Posted in Nature

My Neighbours: The Dragon

This lockdown has acquainted us with a lot of neighbours. Some of them have moved in, against government measures.

One of them is a Dragon with a forked tail and ability to change colours. What’s worse, she moved in with her entire family!

Meet Hariya, our resident dragon. She has a forked tail and ability to change colour from a soft pink to dark patchy commando-style grey in a flash.

Hariya in a soft pinkish grey girly look

Hariya in a soft pinkish grey girly look


Hariya in her commando assassin dress

Hariya in her commando assassin dress

Recently, when I saw several new additions to her family, I asked her to begin paying her share of rent. But then, I saw Hariya in action preying on larger insects (moths, grasshoppers, winged ants) and I realised the potential and made a deal with her.

Once she grows up to her optimal size, (Anybody knows what is optimal size of a dragon?) I can rent her out for hunting expeditions–a new form of danger sports. She can fly ahead as a scout (I hope she grows wings once she reaches her optimal size), catch animals for the people and roast them with the flames (I hope she develops that handy quality once she grows to her optimal size).

I know its a lot to hope for…

But, if done, it will be a hit for those seeking adventure. Imagine the demand! It can provide employment to her entire family, so that they can buy a house and not scrounge around for food…at least not their own food…

Any one game for it?

My daughter got inspired by the idea and built her statue for marketing once she reaches…

Posted in Nature

My Neighbours: The Legislators

We’ve been getting too many knocks on the windows during lockdown. This series is dedicated to these neighbours.

Ever met those black coats who gather in huge numbers to discuss important matters, dissent on everything, protest for everything, speak all at once for hours, and then go away without discussing anything worthwhile? The sharp eyes, the curt manner, the voice that doesn’t accept ‘No’ for an answer…

Around 40 Starlings (Myna) gather on neighbour's roof to discuss god-knows-what.

A Starling (Myna) stares sharply into the future.

Ever so often, they campaign for a cause. They knock on the door, squawk a curt greeting and cry “Vote, vote, vote” and hurry away before I can understand anything.

Not sure if they expect a reply. My voice won’t carry that far anyway.

Author’s note: I always believed Myna as uninteresting until I moved to Baghpat. For the first time, I noted the subtle differences between the various myna breeds that frequent the area. I don’t have decent shots of all types but here are a few.

Grey-coat Orange-eyed
Black-coat White-shirt Pied
Grey-coat Orange-shirt Brahmini
Posted in Nature

My Neighbour: The Make-belief Butterfly

Many of my neighbours having been calling in, in spite of the lockdown and strict government measures. This guy took it to another level.

It is one thing to ask for something to eat but raiding your neighbour’s fridge and locking yourself inside is plain rude, and stupid too. I found him inside the fridge. Too colourful–bright white background with red and green spots–so, I’m unsure if he’s a regular moth or her love-baby with a butterfly.

Since the little guy showed no intention to move his butt out of the new found haven, or may be his butt was frozen after a night’s orgy inside the fridge, I took him on my hands (he fretted a little but couldn’t fly away) and placed him on one of the walls that gets warmed by the sun.

There he stayed for another 7 hours and I saw his butt had moved a little.

Later in the night, he was gone. Either he got well and away, or Hariya, our resident lizard (a story for a different day) had a sumptuous snack. At least, someone had a good time.

Posted in Nature

My Neighbours: The Squabblers

During lockdown, our neighbours have been knocking on our windows for various reasons. This series is dedicated to them.

A squabbling Babbler--his partner is just out of camera view.
A squabbling Babbler–his partner is just out of camera view.

Recently, we got a visit from the Jungle Babblers–not sure about their names, since they never got around to introduce themselves.

One of them just knocked on the window at 6 am and, then, hopped back on the tree to argue with another Babbler. Or may be, they were just talking…Babblers can be pretty loud about their views and a simple-minded person like me can easily misjudge it as an argument.

Anyway, when I reached the window to check who it is, both of them looked pretty peeved…but then, Jungle Babblers always look peeved.

So, I felt rather uninvited in this heated discussion, which could be about anything–a fight among neighbours for the best branch rights (it is time to build nests), a lover’s quarrel over who will change diapers once the babies are delivered (Read The Delivery Guy to find out more), or a discussion about the weather.

But it was intense, because discussions are always intense among Babblers.

So, I stood there sleepy-eyed and waiting for niceties and for someone to explain why they woke me up. May be, they wanted someone to mediate but all I could hear was a lot of swearing in Babbl-ish (they have some really obscene words, like ‘crockacrockacrow’ and ‘cruuuckkrrrrr’). So, after 5 minutes, I finally gave up, left them to settle the ‘argument’ themselves…if it was one, and went back to sleep.

I think they felt insulted, since they haven’t visited me again. But, for once, I am not sorry. I don’t want my baby to grow up learning such foul language. Would you?

Posted in Nature

My Neighbours: The Peeping Jane

The Lockdown has got us better acquainted to our neighbours. A huge number of them have been knocking on our windows for various reasons. I decided to dedicate them a series.

The Peeping Jane
The Peeping Jane

A group of Sunbirds live in the neighbourhood. So far, they had been avoiding photoshoot. But the sudden disappearance of human kind got a couple of females curious (much like dear Harry’s Aunt Petunia) and they decided to check if we were extinct yet. Their eyes became large with shock when they found a whole family of survivors in our quarters.

Male Sunbird last spring when the humans roamed the planet freely
Male Sunbird last spring when the humans roamed the planet freely