Close Encounters of the Duck Kind

Everyone knows that huskies would go to any length to protect an Eider Duck, even putting their lives and limbs at risk if required (See: However, the reverse too is equally true, which we discovered in Svalbard to our great misfortune. This is the story of that day.

It was a cold, refreshing day, which prompted you to go out, live your life, do something that you’ve never done before. So we set out for a long walk on an unexplored road. We had no aim, we just wanted to see what wonders nature could throw at us, and accept them with open arms. Only, those ‘wonders’ nearly cost us our lives!

We could hear the barking from a great distance, much before we could see the Dog Yard, as the locals called it. It was the kennel where all the huskies in town lived, waiting for tourists to arrive, so that they could go out for a run.

“This is the first wonder that nature has lobbed towards us,” I told my wife, “so let’s make the most of it.” Which, for us city dwellers, meant taking lots and lots of photos of the huskies.



Which, in turn, they did not like, because they are creatures of the wild, and do not like being made a spectacle of. Which is why a signboard clearly cautioned that no photography was allowed there.


Which is why, we being Indians, chose to conveniently ignore it. Which is why the huskies got disturbed, but had nowhere to run. Which is when what looked like brown rocks on the ground….


…suddenly perked up and started looking at us threateningly.


We tried to reason with them, believe me, we did, but they were obstreperous, we were a threat to their protectors, the huskies, and we had to be eliminated, period. So they quickly gathered an army, the brown females and the white and blue-black males, and in a cacophony of quacks, attacked us with a vengeance.


We did what our ancestors had always been doing when they were faced with insurmountable danger (which is how they had survived long enough to continue their lineage)…we ran.

But we realized that given the tremendous shape that we were in, there was little to no chance of us escaping certain death at the hands of these Eider Ducks. Luckily, however, the Gods were not in THAT bad a mood also, and we saw some snow bikes parked by the roadside. So we quickly jumped on a bike each, and rode away at great speed, away from the horde, towards freedom.



But not for long, for the road was only a couple of kilometers long, and our way was blocked by a frozen lake.


Given our track record of luck today, we did not want to tempt fate by riding our bikes on the frozen surface of the lake. We looked around, there were no ducks to be seen. Phew! We’d outrun them, finally.

So we sat wearily on a log by the lake, and decided to take a selfie at that picturesque spot. We were safe now.


Or were we?


About anuragbakhshi

At the age of 40, I decided to exit the corporate world, and enter the world of stories as a full-time writer. Wish me luck!
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