Colonies of seagulls fussing over and feeding on scraps of food offered by people are a common sight at Muttrah corniche, more so during winters. The birds make a spectacular sight as they squabble for food, some of the winged wonders fearlessly pecking at people’s hands. The popular seafront attracts people of all strata of society, young and old, to feed the gulls.
On Friday morning, Sultan, all of four, insisted his father take him to feed the nawras (seagull).
“He woke up early and was quite excited to visit Muttrah corniche,” said his father, Ahmed al Sinani.
Residents of Amerat, they make regular visits to Muttrah to feed the birds.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family’s visits to Muttrah corniche had become irregular. But on this occasion, Sinani’s wife and their two-year old younger son too were able to come. “This early morning trip allowed us good family time. We enjoyed watching and feeding the birds,” Sinani said.
Another visitor on Friday morning to engage in the humane act was Indian expat Javed. His late father, who lived in Oman for 35 years, asked him to spend part of his earnings in feeding birds and fish. Javed has been a resident of the country for 26 years himself. He hopes the act will appease Allah, bring peace and protect humanity, particularly from another pandemic like COVID-19.
“I live in Muttrah and regularly feed fish and birds when I am here. But I need to travel for work, staying away from Muttrah for months at end. When I get back, I try to make up for lost time,” Javed said.
Zubair Mulla came to Oman from Bangladesh six years ago and has been feeding birds for three months now.
“I feed the fish and birds twice or thrice a week. I wish I could more often, but I have a busy work schedule,” he said. “It gives me joy when the birds pick the food from my hands.”
Standing 2m away, Junaid echoed Mulla’s words. “I just do it for happiness. It’s a great feeling when the birds take food from your hands. I don’t have any specific reason for feeding the birds.”
(Text and photos by Syed Fasiuddin)
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