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Visiting her grave was part of my routine. If I returned I would know exactly which wooden box to walk too, in which flower patch her body rests and exactly how far beneath the ground her degrading body sits in harmony with the earth. She was ready to die. She was ready to die six months before I forced her body awake every morning. Before I coerced her to eat her wet soggy food. Before I held her so close to my body and dripped my tears of optimism all over her back. She was ready to die long before I decided she should live.
On September 6, 2010 Mother Nature decided that Idaho was ready for winter. The clouds swirled into a monotonous tundra over my home. The hawks mocked us for not being prepared for winter. It’s easier for them – they fill their stomachs and fly south. It was their time to eat. They flew in circles over my chicken shed meditating on their prey. As I saw the commotion in the sky and the craving of flesh in their eyes I knew it was time to corral my chickens.
My chickens roamed around the ten-acre land as they pleased. Some would make their way into my home on occasions and eat the food off the counters and others would go near the barn and roll their bodies into the hay hiding themselves from the rest of the world. The ones with more exploring initiative would lay on their sides in the middle of the fields like they were born in the tropics – stomach turned toward the heat finding every way to become one with the sun. They didn’t succeed but when I would pick those ones off the ground their heat would soak into my body and I would understand their logic. After their day of roaming the world they would find their way back to the coop. The coop was painted with my neighbors and my love. The names of the chickens were written on the walls and amateur drawings covered all the nooks and crannies. It was comforting to me. I wonder if they thought it was too.
As the hawks picked their prey I was frantic. My mom and I frolicked the land, me in search for all my babies and her supporting hers. I was yelling trying to scare away the hawks but they knew I couldn’t fly. I could never reach them. The sound of my petrified voice didn’t pierce the hawks as much as it pierced myself. There was one chicken missing. Where was the last one? I saw her body frantically trapped on the other side of the fence. I guided her around the fence to the shed and I pushed the last chicken into the shed and slammed the door shut. As the door slammed I heard the cries of a bird. Did I miss one? Did a hawk steal it before I did? But the distant noise wasn’t so distant at all. As I turned my head toward the door the chicken I had just saved from the hawk I had shut in the door. She lay – just like she used to lay beneath the sun but this time it was not out of pleasure. I opened the door and my chicken rest, her neck strutting in multiple directions and her eyes looking at me in desperation.
I convinced my mom to let me buy chickens when I was eight. She said “if you pay for them and take care of them – you can get them.” So, I saved my money, did my research, and found it only reasonable to make a business to pay for my chickens. I would sell eggs and thus my chickens would be paid for. And this is what I did. But the relationship between my chickens and I over the years became less of a business venture and more of a companionship. When I heard the arguing in the house I found solace in the chickens outside. I talked to them like I was a chicken myself. I would tell them my secrets and my fears. They would sit in my lap and tilt their head whenever I said something noteworthy. After I paused they would come in with some of their thoughts. It’s too bad I didn’t understand their language.
My chicken laid in my arms. My mom took it upon herself to make a bed in the warmth of our home. I brought the barely breathing chicken to the bed that was so delicately made and placed her in it. My tears of optimism didn’t cover the chicken today – they covered her body creating a coat of pain and suffering. I’m sure this coat wasn’t ever taken off my chicken – but I pretended it didn’t exist. I’m good at pretending.
In the preceding days, every morning, pre-lunch, lunch, pre-dinner, dinner, pre-dessert, and post dessert I would feed my chicken food that I soaked in water so it was soft enough to go down her broken neck. I wasn’t an anatomy expert but somehow I figured that with a neck that looks like a 90-degree angle it might be easier to eat if the food is soft. My chicken laid there day after day – gaining energy by night. I convinced myself or perhaps I dreamed it – that she was getting better. I imagined her standing up. I craved her leading a happy life – the life that she deserved.
My mom used to say that if she got in an accident and was unable to move or do anything with her life that she would want to die. She wouldn’t want her children spending their lives caring for a cause that we cared so deeply for but that she left long ago. Our family likes knowing one another at our best and at our worst. But when our worst makes others suffer it becomes a problem that affects all those around us. When I ponder the chicken months today – I always wonder if my chicken was like my mother. Did she want me to let her die? Did she want to close her eyes and sleep to her death? Had I stripped her of her one wish just like I would strip my mother?
