Introduction

A sound in the quiet forest alerts a mother bulbul who is afraid for her little ones. An episode portraying a mother’s care and her fears.

About the Author

Padma Sachdev born on 17th April 1940 is a prominent Dogri poet and short story writer. Her writings have given a new facelift to Dogri literature. She has written about women related subjects, nature and human emotions. She was awarded the 1971 Sahitya Academy Award for her collection of poems Meri Kavita, Meray Geet.

Theme

A mother’s love for her children is the subject of the poem. Fear and despair pervade the atmosphere. It’s a tug-of-war between a mother’s love for herself and her children.

Stanza I

In the fearful silence of the forest
I hear
The sound of paws
Of a careful bulbul
Out in the night shaking the feathers on his head
To find food for its four little ones,
Hungry in the nest.

In the eerie forest silence, a bulbul carefully sets out with a determination to find something to feed its little ones, that await her in the nest. Although the bulbul herself is not a very strong bird, the mother’s intuition gives her the power to set out and seek food for her babies.

Stanza II

Moving slowly, afraid,
its ears pricked to pick
some sound somewhere
with a grain in its beak
it hastens to the nest
its twittering fledglings do not know
the forest is in the throes of fear
they continue chirping.
The bulbul trembles
Moves with his head raised
Alert, all ears.

She moves with hesitance as she is scared of the dark and daunting forest. Her stance is alert as she tries to hear any sound that sparks fear. With grain in her beak, she hurries to her nest’s safety and her babies’ welcoming chirps. Her little ones unaware of the lurking darkness and dangers of the forest continue to contently chirp. 

Stanza III

Suddenly there is a sound of wheels
The sound of dry leaves crackling
The sound rising and subsiding
The bulbul hides itself in the bushes.
It sees
A bullock cart laden with goods
Bullocks moving by themselves
Heads down
The driver asleep, snoring
Eyes covered with the end of his turban

There is a sudden noise, the sound of wheels speeding, crushing the leaves as they dominate their path. The bulbul seeks refuge in a bush and searches for the source that has broken the silence. It watches as a bullock cart laden with goods emerges, led by burly bullocks and a reckless driver.

Stanza IV

What if the cart stumbles!
The cart drivers’ hookah overturns!
The forest catches fire!
It imagines the forest on fire
Wishes to run towards its nest
To save its young ones
But cannot lift its legs
Out of fear.

The poor bulbul mother can not help but wonder with panic about all the tragic events that would follow if the unsupervised cart stumbled and the hookah overturned. The place they call home would be set ablaze. This thought terrifies the mother and she wishes to run and protect her young ones, but her fear overpowers and the frightened bulbul’s legs are restrained by intangible chains of her angst thus immobilising her.