THE OMEN | Daily News



Mirani opened the window. The shining, silvery rays of the rising sun poured into the room making it lively patterns on the wall. She too was feeling lively and happy.

Suddenly her attention was drawn to a movement among the flourishing leaves in the huge creeper in her front garden. A little bird suddenly appeared with some dry leaves in its beak. Then another one peeped through the leaves. She was amazed.

“Oh! They are building a nest,” she exclaimed.

Her right hand automatically came on to her slightly swollen stomach caressing it slowly. With mixed feelings, she watched the feathery couple busily working among the leaves dragging this way and that way the leaves, some cotton and fibre they had already collected there. Sometimes one bird would lovingly touch the other’s head with its tiny beak. What a loving gesture! How much are they tiring themselves getting ready for the new arrival, their offspring! Do they dream of making their birdies ‘big shots’ in the society, with palatial homes, luxurious vehicles to travel about? A smile played around her lips. That’s the parental love, nothing else, she soliloquized.

Her mind wandered back.

This same thing happened when she was expecting her first baby last year. The only difference was that the nest was made on another smaller tree and not on this creeper. She used to watch those two small birds carrying materials to build the nest. They used to chirp happily while building the nest as if their joy for the new arrival was overflowing. But …… what happened at the end! All were in vain!

“Just like what happened to our expectations too that year,” she sighed.

One early morning it was a dreadful sight she encountered under that small tree. The nest that the two birds made were lying on the ground. It was damaged as if somebody had purposely ravaged it. What happened to the two birds or their eggs, if there had been any inside the nest, nobody knew. They suspected that crows were responsible for the calamity.

Mirani had her first baby a few weeks after that impromptu incident, the broken nest. Unfortunately, her baby too died soon after birth with a congenital disease. At once Mirani was reminded of what happened to the nest.

“It was a bad omen, a premonition. We were warned of what would happen to our baby,” she moaned.

Although many advised her and tried to change this attitude, they were not successful. Only time healed her heartache.

Now Miraniwas with the signs of becoming a mother for the second time. Two cute birds were building a nest in their garden again. It made Mirani refresh her mind of her lost baby and the broken nest too. It made her a bit nervous.

“No,” she made up her mind.“I am going to be very careful this time. I going to protect this nest and see that this feathered couple too would fulfil their dream,” she told herself.

She asked her husband as well as her parents who lived with them in their house to help her to safeguard the nest.

“You know what happened to the nest last time. I can’t forget it. So we must safeguard this nest and see that nothing happens to it,” she told them.

“Of course we will,” they promised.

She was very happy when she found out how her father used to sit outside, close to the creeper where he could have an eye on the nest when both Mirani and her husband had gone out for work. In the evenings Mirani loved watching the two birdies flying about, busy with the work in building their ‘palace’ in the creeper. Then they would both creep inside to spend the night peacefully.

One day she saw only one bird flying out of the nest. The other was inside the nest and Mirani saw its head peeping through the small opening, the door.

“I am sure it had laid the eggs. That is why only one flew away. The other is inside safeguarding the eggs,” said her father.

It was true. They realized that one bird always kept watching while the other flew out.

One day when even Mirani too was at home, a crow cautiously moved towards the nest. The bird on the watch screeched as loud as it could since it felt the danger. It was Mirani who saw the crow first. She did not know how she dashed to the spot shouting and chasing away the troublemaker. As the others too appeared there, the crow flew away. Mirani was too scared that she felt shivering.

“I’ve heard that crows are scared of wigs and black coloured things,” said Father as he hung an old wig and a broken umbrella close to the nest. Whether it was true or not, no crow came near the nest after that.

Soon the nest became a very active place. They saw how Father Bird flew away and brought food not only to the Mother Bird but also to the nestlings, two in number. The tiny birds would start chirping when they see the Father Bird bringing them food. Mother Bird would feed the nestlings then. When they open their tiny beaks, Mother Bird would put in the food.

“A sight for sore eyes!” they said.

Sometimes they watched the parents teaching the nestlings to fly. At first, they found it difficult to fly. They rather trotted and hopped But the Mother Bird did not allow them to be lazy. They slowly taught them. It was very interesting to watch the bird family.

As time went on the nestlings too became big enough to start a life of their own and they too vanished along with parents. The nest too became old and shabby and the passing winds made it fall on to the earth. It was only then that Mirani felt safe and contented too.

As time went on Mirani gave birth to a healthy son and she named him “Vihanga”, which means ‘bird’.

Sometimes she carries her son close to the creeper where the nest was and looking up at it thinks of the nest and bird family, which made her nervous until they all safely flew away.

“My birdie,” Mirani caressed her son then holding him close to her heart.

“We are human and are not devoid of omens and premonitions,” she murmured to herself. “And all because of the unique love a mother carries in her heart for her children.”

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