05 December, 2012

Little Encounters - Dr.Doolittle Style !

(picture courtesy : blog.kiwitan.com via Google)
Two days back, I ran into a rather good looking cat in what is known in our school as The English Funland.  OK – let me be more specific.  Every morning (well, almost !!), unless I’m lugging along an elephant or a hippo (read never !), I walk up the stairs to the staff room, which happens to be on the seventh floor.  There have been many in school who have thought (who might still be thinking) that I’m mad as a hatter to be walking up seven flights of stairs but it’s just a feel good factor before I start to pile on the calories for the day. 
Now coming to The English Funland – it is nothing but a little room at the end of a whole row of classrooms on the second floor.  This little room is used for small group lessons – English lessons, quite obviously, and at the beginning of ever school year, we decorate this room on a different themes.  Fortunately, this decorating process is an annual feature and not a quarterly one or something like that. 
OK – now if I haven’t bored the daylights out of you by explaining the topography at school – here’s what transpired.  Two days back, on my way upstairs to the seventh floor, I decided to stop over at English Funland to pick up some of the worksheets that I’d left there the previous day.  The room was dark – given the fact that HK has been in the throes of a winter monsoon streak for the past two and a half weeks or so.  Switched on the lights and made a beeline for the cabinet where I remember having left the worksheets and that was when I heard or rather sensed that I was being watched.  Turned around and came face to face with a rather nice looking cat – a brown one – which was sitting near the door, patiently staring at me. 
It meowed (yeah right, Einstein !  Dunno a cat that does much else.  Do you ??).  I said Good Morning.  It meowed back which I construed (in my breakfast deprived state in the early hours of the morn) to be a “Good Morning to you too” in cat language.  “What are you doing here ?” I asked the nice little kitty and wonder of wonders (yeah, I’m quite a genius that way !), it actually meowed back.  Now this was beginning to look like I’d taken on shades of the persona of Dr. Doolittle except for the fact that he actually purported to understanding animal language while here I was giving those meows an interpretation of my own.  Well, whatever.  We had a nice little chat for a good five minutes or so before I had to head upstairs.  I said to the good kitty to make itself comfortable in English Funland.  Wonder of wonders, it meowed again and looked at me with rather hopeful eyes.  Oooh !  The Dr. Doolittle vibes were really beginning to feel strong here.  I was hoping the little kitty would still be around in Funland when I took my group of Primary One kids there for an English Phonics lesson later.  Turns out it wasn’t.  Well, so much for the Dr. Doolittle bit !!
Yesterday was Tuesday (did I not say earlier that I am Einstein personified ?.  If I have to know a detail as significant as the day of the week, I have to be Einstein, don't I ?) and Tuesday happens to be English Day at school.  Meaning, during the recess and lunch time, we have English speaking activities for the children.  We alternate between the lower primaries and the upper primaries week after week.  While I was setting things up on the second floor (again !!!) because I was doing the activity for the Primary Twos, I had that feeling of “being watched” all over again.  Spooky ??  Nah !  Not really.  I thought it was one of the little kids who’d stopped on the way to the washroom, to look at what I was putting up on the wall, given the fact that they are curiousness personified.  Turned around, found no kids.  Then I looked down and there near my feet was a little brown sparrow. 
This little being seemed highly curious about the little bits of paper that I was folding up for the activity and it watched me from the floor for a while, its beady eyes focussed on my every move.  I folded two more sheets of paper and then decided to bring my Dr. Doolittle persona back into action.  It seemed to be sitting there, waiting for me to say something.  Did I not say that thing about me having shades of Dr. Doolittle ??  I was seriously beginning to believe it.  Yeah, like I said, I am Einstein raised to the power n. 
“What are you doing here ?” I asked and oh well, it did not cheep back or anything.  It just hopped a couple of steps closer to where I was standing.  I was staring at it pretty much the way I would stare at Godzilla or something – except for the fact that had it been Godzilla, I would pretty much have been screaming myself hoarse.  I didn’t quite move because I did not want to scare it away (yeah I’m quite a kind soul that way).  It seemed anything but scared.  “Hey birdie.  Someone sang a song about you once.  Did you know ?” I asked and it hopped a couple of steps closer.  “Do you want to hear it ?” I asked, pretty much sure that it would panic and cheep “no no no” because that’s the effect I have on people when I ask them if they want to hear me belt out a number. 
This little sparrow turned on the TV channels and seemed to be looking for the latest episode of The American Idol, for all it did was hopped on to the desk on which I was folding the papers.  It had cocked its head, tilting it towards me and was watching me with those shiny little bright eyes.  That was when I realized that sparrows do have eyelashes too.  Yes, they do !  Eeeny weeny tiny wisps of hair above those little bright buttons that they have for eyes. 
I summoned the spirit of Dolly Parton (who has sung the original number) and David Cook (who had given the song a different interpretation during one of the challenges on The American Idol).  The song itself was rather aptly named “Little Sparrow”.  It just sat there, its eyes locked on me, its little head cocked and I would like to believe that it was listening to me belt out “Little Sparrow”.
It did not keel over and fall dead nor did it start and stare at me like I was some alien from some other planet – it just sat there as I crooned whatever I knew of that number.  I did not realize that the bell had gone and trust me when I say I must have looked quite the sight – sitting on that little chair, a few inches away from a little brown sparrow that decided to give me a patient ear, listening to me sing (read croak !). 
Footsteps pounded in the corridor as kids came running towards the activity station and the reverie snapped.  That little brown winged creature which had managed to capture my attention a full hundred percent and then some, hopped, fluttered its wings a couple of times and then flew away into the grey skies.
The next time I walk towards English Funland early in the morning or the next time I set up an activity on the corridor on the second floor, a part of me will always look forward to meeting these two little friends again.
Funny, how chance meetings (albeit with creatures much smaller than ourselves and ones that don’t outwardly seem to speak the same language as us), leave their  pawprints and their little birdie footprints on our hearts.  They sure did – on mine !
Till we meet again, little friends – Au Revoir !!!

4 voice(s) said so:

Sirisha said...

Aww! Sparrows are so rare to find in my city these days.

Pallavi Purani said...

Ahh the little birdie footprints. My mom seems to be a bird genius. She has made a small bird feed n water bath place in the balcony. The birds instantly come to know if the roti being given to them is put by my mom or the maid. They shall refuse to eat the ones she didnt put. Sparrows <3

Aparna said...

After reading through that, is it weird that I'm most impressed by climbing 7 flights of stairs every morning :O !!

So cute all the encounters were, to more of the same!

AJ said...

This was a lovely read. Hope you have more encounters of this sort so we continue getting to read such posts. :)