Monday, May 19, 2014

Knowing Ones Own Ragaa

i have finally begun to love Delhi. And this love leads me to fear again. Love always has fear associated with it. Come to think of it whenever we love something we start fearing for it. Two conflicting emotions but they co exist despite our best ways to drive the negative ones away. i am beginning to fear that maybe one day i might have to leave it just like how i had to leave Chennai...
Love and positive and one not so positive...
Let me talk about the positive... Manic Monday...positive lets get plussed this Monday at least.

One of the many reasons for the + emotion is because of the variety of birds i have seen in my two and a half years of staying in the city. No deliberate bird watching effort taken on my part but just like that, as i went about my daily chores. While i wondered in Chennai about the sparrows as to how they seem to have they all disappeared from our balconies and vicinity here i was in this CAPITAL city about which every year i read different kind of surveys/ statistics proclaiming how polluted the city is, or how congested the traffic had become. But contrary to what i had expected i found it greener THANKS to the administration, the people and the good timely posting of my husband that i saw and am still seeing varieties of AVIANS like never before.

i have come to see a Golden Oriole, Rosy Starlings, Rose Fronted Prinias, Ashy Prinias, different varieties of Sun birds, Finches the names of which i could not identify (with the help of Grimmett & Inskipp) because i could not or have not been successful in spotting them close enough, different kinds of Doves, some varieties of pigeons including the Emerald pigeon and the elusive Green yellow footed pigeons, Alexandrine Parrots as well as the Rose Ringed Parrots some different varieties of Mynas and Munias too, then there are those who have the prefix Oriental attached to them. One a tiny bird almost as tiny as being not more than 10cm called the Oriental White Eye, and the other slightly bigger but not a big bird but something around 15-17cm called the Oriental Magpie. And it's this Oriental also known as Dhayal or Doel which will be occupying my blog pages today and the other next day for reasons which i shall be happy enough to share. Needless to say then that my list is not complete because i haven't mentioned the names of a few that i have seen quite often but not ID ied them . i will soon but till then i am more than happy and very content. And did i mention that i am seeing sparrows too. Not as many as i saw them in my childhood but it makes me glad to see them around still even when dwindled in number because i have hopes. Delhi gave me hope.

i couldn't agree more to what Mr Ruskin Bond...our great writer has said about these birds of Delhi in his book ' Delhi is Not Far: The Best of Ruskin Bond ',  " Having divided the last ten years of my life between Delhi and Mussoorie, I have come to the heretical conclusion that there is more bird life in the cities than there is in the hills and forests around our hill-stations.
        For birds to survive, they must learn to live with and off humans; and those birds, like crows, sparrows and mynas, who do this to perfection, continue to thrive as our cities grow; whereas the purely wild birds, those who depend upon the forest for life, are rapidly disappearing.
        Recently, i saw more birds in one week in a New Delhi colony than i had seen during a month in the hills. Here , one must be patient and alert if one is to spot just a few of the birds so beautifully described in Salim Ali's Indian Hill Birds. The Babbers and thrushes are still around, but the flycatchers and warblers are seldom seen or heard. ...''

Now i hope my friends who exclaim at my pictures and comment in a way that sounds more like a left handed compliment, they are able to ascertain this of Mr Ruskin Bond's if not mine. If and when they want to see these birds their eyes should not be glued to their smartphones or their I Pads while they are commuting or moving about their mundane chores and chances are that they can spot some of these too, instead of saying stupid things like, " Seems like you have become totally jobless...huh vela...haan!!..." or something like " How come only you get to see this Oriental birdy and not us..."

Also personal interest is something that comes from within. It cannot be copied or faked. Of late i feel it has become quite fashionable to talk about Nature and Wildlife. Just to grab attention and seek recognition and to make the general public feel that you are one serious intellectual committed towards environment or ecology for that matter. i personally know many such fakes who are not passionate about anything in particular. They just post something similar on Facebook to seek attention or perhaps attend a few workshops because the basic motive behind that been there done that being 'Networking, ' meeting big names, famous people. Something to discuss in parties and coffee table conversations because it gives their ego a big kick.

