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Birds know no boundaries, no limits!

March 29, 2012

From the time, we got a bird-feeder, Jay and I knew that we have new winged friends as a part of our family now – creatures that are simple and uncomplicated! Sometimes, we both marvel at their simplicity! They come, chirp, peck on the seeds and fly away. Humans think, analyze, reanalyze and get stressed and tensed. Will I meet my deadline? What do I cook today? Why did my friend speak to me like that? Why am I so sick? Well, sometimes I feel having an advanced brain as compared to other species makes our lives complicated not simpler! Back to the birds, over these past few days, we have built a relationship with them. They know that food is refilled every day at the feeder and it is done exclusively for them. Of course, they make a mess around the feeder, and we clean it ungrudgingly. It is part of the deal you see! We enjoy the relationship between us.

But today when Jay and I were walking the streets of Pasadena, we saw a bird in a cage. It was beautiful, and it was chirping. Jay stood for a while and gazed at it. And he became sad after a while. I guessed that the idea of a bird in a cage made him upset. My guess was right and he concurred, “It is so cruel to cage a bird, isn’t it? Is the chirping a sound of pain or joy?” I felt sad for the bird too. I wondered, “How would I feel if someone put me in a cage? And I tried to escape it every single moment in my life?” I shuddered at the thought and it made me wonder, “How do the birds feel? Those winged creatures are meant to fly and soar! They know no boundaries. They know no limits. They fly high uninhibited in this big wide world! Inside the cage, all they see is the bars of the cage and they have seen all there is to see through it, not once or twice but multiple times. Their world becomes limited to the view from the cage. But birds are like global citizens –they don’t need any visa or passport when they are migrating, right?” To catch these winged creatures and confine them to the limited space in a metal cage seems like a blasphemy, doesn’t it?

Jay went down the memory lane. He confessed that when he was a young child, he used to play with a bird in a cage in our apartment in Mumbai. He said he used to be elated and thrilled at the thought of touching the claws of the bird while the frightened bird would make failed desperate attempts to fly inside the limited space of the cage. It was unaware that it was a child who was innocently trying to play with it. It probably was scared. Today, after looking at the bird in the cage, Jay felt sad and regretted the act he did in the past.

We can’t blame the children as most of the times their acts are mere innocent mistakes made out of curiosity and inquisitiveness. But what about adults who know and can feel the pain of the creatures. Why do they still cage birds?  I am sure most of you feel the same way, don’t you?

My last thought after looking at the caged bird was – I wish I could sneak it out of the cage and let it fly! I leave you with this beautiful poem by Rabindranath Tagore.


by: Rabindranath

THE tame bird was in a cage, the free bird was in the forest.

They met when the time came, it was a decree of fate.

The free bird cries, “O my love, let us fly to the wood.”

The cage bird whispers, “Come hither, let us both live in the cage.”

Says the free bird, “Among bars, where is there room to spread one’s wings?”

“Alas,” cries the caged bird, “I should not know where to sit perched in the sky.”

The free bird cries, “My darling, sing the songs of the woodlands.”

The cage bird sings, “Sit by my side, I’ll teach you the speech of the learned.”

The forest bird cries, “No, ah no! songs can never be taught.”

The cage bird says, “Alas for me, I know not the songs of the woodlands.”

There love is intense with longing, but they never can fly wing to wing.

Through the bars of the cage they look, and vain is their wish to know each other.

They flutter their wings in yearning, and sing, “Come closer, my love!”

The free bird cries, “It cannot be, I fear the closed doors of the cage.”

The cage bird whispers, “Alas, my wings are powerless and dead.”

Are you a caged bird or a free bird?



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  1. Srija Unnikrishnan permalink

    Yes, every ‘living being’ loves to be free! We are living in a world where even humans are ‘bonded laborers’.
    Which ‘bird in cage’ is Jay talking about?

  2. You are so right about the humans being ‘bonded laborers’. So true that they are like free birds trapped in an invisible cage!

  3. What a beautiful poem! Personally, I feel I was a caged bird for a long time, and recently transformed into a free bird – still so much left to discover and learn with my freedom, though 🙂

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