Monday, December 20, 2010

Song of birds

These days, I wake up to the sweet song of a cuckoo bird.... Some days the notes of its song are sweet and melodious and some days, relentlessly sharp and strained. Yet, I enjoy it tremendously because the song of a bird is an alien auditory treat for me.

Even as a child, I don't ever remember paying attention to the song of birds. Perhaps because I grew up in a land that is famous for one type of bird alone...the crow.... Everywhere you go in Kerala, you will hear them "caw".

As a child, I distinctly remember a crow snatching a sandwich from my hands as I stood munching in the balcony. The feel of its claws on my fingers is a sensation I remember to this day. I guess thats where my fear for birds started. I also remember my mom lamenting the assaults wreaked by crows on her drying mango slices (for that mmmmm pickle).

I am reminded of an incident from school, when I was in class VIII or IX; an incident that makes me smile to this day!

One afternoon I returned from my lunch break to find my wallet missing from my desk. Yep, at that age, I was very careless with my belongings and often misplaced my things in school. (I hope my daughter who recently joined FB is NOT reading this!)

My wallet contained the pocket money for the week. I was panic stricken and upon my friends' suggestion, decided to seek permission from the English teacher due to take her class during that period, to launch a search for my missing wallet.

The English teacher, Ms Dolores was not the most popular in the school. She was infamous for her temper and tantrums and the inconsiderate manner in which she dealt with the students.

As soon as I began the story of my missing wallet, Ms Dolores gave me that omnipresent irritated look.

"What's happened?"
"Miss, I have lost my wallet. I want to look for it. Can you excuse me from the class please?"
"Wallet? Who took your wallet?"
"I don't know Miss."
"Why don't you know?" (I could almost hear the grrrrrrrrr in her mind!)

Addressing the class, she asked, "Does anyone here know who took her wallet?"

One hand went up. In all seriousness, Satya, who always strived to live up to her name 'truth', stood up and said,"I know Miss. I saw a crow taking her wallet."

"A crow?"
"Yes Miss. A crow."
"Which crow?"

At this point, the entire classroom broke into laughter. Next thing I remember hearing voices from here n' there shouting,
"A black crow Miss."
"A crow with feathers."
"Martin Crowe."

Needless to say, Ms Dolores quickly gave me permission to look for my wallet within the school premises. Not before she made the naughty girls stand outside the class for the rest of the period!!!!!

(June 2007)
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