I come from Uttarakhand. I have the address of Bengal on one of my Identity cards. Have that of Delhi on another. I am working in Rajasthan currently. I am married to a person who comes from Bihar and works in Sydney. Every time I am asked where do you belong, I get perplexed, as to which answer should I give. I feel nomadic in those moments. I also remember a chapter of our Hindi literature book from school whose title was “मैं और मेरा देश” by स्वामी रामतीर्थ.
As far as I recollect, in the chapter, the author too was perplexed as to what should he write as his address. He didn’t know what to call home or how is he supposed to define his boundary. Boundaries are important, we are told. We must have them. Trespassers should be prosecuted. The fierce dog who barks from inside the house for no reason, even when you are quietly walking on the road, is the authority reminding you of the importance of boundaries. These and many other gestures are heavily conspicuous across our neighborhood to stay away from and within your limits. But in spite of these voluminous nudges, if you still want to know what it feels like to be boundless, to cross the fences without hesitation, to enter your neighbor’s house without knocking as you do not believe in the concept of houses made of bricks and mortar, there is one hobby for which you can make room for. That hobby is “BIRDING”.
Birds are the true residents who believe and live the phrase “वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्” which means “Earth is the family”. Why I say so is that they fly across the world, from one part to another, living seasons across seasons in the section of the world where they find pleasant then. Once the season starts to change, they fly yet again, to another of their many abode. Many of these birds have made places in and around Jodhpur their residence for the past couple of months. These birds, which include the demoiselle crane, greater flamingo, pelican, and many others, have flown from Central Asia, some of them flew from above the Himalayas, and have reached Jodhpur. Apart from the spectacular beauty they display, they also show how wonderful it can be to be boundless, to be carefree, to do what pleases you and do it with complete conviction (a lot of muscle power as well in these bird’s case though!), and above all to do all this with grace and without disturbing anyone around. I went for birding this morning with birders after quite some time, and it was an absolute delight. There is an ease in people who do birding. They are extremely patient, social, and are ready to walk in whichever direction just to explore a bit further. Basically, they too become like birds themselves, which is quite fun! I have a long way to go to on that road though.
We humans coined the phrase वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् while having multiple identity cards, that repeatedly scream where do we belong to. And it is we who wrote the lyrics, gave music, and enjoyed a song that is absolutely ironic, and in fact, celebrates birds for being global citizens. All this while the birds have no idea of either the phrase or the song.