Samir, Simran and the baby mynah

Samir, Simran and the baby mynah

It was a cold winter morning in Srinagar, in Kashmir. People were out on the streets to do their daily shopping. Children, with their heads carefully hidden under giant woollen caps and wearing thick sweaters that trailed till their knees, were taking turns to carry each other’s heaving school satchels.

Samir and Simran, twins from Birmingham, a town in England, were on a summer trip to Srinagar, where they were staying with their aunt near the Tulip Gardens. Having finished their morning cup of steaming hot vegetable soup, they set out to Mittens’ Bakery to fetch fresh muffins for  breakfast. Simran was swinging her little wicker basket in the air as she clung tightly to Samir to keep out the cold.

Just a few steps before the entrance to the bakery the children suddenly spotted a little bird lying in the dust on the ground under an electricity pole. Leaning against the pole was a stout, angry-looking policeman. He looked at the bird and frowned.

Samir picked up the little bird and peered at it carefully. It was a baby mynah. It was too young to fly on its own, but that was what it had tried to do, probably in order to have a bit of adventure.
Hardly had it spread its little wings and leapt into the air than it had brushed against the electric wire that hung on the pole against which the policeman was resting. The shock was so great that the poor thing had dropped to the ground half-dead. It had lain there for hours without anyone taking pity on it or bothering to help. Surely, the policeman had seen it, as had hundreds of passers-by, but they all seemed too busy to worry about a hapless injured baby mynah that was shivering in the severe winter cold!

Simran took the bird from Samir and snuggled it into the folds of her sweater while Samir ran inside the bakery and fetched some water. Holding the bird gently by its neck, they poured drops of water into its tiny beak. A little massaging warmed it up enough. Then, the bird opened its beady eyes and looked at the children, as if in gratitude. After a while, it fluffed up its feathers and slowly hopped on to a nearby fruit cart.

“Fruity! Fruity! Now that’s your name now, baby!” cried Simran excitedly as she rubbed her cheeks against the bird’s soft face. “Be a good child and fly back to your home. You can be sure that your mama is worried sick about you!” she exclaimed.

Fruity flapped her wings as if to tell the children that she was now fine and well. That was also her way of saying “thank you.”

Then, spreading its little wings, Fruity flew up and into a nest that the children spied perched in a tree adjacent to the electricity pole. Samir and Simran cheered as they waved out to her.

All this while, Poppy, the owner of Mittens’ Bakery, had watched, with great interest, the children as they went about rescuing the bird. As a reward for their kindness he drew up to them with a big bag of fresh muffins tucked under his arm. “This is a special treat for you children,” he said as he patted them on their backs. “You are really the most incredibly kids I’ve ever met! God is kind to those who are kind to others, and you were so kind to that little bird. May God bless you both!”

The children handed Poppy five shiny coins for the muffins but he shook his head. “No money, kids!” he said in mock anger. “This is your reward for being so good! Now gobble up the muffins before they get cold!”

Simran and Samir merrily munched on the steaming hot muffins as they skipped off to the Tulip Garden for a picnic!

Soon, their summer holidays were over and the children returned to school in Birmingham. When the principal of their school heard about how they had rescued the baby mynah, do you know what she did? At the annual school day programme later that year, she awarded Samir and Simran the ‘Kind Kids Award’!

So, children, if you ever see any animal or bird in trouble, do stop and try to help it. Grown-ups may not care, but surely you can and should!

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