खुशी के गीत sunaati जाए...
दस choti chidiyaa khaati थी अनाज
एक udd के chalee गयी
baaki bachay नौ...
And so on we used to sing the backward counting game. And in my imagination these birds who would fly and sing and eat grains would be sparrows as those were the birds I had grown up seeing.
Unfortunately these birds are no longer so common.
I am afraid my kids would grow up without experiencing the joys of watching a pair of sparrows- the one with the dark patch on the chest being the male and the lighter brown one the female, making their nest out of twigs, leaves, cotton and thread.
Sturdy nests that would be built inside our homes on precarious spots every summer on ventilators, behind light bulbs, inside empty cartons, lofts and even on the fans making it difficult for us to switch on the fans and neccesiating the sad destruction of those nests before they got a chance to complete them.
We siblings would even attempt in helping with the construction- climbing up chairs and stools to place twigs that would fall off near their nests but those would be rudely pushed off by the suspicious birds.
And not to forget the constant chirping. Every morning the Dad bird would tap the windows frantically to be let in and the Mamma bird would "pace" inside the house chirping loudly to wake us up and allow the partner in. Wonder why hey didn't sleep inside the nest together!
We would leave all windows open inspite of the summer heat just to allow them their passage all day.
The summers use to be alive with anticipation. And also filled with dread. We would be ultra-careful before switching on the fans as we had experienced birds cut by the fan- some of them inrescuable and some of them were nursed back to health by Mom using our ever available homeopathy medicine Arnica.
The sparrows would never re-occupy the same nest next year- what a waste of perfectly usable homes and construction material.
I have removed used nests of perfect shapes - triangles- taking the shape of carton corners and well- nest like also- using dry twigs and padded with soft cotton.
The joys of watching the mamma bird hatch the eggs vigilantly and Daddy bird getting food and out of habit picking more twigs some times.
And then the eggs would hatch out and the tiny chirps would fill the entire house- for their size, they have a voice box that would carry throughout the house.
Mamma and Dad would go in search of grain and feed the hungry, wide open beaks the entire day.
We would again attempt to climb and leave rice at their nest-step and those would be thrown back literally on our faces- they really do not accept alms.
The Mamma bird would be especially bold though after becoming a Mom. She would at times brave into the kitchen and hop on the floor to pick up grains.
And then the training for flying would start. What an organised effort from the Dad & Mom. They would chirp encouragingly and the little birdies would try their best - sometime found lodged between the window grills and picked up by us- soft, cuddly, cute balls of fur, so delicate..
And one fine day the birds would fly the nests and the parents would circle their haunt for a day or so and leave...