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September 02, 2014

The bird who thought he was not...

I have a cousin who (unlike me) is a great lover of animals. Don't get me wrong. I like animals too, but from a safe distance. The moment they are at arms length or closer, I just freeze both physically as well as mentally!
However, what I like doing is listening to their owners speak about them. I would love to know what biscuits you feed your dog or what shampoo you use to bathe him. I would be very much interested in his eccentric quirks and adorable antics, his vet appointments and other stories that you would so excitedly rattle off. But ask me to give him a pat on the head or a rub on his belly, and I'd run for the hills. I guess I'm more theoretical like that.

So when I visited my cousin's place, I had mentally prepared myself to expect a friendly mongrel yapping his tail, trying to chew at my chappals, or a furry feline purring away angrily at me for sitting on its favorite couch. My cousin had recently moved into a new apartment, and being the pet lover that he is, I had braced myself for the terrorizing panic attack I was bound to receive at his place.

But surprise of all surprises, when I entered his house, I was relieved to see no trace of any four legged creature around. I just could not believe it.
Still looking all over (without making it too obvious ofcourse), I confirmed that no one was hiding...no mad scheming cat, no over friendly salivating dog. There was no one. Good sense finally prevailed. My cousin had moved on from his emotional hangover of animal love. God was being kind to me. There was no reason for me to be terrified anymore, I thought.

Just then, I heard a squawk, "Mitthoo". Then another one, this time louder, "Mitthoo Mitthoo,"

My head would have done an almost 360 degree turn (somewhat like the ghost in 'The exorcist') in the direction of the voice, when suddenly I saw my cousin grinning at me, tongue in cheek.

"Meet the recent member of the family," he said, and pointed towards an open drawer.
It took me a while to focus to where he was pointing. He switched on the overhead fluorescent bulb and the corridor lit up revealing a green winged something perched comfortably on an open cabinet drawer.
I screeched, almost twice as loud as the parrot.What if the excited loon flew and perched on my head instead?

It was then that my cousin told me Mitthoo's story. Apparently, there was nothing to worry. Mitthoo was a bird with an identity crisis.
Found almost lifeless under a tree when he was just a baby, my cousin's wife, who was herself a child back then, had given it food and brought him home to shelter it from the predator cobra that had eaten its entire family. Unaware of any kin of its own, poor Mitthoo grew up with humans all his life, not realizing even once that he was any different. Having missed out on the entire stage of fledging, gliding along slopes and walking on two feet was the most natural way of getting from one place to another. He didn't know any better than that.

My cousin's wife told me that Mitthoo would from now on be living with them. I could understand her sentiments. The story, however, had caught my intrigue. Ofcourse I was relieved as well, now there was no need to worry about Mitthoo swooping over my head and scaring the day lights out of me.
But it also got me wondering about him. I felt bad for the poor creature. This silly old bird would not fly away even if his cage door was left wide open...not because he didn't want to...but because he didn't know he could.

On a slightly tangential thought, I could not help compare us humans with Mitthoo.
How many times do we refrain from attempting something only because we are not aware of our capabilities?
How many dreams have we disposed off thinking that it's silly to even hope that big?
Don't we all find it safer to walk in baby steps, even when the truth could perhaps be that we are born to fly?
I looked at the parrot as my cousin carefully picked him up from the perch and placed him in his cage. It was his meal time. The cage was his home, and he felt safe and happy there.

I glanced at the open window and smiled. Mitthoo would never know what he was missing!


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P.S: Hope you all had a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi!! May Ganpati Bappa guide us, protect us and bless us to reach our maximum potential!!

4 comments:

Nez said...

I agree with what you have said here.We humans are sometimes like this bird.How often do we even try to venture outside our comfort zone?(our cage?)
And that stems from our fear of the unknown.
Often we don't even know we are doing this.Your post got me thinking about how many times i may have held back and not tried something new just because i wasn't sure about myself.
You have got great insight into the human mind. Keep up the good work.

Red Handed said...

Ah..so much to learn from this post and that one bird.
We need to realize our true potential..but then again, it is the people around us who shape us into who we are. We need to be extraordinary to be rebels.

pri said...

@ Nez
Thanks Neha!

pri said...

@ Red Handed
True. But if we want different results, we ought to do something different.
An extra ordinary life happens when we add that 'extra' bit to the ordinary! :)