In May 2017, I made a dramatic exit from this blog to embark on newer pursuits. Since then, I have collaborated on 10 podcast episodes, and I have grown fond of Instagram. I have not done much else. Meanwhile, I had continued to collect stories about my experiences as a birdwatcher. Just like I used to. Only this time, they had no place to call a home. Angry about being orphaned, they declared mutiny on me. We fought dirty for months. Even the lawyers cried themselves to sleep. But, the bloodbath yielded neither wounds nor winners.
It took me a while to realize that we were on the same team. If I did not inject words into their veins, after I was gone – it would be as though they did not happen at all. A week ago, I concluded that a sheepish comeback to the blog is less embarrassing than a stress-related departure from sanity.
I am unsure how many of my readers still haunt these parts. I have missed you, and I am eager to rekindle the uncommon love we once shared. If you are new to these parts…thank you for showing up. You may not know it yet, but we are practically in a relationship.
To recap, I went through a spinal cord surgery last year due to which I had to drastically cut down on bird-watching. So, I have only been taking short road trips to the local sanctuary. It has been a long and frustrating wait. Thankfully, I managed to spend quality time with the residential birds. From Owlets and Barbets to Treepies and Orioles, they have been keeping me afloat.
I am thankful for their presence because without them I may explode into a million angry pieces of flesh, bone, and muscle.
I have also been stalking my favorite birdwatchers- Aravind Amirtharaj, Aseem Kothiala, Christine Connerly, Mali Halls, Tristan Spurway, Samantha Carlson, and Nick Upton. Their photographs of birds are stained glass windows to landscapes I may never explore. After all, the world is so big. I just want to be everywhere. But most times, I find myself going nowhere fast. So, I end up fighting to be anywhere but here.
About 5 months ago, I moved as far as I could from the city. We had been seeing only the worst in each other for close to a decade. The suburbs have been treating me well thus far. Its traffic-free zones, the wise old trees, the giant swarms of butterflies, and the stupidly-happy faces of stray dogs as they balance work, play and being roadkill.
The quality of my neighbors has significantly improved too. Inside the apartment complex reside many families of Common Babblers, Purple Sunbirds, Sparrowhawks, and White-Throated Kingfishers. My balcony oversees a lake that houses Black Winged Stilts, Greenshanks, and Sandpipers. One time, a perky Golden Plover even showed up.
I share my quiet time with them. I meditate on the stillness of clouds; they look for prey in the waters. The wind gasps through the half-open French windows in the large filing cabinets that we call our homes. The tense chattering of children, in the nearby park, starts as abruptly as it stops. We giggle as the clouds make balloon animals out of their own supple hips.
When dusk arrives, the sky drips peach juice. Poems wriggle free off sunken lips and divebomb – with reckless abandon – into the lake. Darkness falls, and the moon appears – with scars, soaked in wet dreams and molten cheese, sewn into the ghostly hems of its nightgown.
A few miles away from the lake lies the coastline of the Bay of Bengal. She is mighty and wondrously monstrous. Afternoons are when I am most in awe of her. Bathed in the heat of the sun, she writhes – burping frothy waves, with every gulp of the cool breeze.
Some nights, I open the bedroom window to look for ships along her horizon. I re-imagine the lives of the people onboard. The events that had led them to the waters that day. Then, I secretly wish for Godzilla to show up and go berserk. Or for a major drug deal to go wrong because Godzilla showed up, and it will not stop sorting all the cocaine.
As relatively peaceful as my days are, these days, I remind myself of how quickly everything can change. We have all been on this roller-coaster ride before. If there are peaks, there will be valleys. There will also be deep craters, strewn with black mambas strapped to WWII landmines. And clifftops so high that we may finally know how it feels like to be a bird, for a few seconds, if we ever took a leap of faith.
It is why I have big plans for the winter of 2018. No, I do not intend to jump off a cliff. I want to travel across south India. I have been resting my body so that I can push myself – physically and emotionally – when the migratory birds return in November. I yearn to write about my encounters with them. The oohs. The ahhs. The oh-my-god-what-is-wrong-with-yous.
All the birds I have spotted. The mammals, the reptiles, the insects, and the trivial tribulations of an adorable yet wretched planet.
Remember, Verseherder is just another WordPress blog. I am one among a thousand writers, trying to build a symbiotic relationship with you, the reader, by sharing personal experiences and half-baked perspectives. Hopefully, you find them to be entertaining and mindful. I can always look for a psychic hypnotist to teach me how to manipulate you into liking me. But it seems a tad unnecessary at this point in our relationship.
And if I ever leave this blog again, we can just blame it on Godzilla’s cocaine problem.
Until then… here we go again.