Monday, January 7, 2013

Of Birds and Birdbrains

Last Sunday was a day of discoveries for us - one large bird, and a large number of bird-brains...

Just as we were starting our Sunday with an animated discussion on what was to be made for breakfast, and much more importantly, WHO was to make breakfast – the watchman informed us that there was a ‘chidiya’ stuck in our backyard, in dire need of being rescued from crows and stray cats.

An injured sparrow, thought we, and walked casually to the garden. Well, it wasn’t a sparrow. It was a full grown barn owl – a magnificent specimen! Not injured, but stuck in our garden and unable to fly away across the raised fencing in harsh daylight.

Hedwig, I presume...? Our Sunday guest

As we noticed the crows hovering overhead, we realised the owl needed help. And we could not do it ourselves, as it would just fly off the moment someone approached it.

Thus began Operation Owl Rescue.

The first call was to 101, because though an owl was a novelty, the fire brigade had in fact, in the past, helped us retrieve and rescue a snake that had got stuck under the inverter in our garage.

But clearly, this Sunday was not our lucky day. No answer at 101. It was 8 in the morning.

And then the hunt started in all seriousness – the hunt to find an animal welfare organisation that could help us out.

And oh boy... what specimens we found!

The first animal ‘welfare’ organisation we called informed us rather grumpily that they would not move their ass, or for that matter any other part of their body, until they received express orders to do so from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation ward office. On a Sunday, we asked? Yes, said they. And off, went Sud. Leaving Ananya and me to watch over the owl like two protective mamas.

The NMMC expedition turned out, as we always suspected it would, utterly fruitless.

More calls, more specimens. One call, answered by a lady - in an accent that seemed to proclaim “I just live in Mumbai, but my heart belongs to Manhattan, you know” – informed us that while their organisation would not be able to help, we should try calling so and so...

There were others who we could almost visualise raising an eyebrow at having their Sunday disturbed for the sake of a mere owl... “Is there a leopard in your loft? A python on your potty? No? Then don't bother us!” their tone seemed to suggest.

(By the way, ALL these organisations had claimed in their online profiles that they did bird rescues!)

We even called up the Bombay Natural History Society, as some of the welfare organisations had suggested, to be told peremptorily – ‘It’s Sunday’, before having the phone slammed on us. So sorry folks, we will now revise the Animal School curriculum, to teach the animals days of the week, and caution them that they are NEVER to get injured, sick or stuck on a Sunday.

Operation Owl Rescue had turned into Operation Wild-Goose Chase!

On the verge of giving up (and resigning ourselves to the fate of guarding the owl till nighfall), we decided to try the fire brigade one last time. It worked! In 15 minutes, there were 6 strapping young men, dressed smartly in white bush shirts, shorts and gumboots chasing the owl from one end of our garden to the other, and back again. The distressed one was not ready to be 'rescued' so easily!

But finally, they did manage. The bird was captured and taken away to be released at an appropriate time and place.

And we returned, with a feeling of contentment, to our favourite Sunday pastime – arguing over who would cook the next meal...


  1. Very interesting! Nice read, Suchi! Keep it coming!

  2. Nicely written article Suchishmita :-)
    Glad that the fire brigade people were able to rescue the owl.
    Recently, we went through a similar experience while rescuing a blind dog. I wish I could write like you do, then I would have been able to blog too. Mimi

  3. Hey Suchi, this was not all fun and games - at least for the one doing "Ramu" stuff - calling up all numbers which would not answer or the answer was not of much help, and going to NMMC Ward Office which did not seem alive ever :) Honestly there were moments when one felt - Ulu Hee to hai Jane do, Marne do and catch up with Sunday chores (sleeping and gorging alternately). But for your nagging and Ananya's build up. Well I am glad we persisted and hopefully been able to save and help one owl. It looked wonderfully glorious. And maybe silly but I believe it was a good omen for us, what with so many existantial issues etc. Beyond that - I feel you must write more often - both for your own sake and for rest of us fans too. Always feels good to read your stuff - you sure bring alive things even better than they actually were while they happened. Crowinging you as the unquestioned Queen of exagerations

  4. by the way very tuff to post comments especially if you access directly and not logged into your email account. we need a simplified method.

  5. Your style is very unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this page.

    my homepage: "spinal canal"

  6. I have been surfing on-line greater than three hours lately, but I by no means discovered any
    interesting article like yours. It's beautiful worth sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content material as you did, the net will likely be a lot more helpful than ever before.

    Check out my blog post; diet plans

  7. Tomek i Magda też nie spali. Jeszcze raz sąsiad z góry wrócił aż do domu około trzeciej ponad ranem i
    do świtu stukał, przesuwał jakieś umeblowanie, lał wodę do wanny,
    słuchał muzyki i robił wszystko, co chciał, całkiem.