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.
* * *
Find out more about #MicroblogMondays by clicking the badge below: