It was while crying upstairs for a lost friend for long, I got to know my neighbour number four, five and six. Dovely friends. As I sobbed uncontrolably for having not been in touch wtih a very good friend for over a decade, a whitish dove, in all radiance in the evening light, landed on the stairs outside.
The iron gate was locked. My cries stopped for a moment. Then the other two friends flew down. An ash smeared and a grey necked dove. For a moment, I was caught in between crying and smiling. Even a cellphone camera could have captured the thriving vitality of the birds. Life couldn't have been stranger than that second.
To lift my soul, the three walked in a slow, measured, procession in front of me. This way and that way. Unmindful of my presence. I sat still. Smiling inside. The birds kept on picking the grains on the floor and ambled across, leisurely and lyrically. The terrace has been home to a dovely clan. I dint knew it before.
Birding can be levitating. For humans have long desired wings. Poor creatures, they are bound by the laws of gravity, all the time. The human flight is confined to the realm of imagination. Forever. Forget the steel birds. I am talking things natural.
Then this morning, I kept watching through the window. Three butterflies. True Blue, Mellow Yellow and Gorgy Green wafted through the sultry air one by one around the mango tree. I lost myself watching the beauty and carfree creatures. The Gorgy came by the window, the Mellow drifted wide and wide in semi-circles and the True kept licking the little leaves.
It was 12.30. The kutti kingfisher flying from the western side perched himself at the same place when i took that picture a few days ago. Almost, the same time. Not to be missed. Jawa was there. Stupid being, he said the bird could not be captured better.
Wonder why they have lenses like that? Told him straight that he cant be a photographer, if he was not willing to take even a shot. Grumbling he went.
By now, the birdie flew the same way he did few days ago. So, he must be a regular.
Then the squirrel came as well. On the same branch. Today, he was not lazy and kept climbing up and up. Like me, they too were at work as well!
Sat there expecting the shikra to drop in. He never came. A long parrot, out of the mango foliage, flew around in a circle, and disappeared. Parrots must be there in plenty. I could hear their constant conversation loud and clear.
As I stepped outside, someone climbed down from the terrace. Up there, there were hundreds on a flight around the city's skyscape. On the high-rise apartments. On the ground. They were everywhere.
A wonderful world waiting for me. Back by the window, I saw a squirrel (is he the same?) chirping at the branches and a piece of paper tangled looking for food. There was no need for a camera. He was so close. Watching him that close, you also could free yourself.
I was hungry. A pot-belly brewing with acid. Yet, I lingered on for few more minutes. I think I will have to dedicate a post to the crows criss-crossing my window. For now, I leave my window. Back to my home.
``What is the purpose of writing the same things again,'' Tangled had asked me last night when I told her that a column on natural world in a concrete city could be a good idea. I had told her that columns could contain the message of conservation. I am not sure, if there is any in this post.
I remember the wife of an ageing but agile photographer telling him this. ``For forty years, you have been photographing the same tiger, the same leopard, the same elephants, and the same butterflies. For what joy?''
Well, any answers?