I WAS back in the university hostel after winter break in a sullen mood. I threw my bag in the dishevelled apartment and heaved a deep sigh. I was too tired to do anything so grabbed a chair. Last few days had been hectic for me, with cooking and shopping spree as part of household chores — an earnest desire to make kids comfortable and happy. They had come from abroad to spend some days with us and had a long to-do list, including meeting friends and merriment. I tried to steal some moments for a heart-to-heart talk with them, but their gestures compelled me to concentrate on the preparation of cuisines of their liking and to make their stay memorable.
A sudden cold wave brought me back in the hostel and I got up to draw the curtains. The sky was overcast. Just as I was closing the window, I found a meticulously designed nest on the ledge. The base was cushioned with soft pieces of cotton. On top lay two eggs. The arrangement touched my heart. I dismissed the idea of shutting the window, lest it destroys the nest. Meanwhile, the mother-bird flew back and gently took the eggs under her wings.
I had to confront severe cold wave for days as the window could not be closed. The eggs had hatched. It was more enjoyable now to watch her leave the nest in the morning and rush back with something in her beak, feeding them lovingly. Time passed and the fledglings were ready to take their first flight, reminding me of my children. They took flight and settled abroad in search of greener pastures. The mother-bird took the little birdies with her on flight and later the little ones flew away in search of new pastures. With a lump in my throat, a feeling of sadness engulfed me.
I opened my heart to a friend, who consoled me: ‘You have given them wings and the strength to fly, be content; enjoy their success.’ ‘Yes, but I am lonely. They should not forget to use the same wings to fly back to their nest which was a source of inspiration and strength. The pasture near the mother’s nest may be the greenest.’
I was desperate to be near them.
Since the nest was now redundant, it was time to put the house in order and close the window. I thought of working on the to-do list handed to me before boarding. Their smiling faces were peeping through the words scribbled on the paper. ‘Maa! We could achieve success only due to you. Your grooming made us not only good human beings, but also made us wise enough to accept the challenges of life.’ It filled me with inner satisfaction and to start again with a new spirit. Who says children do not recognise the efforts of parents! Sure, they will come back to be with me one day. Children cannot be away from the mother’s nest for long….