BENGALURU: A little less than a month ago, my husband came home from work one evening and excitedly told the children: “There’s an owl sitting on top of one of the cars in the parking lot.”
The boys and I rushed down, wanting to catch a glimpse of the feathered creature.
We didn’t have to go very far. In the minutes that had lapsed, it had made its way to the lobby of our tower, firmly ensconced in the hands of an unknown gentleman.
It was a wee white owl, and remained perfectly still, no doubt petrified by the sudden attention, bright lights and the fact that it was held captive by a large creature.
“Are you from Animal rescue?” I blurted out.
The two men stared at me, bemused.
“What will you do with it?” I persisted.
“I’ll look after it. I have birds.” the man replied.
We stayed on for a while, and I tried to find out discreetly if there was someone else we could hand the bird over to. There wasn’t. I went home and pestered my husband, the resident non-vegetarian if owl was a delicacy. For some reason, my biggest fear was that the man would take the owl home and eat it. My husband reassured me that this was unlikely.
That night as we went to bed, my 8 year old asked “How did the owl land up in our parking lot?” I told him that humans were building houses on tracts of land that were once home to animals. Perhaps the owl had lost his home because of our building. He listened and to my great distress began to cry. “This is all your fault. Grown ups are always doing stupid things like this.”
It was a sentiment echoed on Saturday evening, at their school’s annual production. The children had put up a musical about the condition of our roads and the terrible traffic snarls we often find ourselves in. They too passed a damning verdict on us adults: ‘This is your fault. You complain all the time about a problem you have created.’ As the year winds down and as I scroll through my Facebook feed, all I can do is agree with my son and his peers. It is all our fault.
. The environment. Animals on the brink of extinction. People dying as they wait in ATM queues. Mad men in charge of countries. George Monbiot saying that we have passed the point of no return.
A sad emoji. A small yellow circle with a downturned face is all I have to offer.
I then ignore the churning sensation in my stomach and return to work. To my coffee. To the laundry. To a funny YouTube video. Anything to try and forget what a terrible mess we are in.
Grown ups, maybe this year we hold off on all the social media blathering about New Year resolutions, intentions and Pinterest vision board sharing.
To all the children out there, I’m sorry. We really have let you down. Don’t listen to grown ups anymore. We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re hypocrites. We’re idiots.
Sorry to wind the year down on such a depressing note. Here: :( That’s all I have to