Thursday, April 08, 2021

Food for thought from the Heron Act

This is what happened in the deeper seaside of Doha. A flock of Herons about 50 of them in different shades of white and grey that swooped down the deep seaside and settled in a cozy “area”. There was no doubt they found their food there and soon most picked fishes with their long beaks that represented something like those of spoonbills. One of them picked a fish, came down to a smaller Heron, and fed it, beak to beak.

It was difficult to understand this act until this Heron repeatedly fed the smaller birds around. The bigger Heron looked strong enough. It swooped up and down around, stretched, and even retracted its neck. These birds possess the ability to retract their already long necks, in the sunlight of mid-morning after stretching it to fish out more food from the waters.  

After a 15 minutes exercise, they soared up gradually in the sky. The ascent of a few of them simply triggered the rest to follow or assumably most had their fill of the fishes. This is no doubt a habitual behavior, but, what is important is the lesson from the "Heron Act" of feeding other herons.

Do we see a striking resemblance to humans and them? Mildly yes.  All we do in life is for food and shelter. There is a popular Carnatic composition (in kannada - Ellaru maduvudu hottegagi, genu battegagi) by “Kanakadasa” who lived in 1500-1600 that translates to, “whatever we do is for our survival/food/shelter”.

Agree and disagree. We have the ability to stretch our reach further from necessities to luxury, from content to a little more and a little more. Now, talking specifically about food,  in the process do we waste food? Pretty much. Do we reach out best possible to someone needy around us? Sometimes? We are like this only!

Here is a lesson to learn from the Heron act. That is to remember to feed the weaker. When you are content, when you know you are stronger, shoulder responsibility to feed the weaker around you. Talking specifically about food, we are desperately helpless about how not to waste food. One of the conscious acts we could indulge in is to share it with someone around us who would appreciate that extra morsel.

It takes a little extra effort to curb any inhibitions, pack that extra food, and reach out to someone who will appreciate and accept it. The trash bins are not for leftover food. We are superior humans. We definitely indulge in charitable acts. But, to take care of that morsel which might be appreciated by someone else, takes a little thought, probably triggered by the Heron act.