Saturday, January 11, 2003
M A I N   F E A T U R E

 Singing the song of harmony
Roshni Johar

WHO says birds of a feather always flock together? They simply donít ! I gleaned this truth while gazing into a huge tree, towering higher than my fourth floor room in state-of-the-art Sir Gangaram Nursing Home, New Delhi.

Every morning as the day dawned, the mist rose to uncover a unique treescape where feathery creatures of various shades and sizes, had chosen to live and sing together. Tithari, munia, cuckoos, sparrows crows and humming birds had made their abode here. A fork of two branches held a big nest where an eagle would often swoop down with its large fanned-out wings. Squirrels darting up and down its great trunk, flitting butterflies and crawling ants along with other unfamiliar creatures formed a part of this tree-family.


A koel
with her majestic raagas unfailingly heralded the light of each day, her vocal chords being blessed by a music goddess. Iím curious what she says in her whistling songs. If only we could decode them! Some songster birds were nothing short of grand sopranos though all were lilting, each with its distinctive tune ní tone. The birds puffed to coo, go chirpy-chirp and tweety-too from dawn to late-dusk with a silent applause from me. Indeed it was a full throated bird-harmonic, rather a natureís orchestra ! If I were a ballerina, I would have danced with gay abandon, their melodies taking me to pinnacles of glory.

Iím certain that an audience if any, would have given them a standing ovation. This music still resounding in me, was the greatest balm, giving a soothing touch to my sick ní stressed body and mind in the nursing home.

One day the clear cobalt blue sky was suddenly overcast with dust-laden dark clouds. The tree swung in tempest before the storm. But the feathery folk sat safe and secure with their claws clung on the grand sireís strong bark. The tree furiously countered the storm.

Aai toofan, tune kya samjha, yeh ghonsle tinke hai jo bikhar jainge?

Meri tehniyon me to inka ashiana bassa hai.

Often a pair of pigeons with pink rubber-like legs, would perch themselves on my window sill. When I whispered, "Hello kabutar!í they flew away, obviously scared of prying human eyes. They came again, but at no fixed hours. Each time I spoke to them, they looked at me curiously perhaps thinking this patient from Shimla is a strange one.

Feeling reassured, their each visit was longer than their previous one.

Once a crow fell on the road, wounded or dead, I donít know. Suddenly hordes of crows swooped down shrilly crowing their concern. This is in sharp contrast to humans who donít care to stop to attend to injured or dying ones, due to fear of police/legal implications.

Tell me why... if birds of different feathers can live and sing together in one tree, then why canít we peacefully co-exist in our huge Indian sub-continent? And we the intelligent humans, protectors of trees and birds, are only tearing each other asunder, heading for a co-destruction. When will we learn to sing our song of harmony? Come stand at the window sill with me... to see this incredible paradise of songster birds.