Month: July 2016

Bird is the word: Hawk cuckoos

The universality of curse words may suggest that we aren’t too comfortable in our own skin. So many expletives seem rooted in human sexuality. Maybe, we don’t respect our bodies the way we ought to. Why else do we liken people to reproductive organs and expect them to be offended by such inane comparisons?

In fact, why are body parts even perceived as constituting to obscene language? Is the human anatomy so repulsive that the very mention of its most intimate parts insinuates emotions such as anger, disgust, and confusion?

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Between the head and the heart: Plum-Headed Parakeets

Few are upfront and honest about their opinions. We live in such sensitive times. Political correctness is the opium of the masses. Unless you punch me in the face, it is likely that I will not be completely honest with you. Only emotions such as pain, fear, and anger drive me to communicate with you – without a filter. When I am outside my comfort zone.

Through birding, I realized that excitement is another such emotion. It seems to bring out my inner child. My inner daddy cool. The creepy Dadaist uncle too.

For instance, whenever I see the Plum-Headed Parakeet, the earth’s volume is turned down for a few seconds. Everything moves in slow-motion. The sunlight, even if physically absent, feels spiritually intense. And I am overcome with this urge to swallow its plum-colored head.

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My plum-soaked paramour: Coppersmith Barbet

I squeal when I see a bird for the first time. It’s an instinctual response. I am ecstatic that I don’t flap my arms and run around like a crazy person. The birds will never let me photograph them.

But I can be a squealer. I just can’t help it. I am a clay-animated puppet around them. I tilt my neck and rock it back and forth. It’s as though I am watching a tennis match while listening to a Beatles song. My limbs feel sedated. I will be useless in the event of a disaster. If turns into a fight or flight scenario, I can only head-butt my way out of it. Or bewilder the attacker by collapsing into a seated yoga pose and chanting Om. At times, I gargle words, with neither poignancy nor panache, before clapping my hands.

I impersonate an eager elephant seal just to show my new feathered friends how excited I am.

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Monsoonal blues: Fly away home

No year has ever gone by without its share of obstacles. Except when I was 8 years old. Yeah, that was a good year. It must be the same with you, right? I hear people talk about their ups and downs. Isn’t that how things work? At least, I hope so. I will feel a little better knowing that your life, consistently, has shitty moments in it too.

It’s like we are hugging without touching each other. It’s the stuff that peculiar songs about friendship are made up of, dear reader.

Come closer, won’t you? This may be a special moment in our beautifully screwed-up and symbiotic relationship.

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Show me where it hurts

I know that you aren’t sure why you feel depressed. You try and hide it because you can’t find its source. You fear judgment from others. The ones you know and those you cherish. They won’t understand what you are going through because you don’t either.

So you avoid thinking about it, but it doesn’t go away. Whenever it comes, you feel sick in your stomach. Your press your fingers against both sides of your scalp to assuage the dull quaking in-between. But there is no escape. No crack in the wall through which you can squeeze yourself out.

No hole in the ground you can fall through and disappear for a while.

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A case for the commoners: The Indian Myna

I had for too long kept myself from falling in love with Indian Mynas. Perhaps, I am not just a discriminatory birder. I am an obtuse one too. I hadn’t written about them until recently despite how often I spot them.

Common Mynas are found everywhere in my city. Unlike the House Sparrows, they have adapted to urban environments; so much that they have gained a reputation as one of the world’s most invasive species.

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Positive thinking: What the cluck do we know?

I believe in the power of positive thinking. But I can see how some people find it nauseous when they are asked to emulate others and just be more positive. And why thinking happy thoughts can make us look like cows – their udders tickled by the sun.

I used to be a negative person. I smirked every time something went wrong. It gave credibility to tragic perspectives. And then came this burst of positive energy. Along with it – a love for the world like I hadn’t felt before. I had a dramatic change of mind. At least I thought I did.

Except those closest to me swear that I hadn’t changed one bit. And I am just as angry and cynical as I was.

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The right hand doesn’t know what the left brain wants

Bad handwriting has been a source of embarrassment and anxiety in my life. Whenever I write in cursive form, the alphabets resemble ouroboroses in heat. Unglamorously entwined yet madly unhinged. I am saddened by it. Perhaps, as a writer – I feel obliged to be better at this.

I remember the first time when someone had asked me to sign on a piece of paper. I wrote down my initials as precariously as I could. It was as though someone had finger-walked me through it. My signature remained unchanged for about 8 years. Then, I had to come up with a new one at the behest of a lawyer.

As for my handwriting, it remained awful over the decades.

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