Reading this book reminds me of an anecdote about the famous naturalist, Sir David Attenborough. When walking with his grandson in his garden, he turned a stone over to find a slug.
“Oh! What a treasure!” his grandson exclaimed excitedly.
For Lord Attenborough it was an epiphanic moment; it needed the a child to remind him that even the humblest of creatures is special.
We, who live in cities and towns of India, take for granted ‘common’ birds like the sparrow, crow, parrot, pigeons and kites; nestled as they are in the background of our busy lives, we rarely pay attention to these “treasures”. We take might interest in unusual birds we are lucky enough to spot on national park safaris, but rarely do we bother about the mynah or the kite that we see on an everyday basis in our backyards. It needs a Ranjit Lal to highlight that these birds are special in their own unique way. Tit-bits of interesting information about the description of the bird and their bird calls, their habitat and habits are interspersed with Lal’s very personal anecdotes and experiences with these birds. The author often humanizes the birds, making their escapades out to be delightful little dramas.
This is a book that cries out to be shared by parent and child; it lends itself well to a personal read and doubles up as a book that one can take on a Sunday morning when accompanying one’s child to the local park or the neighbouring backyard. This book offers parents a wonderful way to get closer to their children, while they in turn get closer to nature.