I think of those orphan moments when I feel content loving you. Feel that everything in the universe is exactly in the right place. But only in a few orphan moments. The days we come face to face there are no qualms, no bad feelings. Just two individuals rushing towards each other with this speed of love. So perfect.
Then morning comes and we go trudging towards borders and daily duties. I feel like I am walking away the thing I love to oblivion. To the edge of the city. Then standing there to wave him good bye. Lord knows when our paths will cross again.
When I was really tiny, someone had got me a kingfisher. The bird sat scared and stubbornly on my father’s camera kit. He refused to budge, he refused to eat. My mother was scared it would die. Kingfishers are not meant to be tamed or kept as pets – she told me. I had no particular affection for the bird – I was too small. It held as much concentrated interest in its stunning colours as any of my other toys did.
Then one day my mother took me by the hand and took the bird to the edge of this lake. Where the road ended and all that lay ahead was putrid, marshy path of rotting carcasses of hyacinths. The stunning lavenders bloomed a few feet away. She held my hand tight so as I would not be encouraged to venture further. She asked me to hold the bird for one last time. I looked at her and then looked at the hyacinth covered lake edges – “Why? Isn’t he coming home with us?” – “No. We are setting him free. He’ll go to his family now.” – “ Why was he with us? Where did his family go then?” – “ I don’t know,” Ma said…”…Perhaps they missed him…”
She let the kingfisher fly away. When it took flight and never looked back I wanted it more than anything in the world. More than the new toys. More than the fish shaped peppermints, more than the new hair clips which matched my shoes.
To see it fly away like it was waiting for the feel of wind and Calcutta moisture on its stunning wings for eternity – made me want him.
I looked back once on the walk home. Perhaps he liked my dad’s camera equipment case more than a stray electric wire or his nest. Or even more than his family. Maybe if he had stayed I would have convinced him to eat my share of the fish.
Sometimes, I feel that you are that kingfisher.