The All-India Avian Congress is hard to ignore, what with the volume of its esteemed members’ throats. Crows clearly appear to dominate the proceedings, even as pigeons prefer playing the part of silent board members. They leisurely take up their positions atop building roofs or electric poles, barely putting up with their cacophonic counterparts.
At times the meetings don’t end on a peaceful note, leading to a show of strength with regard to territorial rights. Again, the agile crows take the lead, often scaring me with their ominously low flights, marked by agitated wind flapping. Are these birds known to have higher blood pressures? I suspect so; especially since a couple of them attacked me during a park walk around a year ago.
The crowing supremacy cowers into a resigned defeat, however, when kites appear on the horizon. Where the crows and pigeons vie for slices of the sky, the kite claims the entire pie with a single sweep of its magnificent flight. My walk stops momentarily as I look up, transfixed to see this breathtaking stretched-wings wonder spanning across the blue canvas.
Soon the chirpy parakeets rush in, restless to get on with business as soon as possible. The business being picking on the fresh guavas off our tree in the backyard. They do get some competition from the home mynas, who are already found soaking in the comfort of a cozy nest amid the foliage of the guava tree. Although the parakeets are almost always too swift for my reflexes with the camera, they make me smile. Not just for their alacrity, but also because folklore tells me guavas bitten off by a parakeet turn out to be the sweetest of the lot.
Then there are the canine friends who are the kings and queens of the park behind our house. Seeing them send out vociferous warning messages to any outsider dog is being witness to the act of maintaining the security of one’s sovereign regime.
My walks have also unraveled to me an ancient scientific understanding. Just as the sunlight ambles over to the spot where the homemade pickle jars are kept, I can tell it’s 11 am (did I not tell you I walk really late in the morning?). Amazing to know how accurate the earliest experts in astrophysics had been.
This morning, as I was ready to climb down the stair, the flight of two pigeons caught my glance. I couldn’t help stopping for a moment and be in awe. On more than one occasion I’ve suddenly noticed my footsteps gathering momentum automatically the second a catchy song is played on the phone radio I carry during my terrace jaunts. As the pigeons flew overhead this morning, I found their flight to be effortlessly synchronized to the song that was playing.