Little Sparrow. Hi.
We named you Bhondumal, remember? It means, “an idiot”.
That was because you flew right into our ceiling fan.
There could have been a massacre all over the walls. Only there was a power cut because they were pruning your tree.
You flew right into the ceiling fan and fell into a lump on the carpet below. Then you fluttered and disappeared. My dog sniffed and scrapped the sofa. We thought she was trying to get out her toast which might have slid behind. Papa bent down and stuck his hand, only to find you instead. My dog was disappointed, I wasn’t.
Little Sparrow, you were nothing short of a magic trick, conjured from behind the Sofa like that. You had a mark on your wings-so miraculously clean and orderly. You snuggled into the tiny hold of our hands as if it were your home. And indeed, once you were fed, placed under the vegetable basket and played with and cooed at, we placed you in the balcony with a heavy heart. But you, Bhondumal. You refused to go away and flew right back in. Did your parents not teach you to stay away from concrete places? Disregarding all your studies, you roamed around the rooms, creating a racket and driving everyone haywire. For once, we considered the idea that you had suffered a head injury from when you first fell.
Papa scooped you up in a towel and placed your cold wet beak on our lips so that we may grow up to be polite and sweet-voiced like you. You looked at us with your beady eyes and finally fluttered past our ears, only to keep a watch at us from your tree.
For weeks afterwards, shouting out your name was daily morning ritual.
There were lots of little sparrows around, but you never visited. Maybe you did, only long after we had forgotten all about you. You shouted your throat sore, but we had earplugs on.
I woke up the other day, with a sick feeling in my stomach. I hadn’t spotted a sparrow in a while. I rushed to the balcony. There they were, two stupid sparrows, just like you. They were splashing around in the water bowl, while the cat a feet away, was waiting to pounce. I shooed them away and went back to sleep.
Come back, little sparrow, Its been so long. I will keep you warm and sing you a song.