The day after Makar Sankranti, (the Indian festival that marks the end of winter and celebrates the sun’s new journey, where people fly kites and wear colourful clothes)
When all that was left of the colourful kites flying free in the skies
Was stuck, torn..caught abandoned…..somewhere ..colourful pieces of paper
Shadow of the kites with limp manja (thread) hanging..from wires and treesmarking the end of its journey.
I woke up that morning to the sound of desperate flutter of a pigeon outside my window. I was surprised, this window had grills to keep birds out. I woke up excited to see this bird,
What I saw made me cringe…A pigeon had gotten stuck..in this almost invisible kite thread, it was fluttering its stuck wings..
and I felt cold fear, the Manja is coated with glass powder to make it strong, it is designed to cut..and this struggle might just cut into the pigeon…and then..It became stil
lAnd my heart started to beat even faste, then suddenly it started to struggle again ..Phew !!! It was not dead…Yet.
It was 6 in the morning..everyone was asleep, and I rushed out. I had to do something“Oh it’s too far, nothing can happen now..sleep, I heard”
I ran down to get help..it was hanging some 12 feet away..from the grilled window, and seven stories up. A few people gathered with me looking up ..feeling sad and worried, and then some began to walk away..“what can we do..” tsk tsk… I felt sad..I could see they were so worried and helpless..It mirrored my own helplessness and desperation.
And then one watchman just got up and purposefully went inside (It felt like he had had enough of being a bystander). He got three longs bamboo sticks and we tied them together. I could see some people thought we were crazy…maybe we were..
We rushed up precariously balancing this long pole, entered the ..now waking up house and went straight to the window. In the background ..what are you doing??? Going on (I didn’t really have an answer anyway). We balanced the stick and tried ..stretching our arms out to nudge the string, maybe bring it closer to us to free the pigeon.
The stick was heavy and our arms felt like they would tear, atleast mine did. A couple of times the thread moved and balanced and hope started to rise..and then it slipped..The pigeon now started to put in more energy to free itself.
A few pushes more but the thread kept slipping from the pole, time was running out..the pigeon was struck for a long timeI didn’t know if it had the energy to fight for long.
Then in desperationI prayed..to the wind, to atleast let the thread move closer to us, so we could catch it ..The wind listened. There was a sudden gush of breezeIt moved the stuck kite and the thread and the pigeon a little closer. We slowly started to reel it in. Strength –calm – balance – prayer..everything at once. Holding our breaths…,..and then something wonderful happened.
The pigeon put it’s best fight..and freed itself from the tangle..On it own..It hovered a few seconds looking at the spot where it almost died…and then flew away.
I was crying….The watchman uncle and me just stood there feeling grateful..
I was in amazement at how, even knowing that there was some help , somebody who cared..was sometimes enough to find reserves of strength and faith.
The Pigeon found hope and renewed strength to fight its own battle, and become free on it’s own..
Maybe in these times all we need to do it extend that hand of care let them know that somebody had not given up on them yet..and they can do the rest.
I am not sure who helped whom that day..I am humbled by the realisation that , really we don’t and can’t save ..anyone.
In the silence that followed …I asked myself this question – In doing what I was doing..what was I really doing ?”…. I still had fears… .but the fears…. no longer had me.
I freed myself