I am not fond of routines. Inelegantly, they wrap themselves around me, like dirty parasites. And I am left – nonplussed and numb. It’s why I cling on to weekends. I get to break my routines by watching birds go through theirs.
Some people talk about wanting to live the way the wild creatures do. Carefree, and unhinged. Driven by pure instincts. It’s a strange inference to make, though. Because birds, mammals, reptiles, fishes, and insects follow routines like we do.
What sets them apart, besides the nakedness, is that they don’t emotionally invest in actualities. They don’t pursue happiness and tumble down from the sky in the process.
I shudder to think how different my life would have been if I hadn’t fallen in love with birds. They have brought so much happiness that I suffocate others with it. With each passing year, my adventures increase my indebtedness to them. But, I hadn’t planned on developing a passion for birding. It just happened.
Because whenever I pursue happiness – I end up a mess of paranoia, anxiety, and skepticism. I swear to the walls at home that I will never anticipate it. Similar to dull mornings I used to wake up with a terrible hangover. And a threatening headache eggs me to declare that I am staying away from alcohol for good.
I can be sluggish about finding happiness too. I pretend that I already found it. So that I save myself the trouble of figuring things out. But deep down, I realize that whatever I hold sacred can be compensated with an unexpected sneeze or an unremarkable orgasm.
Some days I wake up late, drenched in sweat, shrieking and looking to turn the lights on. My eyes blink, like emergency lights on abandoned airstrips. My fingers turn sweaty. The littlest toes begin to twitch. Nervousness claims me.
Other days, I am up by twilight, with a beaming smile. I grab the camera by its straps and decide on a birding spot depending on the weather. I feel great about my place in the world.
Emily Dickinson wrote, “hope is a thing with feathers”. It’s the nicest thing I have heard. It gives me the confidence to believe that no matter how much distance I put between myself and love – there will always be a shortcut.
All I need to do is follow those with wings.
only ransom –
(Photographs: Tamil Nadu & Kerala)