Saturday, November 24, 2007


Lurking off Mexico's eastern shore in the Sea of Cortez, these flap-jack-like creatures burst out of the water with graceful precision.

Soaring as high as two metres above the plankton-rich green water, mobula rays are a sight to behold.

Here in the Sea of Cortez four species of mobulas (tarapacana, thurstoni, munkiana, and japanica) occupy the waters along with the giant manta ray.

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The mobula ray bursts through the water

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Both mantas and mobulas are members of the Family Mobulidae, a group about which, very little is known.

Mobulas can grow up to ten feet though they are considerably smaller than their Manta Ray cousin.

Mantas, the most well known of, which is the Pacific Manta Ray, can exceed disc-like shapes of up to twenty-three feet.

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The rays flocks beneath the ocean's surface

For some time now, the comings and goings of the mobula have remained something of a mystery.

Scientists do not know why large schools spend a few days in one area, or why the disc like creatures breach the water in spectacular fashion.

Is it to dislodge the parasite-cleaning remoras that attach to their backside? Is it some way of keeping fit, of practising the underwater gathering of food? Could it be a form of play?

What if jumping was a form of co-operative hunting, a way of tricking vibration-wary mysids into migrating downwards and into the open mouths of other mobulas below?

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Airborne ... a mobula ray soars above the water

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Keller Laros, a dive master based out of Hawaii has logged long hours underwater observing Pacific Manta Rays, the largest of munkiana's mobulid cousins.

The smaller manta ray's out-of-water acrobatics is not unlike its feeding behaviour below the surface.

Underwater, mantas have been observed doing loop after loop in the same place, concentrating their prey into a tight area.

As they circle, they direct the green soup into their mouths with the cephalic lobes found on each side of their head.

Karey Kumli, research associate at the Pacific Manta Research Group located at Santa Rosa Junior College, thinks the breaching behaviour isn't done deliberately.

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Mobula rays can grow up to 10 feet long

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She said: "We wonder why they go through that plane between water and air, and I ask why would they avoid it. They'd have to be pretty careful to avoid being airborne.

"Remember, when they are in the air, there's so little resistance compared to that offered by water that a slight bend of a fin would send them tumbling."

In short, mobulas spin out in the absence of the resistance provided by water.

However, like most beautiful species of the sea they face the many dangers posed by man.

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The rays can reach heights of up to two metres

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SeaWatch, an environmental advocacy organisation, focus their efforts on the Sea of Cortez.

According to SeaWatch, sports fishermen in Parque Nacional Bahia de Loreto, say that their business is off 40 per cent to 50 per cent from last year, and the consensus among commercial fisherman is that there are no fish left to catch.

Longlines, trawls, spear-guns, nylon nets, and large-scale commercial operations have replaced the individual fishermen using a hand line. And it is by no means unique to the Sea of Cortez.

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Are they playing? Or practising gathering food?

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Worldwide, by-catch accounts for 20 million tons a year of unwanted fish. About one-fourth of the world's catch is thrown back.

The ratio is even higher among the take from shrimp trawlers.

Today, due in part to the work of Sea Watch, the Mexican government now imposes a $10,000 fine for those convicted of intentionally killing a Pacific Manta Ray.

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The mobula ray leaps out of the water


I have written a lot of stuff before - its time to consolidate them :) - I am now going to put up some of the best stuff I have written, as rated by me - my criteria is simple: If I can read what I wrote myself over and over again, then it has to be preserved. This is one such post.

First in the series is the one below: It was about the Worst Horror Movies made in Bollywood. I have re-written some part and improved some grammar (hopefully :P)

All right so where do we start in Bollywood? Indian audiences have always been subjugated to some excruciatingly done horror movies, who at best try to pass of as sex movies. I have been infinitely lucky (in spite of hating Horror Movies) to have watched, quite a mouthful. Almost immediately a pattern in Bollywood Horror movie is clear : a selected band of idiots decide to party somewhere . usually three couples (girl and boys) and then one or two extra to bring about the jealousy / lust/ terror angle to the plot - quite appropriately a haveli in the midst of Timbuktu happens to be the place where they either want to picnic / study / play . Conveniently all such havelis have a murderous past and a demonic saga associated with them - and its always the gardener / chowkidaar who has survived to tell the tale.

Hence, while the demons wait to be enraged and awakened, the playmates of the haveli engage happily in mutual appreciation and lustful glances; lovers in process of exploring nefarious areas of the mansion, manage to awaken the demons who, merely work for the viewer’s cause by ending theirs and our sorrow. Hence then, what movies are we talking about here? Below are the classics which I happened to see, and are my all time favorite worst horror movies!

The curse of Ichchadari Shaitan

Ichchadari Shaitan is a classic recipe for any Bollywood sleaze cum horror movie. The settings are appropriate . 30 students on pretext of research manage themselves in a haveli after escaping a rather wildish bunch of tribesmen. While men ooze on women bathing in pretext of research, the women themselves for most parts before demons kick in, lustily bathe under a waterfall (specially erected for them); women pout their lips over their lipsticks, erotically inviting their male brethren to give-it-to-them. However all is not well in such a conglomerate, and one such freak wanderings into forest by a lady only results in her getting raped by the shaitan! and then the shaitan having tasted blood begins to ask more! Guffaw at some bizzare special effects involving a cigarette smoke becoming fire and following someone and setting them to fire can only make you smile.

