When I received an admit to the University of Oxford to pursue my MBA, my mother asked me to make a list of things I would need to buy and pack for my stay and studies. I am not sure whether it was my obsession for the historic significance of Oxford, or my passion for photography, or a mix of both, which led to a camera topping that list! I carried with me my Canon SLR 550D including two lenses; in anticipation of capturing the beautiful architecture and the history of this city.
Jetlagged, I woke up at 6am to be greeted by a bright rainbow smiling at me through my bedroom window on the very first morning. The scenic beauty was an indicator that this click was just the first of thousands more to come during my one year stay at Oxford.
I was wondering what I could do for the rest of the day – unpack, meet my new classmates, or roam the city while the sun was still shining bright. The soothing sound of a stream flowing outside, and the playful cacophony of numerous birds gave me company while I busied myself in the kitchen.
Unable to contain myself, I decided to step out to begin my journey as an amateur wildlife photographer. Little did I know that I was going to capture more of nature than architecture at Oxford.
I was taking so many pictures, I sometimes wondered if I had come to study photography or MBA. I actually started knowing more about my camera through this process. Learning to play the ‘hide and seek’ game with the sun, I learnt to adjust the exposure, ISO and shutter speed suitably to get a good shot.
Attached below are a few that I spotted through my bedroom window – a magpie with a great pose and a woodpecker in deep thought.
Every morning at 6am a raft of ducks would swim across the stream, quacking all the time as they got past my room. The quacking has now become my wake up routine, and has saved me the pain of setting an alarm every night! I never get wary of the sight, and the vibrant colours on them. To top it, I have even seen them diligently cross roads, strictly following rules of looking to their left and right before crossing!
I saw so many varieties of birds and I wanted to click them from all possible angles. As I approached them for a close-up, I noticed that they were neither scared of me nor my camera. That’s when I realised that people here lived in harmony with nature. The animals feel safe among human beings. This was very interesting for me because as an animal welfare activist I have constantly seen the fear animals have towards humans for the trauma and cruelty by humans on animals. Back home, every bird or animal is associated with a God or Goddess and is considered a God thereby. But in reality they are never treated as one. The small group of people fighting for the voiceless are always found to be in the minority. However, it was great to see in this country that animals, birds and human beings all lived in accordance.
One day as I was walking by the stream and I heard a sudden splash of water. There I saw a fox in search for his supper. Unfortunately, I was not quick enough, and my reflex and photography skills failed in comparison to the agility displayed by Mr. Fox. I have never seen a fox in my life before and all this was very exciting for me. The fox started visiting the residence and I have always been too slow in getting a picture of him. I even started bribing him with a loaf of bread every morning, which he relished but never budged for a good photo. I guess foxes do not make good models! To get a handsome picture of the Mr. Fox is now another goal of mine during my stay here at Oxford.Back to top of article