Lockdown Diary: Part 2 by Raghav Pandey
All of these illustrations come from a diary entry I made in the early days of the lockdown.
My family had to move to a new city during the lockdown.
Because we left during the lockdown, my last few memories of my old home city are through a window.
My friends would ask me how the new city is, and eventually, despite spending several weeks there, all I knew of my new city was from inside my house. I might as well have been anywhere.
But soon, the city started coming to me.
My first friend, the white throated kingfisher, reminded me of two things:
First, that a city is not just its places and people but also the birds and bugs. And second, burds have really obvious names.
So, I simply decided to pay attention to some of my friends:
Sparrows are definitely the most confident. Indian White-Eyes are impossibly small and painfully obviously named. I found it unfair that despite their pretty green bodies, Brown Headed Barbets are called that. Red Whiskered Bulbuls have a smooth rolling voice that says “how do YOU do”. Black Winged Kites can somehow hover in mid-air and look like they are stuck in time.
I saw these, and 18 other bird species all without leaving my house!
Several apps that help you with identifying birds also serve as platforms for Citizen Science which really just means that by collecting data on the ground you help keep track of bird movement and behaviours, which inform and guide conservation efforts.
We have multitudes of identities. We identify with our language, our gender, the occupation of our families. At the same time, we associate identities to the spaces, places and things we occupy. Bird watching helped me associate with my new city, but based on an environmental identity. I felt included into the identity of everyone who lives here and around these birds.
Raghav Pandey is 20 years old. He is a graduate in Physics from Azim Premji University, India, and likes to make short films and draw. He is interested in science communication, environmental and social justice. Of late, he has been looking at birds around his house and has already spotted 23 different species.