The end of the year is always a time for celebration. On the 27th of December we headed to the banks of the Brahmaputra. In winter the water recedes and leaves a sandy bank that stretches for miles. One can gauge the width of the river from all that sand. The water, where it was visible, ( in that particular stretch) was only a little bigger than a stream. But in the distance were a flock of birds and I realized it was a convocation of eagles! I’ve only seen that many at one time in flight, but never on the ground. And the beautiful collective nouns associated with birds came to mind. What birds do I see regularly? A murder of crows or a host of sparrows. And in winter, a mustering of storks, or a siege of herons.:) But a convocation of eagles? This was my first!
The day was like a usual winter day…hazy. And although the great river was in the distance the cold wind that blew made us draw our warm clothes even tighter! Seeing little children playing in the sand reminded me of the stony and shingly banks of the hill streams where, as children, we spent many happy moments whiling away our afternoons during the winter school break. The call of the water was a temptation we (siblings/cousins) could not resist. We needed to test our agility on the stones across the water. We honed our skills at playing ducks and drakes. We pretended that the gravelly bank was a golden beach, courtesy, Phantom’s Keela Wee. It didn’t deter us from building the crudest sand castles. After we were done with the ‘sand’, we would rest on huge boulders warmed by the afternoon sun gorging on the fruits of the season. Somewhere in the horizon, the infinity of blue interspersed with the gold of paddy. Those were blissful times indeed!
Coming back to the present, the water was on one side and on the other was a rock face. The most likely place for an eagle’s eyrie: high and almost inaccessible. There were bits of greenery on that rocky hill and some trees where the eagles perched and spent a good while preening. Somehow looking at these images one cannot imagine the huge crowds that spilled over the sandy banks. It surely seemed that the population of the entire city was there! The parking area was chaotic with vegetable vendors who seemed to spring out of nowhere..But since this is the season when carrots and radishes, cauliflowers and cabbages, spinach and coriander vie for space in the sellers’ baskets, most picnickers made a bee-line for the veggies. It didn’t strike me then to take pictures of those scenes. Amidst all that crowd I kept looking for a beautiful butterfly which had flitted by. A fleeting glimpse was what I got but it was enough to make me forget all else…….
Please click on the photo to see the eagle on the leafless tree.
The moon was out early. I took this picture at 2.45PM. On the western horizon the sun was a usual golden orb…the sunset hues were yet to be seen. I didn’t realize then that we were soon to see the New Year eve ‘s blue moon. It was only while I chatted with my good friend Indrani on the phone on New Year’s day that she told me about it. Fascinating, isn’t it? The second full moon in a lunar month is known as the blue moon. But some periodic cycles play a part and full moon recurs at 19-year intervals. Then I read about the same at Diana’s Voice In The Garden, at Joey’s The Village Voice and at Birdy’s Amateur Photography/Nature Pictures. The next blue moon will only be seen in 2028. A long wait but we all know that time flies!
And since this is about the Brahmaputra (although the water isn’t seen in these photographs) I’d like to share some lines from the book, The Brahmaputra by a noted writer of Assam- Arup Kumar Dutta.
A river is an apt metaphor for life. It is born, wends its way through the landscape of consciousness, and dies to mingle in the sea of eternity. Constant change is the rule of life and a river is constantly changing; the water it carries is never the same, the face it presents is always different. Unlike hills and mountains it is not inert and immobile; there is life and dynamism in its flow. Sometimes it is placid, sometimes enraged. And, like life itself, its death is a beginning in the most sublime sense, a recurrent and cyclic regeneration of generations, a looking forward to a future which leaves behind yet embraces the past.