Friday, February 24, 2012

The Cycle

Sajit M. Mathews 
Blackie was just out of the nest when his girl friend Golda came round and rubbed her beak on his neck. He felt so happy and energized that morning. It seemed an easy opening to the day. Dew and cold wind were taking an early leave that day. ‘Crows are a privileged race. We can see everything around,’ thought Blackie as he looked at Golda’s beautiful eyes.
As horizon made itself visible under the orange red sky, a thousand stories took off their flight into life. Blackie knew he had a long and interesting day ahead. He had to go around hunting for food and stories. Most of those stories used to amuse him very much.
One such story was taking off in John’s house too. Yes, Blackie could see John’s house from his nest. That little house is painted peach-puff. How cute a house it is! Golda came near him and asked, “what are you looking at?” Blackie said, “Ah! Look at you; you are interested in having a look at John. Let us go and see.” Golda was interested and enthused. She liked human kids. Once she has even fed a child with what she gathered! Both of them flew to John’s house.
John is a little kid. He’s only 8 years old. Of course he is a cute child. His smile has powers to take you off your feet and throw you into the sweetest of smiles. “Hush, you can see him. Come, look at that window”, said Blackie.
The morning wind was blowing strong through the window into the house. The window curtain flutters in a jolly rhythm. We can see glimpses of John’s bed. He has covered himself with a blanket. “Oh... What is that sound? An alarm?” asked Golda. “Yes. That’s an alarm. See, John is sticking his hand out of the blanket and switching the alarm off. Haha, he must be terribly sleepy,” observed Blackie, smiling. John switched the alarm off, turned around and slept again.
Golda often wondered why human beings were so addicted to sleep. Every day, he gets up at the first ray of red on the sky, because he knows he needs to do so. These human beings! But John is a little kid. He can do so, thought Golda.
As they kept looking, they saw light coming on in his room. His mother came into the room calling him to get up. He didn’t seem to pay heed to that. Look at that! She pulled his blanket away. “Now he has to get up. Like us, he too has to go work,” said Blackie. Mother pulled him up and made him sit up on the bed. John’s face looked very sleepy. He pulled his hands up and wiped his eyes and face in an unsuccessful effort to throw his sleep away. Yet he yawned and yawned, trying to wake up! Golda was quite amused.
It was then, that he suddenly pulled out something from under his pillow. He looked at it carefully, and sleep seemed to be instantly away from him. It was a little toy cycle. Sitting with that toy in hand, he looked up to see the wall. There was a big poster of a cycle on the wall. He looked at it. There was a mysterious smile on his face when he did so. He got up from his bed, put the toy cycle on the cupboard along with other toys and went to the toilet.
Golda thought about what human life meant after all. They are so mechanic and calculative. What fun do they have? Always doing the same things in a boring way. Why can’t they follow their instincts and be happy like crows? She was awakened from her thoughts by the slamming of a door. John is out of his bath, wrapping himself in a towel. He got ready wearing his school uniform. This is the only thing Golda liked about human kids. They all look alike when at school.
Blackie and Golda had to change their positions to get a vision of John when he came out of his room into the dining room. His mother was there preparing something for him to eat. That was something both Blackie and Golda did not like. They ate dry bread with some colour pasted on that! ‘That would be the last resort for us,’ said Golda.
Mother was serving him with sandwiches. John was not so happy and energetic today. He went around with gloomy face as if something grave went wrong. His mother urged him to eat well, but he was not so happy to do so. Mother noticed this. She too had a mysterious smile on her face.  He got up from his table without finishing what was given. So mother had to force him to drink some milk. Golda told Blackie that they would love their children in the same manner. Blackie smiled at her.
Now John was ready to leave home with his bag stuffed with books. Mother added to the weight, by giving him his lunch. Blackie and Golda flew to a tree to get better view of John getting out of home. He gloomily waved to his mother, who rushed in soon after he left. Humans- they always hurry, reflected Blackie.
