The Indian Roller Song


About ten years ago, I had searched the encyclopaedia to understand more about the Indian Roller. I was able to locate a fine introduction to the Roller, written by Ma. Krishnan, the world renowned ornithologist. Krishnan is the son of A. Madhavaiah, a well known author.

Krishnan has written a lot, and during my search for the article on the Roller, I realised that his encyclopaedia-like articles were not published as a collection. Upon reading the article, I was amazed at how minutely he had observed the bird and how much information he was able to provide. I brought out a compendium of his writings.

By nature, the Roller is a very quiet bird, that would perch itself on a branch or on a wire. It is very rare to hear its sound, and till date, I have not heard it, though I have seen it a lot. It is also a solitary bird. You would see it alone looking for food, making it a mystery how it reproduces. This song is about such a unique bird.

— Perumal Murugan


What a joy, it is to see, it is to see
The beauty of the Roller’s flight
What a joy, it is to see, it is to see


From the tree, for everyone to see
Its enchanting blue feather ecstasy
Folds and opens, Soars carefree


On a sharp leaved palm, it will perch
To make a meal, insects it will search
Like an arrow it would fly
It does look like a piece of the sky
With a lovely lit, it rises with grace