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Death in the Afternoon

"One for Sorrow

Two for Joy

Three for Letter

Four for Boy

Five for a Secret never to be Told."

(Oops I got that wrong. Comment alert.)

It goes....

"Five for Silver

Six for Gold

Seven for a Secret Never to be Told."

-Old School Rhyme

I still dread spotting the solitary Mynah. It is the Seal of Sorrow. And it adds to my pain of spotting another, the Joy. The usual was after an unsuccessful attempt I would resign to my fate and promptly forget the miserable portent.

It was at that time- when the Day wilted and the hour curled around the edges and drowsiness captured my thoughts and dulled it slowly. The wail of the Oriental Magpie Robin pierced the stillness and interrupted my siesta. It was an agitated wail, high pitched, enough to move me from my bed to the balcony. My mother likes to call these birds Kundikulikki translated it would mean Bum Shaker- they have a certain swagger when they walk. Well, a pair of Bum Shakers was creating a family, they had built a nest in a chimney and it was only yesterday, I had thought, they were ensconced in a private bliss.

For the next ten minutes I heard the helpless wail of death. High and horrible. Gleeful mynahs feasted in the nest. The chimney had a small roof that darkened the view so I prayed that the feast was eggs and not yet chicks. The birds tried fearful acrobatics -swooped up and down- to scare the mynahs. But had to watch in horror as their babies were consumed. Even the crows were silent and a little sparrow tried to help, fluttering in vain around the feast. In the end the mother bird, heart broken and spent, turned away and flew from the scene.

The mynahs content and burping left the nest.

And I said: “Hey it’s Two for Joy!”


Anonymous said…
Just to refresh your memory...
The rhyme goes like this:
ONE for sorrow,
TWO for joy,
THREE for letter,
FOUR for boy
FIVE for silver
SIX for Gold
SEVEN for a secret never to be told.
Minu Ittyipe said…

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