By chance, Mr. Khanna, Mrs. Khanna and Tara have additions to their family in the form of unusual pets.
Mr. and Mrs. Khanna and their daughter Tara lived in a sprawling house with a huge garden running all around it. They had a daughter Tara, who was ten years old. Tara loved animals and birds and was constantly pestering her parents to get her a pet. But they were too busy in their respective jobs, so Tara’s request remained unfulfilled.
There was a huge Neem tree in the garden, the branches of which spread outside Tara’s bedroom window. The branches were thick and full of dark green leaves. A pair of crows lived on this tree. Tara noticed that they would fly around the tree every day. Sometimes they would perch on the branches and spend some time cawing at each other. It seemed that they were consulting each other whether to build a nest there or not!
One day, Tara saw that the crows were flying down, picking up bits of grass and other titbits and then flying back to the same branch.
“They are making a nest!” she cried excitedly.
Days passed. Tara became busy with her exams.
One bright Sunday morning, she was woken up by the loud cawing of the crows. She ran to her window and looked at the nest. When Tara looked closely, she saw four perfect eggs in the nest. As soon as the Mother Crow saw Tara smiling at her, she hopped back on to her nest and settled down on her eggs. It seemed as if she was cawing only to call Tara to show off her eggs!
Suddenly, life had become very exciting. Each morning, Tara would check on the crows before leaving for school and every afternoon she would go rushing upstairs without eating her lunch, to see if the eggs had hatched!
Mrs. Khanna started leaving scraps of food and vegetable peels on her kitchen window sill for Father Crow, who would fly down to pick them up and take them for Mother Crow. Sometimes, he would also go to the dustbin outside, to pick up some scraps.
Eighteen days passed. On the nineteenth day, as Tara ran up the stairs and looked out of her window, she saw something had changed. Both Mother Crow and Father Crow were perched on the branch near their nest. Their chests were fluffed up and they looked as pleased as Punch!
In the nest, she could see four hungry beaks open wide and hear chirping sounds.
Soon, the family of six crows became a part of the Khanna household. Mrs. Khanna took pains to set aside bits of food for the baby crows. The crows waited for Tara to come back from school every day. As soon as she opened the gate, the cawing would start in earnest!
“It is almost as if they are welcoming me!” Tara would say happily. I don’t need any pets now. Instead of one, I have six pets. They talk to me every day and I am as happy as happy can be!”
- sprawling – spread out over a large area
- pestering – to request frequently
- in earnest- in complete seriousness