Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thoughts on a Roosting Crow

One day during my post dinner walk through the campus, I saw a solitary crow roosting on a rather low branch. There was no other crow on that tree or any of the trees nearby. I checked the tree once more to make sure. Yes, there it was – a single crow probably fast asleep in a world of crowish dreams. I found that rather strange for I thought crows generally gather together for night roosts, mostly on the same tree night after night. 
I was reminded of my days in Mercy campus. A small campus comfortably settled little outside the hustle and bustle of Palakkad town. Those of you who have had an opportunity to live in that campus would remember the crows. By around five in the evening they’ll start coming on ones and twos and by six the whole place is drowned in the cacophony. There is a lot of noise, so much of moving around –  fighting for a favourite place, may be for a seat next to a particular lady, sharing notes on how good or bad the day had been, settling family quarrels, the list goes on. By the time the party finally settles down, it’s dark. Then it is all quiet, time to sleep. Come early morning, the crows are up much before any of us in the hostels. Without much ado these early birds depart to different places to catch the proverbial worm. Nobody lingers in the hostel premises. May be experience taught them too that mess food is not really worth it. By evening they are back! Those huge trees in our campus have been favourite roosting sites for generations of crows.
Well, so that is how I thought crows generally behave. Even if they forage alone or in small groups, roosting time was when they believed in strength in numbers. And there was this crow, all alone. Maybe he was a rebel, and did not believe in following the norm. Perhaps the crow believed in staying far from the madding crowd. :P It could have been an old crow that did not feel like it could make to the roosting site that may be far away. There is a possibility of the crow being a social outcast and hence unable to join the others. Did the crow feel lonely? Do crows also have the urge like humans, to be socially acceptable, to do things that are ‘cool’ so that they can stay in a group? Did this crow brave all such temptations and decided to make a statement by staying alone?
The next day when I went for my walk I looked for the crow, it was not there. It is more than a week since I saw my crow, all alone on a low branch. I do not know if it had gone back to its group or if it had chosen a roosting site, all for itself, far away from the prying eyes of nosey research scholars. But every day when I pass that tree, I look up, to check whether my lonely crow is there.


  1. Lovely piece! I love the little mystery of the solitary roosting crow