After my first disastrous pet episode -a ‘spoiled’ tabby tomcat– I wasn’t thinking at all about having another pet (at least for a while). When my summer vacations started after my fourth grade final exams (which went practically well), I left for my granny’s city with my family to spend the vacation at my granny’s place like we did every year back then. My aunt, uncle and my cousins all were already there. We spent the vacation just like every year, (to be brief, having lots of fun).
We were roaming on a beach one evening; a day before we were to return to our town; when I saw two boys, a little older than me, walking near a food stall selling something. When they drew nearer I realized one of them was carrying a stick on which were sitting four sparrows. I was thrilled just seeing them. I asked the boys “why these sparrows don’t fly away?” they smiled and one of them who looked a bit older and bold replied “their wings are severed” and seeing my face he added, “just enough so they can’t fly for a few days.” I felt really bad for the birds, but at the same time I thought I had found a new pet.
My father, after some pleading and tantrum, bought them and I carried them to my granny’s place in a cardboard box.
Next morning we started our journey quite early. I carried the box, in which my new pets were huddled in a corner, on my lap all the way to my town and couldn’t resist peeping in the box every now and then; and providing my pets with water and grain even when they didn’t touch anything at all. I kept the box with me near my chair when we stopped for lunch at a hotel and didn’t eat much myself. I was too engrossed in my new pets.
When we reached our town at sundown I was too tired from our journey but still I left home right away to find where I can buy a nice cage for my birds. After a long search in the market while the shops around me were closing, I found a pet shop and bought a big, round parrot cage because I thought the other cages were too small for my four sparrows and I wanted them to feel free even inside a cage. The attendant in shop tried telling me that this cage is not for sparrows and they can easily flee from the bars but I told him quite conceitedly that this is the perfect cage for my birds and he handed it to me irately. As soon as I got home I realized that the parrot cage I had bought was too big for my sparrows and they indeed kept escaping from the bars……
I tried everything to keep my sparrows in the cage. I encircled the cage with a wire to make the bars smaller; it didn’t work, then I tried to reduce the size of each square of the bar by covering it with cardboard pieces; it didn’t work either. My pets weren’t able to fly yet so they would just flutter to the floor but it was just the matter of time before they could. Ultimately I realized my pets needed a different cage with smaller bars, like the shopkeeper was telling me. Hence until I could buy a new cage or gather some nerve to face the same pet shop attendant to replace my current one, I made a small cardboard house with lots of tiny windows for my birds and put it on a stool in my drawing room.
That night was one of my cousin’s birthday so I was at my uncle’s house which was just next to my house and our front door was open. A little later when I came home to get some ice I was shocked to see the house I had made for my sparrows was shattered and there was no sign of them. When I looked closer I saw but one sparrow lying in the wreck on the floor; probably dead…… yes it was dead. I was sitting there all dazed when a big black cat peeped from our front door and glancing at me doubled back and disappeared into the darkness.
I stormed out of the house and searched the whole ground around my house. I already knew what had happened but it was hard to take in that my sparrows hadn’t escaped, that the cat I saw peeping from the door had feasted on them. But ultimately I accepted the fact and buried the only sparrow witch was left inert in my hand under a tree in our front yard and swore to myself ‘No More Pets.’