My life in Bangalore revolves around my balcony. It seems to be the only place I can relate to in the city. Of late, I prefer to shut myself up in this ivory tower and observe life as it happens here. The need to socialise, to indulge in polite conversation has gone and I am perfectly happy to be a recluse, connecting only with those that matter. In a larger context, the balcony has become my metaphor for Bangalore and I am happy and contend with it. I have no interest or willingness to explore a facet of the city beyond this boundary except maybe the park and the lake sometimes .
Today however the balcony is very silent. The oppressive heat has driven the birds away, including a pair of oriental white eyes who have been tirelessly building a nest for the last few days. These little green birds with a white ring around the eye came chirping in rather loudly sometime last week. I was watching them, pretty excited as they kept calling repeatedly to each other; communicating in their birdie tongue. And then I saw one of them with a nesting material in its pretty beak. Soon a bush started shaking rather violently as the birds started working very hard, building a little hammock like nest between the forked branches. I watched them from afar but even a slight movement would send them flying them away and so, I decided to leave them alone. They were a regular for the last few days, but today, they haven't come in. Maybe, one of the birds did not like their new home or their owners or that they just wanted a break from the hard work. I hope they havent abandoned their new home. Perhaps, its the pigeons that made them feel unwelcome or maybe the black kite that keeps hovering here all the time.
A little further away on the neighbour's terrace is the bathing beauty dipping its head in a little puddle of water all the time. A few days ago, the black kite was sitting on the parapet holding a prey in his claws. The crows flanked him accosting them, cawing continuously as the kite tried to maintain its balance . It called too, a more piteous cry and in scooped a hero, another black kite to the rescue. Our birdie flew away simultaneously to a quiet corner to enjoy his breakfast, while the hero shooed the crows away and waited for a while on his perch. In a few seconds the drama was over and the black kite flew away in the opposite direction . There was no quid pro quo between the two black kites - no deal or thanks ; probably not even a question of sharing the breakfast. They just flew in different directions. Perhaps they will catch up later in the evening for a quick chat or would just fly their separate ways..Yet they were around when one of their species needed them..
This set me thinking. As humans we are very rarely there for another, be it family or friends, as we have our own lives to think of. And when we are there, we often expect something in return - a sense of obligation, a gratitude or even barter .. Is that what separates us from the birds ? And we call ourselves more evolved as a species..just wondering..