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September 2009
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Ma and the Mother Bird

(Life V3) (Personal)

 

Lessons from the lost Egg

 

My new roommate had a weird habit. While sleeping or while awake, he would make certain kinds of noises. His most favourite was also one of the most basic ones: he would keep saying “Ma” or “Mago” aloud. And it was a nuisance for my sleep to be broken sometimes at 5 in the morning or sometimes 5 times in 10 minutes anytime in the day. A friend told me the reason. Since the guy was a Bengali, he remembered Goddess Kali all the time and hence his expression should be naïve for me. I was not convinced as such. Once I objected to his habit and he looked at me as if I had done a crime. At another occasion I heard him explaining to someone on phone: “When a baby is born, its first sound is Ma.” He was surely inspired by mothers… Little did I know that just in two weeks his trust on Mother would be tested like this…

 

It so happened that pigeons started entering our room from our window. Many times we would be asleep while the pigeons would come inside and start wandering here and there. He used to get irritated a lot and he would drive them out and close the windows. Some days back I wondered why the pigeons would always try to get on the top of an almirah. I checked the top of the almirah and found something surprising – an egg! A pigeon had laid an egg over the almirah. Having realised this, I requested him to let the mother bird come inside some times to take care of the egg. He didn’t agree.

 

His reason was practical – pigeons would make the room dirty. I read some articles about pigeons. I came to realise that baby birds come out of eggs in 17 days and if the temperature is high and ideal, they may come out in two weeks too. I didn’t know how old the baby bird inside the egg was. I read that if a pigeon couldn’t take care of the egg, the baby inside the egg would die and then the mother pigeon would abandon the egg and move on. I requested him to at least allow the bird to come in for half an hour everyday, otherwise the baby would die! He being a Bengali who ate chicken-curry every night and boiled eggs every morning (perhaps to compensate for fish), I knew he would have little sympathy for an egg. I told him that it was in fact our fault that the bird had been able to lay egg in our room; and now that it had already happened we should allow her in for some more days until the baby comes out! But he said that he would ask the owner of the house to throw away the egg and the pigeon… But I thought I could win his kindness by logic…

 

For two days, mother bird would come to meet her egg in the morning. She would sit there without making any noise. As per the instruction of my roommate, I would drive her out and close the window at 9 AM before I went to office. Last night I saw that the mother bird had come back to the window at 10 PM! I silently allowed her to go over to the almirah. She didn’t make any noises and went straight to her egg and sat over there. In the morning when I got up, I found her still sitting there! I was happy – the baby would have got enough care all through the night. My friend, who had not seen the bird coming, thought that she had come in the morning. As per our routine – I sent her out at 9 AM, closed the window and went to office. Little did I know what he had in his mind.  Before I left I also tried to guide him to show some compassion. I told him in short how this bird was one of the most selfless creatures on earth. Unlike us humans who take care of children who grow up and then in return take care of us in the old age, once her baby birds would learn to fly and eat, they would go far away and mother bird won’t gain anything personal for her. This is the most selfless and unattached karma that the mother bird was doing – as Lord Krishna had asked us to do so. He asked what the benefit of the baby birds was. I said they help in ensuring the ecological balance – as they eat up insects and help spread the seeds of trees too. Sounded like childhood lessons. While going to office, I called up my sister and told her about the wellbeing of the pigeon – I was doing this for some days…  

 

I kept dreaming of the day when the baby pigeon would come out of the egg and mother bird would take her away. I wished it happened on Vijaya Dashmi. I was also confident that no harm would be done to her. Weekend and holidays were coming and I planned to protect her as I would remain in home in the day time too. Life had got a mission – a dream – of having a baby bird in my house…

 

But when I came back home this evening, I realised my dream had been trashed in the kitchen’s dustbin. Roommate had informed the owner who got the top of the almirah cleaned up. I saw my pigeon’s broken nest in the kitchen’s dustbin…

 

This was the guy who kept remembering Ma – Mother – all through the day. And how conveniently he chose to forget that the pigeon was a mother too! I didn’t expect him to be a messiah, but the bird had already laid her egg – all we needed was a few days of patience! But he didn’t have a heart to allow her this pleasure of a mother…

 

While all other animals harm others because of their nature rather than having any feeling of right or wrong, we humans are perhaps the most evil beings in this world because we do wrong things while being aware about it. Conscience has never been a burden like this for human beings…

 

While my dream was shattered and the end of baby bird left me in pain, I also realise how we humans should also aim at the stage of unattachment that the birds practice. Nishkam Karma, as Krishna asked us to do and as Mother Bird practices, required me to try my best to protect the baby bird without the end result in my mind. There is no other saviour in this world apart from Bhagwan Himself and if I tried my best to protect the baby bird, I did my Karma. If I now let myself get attached to the bird and her egg, I would hurt myself. Perhaps this is why birds are always happy – they lay eggs, care for them, teach them to eat and fly, and then move away – this is what is called Nishkam Karma – Unattached Work…  

 

The difference between a bird and a human is that a bird does all things out of her nature without thinking about how and why she does those. But we humans can think and prioritise – and hence get options to make choice at each step in our life. I had also got an option not to care for the bird’s safety, and my friend had also a choice of letting the bird come alive out of the egg – and we made difference choices…

 

Only we are responsible for the choices we make and we have always two choices all the time. I hope you would choose to care.

 

(Rahul)

 

Will you also?

(Life V3) (Personal)

 

Want to be like them?

 

Last evening it had rained abruptly and most of us came back home a little wet. Some of us who lived nearby got fully drenched because we took the chance of walking in the rains. Those who lived a far away were luckier. But not all of them…

 

Today while we exchanged morning greetings waiting for the elevator, one of our colleagues had an interesting story to tell. Last evening he had gone out in the rains but had to stop by the nearby road seeing the ferocity of the rains. He works in middle management and commutes in a scooter. While he stopped there, he saw many of our senior management colleagues leaving for their homes in their cars. This poor chap expected them to stop and give him a lift. But he was shocked to see that one after the other; they kept fleeing without any of them stopping for him! He is a popular figure in the office because of his humorous nature and his head is totally bald, so people won’t do mistakes in recognizing him. The matter was of status-consciousness.

 

While all of us laughed with a clear heart at his miserable condition :), we saw him changing now. May be it was the elevator which had made him feel light, or the comfort of privacy inside six surfaces. He declared: “I have made a vow that I will also buy a car like those senior managers and I then I will also equal to them!”

 

Nothing wrong in this, but from somewhere, one colleague asked a question: “And when you will become like them, will you also become like them?”

 

In the chaos of we getting out to get to our respective cubicles – there was a silence…

 

How often, in the over enthusiasm to compete with and leave behind the bad guys, we ourselves become just like them?

 

(Rahul)