Flocking to

We see this well-dressed old woman visiting the park with a couple of small sacks of peanuts, oats and other grains to feed the birds. A common sight we thought, although it was difficult to miss the affection with which she was “interacting” with the birds, as if almost talking to them. One day we saw her nursing a bird by the lake (she reached out to the local animal welfare group as she told us later) and another day surrounded by a group of crows & ducks (by the lake). It is not that we visit this place often, but almost every time we did, we found this person actively engaged with her winged friends or walking around cheerfully calling out to them. One of the days we came face to face with her and as she greeted us with a cheerful smile, we took the chance to have a casual conversation.

(let’s call her Anne for the purpose of this post)

Courtesy: www.paintingsbylizzie.com

               Flock Destination

(Picture courtesy: http://www.paintingsbylizzie.com)

Anne has been visiting the park and providing food to the birds for several years now and told us stories about the different kinds of birds she “interacts” with, in the park. She spoke about the story of pair of swans living in that lake over the years and how she helped one of them when it got hurt. “It doesn’t cost much to bring some peanuts, oats and grains and what I get in return from these birds is their amazing friendship, I think you should try this too”, she encouraged us. “I think food is not the only reason why they come to me, it is like a community gathering and they feel safe”. Anne spends a few hours almost every day walking the park and looking out for her friends. Looking at the birds dance around Anne and just hang around idly (while not munching on the bits of grain), it felt like Anne has become not just a source of food for them but a purpose to flock to and spend good time. While I have watched some documentaries, courtesy Nat Geo, where determined volunteers/experts interact with wild life to make it easy for them to co-exist & share the environment leading to a healthy ecosystem overall, this was a first time direct experience of watching it happen.

One of the fantastic leaders I have worked with used to remark, “we should not be(have) in such a way that when someone from our team encounters us, they should not turn away and escape. We should be open and pleasant for our teams to come to us and engage”. Of course it does apply in general as well, we tend to go to (may be flock to) certain people or habits that give us a sense of good time, if not purpose. And there are other things that we tend to escape.

Without getting into the moral/logical predicaments, it is indeed wonderful to be(have) in a such way to be the reason/inspiration that invites flocking (may be not in the literal sense). To be the flock-destination that can enrich the ecosystem. One is lucky to be around such individuals who would leave one emotionally/intellectually richer with their (inter)actions (and if not around such people, it is a good idea to look harder and find some urgently!).

Of course, it is not just about people alone, there are habits/practices(sports/hobbies?) that do this too and to quote Seth Godin (“Okay, you know how you feel, what you need, what you want… This next thing you’re going to do or say: Does it help you get closer to that?”), it is important to note if the thing one is flocking to is actually enriching or depleting.

Most times, it will do a world of good if one is not being the flock-destination to harm the ecosystem [e.g., inviting group (to have caustic) conversations about how bad everything around is without doing anything about it!]

And once again, “What are peanuts worth?”. Well, Anne would say “tons of friendship!”.

Categories: True Events Inspired

Tags: , , ,

23 replies

  1. Phani

    While I continue to appreciate your writing with the flow and grammar, in reality it’s just the least but what makes your blogs special is your intent of seeing good in surroundings and articulating and presenting them as blogs. The wisdom you share at times is priceless and extremely reflective.

    Every blog of yours is like a peanut which is worth of tons of wisdom to me.

    Keep writing, god bless you!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good narrative and message.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice way to correlate these 2 things, and the way you put up these is really nice. I can definitely say, I came across many such people in this account and TCS.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Truly one of ur best – Phani
    A very good message – so true and endearing and yet so so well articulated

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing articulation… content and message worth a books reading. Appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks SD for referring this article

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Phani….Again a great blog…. excellent message

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very good message for everyone to learn from. Thanks for sharing it , Phani.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The way story narrated was really connecting and the way you correlated with great leaders was amazing…Thank you very much phani.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This post reminded me of the lady in ‘Home Alone 2’ who befriends pigeons in Central Park, and has a wonderful dialogue with Kevin when he gathers courage to approach her 🙂

    I’d flock to a Toastmasters meeting (and to fellow Toastmasters especially good story-tellers!), to fellow quizzing enthusiasts at Godavari (DP), to meetups at work with fellow practitioners and enthsiasts, to book-talk sessions and to the library… For a walk in the park with a friend and his pet, and of course to Knome (and now here as well) to read posts by my fellow bloggers at work each day! 🙂 as you rightly said, such interactions leave us enriched – a lot of times, not a single word is said but actions (or the company of such people/animals) alone suffice!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent narration, which makes it a compelling reading till end!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey Phani,

    I am loving it !!!

    you should start thinking seriously writing a book. lot of things i could learn from your blogs.

    Keep writing !!!


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Phani,

    Nice correlation. Thanks for sharing.


  13. It’s amazing how the “YoungMoon” continues to churn out such beautifully crafted short stories resplendent with thought provoking messages time and again.

    Phani it’s time you started sharing all your masterpieces on medium.com so that more people can enjoy reading them and thus making a much more meaningful impact the platform is offering the world over..!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yet another compelling anecdote… 👍 ..


  15. Very nicely written Phani 😊
    We all have definitely eaten the nuts, oats and grains from your hand

    Liked reading it

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Nice Analogy for impact to nuture a flocking mindset or reason to be part of it

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It is so pleasant to read your short stories, and underlying messages are bonus to take home and share , again, thanks for sharing Phani 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A good post with great inner meaning. Thanks for your continuous contribution dear Phani.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A truly compellingly introspective piece. True that we all love to flock to some safe havens but its very few that come forward to create some. In our pursuit of edification we are unwittingly digressing from our ulterior objective – civilization. We are so embroiled in saving the peanuts for things that can render more of consumeristic gratification than to invest in the upraisal of ones aura.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. As always a compelling story and a positive one at that. In our competitive world we often forget that we are indeed flock animals and truly achieve greater things as a team than each one of us is able to do individually, most recently exemplified by the remarkable rescue of a team of young footballers from a cave in Thailand by a team of very brave cave divers from all over the world. A feat that echoed around the world and rightly so.

    Liked by 1 person

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