Where are you these days? I haven’t seen you from long. Have you abandoned the nest you’d built in the nest box hung in my balcony? The plate of food I used to keep for you looks untouched. I still keep a plate of grass seeds and millets: your favourite, but does that not interest you anymore? The water bowl is of no use. I saw a pigeon drinking from it a few days back but not you. You know, I used to spy on you from the next room adjacent to the balcony, sitting in my chair, but the last time I saw you and your wife was approximately a month ago. Do you not like the home anymore you loved so much before?
You used to chirp merrily right at the break of dawn, sitting there at the window ledge, hopping from the window ledge to the roof of the nest box. You called Mrs sparrow there and showed her around. Mrs sparrow would come flying to investigate the nest you had built for her. What a torrid love affair you had! I saw both of you right. You brought the perfect twig, perfect grass to decorate your home. Oh! You did so much to impress Mrs sparrow and Mrs sparrow, although she liked you very much, (I can tell it for sure) made so much fuzz. Ladies you know! Mrs sparrow loved the nest you built for her. You both slept there in the night to keep yourself safe from the frost. The nest kept both of you warm during the winter and during the spring you became a father. How can I forget that moment! How proudly you chirped sitting right at the top of that nest box, as you owned the whole world. I don’t know how many sons and daughters you had and you too didn’t care. You are not like humans, are you?
How do you wake up at the right time always?
I’ve been waking up late in the morning since you left. I cannot go out for morning walks as I am unable to wake up early. I guess I have to get my alarm clock repaired now. You were a big help. I can rightfully say that there was your contribution too in my fitness. My friends whenever asked how I am so punctual regarding the morning walk I mentioned your name and gave you the credit. I know you would be glad to know that. My friends thought I said it jocularly but you know this is a human’s problem. It hurts their ego as they have this wrong conviction about their being the most important and wise creature of this universe.
They’re used to come to your flock too. A flock of fifteen to sixteen birds. I remember you all went flying to the cowshed in my neighbour’s backyard to feast on insects. The cow is dead and the cowshed has been cleaned so there is nothing remained for you, I know. I remember watching all of you taking a mud bath together but now there’s only concrete and no bare earth. I know you too liked the sweet smell of rain on the parched earth but the smell too went away as the bed of concrete spread all over the area. Have you gone away in the search of that smell: petrichor?
They cut the bushes that flanked the streets. I know you took refuge in its cool shade away from the prowling eyes of predators in the safety of its dense leaves. I can feel your pain, having no place to hide you feel vulnerable in this area, and only a nest box wouldn’t do. Just a pot of water and plenty of food are not all you want.
But wait, I remember on one of those walks with my friend who happens to be an ornithologist, I came to know that you and your flock went away because of this mobile tower next to my house. Is this true? This is so sad. I’m not a big fan of mobile phones. I love you and your family. If you find this letter and miss me too as much as I miss you, please come back.
A week ago Mr. Sparrow came alone, perhaps to check on his old house. He chirped there all morning as if to challenge the mobile tower. I think Mr. Sparrow is brave enough and is determined to give it a fight. I’m going to assist him with all my might.
Author's short stories have appeared in The Hindu, Queen mob's Teahouse, Muse India, The Criterion Journal, Cafe Dissensus, Spillwords, Literary Yard, Indian Ruminations, Prachya Review, Indus women writing, and on many other platforms. His debut book is 'Birdsongs of Love and Despair'.