I was amidst knee deep work when I got a frantic call from one of the most dreaded person in the school, the substitution in-charge. Staying true to his image, he gave me invigilation duty for about an hour for the ongoing on-campus exams.
And I on my part, began to crib and tried my best to evade the duty. Needless to say, I was not successful and thus landed in the designated room to invigilate the students.
The students were in stress-induced-silence but my mind was abuzz with the voices of anger, resentment and endless work. I paced the room with restlessness. Somehow I remembered the tenets of Zen Buddhism, a philosophy that has influenced me immensely. I returned to my breath to calm myself.
I observed the in-breath and then the out-breath. Slowly, the feeling of calm descended upon me. Since I was able to ‘silence’ my mind from within, I could now hear the chirping of the birds in my close vicinity.
I peeped out of the window and noticed an array of birds perched on the branches of the trees growing around the outer periphery of the school. There were Bulbuls, Robins, Doves and Indian chat. Each had a different melodious voice and way of chirping. I wish I could describe the chatter and bring them alive for you with my writings, the way Gerald Durrell describes them but for that I have a long way to go.
I was delighted to hear the constant chirping of these birds and notice their antics from a distance. They were hopping from one branch to another, communicating with one another and carrying on the daily chores. Suddenly, I was distracted by the movement on the adjoining tree. To my surprise there were parrots residing in the tree hollow. One of the parrots was perched on the branch next to the tree hole. When the other parrot peeped out of its home, the first one tilted its head in to peep back in and take account of the work done by the other. For a few minutes I lost in watching their nuances.
Now that I was enjoying the moments of ‘silence within’ and connecting with the nature, I decided to explore further and take a look at the peepal tree on the other end of the room. Was I glad that I paced the room to go over to the other end, certainly yes! There were pigeons walking on the tiled floor, stopping at every step to pick on the fallen berries of peepal. Though they were busy eating nonetheless they were alert to the movements of the people in the block. They would bob their heads in the most comical manner after picking on the berry. I remained amused with their ways.
As I observed the birds fly from one tree to the other, the time flew away quickly. Soon I was to be relieved of my invigilation duty and go back to other chores. In the span of 40 minutes, I must have seen about 10-12 species of birds that included the Asian Brown Flycatcher, Jungle Babbler, Oriental Magpie Robin. (I had learnt the names of these birds during the ‘lockdown’ period when I frequently visited the nearby park. Isn’t it strange that even though we undergo minimum 18-20 years of formal education, we remain alien to our own surroundings.) I am an ardent nature lover and for once I felt fortunate to been assigned this duty in this room surrounded with trees.
These birds do not vie for attention nor do they need our assistance to carry on their chores; rather their presence can make a difference to our days. I truly feel that Nature nurtures. While performing my duty, I reached out to the inner depths and reconnected with the nature and thus, I felt relaxed…rejuvenated…chirpy!
Nature is the source of our existence and thus it has the ability to rejuvenate us when we make a conscious effort to connect with its energies.CharutheBuddha
You too, try and find a quiet corner within yourself while running between errands. Try to silence the noise ‘within’ by observing your breath. Once you have discovered the quiet island within you, connect with the elements that heal and nourish, like the nature, the birds, the sky! Be grateful for the beautiful moment, smile a while and pass it on!!