edition added to a private collection

one from the edition added to a private collection

Title: “Shortening Shadow of a Saint-02” from my shadow series
Year of Execution: 2010
Size: 40 x 28 inches
Number of prints in canvas available: 5/6
Medium: Digital.
Available Media: Archival Canvas and Paper
Copy righted photograph
BodhGaya, Bihar © 2010 GIREESH GV.

India celebrated 65th Republic day today

India celebrated 65th Republic day today

A group of migrant rickshaw pullers struggling to beat the winter night near Juma Masjid, New Delhi. The homeless and left with less option to make a decent living in Delhi.

Thekkan Kaattu-Dokhiner Hawa

Thekkan Kaattu-Dokhiner Hawa

I presented my two series works together at Thekkan Kaattu-Dokhiner Hawa (a wind from south) a south Indian art show by curated by Johny ML at Birla Academy of Arts & Culture, Kolkata

Group show by nine artists

Group show by nine artists

I too part of the upcoming show at Open Palm Court Gallery, Habitat Center, Lodhi road, New Delhi

Our show in Birla Academy of art & culture Kolkata

Our show in Birla Academy of art & culture Kolkata

“Thekkan kattu” A group show at Birla Academy of Art & Culture from 9th jan 2014 to 2nd Feb-2014

Happy New year 2014, from streets of New Delhi, INDIA

Happy New year 2014, from streets of New Delhi, INDIA

woman balloon vendor blowing a red balloon in New Delhi streets.A hot business evening for these vendors on the eve of New Year Celebrations

Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor??

Doug's Darkworld

The abandoned town of Pripyat, the Chernobyl reactor in the background.

There has been an exciting new biological discovery inside the tomb of the Chernobyl reactor. Like out of some B-grade sci fi movie, a robot sent into the reactor discovered a thick coat of black slime growing on the walls. Since it is highly radioactive in there, scientists didn’t expect to find anything living, let alone thriving. The robot was instructed to obtain samples of the slime, which it did, and upon examination…the slime was even more amazing than was thought at first glance.

This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical…

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Taj mahal

Taj mahal

Green vegetation around world heritage monument Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

an evening flight on a winter evening

an evening flight on a winter evening

an evening flight for landing in New delhi flying over Qutub village

two overflowing rivers in last monsoon

two overflowing river

#1 Tapti river in Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh
#2 Narmada overflows Maheshwar, in Madhya Pradesh state, India.



traditional drummer passing through a ruins of Gada Shah’s shop (monuments) in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

Faith and Belief …

Faith and Belief ...

painted rock as part of the ritual performances in India… these represents ( only for that region) a lot for those living nearby. We normally see these kind of orange paints inhills as they represent ‘Hanuman” Hindu God,