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We place ourselves above animals. Profound knowledge, wisdom, conscience, and love, drawing the line between us and them. Most of us don’t realize that the line is extremely thin, vulnerable, and fragile. In a way, we could almost say, that the line isn’t there at all; humans may act like animals and animals like humans.

Mid-June, I was offered an opportunity that allowed me to help the helpless. The morning began with grey clouds and wet streets. The monsoon prevailed over our city, sending its sudden bursts of anger our way. Neighbourhood cats sought refuge in the dingy parking areas, under cars. The noisy birds hid in the leaves of trees, paying no notice to the snacks laid out on the windowsills. It was cold and unwelcoming.

As I was leaving the lift, I caught a glimpse of a murder of crows hanging in the open. They flew towards passers-by and then back to a resting spot. Their eyes wavered over to me for a second, until I faded into the background. I will never forget their scornful glances, their angry caws, their ruffled feathers.

‘They must have been protecting something.’ I thought.

It was then when I noticed a baby crow huddled on our concrete floors, against the wall. It screamed at me, with fear, I assumed. Natural human tendency clouded my doubts, and I went about my day instead of analysing the situation at hand.

“It was eight in the morning; the crow must have been playing around and its attentive parents would have been watching it.” I told myself.

At four sharp I returned, bidding my family goodbye. Pleased with the way my day had been, I skipped back, humming a tune. Then I saw, once again, the same crow. It was shivering due to the harsh winds, begging for warmth and comfort. I now realized; I must act on this immediately. Fear stopped me from putting a hand-out and simply carrying the bird away, for, two black beads watched me.

I inquired with the security guard and cleaners on why no one had picked the bird up or fed it, they responded with pale faces, “The adult crows fly at our heads when we attempt to help the creature.”

I wasn’t fully convinced so I walked towards the crow and bent down, and my head was struck by four sharp talons. I looked up, to see the winged animals hovering over me. Running back to my house, I informed the lady who works at our house, Anita, of my little misadventure. She, too, loved animals, and knew a lot about them. The town she is from presented multiple ‘animal -rescue’ opportunities that she engaged in.

We quickly prepared a box for the freezing crow to rest in, cushioning it with cotton and cloth to provide some coziness and warmth, and a small bowl in the corner with a little food in it. I sprinted down, hands full, Anita by my side. We carefully planned our next steps. Anita quickly placed the box outside and slid back into the hall. She then struggled to place the crying crow chick in the bedded cardboard box. We failed at first, and then again, a few times, but her persistence won the day, and she managed to place the bird in the box. Although the bird was now warmer, little droplets of water continuously attacked it from above. We gently pushed the box under the roof and observed the crow.

I called the vet’s clinic, hoping for an answer to my predicament. Maybe they would be willing to take the bird in, or at least, give us another contact? My palms dampened as my stomach grew uneasy, what if the bird didn’t make it? A voice spoke up. A large smile of a tiny hope appeared on my face, though my tone was quite urgent.

“We’re sorry but we can’t help as we don’t know if the crow requires medical help, but we can give you a few numbers that may advise you on how to continue,” came the deadpan voice at the other end of the line.

I called the first number I was given, at once. They asked after my location and pictures of the bird. My mind worked fast, talking about everything that had happened. They also mentioned that I ought to move the bird inside my house till we figure it’s new location. That wouldn’t have been a problem if I didn’t have a large Labrador waiting for me right at the door.

I reached the apartment first and shooed my dog, Laddu into my mother’s room where he obediently sat, lying down on the cool air-conditioned floor. Firmly shutting the door, I called out to Anita. The bird was squawking away in a way that only little birds can. Anita passed the box, and I carefully placed it in the balcony. My phone buzzed excitedly, and I rapidly picked it up. It was just a spam call, the animal helpline still hadn’t got back to me.

I called my grandma and caught her up on the latest news. She listened patiently and asked me to message the number again. Once I did so, I was sent a drop off point for the bird. I called my grandma again, as we started thinking of transportation. (We could always take a local auto, but my mother would never permit it. - delete line)We plotted and decided that my grandma would come to my house and then we’d take the bird to the shelter in an auto, Anita by our side. But, my grandmother’s age proved to be a bit of a speed bump in our journey as she struggled to come with us.

Anita and I sat in the auto and pleaded with our driver to go fast. He left us at the location on the map, but we couldn’t find the shelter. We walked around the busy market, asking fruit sellers and small shop-wallahs if they knew of the shelter.

All hope was lost.

But then, suddenly, a man stopped us and pointed at a street. He said that there is a shop down that street, where they take care of wounded animals. We thanked him a lot, and reached the shop within a matter of seconds.

The crow now had a new home, and I was content that we had delivered it to safety.

The auto ride back was silent as I quietly revelled in the excitement and sense of fulfilment. As I reached the gates, my eyes scanned the area, checking if the adult crows were still waiting, but they weren’t. I like to imagine that they knew their kid is safe, wherever he is.

Rushing back into the house unannounced, I snuggled next to Laddu in my mums cool bedroom. I loved the excitement and urgency of this experience, and learnt resourcefulness; saw new parts of my neighbourhood, and what all I could accomplish during my mother’s nap!

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