Wife to a birder

My husband was behind the wheel when suddenly he shoved his head out of the window, exclaiming “What a beautiful Raptor!” But all I could see was the fast approaching pot-hole,the size of a small well, as all good pot holes worth their salt should be.”Aeeeee ! Forget the blasted raptor, look where you are headed!”
Somedays it would be “Look a brahminy kite !” Frankly I didn’t care if it was a Brahminy or a Rukmini, all I wanted him to do was to keep his eyes on the road. One reason for increase in road accidents is now clearly evident, if you ask me.

C&H with a birder twist !

That and many such experiences later, I prefer to drive while my husband admires the winged creatures and goes into voluble raptures.For someone like me, for whom, birds were, well er.. just birds.. suddenly had to get accustomed to a lot of Golden Orioles, Green Bee Eaters, Drongos, Prinias, Wagtails and Shrikes ! I learned that Bird races are not some archaic animal(read bird)-abuse game but actually is a bird spotting race. I wonder how they manage to spot so many, because every time I have squinted at somebody pointing out a bird, I have only been able to make out suspicious leaf formations. Initially I did attempt to ask ‘where’ but later realized, it was easier to just look in the general direction and gush “ooh! what a beauty!”

The problem with birding as a hobby is its all pervading nature.Of course, they can be spotted only at day time, so they are not as bad as social networking but still there is no hard stop. Now, if I were to have a hobby like writing or painting or even something more exotic like Hikaru Dorodango (Hah, bet you didn’t know about this one !!),I would eventually stop, raise my head, observe the world with a satiated smile,be my affable spirit, spread bonhomie all around ..but imagine a hobby like birding..they are always around, twittering and flapping their wings and all chances of a meaningful conversation with a birder comes to naught, the moment the species is spotted.

I launched into a detailed discussion on division of labor and just as I conclude and congratulate myself on being the ultimate negotiator in getting him to agree to take the car for servicing, I am suddenly startled by a vacant/distant look accompanied by a frantic sprint to find the camera to capture a new bird which is sitting right outside the balcony ! And alas all my carefully planned talks and negotiation strategies have been spoiled by a Purple Rumped Sunbird !

This was even more annoying over the phone when one doesn’t have a chance of spotting the absent minded look on the face and many deeply meaningful and philosophical conversations have been brought to an abrupt end by squeals of “Ah ! Its a Malabar Grey Hornbill”

On Sunday early mornings, when I am in deep slumber, he’s off on an unearthly hour with some equally bird brained people to some lake or trekking trail. He did invite me once to one of his birding haunts and I made the big mistake of accepting..where I had to endure him standing under a big tree looking up for almost 4 hours..I had a crick in the neck by the time we came back and a lot of unspoken and not so loving thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I , on my part , did do some spotting – pointing to birds with some pretty intelligent comments like ‘Big bird’! crow ! Parrot ! to which he disdainfully looked at me and told me it was a Plum headed parakeet ! Ah save me from the snobbery of the elitists ! I don’t care what color of head it has, that’s a parrot I was looking at, the same which we read about in our school books , what eats chillies, which will say ‘Honorificabilitudinitatibus’ if it hears someone saying that !

One day he told me – I saw a great tit in office today ! I changed colors and was just getting ready to bury my fangs when I realized belatedly that he was referring to some winged creature ! When we went for a vacation, he packed along his camera, Binocs, USB drives, laptops in case the camera memory ran out, so he could keep transferring photos and all this courtsey, of course and no points for guessing, the birds.In my husband’s absence, my son has taken it upon himself to be the in-house bird consultant. So he would nod at some white bird ‘Ah.. the White winged stork’ and I have learned to say with equal elan ‘no no its the Black Headed Egret’ ! Equality be damned, one has to stand up for oneself !

