Photography is a new-found hobby for me. I owe it to two friends who helped me buy a Cannon ‘point and shoot’ camera at a discounted price one and half years ago.
Since then I have looked for photo-worthy things and clicked them. Of all things I find nature most interesting to photograph.
And of all things natural I find birds most fascinating to capture.
While with other gifts of nature there are swathes of monotonous sameness in their looks, personalities, habitations and food habits - one type of bird is always refreshingly different from another on various counts.
It isn’t easy to find good avian variety in cities, though. Their numbers are dwindling steadily due to pollution and expanding concrete jungles.
But, despite the shrinking population, there is no dearth of the bird I find most intriguing – the crow. The crow is most clever of all birds.
With its wit and flair for improvisation, the crow somehow manages to outwit other birds and grab its morsel.
The crow is aggressive but clever enough to know who to pick up a shindy with. It never engages itself in a full-scale battle with a big kite; instead, it descends, hits the kite with its claws and goes.
While with its measured aggression it holds its own among biggies like kites, its pedestrian appeal finds it a place among harmless and unassuming birds like pigeons and sparrows.
A crow rules in a flock and also is effective enough alone.
Another virtue of this bird is its observation. The crow almost always manages to spot its food – be it a scuttling mouse or a piece of bread – and once the prey has been spotted, it seldom fails to savour it.
And doesn’t the crow look elegant while gliding from one windowsill to another?
PS: What drew my attention to the crow is an interview by RK Laxman, the famous Times of India cartoonist, on his recently published biography. In the interview, Laxman likened the crow with the “common man” of his cartoons.
For the uninitiated reader, RK Laxman is an Indian cartoonist who is famous for his satirical takes on Indian politics and the “common man” is a theme that runs across almost all of Laxman’s cartoons: while the political dramas play themselves out, the common man stands by and observes. The common man is a silent observer in a noisy democracy.
The crow, Laxman says, has the qualities of the common man in that the bird is witty and is a survivor.