As her health improved and she began to seem more alert to the world we started having daily sessions. In the morning’s we stretched. I would pick her immobile body up and slowly move her legs away from her body. I would do the same for her feet. I trusted I was saving a child from its misery. I know now that death isn’t something to fear. I feared for my chicken – I’m sure she didn’t fear it. I would put her body to the ground like she was walking – reminding her of a past long forgotten. A past that today she only sees in her heaven. I didn’t put any of her weight on the ground – it was more of a presentation. When she gobbled, I thought she was telling me things. I would listen and try to pick up on her words. But somehow her gobbles never translated to English.
When people visited our home, they wondered why my mother let me keep a dying chicken in our bathroom. You couldn’t use that bathroom because it smelled of manure and death – so people were ushered to the one in my mother’s room. My mom and I thought it was normal. She was a part of the family. I considered her a part of me just like a person would consider their sibling a part of them. My mother felt the same way. Often when I slept in too late my mom would do my job for me. She would help her walk and feed her her wet food. I remember her words ringing in my head “if you take care of them, you can get them.” I knew she believed this but my mother would also check in on my chicken day and night when I couldn’t care for her myself. She is a mother after all. I learned my ways from her.
A month later my chicken could stand up. I never thought her progress would be so vast. Balancing was a difficult task for her. Her vision was off – or at least something was because when she stood up to eat her food – she would go to peck the liquid matter but she would miss and peck the ground instead. It would take her a few tries to get her beak into the bowl. I didn’t know how to teach her without moving her head in the right direction. Sometimes I would place my hands around the bowl covering the ground. My chicken knew when she pecked me – she never wanted to peck me so she would try to find the bowl. When the days were still warm I would bring her under the hot sun to some of her favorite places – to the sawdust where she used to roll or to the blanket of grass where she would heat her body. She loved the days when it was warm. She would place herself near a tree and sprawl on the ground.
Sometimes my mother would come play the guitar outside. Her lyrics penetrated the atmosphere. She wasn’t playing for anyone – or at least anyone I knew of. But I know my chicken would sit under the tree a few feet away from her and she would turn her head, in any way she knew how, to look at my mother. She would tilt her head, a sober sign of listening and she would keep it that way until my mother’s words receded. Then she would go back to sticking her beak into the ground in search of insects but whenever my mom started up again she would always repeat her actions. I think her voice was a gift into a world of pleasure that was absent from her life. My mother’s voice was a gift to more than one.
As time went on my chicken became stronger. She could walk. Her head and neck leaned to one side of her body making her unbalanced. When she could walk, she would only go in a circle. Her circles eventually got bigger and some days she would make it all the way across the yard by way of circles. When I think about spending life only able to move in circles it makes me shiver.
We could never reintroduce her to the other chickens because they would peck her to death. Chickens are cruel birds – or cruel to the human eye. If one has a disability they will peck it until it dies. I couldn’t let this happen – but maybe that’s the way of the chicken world – and maybe that’s what is best.
My chicken would go to the fence and stand at it looking at all the other ones on the other side of the fence. She looked in desperation as if she was so alone – as if she wanted to be pecked to death – as if she was ready to take death. I couldn’t bear to see her own kind kill her and I couldn’t leave her knowing exactly what was going to happen when I left.
By May 8, 2010 my chicken acted as if she had never got her neck crushed in a door. She laid eggs, she only tilted her head slightly and she befriended the less cruel chickens. She still slept in a different place than them, she would still eat wet food, and I would still watch her with a hawk’s eye.
Months later I walked into her bed and she lied there dead. I still wonder what caused it. Was it her age? Was it something from the event that occurred seven months earlier? Or was she just ready to die?
We buried her on the same day and my tears covered the dirt of where she lay. My tears soaked the area – I’m sure they reached her body that lied so far beneath the dirt. Her body lays in the dirt that I shed my tears on today. But, she doesn’t lay there. She is somewhere, in some beautiful place, dancing with the land just of how she always dreamed. A rock lay by her grave and on it are the words ‘Crazy 8.’ We called her Crazy 8. Her name is Crazy 8.
"I am clueless on why some people, on earth, chase perfection. Life is meant to be dusty on some occasions, but they are simply too ambitious and hurt, if not oneself, then others for sure.
