Okay, I am happy to admit it up-front: before I was invited to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival – JLF – (note: not ‘literary’, not ‘writers’) in India I had never even heard of it. I assumed that it was probably some modest local event, spiced up a little by bringing in some foreign authors to add a bit of breadth. The reality was shocking in exposing my limited and pathetically Western perspective. The Festival has just concluded and I am compelled to try and provide some glimpse of what an extraordinary experience this was.
Continue reading “Inspiration and humility in the middle of India”
Feeding wild birds is probably something so familiar, so everyday, so commonplace—so tame perhaps—that we can forget that this is a fundamentally artificial activity. In virtually every case, the types of food we use to attract birds to our house yards—typically mixtures of various seeds but sometimes leaf-overs from a family meal—are entirely different to those they consume in their natural diet. Our feeders also concentrate birds into closer interactions than they would normally tolerate, often bringing together species which would never have anything to do with each other. Even the structure of the feeder itself is starkly unnatural: a swaying glass cylinder or a conspicuous platform, typically in an open and potentially dangerous setting. Continue reading “What happens when we feed birds?”