Wings To Fly

What happens when wings get cut down because they were making too much of a ruffle


6/2/20234 min read

Nonchalantly turning over the pages of a freshly printed crispy Sunday newspaper, Saran’s beady eyes fell upon a portrait-sized picture of a well-toned glamorous model carrying off a thigh-high slit. But despite all the enticement, what rather strangely enchanted him the most when he attended to it, was a tiny two-liner caption under it. The way the description was framed to straight away paint the image in the reader's mind simply drove him to such sweetness and ecstasy within himself. He immediately fell in love with the way the caption had been tactfully mounted. Each word was placed where they should have been with such surgical precision which lent weight to a reader’s imagination. He had found his niche in that inadvertent discovery. Suddenly, newspapers were his new best friends. Post school he would consume all the news pieces and the editorials with a ravenous appetite and would try to mentally form his own opinions on various issues. Seeing this sudden vigor, his younger brother would make malevolent plans to hide a copy of the morning newspaper to just tease him into a frenzy. However, the intangible smell of the paper never betrayed him, and eventually he would succeed every time in excavating it out from the most secluded spots in the house. As he grew up, the moment he laid his hand on formal English textbooks of any class, the entire brand new book in a matter of few weeks would look as if it had been ravaged by a hurricane of word meanings, contextual information and side-notes which ran criss-cross all across the length and breadth of the great literary works of celebrated British and American authors. He simply felt blissed out whenever he chanced upon the true hidden meanings of what the writer had slyly intended to convey by juxtaposing words in a very skillful order, placing imaginative phrases and adding metaphors in their right contexts. It was nothing short of an eureka moment. He almost had mugged up the pocket Oxford dictionary and challenged his friends frequently to test him out. He went on to win many inter school debates and essay competitions and almost topped the English literature subject exams in every class.

However, as he grew up and studies took priority, this didn’t go well at all with his parents and class teachers who thought he was simply wasting his time on such frivolous things which wouldn’t bear any economical fruit in his future. His parents started discouraging and even rebuking him for spending much time reading newspapers and English class textbooks. In all subjects except English, he was average. However, as he grew up, tuition classes increased in scale and scope for subjects which society considered utilitarian like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics etc. Some teachers didn’t approve of his writing style. His handwriting was nowhere good. There was hardly any time left post school and the incessant volley of tuitions to lend to his passion where his heart roamed. The wings of a bird had been systematically beaten down and tied up with barbed iron wire by people who always looked at life through a fixed prism of social approval and acceptance. Slowly the oppressive tuition classes and the iron-fisted ways in which his parents curbed his passion for literature took a toll. No more did he scribble short poems as he used to do earlier, nor did he ever lay his hand again on the daily newspaper. Life took over. He passed school and then graduated from college. He even got a nice 9-to-5 job in an IT company. But some strange unfulfillment always bothered him, and he couldn’t find a full expression of that longing. He had long lost the fervor for English newspapers, magazines, novels or literature of any kind. He always went into hopeless envy whenever he found people following their passion and doing well in their respective chosen niche. He always begrudged them and thought of himself as a failure in his life.

One day he got an invitation out of the blue to be a co-author of an anthology. He jumped straight into it. He was desperately trying to hold on to any straw to save himself from drowning in this sea of despair and hopelessness. With a new found energy, he once again fervently started rebuilding his vocabulary, style and taste for English literature, diligently worked upon his piece and got it submitted for compilation. After a month his book got launched and published on Amazon. For the very first time he was a published author. For the very first time in his life he knew he was not a complete failure. That there’s still much spark left in him. For it was not the prospect of earning good money or reputation which drew him to English, nor was he influenced or inspired by anyone to pick it up. It was only much later he came to know how English can also serve as a global passport to the world outside. At first, it was only the way the words had been lucidly used and appropriately placed to convey and communicate ideas which had drawn him towards the lingua franca. He had now broken the proverbial barbed iron-wire. And this time even the wind conspired with him when he fluttered his vibrant wings and flew away to success, recognition and freedom.