Living in communion with nature has never been a tall order for Shyam Kumar, who chooses to wake up to the sounds of chirping birds, rather than the variable alarm on his mobile. He loves to sit in the company of doves and other birds amid flowering plants rather than spend time in air-conditioned room. He prefers to speak to rabbits, instead of speaking to friends over phone.

A native of Vizianagaram, Shyam Kumar has been passionate about nature and goes out of the way to befriend and protect plants and birds. Whenever he travels to other places, he does not shop for clothes, accessories, footwear, watches or other such things; he looks for new ‘friends’ that he can bring home to add to his pleasure.

No wonder, Shyam Kumar’s house bustles with love birds, doves, pigeons, rabbits and other animals.  He has been maintaining a sanctuary of sorts.  He takes care of the birds and animals as if they are his own children: finches cocktails, African love birds, runt birds, fan tails, jawas, regular doves, pigeons and rabbits. They all have specialized cages and are fed grains and nuts, including cashew and almond.

Every day his routine begins with observing the birds, their activity and health. His passion for gathering different species of birds keeps him busy always. Shyam Kumar can get at least Rs. 5,000-6,000 per month as rent from the portion of his house that he presently uses to accommodate his ‘friends’, but he has no thought of letting it out.

In fact, he spends around Rs.5,000 towards medicines, nuts and grains for these birds and animals. He feels happy to feed these colourful birds with his own hand.  His every wakeful moment is shared with his pets. He says he speaks to the birds in their language. He even gifts pairs of love birds to his friends, near and dear on their birthdays and other special occasions.  Some of the birds dwelling in his home have been brought from West Bengal, Araku, Assam and other parts of the country. We can find a variety of rare species at his home.

“All our time just passes with these birds and plants. Sometimes we even cancel our tours to take care of these pets and plants. All my friends feel very happy whenever I gift rare species to them,” he says. Their chirps are very pleasant to him, never annoying. The terrace of his house is filled with flower pots, with the fragrance of roses, lilies and other flowers wafting across.

Even vegetables like lady’s finger, ribbed gourd and others are appealing to behold in his carefully tended garden. “We take measures to protect doves and rabbits from cats and dogs. The major threat for these birds is from cats and dogs only. It feels good to sit beside these cages. I am passionate to protect these rare lives,” he says.


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