25 June, 2021

Flock Of Firangi Feathers

Flock Of Firangi Feathers
I’ll let you in on a secret. Delhi Zoo. Tucked at the back of Sunder Nagar, by the walls of Purana Qila, it’s just the place for a weekend afternoon. The zoo has lots of space, and most of the animals have decent-sized enclosures. But the real delight is the bird life—not the caged exhibits, but the water birds that roost in the zoo’s lakes. No need to bother with Bharatpur to see migratory painted storks in profusion. At this time of year, the more hidden away of the zoo’s two main lakes is home to hundreds of these delightfully inelegant birds, foraging for nesting material and lining up like oversize boobies on every available lakeside branch. There are smaller numbers of pelicans, some said to be pinioned, but many not only able to fly, but flapping and whooshing with a wingspan that certainly produced shock and awe in my offspring. Such a magical experience that my eight-year-old demanded to come again the following week.

The appeal of the Delhi zoo is so strong that it cancels out my ire at one of the inequities most resented by long-term firangi residents. An...

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