The tree droppings

Update for week ended 8 Nov 2012

The street that runs along my home is narrow, but tree lined. I cannot call it an avenue, as it does not have trees neatly nestling alongside each other on either sides of the thoroughfare, but has large ancient trees that spread their canopies over the entire road, that it feels like an avenue. The trees are not of the same species either, so that is another reason why I would not call it an avenue. There are tall peepul trees, and matriarchal banyans, with their aerial roots hanging down benevolently on passersby. The street get sit colour from the flamboyant gulmohars and the yellow copperpods that spring into colour, though not in spring, but in the monsoons and the summer, respectively. But last week, when I stepped out onto the street to walk to my morning routine of the gym visit, I saw little green springy, wiry, balls or something that I could not immediately recognize. It intrigued me. I thought for awhile, as I walked the street, carefully kicking it about. I saw this for a couple of days on my daily routine. However on Thursday, I saw an addition to the street droppings. There were little red fruit splats that at times exposed the ripe interiors of the yellow seeds. Now, I was getting a little more confused as I walked up to the gym again that day. And then that evening, as I returned home in my car, the narrow street made it difficult to drive faster than in second gear. And as I neared the gate into which I would turn left everyday, I saw a sight that was not seen in the light of day. It was a large winged bird that flapped its wings slowly, unlike the flap-flap flap of the domestic pigeon or the slightly slower but still fast enough crow’s wing flaps. And this could not be the brahminy kite that usually flies at heights, not below the tree covers. And then as they settled on the branches, I noticed that the wings getting tucked under the body, which was not above the branch, but below it. The streetlight was bright enough to see the silhouette of the fruit bat!

The week was getting dressed in its finery for the festival week ahead. The D Street Boyz were shopping gold for their wives and mothers and sisters and the goldsmiths of the nearby Z Market Street were ever eager to sell gold, golden coins, silver coins, silver currency note impressions. Anything to get their stocks out of their safes. What they forgot was that in the crowds were also informers of the police and income tax department who saw the open safes and the cash stashed therein, ready to raid them. Meanwhile, the D Boyz got worried that the police would enter the D Street next, and started emptying their coffers by getting rid of profits and also lost some control of the SENSEX. So what started as a celebratory week (also to celebrate some new non-white president’s re-entry into his white house), turned into a red downward slide week with the SENSEX losing over 70 points in the week to end at 18683.

The fruit bats have been confused for evil vampires, perhaps because they look like the vampire bats. They have the same “fang like” canines, the night adventures also give them the “evil” tag. But they are harmless vegetarian animals. They feed on fruits and leaves and in their clumsy hold of the branches, also crush some of the ripe fruits that fall from the trees in fruit splats. They also relish the banyan red figs, especially when they are abundant in the absence of the langurs which feast on this all day in the forests of India. The green little fibrous balls are the juicy green peepul leaf, which the bats chew and chew to get the chlorophyll out and then spit out the fibres that drop on the streets below. So my mystery is solved, and I am now concerned over the common barn owls.

It is that time of the year when they roost near fields which are bursting with ripe grain, and attract rodents. The barn owls feast on the rodents in indirectly helping humans save their produce. But there are people who believe that since the Goddess of Wealth flies on an owl, is appeased with sacrifices of these helpful birds. So here is hoping and wishing them safety away from the human predators, whom they ironically protect. And I wish you all a very happy and safe Diwali. Please take care of the environment and do not burst crackers and firecrackers. Enjoy yourselves with light and colour and sweets and your family and friends.


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