Cities are for the Birds
Recently a pal posted pictures of gorgeous birds he photographed while on holiday in Uttarakhand.
These birds are STUNNING and the colours they’re dressed in make me gasp. If I saw colours like that on stuffed-toy birds, I’d shake my head and make disparaging comments about the imagination of the toy makers because birds just AREN’T like that. But these colours are real – zillions of shades of blues and purples and plums and greens and reds and oranges and yellows that are a sight for sore eyes. You could not imagine anything so pretty.
I looked at all those pictures and I was really envious. All I’ve seen today, I wrote to my friend, are a few crows, a couple of sparrows and the kite that lives in the coconut tree outside my window.
Now, I’m fond of crows. They’re city people like me. I adore sparrows. They’re jaunty little creatures. And I am mad about the kite in the coconut tree outside my window. It’s been living there for years and I feel I know it by now. It frequently stalks up and down the fronds of the coconut tree (which are obviously sturdier than they look), looking like a portly, grouchy boss-type person waiting for the subordinates to get back to the office so it can yell at them for incompetence.
Last year, a mynah couple nested on the ledge outside my bedroom window and I loved them too, even though they fought so much and so bitterly that I seriously contemplated calling a marriage counsellor. There’s no sign of them this year though, and I wonder if they’ve divorced.
Occasionally, I see parakeets fluttering about. I don’t know where they come from and they’re never around for longer than a day, but they do occasionally do a flypast and I love it.
Most of all though, I see pigeons. And I can’t stand them. They’re filthy and daft and, as far as I’m concerned, just as much vermin as cockroaches and rats. If I never saw another pigeon in my life, I would be a happy person.
But it’s only occasionally that I see birds like the ones my friend photographed. Naturally, those occasions happen to be holidays. And not holidays in Cal either.
When I saw those pictures my friend posted, I remembered holidays in Assam, Ranthambhore, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Darjeeling, Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani and Matheran and Pune and Alibag and Udhwada and Daman. The Dooars and the dashes across the border to Bhutan to buy basic things like bread and butter since the town closest to the tea estate my brother-in-law was posted in happened to be across the border.
A holiday where I go to another city is not a holiday, even though it may be a most beloved city where I hang out with most beloved people. (And get a brilliant haircut.)
I want a non-city holiday.