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Constant Companions

Happiness is…watching sparrows from the window just after waking up!

Ek Chidiya, Anek Chidiyan…was probably my first introduction to these cute little birdies in the early 80s (1980). Wherever and whatever we would be doing as kids, once the music played on the TV, my friends and me would scram to the living room and perch closest to the tv screen; wide-eyed and all ears, completely engrossed in the story of ek, anek and ekta, this cartoon song on our one and only channel – Doordarshan, we enjoyed watching it thoroughly. The memory lingers on even today and puts a smile whenever I reminisce about those good old days. Sparrows were very common those days in Bangalore. Foraging on the ground, perched atop a hibiscus plant somewhere, busily flying to the nearest nook under the tiled roof, lazily preening on the compound wall at a distance, we could see them everywhere and hear them chirp incessantly all through the day. Did I ever pay much attention then? Not much, I believe. They were there. Life went on. Over decades, I did not realise when they had vanished from our sight.

There could be no  better alarm than the chirping of birds

It is 2020 now. I have been in Mumbai for more than 27 years. A few years back my interests casually turned towards watching birds and guess what I watched more? The ubiquitous sparrows of my residential colony! Initially their presence in Mumbai of all the places, did surprise me. But listening to their chirpings and watching thier busy activities again took me back to those good old days of ek chidiya, anek chidiya! A handful of grains tossed on a wooden plank casually placed on the window grill draws these birdies now and then. Sitting in a corner of the room, I can watch them feed, fight and fly off endlessly. Past 4 months of the lockdown would have been frustrating even to me, like it must have been to all others; If not for these constant companions by my side.

Small Shrubs, well maintained bougainvillea creepers and a few trees here and there outside my apartment in this residential colony right next to Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Mumbai, India), is a safe haven for these petite birdies and a little heaven for us, with flocks of these small passerine birds. Each and every morning turns blissful with their sweet chirpings even before the first rays of sun touch the window panes. Nature needs to be nurtured for our own good. The dwindling numbers of these feathered friends are a cause of concern. A little helping hand in saving the basic habitat around our dwellings would go a long way in having them around us forever. Just take that extra step to help these birdies remain our constant companions.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks – John Muir! It can’t get any truer.

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