Chirp No More

He was there when I opened the door to the balcony, chirping away with all the strength he could muster.

“What is it?”

He replied in monosyllables. “Chirp. Chirp. CHIRP!”

Confused, I looked around into the evening. The sun was setting, lending a golden glow to the plants in our little, slightly messy, garden. The sky was alive with groups of birds returning to their nests, in time for the evening snack – a freshly caught worm! In fact, some members of his family could also be seen near the roadside shrubs, chattering away about climate change.

“Why are you sitting here all alone? Go out and play.”

“Chirp. Chirp. CHIRP!”

There was always a house sparrow or two in our home. We’d call them “Chorai Paakhi”. They loved the balcony, the terrace, the lemon tree in our backyard. They were merry, friendly birds, always lighting up the long summer months with their pleasant song.

That evening, I put his behaviour down as a rare case of moodiness – rare because summer evenings are inherently joyous. The temperature is cooler, summer vacations have just started, and the ice-cream carts are ringing away everywhere. I sat down on the swing in our balcony and sipped my cold coffee. The evening transformed into a fleeting twilight, before descending into night. He chirped some more before strutting down the stairs and disappearing into a clump of trees across the street.

It has been a really long time since I last saw a sparrow in my balcony. The little guys have either become too elusive, or shifted base to friendlier, greener localities. The weather has turned much too harsh for them, and the clumps of trees have progressively shrunk beyond recognition.

I wonder now if this was at the root of my old sparrow friend’s melancholy. The sorrow of impending separation from the home of his childhood.

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10 thoughts on “Chirp No More

  1. You have some really cool friends and the sensitive heart that you understand the separation one feels from being heckled from the nest. It made me a bit sad but happy that they are people who love them:)

  2. Such a beautifully written post! It makes me sad every time I think of the sparrows. I have such vivid memories of there being so many sparrows near my house. When we visited the ration shop with Dad as kids, sparrows used to be flocking the whole place having a merry feast! But now, I can’t spot a single one! The cutting of trees, more heat, numerous towers installed by the telecom service providers all these have driven away the sparrows. I really hope they’ve found greener lands and are not on their way to extinction. 😦

    • Exactly, Arch! There used to be so many sparrows around, and now, none at all. It breaks my heart.
      Yes, I am praying they do not become endangered and learn to thrive again. We really need to heed warning signals such as these and stop ruining the environment at our current pace!

  3. Oh, what a wonderfully written post, even if a bit sad. I hope your bird friend comes back. Our birds are just returning here too. This weekend we saw many swans along with lots of crows, jackdaws and tiny birds.

  4. Such a bittersweet story. I hope your sparrow friend returns someday soon, with a happier story to share. The sparrows and finches in my neck of the woods are just coming back after the winter vacation, so their chatter has been a bit more joyful.Beautiful moment – thank you for sharing it.

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