Feathered friends

I live in an apartment block at the end of a leafy cul-de-sac. So we play host to several avian friends. One of them is a crow whose attention is shared by my downstairs neighbour. She gets the lion’s share, because he discovered her first.

He would come at specific times and caw until she took note of him. Sometimes when he follows her along the balcony which runs alongside the living and guest rooms, cawing all the time. Just wanting, like children or family or good friends, company.

When she left for a couple of weeks, he transferred his affections to me. At the appointed times, usually when I was having my second cup of coffee or at lunch time, he would appear on the balcony. The moment he saw me, he would look at me, head cocked, and start cawing, gently at first, then going staccato and loud until I gave him his biscuits. But the moment my neighbour returned, he disappeared from my balcony. However, after appeasing her for a couple of days, he started appearing again on my balcony. He knew we had lunch at 12.30 and that she had lunch later. Apparently after partaking of my goodies, he would appear there at 2.30.

Crows and ravens are supposed to be harbingers of death and disaster and another friend once heard this mighty cawing from her balcony. When she went to investigate, she saw a whole line of crows sitting facing her flat and cawing loudly! Naturally she  was ready for the worst. Imagine her delight when the next week, a court case which had been prolonged suddenly got resolved in her favour. So now she looks upon the crows with favour, as messengers, but not necessarily of doom!

The other birds, equally ubiquitous in India are the pigeons. Two of them sit on the window sill outside my husband’s bathroom and watch him curiously while he bathes. Initially he felt a little embarrassed, but the other day I found him in a one-sided conversation with the birds. They were looking at him with ruby eyes glinting, their jewelled green and purple necks glimmering in the shaft of sunlight. He has got used to them and was a little upset when they did not turn up on time one day! In the landscape of our retirement, we take pleasure in these seemingly ordinary yet joyous events.

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