Flight Downwards

Right from my childhood days, I was an animal lover, I loved pets and had tried my hand in tending all kinds of pet animals. I had a dog, whose accidental death some twenty five years ago, still makes me feel low. We had cats, tried to pet a tortoise, though unsuccessfully, had been maintaining an aquarium since 1995. Like a failed smoker, trying to quit his smoking habits, every time the fish die, i resolve to stop bringing new fishes and dispose off the tank, for the amount of time involved in maintaining the tank. I succeed in my effort, but only for few weeks and i end up buying new fishes again. The shopkeeper grinningly said last time that this was a hobby that you cannot leave halfway.

So last week when a pair of pigeons, made the empty flowerpot near my window, their home, I was not going to shoo them away. My wife and kid too did not have any objection for these unlawful trespassers  Their unique sound sometimes irritated though.

One fine morning my wife broke out the good news, she said that the new residents were going to be parents. The female dove had laid an egg. I did not react much though. My kid and wife were visibly happy though. As days passed by the mother would sit over the egg all round the day, the father would do the job of bringing in food for the mother. Sometimes, I would see, that mother fly away for food, water etc and the father would do the job of the mother. How, nature has taught these animals to tend for, to care for their loved ones!!  Sometimes, to make their job a bit easy, i would throw pieces of bread near the flower pot so that they could eat it. But as i would go to do the noble deed, the pigeon would try to bit my hand thinking that i was going to hurt her.

Then on one another morning, my wife again broke the good news that the pigeon had broke open the shell of the egg and a baby pigeon was born!! Wow how happy we all were to see the new entrant in our extended neighborhood   It was soft, it had hairs all over and in no way looked like a pigeon. It was very weak and was all the day through covered under the wings of dutiful parents.

The pigeon was now about 10-15 days old and was looking quite healthy. The mother would now leave it alone for sometime and go away in hunt of food, water. It would carry back some portion of it for the baby though. The pigeon now was trying to use its wings. It was trying to explore the big world outside the flowerpot. The small flowerpot, which was of no use to us, was its home, its birthplace.

That Wednesday, on 24th of October, it was a closed holiday for us, being a Dassehra, our festival of Shimolanghan, where, during olden ages, the farmers would sharpen their swords and join the armies and set out for expeditions, on this very day.  I had no expedition to carry, so i was laying on the bed, anyways it was just around 7.00 am in the morning, and almost in a haste, my wife ran from the kitchen and came to me and woke me up and told me to run down on the ground floor, the baby pigeon had fell down!!!  It tried to fly that day,  may be it was too much confident, may be it was too early for him to make such a daring attempt, the flight from second floor flower pot into the high skies only ended the poor soul crash landing into the hard concrete floor. I ran down, to help the poor bird, but, it was not such a good scene to witness, the bird was almost breathing its last breath by the time i reached, very hardly did it moved his neck, i sat down, tried to pick it up to see that its body was almost dead, and had no hopes of surviving. My wife was watching all the scene from the window.  I shook my head in pessimism, she understood, i walked back to my house, it was a very bad start to the festival that morning.  The parents of the dove were restless that day, at around 8.00 am both the pigeons almost entered my living room, it sat on the window grills and looked at me with hope, as if they were urging me to do something, they were perhaps hoping against the hope, but, by now, the little bird had already left them and flew miles and miles away from them, never to return back. I almost muttered to them, sorry guys, there is nothing much left to do. The birds flew away. Again went near that flowerpot.  That whole the both the pigeons made many strange sounds.  That morning we all were sad. I felt very bad, to say the least.

How may times, do we see dead birds, animals, lying on the streets, never did i feel that sort of closeness, that i felt with this little Bird. May be because, i witnessed its birth, a kind of unknown relation, a bonding had developed.  No,  I did not even ever touch it, fed it, but still it managed to become part of our family.  The next day,  I removed the flower pot from the place, so that the pigeons, may not repeat their earlier mistake again.

Four five days have passed, but, the incident has hurt me deeply, today, after grueling day’s chores, i returned from Pune and slept, but suddenly, I happened to remember the poor little bird and i almost lost my sleep, only to end up scribbling this piece of article.

RIP the unnamed little dove, god bless your soul.

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The Mad Mad Race…

Next Day a driver reports for duty, after performing long gruesome duty last night, he asks for a short distance trip. He was denied the same. The driver walks away, boards an empty bus and just zooms it away, he drives on the wrong way, kills around eight innocent people, damages countless number of private & government vehicles, the police gives him a chase. His madness stopped only when he was stucked up in a snarling traffic jam in a narrow street.

After inquiry, it was found that the normal looking man, who performed his duties well for last twelve long years suffered from psychiatric problems, he was undergoing treatment which he left halfway down. This real incident happened some 10-12 days before at Pune, near Mumbai. The incident was first of its kind on this side of the planet, we hear about such cases quite often in the west, stories of mindless people going on shooting spree, killing hapless people. In one case i remember a shooter killing school kids in school. This forces me to think, are we all not, ticking human time bombs, waiting to explode ???

Sometimes, i feel, we all are mad !! the degree to qualify may vary, which in turn gives us a label of being a normal sane person. But somewhere deep down, we all are insane. Some mad after achieving some goals, some mad for gaining more and more richness, some mad for other worldly pleasures, some to please their egos. But mad, we all are, to some extent. We wisely cover our madness and label it as career oriented, upward mobility and other fantastic terms. But the madness is the same. Sorry, if somebody feels offended, mad that i am 🙂

Yes, a bit of  madness is required, but it should be to a certain extent.  This madness made Albert Einstein, Albert Einstein. This madness made Newton, a Newton.  Your Madness should be your motivating factor,  it should not be a depressing one.

We all carry a loads of anxiety, worries,  frustrations with us.  The world may see a very clean, sauve, sombre face of us, but beneath the mask lies real us. Modern life, and the demands of it, have only worsened the story. Has’nt it ? We all are running an endless mad mad race, a race which has no end, race to achieve targets, race to earn more, earn more for our better future, better future at the cost of losing our present.

Has this recklessness and stress not resulted in increased incidents of heart troubles in our youth. Youths in their prime are dying of sudden heart attack. Leaving behind their uncherished and unfulfilled dreams of a better tomorrow. Some fifteen twenty years ago the deaths of youngsters due to heart ailments were unheard of, surely these twenty years gap coincides with the liberalization of economy that government has undertaken. The situation becomes even more critical in developing country like ours, without much backup systems, the public health system is in disarray, the psychological health of a person is never even given a passing thought. Like in the case of the reckless driver above, the organization, a huge public transport organization accepted that they had no systems in place to check the mental fitness of their employees. Coupled with the fact that people find it very unacceptable to visit a psychologist. A belief most people carry is that only mentally unstable people need to see them.

Life has become more stressful, we don’t get time for ourselves, time to sit for a while, time to pause, enjoy smaller joys of life. I remember one gentlemen travelling in our train compartment quite often. He was a hefty gentleman, well dressed in formals with tie and would stand somewhere, and would travel very silently, but all of a sudden he would start talking to himself and it seemed that he was undergoing some very huge level of stress in his office, he would talk about office, targets, would plead apology to boss, and would talk in a way as if he is in conversation with someone. If a fellow traveller, touched him or asked him what was wrong, he would again get normal, but only for a while.

Are such people not a ticking bomb. For they carry with them their world, world that is not so rosy after all…

So be mad my friend, but, be mad for good and do press that Pause button for a while.