Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some rumination

In my humble opinion, Nature watching and appreciating can be likened to worshipping God, as God created Nature. I used to think of this as a cliche, but, over the last several months, I have come to sincerely believe that God created us, intellectual beings, so that we could admire His handiwork and praise Him for his craft. 

Although I haven't travelled far and wide to seek Him through Nature watching, whatever experiences I have had have reinforced this truth in my heart. In these past months, I have seen, and most times, captured on camera, nearly 300 to 400 of His creations; I am just giving a rough idea of the variety that exists in Nature that is discernible even to a lowly traveller like me. Off-hand, I would say that this sample may not account for even 0.01% of His bounty. However, to see the myriad species of trees, flowers, non-flowering plants, insects, birds, mammals, and what not - the mind boggles at the thought that after 8-9 months of serious Nature watching, I am almost near where I started. Maybe I might have shifted just a little, but I have a lot more to see in this big, wide world of ours, and what I have achieved so far is so little, and yet, so significant!

My pediatric practice continues as before, but come the weekend, and my heart urges me to leave the work place and go somewhere, anywhere where there is a chance to see Mother Nature in all its glory. I often reach home in the afternoon and, without lunch, I pick up my camera and rush to go either to the local zoo, which is less than 2 km away from where I stay, or somewhere within 5-6 km radius where I am likely to see some greenery/life.

My portfolio of photographs has grown, and how! I have more than 500 photos now, and they are on my computer's hard disk, some located within folders describing one particular trip, and some within folders for one particular type of living thing - e.g. a folder on insects. I have begun to display these photos on Facebook, on this blog, and also published some on external sites on invitation (check out my article on Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Park, Thane, on this site).

The surprise is that although my younger daughter does accompany me on many of these outings that I go to, she hasn't, as yet, developed any keen interest in Nature watching. It is obvious from my wording that neither my wife nor my elder daughter are in the least interested in this hobby or passion that I have nurtured.

Diwali was today, and I was standing outside my bedroom and watching the terraced garden that graces the view when I heard the typical call of the white-throated fantail - a bird that has a fan-like tail, and a song that is beautiful to hear and so soothing! I looked in the vegetation, and sure enough, there was the bird, flitting from one shrub to another, pausing only a while to sing that melodious nine-toned song once again.

And then, the unthinkable happened. Someone lighted a chain-fire cracker just below my house, and with the staccato sound of the cracker, the bird flew away, never to again return to the same shrubs for the rest of the morning. 

This is what really pains me: humans never think of the collateral damage they produce when they pursue something so inane as bursting crackers on this occasion. Think of the damage caused to birds on the kite-flying day, on Holi, and on the several such festival days throughout the year.

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