Saturday, March 26, 2011

But, He Flew.

He flew into our house and sat on our big guava tree on an early Sunday Morning. To taste the sweetest guavas which he will ever taste. Little did he know, that it will be his last meal with freedom. For a long time. We captured it. Somehow. That, he was just a young, growing up, parrot did not help his cause. We had him in a makeshift wooden cage, by the time my father asked someone to go to the market and buy a proper one. The cage with thin iron bars. We waited for the cage to come. And he waited. Confused. Afraid. If he was angry, he did not show. The cage came soon enough. He was transferred to his new home. He protested by flurrying its wings. But it was too little an effort to cause any stir in our hearts.

He did create quite a stir in our home. I love pets. So, naturally, I was super excited. And so were my two younger siblings. He was the apple of our eye. Almost every waking minute was spent either with him or with his thoughts. We used to question papa - Is he comfortable? Is this food enough? Is the water fresh? Should we give him more green chillies? Seeing him eat was a great delight for us. The cage was hanged high enough to not give the cats any chance. We named him Mithu. We all tried to teach him to speak our names. But, Mithu took the liking to my sister's name - Minni.

One Month went by. He was learning fast. He could easily pronounce Minni and would repeat it every time mummy or papa called my sister. It was such a pleasure seeing him grow. Then one day, papa took the cage and brought it in a room. He closed all the doors and windows. Papa wanted to see if he could still flew. Slowly, he opened the door of the cage. After a lot of hesitation, Mithu came outside. We all stood in a circle, to not let him any room to escape. But, Mithu did not try anything. If at all, he seemed to be at ease. He walked a few steps, with pride. He climbed to our tiny hands and shaked its head in approval. It was so invigorating to see him making connection with us. He truly liked us. And we all loved him. After about 10 mins, experiment ended as we took Mithu in our hands and directed him back to where he belonged. His cage.


We became bolder day by day. He was growing up very well and at the same time, it looked like, he had forgotten how to fly. He never made any attempt to escape. Sometimes, we took him outside twice a day. On other days, thrice, if papa was not around. An uncle came one day to meet my father. As the elders talked, I said, 'uncle, have you seen Mithu? He does not fly even if we take him outside his cage. He is so good'. And without even waiting for papa's permission, I went and brought the cage into the room. It was showtime. My showtime. Papa said nothing. I gently pulled the opening gate and with my hand, asked Mithu to come out. And he did. See uncle, he will not fly. See. See for yourself. He will just walk around. Take him in his hand, uncle. He will not bite. He is very good. I took him in his hand to show this. Then I opened my hand to release him back to the ground. And THEN, HE FLEW. With an effortless swing of his wings, he went high and high to the highest part of the room. The ventilator. And before we could recover and act, he was gone. Into the open sky. Away from his jail. Away from our lives. Never to be seen again. Never to be heard again. As unexpectedly, as he had arrived. It was a shock to my heart. How can he do this. I thought he liked us. We all loved him. He will come back. So, we thought. We imagined, that we will go to the roof and he will be waiting for us there, sitting on the gauva tree again. Ready to come to our arms. His cage. But, he did not.


It took a while to realise that what just happened was in his best interests. Birds are meant to fly. It was awfully wrong of us to cage him. He was waiting for the right opportunity. He showed immense patience, all the time he was here. He waited for his wings to develop. To become stronger. As soon as we took him out for the first time, he knew he had a chance. He had got an opening. But he had to play his cards well. He had to show us that he did not want to escape. Perhaps, he did like us. But, he knew, that this was not his home. This was not, what he was supposed to do. He knew his destiny. And he knew the time when he had to shun patience and take a decisive action.

A lesson in life. Which I learnt that day. If only, I could see that opening as clearly as Mithu saw that day. And I would fly too. Someday.

(Though, without playing with anybody’s emotions and matters of heart. J )

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Happens. Sadly.

