The lockdown due to coronavirus has brought about a sea change in how we human beings, even birds and animals live. To a large extent, animal behaviour depends on the movement of the people and is also influenced by it.
Since humans are conspicuous by their absence during the lockdown, the behaviour of birds and stray animals has changed too. Migrant labourers, who make up a large portion of the city population and are most often outdoors due to the nature of their work, are also out of sight now-a-days.
One is missing the usual scenes of easy camaraderie, the casual roadside chats near tea stalls and paan shops and languid, lazy summer afternoons under the shades of trees. Since there is hardly any human movement, the behaviour of the animals and birds is also rather subdued. Their sweet notes like their chirping or even their slightly irksome yet tolerable sound while quarrelling are no longer heard. I remember having seen finger sized songster birds that are more audible than visible. They only chirp when someone becomes aware of them and then their hopping and dancing tiny form can be sighted amidst leafy green bushes.
On the whole, many such heartfelt scenes of normal life make the heart ache in the forlorn hours of the dry and deary lockdown period.
I don’t venture out because of my age. When I see what is happening in the world outside, I often wonder about the fate of the beautiful ‘Sunari’(Cassia fistula) flowers as they decorate the city with their vibrant sunny yellow hues. Not only ‘Sunari’ our very local ‘Radha Chuda’ (Peltophorum pterocarpum) and other distinct avenue trees on the road aside across this beautiful city must be standing lonely and staring at the empty roads as there are hardly anyone to gaze at their grand appearance and ornamental contribution to the city.
It is a myth that COVID-19 only attacks the old as the disease is engulfing both middle-aged people and youth alike. I am not sure how long the lockdown/social distancing will last. But what I am sure about is that there will be a huge change in the social fabric.
On the flip side, I am happy that COVID-19 has taught people how to become minimalistic in their approach, manage with available resources, food and supplies etc. I wish this to end very soon as I am eager to walk on the road with my son at times and go to the OMFED stall near the Pokhariput flyover, to sit on the ‘pindi’ near the banyan tree and look at the setting sun, the traffic and the ‘Mo Bus’ passing on Route-No 25 connecting Dumduma to VSS Nagar and vice-versa. I want my little time to be back.