Of birds, pinks, and full circles

My parents came over to visit us for a week and a little more. During my occasional walks with them, I remembered I’d been wanting to take pictures of the numerous birds that inhabit our neighbourhood and show them to you. The desire is like that of a child saying, “Look, I can see that! Can you?”

A few days back, I did take the camera, but was able to manage only a few pictures that are postable here. Perhaps I’ll ‘win’ some more in the subsequent days and post them, too.

A family living close to us has placed these earthen vessels on their wall for the birds to feed and drink water from. Mornings and evenings, a huge flock of parrots comes and satiates itself. This picture is only of one of their kind, but you get the picture!

Right next to this parrot haunt, there’s a silver oak tree (it looks horrifically chopped because people chop off the tops in winter — it helps the tree, and provides firewood for homes). This big guy was looking down right at us, we thought. My mother told me to take a picture of him, too. I had my doubts that it’d come. Backlit setting and all. But she insisted, I took the picture and lo, we can even see his eyes!

Ready to move on, I saw this dried vine with its gourd-fruits. We use the dried up innards as loofah. Do you? I thought it’d be interesting to show you. My current loofah is about to say adieu, but then I have a spare one, otherwise I’d have been aching to climb up the electricity pole and get a couple of them. Climbing is such fun, I’d have done it without any fruit at the top. But then, sensible people would stop me. For all of these reasons, I took a picture instead.

Talk of sensible. This one had his back to us and didn’t show any intention of turning around, but then my father said something and he turned!

And gave us and eyeful, too! Sensible indeed.

This bird has been intriguing me for two years now. My internet search tells me it’s a magpie robin, but his call doesn’t match the recorded calls I downloaded. Whatever the bird, this one is elusive.

I had to walk around the tree to get more than his butt for you.

Here’s another, sitting on one of their favourite perches. I wonder why, when there are so many beautiful ones to choose from.

Isn’t it amazing how the most incongruous of things can flourish together? This never ceases to amaze me. Of course they don’t always succeed in coexisting, but whenever they do, it is nothing short of a miracle of effort, I feel.

I itch to know names of things. Animals, birds, people, flowers, plants, even microbes. I look at these blossoms and remember I don’t know what they will turn into. Pears? Plums? Peaches? Apricots? And then I remind myself that it doesn’t really matter.


As long as I can continue to look at their glory, and enjoy it, it probably doesn’t matter.

Especially when I go closer to the tree to take a close-up, and the family’s dog fails to feel welcoming.

As we walked on, my parents kept showing me this and that. Things I know I’d have overlooked. Birds I’d have ignored. Like these pinks without double petals.

Or these beautiful finches. They’re finches, I think. But then, what’s in a name? My father kept whispering “look at these pink ones here! Look! No here, on the hibiscus bush.” They were so far away and so difficult to see, I’d have missed them.ย 

Or missed this raven, whom my mother pointed out and said, “Why ignore him?” Why indeed?


Some associations remain for life. Like this woodpecker. We’ve learnt to call him Woody Woodpecker because of the story my father used to tell us when we were children. Whenever we see this bird, it’s always, “Woody!”

We were nearing home after a longish circuit of the residential colony, when we spotted parrots again.

Not just parrots, but a whole colony of them. Chattering, preening, jibing. These are a different variety. They have rosy heads. But they talk the same language. At least I think they do.

The sun was getting ready to set. But it would take at least an hour before it did. Thankfully, its light lit up the tree and the parrots just right to give us a beautiful picture.

Now that they have left, and I look back on those ‘walks’ I’ve walked with them, I feel grateful for all of those sights they’ve shown me. It is uncanny how parents have the power to show in the most tacit of ways. As I prepare for a little one of my own soon, I realise the baton is getting passed on. Or duplicated. For parents never really stop giving, do they?

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60 thoughts on “Of birds, pinks, and full circles”

  1. I enjoy all your posts, Priya, but your photo journals are some of the grandest. Oh, you make me long for spring to be here. I can’t imagine living among parrots! The colors here are incredible. But I also realized, while reading this, that I’ve not paid enough attention to the world around me. It needs discovery. I’m so glad you’ve taken the time to share the things in your neighborhood. I love azaleas and wish I could grow them here!

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think of you as a wide-eyed little girl right now, Jean. Is that all right? It makes me like and respect you more.

      Is it possible to have a greenhouse or a tiny conservatory? I dream of an aviary in my house. A huge enclosure that doesn’t feel like a cage. Such dreams we have, don’t we?

      1. I was thinking about having a greenhouse the other day – when I retire. I have some room in my backyard. I’d love to do it. To be able to walk in there and smell flowers or veggies growing in the dead of winter – it would be divine!

