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One day, while having breakfast, I heard chirps and peered out through the curtains. There were two birds perched on the mosquito proofing net. I couldn’t identify what birds they were through the lacy curtains billowing in the breeze. They looked tiny and I decided they were probably sparrows.

I grinned with pleasure quickly weighing the pros and cons of getting the camera or using the phone. Deciding that the phone was better, ease of access being one of the reasons, the phone being in my pocket, not to mention the time factor (camera was further away from me), I quickly made my decision.

In the meantime the L&M had heard the chatter of the birds too and noticed them clinging to the mosquito proofing. He frowned. “They are going to spoil the net!” he declared.

I was incredulous and in turn frowned at him. Here I was grinning from ear-to-ear that the birds had condescended to visit me, ready even to spread the welcome mat (if only the birds understood English!) for the little thingamabobs, and all he could think of was them making holes in the net! But there was no time to go into all that just then.

I left my breakfast and slowly crept towards the balcony. As I got closer to the balcony door, to my joy I realised they were white-rumpled munias or mannikins. In fact just the other day I had looked at the thickly growing grass in the empty plot and concluded it looked the perfect place for munias.

“Munias!” I mimed to the L&M and mother, not that they would know one from a sparrow or a kite.

The phone camera was on and ready in my hands, I gently moved the lace curtain aside, all set to click. Precisely at that moment, the munias, who probably had been scouting for a nesting place, decided there was no way they could cross the net barrier, and flew away. What a disappointment! Perhaps they will come back another day.

In the mean time here is a picture of a pair of Olenjalis (Rufous Treepie) celebrating Valentine’s Day.

© Shail Mohan 2022