Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pakshi aur Pahaad

Beyond a point in time, we all realize that words are redundant. So let me tell you a story. A love story between a bird, Khushi, and a mountain.
In the endless wilderness of Sahara, a petite winged creature went astray, and found herself atop a stony mountain. For someone who left in search of water and vegetation, this was the most unlikely spot to reach. But Khushi, our little bird, was no cry-baby. She knew she would find her way back. She surveyed the horizon with curious eyes, took in the view of undulating sand, allowed the ruthless beauty of desert to take her breath away…and began to sing. A melancholic melody of loneliness, mingled with gratefulness towards life.
Khushi’s musical refrain reached the innermost part of the mountain, touching a tender chord that had not been reached for centuries. After ages, the mountain opened his eyes. Feeling her soft claws resting on his shoulder, and her music filling his being…he realized he had never felt so alive before.
“Who are you, oh lovely creature?” Asked the mountain.
“I am Khushi, a bird. I was flying in search of food and water, but I lost my way and landed here.” Said Khushi, a little surprised at the gargantuan mass of rocks even taking cognizance of someone as little as her.
“Khushi…the sound of your voice has awakened my soul…and the touch of your feet makes me feel purified. You have brought in colour and beauty in my otherwise barren life. Pray, stay here and quench my thirst for love. I have never experienced a feeling as blissful as this my dear, and now that I am aware of your being, do not deprive me of this beatific sweetness. Please stay here. Make me your home.” Begged the mountain.
Pleased and flushed with this candid submission, Khushi felt awash with love. No one else had appreciated or longed for her. Most didn’t even notice her. Touched by the plaintive cry of the mountain, she replied, “Dear, nobody has ever desired me, or cared for me the way you just did. I will remain indebted to the beauty of your feelings. You are an eternal creature, and you will outlive my kind. But I make you a promise today. Every year, during spring time, I will return. I will name my daughter Khushi, and ask her to name hers too the same. So that all in my line will be called Khushi…and each Khushi will come to meet you during this time of the year.”
“Can’t you stay here forever?” asked the mountain with dejection in his heart. Even the thought of Khushi going away was saddening. It made the harsh weather of desert suddenly feel harsher.
“I can’t survive in this weather. I need food, and water, and much more for survival. My place is among the trees and flowers. But I will return for sure”, said Khushi. Before parting, she caressed a rugged stone with her wet beak and felt its contours with her feathers. The mountain watched in gloominess her disappearing form among the high clouds.
Season after season, Khushi would come and greet the mountain. She would sit on his edges and sing him songs. Every time, he would ask her to stay. Her response unchanging, but their love as enduring, she would depart till the next season. Throughout the year, the mountain would lie in wait, craving to see Khushi just once more. But the pain of parting, and the depth of love, kept growing in his heart. Its intensity only increasing with time.
Then one season, after Khushi came and greeted and sang, the mountain didn’t reply. Actually, he was imploding with pain. The tears had reached his brim, and he could not gather his voice to articulate. Grief and longing had filled every available space of his existence. His object of love, Khushi, kept waiting for him to respond…but his voice failed him. He only wept. A lone trickle came out of the crevices of his heart, a resounding silence loomed large. Saddened by his immense pain, Khushi left, promising to return again.
True to her promise, she returned every year. But the mountain no longer spoke to her. He only cried. What started with meager drops turned into a stream, and then a river in the ensuing years. The mountain had actually torn apart his chest to let the tears through. The bird and the mountain conversed through the air, through her touch and her song. But no word came out of the rent heart of the giant. Khushi continued to pour her soul in her songs, and look back with moist eyes each time she went.
Then one season, Khushi came with a seed, and planted it between two stones close to the river. Within months, the seed turned into a plant. The green twig, however, was too small to be noticed or felt by the stony mountain. His eyes forever on the horizon, the mountain only wept and waited in silence. Torn by the love for his fledgling, and the undying expectation that one day, she would come to stay with him. The next season, Khushi came with more seeds, and then more. Plants turned into trees, their roots cutting through the hard surface of the mountain. Gradually, the entire landscape transformed. Micro-organisms made home in the porous, oxygenated, moisture-rich soil, and water animals emerged to explore the under-water bounty. Small animals came in search of verdant vegetation, and wild carnivores in search of the former. Birds of several species came. Hearing their chirruping over himself, the mountain’s heart leaped. He stopped crying, and looked around to find himself transformed. Even though many birds, of beautiful feathers and songs, had made his habitat their home, his heart waited only for Khushi. And he knew, that Khushi was the reason why he felt nourished, soft and vital. 

Had she not planted the seed, he’d be the same neglected mass of land. When Khushi came next, she brought along a straw with her. This time, the mountain looked at her, and smiled. Both knew that nothing could do them apart again.
The story ends here. The story of the bird and the mountain.
I too, have stopped complaining. Streams crackle through my being. I know you can hear them. You know that I hang between the cruel balance of patience and hope. In case you have planted a seed, it is indeed so small in the dreary desert of my aloneness, that I can’t feel its tenderness. You know that with each second that passes without you, a new crack splits open, and more blood gets added to the stream. You know that I lie cold in hope. You know, that the reason why I don’t ask you to return is not because I desire you any less, but because it’s in my nature to trust you, and your reason for not returning. You know I am patient, because it’s not just a bird that I await, it’s You.
Come with your straw. Come before all of me erodes into water, and submerges in my own sea.


  1. exceptional and symbolic!!!! that is all i can say..

  2. You continue to amaze me. Why don't you try your hands at a novel?

  3. We all understand the grief and the pain that the mountain and khushi went through. However, it was not unique to them. They were not the first nor the last ones to experience this.

    Someone once told me that "A Diamond was just another piece of coal that did well under pressure". The mighty mountain needs to understand that disintegrating himself is not going to solve his problems! He has many bigger roles to play in his life span. He needs to stay composed and not weather in this test of time.

    This shall also pass...

    P.S - The story was beautifully written and the message was conveyed in a wonderful manner. Full credit to the writer.

    1. I second your idea that disintegrating isn't and cannot be the solution.

  4. Beautifully written. keep up the good work.

  5. Thank you all for such heartfelt appreciation. And i must add, your faith in me will keep me going even when the rest of me wants to give up. Let me also add a disclaimer, the original story of Pakshi and Pahaad is actually written in some foreign language. I'd read the hindi version of this story from a chidren's book. In this version, i have tweaked the story and narrated it in my way...but the original idea is somebody else's.