There are no crows to be seen. It is noon, and the sun is high in the sky in Chennai, India; two women carry a veritable feast in their arms eager to feed the crows, but there are none. “Caw, caw,” one woman mumbles, calling to the birds. When none respond, they take the banana leaf containing their feast—sugar-flecked kalkand rice, plain rice smothered in sambhar, yogurt, green gram dal, rice soaked in rasam, savory doughnuts called vadai, plantain chips, and semolina payasam—into the car. They wind their windows down and squint outside at treetops and at the sky, willing one crow to appear. Just one.

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