December 2, 2022

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Short Story: The Bird Watcher by Sandra Ramsdam

2 min read

Sandra Ramsdam’s short story captures the agony of a father whose daughter had eloped and the social ostracization that follows.

He was no professional or an expert in the study of avian life. But he could name any bird that would cross his path, for all his younger days, he had watched birds of all kinds; not in the deep green forests or blue skies of his home ground, but in the courtyard of his rich Aunt, the mistress of the house, to shoo off any prying bird which would hover over his mistress’ grains of rice that were dried in the sun, after they had been harvested in the late autumn. That was Mait-ti, his name a miss-spelling of Mighty, for that was how his name was pronounced, with an emphasis on the first syllable. 

Mait-ti had been part of his Aunt’s household for as long as he could remember his existence. He had been, sort of adopted in the family, though not in the real formal sense, since his mother died when she bore him, and being distantly related to them, his poor kin gave him away when he was barely three years old. He had no remembrance, of any of his other relatives, and he had lived under the charity of his great Aunt, whom he feared and adored the most. She was a huge lady, and the gold jewelry that she wore on her neck and her every limb, made her look even bigger. She had a loud voice, and she had the habit of calling out Mait-ti a thousand times a day, for every trivial errand she fancied to make him run to. When he was about eight years old, she assigned a new job to Mait-ti, and that was to watch for birds that had pestered her prized harvest on a daily basis. Throughout the winter, Mait-ti would religiously sit under the shade of a large mango tree, with a stick in hand, waving it in the air when a group of crows would wait for a chance to his leaving his post.

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