The sun has been my city’s mischievous daytime lover for the past two days. We blew kisses to her the moment she filtered through our windows after a prolonged absence. We missed her so much. Yet she wants to play peekaboo with us. She doesn’t seem to stick around long enough for us to cuddle her.
The good news is that Chennai isn’t sinking anymore. People aren’t panicking as much. Irrespective of how or when Mother Nature unleashes her fury upon us again, we feel much safer now. While a few spells have kept the rumour mills abuzz, the city has started to recuperate. We are crawling towards the road to recovery.
The haunting isn’t over though. We can never forget Bharath – a volunteer who lost his life while trying to save others. Songs of guilt and bitterness crash around us, like rowdy cymbals. Many of our streets reek of soaking-wet garbage. We are asking awkward questions to each other, balancing superficiality with real sentiments.
Perhaps, too many have lost too much for the focus to be on those in comfortable enough positions to transcend the damage they have personally suffered. And with the waters receding, the next few months will require us to take precautionary measures against air and water-borne diseases. Hygiene must be on everyone’s mind.
There are certainly a lot of other important matters to ponder upon. For now though, please let us quietly flirt with the sun.
I was in the parking lot at office today, tasting her warmth on my gums. Inside my cheeks. Through my hair. All over me. Like water during a Sunday morning shower. I saw a Common Teal fly above me, followed by a flock of Common Egrets. I imagined that they had tasted her too; that they were skirting across the sky to tell their friends about it. The sun bid adieu shortly thereafter. I felt dejected. I wanted more. So much more.
It’s been hard for people in the city to keep our spirits up. For me, it wasn’t all because of the devastation. I miss birding a lot. I have an itching in my chest to spend time with winter migrants. I ache to catch glimpses of the residential birds. I want to be sure that their homes in Pulicat, Vedanthangal and along the East Coast Road, weren’t washed away in the floods.
I spotted so many of them during my trip to Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary two weeks ago. The very next day it had started to pour. And I haven’t been out birding since then.
The weather forecast looks encouraging for this coming weekend. I am going to put aside everything else and go spend time with the birds. In all fairness, I should probably doing something else. I ought to be giving more of my time and energy to help mend my broken city.
I wonder though, if I would be of any use given the warmth I seek now. While the sun may be out, no matter where I am, I want to share this first serving of winter’s warmth with the birds.
I am coming home, sweethearts.
my sweet, peach
in the sky.
holding a thimble,
just in case
they spill through
(Photographs: Vedanthangal / Kelambakkam)