Four Forbidden Words

The husband was smitten. Enraptured is more like it. There’s nothing that occupies his mind in the mornings and afternoons and nights. When vacations were still a thing, this was the only thing he cared about. He fell in love with birds and bird watching. And bird photography and cataloging species. And bird whatsapp groups and bird photo tweeters. And bird chirps and seasons.

I started accepting it slowly and surely. Meanwhile, he started training my 9 year old, Ms.A. He took her on a few birding trips locally, before Covid -19 hit the world. The 4 year old didn’t want to feel left out. She’s quite the parrot, so she started quickly catching on the bird specie names and using them in sentences. Let me paint a picture of a typical morning in my house.

The husband and I are walking on a beautiful lovely-weather morning. As I am talking about, you know, important stuff, he either hears or sees a bird, that I can neither see nor hear, and veers off course. He even almost knocked me over once. Several times the walk is abandoned as he rushes up to the apartment to get his camera. Yes, a giant sized lens known as the telephoto lens. You’ll see these bird loving types carrying them around. They look like they’d weigh some 10-15 kilos!

Scene two. We are all relaxing at the dining area near the balcony. The 4 year old chirps ‘I am dreaming of Crag Martins’. The 9 year old settles down with the Birds of India book. “Papa (Hindi word for father) is so lucky he saw the Great Indian Bustard. There are only a few hundred in the world”. Most days the family will talk about all the birds we see around our place -red wattled lapwings, crag martins, grey bellied cuckoo, black headed ibis and so forth. Meanwhile the girl who helps out with my girls and the neighbour are also interested in bird photography. I began to feel left out.

And I found a book that explained how I felt! Here’s proof

One day the 4 year old had a play date and her friend came over. We were running between the kitchen utility and the balcony in the hall for a good view of the Black Kite. And her friend was amused at all the fuss. She said so what… ‘It’s just a bird!’ I am quite certain my heart stopped for a few seconds. Can someone even say such things? Do they know what our house is all about? I looked with pleading eyes, after all she’s a 5 year old ! What does she know, she’s just a kid, I told myself. The subconcious mind then made note of the fact that in our house, the four forbidden words are those … don’t ever say ‘It’s just a bird’ around me or my family members. WE.WILL.TAKE.IT.PERSONALLY. 😉

Close friends counsel me when I complain about being ignored by him. Grow some wings, they say. Stick a feather and walk around to see if he notices you. Practice some birding calls, another suggests. I am still pondering these suggestions…

Jokes apart, he’s real good at it. Check out some of his work… https://www.flickr.com/photos/randomsubjects/