Naren was in depths of despondency. The ash tray before him was full. The curtains were drawn and the room was dark. His company was in deep red due to mismanagement. It is six months since he got his salary and when he went to enquire, he was given instead a pink slip. The installments on the house were in arrears as also the school fees. He had borrowed some money from private lenders and they were pressurizing him to repay when they learnt he was not getting salary. He sold his car and pledged his wife’s jewels to keep the goons at bay. He stopped the school bus and sent his children by a ramshackle vehicle jammed with kids to the brim.
Renuka, his wife, though qualified was not working. She was frantically on the lookout for a job and kept going out daily in the hot sun by public bus. She was not accustomed to such hardship. He had walked up and down many offices and drew a blank. His experience in an airline company did not help as most airlines were working under loss and pruning expenses. He was at the end of his tether. The sparrow on the ceiling was chirping incessantly to his annoyance. He threw the newspaper at it in anger. It flew to another corner and chirped more vigorously. Frustrated by failure at all fronts he toyed with the crazy idea of putting an end to his life. But he felt bad to leave his wife burdened with two kids and nothing to lean upon. She had been understanding and never grumbled. She only counseled patience and gave him the hope that the bad patch would soon be over.
He could not bear the agony. Coward as he was, he decided to put an end to his life. He poured the coke in the glass and mixed it with some poison stuff. He wished to pray and closed his eyes to ask for forgiveness to the Lord for taking his life .The chirping of the bird grew louder. Annoyed he went out to the puja room to pray silently. Tears welled up his eyes. There was no indication from the God dissuading from the foolish step. He took it as approval for his move. With folded hands he made one last prayer and went back to the room to consume the coke before his wife arrived.
To his bewilderment he found the glass tumbler fallen on the ground with all coke spilt on floor. The chirping continued nonstop. He looked at the sparrow and knew who the culprit was. It was then he heard the door bell. It must be his wife, he thought. She came running shouting “Naren, cheer up .I have some good news for you.”
“I have got a good job that will fetch me initially 50,000 rupees. They will increase after six months. We do not have to worry. You can look for a new job without much hurry” she said and stopped abruptly when she saw the spilt coke and the fallen glass.”What is this?” she asked
“Sorry. I felt thirsty but the glass slipped from my hand. I am so happy for you. This will give us a breather. Thank god for His grace” he said as he looked at the noisy bird that no longer appeared a disturbance but as a protective angel
She looked at him quizzically when he said “Can we provide some space for the bird to build a nest?”