Who Killed Cock Robbin?

Sparrow At The Airport
Sparrow At The Airport

“Who Killed Cock Robbin?                                                                                                 I said the Sparrow, my little bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robbin”

Several months back, I read an article in the Times Of India, New Delhi, about the disappearing sparrows in Delhi. When I read the article, I started to look out for house sparrows, and I did not find them easily. I started to think about my childhood in Delhi, and I remembered how the chirping of the little birds was a part of my life.

Where did the sparrows go?

How did I forget them? Have we all forgotten them?

And then, one day, I started to see sparrows again. Not in Delhi, but in Gurgaon. I started to “hunt” them with my camera, but found that the little fellows are remarkably hard to photograph. they are blessed with a high metabolic rate, and keep hopping and flying about with some speed. But, I did notice them, and I started to listen to the chirping.

English: A male House Sparrow in Victoria, Aus...
English: A male House Sparrow in Victoria, Australia in March 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Delhi declared the house sparrow as the state bird, but I believe did not do too much to protect sparrows, which is why it is difficult to find them. The house sparrow is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae. They tend to float around in human settlements, and some people find them to be a bit pesky.

A week ago, I was in Pushkar. I was staying in a tent, and woke up early in the morning. I was tempted to go outside, and breathe in the fresh air, but I decided to be lazy and stay in the warm covers. As I lay there, I was listening to the chirping of the sparrows, and I was also listening to the hymns and bhajans blaring from the loudspeakers in the temples of the holy town. Each temple seemed to have a loudspeaker louder than the loudspeaker of the neighboring temple, as they strained to send their voices to heaven. Yet God, if God exists, would have been quite happy if the wailing priests would have taken the time to listen quietly to the sounds of the morning, and the songs of the birds.

Yet, it seems that the sparrow is slowly disappearing.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/india-searches-for-its-missing-sparrows/article3287189.ece

http://www.thehindu.com/features/kids/save-our-sparrows/article4496787.ece

Yet, despite it being declared the state bird, the sparrow seems to be in decline. It is not as glamorous as a tiger, I agree, yet the songs of the sparrow remind us of a simple life.

The poem ends thus

“All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing                                                          When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robbin”

I suppose the same could hold for the simple house sparrow, if we are not watchful. And then, we should not ask for whom the bells toll.

 

 

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