Our bedroom window overlooks a lignum tree with fresh purple blossoms. I remember when my mother planted the tree in the back of our garden more than thirty years ago. Beside the tree was a cage, inside which lived a family of budgrigar-birds of all colors. Each morning we’d wake up to chirping sound that punctuated the sounds of our home all day. Somewhere along the way, probably when my siblings and I took off to college, the budrigars died or were given away.
Now when we come home, the only pet is my sister’s cat, but our home is still surrounded by singing birds. A koel and her partner have made the lignum tree their home and each morning and afternoon, just as they did last summer, they serenade each other with their koo-oo and kik-kik songs.
Minal always looks out for them, and calls me to the window when she sights the gleam of the male koel’s black wings and his red eyes. Late afternoon, she sights the speckled female koel with her wings spread out, soaking in sunlight on the top branches of our neighbor’s tree.
“Come and see her!” Minal calls. “She’s sunbathing!”
By the end of the afternoon, Minal presents each member of the family with a painting of the female koel. And at teatime, we hear the couple singing to each other again.