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The Return of the Birds

A group of birds living on the banyan tree in the forest got an unusual guest from the nearby city. It is a sparrow that got stuck in the tarpaulin of an empty truck headed towards the forest. As soon as the tarpaulin was dragged to load the forest produce, the sparrow freed itself off and perched on the nearby banyan tree.

This sparrow was confused to see trees and hills everywhere and wondering what to do. Noticing the sparrow in this state, a sparrow on the nearby branch tried to comfort it by asking “ are you new to this place?” The city sparrow answered simply “ YES I am from the city”.

Do you want something to eat? – the forest sparrow asked again

Yes – said the city sparrow

Then come along with me, I shall help you find some worms to feed on.

Grains to feed on? – Questioned the city sparrow

Yes, do you like them most? – asked the forest sparrow.

No, we do not eat worms; we eat cooked rice, various preparations that people make in excess and through them in the dust bins. These preparations are very taste and we eat them – said the city sparrow.

With this, the forest sparrow got interested in the kind of food that is available in the city and started asking many questions. The final question being: Suppose I also come to city along with my family, would there be sufficient food to eat?

Yes, there is lots of food being wasted every day before the back of several good hotels. You can certainly come, if you wish.

With the narration of various foods that the city sparrows get to eat, the forest sparrow has decided to migrate to city along with its family and its kith and kin, if they too are interested.

Both the sparrows returned to the banyan tree after eating some grains in the nearby wheat field. By that time all other sparrows too have returned to the rest for a siesta after lunch. The scene encouraged the forest sparrow that accompanied the city sparrow to speak about the city life. The city sparrow spoke at length and mesmerized all. By evening, all the sparrows living on the banyan tree have decided to migrate to the city.

The truck that came in the morning was getting loaded with the forest produce – tamarind, various roots, fruits, flowers, some logs and bamboos. The sparrows spotted this and decided to board the same to go to the city.

The truck started in the evening and soon the sparrows started perching on the roof of the cabin one by one. The city sparrow asked all the sparrows to fly off as soon as the truck enters the city. No sooner the truck entered the city – in the early hours of the day – did the birds fly off from it.

All the sparrows gathered on a neem tree near a big building. The city sparrow heaved a sigh of relief and said: I am back in the city. The forest sparrows were amazed at the streetlights, the avenue plantations and the shining roads. As the day breaks the forest sparrows found several birds flying over the large round units (dust bins) to feed on the leftovers of the food wasted last night. The city sparrow ordered at the forest sparrows to go and feast on. With a full night journey, the sparrows got tired and felt very hungry. They found some remains falling on the floor and ate them fully. The food was really very tasty – the forest sparrows felt.

By 7.00 am the activity in the city got increased. The sparrows settled on the nearby avenue plantations to witness the life of the city. By 9.00 am the city was abuzz with vehicular traffic, vendors, people and stray animals. The forest sparrows found it difficult to breath the air as it is thoroughly polluted with emissions from the motor vehicles. The atmosphere got heated up. The forest sparrows felt further suffocated. They searched for a good source of water to drink in vain. They had to get contended with the muddy water or the droplets from the leaking public taps with much difficulty. They could not sleep nor could they rest. They became restless. The impact of pollution (air, water and sound) again started increasing at 4.00 pm and reached its peak at 7.00 pm. By that time the forest sparrows experienced the hell. By 10.00pm the rush on the roads vanished, the shops were closed but the glaring street lights pose another threat to the sleep of these forest birds.

How do you sleep in this city that has not night time? – wondered a forest sparrow.

It is quite OK with us. You all can get used to it soon – said one of the city sparrow.

To hell with your city, I am back to the forest on my own – said the forest sparrow that befriended first with the city sparrow in the forest.

We too shall follow you – yelled the all other forest sparrows.

At dawn the forest sparrows started their journey back to the forest. As soon as they reached the forest, they took bath in the large lake, played for sometime and fed themselves on the insects and worms that are trying to infest the nearby mango trees. After having the food to their stomach full, they started praising – how beautiful this forest is and how healthy the life in the forest is.

That day they had a long nap and were woken up by a group of different birds.

Where had you gone in that truck?

Why did you return again to the forest?

Will you go back again in that truck?

Silence – said a sparrow. I shall answer all your questions but let me tell you first “There is no life in the city for birds like us”

©2007 IVNS Raju

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