Us vs Them

By Shivani Agrawal

The best example of escaping reality comes alive in our relationship with the environment. Its pervasiveness and service to us at all times at no cost, makes it one of the most granted entities in human affairs. The sheer ease, simplicity and inconspicuousness with which it surrounds us makes it terribly easy for us to not notice it. Even our day to day seemingly harmless acts like drinking from thermocol glasses and reckless usage and disposal of plastic carry bags go a long way in affecting the dynamics of environment, at least, within our local limits.

Recently, I had a revelatory moment. It was a thing so simple yet it struck me after such a long time and much intellectual struggle. I was having tea at one of the tea stalls near my university. Sitting on a chair, by myself, I was enjoying my free space. Just then, a few birds (common mynahs and jungle babblers to be particular) came near me, chirping loudly (read irritatingly for me) hoping for some fallen crumbs for their food. However, I was a little more open-hearted and threw some pieces of snacks I had bought. Needless to say, they ate them hungrily. I continued the process and the birds left no chance to leave their share.  Soon after, another group of men sitting near me started throwing pieces of their snacks a little further away to two opposing groups of birds. As soon as the pieces were thrown to them, they would squeak loudly and fought with each violently to get hold of the titbits. This whole procedure was irritating as well as amusing.

Their noise irritated me. I felt as if the birds did not want to let us enjoy our tea siesta in peace and were determined to spoil every minute of it by creating a ruckus with their banter. However, after a moment, it struck me that maybe it was not they who were trespassing their space but we were who were encroaching on theirs. I realised that if we look around carefully, there seem to be very few places that we have left for these biological friends of ours. With our endless, large-scale, and unplanned constructions and lifestyles, there are hardly free spaces anymore where they can nest.

We have not left spaces for them where they can fend for and take care of themselves comfortably and find their ways out; places where their food would be available easily, sufficient ground to hop and skip and jump, habitats where they could build their homes and protect their young ones. They need spaces where they could grow and live comfortably and not be tress passers all the time. The earth belongs as much to them as us.

The earth has been inhabited by human beings in a hegemonic and an insensitive fashion. The living styles of humans have been conceived in such a manner that they leave little space for other creatures as if we are the only ones living on this planet. The intricacies of the interconnections are lost in this process. The fact of interdependence in the biological world is hardly remembered. There is great amount of interdependence among the creatures of the world which makes the earth sustainable. Without it, there could be little scope for life. The fact that the existence and survival of one species is dependent on others can no longer be ignored. All creatures great and small need to share the planet.

Physical spaces are increasingly cleared to make way for human activities with little thought for the habitats of other beings and their presence is seen as an encroachment. As our biological compatriots, they have an equal right on this planet as us. It should always be remembered that their existence that is dependent on ours but rather our presence in a chain of inter-linkages which makes our survival plausible.


Shivani Agrawal is a Research Assistant on a project on Gujarat’s coastal security. She enjoys reading, writing, teaching, quizzing and playing table tennis.



Click here to access the Borderless anthology, Monalisa No Longer Smiles

Click here to access Monalisa No Longer Smiles on Kindle Amazon International

6 replies on “Us vs Them”

Amazing article šŸ‘….how we in our busy lives tend to own the environment as ours….while Mother Earth is for everyone it’s always co-living…..the writer as brought up the topic nicely…

Liked by 1 person

Dear Author,
Congrats!! Your writing is clear, accurate, and very concise. The animals having big brain with dense neural connections are indeed destroying harmony on this pale blue dot. I support your take on this issue and will share with others as well.

Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s