Fr. Varghese Pual, SJ
I was sitting on the varanta of my brother Jose’ bungalow and chatting with my grand-nephew Jobin and grand-niece Rosemole
. A farm house-like bungalow had a sand-spread court-yard around it. Outside the courtyard on one side my sister-in-law Rosily cultivated a rose garden. But right in front of us there was a variety of flower plants like marigold, sun flowers and coffee plants with flowers. In the farm outside the bungalow Jose has cultivated a variety of trees like coconuts, arrack-nuts, jack fruits and creepers like paper. There were also some coffee and banana plants.
The greenery outside the bungalow attracted a lot of birds. As I was chatting with the two kids a group of sparrows flew in and landed on the courty ard and they start to sing for us with their chirping. The children’s attention was totally focused on the sparrows.“Jobin, you please count the number of sparrows in our country,” I told four and a half year old Jobin. “Usually they are in groups of 5 or 7,” I added.
“One, two, three…. there are five sparrows,” Jobin said.
“There are five sparrows”, three year old Ro
semole repeated what her brother had said.
Just then the mother sparrows made a long dr
awn out chirping sound calling the baby sparrows;
and all of them flew up to th
e branches of a close by tree.
“Jobin and Rosemole, did you both hear the mother
sparrow calling her babi
es? Did you see that
they all flew together and settle
d on the branches of that tree?”
“We heard the chirping of a sparrow and saw th
em all flying up together
. But, uncle, how do you
know that the mother spa
rrow called her babies and told them to fly up to that tree?” Jobin asked
“Mother sparrow raised her voice and made a pa
rticular chirping sound and told her babies,
hurry up, fly up with me to the
branches of that tree; an enem
y has appeared at the corner” I
interpreted sparrows’ language
“But who is the enemy of the sparrows? we have
not thrown any stone at
them,” Jobin asked.
“The sparrows have no enemy. But see our cat at
that corner of the court yard. When the cat
appeared there, the mother spar
row got frightened,” I explained.
“Yes, one sparrow may have seen the cat and ma
de chirping noice. But all sparrows cannot see
the cat at that corner. How come that they al
l flew together?” Jobi
n was curious to know.
“The sparrows love each other very much. So wh
en the watchful mother sparrow saw the cat, she
called her babies and told them about the cat,” I
said with a serious face to Jobin and Rosemole.
“Uncle, do you love the sparrows? Do you unders
tand the language of the sparrows?” Jobin
wanted to know.
“I love very much not only the spar
rows but also all other birds, th
e trees, the plan
ts and flowers,
the grass and the river and everyt
hing on earth,” I told Jobin.
“Then, uncle, do know the language of this colour
ful plants and the flowers?” Jobin asked me
endless questions.
“Yes, yes. I understand a little
bit the language of the flower
s, plants, trees and the whole
nature,” I answered Jobin.
“Then, Uncle, what do the sunflower says?” Rosemo
le who was listening to me like her brother,
asked me.
“Do you like the sunflower? Let us go near it and lis
ten to what the flower says,” I said and both
the children came with me to the close by flower garden.
“See, swinging lightly in the breeze the sunflowe
r says that I like children. The flower thanks
you both for coming everyday here with your mother
and watering it.” I in
terpreted the language
of sunflower to the children.
“Uncle, what do these rose fl
owers say?” Jobin asked me.
“Rose flower says that, if you have not seen
the face of your God, watch me. I am gentle and
beautiful like the f
ace of God,” I said.
We left the flower garden and took the footpath
of the farm in front of the bungalow towards the
nearby river.
“Uncle, what does this banana plant say?” taki
ng hold of a long plantain
leaf in her hand
Rosemole asked me.
“The banana plant says that when I grow up I w
ill give you very tasty sweet bananas to eat,” I
told Rosemole in a way, she could understand me.
“Uncle, what do these pepper creepers say?”
“Uncle, what does this coconut tree say?”
“Uncle, what does this betelnut tree says?”
“Uncle, what does this
rubber tree says?”
“Uncle, what does this jackfruit tree says?”
“Uncle, what does this pineapple says?”
“Uncle, what does this stone says?”
Jobin and Rosemole asked me continually questi
ons touching everything they saw on both sides
of the footpath till we walked tw
o furlong and reached the river bank.
There was no end to the questions of the two chil
dren of my nephew and I decided mentally that,
without ever getting tired, I would answer their que
stions with patience in a way that they love
and respect everything in the environment.
When we reached the bank of the river, I invited
my child-friends to sit there as I was tired of