Unlike others, Chid and Iyya nestled in the leafiest corner of the city. It was calmer and away from the cemented city bricks and blocks. There weren’t any acquaintances nearby but they didn’t feel lonely. The place was often visited by families, school kids and couples-in-love for leisurely day picnics. Wild flowers bloomed in the manicured park and lush green hedges dotted the distant borders. Soon, news spread, close friends discovered their abode and neighboured them. They lived like one big happy family. Every morning, the flock of men left their homes in a bunch to visit the city to collect food. The women stayed home and spent their days chatting and nursing their little ones.
Iyya was very friendly by nature and she mingled with everyone alike. She was a free-bird, quite literally. She would visit the friends’ homes in the evenings to chitchat. The men, her friends’ partners, would narrate different tales from the city – about the changing weather, rising levels of pollution and the constant chaos of the city, and she would sit in awe without blinking, listening to them. Chid loved her a lot but hated it when she laughed with her friends and their husbands. Iyya was prettier than her friends. She had an orange mouth. Her brown-grey complexion complemented the tiny black smudge on her nape. He grew jealous with each new day.
One evening when she returned home after her routine rendezvous, she found him waiting for her, fuming with rage. His feathers were ruffled and he sat with his beak half open, ready with his practiced twitters. They started bickering, beak-to-beak, and each side screeching harder in defence. At last, Chid lost control. He couldn’t hit her because he loved her too much so he charged at her and pulled the shiny black feather off her tail.
Chid knew a bird without a tail was socially embarrassing, especially for a female. Iyya sat crying in the corner of the straw nest, waiting for summer when her tail feathers would grow back. She threw Chid out of the nest and made him sleep on the bough that night. But he was happy. He was happy because summer was three months away and that meant he would be at peace till then.
published 23 May 2012