The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha

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The Drongo and the Sun

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha by Rupa Abdi
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 1/41 by Rupa Abdi

Long long ago, so the legend goes, in the ancient land of Kalinga, a crow was born. Not as dark as the night but as white as snow for she was an albino.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 2/41 by Rupa Abdi
A group of crows perched on a boat in Chilika lake
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 3/41 by Rupa Abdi
Negative image of a crow at Chilika lake

All the other crows made fun of her, unaware of their own ugly wickedness. She sat alone lonely for days surrounded by the gloom of darkness.

Her mother asked her to appeal to the Sun whose light cured all in all fairness.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 4/41 by Rupa Abdi
Enroute to Chilika Lake

So day and night she sat and prayed to the Sun.

To his glory she sang all day,

while the others laughed at her passionate way.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 5/41 by Rupa Abdi
Bhitarkanika

The Sun watched her from his heavenly abode,

and decided to take her in his blessed fold.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 6/41 by Rupa Abdi
Evening at Bhitarkanika

Tell me O white one what ails you so ?

Why do you cry who is your foe?

The albino crow flew with joy,

the mighty Sun has heard my cry !!

Make me like others, as dark as the night,

and I shall forever be indebted to your might.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 7/41 by Rupa Abdi
The sea and the sun at Puri

Not so soon, said the Sun,

first you have a lesson to learn.

This world is made of many a thing,

air, water, fire, cloud, smoke, earth and ice,

All made from God's creative device.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 8/41 by Rupa Abdi
Puri beach

Forests, swamps, seas and land,

All have been made with one eye, one hand.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 9/41 by Rupa Abdi
The backwaters of Bhitarkanika
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 10/41 by Rupa Abdi
The forests of Bhitarkanika
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Typical village huts in Odisha
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Chilika Lake
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 13/41 by Rupa Abdi
Bhitarkanika
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 14/41 by Rupa Abdi
Dwellings near Bhitarkanika
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 15/41 by Rupa Abdi
Chilika Lake
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A village somewhere in Odisha

Creatures that walk, swim and fly,

But you see them with a dual eye.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 17/41 by Rupa Abdi
Chilika Lake
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 18/41 by Rupa Abdi
Chilika Lake

Ugliness and beauty,

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A helper at Konark Sand Art Festival
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A local resident near Bhitarkanika

Sadness and joy,

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 21/41 by Rupa Abdi
A tourist photographer at Dhauli
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 22/41 by Rupa Abdi
Young school girls near 64 Yogini temple

Chaos and harmony,

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 23/41 by Rupa Abdi
The crowd outside Jagganath temple complex
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 24/41 by Rupa Abdi
A female artisan at Raghurajpur village

are all one and the same,

two sides of the Divine game.

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Ratnagiri

Whether you are alone or in a crowd,

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 26/41 by Rupa Abdi
A fisherman in Chilika lake
Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 27/41 by Rupa Abdi
School girls waiting to cross over near Bhitarkanika

Believe this without doubt,

that you will be both sick and healthy,

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 28/41 by Rupa Abdi
Crowd outside Jagganath temple complex
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A young worker near Puri beach

clean and filthy,

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Men bathing near Bhitarkanika forest guest house

Poor and wealthy,

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 31/41 by Rupa Abdi
Beggars outside Dhauli Stupa

Treat all and everything equally.

In abundance and in poverty,

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 32/41 by Rupa Abdi
A man selling local sweets on the highway
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A dhaba on the highway

In youth and in old age,

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 34/41 by Rupa Abdi
Puri beach
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Fields near Bhitarkanika
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An elderly man going about his work near Bhitar kanika
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A local woman with a child, Bhitarkanika

Stay in the same state of mind,

and remember that it too will pass,

Everything is ephemeral like grass.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 38/41 by Rupa Abdi
Ratnagiri

Rise above duality,

View all with equanimity.

Fear and attachment,

binds you to this life,

Only indifference can lift you from this strife.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 39/41 by Rupa Abdi
Ratnagiri

I now grant you the grace of shape and form,

And a beautiful voice that will go with it all.

You will have a forked tail to remind one and all,

The duality of this world is an illusion forgone,

You shall carry my message in many tongues,

And lo! the world saw the Drongo !!

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 40/41 by Rupa Abdi
A Drongo sighted near Chilika Lake

Sleek, beautiful and dark like the night,

It can mimic the calls of birds, beast and the like.

Hence ends the story of the Drongo and the Sun,

Of darkness and light,

blackness and white.

Photo of The Drongo and the Sun: The People and Landscapes of Odisha 41/41 by Rupa Abdi
Drongo

Photo credits: Rupa and Razi Abdi

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