It was a very pleasant evening- Calm and serene.. The trees held their customary counsel with the wind and the birds added their opinion zestfully. The grass was wet with dew, and the flowers were in full bloom, welcoming the bees to a savoury feast of the best nectar. Sowmya looked into the clear water of the pond and found a school of fish swimming around in glee. The Earth seemed to be dressing up for a very special occasion. Nature had never looked this seductive. Sowmya wondered if some invisible fairies were at work, decorating the earth for an important celebration. Heaven, thought Sowmya.
She looked up at the sky and was startled to see the stark difference. The sky refused to mirror the happiness that was so plentiful on earth. It had its own tale to tell. It spoke of darkness and sorrow, of misery and evil. It spun tales of lost battles and spilled blood. The dark clouds became even darker as the tales neared their gloomy ends. They spoke of the valiant king who roamed the skies flooding the universe with his brilliance. In fact, they said, he is still here! And they suddenly turned against the setting sun and cornered him, moving with some manic energy. The sun put up a fight worthy of his valor, but in the end he had to give up and the dark clouds took over the skies plunging the world into darkness. Material gloom, thought Sowmya.
With a little shiver Sowmya brought herself back to her situation. She was waiting for Rajeev at the community park. She wondered if he would come. She wondered if she herself was ready for this. Was it a mistake? She couldn’t decide. Rajeev was everything she ever wanted. Till he came, life was nothing but a disappointment to her. She grew up believing that she was special. She knew her life was going to be different. She waited for her knight in shining armor to come and sweep her off her feet and take her to the magical land of her dreams. He would be as adventurous and dashing as she was and together they would explore the uncharted lands of the world, meet wonderful new people and have a very interesting life.
But if the knight was Rajeev, he took too much time to come. Meanwhile her parents had forced her to marry a peasant, (yes, if Rajeev was a knight then Nandan was a mere peasant) on a bullock-cart. She laughed mirthlessly as an image of Nandan dressed in a peasant’s dress and riding a bullock-cart entered her mind. Nandan wasn’t poor; in fact he was quite well to do. He belonged to the clan of software engineers. They are like ants, thought sowmya, Clones of one another. They bored her, as did Nandan. Early in her marriage she resented everything about Nandan, right from his neat wardrobe to his pearl white Maruti zen. But Nandan always tried to keep her happy. She knew he loved her, but there was no passion in him. He was very passive and was content to just sit at home and watch cricket. The only time she ever saw him get excited was when Google desktop was released. “Google is going to take over the world!”, he would say . She had resigned herself to a life of boredom.
But life suddenly became exciting when the twins came into Sowmya’s life. She was very thrilled about being a mother. But lately, they too had started to get on her nerves. They always wanted her attention over something. Just like those baby pigeons thought Sowmya, observing a nest on the tree next to the bench she was sitting on. Only one of the parent pigeons, probably the dad thought Sowmaya wryly ,was there to look after them, and it had a tough time attending to all the kids. Just like Nandan would have a tough time taking care of the kids. She felt her stomach twist to knots as she thought about this. She was a mother, and guilt filled her as she realized that she was abandoning her children. She quickly put this thought away, reasoning that they were better off without her.
She shook her head and looked at her watch, it was 6 :30. Rajeev said he would be there at 6 : 30. A strange excitement filled her, as she thought about Rajeev. Rajeev was Nandan’s boss and he was smitten the first time he laid eyes on Sowmya. He had wooed her as her dashing knight would and asked her to elope with him. Sowmya had refused his passes at her in the beginning, but she soon got carried away by his charm. He was after all everything she had ever wanted. Nandan never suspected anything. He was a very trusting man, quite endearing, thought Sowmya. Hours melted into days, and days to weeks, and suddenly here she was, sitting in a park, waiting for Rajeev to take her away from her boring life.
She felt a drop fall on her cheek and she looked up. It was starting to drizzle. She ran for cover and stood under the tree on which she spotted the nest. It promptly started raining heavily and her ears were filled with the loud sound of water splashing onto the ground. She stood there and wishing that Rajeev would hurry up and get there fast.
Suddenly, the nest fell to the floor and the little pigeons scattered all over the ground. They were crippled without their wings and the parent tried its best to gather them together and shield them with its wings. Concern filled her as she looked at the little ones getting wet and screeching in pain. She didn’t want to scare the parent away, so she stood motionless and watched the parent pigeon’s valiant effort to save its family. But it was in vain- the parent pigeon’s wigs weren’t big enough to cover all the little ones. She had just decided to do something and stepped forward when the other parent pigeon flew into sight. It settled down on the floor and unfurled its wings. It covered the remaining little ones with its wings. Sowmya stared, captivated. The parents together had achieved what one could not.
Sowmya turned and walked away into the rain….