Penance, Ranginathittu, Karnataka, India

There is a famous proverb in Tamil (an ancient language of India) -

ODU MEEN ODA URU MEEN VARUMALAVUM KATHIRUKUMAAM KOKKU

Which means

A Stork will wait patiently let all the small fish go away, waiting to catch the big one. (Odu Meen — small fish, Uru Mean — big one, Kokku — stork)

At Ranginathittu Bird Sanctuary, I literally saw this unfolding in front of my eyes. This painted stork waited patiently in one leg. It was indeed doing a penance to catch a big fish. In Indian mythology, sages stood on one feet doing praying for years to achieve their spiritual goal.

The Tamil proverb is an advice to keep working towards long-term goals in life. The goal is always to ignore the daily chatter.

Interesting enough, the storks near by did no such penance for catching fish.

Wikipedia says — “Painted Storks usually immerse their half open beaks in water and sweep them from side to side and snap up their prey of small fish that are sensed by touch.”

So this indeed was an unique Painted Stork !

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