My heart cries when I see that beautiful couple drifts apart even when I ensured those two souls blend into divine oneness, as they resemble us here."
"O my Lord, I agree. He reminds me of you too, and that lady couldn't be more beautiful, I wonder. She seems special." Radha wonders.
"Yes, certainly, my love. On contrary, I have never seen anyone as miserable as her in these thousands of years. I truly feel sorry for her."
"Krishna, undoubtedly if it's not a true love, then I don't know where it can be found except in his heart. I envy her sometimes of the love she could have with her forever."
"you know, dear, each human being, down there, has something s/he can express gratitude for having. But, it's their own decisions which results into the severe pain. Apparently hell, which is built by themselves unknowingly, welcome them with all grace...!!"
"my love, I request you to enlighten me why such a lovely couple, passionate about their true love as well, drifts apart miserably."
"Certainly. But despite being powerful, I struggle from where I can start to point out the flaws that lady has in her, impeccable, self."
He adds, "The reason wasn't that he demanded something from her, but what he often asked for was her presence around him, when everything used to freeze, whenever she giggled on his jokes and simultaneously tapping his shoulder by one of her hands..!
The reason wasn't that he asked for something, it was arguably reasonable though. On contrary, he wanted to save everything for their first 'night' where blending into oneness would be inevitable.
The reason wasn't that he imposed sort of his dreams on her and persuaded her to kill her owns, but all he ever urged was a daughter from her, just as gorgeous as her mom, and with a bit glimpse of his dad's nature.
He adds,"The reason wasn't that he had been busy when the bond was unknowingly growing at a pace on both fronts. In fact, he always waited for a glimpse of her in a crowded bus and kept a seat reserved for her, but she was the culprit as sitting besides him on a rainy weather wasn't a productive way, for her, to witness time being spent.
And, one more thing, he had never asked for any sort of commitment. It was her immense and commendable commitment towards her goals, which was slowly, but steadily, suffocating his dreams of having a beautiful family with her.
She interrupts him, "such a blunder..! How she can be that much involved, so she literally missed the most precious relationship, especially written for her.
"It's awful. Isn't it?", Krishna wonders.
"My love, despite being in deep love with him, how couldn't she read his eyes, filled with feelings and dreams for themselves, and at the same time couldn't hear what her heart was yelling to her. Was she fool?"
Krishna enlightens her," O dear, that's the magic of super consciousness where brain starts vibrating at higher frequency. One cannot simply feel anything. Well, this direct connection between brain and cosmos is profound enough to allure yogis, on earth, to chase it with immense madness. How could you expect that lady to feel his love and what her heart was screaming..!??!"
She curiously inquires, "Then, how about him, by picking up each peice of his courage, telling her what he feels about her?"
"Oh my god, on what Earth, do you expect him to handle himself, especially when he witnesses a moment where she defies the gravity for the very first time on her bed. He was stunned, shocked as well."
Radha jumps off enthusiastically, "She did it. Unbelievable..! On contrary, Yogi scrifices their entire life in Himalaya's mountains to experience these enlightening moments, and she did it at just an age of 18. Truly, unbelievable. Krishna, I told you earlier she is so special..!!"
"Undoubtedly, she is. But irony is that, there; yogi scrificed their many years, and here, she scrificed her true soulmate, accompanying her when she was at her worst, to enlighten herself one more time."
"That's a ridiculous act."
He continues, "I swear, my love, I have never encouraged anyone to abundon everything just to explore the divine truth. My message, in The Bhagvad Geeta, is misinterpreted. It's sad. Isn't it?"
"Yes. You are right, and I vividly remember you always want people on Earth to excel and experience each possible domain of human life. Put your thoughts into a vision, follow your dreams, make babies and pass a legecy to the upcoming generation. Such a wonderful message it is..!!", She says and a sense of proud, she feels, sparkles through her eyes.
"Afterwards, her quest for an eternal truth leads to New York, popularly known as the city of the world. It's been more than 5 years of the promise she made to him.
"I'll be back soon. I need some time alone."
These were the words he heard from her which came out all of sudden.
I, truly, salute his kindness for providing her, the dearest person to him, her own freedom without any emotional drama, just because she could chase her only dream."
