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 )