Castles in the Air: Gap Year Week 22

My aunt and uncle and I are eight hours away from the heavy gray blotch where Delhi hides. We’re one thousand and three hundred meters up, high enough to see through the plains, the silver river winding like a question mark through, low enough that thick forests surround our upward drive. Continue reading “Castles in the Air: Gap Year Week 22”

Diving Deep: Gap Year Week 19

I’m not in Singapore anymore. Two weeks ago, I said good-bye to my parents at the airportand left for Sri Lanka. I will admit a certain lack of novelty in the destination: this is my second time in the country this gap year, after a weeklong family holiday back in June. Continue reading “Diving Deep: Gap Year Week 19”

The Morning Forest: Gap Year Week 2

I am now two weeks and three countries into my gap year. The last eight days were spent in Sri Lanka, where my extended family—aged three moths to 77 years—gathered for a holiday. Over the trip, we circumnavigated by the country by bus, boat, and seaplane, from the coast to the hills. I took over 1800 photographs, saw 101 bird species, including 15 endemics, and ate far more than I’d like to number.

Continue reading “The Morning Forest: Gap Year Week 2”

On a Goldcrested Afternoon


The spring is on the verge of tumbling into the fields in London. Continue reading “On a Goldcrested Afternoon”

Morning in the Ghats


Mornings in the Ghats are an exercise in pastel. Continue reading “Morning in the Ghats”

The Problem with Parakeets

The problem with parakeets is twofold: firstly, they’re loud. And secondly, you hardly ever see them well.

It’s really annoying. Every evening I hear flocks screeching, Formula-1-esque, over the sky. If I’m lucky, I’ll look up in time to see a long-tailed silhouette disappears behind a building. More often than not, I look up and end up pirouetting three times before realizing that yes, they’re far gone, and have been for a good two minutes.

The few times when I have the acumen (read: blind fortune) to decipher what tree the flock landed on, they’ve decided to perch at the very top, where they loudly scream their defiance at me. AT ME. With all these factors combining to mean I’m not very familiar with parakeets at all in addition to just a simple lack of overall proficiency with distinguishing ID features, alone, I can’t even pin them to a species despite their (relative) stillness.

This is especially frustrating when you get such beauties like Malabar parakeets. If someone took a parakeet-shaped cookie-cutter to the sky and added a bit of coral reef in, as well, they’d probably end up with a similar result. To be honest, even bad looks at them can be beautiful: iridiscent raindrops flying in clouds against the brilliance of rainforest green.

When they’re just black dots fast-vanishing across a sunset, though? They only exist in potentiality, as a product of imagination.

This is the best look I’ve ever gotten at them. And to be frank, five minutes seeing them in their full glory more than makes up for hundreds of calls dissolving only into wind.