CREATIVE NON-FICTION: Lessons learnt from a Mother bird by Swarna Janaki
As I opened the shades and the door of the bedroom balcony to welcome the sunrise I was awestruck by the sight of a pigeon sitting on one of the flower pots. As I peeped I saw that there were two eggs under it. I knew it was breeding season as the apartment was filled with pigeon nests, babies and poo at every corner. But I assumed that this one must have had an emergency labour situation as it had not made a proper nest even with all the sticks that were scattered on the floor. Later that day, someone went to clean the balcony and accidentally touched one egg. To my surprise, the pigeon did not sit on it anymore. It hatched only one egg. And it did so by sitting there, hours and days together not moving an inch.
From then on, I started watching the bird closely. There was another pigeon who used to come and feed the pigeon which was sitting on the egg. I assumed that this was the male pigeon. I wondered at nature. Here was the male bird flying to places and feeding the female and the female nurturing and hatching its babies.
It took 16 days for the bird to hatch. Even though I did not see the exact moment the egg hatched, when I saw the little bird covered in brown fuzzy feathers I felt a teardrop on my cheeks -a happy one. The mother pigeon who had not moved for weeks started to slowly go to the next pot and to the wall just away from the little one. Maybe that is how they start to slowly reclaim their own time and teach the bird to be alone? But, wasn't that too early, I thought.
After a few days, the mother bird started to fly. Now, it was her turn to go fetch food for the baby. They were sharing their work. It was a warm feeling to see how the birds showered their love on the hatchling in different ways. The baby bird started to get stronger feathers and turned a little grey in color. The wings were now clearly ready. Excited as I was, I was saddened to see the egg that had been touched, still lay there abandoned and left out.
One silent afternoon as I was making my baby go to sleep, I was distracted by the commotion from the balcony and so I looked through the window wondering if the bird was fine. What I saw was the beautiful sight of the mother bird trying to teach the baby to fly. The mother repeated her lessons a mere two or three times and now the baby was all by itself.
The same question popped up into my mind again. Isn't it too early? I mean, the bird seemed small but it was already on its own. I started comparing it to our style of parenting. We would never let our kids grow on their own. We take control over them. We teach them what to do and what not to, at every stage and every phase. The question in my mind was "Are we doing it right?" I don't know why we doubt ourselves. Nobody taught the mother bird parenting. She was just doing things on instinct, as was coded in their nature. They just knew what to do in their gut.
We must understand that learning, unlearning and relearning is a process of life. I never knew that watching a pigeon this closely would change my perspective on life.
The mother bird never left the baby until it hatched properly. The father bird always fed its partner and never left her hungry.The couple always protected the baby bird from predators, sun and rain until it could fly on its own. Who knew maybe they always kept an eye on it and spread their wings whenever it was needed.
We humans always think what we do is right, but we must know that making mistakes is also fine. Holding our children too tightly is probably not the right way to do things and letting them fly and giving them a little space is also important. I don't want to say that we shouldn't advise them on anything at all but we should give hope to our children that we are always there for them no matter how hard their life is and what road they choose. This applies to mothers like me too. There are many mothers out there who go to work everyday but wish to stay back at home to prepare a hot meal by the time their kids are back from school. There are women who are stay at home moms who wish to restart their careers, give a nice future to kids and themselves. There are fathers who wish to spend more time with their kids. If we stop judging each other and start helping we would definitely have a better society to raise our children in.
While telling my husband my thoughts about the pigeon, I questioned my husband "Will we be able to do it?" .
He said "I hope we will" .
I sighed, my heart skipping a beat thinking about the future but I smiled in response to welcome life's surprises and lessons.
About the Writer:
Swarna Janaki is a Fashion Designer with experience as an assistant to Manoviraj Khosla in Bangalore prior to turning into a freelancer. She recently started documenting her personal experiences with motherhood and life in her blog.