Hello little birdie,
How does it feel to fly? How fearlessly you flew today all the way from your little nest to meet me! Your mother and father aren’t around now. They will be startled to know that you and your sibling are missing when they come home with food. Look at him, watching us bewildered, barely holding on to the hedges. Ask him to come closer. I shall tell you both the story of how I met your father and mother.
A few months back, when the winter winds surrendered to the warmth of the sun and plants were abloom with nectar dripping flowers, your parents came to the garden in search of food. They were rare visitors at first, and then became regulars. “Pleased to meet you, pleased to meet you” was how they called and welcomed every earth day of theirs.
Together they played in the water, chased each other through skewed branches, hid in shrubs and in the sun dappled bamboo thicket. On a rainy evening, resting on the topmost branch of the mango tree, your father proposed to your mother. She looked deep into his eyes, pecked his cheeks and decided that they will spend their life together.
Summer was pleasantly surrendering to the rain laden clouds. With the wet earth and pleasant air for company, they spent their days in mirth and laughter. One such day, when clouds were spreading their wings to rain, your mother was seen carrying twigs in her beaks. Your delighted father showed her all the possible places to build a nest.
She denied the huge mango tree for it had noisy visitors. The bamboo thicket was sleepy and dark with hanging bats. The hibiscus was a good place, but it was accessible to the big brown cat. They finally chose the kind heart of the pink Roseana shrub sandwiched between Thuja hedges. Together they entwined the carefully picked grass twigs and a few bamboo leaves to a small cup. With feathers they weaved a soft mattress.
On a sunny Thursday morning when the world was awash with fresh blue your mother chose to lay the eggs. She adorned you with pretty mauve dots; sat next to you and sang her songs. The nest was a piece of art. An art that no human to date has learnt or mastered. It was hollow enough to hold the eggs, porous enough to drain the rain and big enough to hold you, until your wings quiver. And you were kept warm and safe under her tender wings in that beautiful nest.
Your mother did not relish us walking in the garden. She was worried that we may harm you little ones. Warming your little shells she would watch us with her raised head. Your father, perched on a close by tree would tell her stories. Of butterflies that flew, the nasty Shikra that comes in search of food and strangers walking by. Sometimes when he was gone in search of food she would fly alone to the nearest branch and stretch her tired legs. Or together they would fly away for a short time to feel the air in their wings. That’s when I would snoop to see you in your nest.
Twelve days later, you popped your little heads and cried with a shrill. That day your parents flew often to the nest, pleased and thrilled. Raising a family is like creating music that has to be beautiful and harmonious. And children are like the notes in the music, part of the whole, unique in their own tone and temper. Parents work hard to create a symphony out of them, give them the comfort and a future.
You were voracious eaters demanding food forever. You made your parents run hither and thither. Sometimes your mother gathered you under her wings so that she could keep you quieter. I remembered the lullabies my mother sang when I was a toddler.
It rained heavily for a few days. With gusty winds and wandering rain the earth was smelling sweeter. Your mother stayed with you all along. When the nest sagged, she sat lightly and rested on a nearby branch. Your father fought the tumbling winds and worked hard to bring home fruits, wriggling worms, and flying insects.
Now that you stepped out of the home, they shall worry more. Hide you in dense green growth while they find food for your soul. Stay safe, little birdie. The dangers of the world are mighty.
Your parents built their world around the small nest. It is empty and faded now but basks proudly in the golden sun. From now on the branches are you friends. The wind will guide you to new destinations. You will discover life anew. And you too shall grow in a few years, fall in love and build a nest like other parents do.
The art of parenting begins in small steps, birdie. As children take longer strides the strides of parents become shorter and weaker. I hope in this same garden we hear your little ones voices spring. In the flight of your young bulbuls our grizzled hearts shall thrill.
A beholder called the blue sky
Note: As I write this post, the nest is nearly fifty days old. The fledglings are on their own and trying to find their food. Their parents are still around, resting on the palm trees at night. Meanwhile, the tailor bird and Prinia are folding the hibiscus leaves and weaving a new nest.
Subhashini Chandramani is mother of a teenager. She is a homemaker and poetical story-teller who writes under the pen name, neelavanam which means the blue sky. You can follow her thoughts at http://neelavanam.tumblr.com/ and @Neelavanam on Twitter.