Cooper awoke to green surroundings, except this green surrounding was different to the lush green leaves of the tree where she had fallen asleep. This was a green cage. It definitely had the luxuries of her own space to be seated. She didn’t even have to fight for food and water with anyone, her bowl of water and food was being refilled at timely intervals.
She just didn’t have the freedom to fly away. She didn’t even have her guardians to watch over her or to teach her how to handle the world outside her nest. She just had this kind lady Sarah who attended to her every now and then.
Sarah sat beside cooper with her evening mug of tea. The ten minutes of sipping tea was the only time Sarah could manage for herself in the short span of twenty-four hours. Of course, Sarah slept too like everyone else in the house. It was something that her body needed scientifically to function as per everyone else’s demands.
Sarah began talking to Cooper, somehow Sarah and Cooper both understood each other, the only difference between both of them was that Sarah had the freedom to move around in her own house. Sarah told Cooper stories of when she was a child and how she loved to sing and dance.
Sarah quickly finished her cup of tea and realised she still had few minutes left to tell Cooper about how she loved to write too. She read out one of her favourite poems to Cooper, the poem was about a little girl who sets out to see the world, a magical world full of music. A world where she has the warmth of parents’ love and the support of her family.
Sarah was lost in her magical world for a while. It was only when she heard the whistle of the cooker go and the honking of the car in the building, she realised it was time for her to bid goodbye to Cooper and time for Ahmed, her husband to return home.
She hoped secretly for Ahmed to have had a good day at work for she had known the repercussions of Ahmed’s foul mood.
She also knew that no matter what mood Ahmed would be in today, he would still appreciate the chole, the kulchas, the mutton stew and the phirni she was making for him. It was after all their marriage anniversary. A celebration was long overdue. Due since the last 7 years!!
Ahmed noticed the bird on the window grill as soon as he entered and surprisingly took a liking to it as soon as he saw her. It wasn’t new for Ahmed to appreciate another girl despite having a beautiful and qualified wife like Sarah.
When Ahmed went to change, Sarah said, “thank you”, to Cooper for Ahmed wanted to know how Sarah had found her.
Sarah told Ahmed, how she was on her way back from the daily grocery shopping and had seen Cooper, an Indian cuckoo, lying in the building premises and immediately picked it up, after all it seemed so tiny and cute to Sarah.
Sarah was always knowledgeable about her surroundings. She knew that cuckoos never made a nest. They instead laid eggs in the crow’s nest and it was the crow that was raise the cuckoos egg as its own. The crows would feed the little one and teach it how to fly. The moment Sarah had bought the cuckoo home, she felt a connection with Cooper. She knew cooper was raised by someone else just like her. She knew her parents too had dropped her off in someone else’s house just like the mother cuckoo.
Ahmed, for the first time in years, lovingly told Sarah to tend to the bird very carefully. He even offered to get her a new cage. Sarah very politely declined. She told Ahmed, “I don’t want you to spend your precious earnings on something that is caged”. She told Ahmed the same thing he once had said to her, she said, “She needs to adjust in her surroundings”.
Ahmed smiled, he thought, finally his wife had understood the ways of the world. Ahmed was among those people who believed in the strength of the man. Ahmed was the only son of his parents. He considered women to be providers. Providers of physical comfort.
Alas! If only he knew, women are the providers of everything and he too was born from a women.
After Ahmed had slept, Sarah sat beside Cooper again, she said sorry to Cooper for saying what she had to Ahmed. It was like Cooper understood her situation and cuckooed for the first time in the last five hours.
Sarah said, goodnight to cooper and even planted a kiss on the cage. Sarah slept peacefully for the first time in months, for she had a plan for Cooper and even herself.
Ahmed left for work around 12’noon. Sarah tried to control her panicky state of mind. She had to be at the visa office at 1.30pm and knowing the traffic of the city she lived in, she could only hope to make it on time.
Luckily the universe too was with her today, the road was relatively empty for a Friday. She had taken Cooper with her. She requested the officials at the Visa office to keep the bird outside in the lobby, while she met them and collected her Visa.
Her happiness knew no bounds, she had her visa in her hand. Her friend Susan had already booked her tickets to the U.K. The emails and the tickets had come to Susan’s email Id and address. The laptop at home wasn’t functional. Sarah had changed her passwords recently and told Ahmed that she had some issues with her email Id. Ahmed had somehow believed her this time. Thanks to the end of the year deadlines he had to meet.
Sarah had been appointed as a dance teacher in one of the school in London. She was to fly to UK tonight. She rushed home and packed all her essential belongings that she had already kept aside in her cupboard. Cooper was also excited, one could tell with the way cooper moved around in its cage.
It didn’t seem like Cooper was hurt anymore. Sarah left the house with bag in one hand and Cooper in another hand. When the watchman enquired where she was going, she said she was going to give the bag for repairs as Ahmed had to travel later that week and then was going to take the bird to the vet. The watchman bought her story too.
Sarah sat in the taxi, with cooper by her side. She began to hum set you free by casting crowns on her way to the airport, she asked the driver to stop for a while on a less busy road, she got down from the taxi, opened the cage, said thank you to cooper and kissed it on its head. Cooper knew its time for her to go, she hopped out of the cage onto Sarah’s hand, flapped its wings for a little longer than usual and flew away.
Sarah smiled and got back into the taxi. She had always known what freedom was like, she didn’t want cooper to be another Sarah.
It was time for Ahmed to know that when you love someone, you have to set them free. Free enough to choose a life for themselves!!