The house sparrow is the first bird that every child encounters. In India the special relationship that we share with house sparrows is reflected in the Hindi name for the bird- chidiya*, which is also the Hindi word for bird.
20th March is now celebrated as the World House Sparrow Day because house sparrow numbers are declining across the globe. As I watched the sparrows become comfortable in the few square feet that was the balcony of our home in Bombay it seemed unthinkable to imagine a time when no sparrows will visit our houses. What a sad world that would be.
*the other Hindi name for house sparrows is gauraiya.