The time is not right for the crows of Tali park to engage in any activity. It is noon and the sun is beating down very hard, making everyone look for a shade. The park has a lake and clumps of trees that shelter a small population of crows. Two friends, Peter and Paul, slake their thirst in the lake and fly to a Peepal tree. There they perch on one of its branches and strike up a conversation on everyday things of their concern and life in general.
PAUL: Hello Peter, what’s up? Looking very worried nowadays?
PETER: Can’t you see why I’m worried? My wife laid eggs a few days back.
PAUL: Congrats! But that should make you happy. What’s bothering you, dear?
PETER: Idiot, cuckoos. They’re too smart. They’re making sorties around here. If I look the other way, they’ll drop their eggs on our nest and fly away. But I’m chasing them. Too clever…ah? I’m Peter. Don’t mess with me.
PAUL: It’s all nature and instinct, Peter. Don’t get so worked up. It’s how they’re made.
PETER: What bloody instinct? Can’t they have their own nest? Can’t they raise their chicks? It’s all naughtiness and shirking responsibility and nothing else.
PAUL: Oh, I see…you have made some new friends! But what about humans – your best friends? You’re at peace with them now?
PETER: What are you talking, Paul? They’re endangering our lives. They’re using masks and throwing them on roads, footpaths and dustbins. We have to go out and forage for food. Who knows, one day we’ll be infected with the virus and meet the same fate as theirs.
PAUL: They’re getting vaccinated. Why still they need to wear masks, I don’t understand.
PETER: Even otherwise they’re masked. How does it matter whether they wear it or not? Let Corona go. But they must wear masks forever.
PAUL: Don’t be so cynical, Peter. Not all of them are like that. A few of them are.
PETER: Paul, most of them are. They’ve so many pretensions. They look so generous, gentle, and kind to each other, but that’s only a mask. Actually, they are jealous inside and harm each other every now and then. They show off too much. Lies come out of their mouths like fountains. They change colours faster than chameleons do. I caw strongly in protest, but it makes no impact. I hate these humans.
(A bat comes flying in suddenly and goes past them.)
PETER: Oh, Paul, see the bat. Be careful! They’re the real culprits. They’re the carriers of the virus.
PAUL: You talk with half knowledge, Peter. The virus they carry and the virus that’s spreading the infections are not the same.
PETER: Don’t teach me about them. After all the virus they carry only has changed into the current form. My point is why they won’t have it. Do they take bath? Do they come in the sun? Then they poop, hanging upside down and make themselves dirty. If they don’t have the virus, tell me who’ll have it.
PAUL: Peter, don’t talk non-sense. They don’t poop upside down. They get themselves in position for that. Then they pollinate and help plants bear fruits. Look at their positive sides as well.
PETER: You always argue with me and side with others.
PAUL: Who’ll argue with you except a friend like me? But I’m not arguing just for the sake of it.
(They hear a cuckoo call not far from where they’ve sat.)
PETER: You heard it? Very musical and humans die to hear this ‘koo-koo’, which heralds the spring. By looks also, they are beautiful. But I don’t see a species more exploitative than them. They raise their chicks in others’ home…just imagine. Now for a change, help me chase her away. Otherwise, she’ll do just what I fear.
PAUL: If not for a change, at least for a sport, I’ll be with you today.
Peter and Paul fly in the direction from which the calls have come. A cuckoo whooshes from a nearby tree and is soon followed by them. They chase her up to the jungle at a distance and she disappears into it. Then carried by the momentum, the two friends fly even further beyond the jungle until they become silhouetted against the blue heaven.