( This post has been tagged as a WOW post as a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. )
The day was young and fresh as he sprayed the plants in the verandah with water. He went leisurely from one plant to the other, bathing the leaves and enjoying the morning breeze. As the little boy’s eyes roved over the surroundings, he suddenly went rigid, his gaze fixated on a point many floors below their flat. He dashed inside the house calling, "Grandpa! Grandpa! Please come out!" Within a few minutes, the two generations were standing together; the younger one pointing down at a narrow gulley.
"Look at the pigeon! It's so badly hurt; it will die! Can't we save it?" the little kid bleated pitifully. The old man followed his grandson's gaze and descried a puny bald creature with a few feathers sticking out of its body, most of its left eye gone, replaced with a yellowish gooey bulge and the rest of the body sprayed with a deep crimson shade, something that might act as an emetic for the faint-hearted.
"Poor guy...I'm afraid he is too far gone to be saved...he is almost at the finishing line..."
“What do you mean it can’t be saved? I want to save it! And what is the finishing line?”
“It has bled way too much. Some cat must have got it.”
The poor boy looked horrified.
The grandfather continued in a kinder voice, “As for the finish line, well...some reach this line in a dash. You know, how, in a race, when it looks so close, you just double your speed and cross that line? It’s like that with some. While others take their own sweet time to reach it. The pace does not really matter. However, there are some unfortunate ones who are tantalizingly close to the line and yet, take ages to cross it, through no fault of their own. That poor pigeon is just such a creature. The best thing would be for it to be put out of its misery the soonest possible.”
“Why? Why can’t it be saved? Why can’t it live?”
“It can live. In fact, it will and that is what is so miserable about it. It is at a stage worse than death. A vegetative stage out of which it cannot extricate itself. It’s like you are stuck in a limbo; you cannot take that one step that will take you to the finishing line. Neither can you keep walking, meandering or charting new courses. It is a stalemate; a period, which seems to extend forever. The only thing one can do is pray that such a state never befalls anyone. You don’t want to be stuck indefinitely, waiting ponderously for the line to reach you.”
This discourse had chilled him to the core all those years ago. He had still wanted the bird to survive, to live as long as it could manage.
But now, when he saw his dear grandpa enervated by a debilitating illness lying in a hospital bed in a comatose state himself, he finally realized the import of what the old man had said at that point of time. While everyone shed tears and lamented his state, he knew what his grandpa would have wanted- a dash to the finish line, not an insect-like crawl but a heroic dash. He could only envisage how his grandfather must abhor his current condition, but all he could do was pray- pray for him to reach the end line as soon as possible, just like they had prayed a long time ago for the poor pigeon.