Animals at Home
Animals at Home7 mins 316 7 mins 316
Right from the time I learnt about pets, having one of my own was my greatest desire. Those cute puppies and kittens with big eyes and soft fur that makes you cuddle them. I too wanted one of those. A pet of my own to take on various adventures. A pet who would be intelligent and brave. A pet who would love me a lot. Sadly, I was never able to acquire my dream pet.
My parents were not ready to take up more animals for care as they already had two (they like counting me and my brother as their pets). So, I had to contend myself with the cuddles given by soft toys. Now that I think carefully, if I change my definition of pet, then I already have them.
Earlier for me pets were cute dogs and cats but now if I think of it as any animal that we have at home then my house is filled with pets. As soon as I switched this definition in my brain, I started to witness a whole bunch of ‘Pets’ at my home.
The first to come under my notice was the house lizard. The lizard should be considered as a primary pet in India as majority of the houses have it. The lizards can be a different sort of pet. They are not cuddly but are quite entertaining. My room on the first floor is the abode of a very big lizard. She has been my co-peer and attends all the online classes with me. I won’t be surprised if she turns out to be the most learned amongst the lizards. She is there with me for the entire summer but settles down in winter.
During the winters my brother discovered another pet. All you need is a few handfuls of bajra to win its loyalty. Yes, the pigeon was the next sweet pet I found. Though they are too timid to be cuddled, maybe another winter would win their trust. My brother fixed them a tray and a water bowl.
Slowly but surely a whole gang of pigeons started to arrive there for taking a high luncheon. Watching them eat is quite fun. They make these funny noises “Guturgoo…Guturgoo…Guturgoo..” while pecking the grain. Their necks swirl continuously to detect any danger. I always thought pigeons to be simple beings but food does change these creatures. As over a little bit of grains these birds are ready to fight. The fattest of them usually wins. When the fat pigeon and his wife eat, no other pigeon can dare to come into their eating territory.
In summers the pigeons limit their food intake and focus more on the water bowl. So much was their interest in the water bowl that one pigeon broke it by accident. That poor pigeon must have gone through a lot of scolding from the tribe as the other day it was staring down heartedly towards the shattered pieces.
Fat pigeon rules
Another dominant pet of our household is the earthworm. When my father decided to build a compost pit to dispose off biodegradable waste, earthworms were brought to be housed in it.
Dad really gifted a box of them and told me that they were my pets.
You might think I was disappointed to have these squirmy things. But those squirmy things are really cool. They can do some tricks too. Hold them out on your palm and soon they would begin the wriggle dance. It tickles when they move about my palm.
After every few months the compost is ready and we get a chance to pick out earthworms out of the compost piles. These slow creatures are super-fast in the soil and hence catching them is really difficult. To take them out aim at the centre of the conical piles base that’s where you would find the majority population. Feeding earthworms is simple, just throw in the kitchen waste. They eat all of it, clearly they are not fuzzy.
Our next pet is the raven. It’s a big dirty crow and currently the scariest pet. All It does is steer eerily at our house while giving off some occasional crowing. Even the pigeons hate him as they fly off when he visits but that does not discourage him. Every day he is back for the stare game and it looks like he is staring at me! Is he here to inform me of my magical abilities? That seems a little too much... guess he is just a crow obsessed with staring.
Our next pet is the stray cat. This on and off visitor pays a visit at her leisure. This cat is not cute but she sure is elegant. Her every step is full of grace. Even as a stray she is beautiful with her silver fur and grey stripes. Her feast are garden lizards and birds she can catch on. But we try not to cuddle her as we are wary of her sharp claws. These animals really find some charm about my home as they are drawn to it.
Cat taking a Nap
A little street pup once wanted to get in our house but his plump head stuck in the grill. He kept whimpering pitifully. Until finally I went out and managed to wriggle him out. I dropped him outside and was just getting back in when that whimpering began again and that silly pup had stuck his head again.
In the recent nesting period, we were lucky to host a family of red vented bulbul. The mother bird and father bird chose our house for building a nest. And somehow it gave me a feeling of pride. We found the nest by sheer luck. It was located on the flower hanging. The mother bird was the reason we found it. She used to sit poised on the nest for hours which made us curious. We brought out the ladder and peeped in, sure enough there laid three eggs snuggled nicely in the bundle on twigs.
Whenever we used to clamor up and have a look at them the parents used to panic a lot. They used to make the shrilling bird calls to scare us away. A few times they even switched to a full-on attack mode to take us out by coming down at us. But we didn’t lose hope and continued to sneak peaks at the eggs and were rewarded by their hatching in some days. In their initial days the three siblings were just pieces of flesh. Their skin was soft and no feathers were present on them. These frail beings looked like aliens with their eyes shut.
Aliens of a kind
Then days went by and with the good feeding they began to grow up. Little feathers began to dot their skins and soon from fleshy aliens they turned into cute furry chicks. Now finally we had some pets we could touch. There was just a slight catch that you need to be vary of the parents.
Finally, the eldest of them was ready to fly. He stood perched on the edge of his home. Looking at him standing there made me realize the height of his hesitation. He was feeling as nervous as any kid riding the bike for the first time. Or as nervous as us giving our examination. But he did fly and the younger ones too followed.
Ready to take off
They spent a few days training in our garden. Thanks to my father, the garden can surely be a full-on obstacle course for these birds. Their parents can tell them all about the plants and flowers good for health.
Then they were gone. And somehow the house felt emptier. My eyes strayed time and again on the spot they built the nest and my ears perked up on every bird call. How happy was I to see three young vented bulbul cocking their heads and looking at me. To see my pets come back was wonderful. Now the three chirps around our house for most of the day and we catch quite a few glimpses of them.
There are many others who have found my home a good place to haunt. May it be the chameleon in the garden pots, frogs in the lotus tub, bees making hives in the corners, to the sweet pigeon who knocks on my window everyday between 4 to 5 pm to multiple insects for which I have no count. Animals have also considered my home their home.
Chameleon in a Camouflage
Knowing about so many pets has made me wonder why I ever wanted a kitten or puppy? Who needs a normal pet when one can have unique ones? I am happy I found these pets and they surely bring out a smile with their innocent actions. I can now hear some rustling from the exhaust in the bathroom. Might be another bird is making a nest out there or could be something else too. Guess I would just go out and see my new ‘pet’.