Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Other Animals.

If you were to look up as you, say, approached my building on foot; you would see largish things circling the various tiled roofs of our building, occasionally flying silhouetted against the moon.

Once you got closer, you would hear the occasional scream and the whump whump whump of massive wings coming from above. No we haven’t settled in Mordor (“Go left from Sauron’s fort, past the Orc kindergarten, and turn into the blue gate next to the Nazgul enclosure”), but close enough.

It started tamely enough a few months back. Our area was thick with pigeons which went ghuuu ghuuu in that bubbly orgasmic way of theirs. One night we heard an asthmatic wheezing on our windowsill very late at night. “Poor baby pigeon doesn’t have much longer. Awww.” We said.

Turns out it lived very long and wasn’t much of a baby pigeon, unless a rampaging horde of big-assed owls can be considered 'a dying baby pigeon'.

That’s right. I’m angry.

First we had the whole monkey episode, and then big black hairy buffaloes began to chase cars down the streets. My theory is that stray dogs thought outnumbering us humans two to one wasn’t bad enough; they had to introduce these otherwise docile, water loving animals to the joys of cantering down the streets of our neighbourhood and snapping at the tyres of panic-stricken vehicles.

Then the pigeons with pigeon poo and feathers flying everywhere; and now this.

To get back to the story at hand, we withstood the death rattle of the dying pigeon (as we innocently thought it was) for a sleepless week or so. Then one day, I came home from work and thought I saw a white shape leaning against the railing in our balcony. It gave me quite a scare, it did, because (a) my husband inflicts ghost movie after ghost movie on me, which can make the bravest person jumpy, and (b) it was a white shape leaning against the banister, in a most affectedly casual manner.

After I’d done being startled, I walked over to the French windows to get a closer look and was amazed and very relieved to see a HUGE white owl sitting on the banister with its wings crossed behind its back, looking for all the world like an elderly portly gentleman taking the air on a full moon night.

More like the little girl in “The Omen”, I decided, as the bird rotated its head all the way round to blink at me ominously.

So we had an owl, how delightful. I resolved to take picturesque photos and show them around proudly. "See how we live in the lap of nature", I would say.

Next day the dying pigeon started up again and I staggered out of bed at the dead of night with every intention of ending its misery. Imagine my surprise, when not one baby pigeon (at death's door or otherwise) but two owls freakishly spun their necks around to regard me curiously. "Hoosh" I whispered and flapped my hand at them feebly. (Sleep deprivation). They just cocked their heads at each other and smirked as if to say “Check out this human. Does it think we are a dying pigeon to hoosh at us?”

And believe me I huffed and puffed and flapped my arms and called them names, but all they did was spin their heads around like the freaks they were from less than a foot away.

Then it dawned on me and my husband that we had wasted sympathy on nothing while these strapping owls in the pink of health wheezed and panted through our sleepless nights and occasional fitful nightmares.

(To be Continued)


Haimanti said...

amazingly funny! And aren't lokkhi pyachas supposedly good luck? ar amar mone hoy pyachas are far better than pigeons, i find them (pigeons, not owls) particularly stupid and annoying (Bombay is infested with them, we have fewer crows here)

db said...

Lap of nature indeed! If you get lucky, you could end up with more wildlife in your backyard... how far is your place from Bannerghata National Park?

Btw, between the workplace and our home, we've had occasional visits from kraits, cobras, vipers, boas, pythons, monitor lizards, wild boar, porcupine, peacocks...

I love Goa.

(This is the point where Diya chips in and says that she used to have a pet peacock back in 'bwe. :P)

Ushasi said...

Yes Hai, lokkhipechas, and coincidentally we had a run of good luck. But I would consider it greater good fortune if we got a good night's sleep for a change, goddammit.

db, I live 5 kms from the forest, and yes, that's probably the source of all our little visitors. Just hope a tiger doesn't turn up and try to use our new sofa set as a scratching post. (OR a kitty litter box)

hbread said...

So freaking much for wise old lovely owls.

diya said...

i guess hedwig in the flesh isn't so great, eh?! you could so easily write something like 'beasts in my bangalore flat' or 'ushasi basu and the order of the owls' - instant bestsellers!

i think shaun enjoyed the wildlife monkeying around your flat than all the tigers at bannerghata national safari park!

and dibs, this is me chipping in to say that percy the peacock took up residence in our garden in zimbabwe!;-)

db said...

Percy the Peacock?! That pretty much beats Gangaram (pronounced 'Gongaraam', in authentic Bengali), the parrot at our old place.

No, honestly - why Percy, Diya?

Ushasi said...

Thanks Hillary! Yes, it's shocking to me as well what supercilious, un-neighbourly bastards owls can be!

Exactly Diya, I kept wondering how Harry put up with Hedwig. I now understand and appreciate what happened to her in the last book. And I was and still am glad that our monkeys gave Shaun that much pleasure. The least I can do as a good hostess. ;)

We had Charmochotika Sen at MJP. The bat. (I kid you not, talk to witnesses if you so wish.)

香蕉哥哥 said...

thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩

Rashmi said...

eki, lokkhi pyacha tarash na:D but to be honest between pigeons and pyachas, it is not much of a choice. you must be tired of cleaning the notorious avian potty from your balcony!!!

diya said...

dibs, only one reason for naming the peacock 'percy' and that is - i didn't name it! one of our phoren neighbours did! if i had chosen a name, it would have been a solid bengali one like 'babla' or 'laltu'.

shaun misses the monkeys, shashikala. don't thinbk he's ever seen anything like it!

Raj said...

Where are the pics sould have inserted them in your blog.......white owls are a rare breed you see.....;)