There is another case too and those i deem the " Lost Their Call " ones. One i have had very close encounters with. She is a very good friend i have known for years now. Nice woman at heart. She basically loves meeting people. i look at all the funny excuses she makes, sometimes goes out of her way, despite the fact how sick or tired she is. It is commendable though to see how enthusiastic she is about meeting people and knowing everything about their kith and kin. It's another ball game however how many are really interested in meeting her. But that doesn't seem to dilute her keen passion. No matter how hard pressed for time she is she will make it a point to drop in and check on people she knows. Sometimes in the process forming newer chains.  i sometimes am forced to believe that her passion for meeting people perhaps makes her oblivious to the enthusiasm that should be flowing from the other side. The kind of pretexts for meeting people she comes up with is amazing. And it's rather funny how she being such an intellectual is unable to fathom that by now people have understood her pretexts. Environment/ Ecology being one of them. Sometimes looking at her shagged/ haggard/ tired condition i feel like telling her to slow down and just chill but then i guess that's her way. Suit yourself being the mantra of the times. And so i don't say anything at all. But secretly seeing her potential and just flitting from one project to another in between leaving many undone and in the end always remaining dissatisfied, cribbing and cursing humanity that is not good either. Sometimes i want to shake her and tell her, "You like meeting people, fine go ahead but for heaven sake be true to your call."

That is why i lament, " Don't insist on that big change, change yourself first. Find out first what gives you happiness, and don't copy, do it your own way at your own pace."

As for me it's the highway.  i just take a hike of my own.  i am doing this now not for anybody but for me...i am not doing this for networking or recognition, i am doing it for leisure and pleasure of my own. No community service but my self discovery using my own self devised methodology. i chose what the given circumstances allow me to and of course Nature guides me. Then later i refer to sources that give me answers. Not big huge answers something that i can't retain but that which satisfies my curiosity for the moment.  And my sources are vast. From newspaper/ magazine articles that appear like Divine Intervention just when i need it, to books,  to people who suddenly materialize like sent by some unknown Messenger, to finally the World Wide Web. And So it happened that i chanced upon this call by a bird who was first mystery but will now be forever etched in my history.
This bird would wake me up each day every day with her sweet song. Not deliberately wake me up...but since my body is going through changes. i am beginning to sleep less now. By 4 - 4.30 am and still on bed but not in deep sleep or fully awake either i have been waking up to this sweet sweet song by a bird whose identity was unknown to me at first. But that's how it started...darkness...the song...go after the the area...peer and see... dark silhouettes...among the dense foliage... some small forms...stand there quietly...listen. Then i realized old habits die hard. i was following the same procedure like i do with my flowers...first the smell and then the sight. This avian case was something like that. First the call...then go looking for the bird. In the dark i would stand there in my night pajamas, barefoot...listening...trying to figure out...could see something but not clearly but yes heard the songs, the tunes, melodious very clearly.
This 'sisila' ( routine) went on for a few days...about a week. By now i knew the signature tune of my wake up bird. Also the fact that there's a couple. The male having more stamina than the female and their singing which sounded like a dialect which sometimes went on for more than 6 to 7 minutes at a stretch. She would be chipping in between. Together the song/ duet sounded pleasant like a duet sung in a whistling tune. i actually started looking forward to this morning Raga ( melodic tune) with this mystery couple and started recording their songs in my smartphone. i have 10 or more odd recordings of such ragaas of theirs. The couple would keep their conversation on and just change the venue of singing in between. From that fragrant with fresh blooms of the season Margosa tree they would move to the Rain tree close by. Sing a few duets there. Then in the dark i could see two birds hopping and sitting on the cable wire that passed through the car garage shed. All this Tamasha ( singing and dancing) between 4.30-5.30 am in the morning.

