Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why Settle for Less

“Mama, come quickly!!" my eldest was calling in an excited voice. He wanted to show me something, I could tell from his voice, seasoned mother that I am! I rushed out to the courtyard. We have some trees with some wild fruits that are home to a large number of birds, many of them quite exotic in spring. They flock together, sometimes are solitary, taking pleasure in the succulent fruits.
Being a home bound woman in the boonies, from a big city where I had spent all of my life, I have an absolute fascination for these migratory birds. To me, they seem to be having a great deal of fun. To see the different terrains, to live with the glorious uncertainties of yet another day, to maintain the faith that a better fruit awaits them tomorrow... as they soar to unknown territories...... must be so exciting!!!
My son's excitement was justified, as the bird sitting with regal grace was really a gorgeous one. I often see birds with fluorescent yellow, orange red and green in the cool greenery. Had it not been for the presence of a big white kite entangled in the branches.... we would have missed the beauty. It had a sea green body, rust coloured wings and a jet black tail, with just a dash of fluorescent blue at the junction of the wings and the body. It was simply gorgeous!!! I marvelled at the beauty of the creature. Courageous; exotically beautiful and vulnerable. What more could you ask for...... to be spell-bound, to feel its beauty clutch at your heart.
How could its mother let him go? (It had to be a’ him’ because of the brilliant colouring.... survival of the species depended on his plumage.) And here stepped in my imagination..... this bird must have listened to stories from his grandfather about how they prepared for flight, how they fattened themselves to sustain the rigours of braving the cold winds, how to use the sun for directions, to determine their flight path. Did they romanticise their adventures like we humans do, forgetting all the trials and tribulations of such travels?!? This one looked like a love bird. Did it travel at night- which holds it's own perils- to elude the birds of prey? Would he pay the price by losing his life for this adventure?
Didn't he get tired of endlessly roaming? Will it miss the young ones, the sick ones and the old ones left behind? As a child, I would lie looking at the clouds scudding by and dreaming of being able to soar the infinite sky like a hawk, to never, ever land, to be able to see the snow queen and find incredible adventures and endless treasures.
Migration, it is said, is a step in evolution born of necessity for survival and not for better pastures in lower animals. Animals keep moving till their needs are satisfied, and return home when they know conditions are favourable. Are we humans like this? We, the supposedly higher animals, move for greener pastures in life, and more often than not never return. Why not instead, transform the place of birth to what we want it to be like? Is this thought regressive? Or simply a tougher option?? Is it settling for less? Humans are the only migratory being to have this option of being in control of his surroundings with the ability to change it. The migratory birds after all never have a place to call home. We certainly do.
So make a difference. Don't settle for less.

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