Digital Dimdima


The Freedom

Anjali sighed. It was a Sunday morning and yet she could not sight a single bird. Things seemed strange. There were always birds near her home. The lake nearby was inhabited by them. It was a delight to walkers, who came to the lake every day. Anjali was an avid bird watcher. She shut the window, disappointed. A glance at the wall made her smile. It was fully adorned with the paintings of birds, which she had painted herself. As the school was shut on Sundays, she had ample time to pursue her hobby.
She again opened the window, hoping that birds had come to greet her. She was dejected, seeing nothing but the same old sky. She threw herself on her bed and was staring at the wall. She always looked forward for Sundays, but today was different. She felt miserable and hoped that the day would end soon.
“Anjali, are you not going to do anything special on this special day?”
“Like what, Ma? By the way, this day is no longer a special day for me”.
“I thought you had a great interest in birds”.
“Yes, I have it even now, Ma. But, they didn’t come over, today”.
“I have a very good idea to make my little darling happy”.
“What’s that?”
“Today, I will accompany you to the lake”.
“Tell me something else. I can’t go to the lake, today.”
“Okay, then. Let’s buy a documentary CD of birds around the world. I guess it’ll make you happy”.
“Of course. Let’s go”.
“Ma, I want to buy this CD”, said Anjali excitedly, pointing to a CD titled, ‘The joy that bird watching gives ‘. The cover itself had a great deal of pictures, which made Anjali grab it instantly.
Going back home, Anjali inserted the CD into her computer. She leaned back on her chair, to enjoy it even more.
“Bird watching gives immense joy. People around the world have taken to this hobby. It’s a great stress buster”, said a voice, which Anjali found a little serious. “I already know that”, boasted Anjali to herself. The computer screen was filled with pictures of birds and then it went blank. “Oh no, again a power cut!”
“Ma, I am going to Megha’s house”.
“Won’t you watch the documentary?”
“Don’t you know? The power has been cut again”.
Anjali cycled on to her friend’s house. As she approached the lake, she stopped. She had a look and was shocked. There were no birds flying happily, nor they were on the trees. Anjali thought that she could look into the matter, later.
“Hi, Megha”.
“Hi, Anjali. I was expecting you”.
“Your mother called me up and informed”.
“Okay. Is there a power cut in your home?”
“No”. Anjali inserted the CD into Megha’s computer.
“Let’s watch this video, Megha”.
“Okay. It’ll at least spice up this boring day”.
After the introductory came the thing which Anjali most awaited-pictures of birds. There were also videos of a bird’s daily activities. Almost to the end of the video, the narrator spoke something, which caught her attention-denying freedom to birds.The viewer was shown how humans were cruel to birds. They’ll put them in cages or sell them for money. The other thing which the narrator spoke about was the extinction of birds. It made Anjali ponder, even after the video ended. Even while returning home, she could not give attention to anything, but that. She stopped on her way and stepped inside the gated lake. Like the morning, there were no birds. People had gathered around in a circle.
Upon enquiry, she learnt that all the birds were caught and caged and taken away. She was heartbroken. While returning home, she could find similarities between the documentary and this incident.
“Have your lunch, Anjali”.
“No, Ma. I am full”.
“But, you didn’t eat anything since morning”.
She told the incident to her mother. Her mother too felt sad. But, she convinced her to have her lunch.
The next day, which was a Monday, she felt very sad to even go to school. But, she had a test, that too in her favourite subject-Biology. She rode on her cycle to her school. She couldn’t do anything actively in school, too. After the last bell, she quickly strode out of the class and went to the lake to relax. But, without her darling birds, it was impossible to enjoy the day.
She was taking a stroll, when she spotted something on a twig. It was so small. She recognized it as a Humming Bird or maybe some other small bird. She wasn’t sure of it. "O Birdy, what are you doing here, alone?" Sure, the bird couldn’t reply, but it responded by its facial expressions, which Anjali understood. "This place is not safe for you, Birdy. Look, how they have taken away your family. But, you are lucky
to remain here; otherwise they might sell you to someone. I learnt that they do, after watching the video, Ma bought for me. They are very cruel to birds. Understood, Birdy?" said Anjali in a sad tone.
The bird made signs indicating that it was feeling uneasy. "You don’t need to worry, Birdy. I am here to protect you and make you a strong bird", continued Anjali smiling.
At home:
"Ma, what do small birds eat?"
"Some worms and insects, I guess."
"Okay", replied Anjali as she was about to leave the room.
"Hey, wait. Why do you need that?"
"Wait a second."
Anjali came up holding a bird in her hands.
"See, Ma. The last bird which remained at the lake."
"What do you want to do with it?"
"I want to keep it as a pet."
"Look Anjali, caging it is not right. You shouldn’t snatch its freedom away."
"Ma, listen to me. I am not going to cage it. I’ll leave it in the garden. The only thing I’ll do is take care of it."
"Okay. It’s your wish. But, if it flies away, don’t cry over it."
"Birdy, see this is our beautiful garden. Ma takes good care of it and I’ll take good care of you. Would you like to be my friend?" The bird kept staring at Anjali. It appeared to her that it accepted
to be her friend. “Now, it’s feeding time. Birdy, go eat whatever you like”.
She left the bird to fly. It went up to a tree and nibbled at a fruit. Then, it faithfully returned to Anjali. This made Anjali to be sure that it would remain with her. They both became great friends. Anjali used to paint her Birdy in different poses.
Gradually, Birdy grew and one day, it was no more. Anjali felt miserable. Her mother consoled her.
“Look Anjali, every creature must die one day and today was the turn of Birdy. But, it will surely remember you forever and I hope that you too will remember it.
Anjali cried a lot, even after many days. But, slowly she learnt what her Ma had told her-‘Every creature must die one day’. Whenever she felt sad, she repeated the sentence to herself.

Suma Hegde
13 years
BEL High School Bangalore

Words of Appreciation

sujan Very nice!! Super!! Hope you continue writing such good stories. :)

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