  2. Gorgeous pictures as always, Priya! I can’t imagine seeing a bunch of parrots in a tree. Here I sit and look out the window and we still have some snow on the ground (and tons of mud) I am almost feeling like spring is coming looking at your photos.

    And please don’t climb anything, take it easy! And yes, you will be an incredibly giving mother, much like your own parents.

    1. Somehow, I imagine snow as how it looks when it’s fresh. Everyone who’s had to live with it swears I’ll hate it in a few days — what with the mud and the cold and wetness. I am going to continue feeling jealous of you, though. You live in paradise!

      ๐Ÿ˜€ I couldn’t find cardamoms for the kheer (rice pudding) I made today. So, I climbed up the kitchen platform to look at the topmost shelf. I am certain my husband would’ve been worried for my sanity had he seen me.

  3. Have I missed something? Are you expecting?
    I remember going out with my mother-in-law. She taught me so much. The names of things. What to plant and why? I thank her for the answers to the why because I could have inadvertently planted the wrong thing and wondered why it died. She adverted so much future disappointment for me.
    What a lovely walk with your parents and you have this collection to add even more.

    1. Yes I am, Georgette! It is such fun (when it’s not unfun). The baby’s going to come in June.

      What to plant and why. I must learn that. To avoid future disappointment. I have a great interest in rock plantations. I began with the easiest — spider plant on quartz. But failed to keep the plant alive for more than a week. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I intend to start again and this time I intend to succeed, too. So, if you have any tips, let me know!

  4. Lovely, lovely photos, Priya! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Some info – the black and white bird probably is a Magpie Robin. Just because the song doesn’t sound right doesn’t mean that it isn’t – a lot of birds not only imitate other birds, but make up their own songs. And sound clips often tell a very different story!

    http://manishdslrclicks.blogspot.com/p/magpie-robin-copsychus-saularis.html

    The pink and brown birds are probably Rose Finches.

    http://www.treknature.com/gallery/Asia/Bhutan/photo236260.htm

    Look up ‘Hoopoe’ as that’s what the ‘woodpecker’ is!

    And the other black and white bird looks like a type of wagtail, however, the best way to tell is if it’s wagging its tail up and down, which is how they get their name.

    1. The finch picture isn’t opening, Val. But I’ve searched and they are indeed Rose Finches. Thank you for all the information. Is it all right, though, if I continue calling them Woody the Woodpecker? I like the name Hoopoe but only next to Woody. ๐Ÿ™‚

      They are wagtails, then! They do like to wag their tails, I’ve noticed.

      1. I’m sure Woody Woodpecker is fine! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Wagtails are sweet birds, a bit jumpy but very sweet when they get used to people. (I nearly frightened the life out of one, by mistake, a couple of years ago – I was watching a Youtube video of one singing and had the volume up too loud and there was a pied wagtail on a rock in our garden by the stream and it froze – didn’t move for about ten minutes! Poor thing.

  5. What a lovely musing, ramble you share. Thank you! Your eye for the world is so tender.

    There’s nothing like spending the day strolling through nature, particularly with those we hold so dear. Waiting and searching for birds is simply miraculous.

  6. I really loved your pictures. Very beautiful. It’s really wonderful to have nature cheering around us. Feel like we are blessed even more. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Oh, my dear Priya, what a colourful world you live in!
    I think my favourite was the parrot – I have a soft spot for parrots, though I’ve never met any to talk to. Did you know that they are supposed to be very intelligent and when the talking ones learn a word they can associate the word with the object? I heard that on the radio.
    Anyway a nice piece! It brightened my day in gloomy Britain…

    1. Happy to know the colours brightened your day, Dave. Spring must be around the corner, right?

      A couple of my relatives keep parrots. One of the keepers is relentless in training his birds, and sure enough they pick up. One particular bird likes to call out his mistress’ name when it is meal time, “Jyoti. Jyoti! JYOTI!” he shrieks and whistles until she feeds him. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I love these photos – some exquisite ones, the pottery, that white home/building with the contrast of the pink budding trees – lovely! And the birds, the birds! You can tell finches by their rugged little beaks. The raptors can usually be differentiated by the colors in their wingtips and/or heads. I’ve always loved birds, and so happy to see some of your neighborhood creatures! I so miss the varieties on the US mainland. Someone brought the mongoose to Hawaii to kill rats (duh – doesn’t happen – one sleeps during the day, the other at night) and instead they proceeded to kill many native birds. Sigh. Thanks again for sharing, Priya!

    1. I am beginning to get firm in my belief that indigenous species should be allowed flourish in their habitation. Introducing alien species isn’t such a good idea after all. If that means India should never have had tomatoes, so be it! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      It was a pleasure to share, Bela, and I hope to be able to get some more pictures — of the sunbirds and a huge bird that looks like the Indian Cuckoo, but its call is so haunting and formidable, you’ve got to hear it to believe it! All elusive birds, these.

