It winked at me. It was slow and deliberate. Almost as if we shared a secret joke which was fine except for the fact that “it” was a 10 ton statue imitating an eagle poised to take off. I looked around. No one else seems to notice it. Everyone was too busy taking photos.
“Dear, did you see that?”
“See what love” she replied.
“Nothing” I lied.
She continued counting the boats in the quay. Her back was to me. I looked up. It must be the sun. It was 33 degrees Celsius and very humid. Enough to put stains on your cotton shirt. And make you see things.
“Psst. Can you tell me what time it is?” I checked my watch. It was a quarter to 5. I turned around to address the question. Odd. No one was close. “Psst… Up here.” I looked up.
The eagle wanted to know the time.
“You with the 30D. Nice watch. Any idea what time it is?” This eagle knew his cameras.
“Ahh… Erm. Well, it’s going to be 5… figment of my imagination.” I stammered.
“Good. The sun is going to start its descent. All this heat makes me itchy and sweaty. You know what I mean.” I followed his gaze to the spots under my arms. Immediately, I took a defensive stance. Whether it was from embarrassment or alarm I can’t tell. It’s not everyday, you get sized up by a 12 meters eagle.
“Could you do me a favor photo man? I have this big itch right above my left claw close to my tail feathers which I can’t seem to reach. Can you… Relieve it? ”
The stone eagle now wanted me to scratch its buttocks… Like all nice crazy people, I complied.
“A bit to the left my good man. A bit higher. Higher. You almost got it… A tad bit to the right. Higher. Almost there…”
“Vijay!” I could almost hear her frown in that tone. I turned my neck slightly. She seem aghast. “What are you doing?” I looked down. “Climbing up the eagle’s behind by the looks of it dear”.
“I can see that. Get down. Everyone is… watching.” She walked off before I could explain. Only then, I became dimly aware that the crowd had their cameras aimed at me rather than the quay. My cheeks begin to heat up. But I had to be sure.
“Psst. Eagle, are you there?”. No answer.
“How’s the itch?” Still no answer.
“Darn it Eagle! Don’t make me slap your ass”. Quiet.
Bugger! I always thought dementia only struck when you are past 50. Looks like age does not matter after all.
“Coming dear”. As I ran after her, I caught a last look at the source of my insanity.