As a student of Class III, my attention was more than riveted to a picture of a bird bath in my science book. I imagined: only if I could make one like that I would attract different birds to my bird bath. I would not only delight myself viewing a variety of birds but also help them in a way by offering them food to merrily feed on. During the mild winters of Kolkata, migratory birds flock to the city from distant lands making it a very colorful event. Only an insensitive person would care not to notice and enjoy such an event in the city.
So, I designed a simple bird bath made out of a discarded pan lying in my mother’s store. I fixed a sturdy base plate and filled it up with water. Then I planted some grass and kept in our courtyard. That evening I came back from school with great expectant excitement to see birds flocking to my ‘bird bath.’ Unfortunately, when I saw none, my heart sank.
Thinking that I haven’t quite rightly placed the bird bath; I placed the bird bath on the top of a water reservoir at the back yard of our house. But still no bird arrived. This time, however, I thought of enticing them by placing some grains on the base of the bath, for them to feed on. Rushing back from school, I ran to the backyard only to find that my bird bath wasn’t visited at all by any of my feathered friends. The food was left untouched.
Though disappointed, I did not give up. Thinking that my beautiful bird bath wasn’t quite visible to attract birds, I painted it with some bright yellow color from my paint box. Still no birds arrived.
Then I again re-located the bird bath. This time, I placed it on a wall that hedged our courtyard from that of our neighbors. Lo and behold! birds flocked the place and happily twitted and chirped as they plunged in my bird bath; picking on the grains. It was a loud flock and a grand delightful sight to sink in.
But fair to say, I did not have an inkling of why birds chose to visit that place in preference to other places I tried out, which I thought were safer places for them to play and rest for a while.
Yesterday, I visited a small restaurant in our locality. The owner, Ganesh, was a chef of a more well know chain of restaurants in the city. He was known to me since I often visited his place along with my friends for an occasional cup of coffee with delicious peppered mushroom and baby corn salad and sandwiches. He was an excellent chef and turned out terrific dishes to relish. But what I liked about him most was his insatiable desire to take feedback about his dishes once I have had a few nibbles. He would then stand by to explain how he made this sauce or that and what went into making the ‘garlic fish’ which is one of my favorites. One day, we just came across each other in the local fish market where after exchanging usual pleasantries he informed me that he has had opened a small ‘take out’ or ‘sit in’ shop in a corner of our locality. Before saying goodbye, Ganesh politely asked me to drop in some time.
As I savored the Chinese meal he dished out and enjoyed the company of a special friend who accompanied me, I noticed a glitzy eating joint, promising the most mouth-watering gourmet dishes, right across the busy road; just opposite to Ganesh’s small makeshift one. The shop was very well designed. Through its wide clear glasses I could feel the lights were just right for any romantic date and the place proudly flaunted a cosy ambience. However, for the two hours of the rather lazy afternoon I spent at Ganesh’s, I just did not see any customer step in the well designed shop; while all along, customers just kept pouring in Ganesh’s improvised family run shop; keeping it animated.
That reminded me of the story of my bird bath.
Even with the most well-intentioned designs, we are never quite sure whether birds or humans would drop by – or whether a desired exchange would take place or not.
We are never quite sure.