Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Caged Love

This dates back to 1993 when I was staying at Tapovan, a sleepy residential colony at Malad, Bombay. For the past few years I had been putting up tough resistance to Jeet's efforts towards bringing home a pair of parrots until we reached Tom's house one day, whom we had gone to wish belated Diwali greetings. There she found it - a lovely pair of green winged creatures kept in a cage. She jumped with joy and for next hour and a half she was rattling off various words which she wanted them to repeat. But the poor little things only looked back at her helplessly winking their small beady eyes. Since the family was planning to visit their native place during Christmas, so Tom, impressed by Jeet's liking of the birds, suggested that she could take them home and take care of them during their absence. Jeet promised that when they would get back from their holidays she would have taught the creatures many words and phrases. Nancy suggested that we could keep the pair permanently in case we wanted and I silently concluded that two more living beings were going to be added to our family of four.

That day onwards the trio - Jeet, Sartaj and Dilraj- stopped watching TV and would spend hours sitting near the cage pronouncing different names and words but the birds would respond with occasional flutter of their wings now and then. The lady of the house religiously fed them and cleaned their cage at regular intervals. " Why don't you also attempt to make them talk? They may respond to the male voice perhaps", Jeet suggested to me. I tried whistling to them two three times which they reciprocated by shifting their position on the aluminum perch turning their backs towards me. They would always look out towards the big 'peepal' tree on the hillock which was just opposite our balcony. " They have behaved like that because you don't love them. You never attend to their feeding or cleaning etc.", came the usual nag. But in fact I really loved those creatures and I was looking for some opportunity to demonstrate my love for them.

One day I mustered up some courage and called my wife and kids to the balcony where these guests had been provided accommodation. I opened the shutter of the cage and waited for some time. Before any of them could utter a word, the bird couple took off one after the other making a bee line for the 'peepal' tree. For a few moments our house bore unprecedented silence. What had I done ! In the first place I had failed to make the feathered animals talk and now by this act I had snatched the power of speech of the three social animals sitting in front of me looking at me in shocked condition. If I was to watch that expression on their faces for a few more seconds I would have jumped out of the balcony to bring back the birds. But to my relief soon we heard sharp squeaks coming from the ' peepal ' tree. The sight of the two birds chasing each other around the tree giving out loud shrill sounds brought back the smiles to the faces of all of us.

Though the sounds that the birds were making had nothing in common to the language that we wanted them to learn but it certainly sent home the message that " the cage is not a house for the loved one."


Capt N.S.Bisht said...

Nice writeup Balli. Keep it up !! Truly - if you love something - SET IT FREE.

Balli said...

Yes and if it comes back to you , it is yours.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Mr Balvinder Singh, a cage can never be the home for a loved one!!! I wish more of us understood this and stopped caging birds and animals :(

Balvinder Singh said...

Thanks IHM, i never thought that soemone will read my older posts but your post on the subject forced me to lead you here.