Sunday, April 11, 2010

I consciousness

My friend, patient and reader of my blog, Dip Ghosh dropped in to see me the other day. He made a chance remark as to why I write so much on matters concerning the evening of one’s life? This made me laugh and also had me thinking. What is my contact with young people and their lives? [morning of life], except when they come to see me as patients. What I know and hear about their lives is so far removed from my own that writing about it can only be second hand. I am also not well qualified to write about young people even those whom I know. I don’t understand their craze for modern Gizmos, their spending spare time wandering and shopping in the glitzy malls, their way of eating out at fancy places paying unacceptably large sums of money on unacceptable food. When they come as patients I sometimes tell them but their attitude is one of bored listening to an old man who is out of tune with the modern world [this is true]

I have on the other hand firsthand experience of the evening of life. Many of my patients are old and in their sickness and other wise I understand them better. I often wonder how our own I consciousness wanes slowly as we age and becomes hazy because of lack of recognition by others. I am I because others see me as I. When others see me as one who is on his way out, this recognition and feeling of real or contrived importance recedes. But does it die entirely? Sadly it will not and the recognition of its lessening importance is occasionally galling to the ego. When does it do and what happens to it? The development of I consciousness begins early in life when the child begins to understand the body limitations and begins to develop and understand language. The skin cover of the body tells the brain the limitation of the body in relation to the exterior and the senses tell the brain who it is visa vi the external environment. But for all this there must be original something to develop. This is I. When I die what happens this my I? Is it kept in suspended animation? Does it have some sort of structure that we don’t know of? Does it consist of some special form of intelligence which doesn’t need senses to be appreciated? I have no answers to these questions.

The belief that this I consciousness is transferable after death gives some meaning to existence. But truth eludes us and the proliferation of God men and women is a proof to this quest to know. Some glimpse of understanding will come to you if you read the book,’my stroke of insight’

Like it sometime happens, I begin with something and end up with something else . This week end happens to be one of those where in I have been having these recurring thoughts and felt that I should share some of them with you.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Little Green Barbet

Eleven years ago I did a study with the help of an expert bird watcher, of the birds that are found in and around our golf course. Recently I was asked to do so again. This time however I needed no expert and I know by heart, sound [call] and sight and flight the number of birds that still survive and thrive. There are still 40 varieties of them seen in the last one year out of the 50 odd that were listed ten years ago. Some have disappeared and the numbers of many has come down drastically [Rosy Pastor]. Some however continue to thrive like the common Myna and the Crow both the house and the jungle.

But what drew my attention was the surprise missing of Little Green Barbet seen in such profusion now but not mentioned at all in that list made ten years ago. How can this be? We, or at least not the expert who was with me [refer: birds and others, Sunday, Nov 25, 2007] could have missed seeing this bird or at least listening to his call?

Some time ago I wrote about sighting and listening to the call of the Red vented bulbul in my backyard. Any time a new species arrives and thrives in new ecological environs, it lifts me out my gloom. The profuse sighting of the green barbet in recent years is one such event. This bird which is smaller than a Mina is colored green with rufus and white mixed front and a beak with bristles. Its flight is like an arrow shot from a bow. The call is a staccato cuttroo cutroo repeated over and over. Perhaps this is one of the early callers in the morning that wakes you from your slumber. I have often wondered how such a small bird can produce such a loud sound.

From the tenth green we walk to the eleventh Tee box and next to this path there stands a dead tree awaiting the axe. The trunk of the tree abruptly divides into three branches. At this cleavage is located the circular entrance of a Barbet’s nest. It is so well located; one can only see it from one angle. All others are hidden out of sight. What is even amazing is that despite the almost continuous walk of golfers within a few feet of the tree, the bird has managed to dig a hole for its nest. How is it possible? One day I took up a position and watched. Between one batch of four golfers leaving the putting area [green] and another batch coming there is an interval of ten minutes. That is when I saw the birds do their job of nest building, cleaning, feeding and what else. Remarkable is not it?

I did observe one pair of Sand Pipers coming into the course every summer and they still do after ten years. Are they same? I wonder. I used to see Rosy Pastors, Yellow wagtails and Wood Mynas in their hundreds, but I see a measly few now. All around the course there is so called development [concrete jungle] How much time before they convert the golf course which is the only refuge for these birds into some government sponsored monstrocity?