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Book Review: On Philosophising, Philosophers, Philosophy and New Vistas in Applied Philosophy, by Dr. Sharmila Jayant Virkar

A little bit of context before you begin reading this book review. I have recently enrolled for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. Philosophy is something I have been getting interested in, over the past few years, as those of you who have been reading my blogs and Instagram posts would know. During the pandemic, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next, and this is what I eventually came up with. It has been a challenge, getting back into academics as a student at this age, especially in a subject I have no academic background in. However, it has also been very exciting, especially thanks to my wonderful classmates (who, surprisingly, are of all age-groups, including some quite near my own) and my teachers, who have been very supportive and understanding. How well I will do is something that remains to be seen, but so far, I am enjoying this new journey and look forward to where it leads. Now that you know the background , you probably get an idea of how

Birds from my window - Asian Koel



"कुहू कुहू बोले कोयलिया " 
(kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya)
..so go the words of a popular Hindi song. The Koyal or the Cuckoo (Asian Koel) is a popular bird in Indian culture and folklore, highly appreciated for its song. It has sometimes been called 'The Indian Nightingale' for the same reason. 




Since the last few weeks, I can hear this melodious song all day long, but it is only rarely that I get to see these birds. The male is jet black, and is easily mistaken for a crow... distinguished from a distance only by its bright red eye. 



The female on the other hand, is brown, speckled with white, and is so well camouflaged, that she is hard to spot. It is sheer persistence, and of course, luck, which has allowed me to photograph them, from my window at home! 



Mid March to mid August is the breeding season for the Asian Koel, which is why I can hear them so often, as they call out to each other. Once the bird lays its eggs, usually before the onset of the monsoon, the birds go quiet and disappear. 



Asian Koels are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds, thus evading the pains of parenting. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that in the Vedas, the koel is described as 'Anya-vapa' - that which has been raised by others'. This is considered to be the earliest knowledge of brood parasitism! 



Meanwhile, as the koels search for a suitable host nest, I make the most of their song, as it provides the perfect background score nature can provide! 

I live in Mumbai, in a colony lucky enough to still have plenty of trees and open spaces. The best part of living here are the birds I see from my window, every single day. "Birds from my Window" is a series, where I regularly feature photos of birds I see from my home. To see all the posts in this series, click here

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