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Pinky. That was her name. She wasn’t pink though, rather an ordinary brown all over, with yellow beak and legs, and beady black eyes. Though I am not sure just whose suggestion it was to name her so, Pinky is what we named her, and so Pinky she was.

It has been more than five decades, but I still remember her as a lanky and long-legged chicken, a teenager of sorts of the chicken-world, yet to gain weight and the matronly appearance of a full grown hen. My sister and I had seen her start out as an egg getting toasted beneath her mother’s butt, to one day emerge as a tiny chick. Oh, the impatience of the days in between! The daily trips to the coop to check, the badgering of mother with questions as to when the chickens (only one did) would arrive. After all, I was just four and sister a toddler of two.

From the moment we laid eyes on her, we became her fans. Pinky followed the mother hen and her aunts around the yard, and we in turn followed them.  After a while the novelty wore off and we mostly left Pinky and her mother to themselves.

One day there was a commotion. The mother hen and her sister hens could be heard clucking in agitation. They were running around like headless chickens though their heads were securely attached to their bodies. Cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck-CLUCK-CLUCK-cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck. 

Apparently it was a kite on the coconut tree that had them all atwitter. The kite had swooped down scattering and scaring them. Mother and the house-help immediately got into action, shooing the hens back into the safety of the coop till such time as the kite flew off. Cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck-CLUCK-CLUCK-cluck-cluck-cluck-cluck. The hens continued their complaints from inside the coop, in all probability calling the kite names.

“Ayyayyo!” said the house-help, just then

“Ayyayyo!” said mother echoing her.

There was good reason. Pinky was missing. The kite had got her.

Mother was sad. The house-help was sad. I was sad. I don’t know if my sister knew what had happened, she was only two. But she was sad too because the three of us seemed sad. There is only so much anyone can do when a kite has made off with your favorite teenager hen. So, after much shaking of head and cursing the bad-bad bird, we got back to whatever we had been doing before tragedy struck.

Some time elapsed. Five minutes, ten, or may be fifteen? A sudden noise startled us. Something had dropped on the tiled roof and was rolling down. We ran out as one. And there was Pinky, all in one piece, feathers a bit askew, but none the worse for wear. She had somehow escaped the talons of the evil kite.

“Pinkyyyyyy!” we screamed. In welcome, mind you.

Pinky clucked in answer and walked with as much dignity as she could muster to the coop to join her mother and aunts.

©Shail Mohan 2018


Daily Prompt: Incubate