He believed in starting early as, to borrow an old saw, the early riser gets the worm (but hey, the early worm gets eaten!).
The whistling by our window began at four in the morning. Initially, I thought it was a dream - well, it couldn't be my husband Subbu who had suddenly decided to serenade me all over again after 17 years. In the fourth decade of my life, I’m hardly entitled to catcalls and whistles from road side Romeos, I guess...
The rather mellifluous intruder persisted with his vast repertoire of whistles through the misty morning at the beautiful Topslip tree house, in the Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary. The mysterious mist refused to leave us, but through the haze, I caught a quick glimpse of the imp - a brilliant blue bird with iridescence on his forehead and on the wings. He fixed me with one eye, while the other was firmly focused on a stunning Indonesian Moon Moth perched on our window sill (whom we promptly nicknamed Ikraan, after the dazzling ‘bird’ in the movie Avatar).
As I neared the window he flew onto the neighbouring tree house. A furtive glance at me, and he decided I was worth another whistle. Hey, it is true life begins at forty, and I was being serenaded by the Malabar Whistling Thrush (MWT)!
I decided to play along ... Well, a li’l flirtation was not one of the deadly sins, I hoped! I hid behind the curtains and promptly saw the MWT's curiosity get the better of him. He came back to our window and wooed me again. A softer and long drawn whistle, almost set to a Hindi film song, or was it just my imagination..?
Nothing better than a strange admirer to arouse jealousy in a harried husband! Subbu’s quicksilver action would have done a Commando proud, as he lunged to shoot the poor bird. Ever ready with his SLR, he snapped away, clicking some fabulous shots of this wonderful bird.....
As we walked through the early morning mist towards the decrepit canteen for breakfast, we were unsure if we should have left Ikraan so close to its nemesis, the MWT. On our return, sadly, we discovered that my dawn paramour had devoured the beautiful 'Ikraan', leaving behind only its tail.
I have kept the marvellous tail as a bookmark in my bird guide featuring the MWT, as a grim reminder that life can be beautiful and heart-rending on the same page!!!