Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Darkest Secret

Its been up on two years now but the guilt of it has kept me silent so far. Even now I will not tell you who I am, for your author, dear gentle reader, is guilty of having broken the law, violated the penal code and /or acted unconstitutionally to boot and what’s worse now intends to crow about it too!

The cause of this was a beady eyed, near comatose bundle of black feathers I found on Greenpath , one Monday evening last July on my way back from work.

This creature was later named Pokey and he*was ill; birds of his feather had gathered around thoughtfully and were noisily discussing their intention of putting him out of his misery. Hint: this would involve being summarily pecked to death because they did not want to leave you to the cats. They obviously give a lot of thought to this sort of thing, crows.)
Well, you know me, I cannot walk past a creature that desperate, with my eyes wide shut- so I called up a passing tuk tuk , demanded a polythene bag from the surprised driver and placing the uncomplaining black mass in it, hired a lift home.

My Wellampitiya Vet and I have an excellent understanding: he maintains a straight face and does not burst out laughing or screaming hysterically when I bring the latest case in – and I provide him with lots of useful On the job experience. This was no exception.

Pokey was examined closely , his wings flexed , his rigid, gnarled claws forcefully unwrapped, and his throat shed light into with a good torch, after which dear ole Dr Perera decided that the paralysis could be treated by modern day anti biotics. He showed me how to take a “karala” and divide it iinto eight parts one of which I was supposed to administer at 6 hourly intervals.

So there was I saddled with a limp, dying crow, a 3 day course of tetracyclin and a cardboard box which I hastily requisitioned from the nearby supermarket.

The next challenge was to smuggle said refugee into our house without my father noticing.
My father is the serious, strict, Decision Maker person at home, the king of the Castle so to speak, who gives a lot of thought to possible calamity in life and solidly disapproved of anything with feathers on the basis that “they can have all kinds of dirty diseases” and this ,mind you , was in the seventies, decades before bird flu was even invented, and in spite of the fact that he grew up practically on a farm.
This therefore had to be a quiet back door entry kind of thing and so it was that I managed to sprint my unresisting secret up to my bedroom before the gate man could even turn around, and shut the door firmly against inquisitive family members to take a deep breath and really think about what I had just done.

Im a working girl, out from 9 to 5, and I have a small carpeted bedroom about 8 by 10, a very peaceful feminine pad furnished in pastel pink d├ęcor with lots of stuffed Disney characters- and now I had a large heavy rude black bird convalescing in it. Just how rude he was I was about to find out.

The first dose of tetracyclin was a breeze because I d found a needleless syringe and mixed the dust with honey, and Pokey was not expecting this , neither had he enough strength to object. Down the hatch it went, with a bit of feather – rustling.
And within an hour or two , it was working ! The listless doomed look was replaced by a suspicious calculating look, the head stood alert. Even the feathers were glossier. It was one of those good moments in a pet rescuers life.
It was also when the problems really started because Pokey began expressing his opinion, in a harsh and unlovely tone, probably listing his constitutional rights etc …

7 or 8 hours and two doses afterwards, Pokey was visibly transformed from being a limp beaten black heap of feathers with an obvious death wish- he was now walking around in his cardboard box bobbing his head critically up and down like a hygiene inspector, testing his wings for flightworthiness and emitting short , rude judgmental test -croaks which sounded anything but grateful.

The challenge was now to get him to shut up, because I was not supposed to harbor crows in my bedroom. Leave aside the penal code and the neighbors, my dad would have a fit. My mother came around as she usually does on her evening -bringing-the-tea-walk, and I opened my door about three inches and had a bright chat with her after which since she knew the funny look on my face was anything but innocent she began pushing very gently at the door and saying sad things like ‘ is something the matter? I know you are hiding something. Im your mum. You can talk to me, you know,” that sort of thing.
Subterfuge was pointless here so I pulled her into the room and shut the door firmly – subsequent conversation went something like:
“You can’t hide a crow in here, darling.
“ I know”
“Puthey, First of all you’d better own up to dad,”
“I know , but he wont approve,”
“You don’t seriously think you can hide a crow in here? You know it might be conceivably possible to hide a man, but a CROW?””
“It’ll get better in a few days and Ill just put him out. Will dad notice ,do you think?”
thats a dumb question if any -would he notice all the raucous shrieks, flapping and thumping and the steady build up of guano on the windows –let me think, YES!

at which point, and as if to prove a point Pokey chose this moment to burst noisily out of the cardboard incarceration he was supposed to be quietly recuperating in , emit a loud Jurassic Park type caw, and go for a preliminary test flight around the room which ended in a loud and negative thump as he connected with the window pane.
Mom was right about this. It wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

Next week: A crows got to do what a crows got to do:shit!

* Neither the vet nor I ever did find out if it was a he or a she , but I prefer to think of all crows as masculine: Compared to other regular birds, they are dark, solid and make a lot of noise and .
its obvious they are discussing politics or cricket.


David Blacker said...

I think the males are a bit beefier and the females more streamlined (and suspicious). Like humans. What are you feeding the bugger?

LazyOwl said...

Story telling is an art and not everybody is gifted with that. You, my friend, are a born story teller. I always enjoy reading your blog. Thanks.

-A distant relative of Pocky-

al juhara said...

hey, thanks,LO . and I like that name Pocky, I shall use it in the paper version.
and David,thats a good one, but sadly I didnt have a benchmark to set this one against, so I stil cant say.In the bush they look average but this one looked quite huge and heavy(like Mortimer)and he was very stubborn and independant, and set in his ways, so it may have been a rather old guy crow from the Navy.I always felt he lacked a pipe and a newspaper.Hes not with me anymore-he dumped me. *sniff*

LazyOwl said...

One of the unforgettable rescue works, I have ever seen. Have a look; you won’t regret.

200 horses rescued, Netherlands 2006

tuks said...

Excellent! You write very well. Hurry up and write the next installment if you please!

al juhara said...

the horse video was hair raising. honestly brilliant thanks