An enema procedure for a kidney stone operation once taught me two valuable lessons. One is that I should drink more water on a daily basis. The other is that I should stop making New Year resolutions. After spending three days at the hospital, I was overcome with trepidation and boredom. Lying face down on a polished-white table, I was eyeing the tepid sloths that were the hands of a wall clock. And I was ruing the dietary habits and stress coping mechanisms that had put me in that situation.
It occurred to me then that it was a familiar feeling. It was how I used to feel while coming up with New Year resolutions.
Towards the end of every year, I would realize that I was bored, unchallenged and stifled. It would frighten me because it presented itself as a recurring pattern. I would lie face down on the bed, burying my head in the pillow, wondering when things will ever change. A panic attack later, I would start making meaningless promises to myself. When February arrives though, I could care less. A slightly-crooked toenail would grab my attention than any effort I had to make around dealing with them.
Maybe it was never a big deal – this inability of mine to live up to resolutions. But I decided, that day, to stop a taking pseudo-preemptive and oddly-sycophantic route to self-improvement.
Also, back then, I enjoyed spending the last night of the year with friends. These days, I try and sleep by 11:00 PM to avoid listening to fireworks, and responding to text messages out of courtesy. And I always do something that makes me happy before and after the 31st of December.
Last weekend, given how infrequent my birding trails have been, I took an extra day-off from work and stayed in Valparai.
I was treated to a grand buffet of creatures, from Barking Deer, Indian Gaurs, Elephants and Stripe-Necked Mongooses to Great Indian Hornbills, Flame-Throated Bulbuls, Asian Fairy Bluebirds, Asian Paradise Flycatchers and Black-Lored Tits. I wasn’t able to photograph them all, but I do have stories, or at least folk song lyrics, for each one.
A creature that had me spellbound was the Lion-Tailed Macaque. From its silver-white mane and his puffy tail to his dagger-like teeth and authoritative body postures, he certainly lives up to the name. I have some history with this magnificent beast. He inspired me to grow my sideburns that have been an icebreaker in every social scenario I have been in ever since.
It thrilled me to bits that I got to see him towards the end of the year. Sometime in January, I hope to visit the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. That would be a great start to 2016, just as much this trip to Valparai was for 2015.
By the time, April or March drifts in, it will register in my sizable head that I failed once again to disregard my insecurity about fresh beginnings. In trying to stop thinking about New Year resolutions, I ended up – not only thinking a lot more about them but actively making plans to ensure proper execution.
That is, however, my silly battle to wage.
You, my beautiful readers, have a wonderful start to 2016. Happy new year!
To beg, borrow and steal
from Charles Dickens,
2015 was the best of times
and it was the worst.
Perhaps 2016 will be the same,
but I shall recollect, with love,
and by no other name, how
even the fiercest winds never
once frightened away the birds.
From last year’s post – 2014 is a number