Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School, Siruseri
Meena Murugavel is a Hindi teacher at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School, Siruseri, Chennai. She has a BA in Pshycology and MA in Hindi.
I woke up one day and it was a Sunday morning with soft chirping of birds, gentle cool breeze and golden rays everywhere. I was sitting in my living room having a cup full of tea, watching my beautiful, fully grown plants in the balcony. A cute fluffy sparrow drew my attention. Yes, it was stealing all my newly planted mint cuttings from the pots. I was annoyed. I opened my balcony door, chased the sparrow away and I picked up the remaining stem cuttings that the sparrow had left behind. I planted them again in the same pot. A few minutes later, the sparrow landed on same spot.
This time, I opened the balcony door with great anger to drive the sparrow away. But it gave me a decisive look, without any fear, and was very cool in its expression. It looked straight into my eyes and conveyed many messages to me.
Oh human!!! This place you have occupied, once belonged to us. It was full of green grass, vines, flowers, fruits and trees that sheltered many of us. We lived happily and peacefully in this place for decades. You, humans, destroyed our place and built your homes leaving us homeless and craving for food.
You are so angry that I took just a few stems from your pot to build a nest for my chicks. How angry should we be with humans for destroying our livelihood, our happiness and our entire race for your selfishness? How angry should we be at this human race, who strive to make this Earth their own, where all lives have the right to live?
In spite of all this, we are still happy with what mother nature has given us and never bemoan about this. We welcome each morning with sweet sounds. Our dawn has never been a day with lamentation and weary. No matter how many betrayals mankind has done to us, our heart has never seen a low day. We work hard as always, and we earn what we need without betraying anyone. Look at us, learn life, know how to live, this world is for all living beings, understand this, your selfishness will disappear.
Moved by the words of the sparrow, I planted some more fresh mint stems in the same pot the next day and wished for the stuffy sparrow to return to our balcony. Yes, it came back. But this time, it was not interested in the mint stems. Instead, it grabbed a dead insect near the pot and gave me the same decisive look passing on a new message saying, “We are not greedy to take more than we need like humans,” and flew away.
After that, days passed but that sparrow was not seen. Days, weeks and months rolled by, the guilt inside me was increasing day by day. I lost hope that I could see it again. One day, when I went for a morning walk, I saw the same sparrow with its chicks flying from one tree to another tree, playing with joy. Seeing it, I could not control the joy that filled my heart. I stopped for a minute with immense happiness and looked at the sparrow and it looked back at me. But this time, its gaze was something different. It seemed like it was asking me, “Who are you? Why are you staring at me?” Perhaps it had forgotten me completely. After some time, the sparrow flew away and went and sat on the balcony of another house. I continued my morning walk with the satisfaction that today, the sparrow was going to teach something to the resident of that house.