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I saw a Crow

 

There he was perched upon one of the upper most branches of the Mayflower tree. It was afternoon and I saw him as I settled on the sofa and looked out of my apartment window.

My home is in Pune, but lucky me, it is secluded from the hustle and bustle of the busy, noisy city life. Therefore, instead of the maddening, incessant horn of the vehicles on the roads or the constant heavy, irritating noises from a construction site or the deafening music from wedding halls and rallies, I just hear blissful chirping of the birds throughout the day. The abundant trees in our colony make an ideal abode to a large number of beautiful creatures like mynahs, sparrows, parrots, pigeons and as I discovered this time, to crows too.

Yes, the fact that crows were also present here was indeed a revelation to me. Ever since I moved to Pune after my marriage two months ago and settled down in my apartment with my husband, I hadn’t seen or heard a crow. Call it absurd if you wish but it was true. The other birds like mynahs, sparrows and pigeons always made their presence felt with their twitter and chirps and sometimes with occasional visits to my window sill. But I didn’t even once spot a crow anywhere in the vicinity. This was unusual because back home in my native Udupi, crows were the most frequent visitors to our sprawling front yard.

They came to peck at tit-bits on the ground, to savour the previous evening’s oil soaked wick from the earthen lamp kept in front of the sacred tulsi, to quench their thirst from our dog Cookie’s water bowl; much to her annoyance or simply to relax on the veranda, roof, telephone cable, compound wall and any other place of their fancy. Our cat, Bingo hated crows and would enter into a verbal fight with them every time they gave him a slip before he could pounce on them. Thus, crows were a part and parcel of my daily life then, but now since I didn’t see or even hear them in the city of Pune, I missed them!

Then on this beautiful Thursday afternoon, as I finished lunch and settled down on the sofa with a bowl of ice cream in my hand, I casually threw a glance outside and there I saw a crow! Yes, finally I saw a crow. I was so very happy. I know this is the most unlikely event to be as happy as I was at this point, but trust me I was elated. He was on the Mayflower tree outside my second floor living room window. He seemed lonely. He kept cawing and jumped nervously all over the branch on which he was sitting. It’s when I noticed the slightly longer and more curved than usual beak and his red mouth. Instantly, I knew he was a baby crow. Even as I was enjoying a moment of bliss at having spotted a crow after a long long time, the poor bird seemed nervous – may be he was afraid at having come to alien territory.

 

For a long time, he didn’t leave his branch and was cawing continuously. He would stop for a minute or two, throw a confused glance here and there and again start cawing. I turned away momentarily to pay attention to the ice-cream in my hand. The flavour was Fruit Bonanza and it tasted delicious. I put a large scoop of it into my mouth and turned back to the crow. This time he was sitting on a higher branch. From there he jumped to another branch and from there to another. I suspected he had difficulty in flying. But he proved me wrong.

As I was still wondering what he would do next, he took wings and with one elegant flight, flew to the next tree a little distance away. This tree was hidden from my view.

Therefore, though I couldn’t see the crow clearly I could see his grayish black feathers in between the thick canopy of the tree. Moreover, his melancholy caw-caw told me that he was very much there.

I finished my ice cream and soon the caw-caw died down too. I craned my neck to get a better view of the tree to see if the crow was still there. But it seemed like he had flown away. So there goes the crow I said to myself. I’d finished the ice cream too. I placed the bowl on the tea-poi and looked outside to scan the other interesting things outside the window. Dark rain clouds were gathering above my head. The always clearly-visible Sahyadri hills in the distance had turned faint with only the contours of the majestic mountain being seen now. It must be raining heavily on the hill side there I thought. Just as these stray thoughts were racing through the mind, my eyes caught sight of something that came flying in from the direction of the tree hidden from my view. The next moment I saw the lonely, baby crow in the same tree and the same branch on which he had been sitting when I first saw him. No, it couldn’t have been another crow. The longer and curved than usual beak and his red mouth were too hard to miss. Caw-caw he went again and jumped nervously around.

Just then something wonderful happened. Another crow flew down in great speed from over our four-storied apartment, went straight towards the tree on which the lonely crow was sitting, circled the tree once and flew away in the direction of the Sahyadris. The clouds had cleared in the sky and the hills were more clearly seen once again. As soon as the lonely crow saw the other crow, he too took flight and followed in his direction. In the next few seconds, two more crows flew down from over the apartment, circled the tree like the first crow had done and flew in the direction in which the lonely crow had gone.

Were the crows the lonely crow’s parents? Were they just other members of his flock? Had he got separated from his flock and now that his family found him, was he happily flying away with them? Was it his flock at all? Lonely, nervous, confused and may be scared, was he following just another few crows that came his way? I do not know. But I saw the lonely crow go….I stared at the foursome until they were just a speck in the sky. I’d seen a crow after a long long time and I was happy.

Contributed By Sowparnika Pavan - I hold a MS Communications degree from Manipal University. After a years stint as a Lecturer in Journaliam at St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, I'm now a housewife. Children's literature, wildlife and radio documentaries are my area of interest. I write stories and articles in the abundant free time that I get. sowparnika.pavan@gmail.com  


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