My 6 year old son, Yug’s excitement of coming home could be heard when he screams bidding farewell to his school van friends. But today he had a long dejected face with moist eyes and soiled clothes, well understood that he had a bad day at school.
Like any normal child, he first kept ignoring my continuous pestering. But with persistent enquiry, he opened with an uncontrollable stream of tears. He had fought with his friends because they had teased him for the way he looked with his broken middle tooth. I tried explaining him that in one’s life everyone goes through this natural process of losing their temporary milk tooth and one should not feel bad about the same. But I knew he would understand this with a story.
“In the jungles of Sunderban their once lived a bird, whose different looks kept him apart from other birds. Though he was black in color like a crow, his head was as like a rat with big long ears of a rabbit and nose like a pig. His wings were webbed to the side of his body and legs as small as pigeon’s, with strong sharp nails to bleed his hunt. With this appearance he found difficulty in making friends. His patience broke when he attacked few of them who made fun of him, till the bled and he was overpowered.
An emergency meeting was called upon; presided by the king of the birds, the most powerful eagle. All of them spoke against him, some against his behavior and some against his looks which terrified the kids out of their homes. The final verdict read like this, “This ugly looking creature is already cursed and today with his violent act has proved that he is not fit to live in among us. Therefore he is commanded to be imprisoned with immediate effect”.
It was not a fair trial as he was unheard. Instead lost all that he had, his jungle; his home. He was imprisoned up the mountain in a cave during day and was allowed to fly only at nights. His new home amidst the mountain was a dark dungeon place where no light entered. A place where the only sound heard was the echo of the waterfall, flowing next to the cave. The floor was icy cold which prevented him from sitting, and that made him hang on the ceiling of the cave.
He would often cry looking down the mountain, watching others dance and play, while he was left in solitude. The cave which was once scary was now his only friend. It had become his routine to fly at night screaming as loud as he could; matching to the howling wolves, avenging the humiliation he was forced to go through.
One night, while flying down the forest, he heard someone crying. Following the cry, he saw a small eaglet with broken leg and wing soaked in blood wailing in pain. On enquiring, he got to know that as a routine when the mother eagle had pushed him down, teaching him to fly; he crashed onto a branch, injuring and restricting his movement. While he lay down in pain, the sounds of howling wolves and screeching owls which increased with the descending of the darkness scared him further.
The only solution the ugly bird could think was to pick this eaglet and fly towards his cave. He medicated him by applying cobwebs, which helped him bind his skin faster and fed him his favorite food; worms and flies. In few days, the kid was strong enough to get back on its leg and spread its wings with minimal pain.
Meantime, the king eagle was desperately searching for his kid. He searched every possible corner of the forest, but in vain. He had lost hope and decided to fly back. Flying across the mountain he saw the ugly bird sitting in front of his kid. Rage filled the king’s heart and he swopped down, with his strong beak force breaking the ugly bird’s middle teeth. Before further damage could happen, the eaglet intervened. He narrated the story of his injury and the help that was extended by him, thereby gifting him a new life.
The king eagle realized his mistake and felt embarrassed for the agony and humiliation he was made to undergo due to his biased decision and that he should not have judged him based on his looks. He realized, in that ugly body resided a beautiful loving and helping heart. He constituted him back and honored him with a title; “Bird of Appreciation and Trustworthiness, in short BAT”
I saw a smile on my son’s face, as he realized, “Beauty can never be judged from the physical eyes, for it requires; eyes deep within. And those eyes are placed near the heart.”