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This is the live streaming video I see everyday out of my balcony. Stress buster, soul soother, peace of mind bought at the price of a few Kang seeds.

The first guest to arrive is invariably Mr. Squirrel. He  monopolizes the spread. Unfortunately, he eats only a few grains but sweeps away the majority with its bushy tail.  Zero frugality!

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Isn’t he adorable when he is nibbling away like this, both paws clutching a groundnut?

P.S : The squirrels I saw in U.S really don’t have the 5-pronged stroke across their backs, unlike our Indian squirrels. Maybe the finger-stroke mark of Rama as a mark of appreciation for its teensy-weensy help in building the Lanka bridge has its origins in this difference.

When Mr Squirrel has its fill, it permits the entry of competitiors, Messers Sparrow & Co, waiting patiently in the wings (Pun really unintended).

They remind me of Satte pe Satta, when Amitabh saunters in and ladles a plateful while his brothers shuffle impatiently. Then he leans back and permits them to ‘Attack!!!’ whereby they oblige with a mad scramble.

Sparrows are my eternal favorite. Barely 6 inches of adorable, fluffy cuteness. So delicate, so fragile… I wonder how they survive in this big bad world.


Bahinabai, the rustic Indian poetess wrote an eternal truth, when she said, ‘A tiny beak – it serves both functions; that of the teeth and of the fingers. You (human being) have been bestowed with 2 hands and yet you crib?’

Sparrows are termed ‘Chimana (male) and Chimani (female)’ in Marathi. It is also a common term of affection/petname for children.

My favorite song in childhood was ‘Yaa chimanyanon, parat phira re’, by Lata Mangeshkar. It symbolizes a mother awaiting her children’s return back home, anxious as the sky darkens and dusk falls. Today, it could very well symbolize the ‘Empty nest syndrome’ that may elder parents experience, with their children literally having flown the nest.

Back from the detour. Both the above competitors fly away when Mr Crow enters the pic.

P.P.S: I had heard crows gather their colleagues before they eat. Not so Mumbai crows! They eat first and then call the rest. When in Rome, behave as the Romans!

So how and where do you find your stress busters in wicked Mumbai?