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It looks like the peahen has made our locality its home. There have been sightings everyday, its arrival heralded by a loud cry. That cry is like a bugle call for Luci. She’d be up from the deepest of naps going, ‘Where? What? Wait till I get you!’ in a matter of seconds.

Yesterday morning once again, I heard the bird. Since the camera is back with me after having taken a well deserved break for rest and recoup, I went out with it, in search of the source of the call. And there it was, on the wall separating the neighbor’s house from mine. But before I could go ‘Say, Cheese!’ the peahen walked slowly away to hide underneath the foliage of the guava tree. Standing on the balcony as I was, I could see only its head through the leaves of the tree.

An hour later, sauntering to the balcony, I found the peahen walking cool as you please, in my neighbor’s yard, pecking a leaf here, inspecting a potted plant there and generally looking as if it owned the place. Looking through the holes in the balcony wall and seeing the bird thus strutting around, Luci was indignant. Cats, yes. She has given them grudging permission to exist. But, but… this huge bird making itself at home in the neighbor’s home? No way was she going to let that happen. It didn’t matter that the house and property around it belonged to the neighbor. In Luci’s book the definition of territory is As Far As The Eye Can See and her eyes can see pretty far! I hurried her inside before she brought the roof down (or the neighbors to my doorstep!).

In the evening, out with her dad to water the plants, an activity she immensely enjoys, Luci spied the peahen settled on the corner wall beneath the mango tree. You again! She ran to accost the intruder yelling at the top of her voice for it to ‘Get Off the Wall! NOW!’ In her haste though, she stumbled and fell, quickly picking herself up to chase the bird off the wall. She returned when the miffed bird flew away with a very loud squawk, a victorious grin in place.

By nightfall Luci was limping and in pain. She had hurt herself when she fell. It was late last night by the time she and her exhausted parents finally could fall asleep. Today she’s much better. 

© Shail Mohan 2019