Mumbai, a city built upon land barely risen above the sea, a city on the edge in many senses – geological, social, political, cultural – wisely avoided by the canny Peshwas of Pune – had one of its periodic calamitous encounters with the Monsoons the other day. The world saw the gazillions of bytes dealing with stuff about all sides of it. But I also saw after what seem like ages, two sparrows, who came to sit outside my window glass to take shelter from the lashings of torrents of rain darkening the morning sky. Unlike the crows and pigeons I am accustomed to and who have a proprietorial air upon my window-sill – often boldly peeking in to read the newspaper I hold in my hands – these small, gentle beings were indifferent to me across the glass. Wet, shivering, coping, they huddled together looking out at the rain. I am told and I also believe that sparrows are losing out in the harsh survival stakes. I have also read that when sparrows go much else will go too. No wonder most of us who are not Davos apparatchiks have a fellow feeling about them. So while the atmospheric tumult and catastrophe was swirling in the sky I was rejoicing, watching them as a personal visitation, as a social factoid of solace. I sat still without turning the page of the newspaper so as not to startle them, till they flew off into the rain. Sparrows have not quite perished yet — it takes calamities to push them out of their current hideouts. That morning was a commentary on the times.