Friday, March 4, 2016

PHOTOS & RELAXATION

Sometimes I am in a mood to do nothing but while away my time and then I am unable to come up with a good daydream to elaborate and fantasize!

At those times, I start looking at photos on Google to engage myself . The photos which Google throws up which keep me relaxed or happily engaged include photos when I google the words Mughal jewelry, cats, kittens, sea glass, sea glass jewelry, sea-brick and sea brick art, antiques, antique furniture, recycled (I fill in anything which pops into my mind after the word recycled when I google,,,words  like  tires, cococola tin, typewriters, slippers, etc)

Looking at the pictures puts me in a different frame of mind...I am able to stop thinking about current happenings in my life and simply enjoy gazing at the photos. My mind is as blank as it can be and stops during those moment to  heed any current worries. I am able to look at the pictures with peace and without any 'excitable' emotions.



And of all these photos, the ones which I am really entranced with is the photos of the weaverbird's nests(Baya). I have loved the weaver bird's nests ever since I saw them for the first time, as a child, when walking through fields from one village to another. I still remember how excited and amazed I was to see those nests, so perfect and so beautiful and unlike any nest I had ever seen before. Of course, I wanted one immediately; and of course, they were out of reach of any human hands as they were up in trees or hanging from the walls of wells!  After a few years I did get two  of these nests from a tree which had been cut down and took them to my home in Bangalore. I kept them safe. Once in a while, for several years, I would take them out and gaze at them. Even as an adult, I continued the ritual of  taking the nest, looking at it, feeling it.

I could not get the nests to Canada and I really miss them. I cannot fully explain the emotions & thoughts which go through my brain, as I gaze at these nests.  It is not one of excitement or extreme joy or anything so dramatic. I suppose what I feel can be described as feeling mellow, calm, relaxed, at peace. I would get the same feelings when I would look at my seashell collection in childhood. I am sure all those  kids who collect seashells and have a bunch of their favorite toys get these very same feelings.
Why do weaverbird nests have such an effect on me? I can think of a few possible reasons. One. These nests are so perfect and beautiful and NOT man-made ! Instead it's a beautiful work of art, woven by birds.  Tell me who doesn't like a natural thing which is so perfect, beautiful and natural, NOT artificial? The most amazing thing for me is that this bird does not have hands and fingers like us, yet it builds such wonderful  nests. Two. I love the upside down nests hanging from branches, swaying in the winds and the bird diving into the nest  through the tunnel at the bottom of the nest. The nests feel  slightly bouncy where the straw is the thickest; the entrance is a long dark fibrous tunnel woven of straw and there is a small pocket inside for the eggs. The bottom of this pocket is lined with stuff to make it soft. It is such a great simple piece of architecture! I adore the shape of the nests and of all the other species bird-nests I have seen, the weaver's is the most beautiful and perfect looking. Three. I love the colony feel I get as there are several of these  nests in a single tree.  Mornings and evenings, one can hear them and it sounds like a social club of gossiping birds. I enjoyed seeing these yellow birds sitting on the outer surface of the nests as they swayed in the wind. I enjoyed watching the green nest turn straw-yellow over the passage of days,  as the green grass  the bird built the nest with, dry and change colour over time.
 II was the only one in my class who had not only seen but also owned a couple of these nests and I felt so proud to take them to school and show them off to my class mates! Children these days seem to have tons of stuff...toys, books, clothes, bike,video games,  DVDs, CDs, and so on. Compared to homes today, my childhood home was bare and the things we had as kids was almost nil. Ergo, it was such a joy for me to own this nest, a thing of nature and so unique and none of my friends had ! The nearest to my nests the other kids had were peacock feathers and seashells... but then lots of other kids had them too.... there was nothing unique about their feathers and shells. Some kids had amazing seashells, but they were bought in shops by their parents and to me buying shells  is not as wonderful as finding them. You know what I mean???


A weaver bird's nest conjures up for me, the vision of a  sunny day in the countryside, with rice fields, coconut  and other trees with birds & their nests in the trees, quietness all around except for birds, distant sound of buses and farm folk talking...and me sitting under a shady tree with a book.




I hope I get a pair of abandoned weaverbird nests the next time I visit India. ( I wouldn't dream of taking a nest from a tree in case it's in use). I would hang it in my bedroom...as I am here most of  the time, when at home. I would gaze at it and transport  to my own inner world of blank peace. Maybe I would paint a tree on the wall with leaves, branches and birds and then hang this nest on the wall.... Don't know if this would look tacky or great but what the hell!
In case you are wondering, why two nests...there are two types, one completed and one incomplete and both look amazing. I thought the incomplete nests were the nests of male birds and then I discovered on the internet that a male build many nests to attract many females and  he seems to abandon  many without completing; the completed nest is for the female who he finally mates with and the future  eggs & chicks.

My family didn't own a camera in my childhood; even if we had, I doubt if my dad would let me even touch it or 'waste the film reel' taking photos of  birds and birds nests. So I don't own any photos of the weaver bird or the weaver bird nests. Now  I have a camera, but I have not visited my village   nor have I seen a weaver bird in the places I did visit. I hope that one day I will  have the joy of photographing my favorite nest &  the birds who build them.


...............I wonder if the 'time' at which I compose my articles  and the content of my articles  reflects my 'moods'? I wonder if I write sad-angry stuff in winter and my articles are less bitter-angry when  composed in spring and summer.
Do I have a bit of SAD? Seasonal affective disorder...I wrote this weaverbirds thing today March 4th as it's nearing spring; I wrote another happyish sort of thing a few days ago. But what I write in winter was angyrish-bitter i.e. the stuff on cultural pathology of India.




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