Yellow is the new black, Frost is an old man

Seeing Orioles makes my insides flutter. They look like they are on a mission from another planet. Perhaps, they are here to tell us that there is such a thing as too much yellow. Or that our ancestors weren’t primates; they were plants. And how silly it is that we move around so much instead of sitting still and reforesting our homes.

I bet it was something our ancestors had never bothered to listen to. It is probably why the Orioles gave up and turned into earthlings. Eat. Poop. Procreate. Sleep. Repeat. No more spilling of universal secrets through subliminal birdsongs.

I have seen three different sub-species. The Golden Oriole, the Black-Hooded Oriole, and the Black-Naped Oriole. They haven’t yet asked me to take them to our leader. Perhaps, they know how poorly governed we all are.



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?


No such thing as too much yellow

A golden oriole appears,
sepia-bathed and freckled,
as does her song in silos;
she dips her beak
in crumbling lemon clouds,