A few days ago, I was taking a short walk on campus when I came across Professor Sudhakar Marathe busy taking close-up photographs of a flower. It was pretty enough but quite ordinary, and indeed quite unlike some of the extraordinary forms of life that he had photographed (and shared) a few months ago. In July he copied me in on a letter that goes: I am attaching pictures of just a few of the 28 different forms of life I photographed today (25 July, not including the various mushrooms that I photographed also) on the University of Hyderabad campus […] the enormous and easily determined overt biodiversity in the campus (Obviously, microlife simply cannot be recorded in this way.)
The place is simply teeming with life: virtually all the pictures I am sending were taken within 15 feet of the Humanities building […] the Administration parking lot and […] the end of the Humanities concourse.
In an earlier mail, he wrote that he “happened to have this camera that very cleverly takes incredibly good pictures of “all things great and small”. It needs much more than a clever small camera to record these images, and what I’ve shown on this page are just a few of an incredible collection of photographs that he has, by his reckoning some 15000 or more. He ran the Nature Club at the University for over 15 years and published a Nature Newsletter for eight years- with some superb illustrations by Prof. Vipin Srivastava.
The campus biodiversity is, of course, huge. Not just in flora, but also fauna, both large and small. Professor Marathe’s inventory of more than 800 species will find a way of being made available to all of us, and this post is just a teaser of what there is. And also an invitation to all of you who care about the present biota of the campus, to send in your photographs or drawings…
The header of the blog now shows one of Professor Marathe’s recent pictures, that of “a small spider just about half an inch long wearing a red crown-jewel, which is actually a parasitic bug (about 1/32 of an inch long); the spider is trying to hide from my gaze (or the camera’s gaze at any rate), yet curiously looking round the stalk of a vine on which I found it to see what kind of spider-gobbling creature I might be. If you look carefully, you will even see the two thin and pale antennae of the tiny parasitic bug!” And elsewhere, the School of Humanities building imaged in a water drop on an oleander flower.
Like Blake, he is able to see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower…
And through his eyes and camera, we also see many other wonders. Enjoy!