23 July, 2006

The Colony in Mukalla, Hadhramaut

They came. In flocks. First, not more than four or six would come. Looking for food. And water. As the trees around grew, they increased in numbers. First, they were only visitors. Then the flocks increased. In numbers. Some of us took to feeding them. Of whom, I was one. Grains and crumbs of bread. And kept water for them. In cans and bowls. Before long, they had built nests wherever possible. And began roosting. That was almost four years ago. And now: they have taken a sizable area. They have a colony. A colony of sparrows! Exclusively sparrows. Of almost fifty or more. And they are increasing in numbers.

They wake up at sunrise and never stop being busy till sunset. The males, being more busy. And very protective of their nests. Which the males build almost alone! The males too, are very caring and loving of their 'spouses'. They spend long moments courting. And singing: "cheep, chirrup!" And they are extremely intelligent. Always remembering my time for feeding them. And they know me. They are also very social. And tend to flock most of the time.

There aren't many birds here in Hadhramout. But, there are many sparrows. To some, sparrows are a problem. A problem, as: sparrows dominate and create exclusive zones. But I like the sparrows. I love them. And I wholeheartedly support their colony. A colony which, I at times, wish I was a member of. I belonged to. A colony of peace. Of 'live and let live'. A colony of doing and having: only necessities. And only: driven by necessities. Not greed! A colony that: all members are equal and share. A colony of: caring, loving couples.

If I may quote G.B. Shaw: "Human beings are the only animals of which I am thoroughly and cravenly afraid." I too, am most afraid of humans. Why? We have failed. We can never be what the sparrows are. We claim to be 'intelligent'. We say we can 'think'. And that we have have 'feelings'. But: are we truly intelligent and loving and caring as these tiny creatures?