I hope the people of France are safe. I wish them a speedy recovery. But today I support my state of Tamil Nadu. She has been ravaged by heavy storms. People have been losing their homes and livelihoods, and others – their lives.
For the past 12 hours, there have been nonstop thunderstorms in Chennai. My city has turned into a helpless, soaking-wet mongrel. Her roads have turned into death-traps and her buildings – into dirty sponges. Trees have been falling by the wayside. Electricity is a problem as is public transportation. The rumour mill has been working overtime, spreading paranoia.
As the city celebrated Diwali, I quietly went ahead and met many of my feathered friends. It was an unexpectedly rain-free evening, which started with a chance encounter with the Grey-Headed Swamphens. It ended with a Common Kestrel photo-shoot.
There were others along the way. I found a Glossy Ibis foraging in a marsh with Cattle Egrets. She looked as though she recognized the contrast in their colours. A few metres away were flocks of Spot-Billed Pelicans in a feisty mood. There were Black-Winged Water Stilts, dapper as usual, lounging by the lake. Pied Kingfishers, Painted Storks, Cormorants, Common Terns, Spotted Owlets, Indian Rollers, Rose-Ringed Parakeets and Black Kites too.
Right before I managed to spot the Kestrel, I saw a tiny damsel dancing upon a wire. She looked like an Ashy Prinia in the middle of her metamorphosis into a Bay-Backed Shrike. But she had a familiar bandit mask on.
It turned out that she was a Brown Shrike juvenile. Afraid of scaring her, I surreptitiously clicked a few photographs. She was a feisty one though, as she hopped back and forth, inviting me to the center of her perfect little melody.
Ever since that lovely evening, it has been pouring down. It’s as though the skies want to wash away the filth we have brought into this planet.
In fact every time a natural disaster has occurred over the years, it has gotten me wondering if we deserved it. I think most of us would have to admit that we do. Still I can’t get over the fact that the poorer amongst us are always the worst-hit. They seem to bear the brunt of nature’s fury.
I can only complain about dangerous driving conditions. Leaking walls are a nuisance too. About half-a-kilometer away my home – there is a community of underprivileged workers. They have had to wade through muddy filth to gain access to drinking water, and deal with a lot more damage to their property.
How messed up is our world that even nature seems biased about the beatings she dishes out?
Irrespective of any of that, everyone please stay safe.
I don’t need
an oxygen mask
to scream into
you unflood me
you unearth me.
(Photographs: Medavakkam, Sholinganallur, Mahabalipuram)
One of the reasons I have stuck with WordPress is because it give me access to some wonderful reading material. Over the past year I have connected with writers/people through their verses too. Unfortunately it has been two weeks since I went through many of your posts. It’s because of a new time-consuming routine I have had to recently adopt. The constant power outages haven’t helped.
I intend to catch up very soon. Keep observing and writing. Love it as much as waking up to the sound of birds. And thank you, as always, for coming here.