Pyaase panchhi neel gagan mein, geet milan ke gaaye sang Mukesh in Pyaase Panchhi exactly 60 years ago in 1961. As I watched my little sparrow hunt around for water, I couldn’t help thinking – technology may advance by leaps and bounds, lifestyles and attitudes change but Nature stays the only constant.
The humidity was stifling. Yesterday night the AC turned grumpy and went on a strike, so sleep eluded me and I lay listening to the whirring of the blades of the fan.
Morning came with new hope, but I did not feel like going out for my morning walk . It was 6 AM ,and as I peeped through the mesh window of my room, I saw a tiny sparrow sitting on my window ledge, beak open, thirst written all over its tiny face . With the thought of replenishing its terracotta bowl with water, I stepped out, but the moment it heard some movement, it flew away.
I saw it observing me from the neighbour’s parapet, beak open.
The road was empty, except for a young couple, walking leisurely, the boy holding an umbrella and the girl looking lovingly at him.
A mini bus trundled to a stop outside the neighbour’s vacant house followed by a car out of which descended three masked girls and one boy – stockily built and masked too. Probably the driver’ s friend. The driver was still sitting in his seat.
Seeing them, the tiny sparrow swooped down from the parapet and started hovering around the girls.
I looked closer and saw that the girls were the same who used to stay in the house prior to the lockdown. All the girls were holding water bottles so tightly as if their very fragile existence depended on them. While the boy supervised the unloading of their luggage, one of the girls poured some water in the bird bath hanging from the terrace of the house and the sparrow now took an ascending flight to the bird bath and slaked her thirst .
“She recognized us”. The girl said removing the mask for a minute and smiling in the direction of the bird.
Their meagre belongings unloaded, they pleaded with the driver to help them carry them to their first floor apartment, which he willingly did along with his friend .
No sooner had the girls climbed up the stairs, than the clouds started rumbling and the rain came down in torrents.
Mission completed, the stockily built boy hopped into the truck next to the driver and soon their music system broke into song.
“Pyar hua ikraar hua
pyar sey phir kyoon darta hai dil”.
The rain reigned, but love rained too as I saw the young couple now cuddling under the umbrella. The song that popped up in my mind was, no prizes for guessing:.
Rimjhim key taraney lekey aayi barsaat.
Love was in the air. No virus could banish love from this earth, come what may.
As I stepped back into my home, wondering which song I should sing, I saw the thirsty sparrow, now no longer thirsty, hopping in the rain puddles, watched keenly by a rain drenched lapwing. You know which song came to mind?
Pyaase panchhi neel gagan mein, geet milan ke gaaye
But I was sure the lapwing would come to the sparrow’ s rescue if it slipped .
After all love was in the air. And the rain reigned.
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