Thursday, April 28, 2011


Crows, those ugly, pedestrian- looking, croak-voiced ignominious birds have been the last subject to spark a writer's imagination . But they recently did mine as they generally do, for I believe in an old Chinese proverb that 'Love for a person must extend to the crows on his roof '.

As I lay on my bed today, looking outside my casement, my eyes wavered to a thicket of very tall trees. I do not know what trees they are, just this that they are lush and tall - tall enough to reach a six-storied building. These trees , which so much resembled the redwood trees, were around 150 yards away from my house. The weather outside was hot with approximately 37 degree celsius. But the trees appeared quite cheerful as they merrily swayed their branches from left to right.

The noise from the outside world was blocked by the French-glasses and I was cozily nestled inside the sheets with my a.c. on to 24 degrees, trying to catch 40 winks after my lunch. I tried.
I tried, with my eyes fixed on those trees. Then I had the sight.

A murder of crows suddenly flew out of the tree in such dense clusters that I sat up on the bed. They circumnavigated around the tree three times before they again lodged themselves on its branches. It was like a ritual. It was like a sacrament performed for some practice. They circled so for 10- 12 times after which they would again perch on its myriad branches.

It was such an amusing act that I was quite lost in their animated enterprise . Coincidentally, I wondered too that in all my bird-watching in their aerial flight I had never encountered a clash of two birds.... But what were these crows actually up to? Why did they rise up like a sudden eddy of leaves in the Fall ? Did the leader crow make some kind of a rude comment to which all the rest revolted, or was there some sort of a coup in the crow-haven?

Maybe no. But I did move out of my bedroom, out of my living room, out of my house and in no time found myself standing beneath the tree. The crows were making an ear-splitting , cacaphonic sound. I craned my neck and strained my eyes as far as they could. The tree was really sky-high. I endeavored to scan through the dense foliage and the leaves-clusters.Nothing was visible at all. Then as I decided to give up my effort and had turned my back, a drop of glutinous, slimy red blob fell on my hand. I shuddered. I wiped my hand behind and again turned my face atop. And then I saw it.

There between the twin shaggy branches of the tree there lay a gilded adder. It was big. It was long. It was dead. But what was alarming was that it was ripped and half- mauled. The ravenous crows were feeding on it. And therefore the wild orgy !

They were behaving like the fanatic tribals of some semetic origin and I thought it were only us, human beings who performed rituals and ceremonies ! I was quite jolted with the sudden turn of events. What seemed to be an apparently harmless, playful afternoon game of these birds was not so sporting after all.

I returned home with a heavy heart.