Category: india

mysore birds of prey

June 15th, 2008 — 9:21pm

I found so many interesting photos in my search for images relating Google to a Hindu diety that I feel obliged to add another, even if I have to manufacture a post that relates to it in some tangential manner. first of all, any religion with a major portion of its dogma relating to the fact that all of the observable universe is an illusion, is okay by me. I haven’t been there since the internet dragged it into the modern world by stuffing fistfulls of dollar bills into every orifice from Bangalore to Pune, but it is a resilient and magical place and its intensity will survive. There was a moment in Mysore, after returning from a trip to see the Palace, and the sun was setting, leaving the sky with a strange amber glow, and as I was trying to find my way back to the hostel I wandered through an area of food dealers. Both sides of the street were lined with cement-walled open-faced stores, and each store had an area out front where they displayed their meat. But most of the shopping had been done for the day and the butchers and their helpers were throwing out scraps that were left over, or meat that was too spoiled to sell, and this must have happened on a regular basis at exactly this time every day, because the local birds of prey, hawks I assume, or some local eagle I don’t know, but large birds, with wingspans longer than my outstretched arms, were swooping down one after the other to grab the scraps and carry them off; there were dozens of birds, perhaps as many as a couple of hundred, hunched on nearby rooftops gulping red meat with spastic abrupt twiches of their necks, screaming at each other, fighting for prize hunks of flesh, carrying them off in their clenched talons in a spray of falling blood, swooping down and then up and over the town when their stomachs were finally full, blocking out the last rays of the sun with their slow-flapping wings, a tornado of feathers and claws and squawking. Some flew past nearly close enough to touch. It looked like a monstrous prehistoric version of pigeons being fed popcorn in the park…

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