India Uncut

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Swallowing pebbles

Angshuman Hazra draws my attention, via email, to a moving story related on this page. Here goes:
It happened many years ago when I was in my twenties. I was serving in the Forest Department then and acquired the habit of bringing down a bird or two for dinner now and then.

The day was particularly hot and it had taken a long time and much effort to stalk a pair of birds, a variety of pigeons locally called "manipura". Finally, the pair rested on an elevated piece of ground. Carefully I got within range, took aim, and fired. One bird lay dead in the ravine below and the other was nowhere to be seen.

As I approached to collect the dead bird, a male, my attention was drawn by its mate circling above. Hardly had I retreated some distance when I observed a strange and most moving scene.

The female came down and was pecking at something. Closer scrutiny showed that it was swallowing something. I do not know what. There was no food there to feed on. It was in fact swallowing pebbles. After it had swallowed a good quantity, the bird flew straight up, high in the air, closed its wing and dropped straight to earth like a rocket, and lay dead.


J Dayanand (Courtesy : Indian Express)
I recently saw a pigeon display similar grief, fluttering about disconsolately, after its mate was driven over by a car on the driveway of the apartment complex where I live. We humans, we can rationalise our pain, distract ourselves with false consolations. But what's a bird to do with its sorrow?

Update: Uday Kiran blogs about a mahout who has adopted a baby elephant. Moving story, and if they really do move town, the mahout won't have to worry about where to pack his stuff: the elephant's got a trunk.

Update 2: What about Bob?

(Link via email from, and film by, Old Pal Abhi.)

Update 3: Rahul Bhatia writes in:
I have for you a moving story of an elephant, here. It's really very touching.
The subject of his mail was "Me too! Me too!" Indeed, young man, indeed.
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