The Crow Affair
The Crow Affair5 mins 280 5 mins 280
Can you believe how a humble bird like a crow can play a very significant role for the Hindus? I had always looked upon the crows as scavengers; birds that live on filth and who do not seem to have any real purpose in the scheme of God’s plans on earth. So when I had a close encounter with a crow, I read up about them and found interesting things.
In the Hindu set of beliefs, crows are considered as the most intelligent bird with the unique ability to be able to communicate with our ancestors. Feeding crows, I gathered, is the equivalent of feeding your ancestors for it is believed that they carry the food for the dead in another world.
Whether you believe in this or not, I once happened to fall in love with a crow. I know that one does not have crows for pets, but this one crow became my pet, although our affair did not last very long.
At the time this affair began, we used to stay in a flat in Mumbai which had a window in the kitchen. It is usual for any household that the woman of the house does the cooking (men like me take this for granted). It is, therefore, quite a departure from the normal when the man in the house is asked to take over the kitchen. Fortunately for me, my wife is a die-hard feminist who believes that the tyranny of men has to be put down with an iron hand, and the war against tyrants has to begin at home.
Under her tutelage, I soon learnt to do little things in the kitchen; stuff like making tea, cutting veggies, washing utensils and other such menial jobs. Soon, I graduated into more complex activities like kneading dough for roti, making rotis (I confess that even now my rotis look like the map of India), vegetables, dal etc.
It so happened that my lady, unhappy with my slow progress with kitchen work, issued a Farman that I will be in charge of the kitchen (whole and sole in charge) till further orders. My daughters protested complaining that they were being penalized for their father’s incompetence. They were of the view that ultimately they would have to suffer inedible food. They even threatened that they would go on hunger strike (read buying food from McD, Dominos etc) if their mother did not take back the orders. All their threats fell on deaf ears and I was forced to take the keys of the kitchen for a few months. I will not bore you with my shining achievements in the kitchen.
It was then then that I noticed the crow on the window. It was no different from any other crow and as you know I was not particularly fond of crows. Why then did I notice this particular crow? Some celestial connection, maybe? After a few days of observation, I found that the same crow came every day, at the same time and just sat on the window sill crowing away.
Now, my mind had taken notice of this fact and was providing auto-suggestions to me. This crow is here for you, it said. The crow is saying something to you, listen. Maybe the crow wants something to eat. Why don’t you feed it? It will be happy to eat whatever you have cooked, unlike your family which is eating your stuff like you are giving them poison. Earn some good karma.
Forced by this internal conversation, I gave the crow a bit of the roti I was making. Initially, I would just fling the piece towards the crow. It would wait for me to move away and then grab the piece in its beak. A few days later, it would hop nearer to the window and wait for me to fling the roti. This bold move was not lost on me. I too decided to take a step forward, and thus it was that we, the crow and me, came closer to each other. I don’t know if it was a he-crow or a she-crow; I prefer to think of her as a she-crow.
Soon, I started holding the roti in my hand and wait for her to come to me. Initially, she was hesitant; but then, she was fond of me and not afraid to gently pick up the roti from my hand. I would increase the dosage to three pieces and she would gratefully and lovingly accept it.
I did not want my loving wife to sneak on me one day and catch us (me and the crow) red-handed. So I gently broke the news to her. She would not believe it; that a man could stoop so low to indulge with an ugly she-crow? However, her curiosity got the better of her finer emotions for me. She came in the next day to witness my new girl-friend. The crow flew in as usual and lovingly hopped on to the palm of my hand! My wife was stunned.
It was then that she told me about the importance of these birds. She told me that they are not mere birds but messengers of God. A crow constantly crowing on your window signifies that you will be visited by guests. Feeding crows means that you are feeding your dear and departed ancestors.
Even as she was telling me this, her big and beautiful eyes (my beloved wife’s) started filling up. This crow must have been sent by my father, she said. The next day onwards, she started feeding the crow, until one day the crow stopped coming.
I privately would like to think that the crow had fallen in love with me and when my wife intervened she did not like it. But I dare not share this thought with my beloved wife!