We were just chatting, mulling things over –
falling bird populations and their lovers,
the erosion of earth, secular values,
the policing of garments but not the shoes.
The hair, the torso and their approved covers.
All around us, the entire city was loud –
the traffic, the politics, even the clouds.
Many had forgotten how to coexist
with their neighbours, voted in jingoists,
ignored the rights the constitution allowed.
The voiceless are always sidelined and othered
whether human beings or a plain looking bird.
It’s been years since you’ve looked at those on the fringe
or thought about them, shifted even an inch,
nor turned down the volume so they could be heard.
Only the rich and resplendent are prized.
The ordinary’s always marginalised.
We sighed, fell quiet as old friends often do,
by and by the silence was pierced by a coo.
Some find a song even when they’re compromised.
I wondered aloud if that was a good thing? -
bird populations going down singing?
My friend stared and said, ‘not even a slim chance!’
But the universe does find its own balance,
with or without men and their petty failings.
It's been the usual crazy out here. Just scooting in to post this and scooting right out again. If the gadget on the sidebar shows the number of posts in any month being less than the regulation requirement of four - that gives me the heebie jeebies. It's super strange that I should be able to post through the most monumental, hectic life changes and then suddenly can't because well, I've come back home now, all the travelling and relocations finally done and dusted. It happens only in India! :)
I was part (albeit the silent, listening part) of a conversation centred around falling bird populations, which an elderly Calcuttan was lamenting. Both this post and the last one came out of that. That and the non-stop churn of the fake news machines and the whatsappisms.
Birds are not only birds of course. They are harbingers of hope, they are ill omens of death too. They are symbols of wisdom and peace as well as greed and evil, their nests are used for marketing models as well as the most beautiful metaphors for home and women's eyes. They are part of our mythology and idioms and slang, and life in general, in overarching ways. It boggles my mind to think of losing them, or of any other, less resplendent species, or less resplendent populations of humans for that matter. Who decides what's the definition of resplendent anyway? Diversity is what makes the planet and the nations beautiful, inclusion is a necessary condition of survival, even of the most ordinary. Without the least resplendent, we all wither and disappear.
Have a brilliant week.