A nesting pair of scaly-breasted munias intend to set up residence on my balcony. Not quiet birds these, they announced their intention with much gusto and chirping, and over the last few days, there has been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, grass being gathered and dropped, discussions on architecture and placements, doubtless. The picture I took of them was not good enough to show, so here is one from the relevant Wikipedia entry-
There are many on the campus who take wonderful photographs- of the flora and fauna, of the landscape built and unbuilt, and it would be good to display these talents more publicly. The 2015 UoH calendar will celebrate our wildlife, and hopefully inspire us once again to preserve and conserve it…
Over a year ago, before I moved onto campus, I had gone to see the (still uncompleted) house. On a sill upstairs, I found the perfect welcome- a nest with two perfectly placed eggs. That of a pied wagtail, as I later discovered- a proud home within a home, but so apposite.
I’m not one to believe in signs and the like, but it felt reassuring then. In the next few weeks we watched the eggs hatch, the nestlings grow, and then one day, it was time for them to fly away. The transformation, even when it happened before our eyes, was startling.
And, of course, a very immediate metaphor. As I see the campus preparing itself for receiving students old and new, the parallels are more than obvious, from the shared hostel rooms to the visible testing of wings and the eventual flight away from the nest and to the flocking together… As people return to campus, its good to receive messages from students, like “Yeah it feels good… I mean it feels like home again. Look at this: LH1, the oldest hostel… hot climate … nothing like Kerala… But it feels like home.”
And to see these emotions (posted on FB) when they leave. “There are certain things in this world which you think will not affect you, and you will always just walk by unaffected…but everything and everyone does affect you, they linger on in your memory: may haunt you, may make you reminisce, may just make you realize that you are what you are because of it, even though all this time you may not have completely comprehended this…. I realize it now, as I get ready to actually leave you now University of Hyderabad: Thank you for hosting me for the past five years…you have helped me grow, helped me find my path, and given me some wonderful friends. Although you do seem to be like an “acquired taste” but I am glad to have acquired it. — Mixed feelings at University of Hyderabad.“
But metaphors apart, our campus is very much a haven as the two representative comments above show, and for birds as well. Of course there are significant differences between the way that we and our fine feathered friends view the refuge, and the image of the nest above says much of it. The birds don’t dirty their nests- something that we, regrettably, don’t seem to care about. I’m talking about the litter on campus, of course. So much of it is so unnecessary, and something that can be avoided with a little thought and care. Its easy to say that there are not enough garbage cans or waste bins. The arguments get tired by repetition, and in any case its more fun to look at the birds, their nests and the trees.
So here’s a simple “Welcome Back!” to returning students, a “Welcome!” to the new ones, to invite us all to enjoy this campus and to keep it as clean and au naturel as possible.