A house gecko peered out from behind a carton full of old books on the shelf above. It came out and turned its body back in a semi circle and waited. A few moments later another gecko came out from the same place. They waited there stuck to the wall for some moments. Then all of a sudden they seemed to come to a decision. The second gecko went back into hiding while the first one scurried along the wall of the house and out through the open window.
I was loading the battery into my camera all this while. It was winter in Siliguri (a town in Darjeeling district of West Bengal) and the was air was nippy. The sun was out and its rays were working hard to dispel the morning chill. It was season for the beautiful winter annuals. A bed of calendula was in full bloom outside the house . I was excited to find a few bees hovering around the flowers and thought of clicking close up pictures of them on the calendula blossoms. I set my Olympus SH 50 to Macro mode and came out of the house.
“Tchk, tchk, tchk,” cried out a gecko. I looked to my right and found the house gecko clinging to the wall outside one of the windows. It was the same one I had seen earlier. Perhaps it was gathering warmth from the sunlight. Soon it scurried down the wall ,over the sewage duct and onto the boundary wall. It headed in the same direction as I, but stopped under a hibiscus shrub. A small patch of mustard near to it bore yellow flowers. The cool season was favorable for the aphids that were sticking to the tender stem of the mustard plant. My friend the gecko must have stopped there to have a quick snack of fat, juicy aphids.
I went ahead to the bed of calendula and found three bees hovering over the flowers. I waited patiently for one of them to sit on a flower so that I could get a clean shot. I had always been interested in bee morphology. I feel they are the most gracefully designed of all insects. One of the bees sat on a flower near to where I was crouching. I trained my camera on it and adjusted the focus. The pollen baskets were clearly discernible and the overall shot was looking good. Suddenly there was a crashing sound from the nearby shrubbery.
I looked in that direction to find a red vented bulbul descended onto the shrubbery and frantically chasing something. It was my friend the gecko that was its target. Quickly I tried to change the settings of my camera, brought it into Program mode and aimed it at the bulbul. I fired away just in time to capture the bulbul with its beaks firmly pinching the loose skin on the neck of the poor lizard, withdrawing from under the hibiscus shrub. In the beat of an eyelash, it flew away with its prey onto a high branch, thus calling curtains on the life of the gecko.
All this happened in the space of a few seconds. I had mixed feelings about this picture afterwards. I was happy to have witnessed nature in action and to freeze it in a photograph. But I felt sad for the gecko with which I came to develop a bond over the last ten- fifteen minutes. Was it not my neighbor residing in the same room? It felt unfair to be happy in capturing a moment which sounded the death knell for the lizard. Wasn’t it just for some warmth it had come out into the sun, or perhaps just a mouthful to satiate its hunger? What about the other gecko in the room, the partner? It will never come to know what misfortune befell its friend. But then I consoled myself, such is life and it needs to be accepted.
I went back to the bed of calendula and the bees, but found out that I was no more interested in clicking them. So with many conflicting thoughts in my mind I returned into the house.
This post is in response to Daily post prompt Unpredictable