Here in coastal Kerala, late evenings are played out against a gentle orchestra of cicadas, while night is punctuated by pye-dogs‘ alternating howls and barks. The cries soon summon restless answer from their housebound cousins. And, lest tedium ensue, variety is on-hand from rapturous choirs of toads.
Inside the house, mosquitos’ persistent drones buzz the ears of those who risk sleep without fan or nets.
But, well before the sun’s first gleaming and muezzin’s call to prayers, neighbouring roosters arise en masse, in boisterous anticipation of the day.
Our new lodger presumably escaped from one such neighbour’s clutch. Though, no sooner had our guesting hen settled and laid than Shaji, Dalila and Anu bought wheat grain to enhance her feed, and sat in conference to plan her continued well-being. Chickens are social animals and apt to pine if kept alone. It seems that acquiring company for our paying guest is to be Shaji’s new project.
Hens are thought to have been first domesticated in either India or China, maybe almost ten thousand years ago. Their original appeal to humans lay in cockfighting. Notions of eggs fried “sunny-side up” or chicken tikka masala, came considerably later.