Mar 16, 2011

Talking Harsh is Nothing to Crow About...

“Hey, isn’t the crow your friend?”
A statement, which I am not sure was spoken in jest or sarcasm, - started a thought-process. Why is it that  normally Crows are not supposed to be among the adored birds?

Crows have been associated with human beings from time unknown; have been known to be sturdy, playful, intelligent and cunning.  While we all know about the folk tale of Thirsty Crow, those with any doubts about their playfulness & cunning must see them dodging our society’s resident dog Caspian, always leaving him with stupefied expressions.  

In various ancient mythologies from across the world, including the Scandinavian, Celtic, Mayan and South East Asian, crows have been depicted as the symbols or messengers of  God.  Among the Scottish, a complete body of lore has been built up from listening to the varied calls of the crows who have  the ability to mimic many kinds of sounds as well as to communicate with its own kind.  In the medieval times, the crows were said to have magical properties which included an ability to divine the future and to dismantle the past, as well as to teach human beings how to mix love, humor, and playfulness.

Closer home, in the Aryan culture, the crows have been associated with food & fertility while among Hindus, the Crow has been the emblem of God Varun as well as a messenger to our departed ones.

And yet, when a poll was conducted recently to select the symbolic bird for Mumbai, the Crow was among one of the contenders but lost out to the petite and more colorful Coppersmith Barbet- despite crows adding their might regularly to clean up the garbage, that we generate a plentiful of, on a regular basis.

Surely, there is something about crows that makes us dislike them….

Is it colour related racism on our part? But then koel (the male koel) is also black, so are the Drongo and a number of other birds and not yet ignored the way a crow is.

Could it be due to its being in too many in numbers all around us leading to the contempt that familiarity breeds? Not really conclusive when I notice the affection for sparrows, though they are declining now. Even common mynas or parakeets who command a large presence have never been treated so disdainfully.

Or could it be their continuing raucous calls, always harsh & discordant in nature, creating a cacophony, which puts one off? Yes, this seems to be the raison d’etre for this dislike.  

The mystical poet and one of the greatest saints of our country, Kabir had said:

Aisee Vani Boliye, Man Ka Aapa Khoye
Auran ko Sheetal Kare, Aaphu Sheetal hoye.

Kabir was always a keen observer of human behavior & profound in his analysis. In our personal interaction, our likes & dislikes of a person largely gets determined by how, when and what of his talks. The success & failures of high level negotiations, even among the countries as well as in the corporate world, have depended largely upon the demeanor & language of those who carried out the talks.

With the advent of the mobile technology, where more and more of us have become talkers then listeners & doers, to know how to talk is becoming critical even for the success of interpersonal relationships. Yet, we are talking more, getting aggressive, and letting our indignation and necessity to have the last word get better of our softer emotions.

Such being the importance of how we talk, it might be a good idea to actually understand the depth of the words that Lebanese poet & philosopher Kahlil Gibran used about the way we talk in his classic - The Prophet:

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.

There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.

When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered
When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more.

I hope I am on the right track here. But again, my entire idea of equating the way we talk with the crow may make me look like someone wet behind the ears, just like this crow whom I caught facing the hard thunderous rain with equanimity:


1 comment:

iRat said...

Nice write up and good picture on the other link...