Since early March when spring ushers in all that is beautiful in nature, there comes cuckoo. Perhaps from the labyrinth of shadows to enhance the loveliness of the season with its melodious coo cooing. Spring and cuckoo are best of friends. They remain in sync with each other and come and go together. Strange but true that the musical strains of cuckoo’s song transform into a special waking call for me each morning. I take my cuppa of tea and sit in the lawn to listen to the sweetness of her voice undisturbed. It is like keeping a date with her each daybreak.
Throughout the day I remain alert not to miss her song because of the joy it provides. From where it comes, I fathom not. I can merely guess from the pitch of the sound ,whether it is huddled somewhere in the thick foliage of a mango tree, which is growing in our vicinity or perched on a rich leafy branch of the Neem at a distance. For me the voice symbolizes a mysterious poignancy. Many questions crop up inside me. What and who inspire her to sing with such depth of tone and vibrancy? Is she pining for her elusive mate who is unrelenting? Does the song express the pain and longing of her heart and soul? Or is she besotted by the soothing balmy ambience of the season itself?
Her musical notes start on a medium pitch and become full throated after a few seconds. Her sonority lasts for half a minute and then she takes a breather and begins all over again. She keeps this schedule till mid day and then rests for a couple of hours. When the day cools down, her second shift of refreshing our environs begins all over again. May be she knows that there is an admirer of hers missing her melody and pricking her ears in wait. So she comes and obliges. Telepathy as they say it. How strange the ‘kali koel’ with its mellifluous voice has ordinary looks. So be it. Rightly said, isn’t it? that ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.’ In this case it lies in the ears of a devotee.
I only saw her one day when I was coming back from my morning walk. I stood there watching her chasing the predator crow with ferocity and anger which was evident from the fluttering wings and a threatening sound. The scavenging crow is a nightmare for small birds like the cuckoo as it destroys their eggs and nests.
As the heat intensifies she may become elusive again. But not for long. I am sure when the rainy season comes along , once more we will be inundated by the flow of her melodic voice through the rustling and glistening wet leaves of her beloved mango tree, laden as it would be with the luscious ripe fruit.(Our folklore associates this bird with the tree which gifts us the king of fruits.)