Mushtaque B Barq

Invitation that served but none

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How implausible! A Dove gets incitement from the Jungle Crows.  Colours matter not! Maybe and may not be. I cannot judge for being colour blind for few reasons. To me, all the birds on the soil look alike. But under the canopy of azure vast, they bring into being their bona fide facade.  Truly so, everything looks bright under the scorching sun. Once the vapours takeover, drapers camouflage. The same bird on the limb of a pomegranate tree looks stunning and on the heap of garbage a scavenger. What makes these flying machines incredible is not the ‘reach’ and ‘flight’, but the art of beating the wings in the direction of the wind for safe landing. Landing is all that matters. On a feeble bough, they have every chance to fumble. Choosing a Chinar branch means a firm clenching. Holding a branch and sharing the shelter is a litmus test. A Dove has to adjust its wings to let the Eagle expand its mighty feathers and in doing so the Dove is always on the receiving end. When a bird opts for the limb of different sort, the other things follow. An occasional pecking, a frequent shaking and a deliberate tossing. And it is here when an internal conflict starts. A conflict that encourages a nearby Nightingale to accompany the innocent Dove not to reconstruct the plot but to send a shiver to the rest of the birds preferring nests to open perching. This accidental intimacy serves a double-edged razor. One that the Dove has to spread its wings to shelter the Nightingale and the other the Nightingale has to adjust its melody to suit the Dove. The day the same Nightingale betrays its old bard, the Dove shrinks its wings to expose the Nightingale before the predator. So safety of the Nightingale lies in the mood of Dove and any mood swing means serving a hot plate of freshly fried breast pieces.

Birds are peculiar at least when their companion falls. These flying contraptions occupy live wires and rooftops to mourn. But then a sweeper clams them and chases them for his own safety. It so happens, at times few loyal birds mourn much and follow the sweeper not to dump the dead bird. Their sense of loss seems beyond the rhyme of the bard. How is that these bards manages to assemble the words to make the human eye wet. A secret they only know. Maybe they know the language of the birds. The Dove may not visit the bough as often as the Nightingale, but then what makes the Pigeon flirt with the cozy Dove that prefers to perch where solitude serves better than cacophony. The Pigeon that knows where to pierce its beak also knows how this Dove can serve when the sun goes behind the blur. Colour really matters. Now that my colour blindness is no more a valid topic to discuss my shortcomings. Between the green and the white, the black marks its attendance. Thus on the same branch, three birds perch and perch for a cause. Before a migrating bird by the by finds it easy to perch on the same bough, the true colour of the Crow comes at the fore. The Pigeon looks dull and the Dove boring. These birds have learnt much from human beings. The crow knows the black magic. The magic that entices a poor migrating bird that knows nothing save to feed its crop. Thus, its own crop exposes its needs and the Crow pounces on as a marksman to grab the opportunity. Thus, a migrating bird is made to enjoy the ferocious food.

Now the Crow and the Kite with zeal and zest on that old limb of a fig tree plan to capture the rest of the birds. The crow under the spell of magic makes the migrating bird bow that in reciprocity irritates the Kite that in the heart of hearts feels inferior and to bury these embarrassing moments, leaves the branch and perches ahead of the Crow. The Crow is a clever bird. From our kindergarten to the Parliament, we have been taught that ‘Thirsty Crow’ finally quenched its thirst by dropping pebbles into the partially filled jug. The Crow sensing the insult, orders the migrating bird to fetch a piece of meat. The Kite only tosses its wings as to convey its might. The Dove on the other tree top only sighed for both Crow and Kite still rely on flesh. One snatches and the other entices. But all these birds irrespective of their cozy feathers carry down their spines only a scavenger. After an invitation from the Crow, the poor Dove once again realised that colours matter, the voices matter and above all, the choices matter a lot.

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