By Adarsh Madhavan
Suddenly, out of thin air, a feather floated softly down in front of me. Ethereal. It twirled around like a fairy ballerina. When the show ended, the curtains closed, I picked up the feathered ‘ballerina’ and hid her in my shirt pocket.
My heart and my feather hug through folds of flesh, skin and cloth.
Drops from heaven
I don’t know how or why or when but somehow I have this habit of picking feathers in my path. Some of them so light, magical, float before my eyes. Others, I slip or ‘stumble’ on, but I grab each one as though they were precious little drops from heaven.
I hide them in my already bulging pockets; others, I sneak them inside the pages of books, and still others I keep as offerings before the many idols in my home. I hold each one of them close to my heart.
But I don’t know why I pick them. Maybe, basic instinct.
I pick them:
Because I don’t have any to display in my cap.
Because I believe if I pick one, some good luck will shine on me.
Because it makes me feel like a saviour; like I am actually rescuing these feathers from injury or demise under burly, uncaring, monstrous feet or wheels.
Because I believe, that one day I will have enough to grow me wings.
Because I am just cuckoo…
Needs to be picked
I don’t have a clear plan when I pick up a feather. I just pick them as one would pick a fallen child; as one would pick coins or notes on the road; as one would pick anything that has been a significant part of a bird’s flight. I just pick them because I think fallen feathers need to be picked.
Some feathery creature has dropped it and there seems to be a higher purpose there than the mere shedding of a feather. Like tear drops on bare feet.
A feather is part of a bigger story, there is a connection somewhere and even if I am unable to grasp the meaning behind this feathery sign, I still have to pick it to continue that feather’s journey…
It is not like plucking a flower. I am not doing anything wrong. I think flowers are best on the plant, not in our fingers or around our necks.
Let’s not compare.
My modus operandi is simple: see a feather, pick it up.
Because it’s there.
Because it fell before me.
Because it is a feather.
Because it is soft, light, delightful.
Because it could be a message, as they say. From angels, spirits or loved ones who may have slipped away from us. I don’t know which angel this could be.
Or which spirit.
Or which loved one.
It has to be someone from above.
Sometimes when I pick a real good one; a full one, and hold it, I feel like a warrior. Feather warrior.
I raise it – and then realise how foolish the world has been showing images of “heroes” raising swords in some godforsaken battle. What is great about wielding a sword? You only wreak havoc, seed pain and agony, blood, mayhem and death. What is heroic about it? You live by the sword, you die by it.
You can’t hurt a soul with a feather.
You raise it to the heavens like it is an antidote to heal the world of its pain.
Pick me too
And I don’t just pick only the good, the shiny, the clean and the strong ones. I also pick the fully tattered, totally damaged, raggedy-feathered ones. Hoping some good soul, some day, somewhere, would deem to pick this tattered and broken self too!
I let it pass
One day I saw a pure white feather floating down before me. So immaculate, translucent… it slowly floated down… for some moments hovered above me…
And suddenly from behind me, I could hear the distinct sound of wings flapping, too large for any type of a bird… But I just couldn’t turn my head back to see. Like most people, I let that grand moment pass.Sometimes I wonder whether I would have been able to take what I could have seen there.
I don’t know.
I just don’t know.