Chennai’s summers can be brutal, and not just for travellers. As the mercury rises, naturalists and animal lovers urge city residents to lay out water for birds, dogs, and cats to help them deal with the unbearable heat. But one Chennai local, Joseph Sekar, goes above and beyond. For the past decade, Sekar has been feeding between 2,000-3,000 parakeets every day on his terrace in the neighbourhood of Royapettah.
It all began after the 2004 tsunami hit Chennai, crippling the city and displacing its residents. As humans got back to their feet, Sekar noticed a pair of parakeets hanging out near his terrace. He set out some rice for them, and soon enough they became regular visitors. They brought so many of their feathered friends along, in fact, that Sekar devised a method to make sure they are all fed. His day begins at around 4.30 a.m. when he prepares the rice for the parakeets. Then, he lays down about 15 planks on his terrace, dolloping scoops of rice along their length. The whole exercise takes about 1.5 hours, after which Sekar begin his day job as a camera repairman. Twelve hours later, a second feeding session begins.
Sekar spends about 40 per cent of his monthly salary on feeding his parakeets, but he doesn’t mind, because, as he says, “My motivation is to love all beings, including birds.”
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