John was walking on the way, head down- still gloomy about something. He often felt something in his pocket. Golda felt curious about what was in his pocket. So next time he took it out, she took a close flight and discovered that it was the same toy cycle he took out from under his pillow. “So that’s what he is gloomy about” thought Golda. She has seen many kids becoming extremely happy and excited about riding those two wheeled vehicles which they called cycles. It looked quite funny, but kids liked it very much.
Near the street coffee shop, John saw a cycle parked on the road side and was much attracted to it. He went near it and was admiring it. He closed his eyes as if he is dreaming of something. Just then, his friends passed that way on cycles, shouting at him to hurry to school. John looked at his watch and rushed to school.
He was late to class. Golda couldn’t control her laughter when John responded to attendance call from the door. If Blackie hadn’t rebuked her, she would have made hell of a noise near John’s class room. In the class too, John wasn’t a happy and naughty kid like others.
Golda admired the rows and coloums of kids wearing uniforms. She wished to have kids like that- all in same attire. She would feed all of them one by one in rows and columns along with Blackie. Golda went deep into imagination.
She was suddenly awakened by the bell of the school, along with the hustle of children rushing out of their classes. It was the end of the class. Everyone rushed out of class, except John. He took his time to gather his things and to pack his bag. He went alone out of the class room and walked gloomily to home. How sad, thought Blackie. He wanted to console him, but he knew John won’t appreciate a crow’s consolation!
While John was walking to the gate, Blackie and Golda had to go to the school ground to hunt for a few morsels to fill their stomachs. From the morning, John was keeping them busy, so that they never found time to eat anything. Gathering a few mouthfuls, they rushed to follow John. He was walking through the same way he came. It was a sad sight to see such a cute child walking head down, sad and gloomy.
He reached the coffee shop. He could see people coming out of the coffee shop talking and happily walking. He stopped to look at that. Blackie and Golda sat on top of a tree and were watching him. Out of the blue, someone came from behind and picked John up. Blackie was alarmed. But Golda told him to cool down, “it’s his mother.” Blackie let out a sigh of relief. Last week he had seen another child like John being taken away like this. It was a horrific incident. They took that child and mutilated it in a dark room outside the city. The child was screaming in pain. He hated human beings for that. He didn’t even share that incident with Golda, as she won’t be able to bear such a story.
“Look Blackie, they are going into the coffee shop” said Golda. Blackie saw that both John and his mother were inside the shop, sitting on a table facing each other. Mother was asking something to John. But John wasn’t in a happy mood to answer her. It would be difficult for any mother to see her child like that, thought Golda.
Mother ordered coffees for both of them. They were having coffee. All of a sudden, the mother got up and led John outside the shop, blindfolding him. Blackie and Golda got curious to see what is going to happen now. Mother led him to the courtyard of the shop, led him to a corner and opened his blindfold. John opened his eyes to see a cycle- all decorated and shining. He couldn’t understand what the meaning was. He looked back at his mother. She smiled and gave a nod. John went near the cycle and was amazed to see a tag hanging on it with these words on it, “for my little sweet heart, John.”
John couldn’t control his joy. His eyes were full. He turned to his mother and embraced her in joy. Both were so happy to be in each other’s arms. Golda pecked on Blackie’s face and said, “Blackie, I love this moment.” Blackie’s eyes were filled. He kissed her beak and said, “Golda, that’s love. What flows from their eyes- that’s love.” They looked at the mother and John for a few moments and flew into the sky.
Gold looked down to see the John and his mother still in the embrace. She felt so happy. Blackie felt that the day was so fruitful that they could witness such a sweet story. They flew up into the sky, carrying the love John and his mother shared outside the coffee shop. As they flew up, they could see the setting sun drawing beautiful patterns in the sky. Blue and orange and red. Blackie looked at Golda in love. She winked her eyes, feeling her little ones inside her. They added to the palette drawn by the sun on the sky, as they flew high into the sky.

-----THE END-----