Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Colourful Crows

Originally uploaded by gopoo.
Crows are held in special esteem in Mumbai.And therefore when recently there were a spate of crow deaths,the Mumbaiwala was very sad.What caused these deaths is still a mystery but then about 450 of them seemed to have met their end rather suddenly.One might say that in a population of 500,000 or so in Mumbai alone,it is a miniscule percentage.Even then,there is a tinge of sadness in the hearts of the Mumbaikars.
Crows have struck fear in the minds of people from time immemorial.Particularly those who are superstitious.Even Sita in Ramayana when her breast was plucked by a 'raven',knew that some doom was imminent.It is even thought that a crow striking at the window is summoning a human soul to the grave.
Inspite of these minuses,the crow is still a very popular bird.And during 'sraddha' when the pindams(rice balls) are offered to the 'pitrs'(ancestors),they are supposed to be partaking of the offerings in the form of the crows.They are clever,enterprising,adaptable and smart.However like Sardarjis,they are the objects of fun and jokes.Sanskrit books abound with stories of the foolishmeess of crows,like when it tries hard to change its colour or when it is induced to sing by a jackal so that the flesh which it had picked up drops for the waiting jackal to snatch and run away.Oh!,kakasya moorkhata!
But then ask the naturalists and they will go ga ga over its gait and flicking of its wings.They are quite intelligent,have a sharp memory and when hurt can take sweet revenge.They are a bit human.After all,people who lagao maska(butter) to their bosses are known as kaka pidichifiers(in tamil).May the crows live long!


rums said...

i don't like crows, i prefer sparrows! here in gurgaon i get to see quite a few birds. in fact, you get to see many more birds in delhi than in b'bay because of the parks and forests all over the city.
i guess there must be some birds in colaba woods uncle?

gs said...

i am not a great birdwatcher.but,when i sit in silence in my verandah,their movements,body language and shrills fascinate me.surprisingly,there are many birds in mumbai would have expected them to be declining in the wake of massive concretisation of the city,but it is not long as you provide water for them to drink,i suspect they will be there.kabutars are also there in plenty and live off the generosity of many philanthropists.wonder whether it is the same in sure there would be many sparrows as well.occasionally,i spot some parrots too.yes,there are plenty of birds in the colaba woods.

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