Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Birds of Orchard

Yesterday, after a very long time, I found myself at Orchard Road. I was alone, walking from Center Point to Orchard MRT, taking in the sights and sounds of Singapore's main shopping street, decked up like a bride for the festive season. The main street had blue and white lights strung overhead every few meters and the shopping malls had their own golden colored lights. Though it was drizzling, there were people everywhere, some families with kids posing for pictures, some teens laughing loudly as only teens do for reasons known only to them, and some old couples trudging along. Traffic was heavy and as usual noisy.

Amid all this, I became aware of a noise rising above all the human-made noises -literally. Above my head, on the tall trees lining the street, were thousands (had to be thousands) of birds chirping away, calling in the end of their day. The noise was deafening, drowning even the sound of traffic. Hear for yourself.

Who were they calling? Their partners? Kids? Or their friends? What were they saying? Goodnight friends goodnight friends? Or come here come here I have a good spot here? Why was Singapore's brightest and busiest high- (and low-) fashion street their home and not the nearby Botanic Gardens? Why do these birds continue to bless us preoccupied and indifferent creatures with their presence, adapting kindly to the pollution, lights and noise we can't stop making?

I really would like to know.


  1. Thanks for the video to remind me of our trips to Orchard road during Christmas. How they all wore funny hats with lights, or horns. Viking or Santa Claus. Yes the birds are strange. Perhaps they call out to their family and friends to show the mad human beings making so much of ruckus. You know Puja the Chandigarh railway station has myriads of mainas on tne railings of the tin roof. They also make so much of noise that it is sometimes difficult to hear the announcements of arriving trains. Next time I will remember to take a video and send it to you.

  2. Mom I was thinking of you as I walked down the road. How crowded it was that Christmas eve a year ago. And how naughty Aloka was touching people's back and giggling (two years back?). I was also reminded of he was shocked to see Orchard road during his first visit...he was expecting to see fruit trees in an orchard!