Today there was a White-throated Kingfisher perched on a pole in the neighbor’s terrace. Immediately I rushed back inside for the camera and set about trying to capture it. But just when I looked through the lens, I saw it vanish in a blur. Gone! It HAD to be somewhere nearby, on the branch of a different tree! But though I looked hither and thither, I couldn’t find it anywhere.
The dog meanwhile had started barking L.O.U.D.L.Y.
The cat must be around, I thought. If not a kingfisher, then a cat would do. So I looked for the cat, but found none around. Then it had to be the neighbor that was cause for her excitement. For some reason, the dog dislikes my neighbor intensely. I looked towards the neighbor’s house to see if she had stepped out. Not that I had plans of clicking her in lieu of a vanished kingfisher or non-existent cat. A friendly nod and a few words were all that was on my mind. But, there was no neighbor in sight.
This was mysterious. WHY then was the dog barking?
So finally I looked towards the dog and found she was facing the wrong way. She was actually facing the wall instead of the railings and barking. Eh? On closer inspection I found it was not the wall itself, but the a little someone sitting on top of it that she had her sights on. For there, almost right above my head, was perched the friendly neighborhood Kingfisher watching all the fun.
The dog was furious.
How dare you, how dare you, how dare you? she was in a repetitive mode. Where we humans make do with one ‘how dare you?’, the dog has need of at least, at least, a dozen. How dare you sit complacently so close to me (and yet out of my reach!)? The bird couldn’t care less.
The dog next ran off up the second flight of stairs to get at the bird from close quarters. By then the Kingfisher had decided to have some fun at the dog’s expense. It flew to the branch of the near by moringa tree. The following exchange happened between them:
How about if I sit here?
No, no, no! My tree, my tree, my tree!
Not too. It is in your neighbor’s yard. Tchah!
This was too much for the dog. It ran down the stairs to the lower terrace over which hung the branch from the neighbor’s tree. Tra-la-la-la-la, went the bird, lifting off in a magnificent show of blue. And believe it or not. It flew right over to where I was standing and perched on the dish antenna right below my nose. Umm.. not exactly. It has to be above my nose, Very rarely does anything manage to be under my nose. After all I am only five feet and no inches. Anyways…
‘How’s this for a pose?‘ the Kingfisher asked me.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, I went in repetitive mode like the dog. Of course, I didn’t say it in so many words, only in clickety-clicks. Sigh. By then the dog was back on the scene (it had gone off to pee in between) showing its displeasure. The bird had had enough. It was bored of teasing the dog. Anyway, it knew from the smile on my face that it had been captured. Mission accomplished. As for the dog, there was always another day to make her run around. So the Kingfisher happily flew away home, back to its cozy nest. There was a funny story to tell its chicks today. It’d pick up a few worms on the way and they’d make it an occasion to remember.
©Shail Mohan 2017