Rush Hour for Office. People waiting for Metro to come at the station. Lots of People. A Girl is descending the stairs from the other side. Talking on her mobile. Her mind slipped. And her leg too. One false step and she comes crashing down from the last 3-4 stairs. Her bag is thrown. Her mobile split in parts. She is on her knees at the bottom of the stairs. May be she is hurt. May not be too bad. May be she is in pain. But, of the 60 odd people waiting for the metro, nobody moves. The only flexing of the muscles is of the neck. That moves for everyone. They turn and stare. One girl is barely a meters away from her, typing something on her phone and she sees the girl, waits and then continues on her phone. Says nothing. Does Nothing. Ditto for all others who are nearer to her.I walk the few metres and go to her and ask,'are you OK?'. She looks up and says, she is fine and then lifts herself. Slowly. Picks her bag. Picks her mobile and its parts. Gets up. Goes to the platform and then waits for the train to come. Then, all heads turn back. Everything normal.
On another day, a blind man was making his way out of the metro station. Feeling the path ahead with his stick. I was few meters behind him and could see people passing him and on their way without noticing. I admit I would have done the same, if I had not seen him almost crashing himself to the wall ahead. There were lots of people near him, but no one reached him and held his hand. I ran and caught him just in time and guided him towards the stairs.
Inaction. But due to what? Too busy to notice? Unwilling to notice? Too late to reach somewhere? Why do we hesitate first before extending help? I do not know, if it is just a big city problem, but definitely, being 'too pre-occupied' with ourselves has been on the rise in the mega cities. It may have something to do with 'not trusting the strangers', but how can we forget, that in the begining everyone was a stranger to everyone. If we had not talked to strangers at first, we would not have made any friends. Virtually, 'arranged-marriages' are meeting of two strangers and hoping they would not 'self-destruct'.
At Gaya station (my hometown), at Platform No 1, on the pillars supporting the structure, are written some of the classic lines mentioned by Gautam Budha. (Not surprising, since Buddha found enlighment at Bodhgaya*,a mere 8 kms from where I live). I do not remember every sentence which is written, but the one which I remember profoundly is -
'agar jiska dukh ho, wahi dur kare, to haath ka dukh pair kyun nahi dur karta?'
Do I need to explain more?
Very recently, My papa met with a very serious accident (head on collision between 10 tyre dumper and bike). Without going into the details, by the looks of it, he is very very lucky to survive, let alone getting away without any head injury or fracture. And lot of credit goes to the hundred of locals, who wasted no time in looking and staring. They found help, rescued my dad who was stuck between the road and the tyres. Took him aside, called a local doctor. And I can not thank them enough. But, surprisingly, in big cities, standing and staring is what we all seem to do, unless the nearest traffic police comes and they do some more looking and then deciding what to do.
We were definitely not like this. Is our new found glamor, money, development making us insensitive inside? Is increasing our standards of living eating our ethics? How can we even imagine to get our country free of ills, when we can not even stretch hand to lift someone who has fallen from stairs?
In our quest to ascend the ladder of development, we might have left something crucial, down below. I hope, its still not too late, to sit down and pull that ingredient up and put it where it belongs. Our Heart.
Kisi ki muskurahaton pe ho nisar
Kisi ka dard mil sake to le udhaar
Kisi ke waaste ho tere dil mein pyaar
Jeena isi ka naam hai
I am not implying that I am without any faults. At times, numerous times, I have hesitated. Have Not done things, when action was required. But, still, I am not stone. We do not have to be dead inside. To Live Outside.
*Travel Promotion for Bodhgaya - Its a wonderful Place. Absolutely wonderful. Coming from a person, who has traveled a bit, you can take my word for it. :D
Enough of serious posts. Next blog coming up on my favorite topic. Travel. :P

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cry-Baby

When we are kids, we want some things. We may not always justify why, but we still want it. Just for the love of it. And if we do not get it, me make noise. Lots of it. Like the world is falling. Tears come down unheralded. Sobs persistent. But why? Just because, we can not comprehend why we can not have something which we truly want. It happened with me once as well. But, the thing for which I cried was not really a thing. It was not a toy or an extra slice of chocolate. So, instead of trying to explain it, let me just describe the incident in a way as well as I can remember.

I had just started going to school. My parents had enrolled me to a one named Sarvoday Sishu Niketan, which was barely 5 mins walk from my home. I was a well behaved kid (and still am ;) ). My parents had not much trouble in trying to convince me to go to school. And since I started attending school fairly early, I think, I was not more than 5 at that time. A lady used to come to my house daily in the morning and used to take my hand and would take me to the school along with half a dozen other kids. It was so simple. Come to the house, take my hand and off to school. Papa would leave for office soon after seeing me happily go. Until one day..

The lady was a bit late in coming to my house. Unususl for her. So we waited. Then a time came, when waiting was not an option. So, papa said,'ok, get ready beta, I will take you to the school today.' My heart just leapt upon hearing this. During the whole process of 'picking the bag, taking the tiffin, checking the water bottle', the only thing which went through my mind was - 'papa is taking me to school.Papa is taking me to school.' Then fate intervened.

The lady came, just at the time, papa was taking my tiny hand into his. Holding it tightly, firmly, lovingly. Just in time, my papa thought with relief. Just not the right time, I thought with extreme sadness. I had so convinced myself that I will go to school with papa within seconds of hearing it from papa itself, that the thought of it not happening was beyond my simplest imagination. (At age 5, every imagination is simple. We do not know, if any imagination is wild). Papa just gave my hand to the lady to take me off. I guess, I was just too dumbstruck to protest. I did not say anything, but I think my face gave away. Papa knew that this is not right. Not at this time. He understood that he had promised me something (okay..he had not promised...but atleast I thought..that if you say something that you will do..it is as good as a promise). But office commitments forced him to abide by what he had done. As I slowly trudged away from home, towards the school, I kept looking back. Like giving papa(or mummy..) a sign that -please do not do this to me. Do not take away this chance of going to school with papa from me. I did not weep till I could see them, hoping against hope, that papa will see. He will come running and take my hand from hers and we will happily go to school. This did not happen.

As we hit the road, I could not restrain myself. I cried. A lot. I threw my arms and legs all around. I wanted to get free of her hand and run all the way back to papa. But, what physical power a 5 year old has against a mid thirties lady who is determined to take me to a school. She, who thinks, I am revolting against her small kingdom, when all I want is a little time of my papa, which I thought I had been promised and I could have got, only for this lady to come and snatch it away from me. I can still imagine her literally dragging me all the way to school, with my tiny legs brushing the rough of the road. I think, I can safely say, that I have never cried more than that day ever.

My parents knew what had happened. And they understood. And to this day, I think, they regret it at what transpired that day, and if they could change it, they definitely would. There could not have been better way to tell my parents that I have a heart which loves them. Off all the little incidents which may have happened at that time at home or in the school, I remember nothing. I do not remember the previous day or the day followed. But this incident is just etched. Never to be forgotten.

This tells me that we can derive pleasures from little things. A little attention. A genuine Thank You. A sincere Sorry. A Frank Talk. Opening your heart to someone. An innocent smile.

Still a kid. That I am. There is no one to restrain me anymore, to stop me anymore in getting what I want. But, still we can not get everything which we want. Its just that you will not see me dragging my feet on the road anymore.