making a phone call home is always pleasurable. there is always news. and, in the times now it is almost instinctive to pick up the phone and call for anything, everything and, sometimes just to hear 'your voice.'
a couple of days before i left home, there was a huge thunderstorm in the evening. trees uprooted blocked roads, branches fell on electric lines, leaving us without power for more than 28 hours. the strong gusts of wind pushed a white hen from the branches of the coffee tree, which is where the cock-a-doodle clan roosts at night.
she was disoriented and ran into the kitchen, when the back door was opened. but, we were as surprised to run into her at dinner time as she clucked loudly and ran helter-skelter. she found an opening and ran outside into the night, now pitch black with no street lights. not even the haughty rooster could help her. and, his favourite wife, grump-a-cluck was, secretly, very glad indeed.
later in the night, as i was getting ready to sleep in the farthest corner of the house, i could hear rustling leaves. i hoped it was the lost mrs cluck. but, by mid-morning the next day, her headless carcass was found by our domestic help on the stone fence not far from their roost. by this time, the high and mighty one and his harem had already fed and gone to the neighbours, as is the routine.
so, one afternoon i called home and i was greeted with sad, emptying news. whatever it was that had eaten the hen on the night of the thunderstorm had struck another time. again, the poor headless hen was buried near the largest jackfruit tree.
a couple of mornings later, mr rooster looked lost. clucking nervously he paced about the courtyard. a search in and around the premises revealed that the last two hens had gone missing - no carcass, no feathers! a mystery in our midst, theft on our minds.
there was foreboding enough, no one was surprised the rooster had wandered of. really, he needed gals and was free of his domesticity. so, he strutted on the road conscious of the admiring glances of people passing by, who were wondering which house he belonged to. by afternoon, he had been caught and killed by the watch dog of the Convent three houses away.
the Mother (of the Convent) was very sorry indeed, but, really, what could she have done. amma was so horrified, and exhausted, that she has let the rickety coop be. maybe, after a few months, she will feel like revisiting the sounds of the hens, the warmth of a freshly laid egg, the call of the rooster who would never let us hear the last of it if the feed was not scattered on time. for now, the void is palpable across two states, the silence deafening, the loss tangible.
pictures taken in happier times.