Weekends are usually when I go bird-watching. I drive to different parts of my city’s outskirts to photograph residential and migratory birds. I love writing about the experience too. It has become a favorite routine of mine.
But, I couldn’t go out during the weekend that just passed. Because I had recently sprained the lower part of my spine. And I was told that for about a month, my body would ache whenever I had to sit upright. Whether inside a car or in front of the laptop.
So, this morning, I drove about 60 kilometers away to spend time with the birds of the Siruthavur reserve forest. I had a great time despite the discomfort. It wasn’t as though I overcame adversity in the pursuit of passion. No doubt that such theatrical nobility would have been amiss. It was one of those things that could have happened to anyone.
When the injury took place last Monday, I couldn’t move much for nearly 15 minutes. It was a severe sprain in my lower back. The next few days saw a lot of physical unease. And some amount of paranoia. I heaved a sigh of relief a few days ago when the doctor had informed me that the injury wasn’t a permanent issue. If I take a few precautions, along with a couple of painkillers – now and then, things should be fine.
Until I had driven to the lakeside, I wasn’t feeling positive about my situation. I had recovered from an eye surgery in August only. And now, I had to deal with a dull pain that had me grimacing every time I moved a certain way.
I woke up at 5 AM today and decided to get accustomed to it. Since today was a state-wide holiday, I drove down to a lakeside spot in Siruthavur – one of my luckiest birding spots.
By the time I was done, I saw a Spotted Owlet feed her young through a heart-shaped hole on a tree stump. A Black-Headed Starling sunbathed in front me. A flock of Ashy Woodswallows took turns hugging one another. I also managed to spot Painted Storks, Glossy Ibises, Black-Winged Stilts and Pied Kingfishers.
It wasn’t as though the injury disappeared because of my love for birds. Nope. I grunted each time I had to get out of the car. I made noises – like 34 was the new 70 – when I had to arch my back to photograph the waterbirds.
In fact, the pain is still there, lounging – in silos – across my spine. I have just come to realize that it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t give it more attention than it deserves. As long as the affliction is manageable, and it doesn’t stay an uninvited guest for too long, I will be alright.
The migratory season is two months away. So, that will give me enough time to recuperate. Make myself fitter. More resilient to watch these sweet painkillers of mine.
Because the winter birds are coming. And I will need to be wherever they are. Or find an orthopedic specialist who can travel to the hills with me.
Safety not guaranteed, of course.
out of you.
for as long as
you want it to.
(Photographs: Siruthavur, Kelambakkam)