Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Cuckoo came calling again…….

  I was shutting down my computer after 4 long hours of social networking when a mellifluous voice of some far-away bird tiptoed into my ears. A memory twitched, “Cuckoo….It’s a cuckoo, son.” The melodious voice had a seductive effect. It awakened me from my technical revelries as a sudden pang of guilt & repentance swallowed my senses. Born & brought up amidst oodles of natural sunshine, how could I and why did I let myself become a victim of technology; a slave of the posh modernity.
Wrapped around these introspective thoughts, I slipped on to my bed. It was a sultry summer afternoon, my favourite siesta time. I collapsed into the mattress in anguish as the sudden ‘click’ of the fan announced the onset of a scorching power-cut. In dismay, I threw my head back against the pillow and my eyes inadvertently fell onto the whirling blades of the fan, slowly retarding towards a screeching halt. My eyes began to droop….The fan was still whirling…….But it was fading away and away and away…….A new image was taking shape….
A small boy was walking excitedly, his tiny fingers firmly clutching the comforting hand of his father. The boy must be around six or seven and looked ecstatic with so many birds & animals around. There was a spring in his stride as he scurried briskly from one enclosure to another. His minute eyes looked busy as they scanned the natural surroundings, feasting on the tempting sight of the Royal Bengal tigers and the imported Kangaroos. He hovered a long time over the snake’s enclosure wanting the python to raise its head but the sleeping monster was too lazy to budge. Zoo was his favourite place in the world and this was his 3rd trip in the last one year. As he stood by the breezy pond observing a myriad number of fishes and the far-away sinking sun, there was a hint of sadness in his twinkling eyes. The dreaded time of closure of the zoo had arrived and he was already planning, in his mind, how best to coax his father to bring him to this heavenly place as early as next week only (he would, somehow, manage to survive 7 non-zoo days, though it would be a tough ask).
As the father-son duo began their walk back to the main gate, a shrill, sweet cry pierced the dense canopy of trees and woke the child from his fanciful reveries.
“What bird is that, Papa”, he enquired.
“Cuckoo…..It’s a cuckoo, son!”
How was he to know that the same bird would disturb his thoughts again…some 20 years later?
The scene dissolved. A mist seemed to descend. It grew heavier and out of the mist, the child reappeared. The same boy, now a year older, was riding a swing. His friend was pushing at it with all his strength and the whole garden was brimming with their mirthful chuckles.
 A cool breeze was blowing gently; at times, gathering speed in an audacious display of its power. Trees were happily laden with leaves who appeared busy in polite conversations. Above, dense clouds were hovering, casting dark shadows on the partly-lit faces of the 2 little boys. Sun was peeping out occasionally from the curtain of clouds but the toads beneath could smell its defeat. Buoyed up by a sense of euphoria, the child jumped wildly from the oscillating swing crashing satisfyingly onto the grassy ground. His friend thumped him on the back and they both rushed over towards the slip, and finally on to the see-saw. 
Evening grew deeper as they fluttered about like the elusive blue butterfly which they failed to catch. The Neem tree began to sway dangerously….breeze was taking over. Heavens opened up and it began to pour. The child held up his hands and felt the raindrops on his face. He whirled and whirled around as rain gathered speed. He closed his eyes…..his heart was on fire…..a cuckoo was playing in the vicinity.
I opened my eyes. The fan was whirling at top speed. Power had come back. I rose from the bed with the cuckoo’s song still lingering in my ears. Some vague images flashed by! Power-cut, in my childhood, meant going out in the dark, with my gang of friends, to chase the fireflies. Now the childhood was gone……so were the friends…..and so were the fireflies. Only the darkness remained…….
I looked out of the window. The sky looked inviting. The dying sun had painted it in a rainbow of colours. Certainly, it desired grandness for an epitaph. Drawn by the beautiful evening settings, I left my window, left my room, left my house and rushed upstairs. I hadn’t been to the terrace for so many years now…..but now I realized it’s a window to my childhood. Thanks to my disgruntled landlord, the entrance to the terrace was padlocked. But I was in a vindictive mood and climbed over the gate to land onto the other side, in a perfectly satisfying manner (just like the crashing child who was pleased with his flight from the oscillating swing onto the grass).  
The sun & the sky greeted me, embracing a long-lost friend, finally found. Clouds merely nodded in silent acknowledgement, though later I heard a far-away roar of approval. Much like the sun, my heart was a rainbow of emotions. I walked towards the edge of the roof and looked deep down into the recesses of the courtyard. It was replete with dozens of bikes & scooters that had been parked there. Little did they know that the parking area they occupied once used to be the playing ground of small children! Commercialization & money-mongers had robbed today’s children of the simple joys of playing in open areas. Memories flickered past my eyes. The same boy, whom I had left whirling in the rain, was now running alongside his mates in a game of ‘Lock and Key’. He slipped and was caught and locked by the denner. “Key me, key me! Somebody please key me,” he helplessly appealed to the survivors as he stood frozen in a corner. Will someone ‘key’ him; will he get his liberty, I wondered?
A blinding flash of lightning & a resounding thunder pulled me back from my memories onto the edge of the terrace, where I had been standing. I threw a glance heavenwards. The sun had finally got buried behind the dense, dark clouds which wore a look of mourning, ready to burst out in tears. Within moments, I was surrounded by rain. I blinked, chuckled, cried and stayed rooted to the spot. Rain turned into a thunderstorm and lashed hard at me. But I didn’t budge. The true essence of life had finally dawned on me. It was my moment of homecoming. As I got engulfed in wind & rain, I closed my eyes and spread out my hands…..My heart was on fire…..A cuckoo was playing in the background………...


*This is my entry for the Indiblogger 'Kissan 100% Real Blogger' Contest.
(By Ritesh)


  1. fantabulous... no lovely one ever than this ... reminded of my childhood <3

  2. This is very beautiful..thanks for sharing. You're very talented..but I'm sure you already knew that.

    1. Crystal, everyone is just as talented as an Einstein or Picasso. One just needs to realize his/her own talent. A fish is extremely talented in its swimming skills, and so id a bird when it comes to flying. But tell them to swap places, and see how they fail. Talent is all about recognizing your true passion n get better at it :)


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