Monday, June 21, 2010
Rumour without humour!
I must say that rumour mills keep working 24X7. Having been exposed to two scary incidents with a dash of rumour (minus the humour) in a single day, I can vouch for the above fact.
I woke up this morning, as has been happening for a few mornings now, to the crowing of baby crows which were nestled closely together in the nest on a badam tree, next to our balcony/window. I even told my daughter that the baby crows got up so it's time for her to get up and get ready for school. As was the routine, she smiled with her sleepy eyes and greeted them with a hello too! And then the rush of the morning began!
Once S got ready, we stepped out of the apartment, locked the door and were about to go down when we saw a swarm of crows circling the apartment complex and kaa-kaaing at the top of their voice. Upon going downstairs I spotted the watchman's son and asked him what's the reason for the commotion. He told me that there's a monkey on the very badam tree and it killed one of the baby crows so all the crows are screaming and trying to scare the monkey away so that the other two babies can be saved. My heart did a wrenching back flip and skipped many beats.
In my mind's eye, the visual of the three baby crows sleeping peacefully was juxtaposed with the disturbing image of a huge monkey sitting next to the nest with a greedy look on its face. I was very disturbed and kept thinking about it through those torturous 10 mins while S and I waited for her bus.
Waving her an absent-minded bye, I rushed to my flat to check from my bedroom window if all the baby crows were okay. I could spot two babies perched on two branches, a little away from the nest, facing opposite directions as if on alert, watchful guard... while the third one was still lying in the nest, and looked as if it's breathing heavily. I was so worried that I almost closed the windows so I won't know even if it is dead but somehow couldn't bring myself to do that either.
And I kept pacing up and down for the next two hours till I received a frantic call from a well-wishing neighbor. The call was about a gas leakage in S's school and all kids are being sent back home... buses have already started moving out and she'll reach in the next 20-25 mins, no details of the gas are known yet and I am supposed to wait for her downstairs. "If she complains of discomfort or looks unwell, we'll need to take her to the doctor," said the good Samaritan neighbor whose daughters are studying in the same school, and whose sister works in the administrative section.
Many tense moments followed as I panicked and ran down, and kept pacing on the road till I saw the long turmeric yellow bus at the bend.
As soon as S got off the bus, I knew everything is all right and there's no need to worry. I still asked her if she has trouble breathing, or any burning sensation, or if she's feeling giddy, and got a 'No' for an answer. Apparently the teachers switched off the fans in the classrooms and asked all the children to cover their nose. Then students were quickly evacuated from the building and were promptly sent home.
S also told me in an excited voice that one of the classrooms caught fire and students there were the first to be sent out. I wondered about the safety of other students and my smart daughter assured me that all was well with everyone. Only when my journo-husband called up his reporter-colleague in Berhampur to find out about the gas leakage did we get to know a few details.
Looks like somebody tried to steal the knobs (made of brass) of chlorine cylinder(s) at an industry some two kilometers away and so the gas started leaking out. We don't know, yet, if the thieves were successful in their mission but because the workers and the residents around could smell the gas, prompt action was taken.
Thanks to mass over-reaction (was it the effect of the Bhopal gas tragedy?), everyone seems safe - for the moment. And I hope things continue to stay that way!
BTW, let me tell you that the third crow baby is fine too. It, along with its siblings, has its pink beak open wide awaiting the mother to feed some food. Also, I'm not sure about the fire in a classroom at my daughter's school. That makes me wonder about the over-time rumour mills as I am constantly reminded about what the watchman's son told me this morning about the monkey killing the baby crow, and what my daughter told me about the classroom catching fire!!