Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Woman Who Stares at Birds



He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. – Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil 
 
While the first part of this aphorism, perhaps, is a caution to activists of all manner and fashion, it is the second part that I can attest to. For I have stared long at birds, and the birds have stared back at me. Though in 99% of the cases it is the birds that have noti
ced me first, what with me being nothing but a clumsy ape.

In the process I am most certain we have gazed a bit into each other too.

I can almost see the question form on your lips, “And what have you learnt?” I could counter with a question of my own, “Does every life experience need to end in a lesson learnt?” For if we gaze, howsoever briefly, into the human world learning– as in acquiring knowledge or skills– wouldn’t be our shining beacon. Though for a bird acquiring knowledge and skill is often a matter of life and death.

But staring at birds has made me realize a few things about birds and about humans. Birds aren’t indomitable. Their life too is all about struggle and adaptation. No less than the life of any human. Their songs may appear to be joyous and rapturous, even effortless, but like any artist they are almost killing themselves to produce beauty: Pouring huge amounts of energy and a collection of past experience of generations to distill a few notes of sheer brilliance.

If we could suspend our arrogance, our sense of superiority, for just an instance then perhaps happiness would not be a pursuit. Nor the end point of all our pursuits.

The Birds: Painted Stork, Purple Sunbird and a very wet House Sparrow.

Also would like to add that the facebook page will feature more photography while the blog will feature longer writing pieces.

4 comments:

Radhika Bhargava said...

beautifully written ....loved it!!!

Anvita Lakhera said...

Thank you :)

VARUN SHARMA said...

Beautifully captured the actions.


Dear Madam, I need a favour to know the location in which part of India.

Anvita Lakhera said...

Varun, House Sparrows and Purple Sunbirds are common birds of India, found almost all over the country. The Painted Stork is seen in much of India during winter.