Whenever I am on my own, the trees, plants, flowers and birds occupy a major part of my thoughts as my affinity for them knows no bounds. The seeds of this relationship, which has now reached the culminating point, were probably sown when I was still a child. I was a constant witness to the devoted care my mother bestowed on the winged visitors to the house and the attachment she displayed for the trees and plants. My father too sensitised me towards the beauty and habits of various birds. He recited with élan, the eloquent poems about nature and birds by English poets such as William Wordsworth and PB Shelley. As a consequence, I became an avid bird watcher.
Things have come to such a pass, that now even birds seem to reciprocate my feelings! The bulbuls, mynahs, doves, crows, yellow-billed babblers, humming birds and quite a few more throng our house everyday to relish the roti bits and grains that I scatter for them and drink from the freshly filled pot of water. Oh! How could I forget the three parrots that oblige me with their visit ever so often? A neighbour even asked me about them, “Are these your pet parrots?” “Yes, you may say so but they are free to go when and wherever they please!” My reply brought a smile on the neighbour’s face. That the birds trust me becomes so clear, when they just hop aside for me to lay their spread. I am indebted to the downy crew for the faith they repose in me!
The sad part of the whole story is that I badly miss the good old house sparrows which have been conspicuous by their absence for so long now. They used to come in large numbers earlier and contribute to the hustle and bustle created by my other feathered friends. Their conference often reminded me of Shelley’s words in, ‘To a Skylark’, “Teach me half the gladness That thy brain must know…,” A strange thing happened a few days back, when I along with my bhabhiji visited a cousin’s place. We were sitting inside the room with the cousin’s wife when I heard the much too familiar chirping sound. Upon looking out of the window, towards the bamboo bower in their garden, I spotted a pair of sparrows flitting in and out of it. I went out at once in their garden, albeit quietly so as not to disturb the now turned scarce birds. I need not have worried though; the sparrows seemed to recognise me! There were another three of them sitting atop the bamboo bush. One of them hopped towards me and chirped as if to say hello. I grabbed the opportunity to ask about their truancy and tell how I longed for their company!
“We too miss you but we had quite a few problems there. And the apathetic attitude of people in general compelled us to leave your area for good,” the feathered fairy divulged. “Please reconsider this decision! We will try to create favourable living conditions for your tribe by changing our lifestyle, plant more trees for you to build nests on!”
They responded positively to my entreaty. They are ready to give us a chance provided we work for a more conducive environment to make them feel at home. Their return can spell our well-being too!