in Compilations

Nature

                The Lake is azure, its waters reflecting the sky above, yet unable to conceal the plethora of Life inside it. It is teeming with life as always, thousands of fishes schooling around to gain their daily morsel or fighting for a tasty titbit dropped from a boat or the rare remains of a bigger fish. Nature dictates that the big eat the small, but Death, the great leveller changes all this and allows the smaller fish to have its fifteen seconds of fame; after all, it is not in Nature’s plan to bury or cremate your loved ones, but to let them be and move on in life, happy to be alive. So the fishes are living their life, avidly eating what they get and enjoying the simple pleasures of getting as many plankton as they can. But about the surface of the lake, alone, a fish strives to get something more out of life than just a few quick meals soon to be forgotten, for there is something more important to do in life than to eat away to glory: The glory of swimming. The fish streamlines itself to the current in the water and rushes forward, beaming at the amazing speeds it has reached by a single twist of its fins. This morning is special for it as it has discovered a joy far more intense than the blasé and mundane activities of the one day at a time life of its brethren. So our fish, whom we shall call Fish, which is appropriate as that is what we call it, although it doesn’t know that, is happy today, avowing that it has found a higher meaning to life as opposed to that told by their ancestors and is probably on the path of spiritual augmentation. As it thinks so, it leaps out of the water while reaching the apex of the current of joy it feels surging through it and before Fish has even dropped back into the cold water and before it has had a single breath of air via its gills, a huge splash is heard just above it and within a second, Fish is struggling in the talons of an Eagle, writhing not in pain, but in vain to get back its new found and newly lost freedom, only to thrash wildly towards its ultimate demise.

 

 

 

 

                High above the clouds, the wind is not as serene as the lake below. The air thrashes on the face of the Eagle against which any ordinary eagle would have failed to steady and surely fallen, affrighted by the amazing speed of the wind. But this is no ordinary Eagle, this is the Bald Eagle, the proudest of its species, ever alert, an archetype of acuity and awe, abominated by all in the animal world, but acclaimed for its swift attacks which seldom went abortive. The august bird is so aristocratic in its demeanour that it was chosen as the national bird of a great nation and used forever to symbolize power and authority. Of course, the Eagle never knew all this, you see, it wasn’t accustomed to humans.

                The Eagle has been up there for a half hour, observing the lake below ardently, noting every movement of the fish, our Fish and is amused at its stubbornness in staying up at the surface of the lake. All the better for the Eagle, since now it would be easier to catch it. The wind has been ruffling its feathers for too long and although the Eagle is stable and apathetic towards it, it has to be ready for the attack and moves downwards. The regal bird has been observing the serf for long enough to know what the next move of the Fish will be even before the Fish itself does. So when the Fish leaps out of the water, the Eagle has already started its descent and has timed it to match the return of the Fish into the water. So when the Fish touches the water, the Eagle has ascertained the exact path it must take to get to the Fish as early as possible and even before the Fish has had a whiff of gill processed air, the Eagle has it clutched in its talons. The sudden loss of freedom causes the Fish to give some reactionary thrashes, but the Eagle’ grip is too strong to overcome. The Eagle is now moving away from the water, higher up into the sky and as the life drains out of the Fish, it revolts one last time. Irritated by this, the Eagle pulls its talons apart, ripping the Fish into two, dripping blood as it goes away. Down below, life continues as always, for not many have noticed the disappearance of the Fish and those who have choose to ignore it, continuing to live in the fantasy that they are the kings of their domain and live, eat and die without the fear of any predators.

 

 

                The Eagle has been flying for a few hours now. It has a long journey to cover to get back to its aerie. Food is scarce in this area and it has travelled far out of its territory to hunt. But this is not to fulfil its own avarices. The Eagle itself is on an abstemious diet, taking in just as much as needed to survive.

                As the Eagle approaches its nest, it is greeted by the loud crying of the Eaglets. They are eager at the sight of food and twitter loudly to beckon their mother to hurry up. They are excited and as soon as the Eagle settles down they start gnawing at the dead fish. They are hungry and the Eagle quickly feeds them, ripping only a few bites for its own sustenance. The Eaglets eat ravenously and as soon satiated. Then the Eagle puts them to rest and covers them up with its wings to give them warmth. As it rests, the Eagle feels a twinge at the thought of its mate. The male had been taken down by a gunshot a week ago and although it was alive when it fell, the humans had taken it somewhere far away and the Eagle had not been able to find it even after looking for three days straight. For the next few days, it avoided its nest, not sure it wanted to rear its children without a father. But their shrill cries rung in its ears day and night and the Eagle knew it could not abandon them. So it went back to its nest, astonishingly in time to save its children from a pair of audacious squirrels which had come to dine on the atypical feast. It then realised that it would be difficult to hunt for food and protect its fledglings as a single parent. But it had kept at it and although prey was attrite in the area, the Eagle had kept finding food for them, assiduously ensuring that they remain safe while it goes to hunt, covering them up with twigs to ensure that no passing bird be able to see them, always acknowledging that one day it would have to risk their lives and travel far to find food. The fateful day had come and the Eagle had to go far beyond its territory, fearing another attack by the squirrels, praying all the way to find food enough for them all and returning with a prize catch.

                Presently, one of the chicks coughed slightly. The Eagle removes its wings and looks at its children queerly. It heard another cough, this time from the second one. They were both now coughing in a raspy hacking manner. They look at their mother questioningly and she smiles back at them weakly, reassuring them that everything is alright and bringing them closer to give them affection. This time, a mother sighs. The wind was cold today and it must have affected their weak bodies. As it assures them, the Eagle feels another pang of sorrow, realising that they may not survive the night.