Sunday, 29 May 2011


Time: around late afternoon when the sun is hot, but not hottest, in the sky.
Place: somewhere in southern India, where the summers are scorching, where animals wander around on the roads of places teeming with office buildings and the trash the offices manage to come up with.

A crow sits on a cow’s back. The cow is patient, but begins to get annoyed when it starts pecking at her. “Like seriously. You have plenty to choose from but you peck at something 500 times your size that’s still alive??”

“Why are you speaking like a black person? And. It’s hot, I’m bored and I know you’re too tired to actually kill me.”

“How do you even know I’m speaking like a black person unless you’ve also….”

“Guys, shut up! I’m trying to snooze here.” Another cow from not-so-yonder speaketh up.

“Snooze? What have you all been listening to?” a crow spat from a tree. Yes, crows don’t spit but it was trying to clean a wing and it sounded like it was spitting words out.

“I’m bored, Ma,” another crow said. “Let’s play a game?”

“Oh for Ram’s sake, fine let’s play a bloody game.” That was a bull from the herd, sleeping by the side of the road. “You crows go and find food. And we go, find food. And at the end of two hours, we’ll see who has found the most food.”

Baby crow was excited. “What’s the prize?”

Silence. Then the bull said, “Eternal sunshine of the spotted mind.”

“EH?!” Yes, that was a chorus.

“I don’t know, I’ll think of a prize. After all, I’m tha man!” That said, tha man goes back to sleep, unaware of the traffic that shoots past him at 70 kmph on a Saturday afternoon.

114 minutes later…

“Wha?” The bull opened his eyes blearily. A cow looked at him from her big, dark, soulful eyes. “What are we giving the kid crow? Have we decided?”

“What’s wrong with you woman! You woke me up for this?! For, for.. for THIS?” he spat. “Screw the crow! Cows and crows aren’t even supposed to be friends, what world do you live in? I just wanted it to stop cawing in my ear and gave it something to do!”

Stone cold silence. She cleared her throat. “You might want to turn around.”

The bull did.

He saw an endless cloud of black. Flocks and flocks of crows had gathered to help the brat. Turns out he was some alpha male’s first born (yes, even crows have fertility issues now. One wouldn’t have thought it, right?) and they had decided to help him. The result was a huge pile of.. well, garbage.

Let me make it clear. Crows are smaller than cows, and bulls too, definitely. But they’re useful. You don’t want to annoy the scavengers of a wannabe metropolitan Indian city. One never knows when they will be of use. Say, when it rains and the cows need shelter. The crows fly further than the cows imagine. They’d know where to get plastic to keep dry for the first rains to abate, while the cows managed to find their way to a deserted shed the crows know of. Before you ask – humans are useless. They think of only themselves and their milk, meat, whatever. Calves, even full-grown cows, have died of things like pneumonia after being left in the rain by the two-legged mammals.

“Erm. I was kidding.” Crows flexing their muscles is funny. Trying not to laugh is funnier. So best to say least in such a moment. “Ok, wait. Let me prove it. I’ll go find some food.”

Hysterical crow laughter. Bulls do not *look* for food. It comes to them.

“This should be fun,” alpha crow said.

It was. Sort of. One and a half minutes later, a stupid male motorcyclist was lying in the middle of the road, in a small pool of blood, moaning.

“See! I told you I could do it!” Yes, that was stupid bull-talk. Now we know where the term bull-shit originated from. Alpha crow to alpha bull: “That’s not what you guys eat. You’re not taking this seriously.”

“No, no, I am! See, I never specified what sort of food or whose food. I just said food. You guys can eat this!”

Hmm. Strange. The bull was reasoning with them. Before this could be properly considered by the birds (if one can call them that), there was a big noise. Humans had flocked to the one lying on the road. In languages we do not understand, they hawed and hemmed and pointed at the bull. Two humans promptly started beating the big animal up with wooden planks from a nearby construction site. This was something the crows could not fix before it was too late.

The flock of birds and herd of mammals (four-legged ones) were in discussion as the alpha bull continued to be made mash out of.

It was my day off and I was bored. My bipolarness was at it again. I had stolen a cop’s uniform, bought POLICE stickers for my car and cheesy blue and red flashing lights for too. I was happy and whistling and looking for trouble. I found it.

After almost two hours of driving, when I was in some godforsaken industrial area, I came across a cow being bashed up by some idiots on the road. I slowed down and parked nearby. People allowed me to – they thought I was a cop.

I viewed the scene from a little further away and figured.. these were morons. They obviously blamed a poor, dumb animal, which could not talk, for an accident. That too a bike accident by a moron who was obviously drunk and or high or just careless.

I strutted to the men, took out my lathi and whacked the bigger one of them
He turned, eyes wild, “EEEYYYYY!!.....”. His companion also turned, both holding bloody, wooden planks, and both stopped in their tracks seeing my uniform.

“Go, call someone. Animal doctor or something.” Nobody reacted. “GO!” Some people standing by ran, some whipped out their phones. “Call Blue Cross, you son of an unmarried mother!” I swore in the local tongue.

Then I turned back to the men. I calmly whacked them a couple of times with the lathi I stole from somewhere during one of my drunken, psychotic highs. They shrieked and asked for mercy, blaming the cow. I whacked them till they got why I was mad and till they apologized for killing the animal. Well, I don’t know if it was dead, it certainly looked it.

As they crawled away, I called the real cops and waited for Blue Cross before I made a run for it.

The crows watched, bewildered at what she was doing. After it was all over and their friend the stupid bull was carted off to animal hospital, they agreed on one thing – if anyone got the best food that day, it was the policewoman. To have two numbskulls begging for mercy, almost begging to be her food, to be killed and eaten by her, was thrilling. Especially since she had done it to save one of them, and not out of boredom.

Alpha crow announced what they were all considering. “The two-legged mammal who saved Bull wins. Since there was no prize discussed, she wins our loyalty. We will keep an eye on her and keep her safe from harm. No human who did that is normal, maybe she is off in her head.”

“I think you mean off with her head,” his female partner whispered.

“I meant crazy, not headless, you chicken!”

And they all dispersed, shaking their heads at the strange happenings of the day. That lady was one of them now. Whether she liked it or not.


Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Okay - I wasn't sure where this was going until the fake police-woman arrived and the bashing occurred. And yes, I can see crows deciding to take care of an abnormal woman until she died or something. At the end - with the headless joke, I was laughing hysterically. Cyn

James said...

Wonderful modern fable :)

Shruthi said...

Crows. They make me crazy. They follow me wherever I go. Well, they used to. These days I avoid the outdoors as much as I can!

Anyway, this is an amazing story. I love the conversation between the crows and cows. Fantastic hierarchy :)