SINCE the coronavirus outbreak, my children have banned my walks in the neighbourhood and I was told to exercise at home. I chose to walk on the roof instead where I created a humble rooftop garden with creepers, flower/vegetable beds and plants in hanging bottles.
I have also hung a swing, put up a cage with six chicks and a little wooden house for my grandchildren. They have their cycles, scooties and a toy-car to play around. The rooftop garden is something all people in Karachi with their own roofs can consider.
The road in front has a line of shady cornocorpus trees that serve as home to dozens of crows. I have even noticed bee hives on these trees. Every day, back from office, I do my exercise on the roof as my grandchildren play and help me water the plants and feed the crows with the leftover bread. We have also arranged clean drinking water for them.
With time, the crows now wait for me and there is a lot of noise when I set foot on the roof. They hop around the area where I feed them and wait patiently till the time I break down the bread into small pieces and soak them in water. I have observed that each crow comes and picks up one piece of the bread and leaves the rest for his family and friends. Despite hunger, there is no squabbling over food. They take their bite, drink to their hearts’ content and hop on to the bamboo skeleton that I have erected for my creepers. This time their voices are even more melodious as if singing praise for the Almighty and thanking me too. They wait for a couple of minutes before flying away to their cornocorpus nests.
I have learned quite a few things from them. The coronavirus ‘curfew’ has been a blessing of sorts for me.
S. Nayyar Iqbal Raza
Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2020