The phone rang a number of times and I did not take it.
It was Tuesday and it was reports day. All reports should be sent to head office before the meeting time on Wednesday morning.
Meetings are about people discussing about something they don’t know. Some of them never visited us. But they know everything because my reports in figures and percentages are on their table. They are well prepared to present as if all work is done by them.
I don’t mind it or else I won’t be working here. I get my salary and a laugh too because if there is any doubt in the figures, they come running for my help.
So you see, I allowed the phone to ring for a few minutes and it stopped.
Now I smiled. Somebody got tired of calling me.
The phone started to ring again; I allowed it to ring twice and I took it this time and listened, to get an idea of the caller
I kept silent so that I can hear from the other end.
"Hello", An elderly voice. Suddenly I knew who it is. Abed, the old man from the far away station. I call him the weather man.
I felt a tinge of guilt seeping in me. I knew that he was about to retire in a few months as his extension is about to expire.
"Hi Abed" I replied
"hi teacher, you hiding ? Why cant to pick up the phone, he is the only one who refuse to accept that I am a trainer and calls me a teacher"
He always says that it is all same to him. It is theoritically right too.
I explained to Abed the reason for not taking the phone telling him about the reports and he was not fully convinced.
"Teacher I called you two or three times the previous s day but none picked up the phone."
"I was in field training, Abed "
"I have something to show you teacher "
"OMG ! "I said aloud.
I thought, not now… with all the reports pending!!
"You want to see something or not" he was aggressive now.
"Or have you lost your love for nature so easily in one year" he quipped.
I can’t let this man feel disappointed, I thought myself.
“When” I asked him
"Tomorrow morning" he said smiling broadly
"Time?" I asked
"You want to see something; you come to Abed at seven " I wanted to wring his neck .
"Hey ! I have the meetings and briefings for the trainees" my appeal.
"Oh ! come on teacher, they don’t die if you don’t brief them for one day"
"Ok Abed" I accepted and I put down the phone
I finished my report and told my trainees to be inside the class room for a special briefing. There was wonder in their eyes about the evening briefing.
I explained that I will not be here in the morning for briefing and assigned their training tasks, a day early.
Late in the evening I wondered what Abed wanted to show me. But I had no clue whatever.
In the morning I checked the pickup to make sure that I will not be stranded in the road.
Abed was ready in the door and he gave me directions to go east, we went through the narrow road in the slush area where only the dry grass was visible.
He told me to turn right from the creek and I saw a lone tree among the dry fields like a statue.
I thought first that the tree was covered with snow.
But that was impossible!!
We don’t have snow ever here.
He told me to stop the pickup five hundred metres away from the tree.
We got out and I still thought that the tree was covered in snow.
Now going closer, I found that it was not snow that was on the tree but hundreds and hundreds of birds in white and a few blacks too. The marshy cranes were roosting in the tree. There was no other tree anywhere near by.
I was mesmerised by the sight …a tree fully covered with marshy African cranes.
I motioned to Abed that I wanted to picture the sight.
He stopped me and told that they may fly away, if I pointed the camera.
He asked me to enjoy the sight and we can go with out taking a picture. I agreed and I watched the sight for about half hour.
I was disappointed that I can’t picture it, and it showed in my face while we were about to return to the car. He looked at my face and abruptly said
"Teacher, do you want to take a pic " I know now that I have won.
"Yes" I said with hope
"Ok try to do it slowly with not giving them any alarm. If they are alarmed most of them will fly away but you will find some of them still there" he advised
I opened the camera case and slowly raised the camera and prayed "Holy Mary Mother of God...
I did not finish the prayer but shockingly I heard the flap flap… up them go…
They got scared and flew away…hundreds of black & white cranes, flying in unison.
But I waited and looked through the few finder and saw that quite a number of them were still sitting there refusing to fly away.
And I clicked this picture.
I am sorry my readers. This is all I can share today.
When I turned to Abed with a big grin, I saw that he was grinning from ear to ear with an “I told you in the beginning” face.
Those of my readers who don't recall Abed and for new readers this is Abed here.
He is unique in all he does.