Born from the heart

Born from the heart

Here are some life lessons from birds and beasts

Born from the heart

It happened around 12:30 a.m. when sleep finally overtakes one’s senses. That’s when pandemonium broke loose.

We jumped out of bed to see a huge sow, with her belly almost touching the ground, playing havoc in our kitchen garden. She was rooting among plants and tearing up vegetable creepers, digging and grunting as if angry with the whole world! I tried to chase her away. But adamant piggy was back again. I reluctantly went back to bed but could not sleep, thinking of my well-loved garden being wrecked by one angry animal.

It dawned nice and bright. THE PIG! I ran to the backyard. What a sight greeted my eyes! My heart broke to see my plants uprooted, creepers stripped and young, tender vegetables strewn all over the place. Hurricane Piggy had really done her job well. Livid and armed with a stick, I went around the compound looking for the culprit. That’s when I heard soft grunting. I went towards the sound. There, in a corner, sat the sow on her side with one, two, three four… there were more...little piglets crawling all around her taking turns to get their feed! Some were suckling, some resting on her back. On going a little closer I noticed that the sow had dug a shallow pit under the tree, lined it with leaves, a few plastic packets and bits of cloth, making it a comfortable bed for her ten babies. What a beautiful sight! I stood there transfixed. The sow looked at me with large brown eyes as if imploring, ‘Please do not chase me away’. The stick slipped out of my hand and I said, “No, Hurricane Piggy, you can stay for as long as you like. No one will disturb you or your babies.”

I was reminded of Blackie, the neighbourhood dog, which had four pups — two black and two brown. She had made her home under our jasmine bush. Dusk was setting in and the sky was overcast. Raindrops pitter-pattered on the roof. They were soon followed by a heavy downpour. Outside, the puppies yelped in fear and we heard the mother howl in desperation. She came running to our doorstep. Then, she ran back to her pups. In a minute, we saw her wriggling through the tiny space under the garage door. Yes, she had succeeded in finding a haven for her babies. In a jiffy, she transported her puppies, one by one, holding them in her mouth to the warm safety of the garage. The puppies were quiet and happy in a nice, dry place. We pictured Blackie keeping them warm.

Another time, with wings still tender, a little sparrow was frantically calling out to his parents from the oleander bush. How did this fellow manage to reach here, we wondered. The sparrows had a nest in the crevice in the roof at the rear of the house.

A stronger ‘Chirp! Chirp’ answered the baby’s pitiful ‘Cheep’. This was Papa Sparrow with a black patch on his neck. He was perched on the pillar, probably trying to figure out how to rescue his little one who had gone exploring on his own.

Papa Sparrow started flying from the pillar to the branch, chirping all the time. Was he giving emergency flying lessons to the little one? But the young sparrow was confused. He refused to budge from the branch. Papa Sparrow flew down and started hopping from a lower branch to an upper branch while the baby sparrow watched, chirping loudly.

After several such demonstrations, Baby Sparrow got the message and started to cautiously hop up the branches. He hopped higher and higher. Then came the last stop to the branch in the bushiest  part of the plant. Here, Baby refused to go any further. It was quite dark now except for the light from our sit-out.

“Cheep, cheep, chirp,” Papa Sparrow kept saying as though it meant, “Come on baby, just one more hop.”

Finally, Baby Sparrow hopped to the last branch hidden from view amidst the thick, green foliage. Satisfied, Papa Sparrow flew back to the nest, satisfied that his baby was safe. Precious lessons in loving and living, aren’t they all?

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