Last night, outside a friend’s house, an owl was stuck in a tree.

The boys playing volleyball on the street called the fire engine. The fire officers parked the engine outside the gate just as we drove in, and marched in purposefully ahead of us.

The owl hung like a bedraggled sepia tinted kite by the tip of its wing, a remnant from Uttarayana.

We did not stop to watch the rescue, certain the officers would accomplish it in a few minutes. The boys went back to their game of volleyball.

Later that night, as we drove back home, the owl was not there. I assume it took its rescue in a matter-of-fact manner, and without thanking the boys or the fire officers, or regretting those minutes of distress, went its way.

Ullus, on the other hand, take much pleasure in entanglement.

Boys playing volleyball would be rudely dismissed to mind their own business, shouted at for playing on the street. Fire officers would be treated with stony silence, disapproved of for not taking care of more important disasters. Curious passersby would get a taste of spit, venom or deadly smiles. A few may find some unbidden tears fall on their shoulders.

“How dare you rescue me?”, ullus say. “I am happy, I am fine, stuck in this tree.”

All my life, I have resisted advice. Teja on the other hand, asks too many people for their opinions. This used to irritate me. “Why do you give the impression to others that you don’t know anything?” Teja would answer mischievously, knowing I would be annoyed, “Research.”

That conversation is over now. The next time, I am stuck, you are welcome to come and untangle me.