Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Little Bird that flew in to change the Sunday...

First of all everyone at home is happy that little Pranay is back after a month's stay at the hospital. How nice to see the little fellow back where he belonged. He is under so much close attention now, more than ever before.

Before we planned to go and visit him I han an unlikely visitor at home. From the window beside which I work most of the time I listen many a time to the sound of the birds, sparrows, and others I don't know but am' very curious. Such sweet sounds only God can create. There is one very tiny bird I see very often. As small as the bee-humming bird but maybe a shade bigger. Has a slightly longer and pointed beak and makes very sweet sounds. Very fast reflexes it can detect even a small movement. You need to be very still if you are watching them. On Sunday morning after cleaning my Dell Computer I go back to my room and I am surprised to see the tiny one on the grill of the window and making its familiar call. I instantly notice that it is unable to get out of the room. It wasn't flying very well and kept falling to the floor. I quickly slided the window to prevent him from going out of the window. Like the fly it kept hitting and banging frantically against the glass window trying to get out it but in vain. Chaithu, sleeping until then woke up saying he had been hearing the bird for a long time. I closed the door and tried to get Jaya and Chaithu to help me catch the bird. I realised it wasn't able to fly very well. With some difficultly I finally managed to catch it and put it in a pan (that's the best cage I could manage). Luckily the pan had a glass lid and a hole in that lid just enough to let air inside. It was still trying to fly out maybe again mistaking the glass lid for open space. I rushed to mother's place hoping I would be helped by them. Suji, my sister made a nice cage using some well ventilated plastic baskets. I was both angry and irritated that no one was feeling for the bird as much as I did. I was just too fanatical. We brought the bird back home. Sometimes it would just stop trying to fly out and it would just sit there. Meanwhile it looks as though its parents had heard its call and they were flying outside the window. I would place the basked in the balcony to attract them and the sounds made by the chick (which I had realised by then) and its parents seemed conversational. I also noticed it swallowed two mustard seeds I had put inside the basket. After a while it would desperately go for the openings in the basket. What tenacity! I just couldn't help admiring the little one, making its calls and trying to fly out.

After lunch I decided I would take it to the Blue Cross just a 10 minute ride on my scooter where I had already called saying I would be bringing in the little bird. As Chaithu and Jaya accompanied me and the little one I couldn't help watching the parents circle the place a zillion times, jumping from tree branch to tree branch. There were predators around (crows, how much I despise them for this, although they are treated sacred by us Hindus) and I knew the chick would be a "sitting duck" for them. The ride to Blue Cross was slow but the little one kept squeaking all the way.

Blue Cross was a mini zoo. It was my first visit and I was both impressed and amazed. There were noises from the cages from all over the place. The place itself pretty huge and laid out quite well. There were people taking care of the animals even on a Sunday. At the emergency clinic doctors were attending to an injured dog. From one enclosure you could hear scary and wailing cries from dogs. I was told these were the most frightened and abused ones. I didn't want to go there. There were visitors feeding some of the animals. Paranoid of the dogs and all the screams Jaya stayed behind while I and Chithu headed for the office moving cautiously but without fear among the dozens of stray dogs that were lying around the office. After being assured that the little bird would be put in a large cage we were lead to the aviary atop a flight of stairs to a building at the rear of the compound. There were about 50 or more pigeons being fed. Two injured parrots were in a huge enclose where they had sufficient room to fly. The lady (she had scars on her hands) who took our little cage let the bird out in a cage large enough for it to fly. The little one immediately took flight and started perching on the bars of the cage but it wasn't frantically trying to get out. But the poor infrastructure and callousness of the center were soon to be exposed.

Just after a short while I couldn't see the tiny bird in the cage. Where did it go? To my surprise I see it at the bottom of the cage where I guess it had dropped without having the strength to fly. But even worse there was a gaping hole at the bottom where the soldered cage had given way. What a shame I didn't see it. By the time I alerted (almost screamed) to the ladies who where standing there it had slipped through it and flown away into the open. I was surprised it could fly so well. It was still making calls frantically as if searching for its parents. I was sad and shocked. It took a while for the inattentive ladies to ascertain as to what had happened. I and Chaithu ran down the steps of the building to a nearby tree from where I could still hear the bird but couldn't locate it. The lady who attended to us was joined by a man now and they too were trying to locate the bird from the constant cries. Chaithu was the one who located it perched on a branch nearby. I wondered why none of the adults could locate it. The bird was calling incessantly. I was so sad that it was trying to call its parents. Was it hungry? I saw it swallowing a mustard or two I threw in the basket, but I wasn't sure that was its food. The man tried to climb the tree but the disturbance frightened the little one who flew away into another tree, this time much farther away never to be seen again. I felt hopeless that I had displaced the little chick afterall. Would it starve to death? Would it become prey to some predator in the night like the owl? If only I had let it out when its parents were circling our area. But then it was hardly able to fly and now it flies so well. We could still hear it calling and it was getting all so painful but we couldn't do anything. All the comforting of the staff that it would survive fell on my deaf ears.

