Since the train station, Anne and I come to expect a certain level difficulty when getting from place to place. Today we depart our Kanpur haven for Hyderabad, a sort of benchmark because it is our longest stop. “When we get to Hyderabad…” or “We just need to get to Hyderabad…” we have prefaced our sentences. You would think this place springs chocolate rivers the way we talk.
On our last day here we woke to see the peacocks. Our walk started at 5:30 am, but it was as if the sun never set; the heat was in its crescendo already. They are the national bird and they infiltrate the campus. They symbolize peace, I learned from a Delhi shop keeper during my rebuffs in buying his marble carvings of the creature.
Rahna, Dr. Harish’s wife, told us the birds shed their reticence in the morning. If you rise early enough, she said, you can catch the shy creatures with their guards down and their fans up.
“Why do they congregate here?” I asked.
“I think it must be spiritual.”
They forget their piety when they call to each other, however. As we were sitting in Dr. Harish’s backyard the first night in Kanpur, we heard a sound like a crow-themed car alarm. This one memo activated the rest of the peacocks in the neighborhood and soon we had a serenade of passionate whoops.
“And they eat everything, anything,” Dr. Harish said. The ornithological version of a goat, I added. Whoever consecrated the peacock must have only seen one from afar.
On our walk we saw plenty in their usual state. Their feathers constricted as they cautiously and tiptoed, for they do really tiptoe, in fear at every foreign movement. We started home a bit disappointed, but we had only walked a block and a nap sounded too promising.
I turned my head right for no real purpose. On the roof of the nearest building, a peacock turned in circles with his alluvial wings outspread.
“Oh, look,” I stated to Anne, as if we were always expecting it there. A good blessing for the long, long coming hours.