People like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and John Lennon had unrealistic dreams. They spoke of grandiose ideas that could never be translated into actionable plans; at least not in their lifetimes. I feel more inspired by those who dream for themselves, and for their loved ones.
Years ago, one of my friends start making plans to build a house. It was a milestone he ached to cross. He also wanted to make his bed-ridden parents feel good. One was battling cancer and the other had gone through a third stroke while in paralysis. They died before the construction even began. But later, at the house warming ceremony, my friend looked happy. No matter what – the dream had come true. If his parents had been alive, they would have been proud.
I can’t see these isolated achievements as meek endeavors. They are the best that most of us are capable of, given how distracted we can be. It’s what makes us human beings.
The urge to do more because of how few opportunities there are to break through the facade of normalcy. We want to live larger because the world looks smaller every time technology shrinks it. We crave for significance and we will do anything to get it. The best part of these dreams are that no one else needs to know about them.
I had a dream today. I wanted a pleasant Sunday morning at Vedanthangal with my feathered friends. It didn’t come true because today the city celebrated Kaanum Pongal – the fourth day of the State harvest festival. People pay homage to their elders, gods, statues, paintings, etc. And hordes of families invade every tourist spot out there.
I wrongly assumed that a bird sanctuary might be safe from the invasion. The smell of bad deodorant was more prominent than the beautiful aroma of bird poop in the morning. It was a hot mess. Children were chasing bonnet macaques. Adults were worse, soiling the sanctity of the place with their negativity. I heard one of them complaining about how there were only big-beaked birds. Another sulked about how the selfies needed more back-light.
I was about to give up on my dream before a bunch of owlets showed up to calm me down.
They sang Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax, Don’t Do It” and danced to it. Or they were just annoyed that I kept finding them no matter where they went. I know which theory I believe in.
It was almost turning into a pleasant Sunday. Then, a group of obnoxious teenagers saw me photographing the owlets. The tallest one pointed to the branch, and yelled “Anthaa da macha (it’s an owl, dude)” at his friends. Instinctively I waved my arms at the owlets and shooed them away to another branch. The group looked at me quizzically as I walked away with a frown.
Some don’t deserve to know it feels like to have owlets stare right back into their eyes. They don’t respect the Vedanthangal’s fragile ecosytem. They don’t even make any attempt to enjoy its fauna. Instead they bring in their arrogance to make light of matters they know nothing about.
Also, nobody gets to ruin my dream and then go home with a part of it.
list out their
one has roots –
the other wears
a pair of wings
(Photographs: Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary / Kelambakkam)