I tried conjuring various names for this piece, but nothing came close to explaining what this all about. And thus this seemingly mundane title speaks volumes (well that is only if you have the ears for it)Wont call it a story,never can.... wont call it anything else , except the word"Circle" so innocous, so unrelated, yet all pervasive ... here is .Circlesfor you, if you are that "whoever" who is interested in knowing Why Circles is named so.
The hunter had shot down the nightingales, one lay dead the other writhing in pain, the all pervading mist would soon cover its eyes, but for now, the nightingale, muted and dying, could only look at its progeny in pain and longing.
The young one, for its part, was in the nest built for it by the two mating nightingales. It was yet so small that its eyes had not opened.
The hunter was soon caught for poaching in a government preserved area and was promptly fined. Since the dead birds could not be brought back to life, they were given adequate burial, in the ranger’s stomach.
“That was the only couple left” said the ranger, not without a hint of pity in his eyes, for if there were more… poaching would ensure he got his daily ration of dinner. He ate sumptuously everything that was shot down, though he never harmed a single animal or bird.
The other birds looked at the nest built by the nightingales and the still blind kid inside. A peacock, unable to hear its piteous cries held it by its beak and brought it in its own fold.
This was now a part of the folklore of the forest every animal recited it to every other animal, especially mothers to put their purring, grring, mewing, cawing, crowing kids to sleep. The nightingale grew up to be a drab thing, unlike its foster family, which was the epitome of beauty.
It had never learnt to sing, though singing is natural for nightingales, it too like other traits needs to be taught in a proper manner. It could not caw like the peahen that was its mother now, nor did it have a baritone the way its elder brother had. Its foster father was long dead and was resting happily (?) the ranger’s stomach. This too was folklore now.
The rabbit told its son at night that the evil luck of the nightingale baby had befallen on who ever had cared for it. The lion growled to his lioness saying that it would not be long before the entire family of peacocks perished, just like the nightingale…
Facing the wrath of the jungle for reasons not entirely unknown to it, the nightingale found itself a lone solider in the face of adversity. Constant rebukes by the mother (for it had known no other) about the loss of her husband, its brothers took turns in plucking out feathers from its body “to see if anything nice will ever grow there”. It thought itself to be an outcaste, and not without reason, for the jungle was used to see “How someone looked” and not “What someone was”.
One day, sitting alone (for everyone else avoided that tree)on the tree where its parents had once built a nest for it and had hoped to rear it and watch it fly and sing, it heard a melodious tune wafting down from the base of the tree. Frightened, but also enraptured by the music, it bent down to see a human blow air into a twig and create music, he sang in his language from time to time to fill in the gaps when the twig would not sing.
O Krsna, Am I not the dust at your feet?
Oh why with so much disgust towards me you treat?
O Radha, Sweet and beautiful
Tell your consort about my devotion ever immortal.
The nightingale, without meaning to, when she heard these sweet tunes and sweet words however incomprehensible, burst out into a tune that matched the flute. She sang her heart out with the gwala below. The boy, surprised to hear such a sweet voice, sang on and played the flute, from noon till dusk.
When he got up to leave, the nightingale that had until now, had lost herself in the wonderful world of music came back into the bleak reality.
Soon this became a ritual of theirs and the boy would unfailingly sit beneath the tree and sing, the nightingale, sit on the very same place where it was born and sing. The whole forest was enchanted by this music and felt time and space halt momentarily to aid the divinity in the song, though no one knew it was the nightingale whose sensitive heart it was that added the real bhakti and thus the real melody to the song.
The peacocks, partly wanting to find out the source of this song, partly wanting to hog the limelight by showing off their dancing skills approached the source of the music. They saw the boy , the twig with holes and began their dance of ecstasy, the boy overwhelmed by this visual delight, got up and stopped singing… the nightingale too stopped… again, here “How someone looked” took precedence.
Now it was the boy who was rooted to the spot looking at the nightingales dance, and then as though in a repeat performance, the poachers who had been waiting for the (until now) shy peacocks, finding them in the open, took aim at leisure and fired.
Every one of the birds was shot dead, except for the small peacock in the nest, which had not yet opened its beautiful eyes to this ugly murderous world