I took pride in being the inspiration for my nephew’s penchant towards nature. As a child he would follow my gaze and camera lens whenever they were following birds or butterflies. When I was not around, he would ask my sister to shoot the birds with mobile camera for me. I was delighted, always, to see his innocent mind enjoying and searching for nature. At least if future flag bearers take interest then only they can work towards the importance of conservation of nature. My contribution as a wildlifer was somewhere paying back.
However I realized stopping and enjoying nature was not something for greater humankind cause only. It inflicted us with an addiction of introspection. Like W.H. Davies puts it “No time to stand and stare”, we are in so much hurry that we do not realize to appreciate whatever is around us. Off course we are fast losing our battle against the getting extinct nature, still we should live in moment over large and learn and enjoy from those experiences. When I was going through a bad phase of my life, which became sort of comatose, I found my silver lining “observing nature”. I used to watch small sized birds gathering food every day. The miniature spiders who would build their nests everyday and wait for their prey. Most of these birds and spiders hard work went in vain, when we humans would barge in their daily activity, scaring them off or just breaking the nest unknowingly. Still, everyday they would do their chores. Unlike us humans who would sulk, shout, swear and waste our energy. Now you may say that they don’t have those emotions, probably yes. A lot of emotions that we go through many animals don’t but they do fight over food. They know they have to gather food for their and their offspring survival. So they do their work no matter human’s barge in or any other circumstances don’t go according to them. I learnt this from observing these relatively small organisms when few of my friends suggested me to try drinks or smoke to overcome depression. The observation of nature around me not only helped me survive but be stronger and wiser. And this didn’t come as “knowledgeable background” of wildlife. At one point of time I was amongst topmost in knowing the bird’s identity. I had sort of checklist of my own. But that knowledge was not helping me to relax. As soon as I forgot the names and just observed whatever was infront of me, I felt better. I could think clearer and be more composed.
I always thought that my experience would help my nephew and kids like him. I was happy that he is inclined towards nature but I was sort of disappointed when I saw him going in the category of competitive learning. My rendezvous with him in national capitol, left me baffled when he a child of 6 years of age could tell me names of many birds. I would call him in balcony, and he would see the bird and tell me name and retire to his TV cartoon. I asked him what is special about the parakeet he just told me about, he didn’t know. I learned from him that he is having nature classes where he learns all these big names. Activists like us, who are trying to bring awareness sort of miss the point that nature offers you enjoyment and peace. If you make it also competition then the child will grow with more of rat race capability but restless soul. When they grow up, they could feel the depression pang very quickly as child may win or lose in this highly competitive world. But if you let the nature nurture him/her slowly, they would take their life peacefully and happily. It’s not taking them to Yellowstone national park or trekking to the highest Himalayan peak that we elders are doing our job properly but everyday taking them to your garden or park for half hour, sitting and observing nature and talking about it is the best gift we would be giving.
Likewise I remember going on a stroll in the garden with my nephew when he was 3 and half years of age. I showed him a tree and told him it’s called bottlebrush. That was first time I just dropped a name without telling him characteristic of that tree. No wonder next day when we reached that tree I asked him its name. He thought for a while and told me “toothbrush”. I laughed and then explained showing him the flowers that they resemble the brush we use to clean the bottles hence bottlebrush. He remembers the name but unluckily he doesn’t have “time” to observe the birds, especially sunbirds, which visit the tree. It’s not wrong to miss out on names of bird and trees, nature doesn’t mind actually. But nature does mind when you don’t visit it’s any form. I hope we can make younger generation understand this as it would do them good in long run.