That owl is a bird of violence, that it kills to live I would not believe when I was a kid because of the bird’s association with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Of course it had to be a small, milk white owl to be the Vahana (vehicle or mount) of Lakshmi. Old women used to say each of their hoots and screeches spills death and ill luck. I didn’t believe that either. To me they belonged to myth and were shy, precious, divine and seen by the pious eyes only.
As a bird watcher no one’s journey is complete but I had seen a lone Lakshmi owl on one moonless Diwali night. Its white plumage, slightly dappled, glowed like silver fire. It took its perch on a lamppost. And I had to hang my head in shame for the poor thing was confused by the sound of crackers and almost blinded by the light pollution.
in an autumn night
I count the fall of feathers