The balm after the storm: Golden Orioles

Chennai is still recovering from the floods. Our birds though are back in town. I have spotted plenty of Asian Koels in my neighbourhood. I have seen a lot more woodpeckers too, chipping away on branches in the morning. A few Rufous Treepies have come over, outside my balcony, to say hello. Today, a Shikra caught me off-guard on the way to work.

I am not angry, like I was when my city was drowning. I feel a little silenced; even unsentimental about the loss, the hope, and the hate that came after. Either I am only empathetic to the languishing of humanity when it directly affects me or I am just very fond of birds. To paraphrase Nick Hornby’s musing on pop music – do I spend time with birds because I don’t want to be with people? Or do I spend time away from people because I want to be with birds?

What came first – the love or the misery to go looking for it in the first place?



Snakes and bladderworts: Nobody wins

Snakes have a nasty reputation because of widespread ignorance about the nature of equilibrium in the wild. And our impact on the environment. They aren’t superficially considered cute like baby seals or magnificent like tigers either.  The truth is that they are beautiful and peace-loving creatures who want nothing to do with us.

We don’t leave them in peace though. We take from this planet beyond what we need. We give back nothing. Even animal conservation, in many places – especially third-world countries, is a cruel joke. One that finds its roots in pretentious altruism and the commerce of greed.