The Prince: Shuddho was barely 14 when his father left their palace for solitude, the tender sweet boy somehow managed to retain the innocent twinkle in his bright dreamy eyes, despite the agony of losing a doting father. The boy grew up around his grief-stricken mother and a younger sister, only to see the hardships in life way earlier than children his age (Or so that’s what he thought, brooding in his own pain, blind to the suffering of others around him, yet).
One thing he was particularly fond of was, his short trails and treks around the palace, into the forest, He would sneak out of the palace alone, sometimes would take his sister Shubhra along …
His favourite time of the day was dawn, he just loved sitting alone in the woods along with his flute and simply enjoying the harmony of sounds in the forest, the sweet spring, the sound of koyal, the rumbling of wet leaves along the spring, the gushing sound of water and the cold breeze merging it all in itself, Often he would find himself wondering if he was going on the same path as his father, inheriting the love and preference for ones own company and intimacy with untouched nature, Only to be amused at the timeless space he experienced engulfing all these thoughts and experiences.
Who knew he was to accidentally meet his precious companion one such pristine morning…
The Parrot: Prettiest amongst all her siblings Ramya was a confident, vibrant parrot, with bright green wings, chirpy and bubbly as they said, still somehow had a calm about herself, they said she was born as a special child with one wing smaller than the other, no one around her thought she would ever be able to fly, and she like always had made up her mind to prove the naysayers wrong. She flies like no one other today, being the most adventurous of all her friends and siblings she had seen way more springs and mountains and valleys than anybody else, she had seen towns and markets and could never understand how pieces of stones and metals gave man the power to take things in exchange, all of it intrigued her. She was one curious parrot, one of a kind
One fine morning just like always she had her food and left for a new adventure, after two days and two nights of flying with breaks, she decided to sit by the side of spring and rest, she found herself a sweet spot on the tree adjacent to the spring…she fell asleep, and just when she slipped into sleep, she heard the sweetest most beautiful sound she ever had heard, she saw a blue coloured handsome human form playing it in her dream, when she opened her eyes, there was this other human figure, sitting on the ground under the banyan tree, his eyes half open, with a wooden stick, which had holes, he was blowing into it, she thought this is the site where the sound seems to be emitting from.
Engrossed and lost in the magnificence of the site, Ramya lost track of time …
Shuddho: Mitthu Mithhu!!
Ramya: My name is not Mitthu,Mitthu was my great great grandfather, did you know him?
S: Oh I’m sorry,no I did not know him, all parrots in our city are called Mitthu, what is your name sweet parrot?
R: Ramya and i am not like all other parrots
S (this one too seems to have this illusion too that she is special he thought): Oh that’s a nice name,I am Shuddho, this forest comes under my kingdom, Let me welcome you here.(he indicated her to sit on his shoulder)
R: You already did Prince, with the sound coming from that wood.(refused to move her eye contact)
S: Flute it is called the flute, you liked it?I can play more of it for you…
and neither of them realised this would be the beginning of a lifelong friendship a companionship, both grew very fond of each other, and would meet frequently, The prince would talk about his kingdom and his training in Warcraft and literature, The parrot would narrate about her adventures across the rivers, beyond the boundaries of kingdoms, beyond herself…Just like that 10 years had passed, and the prince was not a prince anymore, he was a benevolent king , known for his kindness and compassion.
Ramya on the other hand had grown into a very accomplished and wise parrot, in fact, she was wiser than most of the human race, she knew about the ephemeral nature of life and body, and she knew about God and his presence in all beings, she was one very grounded parrot,Shuddho truly was blessed to have the companionship of Ramya, they loved each other like no one could ever fathom, their love was beyond their bodily forms, nevertheless Ramya had a vision and knew things wouldn’t be so smooth for long now, she was aware that the neighbouring kingdoms were waiting for an opportunity to take over Shuddha and all his kingdom, she knew they would leave no opportunity to harm him even kill him, She was concerned for him.
She expressed her concerns when they met, he on the other was very nonchalant about it, having experienced death and separation first-hand, he had gotten detached since a very young age, and the only thing he felt attached to was his friendship with Ramya, he respected her opinion and listened to whatever she had to say,
She proposed an idea, she told him to give her his heart, to keep safe, he laughed saying she already had it, She was serious about it, insisted on doing the same, he had to give in ultimately and they planned to do it the next time they met…
As planned they met after a week same time, as usual, she had brought with her 10 of her siblings, in case someone watched they wouldn’t know which parrot had the heart, he took out his heart and gave it to her, she kept it safe.
Time flew,2 yrs passed, and there were many deadly attacks on Shuddho but no one could touch him, so many attempts he wouldn’t die, A spy was summoned to find out the reason for his immunity to all these attacks,they would follow him everywhere, One day they found out about Ramya, they got to know Shuddho has this special affinity to parrots and one parrot, in particular, later someone overheard Shuddhos and Ramya’s conversation about the heart, he as he was told gave the vital information to all the neighbouring kings, Ramya somehow came to know about this, she had a vision and then onwards she would always come along with a dozen of her friends and siblings so that it would get difficult to know which parrot had the precious heart.
I am scared Ramya this is unfair, they will harm you in order to get my kingdom, why do u have to suffer for something even I don’t value, my life, you are the only good thing I have, I cannot do this to you, I request you to please give my heart back to me, I insist i’ll die of guilt otherwise, oh I cannot even die of guilt till u have my heart, how unfortunate, please give it back to me.
It was mine to take, it is mine to take care of now when you had no say when you gave it to me you will not have a say on its return, I have an idea, let me fly far away across the river Banganga, you go on with your life, find yourself a good maiden, get married have children, give your kingdom a rightful heir.
No no Ramya do not do this, I cannot stay away from your company, I value your friendship more than any kingdom, more than anything whatsoever.
Again as I said you have no choice here, I’ll come back exactly after a year, same time same place, I’ll keep your heart safe, go now I have to fly back, always remember I love you more than anything else and this love wouldn’t fade with distance, it will give you the courage to go about and fulfil your duties. As she said this she flew away, her one wing a tad smaller than the other.
Shuddho was in pain now, agonised by the thought of such a long separation, from the only living being he could call his family,his only friend,his confidante ,his beloved…
Meanwhile, the neighbouring kingdoms came up with a plan, they conspired to send a beautiful maiden to Shuddho who would lure him to get married, they went ahead with the plan and Innocent Shuddho unaware of the games of romance and marriage gave in to the beauty, he was more vulnerable than he ever could be, especially now in the absence of his wise consult his Ramya, they got married,4 months had passed now he got engrossed in his nuptial activities, one night just when he was about to fall asleep in the arms of his beloved wife, she asked him about the rumours about his heart being with a parrot, he told everything to her, everything about Ramya, and their next planned meet, unaware of what he had gotten both him and his Ramya into.
The neighbouring kings looked for Ramya in the forest but they could not,they killed many of her siblings thinking them to be her,she came to know about this, was in dilemma how to see Shuddho and ask for help, there was nothing she could do, as time passed more of her siblings were getting killed, she decided to end this, flew to his palace one night, found him relaxing in his wife’ embrace, not paying attention to her knocks and sounds, she flew inside and sat on his shoulder, he finally woke up from his slumber and the same moment,his wife struck the parrot with a stick, and there she was, his dear Ramya lying lifeless at the floor of his own palace, he was losing sense himself within no time, both bodies lay lifeless on the floor one bird one king both lifeless at the same time, they say that night the town witnessed thousands of parrots flocking the palace, who knows Ramya and Shuddho were amongst them too…
Who knows what is beyond death, another life? who knows any of this for sure, do you?