      1. I would imagine – big birds especially seem to be best at hiding, likely due to their size. I can only imagine the lovely, haunting sounds the cuckoo makes. In Maine, that kind of hair-raising lilt came from the loons. Ancient birds, all.

  9. What a beautiful post Priya. Not only these pictures but also the words you chose to describe them are so beautiful. Nothing feels much better than walking with parents. Although sometimes, my mom asks me too much questions and gives me too much advices, which I do not like. ๐Ÿ™‚ Still a person can value those moments, only when he has to wait for them. I have not met my parent since a long time; that to be for the first time. But your post gave a me something to smile while thinking about those to most important people in my life. Thank you for this beautiful & heart touching post. As always, all my best wishes to you.

    1. Whose parents don’t nitpick, Arindam?! Mine do, too. Especially my mother. (I am sure that wasn’t a surprise!) But that’s a part of their charm, I’ve discovered with time. They tick off on things only they will point out. Always helps in self-improvement, no?

      I hope you meet your parents soon and are able to spend some good, happy time with them this time.

  10. Great photos Priya. I always love it when you take us for a walk around your neighborhood. You’ve never showed us the birds before, and I like the way you intermingled your parents voices with your thoughts and the birds calls.
    We have similar trees full of blossoms, but I also don’t know what kind of trees – I like what you said;
    “As long as I can continue to look at their glory, and enjoy it, it probably doesnโ€™t matter.”

    Interesting synchronicity here. I wrote a post on Monday where I shared photos of parrots, but when I pressed “publish” the entire post disappeared “like a puff of smoke”. When I get the energy to repost it you’ll see the same green parrots.

    1. Oh that’s interesting indeed! I’d love to see your post featuring parrots! I’ve always thought that birds of this kind (green parakeets) are only found in the Indian subcontinent. Synchronocity? Yes, absolutely!

      I hope to be able to get some more pictures of the birds and the surroundings soon and will be sure to post them, Rosie.

  11. Priya, dear,
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! You can see I am super-excited. It’s so appropriate that you talk of birds at a such a joyous time in your life. That of beginnings, and spring and the secure feelings of nesting. May this be easy and effortless, like the glide of the swift. Precious like the parrots. As beautiful as the finches.

  12. Priya,
    I had to go to work before I’d finished writing – I’d also like to publicly jump up and down and congratulate you on the wonderful news. As a member of your blogging family I’m already feeling like a proud auntie. This will be the first blogging baby for me
    kisses and hugs ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Ooh, yeah! Let’s both publicly whoop with joy! I couldn’t have thought of the ‘blogging baby’ connection, but it sounds so appropriate.

      Thank you for your kind mails and gifts and interest, Rosie. It means a lot to both Bhartan and me.

  13. I’m also an auntie, Rosie. The Little One will be well cultured – because a fabulous mom and dad, there’ll be aunts and uncles from countries around the world! Lucky child!~

    Hope you are feeling well, Priya, and that it’s fun preparing – in all ways – for the baby.

    What an attractive album you made for this post. I love Woody. Though they are slightly different colorings and markings in different countries, they all have that silly top notch! God’s sense of humour…must have become tired of dreaming up yet another difference.

    1. Yes, Aunt Amy. The child is bound to be lucky with so many blessings from across the world, so much to see and learn from people from different cultures! Such fun. I am already excited. Just hope the kid doesn’t turn out to be an iPad freak…

      Preparing… I am currently petrified. Of the process of helping the baby arrive. Lord.

      I like the way you looked at all the Woodies of the world. That’s an interesting explanation!

      1. Priya, I hope you are able to take one step at a time. Am I being a nuisance when I suggest, with all the love I feel for you, to just concern yourself with what is in front of you today?

        What am I saying? I’ve never been pregnant and have no concept of child birth. Just ignore my comments about dealing with one of life’s most incredible miracles – except to remember that I feel such tenderness toward you as you go through this.

        โ™ฅ โ™ฅ โ™ฅ

        1. It is strange when I think of it — the concept of one step at a time. I like to believe that I am, actually, taking one step at a time, and living in the moment. But perhaps I am not. But how does one accomplish it, really? I don’t dwell in the future, I am quite sure of that. But sometimes, when I think of what is to come, I can’t help but imagine it all… ๐Ÿ˜‰ And that makes me whinge. Perhaps I should just concentrate on the good things like, “ooh, the babe’s kickin’!” ๐Ÿ™‚ That warms me up.

          It never was necessary to experience a thing to understand what it implies, Amy. As long as one is a sensible, sensitive person, one can at least comprehend the enormity of an event. Thank you for taking interest in mine! You must be a great aunt to your existing nephews and nieces. And the one that’s about to come is a lucky one indeed to have your blessings.

