"Not paying attention!"
The drill sergeant barked more as a warning for my colleagues than as a threat to me!
I became uncomfortably aware of the sweat drops running down my temple. It was a hot october afternoon and the concretised drill ground seemed to be baking.
He had asked me "What instrument helps in the parade drill?"
In fact he had answered the question a bit earlier. I became suspicious of the answer as I had never heard the term "Metronome" before. I discovered that suspicion has no place on the drill square! This humiliation forced me to actually look up the term in a dictionary.
a device used by musicians that marks time at a selected rate by giving a regular tick.
I forgot about the drill and the metronome till I encountered this term again 17 years later. I was trying to photograph this bird, Coppersmith Barbet. I read all about it. And there it was! It produces a metronomic sound as a mating call which mimics the coppersmith beating his stuff! And sure enough I heard the sound going on at an amazing regularity! Only recognising the well camouflaged bird was a problem. After several unsuccessful attempts I did manage to photograph it. And while observing it through the long telephoto lens I realised that although the bird was indeed making the sound, but it's beak was not opening at all. That's when I realised that the coppersmith is not only metronomic but a ventriloquist as well!
I wondered which parade drill the Barbet must be conducting with its metronomic ventriloquism!