Body shaming is for the bird-brained

The Siberian Stonechat’s brown, black, and white color palette may not be an instant crowd-pleaser. But we cannot judge birds by their appearances. It makes even less sense than doing that to human beings. You reserve the right to pass on the candidate, who shows up for a job interview looking like Andy Dufrene after... Continue Reading →

Whose life or death is it anyway?

We may be ungrateful for what we have because we think we deserve more. In the process, we forget to ask ourselves - who owes us anything at all? When our plans are left to die in the gutter, is there a someone we can hold accountable? If our tireless efforts go south, whose collar... Continue Reading →

At the movies with a birdwatcher

Birds are some of the natural planet's most watchable creatures. But when was the last time you saw a movie, besides the ornithophobic Birds (1963), that prominently featured them? There have been few and far between. Perhaps it is a good sign. No other species is cruelly collaborative for the sake of art like humans are.... Continue Reading →

Three birds of paradise, two funerals and a wedding

Last December, my grandpa passed away a day prior to my wedding reception. Bed-ridden for months, he was in a lot of anguish. The beige color of his skin matched the peeled sections of the bedroom wallpaper. His head, resembling the plucked breast of an owl, bobbed up and down whenever I visited him. It... Continue Reading →

The screaming guarantees

I first spotted the Coppersmith Barbet on a chilly morning, outside a bird sanctuary in Chennai. I followed its metronome call to a large berry tree. I saw the barbet feasting on wild berries in one of the branches. The long winter shadows had cast a spell over the leaves, and I was unable to... Continue Reading →

What writers can learn from raptors

Predatory birds are known as ‘raptors’. Its entomology can be traced to the Latin term – rapere – meaning ‘to seize by force’. They are expert hunters, and their sensory capabilities are irrefutable. The prey may be cognizant of these extraordinary skills, but still they are snatched away by force. Large and medium-sized birds of... Continue Reading →

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 →

Eat crow, scratch the itch or die trying

Some of my best comebacks occur to me only after the argument has ended. I do not act on it. Obviously, that will be childish and ineffective. It is tempting, though. Especially, when I am dealing with road rage caused by mouthy traffic violators. I tend to lose my cool around them. Many a time... Continue Reading →

The punk who did not have a Ferrari to sell

Rejection can be the best free advice we get. Whether told off by an individual or an institution, we learn something from it. At times, we may have been undeserving of our aspirations because of a lack of determination. So, we set off - with renewed vigour – to try harder the next time around.... Continue Reading →

Why you should listen to your body

Asian Openbill Storks are prehistoric-looking birds. A common sight in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, they wade around in wetlands. The conspicuous gap in its gigantic beak seems almost tragic. But the shape remains a very useful ally while preying on freshwater snails that comprise their staple diet. By appearance at least, they remind... Continue Reading →

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