Where hornbills fly to when we die

Two years ago, I was inside a taxi – returning home after a birdwatching expedition to Valparai. I have never been fond of return journeys. I get upset over the beautiful things I must leave behind. But I wore a grin on my face. It was not because I was happy. That would have been… Continue Reading →

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Justice League of Malabar Grey Hornbills

We have superpowers. We can make good things disappear from our lives. Ambitious goals turn into pipe-dreams. Exciting jobs become boring routines. Serendipitous affairs crumble into sexual favors. Warm relationships are deputed to cold storage units. It’s not as though we pursue unhappiness. Ruining a good thing is our self-defense mechanism; an inherent villainy. But… Continue Reading →

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Love in the time of Great Indian Hornbills

When we look for love like children do for monsters under their beds, we let go of the wind, wriggling free of our papier mâché wings. There is logic in people pursuing monogamous relationships. We interpret love based on how it makes us feel about ourselves. If someone makes us feel good, why wouldn’t we want them by… Continue Reading →

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The hills are alive with Hornbills

Even silence is a song in the hills, leather is just skin and fur is in vogue only during the kill. Valparai is a sleepy-eyed and fauna-rich town on the Anaimalai Hills range of the Western Ghats. It is one of the few hill stations in Tamil Nadu that is not a total ecological disaster. In… Continue Reading →

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Man vs wild: The fantastic beasts edition

(Updated – with videos) I have had a few memorable experiences with the Indian Gaur (Indian Bison) – the largest bovine species in South East Asia. In 2012, I saw a herd crossing a golf course for the first time. Awestruck by their imposing physique, I approached them with reckless abandon. Mercifully, an alpha male… Continue Reading →

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The night when I saw six leopards

A few months ago, I spotted six leopards during a single night. I had seen these wild cats once before in 2016. But I had forgotten to press the “record” button on the camera. And I had nothing to show for it. People tell me that I was lucky to be there – experiencing the moment…. Continue Reading →

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Goodbye is the new hello: Jewel bugs

It was around 5:00 PM. I was tonguing the evening air on a parrot-green grass hill at Mooppanpara in Kerala. Despite the cloudy weather, I wanted to stick around. It had been a long and tiring day. And the scenery was mesmeric. The sun resembled a dusty grapefruit trying to un-blush. It sunk, beneath the… Continue Reading →

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Birds are not musicians; they are songs

White-Throated Kingfishers sound like a jackhammer in the hands of a jazz drummer. Asian Koels can be mistaken for star-crossed Shakespearean strangers cooing goodbye one last time. Black-Winged Kites shriek as though they are auditioning for musical satires. If the world was any crueler, music labels would hire poachers to hunt down Malabar Hornbills, and steal their summer playlists. The most beautiful… Continue Reading →

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How I mess up the parenting habits of birds

Great Indian Hornbills look visibly upset when they sense danger in their surroundings. They let out a guttural cry as they take flight like wondrous paper planes, to find a vantage point. They aren’t scared easily, though. They are one of the largest hornbills in the world. Any predator would think twice about pissing them off. Malabar… Continue Reading →

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