Today, I am proud to be a resident of Chennai, not a citizen of India. In case you haven’t heard, my city was affected recently by the heaviest rainfall recorded in over 100 years. Floods wreaked havoc on the lives of 2 million people. Over 325 are dead. Many birds and animals, especially strays, too. Tragically, a few other districts in the state have had it even worse.
Last week, we were either trapped indoors without electricity or supplies, stuck in traffic – with no safe route to take us home or stranded in deep waters – battling for our lives. We were helpless and frightened. Even now there is palpable tension in the air. Some are in grave danger. The rains haven’t yet bid adieu; we can still hear ambulances and helicopters. Added to that, a lot of misinformation has us in a state of paranoia. It has been an heartbreaking and nightmarish experience. Recovery is going to be a long, arduous and disease-ridden process.
Apparently, none of these qualified as being critical as far as the rest of India was concerned.
Summer in India and the monsoon season soon after generally comprise tumultuous times for me. I am fond of neither summers nor the rain. They represent a slew of reasons as to why most of my recent birding trails turned out to be damp squibs.
Birding isn’t impossible when it rains. They still need to come out and eat. Do their chores and keep an eye out for intruders. However it is difficult to spot birds given the graying filters that swallow terrains. The unpredictable winds that hamper identification of flight patterns. The slippery leech-infested terrains make it hard to track them down. In such cases though, I have learnt to set aside my expectations to just stroll with the flow.