The Teacher began:
of crows and ravens – a fable
A flock of birds together built a big Nest and set it aside to meet together once a week. Soon other evenings of special days like birthdays and no flying days got added on. And later a few other days for departures and accidents from amongst them were also named and observed. It was warm kindly place, they even sang when there. And in the niceness of that togetherness found strength and happiness. They had soon began to worship the Unknown, in songs of praise and flapping of wings and prayers. To that Presence that sent them that feeling – that feeling of being embraced by The Hands that gave life, just like that, out out nothingness! and they raised their best voices.
Many moons sailed past the trees: a few birds having flown to other lands and seen new flashy toys, showed impatience with the old ways, and wanted to do their kind of singing and praying which they insisted was better (not complimentary), when the rest were just content with singing and praying together. There was much complaining by the new Nesters and some debate among the old-birds. They were after some passage of time, asked to come up to the alter, and they did, and sang loudly, and all was good for a short time.
The teacher chuckled, drank water, slowly from the tall glass tumbler. And continued his tale..
Some of the old-birds let them do this singing and talking and screaming out whatever came to beak, and ever so regularly too (we are in an era wherein 6 months of a regular activity was called traditional practice) – a cleansing rituals from another nest, said a wise bird, when asked. And most times sung very badly cause no one would know the difference, they said, and a few others that maybe did know the difference, abhorred the lack of sensibility – ‘kept peace’ however. Time to practice to get their voices to go with the others, they didn’t have. Most of them were busy building their own nests. So, they gave time very grudgingly to the big Nest – very little.
And when one bird asked, ‘why this and not the meditative and solemn ones more often’?, one old-bird who demanded importance for one thread alone, (he could trace the papaya roots that lined his nest walls to the ones which had gone into the making of the big Nest), gruffly pushed straight his haunches and chimed, Shut up! Don’t ask questions! It hurts!
The teacher clutched his stomach and pulled in the sound of the symphonic rich long laughter that danced in his eyes for few long minutes. NO audio!
And many more moons sped by shamefacedly hiding behind clouds … many birds gave up coming to the Nest on the special days at the time everyone congregated. Many of them did however stop by to offer a bird seed, which entitled them a birthday song in their name, and a few other privileges the allegiance to the Nest had begun to provide. And some other birds started to bring in other activities like shops and then decided to charge birdseeds for every little service they could offer. Some shiny-feathered elders offered flying instructions at a reduced special rates for those from this nest. That kept a few coming here occasionally for just such ease of service.
And more moons leapt over trees and hills… now a few other birds also started t do other things on the special day meant for all. Most birds didn’t even care to talk to the other by now. An extension of the nest was rented out to a dour band of ravens, and they would also deal with the rubbish the big nest produced. The pollution and noise grew louder…. A few birds smoothed their ruffled feathers, made up their inner strength and asked a few questions. They hoped, that would help connect back to the meaning of their existence. Hoped to be back on the road they departed from. This they thought was what everyone really wanted but were a bit lazy and worldweary to ask or do anything about. Let’s try and get it’s policies back to a time of niceness, of songs, and holding hands, and easy smiles.
Oh shut up, don’t ask questions! We are interesting in worship. That old bird was still around, one tail feather painted yellow the other feathers were all pale shade of gray. A few ravens piped in a chorus with fresh new harmonies.
The teacher laughed that sad laugh and softly whispered: Worship? What worship! They shout and scream at each other instead of offering a prayer of thanks. Blissful, unaware, shameless and arrogant!
The teacher put on his big voice again and continued… many birds invested in plastic beaks with smiles, which they wore to the Nest.
And so it continued… the ravens hang around about the Nest (no free will and not just) are now fighting amongst themselves for the dead flesh left. There is no singing now, the song birds having flown!
Those who have ears, hear! The teacher sighed