There are two new arrivals in our garden. The jasmine creeper gave out the first flower of the season. (One month after the flowers were noticed in the market. Better late than never. I am glad that our creeper remembers that it can bear flowers too and not only leaves). A single flower, which made it’s presence felt through mild fragrance much before I went near the plant. ಒಳ ಹೊರಗೆ ಹಿತ ಮಿತವಾದ ಘಮ-ಘಮ as Sri Nissar Ahmad puts it. No chance of forgetting my ex assistant Shevanti as long as the plant is around. She had planted it.
The second new arrivals are the baby bulbuls. We had noticed the parents flying in and out of some bushy plants in our ‘garden,’ with thread, twigs and feathers in their beaks. I think by the time we noticed this activity, the nest building was almost complete. Soon afterwards, we located a cup sized nest amongst the dense foliage of the plant. We left the nest and the birds to themselves and kept away from the place for nearly a month. Then one morning I could not hold my curiosity any more. I went closer and peeped in. Even with out my glasses I could see one bird in the nest and could even make out a red patch and the crest on the head. I broke the news to my family exitedly. “What a surprise! The Bulbul eggs have hatched and the hatchling has already grown. It almost fills the nest. It may fly away shortly!”. My wife told me not to be stupid. “It is the mother incubating the eggs” She said. It was difficult for me to believe that the shy bird which never even ventured near our balcony if one of us were inside the kitchen, stayed put in the nest even though I was peering at it from a distance of one foot! Of course, it must have recognized me as one of the competitors for it’s legitimate share of bananas hanging in our kitchen, and it was ready to forego rivalry and share the happy news of anticipated new arrivals. Hence it sat unperturbed, comfortable in it’s nest, nonchalantly looking me in the eye. I wondered at the change that motherhood brought.
Today morning I took another peep with my glasses on, to find two babies sticking their neck out of the nest and opening the beaks wide in anticipation of a juicy worm in their mother’s beaks. They were disappointed to find this despicable human with not even a beak, let alone the worm. The first look at this sample of the human race must have been enough to create contempt towards the race for life. When I looked in again after half an hour, they crouched low in their nest and turned their heads away. Any way, I hope that these bulbuls have better luck than the baby tailor birds which suddenly disappeared mysteriously, last year. The bulbul parents have taken pains to select a place which hides the nest well. But they keep twittering and fluttering around the nest all the time and give themselves away. And this activity increases whenever they notice a predator around.
I can already see the crow which is observing everything from the distant roof top with it’s cocked head and the cat that is prowling on the compound wall. For both of them these babies are only another link in the food chain. I wish the babies best of luck.
The Hills are Alive
6 days ago