A lot of parcels from Flipkart get delivered from time to time and I realized that most of our retirement money is going into buying bird books.As if birds were not enough, recently many more books have started turning up on butterflies,spiders and snakes ! I don’t know how many more creatures will join the fray, but I vow to definitely draw the line if it comes to Sloths, Mole rats, Tarsiers and Aye-ayes, just so he knows who’s the boss !

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129 thoughts on “Wife to a birder

  1. What on earth is ‘Honorificabilitudinitatibus’ ? ha ha …That was an absolutely hilarious read…Thoroughly enjoyed the way you have spun humor into the entire post! And happy bird watching!

    1. Thanks Jaish ! Here’s what Google baba had to say about it:
      The word “honorificabilitudinitatibus” is the dative singular conjugation of a real medieval Latin word. Dante actually used it more than once, as did other writers of the period. A translation of it would be “the state of being able to achieve honors.”

  2. Asha it was absolutely delightful read! Dear you do have a flair for comedy!! is it a true story or a gig! loved every word!! keep writing and wishing many more such writings

  3. Karthik

    Very nice article! Absolutely hilarious. Loved it! Being a birder, I completely understand the point. I was like you some time back. Fortunately for me, my wife also enjoys birding.

  4. Priya

    I am also wife to a birder. 🙂 You have written a hilarious blog. And a very true piece. I could identify and sympathize with all the incidents. 🙂 particularly looking up at a big tree for 4 hours. And beware, of that innocent invitation to go to dodabetta to sight the birds early in the morning, when even checkposts wont be open and you have to trek all the way up in silence and gestures. I loved your way of writing and did have a good laugh. 🙂 thanks.

    1. Thanks Priya ! Great to see that you empathize :)..I think I missed the silence part though..very true, after some time of that, I want to beep a message “Earth to Alien: Return at once”

  5. Arun Kaulige

    Thanks a lot! Well written! I read out the piece to my wife and daughter and needless to say, they could easily draw a parallel!

  6. Hayath

    This was an absolutely hilarious read, all valid from a spouse’s perspective 🙂
    You did manage to remember a lot of bird names, so technically you are one among us now.

    TFS!

  7. very well written asha…. i am sending this blog to my wife, who i am pretty sure, is going through the same experience as you…but luckily for me, has not yet started writing blogs 😉

  8. bharati

    Wonderful read! Me being a birder’s (wildlife photographer) wife, I can entirely understand your stand! Truly hilarious and one hundred percent true! Whereas you got a wry neck after looking up a tree for hours on end, I got a very bad migraine. Boy, these people can go without food till 11 or 12 noon, just looking for birds and shooting them! I have lived each and every paragraph of yours!! I think we just have to learn to live this way! Good thing, I am a nature lover, though not a birder!

    1. Thanks Bharati ! That’s true, they do go without food till late mornings / afternoons and manage to get up really early for this while for anything other than this, wild horses cant wake him 🙂

  9. padma

    hILARIOUS ! Thanks to your descriptive narration – I actually could visualize the whole scenario and laughed loudly. Great writing Asha, Proud of you.

  10. Anupama

    Excellent !! Very well written. During the recent holidays, we were chugging along at 40-50 km/hr on a 2 lane highway. The journey was looking interminable. Protests only evoked inane excuses like how deceptive the good roads can be, lack of sleep the previous night, etc. Thank God for sunset when the speed doubled and end to the long journey looked hopeful. By then he had counted a few Brahmini kites, Snake necked vultures (or something similar) and other winged creatures.

    Wife to Birder Arun

  11. A riot of a story! Made me laugh so much.

    I find birds beautiful and fascinating creatures. They are just amazing, their flights, their colors, their “housing construction” and social norms. I also like birds, in a benevolent, be-kind-to-animals-dont-cage-them-as-pets way. I like to see beautiful bird pictures and documentaries. I like to sit my little daughter on the window sill and show her birds – sea gulls (with my personal sound effects), black birds, look look – a Black AND White bird, a white bird, big bird, small bird. And I also started appreciating their aerodynamics in the last year, especially in the face of strong Danish winds. It is an interesting pastime. I was “bird watching” in my own way till I read your post. So while I understand the birders’ passion, I also totally understand your plight, and imagining your face (I know quite a few of your expressions after all) as you stood (im)patiently under the tree has kept me smiling since the day I read this post first.

