Saturday, April 26, 2014

The first flight

About three weeks back, I noticed a bulbul flying madly near an ixora plant in our garden.  And then I saw another one (presumably the female bulbul) flying equally madly. I told my mom that these might be looking at building a nest or something.  You see, a bulbul had built a nest and had laid eggs and there were baby bulbuls on same ixora plant two years back.

Few days later, the gardener informed us that the bulbul had indeed built a nest and had laid eggs there. Mom and I were delighted.  We get very happy in small things.. like seeing the birds drink water from the water bowl we keep for them, or seeing the peacocks eat the mint leaves mom had so lovingly planted (and then she would call the peacock a gunda for eating away all her mint leaves) or seeing peacock babies (yes, I know they're called fowls, but I'll still call them peacock babies, because they're ugly) or when peacocks eat away the grains we keep for them on the roof.  Mom and I are both pet averse - we don't think we would like to have pets of our own, but we like that these animals and birds think our house is a safe place and they make it their home too, however temporary it is.

It is probably our way of balancing out the karma for every lizard that gets killed in the Mehta household.

Anyway, so two weeks back, the bulbul babies were out. 
baby bulbuls
I tried very hard to convince mother not to keep looking at them 4-5 times a day, because they'll get spooked. We humans would appear as giants to these birds, no? But she could not control. Every time she would see them, a huge smile appeared on her face.  As if they were her babies. 

Last Sunday, when the crazy storm hit Ahmedabad, and trees all around were getting uprooted, mother and I were worried about the nest. And the babies inside.  Next day when we saw them sleeping, we were immensely happy.  The nest was intact.  Nature.  It nurtures too. While trees which were standing since decades got uprooted, one nest, a week old, was perfect, with the babies in there.

And then, few days back, mother and I saw the parents bulbuls flying around with food in their beaks. :) The babies were growing up.  The cacophony of babies, who were forever hungry, and the parents, who tried hard to feed them. :)

And then, yesterday.  The Mama bulbul was seen giving flying lessons to the babies.  Mother could not stop grinning.  She felt as proud of the flying baby bulbuls, as probably the time I took my first step. (or maybe sister took her first step, you see, she came into the world first, the novelty of seeing your child take first step was gone by the time I took my step. :P)  Anyway. My mom actually tried to demonstrate how the Mama bulbul was trying to teach the babies how to fly. (I'm sure she wished she had wings instead of hands)

And today, while we were having our afternoon tea, the babies flew right outside the nest onto the nearby tree.  This was the farthest distance they had covered.  One baby sat on the lower branch, presumably afraid, lacking confidence.  Parent bulbuls were going berserk.  Probably they knew he was the weakest one.  I wonder if they were encouraging him.  Wonder if the Papa bulbul was a strict father or an encouraging one.  But whatever it was, it worked.  The baby flew on the higher branch with his siblings.

And in few seconds, the entire family flew away.

I wonder if they will come back.

I don't think they will.

But I wish them the best.

I think the mother and I will miss them.

I think I am just grateful to have witnessed such wonders of nature. 

Of actually seeing a bird take its first flight. Ever.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why meeting people off internet is good

I find it difficult to make friends in real life. Mostly because I'm too shy to approach anyone.  If someone is sitting next to me, I'll still not talk because I'm afraid I'll disturb that person.

On internet, however, all you need to do is click on publish or send and you have started the conversation with no one and everyone.

I have been blogging/writing online since 2004.  You see, I was alone, lonely and internet was a saviour. This holds true even in 2014. Alone, lonely and internet as my saviour, of course, the internet speed is better than the dial up. And WiFi. I digress.

Over the years, I have no idea how many people have read my blogs (which I have changed a zillion times before zeroing on the most boring name ever, my first name - was crazy dhakkan, chal dhanno and god knows what else) or my tweets. Or any other internet footprint I've left behind.

I don't know how many complete strangers know me better than some people I'm related to.

And how many have read about the struggles and my flawed coping mechanism on how to overcome those struggles.  Or how they have sympathised, empathised or just shrugged their shoulders and moved on.

But when you meet someone, who has been following your blogs and tweets silently for years, but never interacted with you, it makes you feel great that you have been one of the reasons for bringing a smile to someone's face, even if it only once.

You see, we smile so little, and frown so often that hearing someone laugh loudly is a rarity.  But if someone tells me, I have brought a smile to their face or what I wrote made them laugh out loudly, it is such a satisfying feeling.  That my existence, contrary to popular belief, is not complete waste. 

I have met a lot of people off internet, and most of them have went on to become great friends, except for the one strange dude who collected male underwears (new only) for fun. Only problem is the distance because internet blurs the distance, but in real life, the distance is very real. I'd wish the physical distance weren't so much from some of the most amazing people I've known.

I wish I could meet every person who have come to know me, because it is comforting when someone says "oh, I've read it on your blog" - because it makes me feel special that someone took time off their lives to read something about my life.

I also want to meet every person I have admired over internet. And when I do like them, I let them know how I admire them, so much to the point of creeping them out by showering with compliments.  But that's what I believe.  Life is too short not to compliment someone who makes you smile.  We all criticise everyone, why not take that moment out to let someone know you like them. Or love them.

Trust me, a kind word goes a long way. A compliment from strangers brighten up my entire day, sometimes week.

This post is dedicated to all those who've been the silent readers of this blog.  I may not know you, but it is comforting that you guys are around.

Thank you for being there when no one was.

And if you guys are ever in the city, let me know, I'll treat you to drinks.*

*non alcoholic beverages. :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Avatari

I love thrillers.

Even better if they are mystical thrillers.

Raghu Srinivasan brilliantly executes a story that had me gripped to it from beginning to end.  I did not want to sleep because I wanted to finish reading this almost 500 page long story because the suspense was not letting me sleep.

I am not a great reader, so I cannot call myself a critic either.  But as someone who'd pick up Indian authors because I like reading familiar stories of familiar places, I was in for a fabulous surprise because none of the main characters are Indians.

Srinivasan made me want to look up and read more about Marco Polo and about Kublai Khan and about Ghenghis Khan and everyone the book talks about. 

I think if an author leaves you craving for more, the job is very well done.

Raghu Srinivasan, thank you for a brilliant weekend.

Name: The Avatari
Price: Rs. 399
Courtesy: Flipkart

Friday, April 4, 2014

Waking up and feeling sad for no reason?

How does that feel?

It feels, well, sad.

You don't know why you're sad. And you have no reason to be sad. But you are.

Maybe you do have a reason.

You have a reason that for the first time, you tried talking about the demons you've been fighting since you were a child.  They may not be too big, or as important to other people, but for someone who has been facing them, they were and are a huge deal for you.

You always knew no one would understand, mostly because no one tried asking what is wrong with you. Because there is no reason for anything to be wrong with you - you are just a child, how devastating your life could have been anyway?

And for the first time, when you try to open up a dialogue, you don't get any response.

You are left to deal with your issues on your own. However trivial they are.

Doesn't matter that in your eyes your life is worthless.

And that you have always felt unloved, uncared for.

Because it is always in your mind.

Yes, it has always been in my head.

Denial, not laughter, is the best medicine.