I toyed with the idea like a fantasy for some time. I am not that good at bird shots, is what I thought at first. But then, how will I get better if I never give it a “shot” ? Plus, I have never really been up close and personal with birds. Maybe the other birds dint like me much, so flew away the moment I was about to click. Maybe flamingos wont find me as scary.
It was not so difficult in theory. I had done my due amount of research on the internet. Checked flickr to see where all the flamingo shots were geo-tagged. Checked the location of the Sewri Railway station w.r.t. the location of the Flamingos. All I had to do was walk up to there.
I took the locals and got down at Sewri Rly Station at 8 in the morning. BTW, why is it written as Sewri when it is pronounced as Shivdi ? Eludes mes.
I started walking. I had read it was across the factory. But there were factories everywhere. Which factory ? I used my sense of geography and started walking south. As per the map, I should walk south to discover the mud flats. But something was wrong. I could not see the harbour. I could not see the water, the edge of land. I checked my phone which was dying on battery . Google maps said I was on the wrong road. Wrong road ? But I had never left the road that lead from the Rly Station. I started to walk back to find the junction where I had to take the “right” road. From the map, the bus station looked closer to the place then the railway station, so I took a cab to the bus stand. The taxi driver signalled me to cross the road with the bridge. I dint pay attention, walked on. But wait a minute, I was walking North now. I was completely lost.
I decided to cross over. I was back on the road in front of the Railway Station. Hmmm. Now I could see the Indian Oil Refinery ( ?? ) on the opposite side of the train tracks. But how do I cross ? I looked around but there was no bridge. SO I just followed the lead of the people there. I crossed the railway tracks. For the first time in life since a long long time.
Now I started walking south. A signboard showed the way to the Haji-Bunder Road. That was the road ! I took the road. I kept walking but I just ended up where the factory workers lived and shat. I took full control over myself to conquer disappointment and find the right way. Right then, I saw an egret fly and come and sit in front of me. Egret ! I took multiple shots of her, while she posed. Then she flew off. Just as lost. I was lost. I still couldnt see the edge of land. I needed to go more towards east. How do I go to east.
I started walking back, I remembered s small lane going towards east some distance back. I got there in minutes and took the lane…road, rather. As I started walking, I could start to see the edge of the land…and it was right next to a factory. Not sure if it was HLL factory or some other.
There they were ! My heart jumped. So many of them ! I had never ever seen so many flamingos in my life ! I had never seen flamingos in my life. And there they were like some wonder of this world…countless flamingos…my heart was overflowing with happiness.
I walked on the swamp. I immersed my foot in the muck. I was soon smelling of muck. Good thing I was wearing floaters and capris.
The feel of muck, smell of muck, wet feet, nothing compared with the sight in front of me.
And then, at sharp 9 AM, they all flew off in stages. And within 8 minutes they were gone ! I was really lucky !
I have decided. I will go back there. With my working boots on. And earlier in the day, when the light is softer, and makes them look like the true beauties they are.
Flamingos, I will be back.