Light travels faster than sound or so I was told by my physics teacher, the skeptical that I am never believed in the laws of physics. I was proved right about a year ago when I was standing in the balcony of our 7th floor apartment and I could hear the shrieks of my elder one, before she became visible. Hence proved sound travels faster than light (Kindly ignore the fact that she was behind a wall when the shrieks emerged)
She was part of a pack of kids enjoying their vacation time in the compound garden, each one of them shrieking louder than the other. I was not sure what is happening but on hearing her shrieks concluded she must be hurt and started shouting her name from 7th floor. Too busy with her brat pack she had no time to look up and continued to focus on something that was being passed from one kid to another. I could not hold the Holmes in me and hurriedly hopped towards the garden taking stairs without waiting for the lift. By the time I reached the garden a few more parents have emerged from their afternoon siesta and were interrogating the kids about all the hulla gulla.
Soon the reason was visible, shared between the palms of two kids was a little chick of a Mynah that must have fallen from a nest from one of the trees lining the compound walls. The chick was young with only the very first of feathers emerging by piercing its pinkish skin. The chick was not in a good shape due to compounded effect of falling from the nest and the shrieking competition of the vocal chords of the kids in the compound.
One of the moms was horrified on seeing her son holding the chick and ordered her progeny to leave it immediately or he may catch bird flu; the poor kid reluctantly handed over his share of touching rights to the chick to the next in waiting and looked very much like Mohammad Shah Rangeela after losing Kohinoor. Soon a debate started what to do with the chick; the idea of putting it back in the nest was discarded based on real and invented theories about how the mother itself will kill the chick as it will smell of contamination of human touch (does it not tell you what we think, that the animal kingdom thinks about us as a specie?)
Horrified mom suggested a foster home be found for the chick and looked towards me and Missus (who has joined by now), as if saying – my kid has already given up his rights on the chick your daughter is still holding it so you take it. All the kids were debating who should get the privilege of keeping Brownie, yes even before the parents came to spoil the fun the chick has been christened Brownie due to the few brownish feathers it had. My memory is a bit hazy about the debate that followed after this, but what I do remember is that after a round of musical chairs kind of things we were given the custody of little Brownie much to the anguish of other kids and a sigh of relief from the other parents.
We brought the little featherless creature our home, a small box was converted into a nest with some cotton, and rags. A small saucer with water was added to the box, but the little one would only look at us with fear in its eyes and continued to make sounds that were meant less for us and more for its mom missing in action. As typical parents we extracted some promises from the elder one like she will take care of Brownie, clean its box, change water and get good marks in School ( you see marks don’t leave you even when you are on a rescue mission for an abandoned chick). Her enthusiasm and love for Brownie was so high that she agreed with every condition without blinking. She would visit the box every half an hour to see if the chick is feeling better, if it has had any water or touched the boiled rice that was kept in the box. Unfortunately no luck and the chick continued to be on hunger strike.
Next day was Mall day but Princess offered to baby sit Brownie and miss the fortnightly dose of French fries so that she can be at home to make sure Brownie is OK. We all decided to skip mall and help the little one recover. We were not sure what to do to take care of Brownie, we called an animal shelter but they only took dogs and cats. I called a friend who has a dog, and took number of a vet they visit for the dog. The vet expressed his helplessness with the situation and wanted us to wait and watch, the only words of wisdom from him were – try giving some water with a dropper. Both I and Princess tried our best to give water with the dropper in the little beak of Brownie. But he would not open his beak when we would bring dropper close to him, only to resume his cries that were getting feeble by the hour once we left him alone. We switched on the fan thinking he must be hot, and then tried covering him in a some rags thinking he must be cold and all such things that a little girl and her father can think of about taking care of an abandoned chick. Princess made her bed on floor next to the box of Brownie so that she could help him in the night if needed.
She must have slept very late, getting up again and again to look if Brownie was OK, because when we got up in the morning she was sleeping on floor, her face looking exhausted. There were no chirping sounds of Brownie and I thought he must be sleeping, and I was right, only he was sleeping on his back with legs rising in the air. It was not difficult, though painful for me to understand why he was sleeping on his back with legs in air.
Rest of the story is very painful to narrate, all I can say is even today after more than a year, my dear daughter cries at times when she remembers Brownie who had spent less than 2 days in our home.
I have never had the heart to tell her that this is the very reason I have been postponing my promise of getting a dog for her.
Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess (11 yrs in Feb 13) and Pinkette (4 yrs next month). He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and an investor in startups with unique concepts. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.