Back in the days of our engineering education, we used the word ‘bird-watching’ to mean what an ornithologist like Salim Ali would have violently disapproved. That form of ornithology actually meant pulling yourself on a lazy chair in front of hostel rooms in some highly sought -after locations and watching better creations of God cross the area. It was a sport that one could marvel the latest ‘hair-ishtyles’ , the newest dresses and so on, and for all lazy folks like me, required no effort. You just had to take the newspaper and make a pretence of reading it, while peeping through the holes made so thoughtfully! In the days of single TV channel and no internet, this was one entertainment that no one missed!
Decade and half later, times of changed. This time, the real form of bird-watching excites my family. Here are some shots we took early morning.
I had to take about five shots from about 30 feet away to get a decent view of this bird.
A parrot was enjoying the mango breakfast.
This woodpecker was moving so rapidly from one branch to another that it was difficult to locate and focus. Even though the image is not so well focused, this is the best we could get.
The palm fruits are just looking so winsome. If only one could reach them.
It is said that mango loyalties are very strong. So a Mumbaikar does not consider a Maleehabadi equivalent to an Alphonso. Biharis think nothing but Langda as the real one, and perhaps the Bongs think all mangoes except for the Malda are fake. In Chennai it is nothing but the Bainganpallis/Bangarapallis that rule.
Legends have it that in olden days, when the King sent a basket of mangoes as a royal gift to the neighboring kingdom’s ruler, the royal mangoes were punctured with a needle so that the seed cannot be used to grow saplings (ancient variety of terminator technology!).
But when you get a tree next to your house which is laden with mangoes like these, you enjoy them growing every day. Without looking at the variety or label. Why, my wife even made pickle which are just about getting ready now!
Yes, this is as good as they were. From the rooftop, I could get a basketful.
As it happens, the best mangoes are always, always, just outside the reach!