A Nest of Hope

Dr Neethu Asokan, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur.

A bright new day! It was a usual day. I woke up to the noise of woodcutters at my neighbourhood. They were still cutting down their trees. The woodcutter’s third son was getting married; probably a new nest was planned. I climbed downstairs and found my parents busy talking with the milkman. I warmed my tea and walked out of my doorstep.

The cool breeze, birds chirping and flower blossoms made the start of the day perfect. I started to feed the birds around me with the tea biscuits that I had grabbed on the way out. However! Something felt unnatural. A flock of Common Myna were flying around, squawking bizarrely. I tried feeding them. But in vain!

Soon, I found an Eagle hover around along with the Crows. This was not usual. I kept my tea aside and started exploring the area in the hope of finding the reason. The Mynas flew down sat on the walls chirping. Were they conveying something? I never knew. I looked around. Among the bushes near our doorstep, I found a heap of dry sticks, what could this be? Not far I found a stranded, broken nest. I could hear the Mynas give harsh cacophony as I went closer to the nest. Not heeding to their chatter I slowly lifted the nest to find three beautiful turquoise eggs, royal, glowing except for one which was broken.

COMMON MYNA. Photo: SOF Archives/Angeline Mano

They had lost their only home, which the woodcutter had taken down. Maybe he threw the nest out ignorantly or it could have fallen accidently, all such thoughts were creeping unto my mind. The nest was also broken. I held the broken nest in my arms. I have heard that bird nest survive even the wildest storms. They had in fact built a cosy, strong one. I noticed some familiar strands of thread in it. Ah! That’s from my old woollen sweater I threw out few days ago.

I found the Mynas fly away as I removed the broken egg and started to follow their path. They had found a new place already, the hole in one of our coconut tree. I placed the nest at a height. Not knowing what else to do. I left the place. The Mynas chirruped all long until I disappeared indoors. Were they thanking me? Will they take away the eggs? Thoughtfully, I walked back to where I had left my tea. It had turned cold. I looked back at them. Again, a flock of Mynas sat in a line on the algae cladded brick walls. I noticed that the Eagle had left; Crows flew back to where the crumb of biscuits lay and a lucky bird (Coucal) was roaming around in search of his prey.

I waited for the day to pass and slowly forgot about it all. Doing the house chores and being with parents for the only vacation I get in a year, I didn’t have much time to think about anything else. Two days passed when one morning I heard a Myna chirp at the open ventilation of my room. I suddenly remembered the turquoise eggs. How un-thoughtful of 2 me? I went out to look for the nest; nest was there but not the eggs. There was no squawks, no chatters everything looked calm. I gazed at the coconut tree until my neck sprained. With a glimpse of hope I returned back.

A week or so later, I heard loud chatter and chirping of Mynas at my ventilation, I woke up to find them flying in my room. I gazed for long! Was that a dream or did they dare to fly in? I closed my eyes; I could hear a flap of wings and then a great silence. I got up just accepting the fact it was an illusion and went downstairs. As usual I warmed the tea, grabbed few biscuits and went out. I found my parents near the coconut tree straining their heads looking at something, talking fascinatingly among themselves.

I couldn’t hold back my inquisitive mind. I kept away my tea, fed the biscuits to the birds that surrounded me and walked towards them. “What is so fascinating here, mom?” I asked. “It seems like there are fledglings in the holes of this tree. We thought to get some coconuts but looks like we can’t! Let’s look out in the other tree”. She left with my dad to the next tree, looking forward to getting some coconuts. I kept staring at the hole, I could hear tiny chirps. I waited for some more time. Few moments later, a Myna came unto the nest and started to feed the fledglings. Gleams of happiness fill inside me as I walked away. The tea I left had turned cold, somehow I didn’t feel the need of energy. I could feel it all. I gazed back and found two Mynas at the tree, must be the parents.

Time flew rather reckless. However, daily I woke to the sweet chirps of fellow Mynas. I could watch them fly around my room and sometimes all the four Mynas jumping around in the backyard. Two months passed and I had to leave home for work. Somewhere I seemed to miss everything.

Weeks passed and I kept enquiring my parents about the Mynas. She said, ‘the Mynas daily followed the routine of chirping at my ventilation’. Later I even heard that one Myna left and the other stayed back. I felt happy; I had lives waiting for my return. Even to this day, our home is filled with Mynas, Doves, Coucals, Crows, Eagles free and independent. However, letting them enjoy the nature as it is made it even more beautiful.

A home is after all the ultimate destination for all and my home was one!