By Obaiah B
One fine day I was having lunch in one corner of the office canteen. A shiny black feathered bird landed next to me and folded its large wings. It was fascinating to watch this intelligent bird in action from such a close distance. Most of us believe that crows are black in colour. However, I was surprised to see its glossy feathers with hues of green, purple and blue reflected by the sunlight. It jumped around and communicated to its peers by cawing, which was both loud and harsh. A person next to me warned me and suggested that I should not feed the bird which was roaming around.
Man: Never ever offer food to wild animals or birds as it is against the will of nature.
Crow: Hahaha what a piece of advice! How can you say that offering food to us is against the will of nature?
Man: It is your duty and responsibility to search for food and not depend on others.
Crow: I’m not dependent on your food. In fact, you are snatching away my food.
Man: How am I snatching your food? How can you hold me responsible for that?
Crow: You are responsible for my hunger today. I roam around the whole day in search of food and water. However, I am not able to trace any grain or water in this city. The water is kept in closed tanks and food is kept in air-conditioned buildings. Even if I wanted to prey on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians or eggs, I can’t see them anywhere because all that I can see are concrete roads and buildings. I have often tried to feed on carcasses lying on the roads but I am unable to reach them since vehicles ply on the roads 24/7. Now tell me, who has occupied my territory? And who has snatched my food? Where should I go in search of food? My friend who has migrated to the village faces a similar problem. The scarcity of water has forced farmers to switch from the usage of traditional tanks to drip irrigation and they have started growing vegetables in place of grains. Where is he supposed to get water to drink and food to eat? Both of us can’t find insects to prey on since most of them have disappeared due to excessive use of pesticides.
Man: (he was speechless and unable to respond to any of the questions raised by the crow)
I kept a piece of chapati close to me thinking that the crow would come and pick it up. It walked purposefully towards me and suddenly turned back sensing danger. It was very attentive and observed my behaviour. I decided to sit facing a different direction and behaved as if I was not paying any attention to it. Finally, it came next to me and picked up the food. Over time it became very trusting of me, and would also notice if I was not sitting in my regular place in the canteen. I was so mesmerized by this and felt so happy that I was so lucky. My lunch mates named him Obaiah’s pet. Eventually he started coming even closer to me and picked off whatever food I offered him. This close fondness between me and my pet crow went on for about six to seven months.
Unfortunately, for some unavoidable reasons I had to take a month’s leave. In my absence my lunch mates rarely noticed the bird. By the time I was back, my pet crow had disappeared. Even my lunch mates had no clue about its whereabouts. I waited to see if it would come back and kept a piece of chapati. The next morning, I saw that the chapatti was still intact. I realised that just by offering a piece of chapatti to a hungry bird I had become emotionally attached to it. I had not imagined that I could miss its presence so much.
About the author: Obaiah B. is the librarian at ATREE