Hoary Bellied Squirrel

….and we have passed the fourth phase of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Time has entered a new cycle where gradually we have to live consciously with the new learning from life, for a better tomorrow.

“Work from home” – the “new normal” for all, has shown the office goers a new lifestyle already to remain safe and sound, maintaining all safety norms and guidelines to deliver services.

My engagement during this lockdown, being a communicator at Wildlife Trust of India, has introduced me to a new work culture. During this time, I enjoyed being in touch with all active field teams of our wildlife rescue missions around Assam and communicating on a real-time basis via various modes of online communication and also strengthening the team’s internal network and reaching to the mass through social media.

However, managing the free time with responsibilities, a different world has evolved during this lockdown for me as a photographer. Do you know the hill ranges towards south-west of Guwahati, until the hilltops adjacent to Rani Reserve forest, are now visible from Kamakhya foothills – thanks to the lockdown which resulted in decreased level of pollution?

Though engaged in taking care of my octogenarian parents, my eyes always search around the household to explore nature and the wildlife, which makes my life easy as a wildlife lover in these hours of crisis. Mainly birds, insects, flies and lizards, snakes whatever comes across the doorstep or seen from the window. It is altogether a different experience being at home for around two months with restricted movement for bare necessities.

The nationwide lockdown, apart from all limitations for the safety of the human being has given a lesson to us to know ourselves, our neighborhood and the small patch of nature that surrounds our household covering from the kitchen gardens to the courtyards. Pollution has reduced. The various layers of hills that were not possible to see with naked eyes became visible to rebuild the character of the city landscape of Kamrup Metropolitan district.

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My house is located at the foothills of Nilachal hills at Pandu in Guwahati city. We have a small open-air area with various fruit trees like guava, mango, jackfruit, betel nut and flower plants. Since childhood, I have been observing the presence of birds with sweet sounds in the early morning in the small green zone of our house. In addition, their presence admires me too. However, there was no opportunity to photographically document the nature around our household in those days.

The lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic has given this alternative to interact with my “visitors from nature world” who not only made us happy with their activities around my small green world, but also shared lessons to learn from Mother Nature.

Early morning observations following the birdcall, I am blessed with sightings of different species of sunbird, Koel, Indian garden lizard, pair of barbet, kingfisher, wolf snake, moth and butterflies alongside many squirrels and the naughty monkeys. The observation takes me back to the earlier days of ‘backyard bird count’ that I used to participate in since during my university days.

As the thought goes, I took it as a personal photo project to document whatever interesting happened around me in this small natural world. In addition, I tried to explore each corner of my home, be it a bird call or monkey movement or silent visitors like lizards or a moth camouflaged under the natural shield of a plant or a tree.

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Being a photographer, while documenting the birds and other creatures in and around the household during the Corona crisis, I realized that the horizon of my small world with the presence of the friends from nature had actually extended and started communicating with me. From those real time interactions of whatever bird or animal I noticed, it filled my heart with joy. I realized that it could be a good experiment for the budding photographers and serious photo-enthusiasts as well to explore their own world around home documenting nature.  Presently, it is just the time that is testing our patience of existence in this “changed world” that we have brought for ourselves from all visible and invisible destruction of Mother Nature.

In this new world of social distancing, out of all hurdles, nature, as always remains in a safe distance from the people at large with all its potentialities, showing a ray of hope in this crisis hours to realize its need for the betterment of human beings.

No doubt, it is a tough time for all fighting this battle but like the old revolutionary song goes around in the mind of many people rejuvenating all hearts in this pandemic situation; I am also hopeful that, “We shall overcome some day!”

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About Subhamoy Bhattacharjee


Subhamoy Bhattacharjee is a Photojournalist-Communicator. He tells the tale of the region, with his writings and photographs. Photo documentaries, news features and book projects attract him most.


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