I develop a gag reflex for certain things I am passionate about. Whether a new style of writing I want to try out, the type of people I socialize with or the kind of music I listen to. After shifting the paradigm, I just throw my hands in the air and walk away. A simple explanation is that I am easily distracted. I may be suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. Another may be that “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”.
It doesn’t really matter why. Popeye taught me that a long time ago.
Somehow, my love for birds survived the onslaught. Four years later, I am as lovestruck. Every time I see a bird of prey – my heart doesn’t just skip a beat, it leapfrogs over a bunch of them stacked on top of each other. Like the flap of some Malabar Trogon’s wing – it takes to the sky.
There is serenity, excitement, and wonderment. It works out in my favor. They happen to be three of my top five favorite reasons to belong to the human race. Hunger and laziness are also nice.
Whenever I go out birding, I stumble upon revelations. They aren’t clever. Just incoherent conclusions I arrive upon when an Emerald Dove or a Streak-Throated Woodpecker tickles my soul with its tail-feathers. Or if a Bay-Backed Shrike lands upon a twig long enough for the passing wind to mimic its mid-afternoon tune.
Sometimes, things get weird.
Years ago, I spotted an Asian Paradise Flycatcher and decided that the difference between the sky and the weather was color. Recently, a couple of Black-Winged Stilts brought to my attention that there isn’t a path to contentment. Only maps that may possibly lead to nowhere. But I want one because happiness isn’t a destination.
Now, they don’t make any sense to me either. If you find poignancy in them, you are probably reading too much into it. You will grow up to be a good person someday, maybe. But I treasure these inanities of mine. Because they sound like they can, one day, grow up to be folk ballads.
I realize that that makes even less sense. It’s better that way, though. Linearity is overrated. It’s all hullabaloo, anyway. I mean, who are we kidding?
We, human beings, are master storytellers. It’s in our DNA. We lie to ourselves all the time. Craft little stories to make us feel better. Then, instigate others in buying into our dramatized dribble that we mistake for life’s lessons.
But hey, I like birds. I am happy that so do you.
(Photographs: Tamil Nadu, Kerala)