As a kid, I used to look out for all sorts of uninvited guests in my house. The list included lizards, mice, moles, sparrows and actual human guests. The reptiles and rodents were annoying but they never really did anything aside from looking disgusting, running through narrow creaks and crevices.
|Image source: Wikipedia (Because I couldn't take a decent enough picture of a sparrow)|
The sparrow used to be on a whole other level of annoying though. It would litter, it would fly across the room making me switch off the fan. It always flew dangerously close to the fan perhaps daring death and courting tragedy. Sparrow always lived in a family and the family usually was hit by various tragedies.
Every other day, its egg would fall off and rupture. I would curse the stupid architectural skills of the bird. Then there was the regular death of a newborn by falling from the nest. Having a sparrow nest at your home had nothing positive about it. I would shoo the bird away when it would start laying the foundation of its rickety, poorly-knit nest.
The worst part was when one of the sparrows was locked out of the room. It would sit outside the window and panic like a distraught lover while the other one would squeal from inside. Even after opening the window for them, they would take some time to figure out the way. Not to mention the ruckus the inside sparrow would create when I would try to let the outside sparrow in.
'Calm down you dumb bird. I am not going to murder your family.'
The bird was tenacious though. It kept playing the game of like from nest to flight every season. A foggy winter morning was never considered complete without a bunch of sparrows having their brunch with the grains lying in the lawn.
Then something weird happened. The sparrow stopped showing up. I thought they were just miffed with my home. I thought I had shooed them away for good. But then I realized they had just left the town. There were no sparrows, no dying babies and no chirps to welcome winter afternoons.
I left the town then and went to a big city. Pigeons lived there. Pigeons survived what killed sparrows. Pigeons never had tragedies,they were the assholes who made out all the time on windows and balconies. Sparrows were timid creatures. It was hard to get near them. Pigeons don't fear humans as such. In fact, the winners of most human-pigeon staring contests are pigeons!
Sparrows were gone.
But yesterday, as the sky got unclear in the fog and mist and last night's rains brought out the creepy-crawlies from the earth in the middle of January; something beautiful happened. A flock of sparrows descended on the wet soil. The birds hopped around and picked at the gravel with their tiny beaks. They were back to their chirpy ways, moving in flocks but sitting in pairs. A sparrow doesn't land smoothly on the ground. It is cautious. It makes last minute course corrections and lands at just the perfect spot. It doesn't overstay its welcome like pigeons. It is a guest with etiquette. It is a charming, shy bird with a timid, stupid heart.
I step outside to click a few pictures. I take a step in their direction and the whole bunch just flies away. I am just content that they have repopulated themselves. They are quick as they used to be. Something has changed though. Now, they do not make nests inside my house.