    Absolutely hilarious, and well written. 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Thanks ! I also like them in a nice way and don’t-cage them way as you put it :), but the passion of a birder is quite different..you haven’t met Ajit in a long while otherwise you would have known 🙂

      1. Oh I get it alright, it is very evident from your post. Well, better birds than guns and knives.
        I did think he was really into it when in his recent email he asked me to click pics of birds and butterflies from around here and send him or you. As you can imagine, my photography is limited to my daughter’s antics 🙂 If and when I look at birds flying (from the window, for 20 minutes max), I get OM-ed out and pat myself for having been in the moment for that long.
        I salute birders’ passion (I remember I wondered about “patience” when I read about Salim Ali), but I am not made of that kind of stuff. My attention span now verges on 300 s.

  12. I read the first paragraph couple of days back and realized that this is one hell of a post, and hence didn’t continue as I wanted to read this peacefully later (moreover, i wanted to do a little research on Hikaru Dorodango) . and finally got a chance to read this and it was all worth the wait. I am going to follow your blog. copying Honorificabilitudinitatibus for future use (i copy something from each blog).

    1. Thanks Deb ! Glad to have you here..I am regular visitor in your blog ! Hope your research yielded good results and you were able to plod on successfully..About Honorificabilitudinitatibus , please be my guest and good that you told me..now I will keep an eye out for its appearance in your blog..and attribute the whole success of your post to that word 🙂

    1. Thanks for your link.. that was a hilarious read ! Most of my readership for this post has been from birders , so I am sure that they are not averse to a friendly dig once in a while 🙂 Thanks for the invite to join..but the lure of the early morning sleep is too strong to break..yet..probably some day..

  13. Pingback: On the Road with a Bird Watcher | Krishna Mohan Photography

  14. Hi, came here from indiauntravelled.
    Hilarious post! in my case its my 7-year old son who’s the avid birder in the family….so hey, I actually knew quite a few species that you had mentioned in your post :))

  15. 😀 😀 Can’t stop laughing..Great post.. I am learning to be a birder so I can see how I will be in few years.. 😀
    P.S. Got to know about your blog from Reema, gotta thank her for this 🙂
    I also shared this post on IndiaNatureWatch.net forum where 98% people are birders..

      1. Thank you moonstone (What is your name? :D)
        Also your husband must be a member of IndiaNatureWatch, if he isn’t, let him know about it. The forum is not open to non-members so no use in giving you link though I got some funny stories in reply there.

      2. Whats in a name 😉 You can call me moonstone or Asha.
        He’s a member of bngbirds and keralabirder where he had shared my post. Will let him know about this one too 🙂

  16. Delightful reading……. almost Gerald Durrelesque. My wife probably has the same issues but she loves to put it in a little less hilarious way. Will try to mend my ways by teaching her moe about birds. 😀

  17. Nirmala Sridhar

    Superb and hilarious reading and totally true about a birder’s spouse’s state of mind/affairs…in my case my hubby would agree with you….one week in Jim Corbett NP and he swore off any kind of birding/wildlife holiday though he whole-heartedly(I presume) supports my not too infrequent forays with ‘bird-brained’ friends! 🙂
    Regards,
    Nirmala Sridhar

    1. Thanks for your comment Nirmala ! While planning vacations, I have to hold my ground so that we are all not herded off to some bird sanctuary or the other, coz if he had his way, that’s all what we would be doing :). Can empathize with your spouse wholeheartedly 😀

  18. A very humorous and enjoyable read…..loved it……… Being an amateur birder, a couple of years into the foray of birding…, have had a lot of similar moments too…
    am sure,my wife will be able to relate to it a lot more … :-)…..

