Today we went down to play as usual in the evening. Raghav was busy riding his cycle and chatting up with some of his friends while I was sitting and enjoying the fresh air and watching the kids. That is my favourite pastime! I love watching the kids play and chat – I have learnt so much from these observations! The place we stay in is a huge apartment complex with 4 blocks of flats – about 150 - 200 families I think! So one gets to see and interact with different age groups of kids and that is really nice as these little interactions tell me so much about what they think, how they think and so on. Today there was a small gang that was biking and suddenly they all stopped and peered down at the ground. There was a small grey mass on the ground and a few crows were cawing loudly. One of the boys screamed “ hey, it is a dead crow…..a baby!” Immediately Raghav stopped biking and came to me and asked me what happened. I told him that it was a baby bird that had just died as it had been killed by the crows. He immediately hugged me and had tears in his eyes – “amma! I don’t want the baby bird to die! I don’t want the crows to peck at it! I don’t like it!” I hugged him and could feel all the pain he was feeling…….so much sensitivity these little kids have! How much of that do we all have left inside ourselves? How much of it do we brush aside and attribute to immaturity? How often do we feel ashamed to show this kind of feeling? I could understand what he felt instantly, because I too am like that I guess. However, the mother in me took over and felt he needed comforting and some explanations. So I explained to him how crows were and what they do and how the bird had already died.
He finally mustered up enough courage to go near it and see it. He listened intently to the other boys talking. And then, he came and told me that it was a baby pigeon, that there was a hole and blood was coming out and that the crows had pecked it. It was interesting to see how each kid reacted to death – some showed disgust and made a face saying “yuck!”, some just walked past with indifference, some said “ yeah man! That’s the way it is…..why are you stopping the crows from eating it?”, some showed fear and kept a distance – peering from above, some stood close by and talked matter-of-factly about whether the pigeon had a heart, one boy went to the office and asked someone to come and remove it, another sat down and peered closely at it. Myriad reactions to an ordinary event that everyone goes through.
But this was Raghav’s first brush with death. And my son, well what did he do??! He stood guard there with his cycle, ringing the bell now and then! And do you know why? Because he saw that when there was no one around, the crows were swooping down and trying to move the pigeon with their beaks and he didn’t want them to hurt it!.....so every time he saw a crow, he would come charging down with his bike and shoo it away!
(26th August 2010)