I was relaxing at a homestay in Valparai, Tamil Nadu. It was a perfect morning. I yearned for some music to make it even more perfect. My wish was fulfilled by a mesmerizing flute symphony that echoed through the deep woods. I wondered if it was Lord Krishna reincarnated. I searched in vain, but I couldn’t spot him.  His music played on in my head.

Many months later, I encountered him again, at Vythiri Resort, Kerala. I heard his magical whistle and went in search of him. To my surprise, he was a tiny winged creature tinged in blue and black, like a painter had casually smeared him with a brush. I discovered that he was the Malabar Whistling Thrush. To my surprise, he had a special connection with Lord Krishna. Legend goes that when little Krishna was tired after playing his flute, a boy stole it and started playing a melody. Krishna got so angry that he cursed him to become a bird.

The little bird’s music took away my blues. I wished that I could capture him with my camera, but that had to wait for the next visit.

Malabar Whistling Thrush – Sweet Melody Call


My third encounter with the maestro was in Munnar. He whistled, “Happy Birthday”, ending the second stanza like a child who couldn’t complete it. It was absolutely endearing. I silently thanked him and told him that it not my birthday, but he made me feel incredibly special.

The Malabar Whistling Thrush then turned his attention to a meal of earthworms and berries. As he ate and occasionally broke into a symphony, I observed his beak. Every time it opened and closed, enchanting notes flowed. I felt blessed to be his one-man audience. I don’t know when I will encounter the whistling wizard again, but I know that it’s destiny.

Photo Courtesy: Sunil Singh Meharban