How did i spot my mystery bird is another story which perhaps i shall dedicate my next blog to. For the time being i would like to put one of those Ragaas here which also has everybody else...a puppy yelp included. Although i must admit while uploading and being a novice at that some parts got truncated and i couldn't bring it back.
i had lost track of time and dawn was breaking in. When i started recording it was dark but they were so melodious in their lovely duet that i did not realize that my recording went on for a solid 8 minutes. Not being that computer savvy i had to struggle to make a movie of this recording so that i could upload it but once i figured it out i could only exclaim with joy ..." Another Discovery !! Yay!! and it was so easy!! " but yes just like it is with oldies i did irritate my son to show me the way...not because of anything else...but because i was afraid...i might in the process lose the sounds...
Which i did. Not all but part of it. But my birds are still around there is solace in their presence and i am still alive there's contentment in that too. And now that i am happy why do i keep having this fear...

There i go again fear...can two contradictory emotions really co-exist...Happiness and fear...maybe right now let me concentrate on that + emotion that i know.

i know what my call is and i take it seriously...and puppies...well the yelp is also a kind of a call and i don't consider it to be a bark...not at all... .

BTW  before i call it the quits i must mention that before coming to Delhi i knew that Puppy apart from meaning a cutesy doggy also meant a cheap sy romantic kiss which often a boyfriend asks the moment he is able to hold the girl's hand. After i came to Delhi my knowledge increased and i learnt that it is a slang which means a Punjabi Yuppy...trendy well dressed wearing the most chic perfume driving the most expensive SUV or seen drinking/ eating the most expensive wine/ food the names of which they wouldn't know to pronounce correctly and hence who might surprise the daylights off you the moment he or she opened his or her mouth. No no i am not being ' sarky' ( sarcastic) here i learnt a whole lot more like 'Tota ' too which actually does not mean parrot like i thought it means but a' hot woman ' and many many more.

i take that call too seriously...learning the Delhi lingo...the puppy Colloquial Delhi jargon lingo...because it has a dilli ragaa to it ...and it in a way has the textual beat of some folk if not Bhangra to it. And every time one reaches my cochlea i feel like just laughing not for anything but it sounds funny. Really...
Listen to in colloquial means chooch. i have to buy some fruits today. i don't have a car so think i will ' CHOONCH' it...hahahahaha....
Now puhleez beg you to be kind with me over my ART PICS as i would love to call them. Remember we are on a strong doze of plus +++ diet today.  The pics were shot in the dark no flash used...i have PIXLR EXPRESS ed them to the best of my ability so pls kindly bear with me...i do not own the skill...what to talk of owning the equipment for taking after dark photos...and even if i had owned one fantastic gadget it's never the camera that does it someone said to me once.
There was nothing for me to focus on...i was focusing on  the sounds and as quietly as i could went tapping the smartphone camera tab...shushing that object not to make that chchrack sound that it does.

Stay Happy and for today i shall and sincerely pray that they too including that dear friend of mine all soon receive their OWN CALL...and not just take anybody's call...for anything. Fame, recognition, money and all that bla bla comes later. i guess first we have to learn to keep ourselves happy.   


  1. I had no clue that Delhi had so many bird species. And Puppy -- hahaha. Glad you are in love with the city.

    1. @ Rachna :) nice for being so prompt on my call. Yeah i had no clue either of birds of such variety here in Delhi. There are other reasons too for me loving the city and maybe it will feature in my blogs as they unfold themselves...the talker that i will one by one. Thank you so much. Hope to see more of you.

  2. franky speaking i aso did not know that delhi has so many varieties of needs to have interest and knowledge to find such beautiful creature of Nature.Really worth appreciation.Keep it up

  3. @ chandra raman thank you for taking time out and going through. Also much obliged for the appreciation. Hope to see more of you :)