The Indian Roller, sacred to Vishnu
A purplish-lilac throat, tail that’s sky blue
Seen perched on electric wires and searching
For a careless prey, a small snake for you
Sometimes insects and even toads will do
So long as they wouldn’t harm it with their sting.
A Neelkanth, they say, gets more milk from cows
Chopped feathers added to fodder gets wows!
In grasslands and thin forests farmers search
For unwary Rollers resting on boughs
Because prosperity their death allows.
A black-winged Kite knew this from its research
Though what it saw writ worry on its brows.
‘The death of a Roller,’ mumbled the Kite,
‘By these farmers doesn’t fill me with fright.’
As it hovered over grasslands below
In absolute silence that’s quite a sight!
But from its vantage point the Kite did sight
Yama eyeing the Roller with a strange glow.
‘Hmmm… Yama, the God of death is here to take
Someone and the Roller’s life is at stake
But I know that this Roller is not old
And so I will for this young Roller’s sake
See if I can ask Yama to stop and take
Someone else.’ This makes the Kite really bold
To stand before Yama and ask him to make
A correction. But Yama had glided away.
‘I shall save you. I shall save you today,’
Whistled the Kite as it swooped in with speed
To clutch the Roller and just fly away
To somewhere high in the mountains to stay
Out of sight of Yama and his evil deed.
It set the Roller down and said, ‘Stay here
And from death you will have nothing to fear!’
The Kite then to the grasslands hurried back
And sang a happy song for Roller dear
And how a life was saved from death so near.
Kites, we know, can sight a prey through a crack
As soon he saw in Yama’s hands, Roller dear.
Kites, I’ve already said, are brave and bold
So stopping Yama it simply asked, ‘You hold
My dearest friend the Roller in your hands
The one far away and safe is now cold.
This Roller, dear Yama, was not even old…
Why go searching for souls in different lands?’
Yama stopped to pat the Kite but said, ‘You see,
We are wherever we really must be.
The Roller struck by falling boulder died
Waiting on a mountain top on a tree
This was exactly how it was to be.’
The Kite knew it gave his friend a death ride
And since then, some say, Kites will never flee!
28 April 2016