Angry birds

I am getting ready for work when a loud tok-toking outside the front door grabs my attention. The tok-tok sound is repetitive. And persistent. It makes me leave what I am doing and walk to check its origin. What I see amuses me.

It is a jungle babbler. Fluttering away near the mirror of my scooter. It looks at the stranger in the mirror, and attacks it fiercely with its beak. It flies sideways. It flies up. And to its frustration, each time, the stranger in the mirror reacts as aggressively as it does. I can see the babbler getting angry and flustered, its wings all puffed up. The whole saga of retort and attack goes on for a full ten minutes. It flits from the left mirror to the right. Then it goes over to check the mirror on the second scooter and gets even more frantic. But the stranger in the mirror isn’t backing off, despite how hard the bird knocks its beak against the hard surface. Finally it tires and flies off.

Aren’t we all beginning to react like that jungle babbler? Bereft of basic understanding of why things appear like they do. We are up in arms at the slightest trigger. Sometimes the triggers themselves are innocuous. But one is living at this state of heightened anxiety that everything appears wrong. A bad day for a cricketer, a spelling mistake in a tweet, a routine feel-good advertisement, a comment which ought to be heard from one ear and dismissed from the other. Everything starts to merit extreme reactions. There are so many important things that need our attention. But our priorities get misplaced. Because we want to react immediately.

In that case, raise your hackles. Listen to some more energizing cacophony by some screaming bogeyman or wailing banshee who pretends to be a news anchor. Scroll through some more fake videos and carefully culled ‘news’ that your phone apps supply you. Troll someone on social media. And forward some more venom like the one you ingested. If that makes you feel good about yourself, go ahead and flutter your wings.

But at the end of the day, ask yourself if you found time to enjoy the experience of flying. Did you learn where to find the sweetest nectar from the flowers that bloom all over? Did you actually fly to see the crimson at the edge of the horizon? Did you bring the tasty worms to feed the fledglings who wait in the nest? Or did you merely flap your wings, get into a flutter over nothing and hurt your beak with all that tok-toking? The choice, as always, is yours. Lest we end up being reflections of the angry bird.

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