Friday, September 7, 2012


Nearly a month ago there was a newspaper report which said that sparrows are rarely sighted nowadays and as per the latest census of sparrows based on sightings there were only about two thousand and odd of them in Chennai and were seen only in certain areas of the city. I read it and did not think about it very much at that time.

It was therefore a pleasant surprise when in the morning I heard a chirping sound on the balcony, an unmistakable sound. I knew that it was a sparrow so I tip toed and peeked into the balcony. There it was sitting on the grill and chirping away and was soon joined by its mate. A sighting which gave me immense joy. I realised that I had missed my feathered friend all this while. The last time I saw a sparrow was a few years ago and that to under tragic circumstances. As it chirped and flitted across my drawing room it suddenly came within the range of the ceiling fan, was hit and dropped down dead. As I slowly picked up the lifeless body, took it to corner of the garden in the colony and placed it there, I was overcome by a sadness which I am unable to explain.

I watched both of them as they tried to build a nest in the pocket of my trousers which was left there to dry. I could not afford losing a pant and thought that I would give them a better option when I hung a pouch there for them to build their nest. They did inspect it for a day or two as I watched their efforts. I was hoping that they would take permanent residence there but after three days they did not come. I am still hoping they will return as I wait for the chirping sound in the mornings. I am waiting.

Sometime ago I had written ‘An Ode to The Banyan tree’ and posted it in my blog. Even now I remember the Banyan tree with fondness and due reverence. The two banyan trees that come to my mind are the banyan tree in front of my school on whose branches we used to climb and swing down its branches, and the great Banyan tree in the Theosophical Society in Chennai which is more than four hundred years old and could accommodate more than three thousand people under it.

Imagine a tiny little insignificant sparrow sitting somewhere on one of the branches of the banyan tree. Both have left their imprints in my life. The Banyan Tree has symbolised all that was parental and overwhelming, evoking feelings of reverence and awe, while the Sparrow has symbolised all those undiluted joys of childhood.

So it is with sadness I watched them go, one with the sorrow of having lost a parent and the other a sadness at watching your children grow up and go away.
An Ode to ‘ The Sparrow’

My dear little sparrow,
Where have you been?
It’s many a morrow,
Since you were seen?
Have you been robbed
Of your little nest,
A place to comeback,
And take some rest?
A place you can call,
Your very own,
Watch all your kids,
Till they have grown;
And finally one day,
They would fly away,
To find their own mate,
To find their own way;
As you sit gazing at the sky,
You hear your mate’s far away cry,
Then you spread your wings,
Soar away once again.

So it was with joy,
And a strange sort of thrill,
I watched you sitting,
On my window grill,
Then chirping and flitting,
From wall to wall,
Searching for a corner,
In my dining hall.
Soon you found,
There was no space,
You flew away,
To find a better place.
So I hung a little pouch,
On the balcony wall,
Hoping that you would find
This closer to your call.

Oh! where have you gone,
My dear little friend,
For there are no nests,
In and around,
Have you been driven away,
To a far off land,
Or have you just gone,
Never to return.

The pouch still hangs,
On the balcony wall,
And I wait every morning,
To hear your chirping call. 

1 comment:

Varsha said...

Life goes on. Parents do not last forever, children have to move on. That is the cycle of life.
Enjoy being with those whom we love. Every moment is precious and should be used to make life better and happier for everyone around us.
I remember the bunyan tree was also the symbol of SBI at one time. The all encompassing tree which seemed to look very reassuring.