"Does it end here?" she enquires. "wow!! It has been an amazing story and I feel sorry from bottom of my heart for that gentleman." Radha spills out these words as fast as she could.
"O boy, I wish it would have concluded there, and it would, surely, clear a way for complete new beginning for that boy- a poor soul." Krishna puts his hands on her shoulder and sheds tears for him.
"Oh No, my lord. In these centuries, we had endured innumerous ups and downs of, so called, Life together, but I didn't see you being emotional or observe a kind wetness in your eyes..!!
Undoubtedly, it's his true love, but, my goodness, is it this much profound that you just couldn't hold your tears...!" She allows him to rest his head gently over her breasts.
After few epic moments of silence, of whom that lady is a big fan, Krishna approaches an awful end of one of a kind story, which may potentially leave behind its mesmerising tales of togetherness and their unprecedented love for many more centuries..!
"It is axiomatic that she is a genius and her commitment to her priorities is simply insurmountable. But life is simply meaningless if one isn't fortunate enough to put her head on his chest after an exhaustive day or nobody is waiting for her at so called 'home'. Moreover, she doesn't realise that 'sarhad par ek banda hein, jo uske liye jaan bhi de sakta hein..!!'
Such a miserable life it is..!"
"But, how about the promise she had given to him many years ago? I am sure she will return to her. She isn't a liar." Radha still holds her faith in thay lady.
A word 'promise' suddenly provokes sudden flames of anger in Krishna, which can be felt in his words easily.
"She is a liar. Even he knew she will never come back as that 'addiction' is supremely powerful and simply invincible. Days turned into months, months turned into years, and he still waits for her with a little hope of her arrival. Somewhere between this, his love has evolved by many folds on his end."
"such a bitch..! Intentionally ruining a life with a fake promise is the greatest sin.
My lord, I urge you to uphold that bitch for her deeds. I curse her for a death, grilled in turmoil and far away from the immortal peace which she is chasing single mindedly. Krishna, promise me. You won't spare her for what she has done to him."
Krishna, looking deep into her eyes, reaffirms himself, "The karma is a bitch, and now that bitch will face my wrath."
Beautiful and vibrant, cheerful and outgoing, confident, fun-loving and adventurous
She was unlike any of the words described above. Never appreciated her beauty and was never confident to call herself smart. Always shy, held up in her own cocoon. One can not say she wasn’t fun-loving, but her definition of fun was different. Going for a long walk on a silent road is fun, imagining yourself as the protagonist of the book is fun, alone is fun, sharing a memorable experience with just one person beside you is fun. One can not call her unadventurous, for she has created a beautiful alternate life for herself in her mind. But, she was consistently fearful to live the alternate life. Eternally scared that her silence was mis- interpreted, she was trying to live through this world that always judged quiet individuals. It was an escape for her to get lost in her own thoughts, creating a different life for herself.
The clock ticked 7. It was her daily evening routine to spend time in her friends’ room, for all of them were finding a home away from home in the university hostel. And she realised that another day in her boring life was about to pass away, until her phone ringed giving her a notification that she has received an e-mail. Unaware of the contents of the e-mail, she was curious to read it. Indeed, the mail carried good news, as she has been selected to study in Paris for 6 months. Within no time, she was flooded with appreciations from her friends, family, and acquaintances. Just a few moments ago, she thought that a boring day was ending in her life, while now it felt like she was one step away from changing her life.
Paris- the city of romance, fashion capital of the world. Call it by any name, but it is every person’s dream to visit the city once in lifetime. One decision and she could get a completely new experience. With a tinge of excitement and fear at the same time, she was again lost in her thoughts, a dilemma whether to continue in this boring life, or try to overcome all fears and get a new experience in life.
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to announce the departure of our flight AF277, from Hyderabad to Paris. All the passengers are requested to get on-board immediately.’ The announcement made her happy yet scared her at the same time. Luggage packed, she was ready to experience a new phase of life, to explore Europe.
7 a.m., Central European Time. Her flight landed in Paris. It still felt like a dream. She couldn’t process her surroundings yet, for she couldn’t believe herself to be in Paris for real. Questions of the Migration Officer, luggage belts screeching, people running to get to their life, it was a complete chaos around her. Suddenly, she felt the pain of being alone in an unknown country. This thought must have scared her, yet it excited her at the same time. It felt like a right opportunity to create an identity for herself. Finding her way out of the airport, she went in search of her new home for the next 6 months.
