It was just another gloomy mid-summer afternoon. I was burning away time plugging into my ipod and sipping away Cold coffee, when suddenly i heard a huge commotion of crows below. I looked out of my balcony to see a young baby crow, pink beak and all, who had probably tried to take his first flight, dangling in mid air a few feet above the ground, with kite string entangled in his wing and feet , suspending him from the tree above... As he was struggling to get free, he was getting more and more entangled in the string, and behold!! Two neighbourhood bitches were standing below to have a fresh stock of meat to pounce on...
I struggled to put on my tee and rushed down with a pair of scissors. Kaali (the black one) and sukdi (the emaciated one).. yeah those were the names given to the bitches by my aji (grandmom).. looked at me and started wagging their tails, like im gonna serve them the feast.. Instead, i shoo ed them away and cut the kite string. But as soon as the young crow fell to the ground, He started running away.. and then started the cat and mouse game, but eventually i caught hold of him (its tougher to catch hold of a crow than a chicken!!) and free him of the kite string. I saw that his left wing was injured and so as my aji advised me, i applied some turmeric paste and placed him on a coconut tree branch, just outside my window...As he was injured, he wasnt able to attain a good flight. So I started feeding him everyday. The seed of a new "Friendship" had just been sowed!!
Id named him "Kau",guess it runs in my family genes to give such weird names to animals n birds.. but that was it.. He was Kau for me. As i saw him grow in front of my eyes, just the same way one sees their kids grow, there was some sort of a routine developing. This used to start at exactly 8 in the morning. As i sleep with the window open, Kau used to sit at my window sill every morning and start his alarm clock... Kaav-kaav-kaav... His call wasnt like just another crow.. it was more harsh but somewht subdued.. Also his distinguishing feature was a single white feather on his defective left wing. He wasnt able to fly, my balcony was the highest he used to attain. He had made the coconut tree branch his home, till a few months back when they chopped off the tree, then he shifted base to the nearby mango tree. Whenever it was lunch time, I used to call him out (making the weirdest crow noises that i cud have made), and i guess he used to recognise my "Crow-call" and "limp" away to my window. Afterwards i never used to call him.. whenevr it was noon, he used to sit and call me out.. as if he was telling me.. hey dude , im hungry.. u got something out there??
Later , as i started going regularly to college to study, It was my aji that started feeding kau.. and i guess their bond grew stronger as well. One day i came home early in the afternoon to discover an amazing thing... my aji was taking the siesta on the sofa and kau was standing on the arm rest near her head. And as i entered, he didnt fly away, just kept on staring at me, as if to say, welcome parag.. u came early today??!! And neither did i shoo him off.. rather i switched off the fan and let him sit there for as long as he wish .. and then later he flew away on his own..
Now even this started as a routine. Kau apparently used to come every afternoon in my house and sit on the sofa for a couple of hrs before flyin away. He even stopped "crowing".. as if he knew wht his presence meant to us. He was like a family member to me now.My aji tells me that he is a re-incarnation of my dearest pal Zankhan who had passed away a few months back.. this made me even closer to him.
Come rain, he used to shelter himself at my window, and later used to fly off. Later, he was seen more at my window than on the tree. I started talking to him. I knew he used to understand. I spend hrs talking to him. Whenever its tea/coffee time, i chat with him. Hes like my daily diary.. and the most important thing is he's the only who listens to me patiently.. When i was going through a bad phase in my personal life last yr, he was there for me. When i didnt do well in my exams this yr, he was there for me.. I used to go on talkin n talkin my heart out, and he used to sit at the window.. staring at me.. and then used to lower his head , like to tell me, go on. im listening!
Then one fine day, the ineveitable happened.. No nothin happened to him, but he did shit on my fav chair.. that psyched me out and i shoo ed him away. But i guess he understood his limits and from that day on has never entered my home again. I dont care when my mom calls me tht im crazy that i keep on talking with a crow.. and i dont care my dad shouting at me for ruining the window sill with leftover food which i used to clean up later..
No wonder i trust these "Silent" friends more than ingrate humans.. They listen to me.. and they r always here for me.. First it was my feathery friend "Bini" the pigeon, who unfortunately died in a similar state that i found kau in.. hanged by the kite string.. And now its Kau.. He is nearly 2 yrs old now.. an adult crow.. and growing by age everyday. I know he wont be around for long.. How i wish he had the human's life span...
Nowadays im going thru this bad phase of Insomnia. Thats why i keep my window shut so that kau wont wake me up at 8 like he religiously does for nearly 2 yrs..Last night after the watching chelsea bt liverpool i tried to sleep.. and after tossing and turning for a whole 1 1/2 hrs.. finally at 4 am ,i got up to open the window to let in some fresh air..
"Kaav"... i heard it.. and then i heard it again. There he was sitting on the mango tree besides my balcony, looking at me thru those black button eyes.. as if he knew what im going thru..
And this morning, when i woke up at 10 am, I realised what had happened. Inspite of the window being open, Kau had not come to wake me up.. as if he knew that i slept late.. He understands the stuff which even my mom doesnt..
And as im writing this "Testimonial" for my "silent" friend.. i turn my head to look over my shoulder, and i see him sitting at my window.. looking at his snap as im uploading it..