Saturday, September 11, 2004

Wings on my Balcony



We had a nocturnal visitor the other evening. As I went to lock up for the night, a black shape on the dark balcony next to the bedroom attracted my attention. Unsure if it would turn out to be a dead leaf or some sort of a living creature, I beat a hasty retreat and switched on the light. And there, crouched in a corner, looking bewildered and trembling in fear, was a baby bird! It was one of those doves that have white bands around their necks … was it here to bring me peace? Well, definitely not for the next 15 minutes, as my mother, grandmother, brother and I thought thought thought about what to do! We certainly couldn’t leave it out there, just in case it was injured. You see, we have lots of those lean, mean, hungry cats in the neighbourhood. And so we decided that it had to be brought in and covered up for the night. My mother, adventurous as always, decided to check to see if it was hurt somehow. The very first touch and the bird flapped its wings and started fluttering towards the ceiling. Then ensued a mad scramble as we rushed to switch off the ceiling fan … oooh, that would not have been pretty!

Well anyway, at least now we knew it could fly, we thought, as the little thing came back down to the ground. It had probably landed on our balcony by mistake and then lost its sense of direction in the dark … one didn’t need to see an "L" on its back to know that this one was still in Flying 101, supervised by mom and dad. And so till we could set it free in the morning where it would (hopefully) know where to go, we had to make sure nothing happened to it.
A vegetable basket was commandeered from the kitchen and so was a small steel bowl. We placed a sheet of newspaper on a small table and then placed the bowl, filled with water, on it. Then ma carefully transported the baby onto the paper and upturned the basket over it! It was as simple as that!

We switched off the bedroom light and went off to watch TV, but each time I would come into the room, switch on the light and peer in through the plastic mesh, there it was, staring beadily at me! Anyway, eventually we all turned in and I think the bird slept well too. I was a little apprehensive that it may have rooster blood somewhere and make its presence felt at 4 am. Thankfully, either the genes were absent or recessive!

Next morning, the table was carried onto the balcony and the vegetable-basket-turned-impromptu-birdcage was removed. It didn’t take little birdie more than a moment to hop onto the balcony, flutter off to the neighbour’s TV antenna, preen its feathers (must’ve been a cramped night!), and take off into the blue sky! No turning back to thank its hosts, but then, we didn’t really expect it!

And that was it, or so I thought, until I wandered onto the balcony a few moments later to scan the skies for the baby. No sight of it, and then, as I stepped backwards and onto something slightly gooey … I knew it … it had left a present for us … something that would definitely leave a mark for a while!

1 comment:

Sreerekha Menon said...

Good one thinking cramps