Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Covariation model

Day before yesterday. 6 pm.

The little bird wanted to cross the road; not because it was ingrained in its DNA. It wanted to, because the grass on the other side was greener and green grass signified live worms. Or whatever lived underneath it. So, the little bird crossed the road.


The dogs were already there and were bored. They were not there for the worms. They were there because that’s where they could be what they wanted to be. They could walk on two legs; growl at the kids or raise one leg and shower the bushes. Today they wanted to do something else. That’s when they spotted the little bird. “She is asking for trouble wearing that red crown on her head”, said Dick, the short tailed one. “She is singing to herself. Must be a slut”, muttered Poke, the one-eyed dog. “She is alone”, grunted Stinky, the smallest of the group. 

The proud faces of their forefathers who had troubled a lot of birds since the beginning of time flashed through their mind. “I am a mongrel. This is cool. Here I come”, cried Stinky.

The little bird had almost reached the other side when it saw the bush, some movement and the dogs exactly in the same order. Before she could say “cluck”, Stinky pounced on her. She shrieked, feathers flew in all directions, and traffic stopped on the road.

Four plump ducks in a car, slammed on the breaks and looked out. Eyes opened wide, beaks opened wider. A teenage peacock with a large mobile phone aimed its lens at the scene in a trance. A portly bull coming back from work, stopped, looked at the scene, looked back at his watch and broke into a jog, in the same direction his horns pointed. A mentally unstable chimp begging alms, threw his coins away and darted towards the scene.

More cars stopped on the road and there were faces in the windows. Some seemed shocked, some were amused, some were impatient. Few broke into a jog and sped off after the bull. The brown fox selling popcorn on the street side, smacked its lips in anticipation of a walk-in crowd.

The chimp raked a hand across Stinky’s face. Poke and Dick froze to their ground; then took off like they had seen a ghost. Stinky fought back for a second; then ran after his friends. The little bird picked herself up and covered her face. She started to sob. The chimp asked awkwardly, “Got a dollar?” The little bird fainted. 

There were more mobile phones pointed in the general direction of the scene.

Yesterday. 6 pm

The television channels had expert panels discussing the story of the little bird. The psychology professor from Harvard, a tusker who had seen the industrial revolution first hand, explained the Covariation model of social behavior. The popular actress who had just returned from the Swiss Alps observed that “such things do not happen there”. The priest with long feathers and a Rolex around his thick rhino neck reminded everyone that “the dogs always go after the bone; the bone has to be careful”.

“Creatures for a cause” sat on the road and blocked traffic, blaming the government who had had a bad history in dealing with hapless birds. A minister who used an allegory that sounded like “dumb chick” and apologized on national television, shook his mane and said he forgot what he said earlier.

Today. 6 pm.

Stinky's parents had called for a press meet. They held up copies of his certificates he had earned while in college to all present. He was “Head boy” in high school and won the high jump at the inter university meet. His mother said he was always a sweetheart. His father appeared heartbroken; had quit his job abroad and came back to console his family during this time of distress. Dick and Poke were not to be found. The Police had gone to the neighboring state to look for them.

The “Youth Wings” put a bus on fire on the highway and demanded that “chivalry” should be taught as a mandatory subject in the primary classes. The Facebook campaign started by “Wings of hope” taglined #crosstheroad got 2 million followers. “Neuter the mutt”, the rap song performed by the band “Moo it” had gone viral in just one day.

I am a responsible citizen and I am above all this madness, this pettiness. I shall continue to be non-biased and nonjudgmental. I intend to continue to write and bring the world’s attention to this unfortunate incident. I will change this planet one page at a time.

Tomorrow I will be writing about “How to nail spaghetti to a darting dog’s posterior”.

Keep watching this space, fellow creatures!

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Red, Yellow and Stinky