Yours animatedly, Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches

Like many children of the 80s, I used to be an obsessive gamer. My dad brought home an Atari 2600 home console sometime in 1988. It came with two 8-bit games – ice hockey and tanks.  At once, I understood that it was going to be a spectacular end to the decade. And he knew it would be a stressful, annoying and expensive one.

I was introduced to 16-bit games during the early Nineties. It led to a large chunk of my life being devoted to the Mario Brothers franchise. It gave my life a sense of purpose. Not that I was interested in the changing dynamics of gaming technology. I only wanted to save the princess.

Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches remind me of those golden years. With their large heads and striking eyes, they resemble the possessed mushrooms that lurk in Mario’s world . But I don’t want to curb stomp them. I want to spend time with them. And I am willing to fist-fight Bowser for it.

Velvet Fronted Nuthatch

I enjoy watching Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches in action during the wee morning hours. They rigorously sunbathe as though warned about an eclipse. And they dart up and down branches of trees, seemingly jet-propelled, in search of grubs and peace of mind.

Given how difficult it is to photograph them, the experience can be rewarding. It is similar to reaching a secret level in Super Mario Brothers. Even if I can’t collect many points, I still feel wonderful that I came across an unexpected opportunity to do so.

For me, the late 90s was when the magic of gaming faded away. I was buying cartridges that held over 1,000 games. No longer was I emotionally investing in the stories. I was merely collecting points to cultivate a sense of self-worth.

In 2005, I completed the final stage in God of War on the Playstation 2 console. I had to use cheat codes to get past the last few levels. As the end credits rolled, I just knew that it was over.

And I haven’t been into gaming since then.

I can only hope that a day won’t come when I spot a Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch and think to myself, “Yeah, I’m done”.

What a silly day that must be. What a stupid man I will have to be.


(Photographs – Kodaikanal, Thekkady, Chennai, Megamalai, Munnar)

28 thoughts on “Yours animatedly, Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches

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  1. I don’t have the patience to write short perfection. My words are like vomit until I think I’ve made a point. I wrote a graduation speech in high school that was similar to this, but it took me three pages to get my point across. I’ll have to take a look at more of your stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. perfection be damned comrade. writing’s more like bleeding, regurgitating, shedding, etc than pretty actions like flowing like rivers or undressing like sunsets. if brevity isn’t your cup of tea, prose must be your muse, do write infinitely more.


  2. Could your bee-eater be more colorful? I think not! We have nothing like him here. 😦

    Speaking of gaming and thinking of your ‘Be Like Water’ recording, have you ever played a game (for the Wii) called ‘Fluidity?’ I got positively addicted to it some years back, even played it again from the beginning earlier this year. Loved it just the same.

    You are basically a puddle of water working through a set of physically challenging (for water) mazes who can squirt, explode, jump, pool, etc. You can even turn into ice or a cloud where you get even more ‘skills.’ The purpose of the game? Collect all the rainbow drops and puzzle pieces!! And, of course, beat The Influence (the dark inky lord).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am smeagal to your precious Red Cardinal (holds on tightly to bee eaters) Even more gorgeous is the Blue-Bearded Blue Eater (please google her the one photo I have is tragically bad)

      “You are basically a puddle of water” – You had me at puddle, Shannon. Sounds fantastic, got to check it out. The most recent console I owned was a PS4, haven’t upgraded after that. If there ever was a reason, “fluidity” would be it!

      If you can, do watch this documentary called “Indie Game: The Movie”, It’s the bees’ knees please!


      1. Watched the trailer…waiting for the disc to come to watch the whole movie. Looks intriguing! I can tell you my oldest son will be riveted. I will let you know. Are you a software developer?

        And WOW! I looked up photos of the BBBE. She might be the prettiest bearded lady I’ve yet set eyes upon. If there were any bee-eaters in the USA, I’m afraid they would go extinct — or need to be renamed. Bees are disappearing fast, most likely domesticated to death, and the bird would simply die off starving. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am sure your eldest will love it! The game developer started as avid doodlers stumbling into social catharsis. Do let me know if he relates to any of the characters ❤

        About the bees, sigh yes, poor honeys. Can’t imagine the end of BBBE. A world without them wouldn’t feel like home.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I got ripped-off by some guy in “Burma” bazaar who sold me a game cartridge that announced “9999 in one”. I later found out that it was basically the game Duck Hunt in 9999 color variations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I can imagine the annoyance, bro. Mario or Zelda would have at least looked psychedelic in different colours.

      I was such a junkie for cartridges. I remember even resorting to small-scale thievery!

      Liked by 1 person

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