Feathered friends as stress busters

A pol and his pollys

Nrupesh Nayak with one of his pet birds.

People follow different methods to reduce their stress, tension and anxiety they encounter in their daily work. Some listen to music, while others may prefer to watch a movie, a sitcom or a cricket match on television. Opting for a course in classical dance or painting to keep the mind and heart on the right track is not rare.

For a young politician in the Odisha capital of Bhubaneswar, listening to the sounds and calls of his pet birds is his way of stress-busting.

“My birds are my passion. They have been my biggest stress busters”, says Nrupesh Nayak, an elected corporator of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Nayak has already set up an aviary in his home to keep his prize collection of colourful birds - almost all of them rare foreign species. They include red, blue and yellow-green macaws, African grey parrots, African Sun Conures, Eclectus parrots from the
Pacific region and the Amazon rainforest and Australian cockatoos. 

“Birds are not only great pets but also very fast in learning the human language”, insists the young politician belonging to the ruling regional outfit, the Biju Janata Dal(BJD). Even physicians have now started acknowledging that the sounds the birds make are good for heart patients as well as patients with psychiatric problems, he says.

Nayak had been a bird lover right from his childhood and had raised a number of parrots and pigeons in his residence. His passion and love for birds increased as he grew up. He set up the aviary in his residence near the BJB college in Bhubaneswar in 2002 after he became a businessman. He now spends nearly Rs 5,000 every month to feed and maintain his pets. “The birds give me immense pleasure and the money I spend on them is worth it,” he says.

Nayak is planning a bigger aviary in Uttara, a place on the outskirts of Odisha capital and has acquired two acres of land for the purpose. “During my visit to Malaysia sometime ago, I had come across a wonderful aviary. I would like to build the aviary in Uttara on the lines of the Malaysian aviary. I hope it will be a popular spot both for the tourists visiting the State as well as the local residents”, said the businessman-turned-politician adding that he was hopeful of completing the project within a year.

Nayak has not confined his activities to business, politics and bird keeping alone. He has already started working for the protection of environment. He has set up a NGO - Green World, which has already embarked on a massive tree plantation drive in and around Bhubaneswar since last one year.

“Earlier, we are hearing and reading about the negative impact of the global warming and climatic changes. Now, we can feel it on our doorstep. Therefore, it is everybody’s duty to plant trees and protect them,” he said, underlining the rapid change in climatic conditions in Bhubaneswar which turns into one of the hottest cities in the country during summer over the last few years.

Last year, Green World planted 10,000 saplings in Bhubaneswar and the nearby town of Nayagarh of which nearly 9,900 saplings survived. “We not only plant saplings but also initiate steps to ensure their survival unlike government agencies who plant saplings and leave them to die,” Nayak said, adding that this year his organisation had a proposal to plant 15,000 to 20,000 saplings in the State capital.

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