‘Hello, Welcome Home’ She heard her new roommate’s ringing voice welcoming her. A 25-year-old, cheerful and confident Indian girl. One of the first persons she met in Paris. Indeed, she felt welcomed and less lonely. Her roommate seemed to have a contrasting personality, for she was an affable and gregarious girl. The new girl in Paris was yet again lost in her thoughts about this opportunity and imagining the next 6 months with her new roommate.
The next morning, she woke up vibrant and curious to explore this opportunity, to hunt for the hidden treasure in this new university. Bag packed, route map on her phone, she thought she was ready to leave. The city was felt alive even at 8 in the morning. People running to get to their work, she felt that they were like puppets in the hands of the society. And, she continued to follow her route map.
Thirty minutes passed, she was on the streets, lost in the beautiful city of romance. The route map on her phone was lost and the phone stopped working. Neither does she remember the way back home nor does she know the way to the university. Cherry on top, she couldn’t ask anyone for directions due to the language barrier. Hopeless of her situation, with a baffled look on her face, she started to have second thoughts about her decision to come abroad. She has already lost the confidence in herself and wanted to go back to her safe zone again. She felt abandoned on the streets of this busy city.
‘Bonjour Madame, tu as l’air désorienté.’ She saw a hand on her shoulder and a comforting look on the man’s face, yet she did not understand what he said.
‘I am sorry, I don’t know French.’ She sighed.
‘Oh, I am sorry. U look very confused madam; would you require some help?’ hearing the man she felt hopeful again.
Explaining her situation, she asked the man to help her find a way to the university. Luckily, with the help of a random man she found the way to her new class. Everything felt lively all over again.
Reporting to her new co-ordinator, she received her student card and this felt like her first achievement. Feeling obliged, she made way to her first class. All her life, she was living in the fear of being judged, living as any other person in the society. She was a shy little girl, who couldn’t converse easily. Being around people never felt comfortable as she couldn’t be herself. But for the first time, she wanted to show everyone who she really was. She wanted to know for herself who she really was. It is a matter of interest to know whether this opportunity has changed her for the better or for the worse.
Ah! just lying on bed for 2 months became punishment for Ruby, She met with an accident in September and badly injured her backbone.
Ruby a single mother of 2 and 1/2 year old daughter Angel. She was not aware what happened to her mom but she knows that something is not good with her mother.. Angel can't say it in words but she expressed her emotions by her gestures.
Angel won't leave Ruby alone for a minute but at the same time wouldn't disturbed her sleeping Mother. She just want to sleep beside her, she want to feel her mother presence , she ate when her mother says to her.
Ruby and Angel was taken care by her family since she separated with her husband. Her family won't talk about that phase as they don't want to hurt Ruby.
it's been two long months for Ruby in the same room she don't even assume outside world however Angel is now familiar with this place and curious too to find out New things in her surroundings.
December started and winter's too knocked doors. Angel who just learnt few New words was amazed to see beautiful flowers in her garden, She love to touch them feel them but at the same time she feel scared as she don't want to hurt them.. Yes you heard it right Ruby taught her in this way where she thinks flowers are like us and if we pluck them then they will get hurt and feel pain, so Angel learn to praise every plant and flower .
Now Everyday number of sparrows hums in the morning as they want to see someone special and it's none of us.. it's Angel who without asking anyone goes to storeroom to get rice in her tiny hands for her sparrow friends. Angel love to feed these birds everyday.
Ruby was thinking of her past with closed eyes and few tears dropped from her eyes, she was not aware that her daughter was standing on door and watching her mother without uttering a single word.
Angel slowly went next to her mother and wiped her face with her tiny chilled hands. Ruby opened her eyes and looked pearl of her eyes. She took her and gave a nice hug to her, for that Angel giggled and kissed on her mother cheek. sound of her daughter's laugh makes her more strong. Then Angel asked to ruby "Mumma Aah(hurt), Mumma Aai(pain) . for that ruby has no answer because she don't want her daughter to go through with such pain in her life. Ruby just shook her head in a No gesture and hugged her tightly to feel her presence to get her strength back.. So that she will not melt again in this WINTER AGAIN....