    Thanks,
    Santhosh

  19. Arun VB

    Ha ha… This got shared by a fellow photographer/birder on fb. Very well written and I am sure some of my friends would relate to this very well! 🙂

  20. I can totally relate to it from my husband’s point of view. He’s the non-birder in this case and has some interesting comments to make when accompanying me once in a while 🙂 Lovely writeup.

  21. Paramjit Singh

    Amazingly accurate ! And funny too. My brother is a committed birder and I too, like you, am limited to big bird, pretty bird and the various tits. For the love of God I don’t know a hawk from an eagle let alone the finer points like Brahminy , or fishing eagle or that one which is the fastest bird in the sky.

    I’m with you on this. even though it is contagious. Naming it may or may not enhance its beauty, but the ‘knowing’ seems to be a big enough trip for most birders.

    they’re all a bit Cuckoo !!

    1. Ha ha ! Cuckoo seems to be an apt adjective 🙂
      The ‘knowing’ is definitely thing and god forbid if you make some brainless remark mistaking one bird for the other.. looks can kill too !

  22. Hey ossm one..!! This made me nostalgic about my initial wildlife excursions where i was keen on spotting some animals rather than birds n evrytime when my fellow travellers/photographers used to stop to spot some bird..My mind would go on with 100’s of %&#@!$^ ..!! But now its da other way round for me..!! Superb..!!

    1. Looks like I missed replying to your comment :(. Nevertheless better late than never !
      Thanks for liking the post !! Its never easy for a non-birder to be a fellow traveler to a birder 🙂

  23. rockymusings

    Wow! Wow for the humour and your writing skills. I really liked your style of writing. I too am a birder like many others here and I can relate to the your husband’s passion. I have managed to rub this enthusiasm onto my brother and also a few of my friends. Any free day we get, me and my brother venture off with our camera and binoculars as early as possible. My parents are cautiously happy that atleast something is making us get up early. Also another benefit is that a birding trip automatically carves out a decent workout session. 🙂

    1. Thanks rockymusings for visiting and appreciating 🙂 Yes, the exercise as a by-product is a definite advantage over a lot of sedentary hobbies !
      Yeah, getting up early habit is a indeed a good one , but strangely I have found that it vanishes completely on all non-birding days 😉

  24. Gurudath

    Though not an avid birder, I totally loved your writing – its the same thing I go through when my other friends who are hardcore birders start their soul-gratifications!

  25. Well I Love birding, have participated in Bird Race by HSBC, though not a avid birder, but had a great laugh, very well portrayed and written. When its real writing comes of nicely. This blog is makig rounds on facebook. Keep writing and sharing.

  26. Hard to remember another blog which i enjoyed reading as much as this..this was absolutely hilarious and i can definitely understand your situation as i happen to be a birder too 😀 re–blogging this on my page!! Do visit my blog at arjun31390.wordpress.com whenever you find time..not sure about you but your husband will definitely enjoy reading it as it is all about birds!! 😀 happy birding to you! 😀

    1. Thanks Arjun ! Thanks for the appreciation and glad it could make you laugh 🙂
      Visited your page – you have some amazing bird photos there ! Will definitely check it out at leisure.

  27. Superb stuff.. You surely got some humour out there!.. I am into birding and can relate completely especially when I take my eyes of the road and my wife says “watch the road” :D. Good part is that she pretty much enjoys birding (Not too much though.. :P) and has a knack of spotting rare birds! .. Do have a look at our blog in your free time, http://www.whistlingtrails.com where we detail our trips and birding excursions 🙂

    – Rudra.

  28. Pingback: Wife to a Tree-er | Neralu - Bengaluru Tree Festival, Feb 2015

  29. Kiran bagade

    Hilariouss!!! Im gonna marry a birder 😛 I wouldnt wish my wife to make this much fun of something i love 😛 brilliantly articulated(whistle)

  30. cranoop

    That was really a good one. Every bit of it is true. Fortunately I have a wife who loves bird watching & is my partner for birdwatching trips.

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