Adjutant Stork (Laptoptilos dubius) – A Ray of Hope

Vinod Goel

Vinod Goel was born and brought up in the small town of Palwal, Haryana. He attended the Sainik School Balachadi in Jamnagar. In 1982, he joined the Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise).

Vinod’s intense desire to own a camera from his childhood led to his deep interest in studying wildlife in natural surroundings. Over the years, he also developed a fascination for ‘local’ birds in neighbourhood conditions. Thus his basic philosophy: ‘uncommon Behaviour of common birds‘.

Vinod, supported by his family, has become a well-known photographer in India and abroad.

As I sit at home during the lockdown, Navratra celebrations begin from 25th March. It is the Hindu New Year which I prefer to celebrate instead of the Christian New Year on 31st December every year.

But the celebrations are muted as a national lockdown for 21 days has begun.

We are passing through the greatest crisis of the this century after more than 100 years as earlier one was in the year 1918 just after the World War 1, when about 5 crore people lost their life on account of Spanish flu which lasted for about 2 years.

At present the entire world is affected by the Coronavirus and a few thousand people have already lost their life due to spread of Covid-19 disease.

Let us PLEASE keep social distancing to avoid Community Transmission to stop the deadly disease till a medicine is developed by the Medical community who are toiling day in and day out.

A ray of hope will take us out of the crisis and we will shine as the bird is shining in its lovely habitat.

Adjutant Stork. Photo taken by my son Bharat Goel in 2017 at Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh

Adjutant Stork. Photo taken by my son Bharat Goel in 2017 at Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh


As suggested by the Editor of I have penned my best Christian year celebrations as well.

My most Memorable Year of celebrating 31st December 1999: The Beginning of the New Century

Most of the us  eagerly await for the 31st December New Year eve so that we  can go out for party out of the house to a hotel or club or out station for big celebrations.

But being a hostler from an early age I always thought of spending my new year eve with family or closed friends. One such big occasion was 31st December 1999 when the entire world was going to witness a new horizon from 20th to 21th Century. The world had in anticipation changed the software of the computers as it was feared that transition to a new century may lead to collapse of the entire data with change in date from 1999 to 2000.

As I was posted in Delhi we  thought of celebrating at the Civil Service Officers Institute (CSOI) at Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi. All arrangements had been made and we were all looking forward to gala times ahead.

But at around 1700 hrs the entire function was cancelled on account of negotiations for the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC 814 at Kandahar in Afghanistan, in control of Taliban.

Immediately my better half Sangeeta suggested to why not to host the party at our house with close friends. She volunteered to prepare all the dishes with the help of domestic servant. I whole heartedly agreed. She tasked me to immediately ring up the friends and invite them. Hence I obeyed her order. My daughter Nitya and son Bharat took care of the kids during the party. My friends namely B R Sharma from J&K cadre, S. P. S. Parihar from M. P. cadre, Vijay Goel from ISS attended the special celebrations.

My daughter still remembers vividly and calls it THE party of the “millennium as we were switching from 1 to 2”, in the small living room. We still enjoy seeing those photographs from time to time. By the way all of us who attended are living in Delhi at this time and except Sh B R Sharma (Chairman SSC) all others have retired.

In fact for the last 15 years we have been venturing into wild during festivals such as  Holi or New Year eve with friends or family. It all started from 2007 when I visited Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh with family during Holi festival. During this trip I was able ‘shoot’ one of the signature photographs of 2 tigers sitting on the boulder.

Subsequently I was with B. R. Sharma and Vijay Goel's family at Sariska Tiger Reserve on 31st December in 2012 and saw elusive tiger in the early morning when the temperature was minus 3 centigrade. I was with Sangeeta, my life partner at Bera in Pali district of Rajasthan, known for leopards on 31st December 2013.

The interesting thing  was that on the New Year Gathering in the North Block the next day everybody was trying to spot me in Room No 72, as Chairman CBEC had appreciated  my work on VCES 2013 (Voluntary Compliance Encouragement Scheme) through  publicity campaign but I was missing from the New Year gathering. One of my colleagues informed me later that he told the gathering that Vinod at that moment was enjoying the company of Leopards in the wild.

As regards the festival of Ramnavmi most of the times we are in the house as Navratra Puja on the 9th day is complete and Prasad is offered to 9 young girls from the community known as Kanchika, representative of Goddess Durga in different forms."

As I thumb through my albums to fill the up the ‘stay at home’ compulsion I am happy to recall my ‘shoot’ of these birds.

So Colorful. So Vivid. So Free.

Scaly breasted munia. Photo taken by Vinod Goel.

Scaly breasted munia. Photo taken by Vinod Goel.

Ashy prinia feeding chicks. Photo taken by Vinod Goel.

Ashy prinia feeding chicks. Photo taken by Vinod Goel.

A female Koel. Photo taken by Vinod Goel.

A female Koel. Photo taken by Vinod Goel.

A bird on the Amaltas tree. Photo taken by Vinod Goel at Ludhiana.

A bird on the Amaltas tree. Photo taken by Vinod Goel at Ludhiana.

Grey francolin. Photo taken by Vinod Goel.

Grey francolin. Photo taken by Vinod Goel.


Editor's Note

This story is part of our series on the coronavirus pandemic of 2019-2020. Here is the complete series so far. Readers are welcome to keep contributing!


विश्व फोटोग्राफर ग्राफर विनोद कुमार गोयल जी के कुदरत के नज़ारे को कैद करने का अंदाज विश्व को सुन्दरता का खजाना मुहैया करता है उनके लिखने की शैली बेमिशाल है। तीतर , कोयल,मुनिया,पंछी का अपने बच्चों को खिलाना , सनबर्ड का फूलों पर झूलना यह देख आप आकलन कर सकते हैं। यही सीख बच्चों मे दी है पुत्र की जलचर की तस्वीर बेमिशाल है ।शानदार फोटो के लिए विनोद जी को नमन एवं पब्लिकेशन को धन्यवाद।


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