The chillness of the breeze kisses the surface of every maze leaf that wave in the air. Nights are really cold and freezing out here in the fields of Punjab. Standing out right under the open sky is quite challenging but we know it’s nearing harvest. Taking a deep breath of sigh we all brothers and sisters in the field receive the morning warm dusky rays of sun as it touches our moist dewy leaves stealing all chillness far-far away. Amidst, this home of ours, there is a cute little nest of a pair of love birds beginning their new family. You know as the new year donned in, we were chirping and dancing in the air as we attained our new heights and our tops now were sprouting the baby corns. It looks good to see them pop up. Right at this very moment, this little couple was looking for a place to nestle. They found it amidst us. Patiently, both of them brought one by one a twig in their beak and laid the foundation of their nest. It was a pleasure to see them patiently wound those twigs to finally frame it like a nest. Wonderful is their construction. I was just mesmerized to see their work of art.
Once the house was complete, she sat there and laid her first egg. Now she would spend most of her time in her nest. Only for a while she would leave and immediately come and sit on her egg. Then there was the second one. It was a blessing to see the couple preparing themselves for to make their family complete. Her partner would often go out and many a times brought some food in his beak to feed her. Many a times when she would go out he would remain and see no one comes and steals their eggs. How morning became evening seeing them caring for each other, I know not.
Days passed by and finally on one morning dusk, I heard some new voices. I looked at the couple but both of them were quiet, but little chirpy voices were there. I was also eagerly waiting to witness those little angels as they blessed them. They do bring a lot of cheer amidst us who have fostered them home in this chilly winters. Those little chirps makes us crazy to see those little eyes that have not yet opened their eyes, those broad beaks that open wide to receive the food and those skinny body without feathers. Ah! I eagerly want to see them.
I saw her arranging her feathers with her beak as if arranging in order to avoid the chilly cold breeze to penetrate through her. And trying to look through it I feel I saw small beaks peeping out which she tried to adjust so that her little ones do not freeze in this chilly cold winter. I know the weather is really cold and they want the mother’s warmth but for a glance at least I want to see those little appendages, those skinny body and those little wings without feathers. I want to see the new members of our family, the beautiful chotu-motu.
Lifting up my eyes, I saw the dawn breaking and the scintillating reddish-orange glow emerging slowly filling up the complete sky. A broad smile fills my spirit as I see the horizon enlightening inch by inch rolling from darkness to brilliant red and then reddish orange and then scintillating orange right above our head. As the sun’s rays touches our chilled leaves and stem, we feel the warmth and shrugs off all that froze within us. Heat of the sun really pulls away the sluggishness and energizes us. But today it’s special, I just don’t want to warm up but want to embrace these moments and feel the warmth of sun slowly heating the cold breeze, for our family has new members we were eagerly waiting for a while. Mere those shrilling chirps have made me so excited and eager to see my little one as if they were my own. Even though I have bored my own, there is time for them to mature but these are my children, our children too. I somehow feel they are part of me, part of us.
‘Hey guys see the moment has come, she is getting up,’ commented one of us as we were eagerly waiting for her to get up for a while from her nest.
As the sun rose high up the sky and she felt the good warmth of the sun that she finally spread her wings and flew for the moment.
‘Ah! My eyes were blessed and filled with tears as I saw those red bodied kids making little moves and more of noise, but even those noises was soothing to ears.’
I haven’t embraced those two little ones quite well that the mother and father came back with food on their beaks and those moments were just unforgetable. You know, I could see those closed eyes but wide open beaks and they putting those little worms into their wide open beaks. ‘Ah! I feel blessed.’ Once satisfied they settled comfortably and the mother back to her seat. ‘Seeing them I felt my own kids have come. It was that awesome.’
Every night we all will spread our wings and help them keep themselves warm and cozier. We would even bend to provide a protective roof. It felt like a sweet home of us all. Every dawn was full of much excitement to see our children slowly develop their feathers and now after about a month they look just like their parents. We feel so accomplished and happy to see them mature day by day. We can see how their little wings grew and now they are as big as their mother’s. The parents bring them down on the ground on their back and they walk and flip their wings and try to lift themselves up but have not succeeded to fly. Then they lift them up back to the nest. It is great fun to see one’s own kid to mature and acquire proficiency. ‘My old bones finds solace every time I see them mature.’
The owners of the field came and saw the kernels of corn mature and were happy. I heard them talk, ‘It’s ripe so when are you planning to cut.’
‘Yeah, Yeah. They are ripe. This time the harvest is pretty good. And the kernel looks pretty good. It’s time to harvest. We will do it tomorrow.’
‘How time passed, I know not and see now the most awaited time has come to pass.’
‘So, today is our last night under this open sky, the beautiful sheet of milky way donning us throughout the dark night. And we know not where we will go tomorrow. So let us sleep in peace for tonight.’
At around midnight there was great hassle-Basle. Everyone was running here and there. There were loud noise of cries and running and much of chaos. I can feel the heat. Someone has put fire to destroy us all. The flames are too strong and too hot. Every part of us is burning. They are splashing water but the destruction is already flaming. The flames are devouring like anything. They are eating us all. Oh! How are my kids? What happened to them? The smoke is covering everything. I just can’t see anything.
Before the flames reached the nest, the heat of the environment and the brilliant light of the surrounding alarmed my little perchers. Amidst the high lifting brilliant orange flames I can see the four little creatures flapping their wings flip-flip and making their journey right through the smoke into the air high up above. I was much tensed as to how to save those little ones, my babies; they even don’t know how to fly. For some time I felt why was life so mean. Those little creatures have done nothing yet they are going to die today, only because someone doesn’t want our lives. Those mean creatures. I saw them flap their wings and take flight in the air. There was no bound to my happiness. I took a sigh of relief. Even though I was going to burn down and perish, seeing them fly and escape high up the flames, right through the smokes into the horizon and into the new world of hopes and hikes, I felt something within me was fulfilled. I felt this was the best moment I ever witnessed in my life. More than my life, their life was important. Not only this much, seeing them fly and escape just at the right moment was the real blessing. Burning to ashes was not a problem for me, for I have accomplished my purpose of life and fostered my children until they matured enough to make their life a boon and a blessing for everyone. Resting in peace was never so delightful as today.
Photo By: Eric Gerhardy
This is an entry for #InnsWoods, #Artales18, A Room8 writing event. Checkout the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/artales18
The event is sponsored by Manoj Paprikar, Author of Death at Midnight by ArtoonsInn room9 publications. Manoj Paprikar is a doctor by profession and a writer at heart. Through his latest venture with room9publications, he earnestly brings forth the plight of the medical profession that affects both the healthcare providers and patients at large.
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