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Divine Pigeon


Neeshant Srivastava

Rohit often recalled his innocent and colourful childhood spent within the peaceful confines of Bamrauli Air Force station where his father served as a Squadron Leader. Flipping records, he felt for his favorite singer with an 'Emptiness deep inside' created by an erratic college that 'convened' for short periods, before another strike closed it sine die. And he could feel the arrival of Santa perched atop the fire truck tolling a large silver bell in his red and white dress. Or those evenings with friends, the slow hiss of dark bubbly cola, giving a near drunk feeling before shaking his head vigorously. He had the tingling sensation of soaking in warm rain on the green lawns of Manauri Air Force station Mess, running in wonder. And his favorite pastime, chasing butterflies among colorful and varied flowers on terraced flower beds. It was exciting to see such odd shaped creatures move and breath. He learnt the art of catching butterflies from his versatile friends quite often ending in a feeling of compassion for these delightful creatures. It hurt, to see those poor creatures suffer the whims of foolhardy humans.

Those tails of myriad butterflies sticking out with hands and limbs thrashing out in pain made him wonder why he did it. There was a joy in watching those wings of beauty closely on those warm evenings with hands on his chin. There were these giant black ones with pink and white spots on their thin wings or yellow streaked with black, oblivious to their surroundings. It was a lesson in letting it be and it made him sad to see a dead butterfly as shriveled up and motionless. He recalled his family's efforts to tame a stray dog, Rover, ending in its insanity and sickness, wanting to be left alone. Rover did find his way back to his home on the streets, making up for lost ground in no time. Or his dear little velvety, caterpillar squashed to a pulp rather early before being confined in an experimental shoe box with a pin hole view of the outside world.

So Rohit spent his days out of college gazing at doves trapped in cages on the other side of his boundary wall. These were forlorn doves, white and gray longing for company. Rohit, rather cowardly he thought, curbed his temptation to set these flying wonders free. One fine morning as Rohit sat on the verandah, after a heavy breakfast, his mind was about to wander when he heard shouting and noise as two dark men with handguns on their shoulders approached the front gate. They broke in the confines of the house looking for something. Rohit hurried out of his chair to offer help and couldn't believe his eyes when he saw a pigeon in one of the trespasser's hands. Rohit turned violent in an effort to free the pigeon when he learnt that the pigeon was an evening feast for the trespasser and his family and they had been following its tracks for hours.

The trespassers had no argument for defense as they were on private property and after blood. The pigeon was set free and Rohit rejoiced in his victory.

Good times didn't last long as Rohit could see his ship sinking in endless waves to the unknown: eyes froze and so did time. During these troubled times Rohit would often sit out in the open, well covered form head to toe with ears plugged to his favorite country singer. On one such cold morning as he lay listless, slumped on a chair he saw a pigeon on a wooden frame by the lawn and ignored it. It hardly made any difference to him and by evening he could not believe his eyes when he saw the same pigeon on the swaying support. This was not a fickle incident as each day from sunrise to sunset he found the grey pigeon braving the cold and damp. Well, it could not be the same pigeon he rescued from the hands of those heartless poachers, he mused. This was a feeling for starters but how could you explain the persistence of one pigeon, sometimes two, from dawn to dusk as winter became summer. He now believed and his eyes could see more than a small bird with beady eyes up on the creaking wooden frame by the lawn.

The pigeons in flight found peace and shelter in the quiet neighbourhood on a garden of love. These were The two eyes of Heaven watching over its children in their prayers and silent whispers. This was an encounter of a lifetime for Rohit vividly recollected times when he tried to own as opposed to letting it be.

"And thus we are but asail on the same ship each our own way in wonder by this mysterious, subtle, riveting beauty knowing that we are but dust and to dust we shall perish to be a part for we can be a breath in evolution, felt and touched in ways we seldom understand.

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