  14. I’m really envious of you right now, Priya! You’re going to be a mother!!! And being 19, I know it makes no sense but…. but… I… ummm… I want to have kids too!!! There I said it.
    Maybe it’s the lack of a little sibling or some weird hormonal imbalance or whatever, but little, cute, cuddly babies have always been one of my favorite things in the world! Until they grow up, of course.

    I hope you have loads of fun with yours! Even after he/she grows up. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes, I’d like to have fun my child even after he/she grows up. And if I do, I am going to remember you and know that your wish reached the right ears. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      When I was your age, I dreamt of marriage and kids and a happy home. Career, world, profession, none of these mattered. I’ve been able to trudge along the path without fully making a concerted effort. I am pretty sure you will get what you desire. Just have faith.

  15. Thank you for taking us along on the walk with your parents, Priya. Your pictures are wonderful, even the shot of the bird’s butt. (That made me giggle.) The bird on the wire with the vine or wire looping around each wire reminds me of a piece of music. I quite like it.

    I also like the public mention of the little one you are expecting. The baton is being passed to a well-equipped and beautiful person. Congratulations. Looking forward to June.

    1. You are kind, Lenore.

      I am so happy you noticed the bird’s butt. I was lamenting at a lost treasure before you told me that the photo didn’t go wasted. ๐Ÿ™‚

      What piece of music does that picture remind you of? Or is it any musical thing?

  16. Oh, Priya, your photography is truly amazing and I simply adore the pics of the birds…magnificence personified! Thank you for sharing this beauty.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. congratttttsss priya …am so happy and thrilled for you… waiting for june:))love the photographs and narration…funny but last morning,i went bird shooting down the beach road and what a treat..herons,kingfishers,orioles etc etc…still finding their names…will post soon…come to goa soon…we can take a bird walk:)

    1. That’s one invitation I am willing to take right at this moment. Oh I love Goa! And then a bird walk around the ocean? It is heaven in its own right! Have you shifted bag and baggage to Goa?

      Thanks for your wishes. I am sure June is going to arrive even before we know it. At least for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. yup..bag and baggage and plants…full fauji shifting has happened…wonder how our parents did it every few years..phew…and settling in has taken longer than i thought but now slowly the pieces are fitting together and life will be back to normal..me thinks:)) for now am loving the fact that nature is at one’s doorstep…not that it wasn’t in mumbai…just one has more time here to stop and watch…come come…its all ready getting hot but the mornings and evenings are delicious…so if u want to treat yourself before the baby comes..now is the time:)

  18. You must be living in a pretty awesome place… The max I can see here are crows, sparrows, yeah, squirrels too, but that doesn’t count, does it? ๐Ÿ˜€ I wonder if there are any more birds in Chennai at all ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    PS. Congrats on the new status ๐Ÿ™‚ Does it mean we would be seeing you less post June? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    1. Squirrels count, too. Even if they’re not birds. But I am sure Chennai has a host of birds and animals, too. They must be hiding away in the trees! Wherever they are, that is! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      P.S. Oh, that’s a difficult question to answer! I might suddenly be taken over by craziness and post every few hours, too. Post things like hideous photographs of the sleepless me, etc. We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess. ๐Ÿ˜€ Do keep visiting, though. I’d appreciate that, especially at times when I feel helplessly grumpy and murderous.

      1. “Especially when you feel grumpy and murderous” – now, now that’s quite inviting ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜› Will do the honour…

  19. Priya this walk with your parents was an absolute joy…not just for the beauties on the way…but the unspoken joy…love…and pride in every step of this post…and lastly but not the least of which is the wonderful news of the baby…what a total joy! I am so very happy for you Priya…this is going to be the journey of a lifetime in the most wonderful sense of the words…the prayer is for good health…joy…love…ease…and laughter now and…always….Amen!

    I love what Rosie said about the blogging fraternity and a blogging baby ๐Ÿ™‚
    Stay well…stay happy and…Enjoy Priya…

    God bless…

    1. Thank you ever so much for your sweet and kind words and wishes, Shama. It is a joy unrivaled to know that friends from afar are blessing our unborn one. Bhartan and I are really very lucky. Thank you again.

  20. Yes, the baton is about to be passed. I know your child will appreciate the wonders of nature, or at least will have countless opportunities to do so. Meanwhile, please keep sharing your delicious words and photographs with the rest of us — and stay off those electricity poles!

  21. Priya, it has been long indeed since I last visited your page. As always, I’m glad that I did. What wonderful photographs! And words! And most of all—what wonderful news, Priya—you’ll be an incredible mother.

    1. It’s been indeed long, Damyanti. And it’s always a pleasure to see you here.

      Thank you ever so much for the visit and the lovely words! I hope to see more often. Keep writing, you make this world a better place with it!

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