Wednesday, December 26, 2018

This is also Me

When I think about people
in my life
That have caused me pain
Uncalled-for, excruciating pain...
Somewhere deep inside I know
There is no point wishing them away,
This life is wholly mine
And this pain is also me.

When I think about the loveless life
I led for years
Starting way back, even before 
I could form memories...
Somewhere deep inside I know 
There is no point in complaining,
This life is wholly mine
And this lack is also me. 

When the mountain glow makes my heart aglow
When wild cherry blossoms make my heart bloom
When clouds fill my mind with secret stories
When my kids take wings and I can't stop flying
When a friend's hug suddenly makes me weightless
When a look of love makes me believe I am lovable...
I will remember that my life is fully mine,
And this is also me, this is also me. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Grand Kainth Theft!

In and around our village, there are a number of wild pear trees. In local language, wild pear is called kainth. These trees turn the valley pink and white in spring, and are a delight to the eyes. We drive around the valley in March and April just to ooh and aah at their lovely blossoms. Their small round fruits ripen in early winter. I have sampled some in my jaunts to the nearby mountains and villages with Sonu. The ones that are fully ripe are sweet, though gritty. The ones that are not yet ripe are quite distasteful.  

Image result for red billed blue magpieIt is not just us humans that prefer the ripe fruits. They are a favorite of birds of all kinds and much sought after. But there is one species of birds that is quite obsessed with kainth- the red-billed blue magpies, called lumb-puchhri or the long-tailed one in local language. These large long-tailed birds are somewhat pretty to look at, but as I learned over the years, are considered quite a nuisance by the farmers. They belong to the crow family, and much like crows, are surprisingly intelligent. 

Rather than compete with other birds for ripe kainth fruits, lumb-puchhris pick the fruits from the trees when they are still unripe and hide them in bushes or in mud in hidden corners, only to dig them out a few days later to enjoy their sweetness. Sometimes, they even hide the already ripened fruits so that they can relish them later. Delayed gratification! Dog in the manger? 

In November and December, you can see these birds flying with two or three fruits in their beaks, sometimes even entire branches, hiding them and then going back for some more.

Kainth Chors (pear thieves)- that's what I call them!

Over the years, I have seen this spectacle quite a few times from close quarters, while sipping tea at my friend's balcony. The wild pear tree in her front-yard is a popular target of  fruit theft by a pair of lumb-puchhris. Their hiding places for hiding/ripening these fruits is a large flower pot nearby, which is usually full of flowers. The birds expertly press some fruits into the soft mud in the pot and hide others inside the flowers and leaves. They then return a few days later and savour their goodies with much delight. 

But last November, there was much confusion and cacophony near their favorite hiding place. The birds were hopping around and screeching. They had dug up the flower pot and moved the bushes around several times, but there was no sign of their sweet treasure. The birds were hopping mad, literally and figuratively, and rightfully so! The thieves had been robbed of their loot!

The lady of the house, a quiet homebody, sat smugly on her balcony and watched the drama. There was a faint smile on her face, made sweeter by all the kainth fruits she had consumed over the last couple of days!

Note: All but the last picture are taken from the Internet. Copyright others'.The last picture is of Sonika's mother. Copyright and every other right- hers!