Huchare Santhe

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places
Worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going no where
Going no where

These are the opening lines of one of my favorite songs ‘Mad world’ by Gary Jules. The title of the blog ‘Huchchara Santhe’ which means mad world in Kannada (literal translation would be mad man’s market) reminded me of this song. A person who leaves the wonderful pubs and discos of Bangalore in the weekend for a visit to a jungle or who gets excited about a stupid bird or a lizard will be considered a mad man by many. And possibly they are too. Such people are best avoided for this madness is infectious and addictive. I went on just one birding trip with few such 'mad men' few years back. And I have ended up purchasing two bird books and a binoculars and much to the chagrin of my near and dear spend most of my vacation time trying to track and identify elusive birds. This blogger Santosh who maintains seems to be one such 'mad man' who is mad after nature. Much better this madness for nature than the madness for money, career, girl friends, alcohol and what not!

To me this blog embodies the spirit of the quintessential Bangalore trekker. I have been associated with this crowd for a brief period a few years back. Reading this blog made me all nostalgic about those days. I feel a pang of regret giving up those pursuits for the sake of higher studies, career and family. Hopefully I get back and do a few treks in the coming years. This blog also points to lot of interesting opportunities to observe nature much closer to the city itself as well. I would definitely look to explore those as well.

If there is one thing that stands out in this blog, it is the quality of photographs, especially those of birds, insects and lizards. I can’t imagine how he managed to take such breathtaking photographs. I would possibly look to him for tips on selecting the right camera and the right techniques for photographing birds. The landscape shots are pretty good as well. The write ups accompanying the photograph are terse and to the point. But they give all the necessary information for somebody looking to undertake those treks. The contact details, the routes to take, places to stay, birds in the locality, best season are some of the details covered. Possibly the blogger should consider putting more garnishing on the writings. But I am not sure if he will be able to do so. A trekker would rather spend more time in the jungle than in front of the computer I guess. Also unrelated photos in the middle of the writing distract from the flow of the writing. When one stops to admire the photos, one tends to lose the flow.So I would suggest photos that don’t go with the flow of the writing to be put at the end of the post or at the beginning.

There are 3-4 informational posts as well in the blog on topics such as naturalist information, waterfalls in Karnataka, facts about birds and animals etc. I really liked them and look forward to more such posts. Possibly one idea for a post would be tips on bird watching and bird photography.

Coming to the blog ambience, I like the choice of background. Most of the photos are shot in bright light and the contrast comes out nicely in the pure black background. Choice of widgets is one area that the blogger needs to pay more attention to. I feel there are too many widgets related to traffic that do not add too much value and unnecessarily take up space. Instead a few more widgets that improve navigational power would be more helpful. The thing I like most on his sidebar is the blog roll. It contains a selection of real gems on nature travel. In the coming days I look to explore some of the blogs on his blog roll.

Navigation is an area that can do with a little bit of improvement. The archives, the labels and search are the three ways to navigate the blog. I am of the view that labels are a bit messy and not the best way to navigate blogs. Anyways that is my view. Maybe there are other people who like navigating through labels. The archives as it is not the greatest navigation construct either. Added to that, in this blog, one can’t see the titles. So one has to pull out all the posts month by month to access older posts. Also the reader may like to separately see posts under the naturalist instruction category, trek diary category and other categories. It will be nice to have that option.

The blog gets a decent number of comments. But overall interaction level is a bit on the lower side. The typical Bangalore trekker in general is not too talkative I guess. Anyway there is not much to discuss about a trek diary. One just has to read and enjoy. But it will be nice to have a separate section where readers can be encouraged to ask specific questions. I am sure Santosh would have a wealth of knowledge on nature travel, bird watching, photography and the Western Ghats. Lots of readers would be eager to partake of the same. Higher interaction level keeps readers more engaged. Ardent nature enthusiasts like him need to encourage and grow the nature lover community.

In the end analysis, I must say a really great blog for anyone who loves nature. It has a wealth of information on travel in the Western Ghats in Karnataka and observation of birds and other flora and fauna. The photos are just out of the world. Do check them out. I have provided below a few sample posts selected by the blogger to give a preview of his blog. Read and enjoy.

Kodachadri Magic
Ganesh Gudi Birding

 If your a blogger and you like this review and feel you want a similar review for your blog, check out this post.


Karthik said...

Right on time.
I'm one of those mad men really. Don't have fascination for birds and insects, but I'm a fanatic when it comes to trekking. Thanks for writing this. And as my friends and I are going to Kumaraparvata this month, this was a much needed info. Great blog.

The Fool said...

Enjoy your trip. I so miss trekking. Its been 3 years since I have done a trek.

Glad I was able to introduce a nice blog to you and him a new reader. My blog reviews are serving their purpose.

DS said...

Another fabulous travel blog which I follow!!
I am loving your reviews!
The new header is quite good too.

The Fool said...

Thanks, DS. Glad you liked the header and the reviews.

P.N. Subramanian said...

I believe this kind of madness is desirable. Thanks for sharing.

The Fool said...

Fully agree, P.N.S

Santosh bs said...

Well, first let me thank you for this review, a deep heartfelt appreciation!
The blog title is misspelt.... :)

I am poor in garnishing, I rather leave the images to do the talking, what say? Yes, the photos in b/w the text is intentional as I find more photos and less space and I don't want to bore people with my lectures or rather a long list of photos together.
As you have rightly suggested, lots of informative posts are in the pipeline and should appear soon.

I am aware of few bugs that needs to be sorted out, but not been able to do so due to my limitations and not finding the right source to do it, hopefully it should be done soon.

Yes, a mini revamp of the blog is due and I will be back to the Lucifer house to get it reviewed again soon :)

Santosh bs said...

My take here -

The Fool said...

Glad you like the review, Santosh. The garnishing is upto you. It is interesting anyways. But photos not in context distract a bit. Guess you need to ensure the photos and text gel nicely. The next blog I am going to post review of, incidentally by another Santosh does a great job at that. Maybe you can have a look. Thanks for the post showcasing my review. Sorry for the typo. Corrected that now.

Santa said...

Love the review, and yes, the photographs are a real treat....

The Fool said...

Thanks, Santa.

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