Next, of course a local tantrik is available and while he seems to be helping the researchers battle the raping demon, he is secretly worshipping an ichchadari shaitan (yeah yeah) who comes to life at each individual death. The idea of the tantrik is to cast his ichchadari shaitan on unsuspecting females, and create a team of zombies to take over mother earth (I am absolutely NOT kidding here). So do the intellectual males be able to fight out such a diabolical plan? is there any other stone which might crush this ichchadari shaitan? Does the Tantrik make the zombie army? I ain’t telling you this . You have to simply experience this spectacle!

The Secret of Raaz

One of the more recent movies in horror genre, Raaz is one hell of watch because of its ghost-who-warns-before-doing-anything types. The ghost always makes a ghastly entry whenever it tries to do something scary. As a precaution, the ghost always put its pervert hands into the swaying knee length hair of the heroine. Lest that the heroine get scared and faint, it always warns her before arrival - the sound of chimes, the cycle falling, the creaking of windows, or the innumerable 5 year old tricks it has up its sleeves. However all is not lost for us mortals, for there exists an advanced form of Tantrik who passes off as researcher in paranormal sciences, and his methods to find ghost spots are better than todays GPS systems. For, he produces a yellow lemon tied to string and wanders with it around in the forest, much like our own Cuthbert Calculus of Tintin fame. When the X-Spot is reached, voila, the yellow lemon transmogrifies into stunning Red! Some horrendously done scenes later, and aurat ki shakthi scenes later all is well and sundry. An immensely forgettable fare if not for the utterly sexy ghost in her past life.

The Whore-ing winds

Hawa could very well have been titled Shaitani Hawas, Dracula ki Chahat, Chudaili Havayen, Katharnak Qatil or something equally frustrating. Instead, the director chose to name this movie Hawas, but since the movie title had already been booked for a steamy affair, he settled for Hawa; after all the main protagonist is wind only.

This one too has it all, a spooky villa complete with foggy forests, howling hyenas, creaking windows, faltering doors and the complete necessary crap for such a movie. Enter the heroine who apparently looks tired and misfit, and who when tries to fill in the dryness of life, receives a shock. The wind simply rapes her. The scenes are comical . Its hard enough to think of wind raping someone, its harder to show it on screen; so we have Tabu, splitting her legs in wild synchrony, while her hands almost stretched out apocalyptically indicating certain doom. As if the director werent convinced, the act of rape happens with repetitively, till the wind declares . .”oh well, you see I was just a ghost gone crazy!”. The final spectacle is simply a sight to watch out for - a angelic demon or maybe the other way round, blesses the children and mom together.

The Dracula Crisis!

This one takes the cake. The very name Khooni Dracula had me in fits of laughter. This is a movie of draculian proportions . A lusty fatso rapes his maid in a haveli and kills her. Blood flows from her body to the dungeon, where you guessed it - a Dracula lay awaiting to be rejuvenated back to life. The drops of blood bring the Dracula to life and he becomes the slave of the fatso (since he was rekindled by him), and hey presto! - your recipe is ready for some Dracula-Drama. The fatso commands the Dracula to rape and kill, giving immense scope for ladies who besides being killed, are bathing in revealing clothes, pouting lips, flashing their thighs, singing songs, getting raped and finally murdered. As if this were not enough, there are sub stories to keep you going - a brother / sis drama, a super cop on Draculas trail, who relies on his girlfriends PHD thesis in draculanomyics. The Dracula himself could give the killers of sssssssssssh and scream a run for their money - a dilapidated piece of rubber with a black overhaul makes for some amazing fashion statement. All in all, this is one classic no one should ever miss!!!

The Scent of the CHUDAIL

This movie perhaps has one of the ever green classics which I have had the immense opportunity to see not once but twice. This is Ramsay brothers meet The Mummy. The story goes thus . A dying man in a haveli in the middle of nowhere gets a Tantrik to remove his illness. But alas, the Tantrik falls in love with the man’s wife ( theheroine) and especially her bosom bottoms; and the ever so ready svelte heroine is only too pleased at chances of building her friendly relations; Thus, the lame man dies, since tantrik is busy in other activities. Once dead, the heroine has no one to support in the lonely haveli . Hence tantrik teaches her a bag of tricks which she uses to get rid of tantrik himself! A maha tantrik mummifies her and buries her in a dungeon, only to be found by a group of archeologists indulging in research regarding to shapes and sizes. But obviously, one crackpot lets this chudail loose and then all hell breaks loose - people flying all over place, demonic flames and stuff which makes horror movies so enjoyable! And oh, the chudail with all her looks (who by the way could have given phoolan a run for her money, or hidimba to have a superiority complex) is named “Sundari”