Colombo Telegraph

The Battle Of Ravens: Mullivaikkal Lagoon Resounded With The Roar Of Ravens

By Thrishantha Nanayakkara

Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara

The morning in Mullivaikkaal lagoon was unusually silent. The thunder and rattle of war had come to an end few hours ago. Some dead bodies had their eyes still open as if they wanted to see something for one last time, or mouths open as if they were asking for something for one last time. Already, the breeze that swept from the lagoon side had begun to be smelly.  Smelly, to the human nose, not to the feasting Ravens. For most Ravens, the biggest snatch of a piece of decomposing flesh was a trophy they desperately tried to protect from fellow vultures. The competition for trophies intensified every minute. Then a King of  Ravens with his siblings perched, kissed the ground, hopped around, and shouted, “Listen comrades! I cannot imagine how my family and me survived the stress of the last decade to see this glorious end! I slept on low hanging branches, kept eagles away from our territory, risked the lives of my siblings, for what? What for do you think I did all that?”, then hopped few rounds and said, “For you! Nothing but for you my comrades! Look at this man! I don’t know if he is Tamil or Sinhalese, what I care about is his flesh, for me? No, no, no! For  you my friend.”

Firecrackers broke the silence “hail our King! Long live our King!”

“You may all toast with me! And, hey, all vultures, come out of your hiding places! This land is yours! Toast for the vultures! Feel the freedom!”…

Celebrations  rocked the whole area.

Few hours passed. The King of  Ravens looked at all others who were dancing, eating, and drinking, and sighed. “Hmm,…, how long will this feast last? How am I going to feed them now? The steady supply of bodies is going to be over now!” , the smart King of  Ravens was quick to think. “What else do Ravens eat?” he began to think. Nothing  popped up as a permanent fix. “Maybe I should teach them to hunt by themselves….but wait…then will I lose my Kingship? ”. …

“Ok, let me face a day at a time. Ravens are greedy and paranoid. There must be easy ways around. Maybe I should  invite some Eagles to do some low flying, or maybe I should get a gang of Bala Sena of  fellow vultures  to  arouse some paranoia, or I should build a big pond by the sea and  ask my greedy Ravens  to wait till some big fish jump from the sea to the pond….some mix of things will work”, the King of Ravens kept thinking.

The sharp senses of the King of  Ravens smelled impending danger. Some humans had begun to clear the bodies. What the vultures read in the faces of humans was not very promising. They looked thoughtful, philosophical about life and humanity, and talked about peace. They could have been from one side of the war or perhaps just civilians looking for their relatives, but each dead body seemed to have written something in permanent ink in their hearts. Every step transformed them, but not in any wishful way for the Ravens.

The King started to shout. “Attack them! They don’t know how to respect dead people! See how they  touch the dead, and walk without any gratitude! Law and order, arrest them! Put them in jail!” ….Mullivaikkal lagoon resounded with the roar of Ravens. Humans ran for life.

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