The Flightless Bird

Birds are such marvellous creatures, don’t you think? This week I have been ill. A clogged nose, blocked ears, itchy throat, and an overall muddled brain have kept me down. And I did what I do in such circumstances – read. This time I read a favourite – The Secret Garden! Little Mary is so entranced by the little Robin in the book. The wee bird with its bright red breast, flitting about watching the children be children. Of course, readers loved the robin as much as his friends.

There are birds of a different kind as well. Ones whose flight capabilities do not depend on wing span or hollow bones. These birds take shape in our minds, I call them dreams. Not the ones that you have when you sleep, mind! These are the ones you conjure when you are fully sentient, at your best cognitive self. Dreams that fuel your ambitions and goals.

Long ago, in the ancient times of when I was in college, dear friend and fellow blogger Rahul and I had a conversation. It’s this conversation that prompts me to write this. We were both preparing to study further. Attending classes and taking up exams simultaneously. There were a few others as well in our batch who were travelling in the same boat. Some of us wanted to pursue a management degree, while the others wanted to specialise in engineering itself.

Of those who were trying to get into management institutes, Rahul and I were amongst that number. The lot of us had a list of colleges to apply and ones we would prefer and ones that were our back up plan. The institute coaching us would conduct tests and grade us based on our performance. The list was a country wide one and we were quite serious about it. I had made it to the top 50 in the country a few times and figured I could get into a good college if things went fine.

Rahul often said that I had ambitions that did him proud. And he wished me well and helped me at times to make those dreams of mine come true. But it was not to be.

You see, once you give these exams, you need to apply to colleges that admit students based on the exam score. So like a dutiful daughter I went and asked for money to apply for these colleges. Unfortunately, I was told that money was not to be wasted on applications. For a minute, I honestly heard my dreams and ambitions come crashing down around me. Then, of course, I went off fuming and cried myself to sleep for a few nights.

Birds can fly, some birds can’t. That is because they’ve adapted and become penguins or ostriches. My dreams that I used to let fly high, the ones that I pursued relentlessly, couldn’t fly when the time came because there was no air beneath its wings. And no bird can fly in vacuum.

I started writing this post a fortnight ago. Wondering if I must write it or not. But being sick makes you think. And this was a decade old incident that I thought of. I still haven’t the mind, the strength or the courage to pursue that dream of mine. Because once bitten twice shy!

However, now that I look around me, this ‘wasting money on applications’ seems to be applicable to only me and not to anyone who was junior to me in my family. I wonder if those whom I call my family will ever not be subjective.

Anyway, that is all in the past, may be some day I shall conjure up another bird. Make it fly as high as I want and relish that flight. Hope, dear friend, is a good thing!

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