Disclaimer : The title of the post does not have much in common to the context apart from the ‘Eagle’. The tile is more like, my tribute to one of the all time great movies by the same name.
Today something strange happened which had me stop and thinking. As I went about the usual routine of my evening walk, I found my friend who bought a new ‘Bullet Enfield‘ just the other day. I asked him for a short joyride before I continued on my walk, he as nice as a person he is, gleefully obliged. We had been cruising in his new cruiser for close to a minute, when he suddenly uttered ‘Oh God!‘ and slowed his bike, almost to the extent of stopping it. When I asked what happened, he said nothing and again stepped on the gas.
We were climbing uphill, so it was like a wake up call for him before we would go sliding in to the lush green forests below; but a little distance when we were now safely going downhill, he said a bird came on his path and he had accidentally run over it. I did not feel anything, it was like a void. So what is the big deal, birds get run over every now and then. bikes, cars and even aeroplanes. They come in the path of these juggernauts and the loose their existence or almost.
After the ride, which was a full circle just as I had wanted it to be, he dropped me off at exactly the same point where we had started. I happily and contendedly went on back in my normal course of walk.
I must have walked some 500 meters when a sight caught me completely captivated for about 2-3 minutes. There was this beautiful eagle brown-black in color with startling and glittering blue eyes lying on the middle of the road with feathers scattered all around. It struck me like a lightning that this must have been the bird that we ran over. I definitely missed more than a beat, as I saw helplessly, very much in a trance as to what to do.
The trance was broken by a slight movement of the bird, as it struggled to get to its feet. It was then I could see that it was alive, not much hurt except almost detached of one of his wings and with a leg badly injured. I must have said a silent prayer that the poor thing was not hurt in its ‘torso’. It had this glittering eyes on which it kept bating its eyelids, something so captivating that I would have cried, had I not been suddenly awoken to the fact that this would need to be taked to a side before any other traffic ran through it. (The road was a climbing road on the hills of IIM Kozhikode; so there was a blind turn right ahead, hence by the time any traffic saw the poor thing lying, it would have been too late to out the brakes just as it happened with my friend.)
I was wondeing how to pick it up, I felt a weird concoction of feelings: Something so somplex and so convoluted that I am sure I would not be able to do justice in putting it down in words. It was a acerbic blend of immense sorrow, unfathomable pity, utter helplessness, discomforting nervousness, jittery fear and confusion. I tried picking it up, but there were two problems.One I was not sure if it was an eagle and hence, whether it would bite me. The Second problem was that every once in three times I actually overcame this fear and came close to touching it, it would immediately struggle to run away, further scatter a feather or two from his dissociated wing; shaking up my determination by that.
It was a hobson’s choice I did not have the courage to pick it up, but leaving it to die was definitely not an option. I was immersed in this dilemma when a couple of my classmates came walking from the other end. The sight of me bending on the middle of the road and hob-nobing with something, obviously uncertain with my actions seemed amusing to them. (I could not blame them for that, i know how that must have looked to them). But when he was within earshot, I de-briefed him as to the scenario. I surprised myself with the candidness, I told them straight that I needed help as I was afraid to pick it up. The infectious nature of such truthfulness soon came into light when they admitted that they felt sorry for it, but declined to assist in moving it as they too were afraid. Boys being afraid is not that bad or awkward a thing afterall..!
One of them, the smarter and the more macho of them, an IIT graduate sugested that we use a stick that he managed to find to shovel it across. As much as practical it might have been, something inside me revolted. I most certainly cannot hide behind the veil of my fear to shovel off an injured creature. That was not me! No Way !
As I went back in my endeavours to pick it up, they kept encourging me to go ahead and pick it up ( I want to emphasise that those two are perfectly good people; fine lads, who just ran out of courage at that moment much as I had). First time I touched it, It suddenly flapped its working wing, and I was stunned as if hit by a thunderbolt. Finally chanting a silent prayer asking the almight to give me the strength I picked it up off the ground and was about to take it across when it violently protested and fell out of my grasp covering the few inches I had taken it above ground effortlessly, taking the scenario back to square one.
This time something inside me gave me the strength, It was definitely not my conscious self, but something which almost controlled all my thoughts. I stroked my hand over its head caressing it, surprisingly it did not jerk its head. Its blinking eyes seemed to take me into confidence. And then I picked it up, gently but firmly, not once did it try to protest this time.
As I did so, my friends made way for me to put it in the footpath. One of them suggested that I put some dug out mud lying nearby to keep it. I asked him to pur some over the concrete slab so as to make a comfortable resting place. And he duly obliged. I then gently rested the bird on it.
My mind was racing now, as I remembered Dilwaale Dulhania Le Jaayenge and the magical words of Shahrukh, “Is mitti main bohot shakti hai… theek ho jaayega”.
Funny as it might seem, I was praying with all my strength that this be true.
As there was nothing much to do I continued on my walk, (It was already nearing dusk, and I had slipped at least by 20 minutes behind my daily schedule). My mind was still at it, and something suddenly crossed my mind. I keep complaining to God about how much he hasn’t given me in terms of memory and intelligence. I am definitely not the brightest or the smartest of kids around here. I need to read some matter almost endlessly before it sinks in for examinational recollection. My intuition often fails me in hour of need, when I am desperately fighting to survive the onslaught of a torturous examination paper. (the memories of Quant paper in which my memory completely failed me, came back on ready reckoning; I am still hopingthat I make it through that!)
But in return of this he has given me something, which I find is not so common to be found around. I have this passionate feeling. A feeling which is so powerful and overbearing that it overpowers almost all my other senses. Something that is so strong that it almost singlehandedly biases my decision on how to act. On these occasions, I suddenly rise up; an exponential incremental in character and strength, go ahead and do something which I should be doing then. This has happened to me before, more than once; when the depth of my feeling for someone’s pain or need for help made me suddenly forget all the world around and come ahead and assist. Funny as it might sound, I realised that this was indeed a God’s gift. The fact that I am kind enough to actually feel the pinch for others is indeed a quality. Most of the world dwelves at a level which is far shallower in feeling, something so painted, so masked and so ‘artificial‘.
I also realised that one of the main objectives of my favourite course in the previous term Organizations Behaviour (taught by someone who argualby features among the best in this field in the country), to find the difference between Leader and a Manager, was finally answered. A leader is one who has depth of character to be able to feel for others, to actually look at the scenario after putting himself in the other person’s shoe and to build up the last straw of courage in times when it matters. I realised that my single biggest quality and U.S.P (Unique selling Proposition) for eing a leader, is that though I forget names in a whiff, though I am not the reserved kinds, one who command immediate respect by their presence; I am sensitive enough to feel for people around them, to have genuine concern and to have a good heart inplace. Something which would compensate for the numerous drawbacks in terms of my abilities. Something whoich would make my defeciencies seem so trivial in comparison. God definitely, made me the way I am, not by accident but with a purpose. there is a very good reason why I am the way I am, not any better , not any worse.
Before I end what would be the longest post of my life, I must add that as I was on my way back and retacing the route, I kept praying to God that he would show his mercy on my hurt friend. Just as I negotiated the blind turn, I saw that the spot of mud on the concrete was without its new inhabitant. I feverishly looked around hoping against hope that it had fallen from the cliff, and god be thanked, nothing of that sort had occured.
I would like to believe that by some act of God, it had managed to find its way, and was now slowly returning to its normal course of life.
‘Ae Khuda Raite ke sehra ko Samundar kar de, ya chalakte huye aankhon ko pathar kar de‘