Birds on wings: emblem of beauty and freedom
Meticulously garbed in all whites and a speck of reds, four in numbers they were my princes---the small birds. They looked agile and nimble throughout the day from dawn to dusk. They hum, they warble feebly in dulcet tone at the break of dawn. As the sunlight gets brighter, their sounds get louder and as the sunlight getting dimmer at the fall of dusk, their humming dwindle to a state of eloquent silence. During day time, they fly, they dance, exhibit acrobatic feat within the imposed radius they were not born to live in. They stay playful with their foods and drinks and perform lovingly to the delight of their master.
They stare innocently at their master when their master approaches them with the handful of grains of their likings. They peel them with their magical feat and gobble them with their self choreographed dance and heavenly tone of music. They take bath in their mini tub within their given radius and vibrate their feathers at immeasurable speed. They preen their feathers, roll their eyes and turn their necks in incredible precision. They desire to fly in the blue sky but had to stay contented within their given boundary. But never mind, they did never look remorse or in despair. They are born to be playful to the delight of their maser. With the change of seasons, they encounter different taste of delight and vagaries of nature. In the sweltering heat of summer day, they cool themselves in their mini bath tub and in monsoon shower they enjoy the blast of torrential pouring. In the chilly day, they sit lined-up close to each other to keep themselves warm and lively. Gusty and squally winds of norwester could not take them over.
They remain fastened with their natural strings of endurance. No matter how playful and how delightful they look like in their day to day life, their urge to come to freedom after breaking the walls of their captivity is unending. They try relentlessly from dawn to dusk for freedom. They try with their fragile beaks to destroy the insurmountable barriers of captivity, the way fabulous Gog & Megog relentlessly lick the iron-walls of their captivity till they fall asleep at night and notice in the early morning that the magical iron-wall is replenished to its original shape by a supernatural power. Princes---the birds were all together, they were playful. They were supposed to sing songs with mellifluous tone at the break of dawn at their hub in my abode.
Alas! In the morning of I found one of my Princes fallen dead. His white dressed body laid blood stained with his mutilated beak and neck at the floor of the cage. He tried perhaps for freedom with his fragile natural apparatus to break open the door of the cage where he was unluckily caught and stuck-up. He might have struggled to life and death to bail out from the trap. But unfortunately the angel of death won over him. He succumbed to his deep injury and took the shelter in the lap of goddess of death. His lasting desire to fly under the canopy of unending blue firmament with the songs of sweet melody in his voice remained unfulfilled. Only his spirit or driving force which had kept him dancing so long to our pleasure flew away for an unknown destination beyond our perception. On his death his other friends i.e. Prince, Munia and Love birds in the cage looked sombre. All of them chirped loudly presumably sang a song of elegy and to play a melancholy cry with the last post for their fallen friend.
With great sorrow and heavy mind I disposed off the blood stained body of the little Prince and soon went out of the house. Memory of the Prince was hanging around the tapestry of my mind throughout the day. Prince which could not fly freely within the iron bars of the cage perhaps would now spread his wings in another frequency level with his all-out agility and enchantment, where his physical outfit would not be needed. Death set the Prince free to fly and fly beyond the horizon without barriers. Unlike humans, the prince will not face the Day of Resurrection and the Day of Judgment either. Prince loved to live in freedom, but was denied to the pleasure of his master. Death provided him an opportunity to come to freedom without a Day of Resurrection and a Day of Judgment. A happy-go-lucky bugger indeed, was my fallen little Prince even on death. Good-bye my little Prince.
With the entertaining Prince --- the bird gone for eternal journey, I was apparently left with a cage filled in a few more birds named Prince, Munia and Love Bird. I relished their dances and humming with feelings in my sixth sense the shadow of the one who was gone. I felt the pain and trauma in the back of my mind the scene of blood-stained body of the Prince hung in iron-bar of the cage like Feleni's death body was caught and hung in the barbed-wire fence of cross-country Bangladesh-India border, a couple of years ago.
With few wild birds coming regularly near to the cage to the allurement and hope of gobbling few sprinkled out grains outside the periphery, the caged birds struggled to come to freedom with wild birds. Their vehement struggle for freedom always stood never-winning and futile. With an inexplicable remorse I have I had a late realization in mind that birds are destined to live as part of nature other than being in the cage and with that tender feelings one day, with considerable trepidation, I let the door of the cage open to set the remaining birds free to spread their wings in the horizon. With much hesitation and confusion, one but all left the cage one after another living behind their trail of captivity inside the cage for long. The one who failed to fly out had perhaps lost his inborn natural ability and skill of flying resulted from prolonged captivity inside the cage. With the trauma of unbearable pity and loneliness, he survived a few more weeks inside the cage and finally in one fateful morning I found him lying in unmitigated silence on the lap of Somnus--- the god of death. In my solitude, on a night sparkling with dancing fireflies, when I looked at the cage lying empty without humming of life I felt within myself a sense of total emptiness and fell back upon a reverie with reminiscence of playful birds in the arbour of my imagination.
As the time passes like countless waves of a running river, memories of dancing caged birds are slowly fading out. With winter now all set in amid wintry mist and morning dew drops, birds in freedom are taking new looks in shinning new feathers. Guest birds in millions have already spread their wings and set their sail traversing the skies from distant places to land at our swamps after flying and navigating a route stretching thousands of miles. They are set to make their sojourn in our land and amuse our hearts and souls as welcoming guest birds till such time our short-lived winter wanes. Their cackles and squawks, their chirping in swamp land create a savouring musical symphony in the air.
Their arrival with bringing so much of sublimity and innocence with them nevertheless prompts a section of mindless people to set traps and catch the guest birds alive for sale in the open market. Hanging them with heads upside down, captured birds are seen being sold to other band of heartless people for containing their culinary lust and greed despite the fact that catching, buying and selling of guest birds is banned in the country. Birds are gifts of nature. They are the prized citizens of mother-earth without borders. They are not subject to be weighed and measured in terms of mundane objects, nor should they be caged or killed wantonly. They are the symbols of freedom that we all cherish about. Let the birds live in freedom and add extra hues to the sublime beauty of nature to our greater happiness and bliss. English poet Shelley wrote: Hail to thee, blithe spirit!/Bird thou never wert,/That from heaven, or near it. /Pourest thy full heart/In profuse strains of unpremeditated art."
The writer is a former civil servant