06 Jul, 2011

birds vs humans – a child's observations

06 Jul, 2011

Minal stands barefoot in the living room and places her foot next to a black rain-ant, the size of two of her fingernails put together. As the ant moves to one side, Minal drops to the ground to watch it closer.

As a result of pending rain, many rain ants have suddenly appeared and some have wandered into the house, along with lizards and spiders. Almost seven, Minal who has spent a good amount of time in Karachi, is experiencing the city differently this year. She is noticing details of the streets, but also, is closely watching the streams of lives—birds, insects and animals—that crawl in the garden, fly between trees, and flop along roadsides.

The other day, we googled ‘koel’, the bird that often sits outside our bedroom window. When Minal learned that koels place their eggs in crows’ nests and then fly between trees singing their rich song, she exclaimed: “But don’t they go back and get their children? I mean, can’t they be responsible parents? I don’t like them anymore.”

We engaged in a discussion about how humans have the option of changing behavior patterns, but how animals, birds and insects often cannot.

Minal said: “I don’t like the way crows look and sound—but they’re nicer than koels. They raise children other than their own….”

Without Minal, I would only be focused on the political situation around us, and I would not notice how Karachi—a teeming city of more than 18 million people from around the country—is also home to so much more.