Chirp, Chirp, Chirp…
I heard the voices as I woke up in the morning. Two small birds were sitting on the balcony grill of our flat. I sat up on the bed and looked at them closely. The birds were slightly bigger than humming birds but smaller than sparrows. They were flying over each potted plant, probably testing them.
We have entered our new home just two weeks before. Though this is our own home, I liked the rented flat more. My parents had considered everything – Vastu advice, location and the view. My opinion still was, “Never”.
‘This is your room,’ said my parents proudly.
‘Do you like it?’ asked my Mom. She was confident of hearing something very encouraging from me.
I was upset about leaving all my friends behind. Still, I said yes. As if I had options!
My Mom brought along with us, all the plants she had lovingly grown. She placed them in the balcony. My favourite was the three feet tall bushy plant which had sturdy branches.
The two birds, after testing all the potted plants, liked the bushy plant and sat on it. As I sat up on the bed to take a better look, they flew away. Minutes later, they returned with twigs and grass. And WOW, they started weaving their nest. The nest which was small initially grew in size as the days went by. Their nest had one entry towards the door and had 2 compartments. The husband and wife team worked tirelessly towards building a safe and sturdy accommodation. In the evenings, after a hard day’s work, the couple enjoyed a little time together on the grill before they retired for the night. They looked very cute sitting beside each other. Who knows what they were chatting about! About their nest, maybe! Or about their kids who were on the way! Each day, I noticed, the male used to always ensure that his wife was the first one to enter the nest. Every day, I kept some seeds and water for them to feed, in case they were hungry. The birds hardly touched them. They were self-sufficient and had confidence in their own self.
Few days later, new sounds were heard by all of us. The voices were much lighter but shrill. Four chicks were born and that added to the happiness of the couple. There was always someone in the nest while the other went to hunt for food. The nest was so scientifically designed that none of us could see the chicks though I wanted to see them very badly.
The chirping of the chicks drew the attention of crows, eagles, sparrows and other birds. Few of them wanted to eat the chicks and some wanted to occupy the nest. The couple, in spite of their size always managed to keep the chicks and the nest safe from predators. It was very heartrending to see how they fought on every day to save their kids and nest. They never feared for their own life. I, sometimes had to interfere in these fighting and once even managed to hit a crow.
You may remember that in September this year, it was raining heavily in Mumbai. The rain sometimes was accompanied by strong winds. On one such evening, the nearby trees including our potted plant was swaying violently when suddenly I heard the birds making frantic noise. I noticed that the nest had fallen off with the plant and the parents were trying to push in the chicks inside the nest before any other bird could attack them. I immediately shouted for my Mom who was in the other room and requested her to do something. She stood there to ensure that no other birds were trying to cause any nuisance. Once the birds were in, she picked up the nest gently and placed it between the branches of the plant. She tied the plant to the grill with a rope. The birds were now relieved and went immediately to sleep.
When the babies were slightly grown up, they started moving out of the nest and peeping at the world. Finally, I saw the four chicks playing with each other. I clicked a few photos. Few days went by when the parents now started teaching the babies to fly. Initially, the babies did not want to leave the comfort of the nest but the parents, lovingly but firmly and with lot of patience taught them to fly and feed themselves. They were preparing the babies to be independent and ready to face the world.
The day came when the birds could fly on their own without any supervision. And therefore, the grown-up babies, one by one left the nest to fend for themselves. The parents lived in the nest for a few more days before they too flew away.
How I miss those little birds! This family of such small birds had the capability to teach us the meaning of family, love, sacrifice, courage against odds and always backing the family members to the fullest.
This short but sweet event made me start liking our new home, especially my room. The early morning view of the rising sun, the sun-rays reflecting on the waters of the Vasai Creek, the clouds during the monsoon, the mountains covered in mist are some of the highlights of our new home. I made new friends. It is now my nest.