Just when I was coming back from a near by shop after buying a kannada weekly I found this guy carrying a plastic cement bag holding it with care at a distance from his body. I got it that he was carrying a creature to dispose it off and could see him clearly keeping a very good distance from it. But the scream of the latter was new for me. New enough to puzzle me and bring back life to my dead curiosity and that curiosity dragged my body to him to see what it is, Still wondering what it can be? I peeped in
Guess what? It was a small Bat [:)]. I was happy to see a bat so close esp when what I was doing all my life was running away from it. But all this joy waded away as I could clearly notice that the bat was really very weak. It was time to kill the normal human in me, who at such situations prefer to escape with a sympathetic shake of head and sad face, but this time I really wanted to help. Of late I had found myself doing things that I would not have pushed myself to do, but such occasions were few and far in between. Also in this situation I was clueless on what to do. But the man was busy trying to dispose off the bat as though his life depended on that action. Also a passing dog stopped and started watching our activity with great interest as though it has found a fresh breakfast after ages of wait. I asked him to wait or at least dispose it in the near by compound where no other animal can eat it so easily, esp. I was skeptical about that dog finding a fresh bat as its breakfast. But even that suggestion was pathetic considering the bats rest upside down from a tree branch or similar stuff and also in dark. My suggestion was no where near what that bat needed. Yes, I was clueless.
But the guy was afraid of it and said “idu kannannu Kukkutante” (It will come and hit our eyes). Sad to see the amount of awareness in us about our surroundings and animals (or is it that I am ignorant?). He did sound as if he created that creature, and with the purpose that he said. Even if I do consider that Bats are born to hit the eyes of humans, A little bit of common sense if used on first look at that exhausted bat shows that it was barely fighting to survive, may be it will come back to serve the purpose of its life (read as ‘hitting human eyes’)
I was still clueless, took the bag from him and tried to drop it on a near by plant, But how can a bat which hang itself upside down can hold on to leaves of a plant? I could see that I was dry on ideas when I was doing a savior act. But the other guy relentless on droping it soon took his steel weapon and forced it down into the dry canal. It was lying with its back to sky. Seriously it had no energy to lift itself. It had 'I am in pain' written all over it. I felt sad, very sad indeed. I questioned him on why was he in such a hurry? But as he had not promised anyone that he will answer my question, he walked away with his priced procession – plastic cement bag. I continued with my clueless state on what to do next? I saw an ant visiting this exhausted bat and return back, I could here the plan in the ants mind on its next course of action on how to dismantle the bat and parcel it to home. It was on its way to its comrades. I too felt sorry for the bat and left for my home, I had to catch my bus else will surely be struck in another traffic jam, seriously it was not worth wasting my time as I could not have done anything about it. I walked few steps and normally I would have continued. Generally I have given all the justification for why the bat is dying and why I did not help it, they might sound like 'Oh! This is Life', 'its time had come', 'Luck is cruel, some die early some die late and we can’t help it', 'I dont have the experience to help it', 'Its too late to help it'. But that day I felt like there was no option left; all these justifications were somewhat remote from me. I had thought of doing something about it. Though clueless on what to do with it, I was sure that canal cannot be the best place for the bat to rest. So I placed the ‘Taranga’ (Kannada magazine) I had below the bat and helped it on that. I was still scared even though my sense said otherwise, like the other guy I am also human. But I had the guts (should I add courage and bravery too? :-/) to take it home. With every step I was wondered “Now what?”
I wanted to restore normalcy and allow it to rest. I placed it on nearby flat bed. I could see how difficult it is for the bat to sit on a flat bed, just like I can’t hang on trees and branches day in and day out. Something flashed; I could see a stick round the corner. Seriously, if one really want to do something, one really can. But all we do is cover up our unwillingness with a dirt of various justifications. I took that stick and placed it near the legs of the bat. I liked the way it got into its usual position (upside down). It was really great. I slowly took it to the corner of my home and hanged it just like my shirt on a hanger :). Gently it closed its wings to cover its face and started to rest. I could still see its body was mud ridden but was scared to touch it. And I had no clue about how a bat looks up close let alone how to handle it. I was also skeptical about there reaction to human touch and more. So I left the space for it to rest. After few minutes I could not resist seeing it again so went back. It was still resting. I blew a mild air on it, it screamed mildly (I was not sure if the bat was scolding me or thanking me). I removed the hair hanging from its body, and started talking to it. What amazed me were its big big eyes, it was so wonderful.
I had to catch my bus so had to leave. On my way to office I was scared, scare of cats which pass by, the maid who cleans the cloths near by, the crows. All this apprehensions were a part of me till I reached home late evening. I had no clue on what happened to it. My aunt said it few away in the evening after screaming for some parts of the day. I felt so happy, It was a very satisfying effort.
I am happy to have interacted with a bat so closely. It was truly a very nice experience. So Now I am sure that next time if I come across such situation, I will never wait. I will jump in. Though I dont want such situations to repeat for these poor creatures around us, but its almost inevitable. is it not?