I left Blue Cross bereft of something so dear to me. Back at home the parent birds were still flying around the trees and the building searching and calling for their little one and I could never forgive myself for what I did. I should have atleast caged the bird, fed it and then let it out when it was well and much stronger. Spending hours later on the internet I discovered it was a "Prinia" a type of bird that belong to the "Wabler" group.

I see adult birds now and then and can instantly recognize the call of these birds but I keep wondering what had happened to that little one that flew in on that Sunday morning.

Kiruba's Kind Gesture

When something as magnanimous as what Kiruba Shankar reported on his blog happens it is hard to ignore. KS's neighbour, a youngster studying in an engineering college here in Chennai had a bad fall from a building and is currently in Appollo Hospitals where he is almost paralysed from his waist below. Kiruba spreads the news of his condition on his blog and instantly help flows in. Engineering students at SRM college who heard the news of his condition from a friend pool in money and raise over a Lakh of rupees. It is just incredible what the power of the blog and a big heart can do. Complete with pics, read all about it at at

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Iron Maiden in India

The news of Iron Maiden to play in Bangalore from David's site was quite a stunner. Must have been the sweetest thing to read for Maiden fans. Yes! the Heavy Metal Rockers are going to play on March 17'th at Palace Grounds, Bangalore. It brings to me fond memories of college times in the 80's when T.P, my friend at I.I.T Madras and big IM fan used to play me songs such as "Halloween be thy name" and "Seventh son of a Seventh son". Though I am not a big fan of the band I consider "Alexander the Great" from their "Somewhere in Time" album, one of the greatest (maybe even the greatest) heavy metal songs. I am sure it is going to be a loud concert, louder than Deep Purple's but I will not be making it. I have watched Iron Maiden live on video and certainly I don't think I could take their music for two plus hours or more. However I am sure tonnes of heavy metal fans are going to turn up and so must you if you are a heavy meatal fan or better still if you a Iron Maiden fan.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What another great concert!

A respite from the agony of several things going on (my brother's hospitalized sick child, the death of pet dog after it was run over in an accident, my uncle's first death anniversary) last Saturday offered relief in the form of a fusion concert. On the Thursday before, only God knows how I had sped on my scooter to the Narada Gana Sabha to get free tickets for the Ganesh/Kumaresh concert. I spread the word around and my ex-company friends did not have difficulty getting their free passes too and what a great show. I wouldn't say the audio was as good as their previous "ticketed" show but it was certainly good for a free concert. For my friends (Sathya, Anand, Kandan and Marudhu from my ex-company) I am sure they are convinced a much better drummer than Sivamani really exists in the form of Arun Kumar. After the concert when I met Arun he recognized me from my previous visit. I gave him a small card with details of my articles I had written about him on my blogs. I gave similar cards to Ganesh too. Arun gave me his visiting card but he hasn't responded to my e-mail yet. I did mention to Keith about my friend bassist friend Ebenezer Deepak too. I regret I didn't call Ebey to the show. I also felt stupid later why I didn't purchase the CD and get it autographed by the musicians Ganesh and Kumaresh, Keith Peters and Arun. Some of the compositions were soul-uplifting. I am happy A.R.Rehman who released the CD and who presented the first copy to Vikku Vinayakram was present for one of those beautiful compositions. No wonder he said later in his speech that one of the reasons for his staying in Chennai was because Ganesh and Kumaresh were here too. As usual Keith and Arun never disappointed and with their solo's received repeated applause and cheers from the audience. Whoever made it to the concert received their time's worth. Though it was a CD-promotional concert it was as good as their previous performance.

My little one enjoyed it too. It was actually his first concert. After dinner at Kabul, located just across Narada Gana Sabha I was only wondering if the concert and the going out was a coincidence on my 10'th wedding anniversary that I had hardly mentioned to anyone, not even on the day after, on Sunday, at John Prabhakar's wedding reception.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

January, 2007, the month that was

Although I still look forward to the rest of the year as one of my most important years in my career January has had its bitter and traumatic moments. First the death of my ex-colleague's wife. She was only 31. It was a shock to all of us. I didn't know I had to be meeting my friends of my ex-company at such a tragic occassion. I cannot say how many times the phrase "Forgiveness in the face of Death" has crossed my mind in those days. Death makes everything seem in this life so silly and ephermal. The very next day my nephew fell ill and continues to languish in a hospital in Chennai with a heart condition. The only saving grace was Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba's visit to Chennai. I, Suji and mother were blessed to have a "darshan" of him and better still a closer "darshan" from just a few feet as he passed us in his car.

Today Ganesh-Kumaresh are giving their concert that I am looking forward to very much. I had been to the duo's previsous fusion concert which was one of the best I had ever been to and this one should only be better. Inspite of all the happenings only God knows how I rushed on Thursday morning to Narada Gana Sabha to get my tickets. A.R Rehman (that's the Malayalee spelling) and Vikku Vinayakram will be inaugurating their new CD the occassion must serve as a getaway from the bitter moments of January.