They came into my life uninvited. It was raining furiously that memorable night.
It was an encounter that taught me a great deal about responsibility and love towards other creatures.
Came to think about it, it still amazed me how a small kid like me, barely seven then, managed to take care and almost single-handedly raised two baby mynahs still-in-their-downs.
The strong gust of wind brought down a nest from a coconut tree in front of our barrack. The thudding sound of fallen coconut fronds brought the curious little boy (that's me) outside to see what it was.
The sound of them two chirping helplessly in the rain attracted me to them. Picking them up I ran inside with the soaking-wet birds in my hand.
I raised them in the best way that I could. With a constant supply of grasshoppers my friends and I caught from nearby fruit orchards the birds grew fast.
One did not make it to adulthood. It was pounced upon and carried away by a tomcat. It was already dead when I caught the cat. I buried the bird in a shallow grave underneath a jackfruit tree.
The other bird grew faster as it then had a monopoly over all the food that I brought home.
Out of my special interest in Western films, I called it Johnny.
I always brought Johnny with me whenever I went. Johnny would always come back to my shoulder whenever I called.
One evening I forgot to close its cage. The next morning I could not find it anywhere. My call was not answered. I missed school that day.
Then it dawned on me that Johnny was gone. I cried till my eyes were swollen. So sad to lose a very close friend.
Now, whenever I see mynahs around, I will remember my Johnny.