Raven Rhapsody


Our house was on the first floor, opposite a large and verdant park, a walker’s paradise!  In our fairly sprawling compound, huge rain trees (samanea saman) with their far spreading branches, canopy of luxuriant foliage and ethereal powder puff flowers, gave our otherwise nondescript apartment an air of grandeur. 

The kitchen window opened to a couple of mango and guava trees that acted as nature’s curtains, shielding us from the sun’s onslaught! I loved my sparse, functional kitchen not only because I enjoyed cooking up a storm for my family and friends but also because of my daily stream of visitors of the feathered kind – a family of jet-black ravens! They would eat with relish any food I set before them on my kitchen window sill – dosa, chappati, idli, poori were always up for grabs, or gobbles! The young ones would try to venture in through the window railings, much to the annoyance of my best friend, my husband. He is as far from fur and feather as I am close to them; but then who said best friends should agree on everything!

 My ravens are real smart. They know when my husband is pottering around in the kitchen and keep as far away from view as possible. When I come in, these sleek, shiny darlings sing in chorus. To others it may sound cacophonous but to my ears, a symphony!  With the bits and pieces of food wedged well in their beaks, off they go to their hideouts, much like my sons, to school, after breakfast. 

 Those years never felt lonely or boring. I had the opportunity of being a housewife, someone I always wanted to be, and now had been given the chance. With the housework completed, husband off to office and our boys in school, I had time to watch the astonishing antics of my feathered friends.

Ensconced happily on my sofa, after the morning rush hours, my plate of dosa-sambar-chutney in hand, I noticed a raven couple on one of the branches of the rain tree near my window. As is my wont, I broke a piece of my dosa and placed it on the sill. In what could be best described as a deft swoop, one of the ravens alighted on the window sill, picked up the dosa piece and flew to another branch. I was definitely irked by the selfishness of that raven, which, having a beak full of food seemed to have left its pair in the lurch. But the little story that began to unfold before my eyes held me spellbound. The raven ate one half and then flew to perch beside its partner, an action that, intuitively, prompted its pair to fly over and eat the half was left! Now replete, the two of them took wing. I couldn’t help but think how often we tend to misjudge others’ actions! What an incredible life lesson learnt from the lap of nature as it were! . 


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