To be a bee-eater or not to be a bee

Bee-eaters can be found all over India. From metropolitan cities to ghosted forests about 5000 feet up in the Himalayas. They are identified by their curvy beaks and long tail-feathers. Some are born with blue beards and others blessed with roasted chestnut-colored skullcaps. On bright summer days, the undersides of their wings hold sunlight. Like jet-propelled turquoise demitasses, they... Continue Reading →

Love at second sight: Indian Eagle Owls

About two summers ago, I was in Gudalur during a trip to the Nilgiri Hills - with a few friends. Barely five minutes after reaching the spot, we spotted a pair of Indian Eagle Owls. It was my first sighting. They flew past us, and into a section of the forest. And it all happened so... Continue Reading →

Travel bugs leave behind hickeys too

You can find love in places that you can’t in people. A broken estuary or a canopy of trees will seldom disappear hastily from your life. When they gradually do, they are replaced in ways you may not even miss them. Wet grassy knolls, filled with butterflies and bee-eaters, might turn into muddy breasts – with... Continue Reading →

Look who’s chirping: Oriental White-Eyes

Oriental White-Eyes are resident breeders in the Indian subcontinent. I have seen them all over southern India. And each time I have talked to them like I used to with my niece. Back when she was too young to communicate in an intelligible manner. For the first 2 years of her life, I just made faces and spoke... Continue Reading →

January in full bloom: Birds of Kodaikanal

The south Indian princess of hill stations was kind to me this weekend. She scratched her armpits and set free many birds at the crack of dawn. They found shade under tea rose flowers. Some hurried in for the nectar and others waited for insects that lounged on moist petals. Each one was a painting with... Continue Reading →

Love her wildly and leave her wild

A hill can be a babysitter, rubbing eucalyptus oil on our belly bruises as the winter chill leaves her abloom. A playful child, cupping the rain off giant leaves, calling to attention our tired gaze. A mother, drawing us closer to the floral stretch-marks of the summer in her womb. Or a prostitute, with parts of her stolen... Continue Reading →

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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