Mango Bites

On The Sparrow From My Village


You little sparrow,
Ha, I could make you out….you are from my village.
That cute little nose and those elfin feathers… betray you.

But then, when I ask you if you have come alone,
Why are you so insolent, taking off without answering me?
As if you only have those dainty feathers?
Reconciling that you might not have noticed me,
I just crossed your way
But, no. You did not give even a cursory look at me.
I don’t know if I had changed with times
Or time had changed me,
You did not recognize me, for sure.

Let me make another trial.
Do you remember the other day
When you hurt your nose gory
Pecking at your own image in the mirror?
Can you recall my chasing you jumping on my feet
And catching you in your flight at last?
And when I left you free far off in the open
You teased me by coming home earlier than me?

Did you forget your taunting me once more
Playing with your mates on the posts
At the Jasmine garden of Booriyyagaru
When I went there to collect a few flowers
On that festive day
In a silk petticoat, salving my feet with saffron
And wearing ankle bells?
Do you remember
Your roaming around the place
When my granny was telling me stories
Picking all the grits thrown at you
By my sister Kamakshi?

Isn’t it you who protected the crop
Weeding out the pests in Ramannatata’s farm?
This is exactly how you dissed at me last time
When I wanted to check up with you
The lore I heard about you.

Though I left that place you stayed behind.
Maybe, you could not find a mate, like me,
to enchant you out to alien lands.
You were even greeting me
Whenever I came home for festival or vacation.
But suddenly, one day, when my brother Venu said,
“Did you hear, sister?
All the sparrows have disappeared suddenly.
They say, they might have been dead?”
I was so sad and depressed.
When I asked for the reason,
Everybody had given some reason or the other.
And, somebody had said it was due to the use of pesticides.
Well, why could you not convince them
That they were redundant so long as you were there?

And now after a long absence
Here in this cold country
In Fall,
You suddenly appeared and delighted me.
Oh! There is a flock around you.
Have you migrated here like me, perchance?
Hey, you are jeering at me in your wont way.
Thank heavens!
Have you recognised me?


Original: Usha Rani
Translation: Nauduri Murthy