Tales of Life, Love & Things in between.
The Crow and the Cuckoo
On the same day were born the Cuckoo and the Crow. And one day when the first notes erupted out of the Cuckoo’s throat the whole world listened as though mesmerized. There was a strange sweetness in it. Housewives would stop their work and push their ears in the direction. People in busy markets would stop their purchases and try to gather its melody. And a part of this mesmerized world was the Crow.
It was slow to break into a voice and when its first sound erupted, he tried to make it sound like the Cuckoo’s. But all that came out was Kaw, Kaw. Kaw, Kaw. Instead of Coooaaaoo. Coaooaaoooo. The way the Cuckoo sang. But the Crow didn’t lose heart and kept trying. Whenever the Cuckoo would break into her melody, the Crow would join excitedly. Much to the irritation of the Cuckoo who felt his raspy Kaw was spoiling the music she was making. Unable to tolerate the din, she flew in a rage and shouted.
“Why do you have to start kawing whenever I sing? It’s so ugly, your voice. Eww!”
“I am trying to sing like you and my mother says that with practice anything can be achieved!” The Crow said enthusiastically.
“What a lie! Don’t you realize you can never break out from that horrible sound you make? It will never happen!”
“Then teach me. Because my mother, with her own bad voice, is not a good teacher.”
“Teach you! Even if I take 10 births I will never be able to teach you how to sing like me. Your singing is as ugly as your appearance.”
The Crow felt silent at the rebuke. He could have answered back but he loved the singing of the Cuckoo and respected her.
“Will you do me a favor?”
“Yes?” The Crow sighed.
“Please never try to accompany my singing in future. You may Kaw Kaw any other time, but not when I break into a song. Is that clear?”
“Yes. I won’t do that.”
And from that day, the Crow stopped kawing altogether. He fell silent and withdrawn. Became an introvert.
And for years the Cuckoo regaled the locality she resided. Everyone commented on her golden voice and she felt happy. But whenever she sang, she looked at the Crow and prayed he would be silent. After a while it became a habit. She was relieved he never disturbed her again. And she never noticed how quiet he had become. She was happy with all the attention she was getting.
Time flew by and both the Cuckoo and the Crow got old. The voice of the Cuckoo began to be shaky and was no longer as melodious as before. Younger cuckoos laughed at her when she tried to sing. She tried harder, but the harder she tried, the worse it became. And her voice broke further and then what she began to sing was not even melodious. No one stopped their work to listen to her singing. Some even commented that it was odd for a cuckoo to sing like that. Used to praise, the complete neglect she received sent her to a shell and she became sad. Instead of chirping with other cuckoos, she remained aloof. And she stopped singing.
“You look very sad.”
She looked up to see who it was. She had become weak as she had stopped eating. It was the Crow. He too had gotten old.
“I am sad because look at those cuckoos, now they sing better than me.” Tears began to flow and her voice got choked.
“None of them sing as beautifully as you used to sing. I hear them all. None of them is even close to what you were.”
At this the Cuckoo brightened up. “Really? You think so? But how could you differentiate when you yourself couldn’t sing properly?”
“I may not have the voice but I have the sensitivity to appreciate good music and yours was the best. Incomparable!”
“That’s very kind of you. Especially after how I behaved with you.”
“It’s alright. In a way you told me the truth, even though it seemed very harsh at that time. It made me pursue thinking and we crows are good at it.” The Crow smiled.
Somehow the way the Crow talked brought peace to the Cuckoo which she had not felt in months. It made her wonder. “Why do you look so peaceful despite the heartbreaking truth I told you. I had everything and yet today I am not at all peaceful. My gift is the reason I am sad.”
“I too was sad, until I looked at this world I live in. When there is night, there is day. Some foods taste sweet and some pungent. There is summer and its followed by winter. There is your melodious voice and there is my noise, a cacophony. For everything in this world there is an opposite. We don’t have a choice where our maker places us. But we all make the contrasts that make life somehow beautiful. This thought gave me a lot of peace. I felt at ease with my place in the world my maker created. Rather than make music, I enjoyed your music. And whenever my thoughts overwhelmed me, your songs would uplift me. Made me happy.”
“That’s the nicest thing I heard. All that gift of music my maker gave me made me forget to think. I even developed an ego and pride that had to be smashed one day. And today I feel at peace with the gift you created yourself. In some way we both helped each other mutually. You made me learn, every life is valuable.”
They both flew away. With that flew the sadness that had crept into the Cuckoo. And from that day the two were seen together. Their friendship blossomed and the world would stop and look at the strange pair that were always seen together.
Time flew by and one day both of them sighed and fell off their branches. They were born the same day and died the same day. And covered different journeys which somehow had enriched their lives.