Un-Pheasant Truth

The sparse brown brush was fast fading into a parched and shrivelled tangle as the once sinewy roots now groped for traces of moisture in the dusty grit and gravel. A haze of sooty flecks hung in the air settling slowly as a deathly shroud over the singed leaves. Unfamiliar sounds brutally assaulted the tenor with cacophonic dissonance moving recurrently into a jarring crescendo. The air was burdened with the putrid notes of an all-pervasive humanity, every breath an effort to maintain sanity. Even the sky seemed to have been taken over by a morbid pallor of inevitability.

She shuffled clumsily through the meagre undergrowth disregarding the moribund milieu, wings askew as feathers caught in the gnarled branches. Within her lifetime she had been a silent witness to the methodical murder of her verdant dwellings. But she had lost perception of the immediate peril, for the conundrum was reaching far beyond her subsistence.

She had just laid two eggs.

[Framed: A greater coucal or crow pheasant (Centropus sinensis) or Bharadwaj; Aarey Forest, Mumbai]

– Narendra Nayak © 2022

11 thoughts on “Un-Pheasant Truth

    1. It is scary, Pat, and it is a very real possibility where these photographs were taken – the Aarey forest in Mumbai. In your spare time do Google for “Aarey Metro Car Shed”. It is a fight for the green lung of my city, a forest which lies barely a mile from where I stay!

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  1. Dear Narendra,
    I’m so glad for the eggs, but very saddened by the cruel poignancy of your eloquent writing. Unfortunately, “the putrid notes of an all-pervasive humanity” is the cacophony the remainder of the world has to listen to and live through. 😢
    Take care,
    Tanja

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    1. Thank you for your kind appreciation, Tanja. This is a reflection on a very real tragic scenario that is developing in the only green lung of my city. If you Google “Aarey metro car shed”, you can see what we are up against. It is a greater tragedy that only a handful of the residents are bothered by these developments! Such is the truth of the insatiable human hunger. 😐

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      1. Work at the proposed construction site was stayed and the metro car shed planned to be shifted to another location a couple of years ago after the government changed hands. Unfortunately, the political equation changed once again last month and the stay on construction at the original site has been lifted. The citizens themselves being least bothered, a handful of activists cannot convince the judiciary either.

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      2. It’s really tragic that it’s more about politics and less about preserving a unique ecosystem for all its denizens. We know that, the sicker the earth, the sicker humanity, yet we continue to despoil nature because it’s politically or economically expedient. It’s completely demoralizing.

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