The Flying Friend

The Flying Friend

For ages now, the story of a thirsty crow has been an official lesson in school for first-graders. The thirsty crow wants to drink water but cannot reach the bottom of the pot. So he puts some pebbles in the pot to raise the level of the water sufficiently and then sips the water to quench his thirst. But have you ever wondered what the crow did when he was hungry? Well, if the crow was an Indian, he need not have worried, as he would rest assured that he would be fed by humans all around!

People around the world feed animals and birds for the sheer joy of it. But when Indians feed creatures, they look for something beyond joy. Most Indians feed animals and birds for religious or spiritual reasons.

Among the various creatures fed by Indians, the crow holds a very special status in India for a variety of different reasons. The crows, according to Hindus, are reminiscent of their ancestors. Predominantly, the crow is identified with the remembrance of ancestors during shraadha – a period that comes each year when people recall their departed relatives and offer them food by feeding crows.

While following this practice of feeding birds, one lady from Thane has made a peculiar friend – you guessed it – a crow. Sixty two year old Mrs. Nalini Manohar Taralkar has been regularly feeding this friendly crow from the past 4 years or so. Every afternoon at about 2 pm, the crow arrives for his "lunch" at Mrs. Taralkar’s terrace, who then feeds it with her own hands. What’s even more astonishing is that the crow never accepts food from anyone else – this means that if Mrs. Taralkar does not offer food, the bird simply returns on an empty stomach.

Over the years Mrs. Taralkar has observed that the bird is particularly fond of non-vegetarian food and never misses the opportunity to have his share. But how did she become so friendly with the crow? Mrs. Taralkar recalls, "I had been offering food to birds for many years now and during this time I observed one particular crow who would visit daily, without fail. Once, out of sheer curiosity, I attempted to go near the crow and offer him a morsel with my hands. To my surprise, the crow did not fly away but instead accepted my offering respectfully. Since that day the crow has been picking up food directly from my hands." Of course, Mrs. Taralkar derives the greatest pleasure and an inexplicable kind of satisfaction from feeding her "bird-friend".

It may be difficult to believe that the crows scavenging for food outside our windows and balconies are in fact our ancestors. But when you witness Mrs. Taralkar’s bond with the crow, you tend to believe the "theory".

Mark Twain, once mentioned "As concerned length of line and multiplicity of ancestors – in that property I am as poor as Jesus: no grandfather." Twain would have probably felt ‘richer’ as an Indian because then he could have not only met his ancestors but also fed them!

Pause and Applause
Every year, reputed psychiatrist Anand Nadkarni’s Institute of Psychological Health (IPH) organizes an event aimed at providing career guidance to students of various levels. This year, the event celebrated its tenth anniversary and several celebrities graced the occasion by their presence. One such celebrity to grace the event was flute maestro and India’s pride Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, who performed a show for fund-raising for VEDH, the career guidance arm of IPH.

Just as the show was nearing its end, a young girl went up to Panditji with a farmaish (a request) for performing Raag Bhairavi. As Panditji had already performed the said Raag, he instead performed Raag Pahadi as he did not want to "disappoint a beautiful girl".

After the performance, the entire set of audience present stood up and there was silence all around. Panditji thought that the audience is all set to leave as the show has ended. But soon afterwards, the crowd began clapping vigorously. Anand Nadkarni noticed the astonishment on Panditji’s face. So he turned towards the Maestro and said, "Panditji, these people have stood up not to leave, but to give you a standing ovation for your brilliant performance." Hearing this, Panditji himself stood up and bowed to audience in appreciation and thanks. The audience clapped once again and there was a roar of applause.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *