Small Town

Sunbirds in the balcony

It all started with a couple of sunbirds negotiating with a few clothes pins on a portable clothes line. We found it amusing as they hopped close and took turns pecking and then dancing away. Did they think these large and colourful pins were some kind of silent relative?

After a few hours we found a few scraps of leaf and dry grass on the line. Ahh so all that pecking and hopping was to test the strength of the line. Nest building now!

The clothes line is fixed onto the outside of a glass door that divides the drawing room and the balcony. So, from inside, we have had front seats to the construction work. Amazingly intricate and so small, and built entirely with their beaks!

In a few days we noticed there was only one bird spending a lot of time in the nest. From our vantage point we could see the gently swaying nest with a long pointed beak sticking out of it. One morning, a quick peek inside it revealed 2 tiny eggs. Such excitement in our household!

A few days later, I turned to come in after watering the plants and spotted a movement in the nest. Up popped a mouth, desperately seeking. And then another one!

Within a couple of days the yellow all-mouth-and-nothing-else transformed into these sleek black little birds. Still mostly mouth, but now we can see the bodies as well. Eyes closed, napping away in the hot and humid weather, tiny heads pillowed on the edge of the nest. And now we see Papa and Mama bring them food all day – insects? Nectar?

Some videos in my photo album:

(Credits: photos/videos – my husband)

Small Town


Last night I dreamt of them again. Six or seven of them, all surrounding me, old and with their familiar peculiar scent. They looked at me accusingly, and their stares said it all. What happened, the look said. How come you never came back for us? And what about all the others who couldn’t make it into your dream? Are you going to forget about us? Is that why you looked after us for so long? You abandoner! hissed one.

How could I get you back, I asked quietly. When people close to me – supposedly close, the hisser hissed – take you away and say you always were theirs, what can I do? I miss you all every single day.

So many days spent telling you so many stories, sniffed the oldest.
Well, said another, she isn’t wrong you know. How can she take us away, just like that? And we are so far now.
And so tightly packed together, shuddered the slimmest. Can’t even breathe. Just see the condition of our seniormost! All scrunched up and growing fragile day by day. Huh, as if it’s enough just to ‘own’ us. As if it’s not necessary to love us. How stupid to treat us like status symbols!

And while saying this she fell down with a thud. My heart squeezed in pain, I stretched out a hand ….and woke up.

Blearily I look around for my much loved, long stolen copy of Short stories by WS Maugham, and I feel a pang again. So many treasured books, borrowed and never returned, or stolen and own name written inside (as if I wouldn’t recognise a book my fingers and heart loved!).

Many many such books and many such dreams, and that is why I read on the Kindle now.