Monday, November 06, 2006

Being with Peacock

India had just completed their innings against Australia in the Champions trophy. I watched it in my hotel resort ‘Straightway Head’ at Somerset west in Cape Town. It was lunch time and I decided to have a bite in an open area outside the restaurant facing lush green gardens of the resort.

The next table family party was getting over and I was all by myself reading about Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Garden route while basking in the sun on a cool day. As I finished my Mushroom soup and started with vegetable sandwiches, unexpected companion arrived. Beautiful iridescent blue-green coloured highly elongated plumage – tail – captivated me as he squezzed between wrough iron chairs. I had never seen peacock so close but I wasn’t sure if I should shoo him away or safeguard myself by pulling up my legs to prevent him coming clsoer. He solved my fear – he was more shy and more scared than I was. He went behind my chair in an open space and started looking for titbits of food that my predecessors may have left for him. It didn’t take me long to realize that he was extremly fussy and shy but his beauty was spectacular.

I threw some bread crumbs of the sandwich. He moved elegantly and started eating. I was more keen to watch him from all sides, so started spreading my brown bread morsels in different directions. He must be aware of the restrictions his long tail would pose. Since he couldn’t turn in the narrow passage between the chair and the wall. He would snuggle out on the other side and then would make 180 degree turn so as not to get his plumage hit or get trapped. I was getting curious to see what all things he could eat . I threw potato chips. His first reaction was to backtrack with fear and later slowly turn towards it , but size of the chip was too big for his mouth. Trying unsuccessfully to lift with his diminutive beak, he used his intelligence. He used his beak to break it in small parts – and started picking all small pieces. Slowly he was getting comfortable of my presence. But he sure was still shy – every time I would turn myself to pick up food, he would crouch himself backwards only to wait for a while and turn towrds food. Slowly bread crumbs, chips led to cucumbers,capsicum and chesse. By now, everyone had left me and my exotic friend was there to share my lunch. I was already heavy with castel beer and decided to carry my sandwich to my room.

I was hoping to see early australian wickets getting snapped up by Pathan and company. But when I came,aussie was tearing Indian attack with score at 100 for 1 before 15th over. I cursed myself of leaving my friend alone. Few overs may have passed when I heard the pecking noise on my glass door. And there he was, right next to my door watching me through the glass front. The exercise of feeding him and watching natures most amazing creation continued. I would open the door and he would shy away only to pick up the stuff.

By now, I was becoming familiar with his behavioural charachteristics. He is very much like a hen family, even his excreta was similar to the hen. As he was busy eating, I could see a small brown bird in the background watching with great tinge of jealousy. I saw similar birds later on at the street. They could be peahen – a female version but they sure looked ugly. Slowly a fat rabbit too turned up but he couldn’t advance further with my friend’s plumage swirling all around the floor. I was little guarded to throw away my expensive sandwich for my friend but I would have spend hours feeding him and watching his magnificant blue neck. A call from my colleague to join at the conference venue made me leave my friend suddenly without saying him proper ‘Totsiens ‘ – Good bye in afrikaans langauge.When I returned to the room late night , my leftover sandwich was disappeared from the table. I felt bad for not giving all of it to my friend who gave me some of the finest pleasures of watching nature's creation at such a short distance.

I am still intrigued of his coming down to my room which was quite a distance from where I met him initially at the restaurant. Is he that intelligent ? God has been generous with my friend to make him so graceful, beautiful and elegant but I wonder why my friend has to work out a raindance with his gorgeous tail feathers to attract the attention of ugly looking peahen.


Anonymous neera said...

Did u taste any wine there, u haven’t mention. I think a lot of people will be interested in knowing abt the wine there like how it tastes and all.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous cousine2 said...

I loved this part of Sud Afrique.
A tipsy review.

3:56 PM  

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