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Shyama woke up abruptly at four o'clock. The door was unlatched. She ran outside to the cornice and tried to catch a glimpse of the nest above. She could not see the basket. By chance, she happened to look down, and what she saw caused her to run indoors and wake up Keshav. "Brother, the eggs have fallen down, and the chicks have flown off," she said excitedly.
Keshav got up in a fright and hurried outside. He saw the three eggs lying broken on the ground; some slimy substance was leaking out of them. The water bowl, too, lay broken on one side.
Keshav turned pale and stood gazing at the ground looking very forlorn.
"Where have the chicks gone, brother?" Shyama asked.
"The eggs have broken," Keshav replied in a pitiful voice.
"And where have the chicks gone?" Shyama asked again.
"They have flown into your head. Can't you see the broken eggs and the slimy substance coming out of them? It is the slimy thing which would have turned into chicks within another two to four days."
Just then their mother came out. "What are the two of you doing outside in the sun?" she asked.
"Ma, the bird's eggs have fallen down and are broken," Shyama told her mother.
When Ma came nearer and saw the broken eggs, she was very angry. "The two of you must have touched the eggs," she said.
Now Shyama felt no remorse for her brother. He must have kept the eggs carelessly, which had caused them to fall down. He must be punished for this crime. "Brother had touched the eggs, Ma," she said.
"Is that true?" mother asked Keshav.
Keshav had nothing to say. He stood looking like a wet cat.
"How did you reach the cornice?" mother asked.
It was Shyama who replied, "By placing the stool on the footrest from the bathroom, Ma."
Keshav could keep quiet no longer. "Weren't you holding the stool for me?"
"You told me to hold the stool," Shyama shot back.
Mother: "You have grown so big, yet you don't yet understand that human beings should not touch eggs laid by birds; the eggs become bad, and the mother bird does not warm them anymore."
"Have the birds dropped the eggs themselves, Ma?" Shyama asked.
Mother: "What else could the birds do? Keshav is responsible for this sin. The wicked boy has taken away three lives!"
Keshav was feeling very miserable. "I only placed the eggs on the rug, Ma," he said tearfully.
Ma felt sorry for the boy, and she could not suppress a smile. But for many days afterwards, a feeling of guilt tormented Keshav. He had wanted to protect the eggs but had ended up destroying them. This thought so overwhelmed him at times that the boy would break into sobs.
The pair of birds had flown away and was never seen again.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu