Last Friday, when I was at work I received a call from Ma who was at home. Her voice trembling and heavy, she began the conversation with “I called you to convey a bad news” and my mind went into thinking of a million possibilities in a nano second. After a small pause, she broke into uncontrollable flow of tears, when she told me that one of the bird babies was no more. I was too stupefied to react. She continued to tell me how it all happened… The cage was in the balcony as usual. The first two bird babies had begun coming out of the pot on their own and roaming about. One of them (let’s call it BB) was out of the pot and sitting at the edge of the cage. A pigeon had come to our balcony, attacked BB by penetrating its beak into the cage and grabbing hold of BB’s neck. It brutally pecked all over the neck and let no trace of its head. When my domestic help had entered the balcony for her regular cleaning work, she spotted the headless bird with its body inside the cage and the pigeon trying to pull its remains out…. The pigeon flew away on seeing her. But the damage was done and we lost our li’l baby.
I tried to appear very calm and controlled to console Ma. I then called Abbas and tears came flooding down my eyes as I narrated him what had happened. It was his turn now to play the that’s-okay-tears-wont-bring-it-back-calm-down role that I played to Ma…
In the evening, when I told Mantam about this, I didn’t know how they would react. They had never known about death. They asked me questions as to how it happened. Mannu was furious with the pegion and asked me not to keep food for pigeons any more in the balcony. Tammu asked me where the bird was now… I said that M aunty (domestic help) took it with her. And then she asked me if M aunty was taking it to the doctor to heal it. It was excruciating to tell them the truth but I did. I told them that BB was never to come back again.
Tammu shed buckets of tears for Mannu to follow suit. She desperately prayed to God to send BB back to her. The way she cried was heart wrenching. All I could say to console them was to pray to God for Potli to lay eggs soon, so that BB would come to us as a new born.
I also forgot to mention that, we gave away the white pair of birds – Ghotla Ghotla for there were constantly trying to harm the babies by entering the pot. The youngest one was brutally attacked but it being strong survived twice. After Ghotla Ghotli’s exit, the chicks had begun coming out fearless. Who knew that an external predator would bring this fate to the chicks?
That morning, when I was watering the plants, I had noticed BB sitting down in the cage. I admired it’s beauty and made a mental note to click a picture in the evening. BB was entirely different from the rest of her siblings. It was stagnant for most of the time while other babies tried to flutter their wings and learn to take flight. It’s lethargy cost it’s life. Had it moved when the pigeon approached…..
A pic of BB. The right most one with a blackish body
is was BB.