Bird Brains

As the sky would take on a rosy hue, I would tie my shoelaces and head out for the awaited evening walk – a time to exercise, relax, think and plan.

A part of my walk was a stroll through a park that had a large pond with a walkway surrounding it. At its edge lived a family of geese, which soon increased in number with the birth of two fluffy white chicks. The geese family would swim up and down the pond, but Mother Goose stayed behind with her young ones, proudly strutting around and glaring at the bemused crowd of onlookers.

Not in her home one evening, I found her swimming with two heads bobbing beside her – the young ones had naturally taken to the water.

Sunk into the ground, the pond was at quite a depth and a steep climb away from the bird pen. As I watched, the whole gaggle of geese began to climb up to head back home. Two young ones struggled as Mummy Goose, who was monitoring them, looked up, egging them on. With a squawk of pleasure, one young one made it to the top, but the other one couldn’t seem to manage.

I have never heard the geese make the racket they did that day to help the helpless young one but to no avail!

To my utter surprise, the entire family of geese went down to the young chick, took a walk around the periphery of the pond, and found a gentler slope for the young one to climb out. Flanking the little one from all sides, they helped him come up.

This dramatic scene continued to repeat itself for the rest of the week. The entire bird clan would try the steep slope first, then walk over to the milder climb until one day, the little struggler made a considerable effort and managed to conquer the steep climb and run into the pen. I could feel the joy and pride of the entire gang. Together they had achieved what seemed impossible at first. Since the time-tested method had failed to work, they innovated and devised a new one, unwilling to abandon their young family member. And to think that we refer to those with lesser intelligence as “Bird Brains”!

Are we worse than a family of geese that we insist on imparting learning only through methods put in place ages ago? We frown upon and label as failures, those who do not tow our line, whereas it is we who have been found wanting. Is it inertia, lack of commitment, or plain disregard that makes us so uncaring in our approach?

The younger generation is in need of a ‘younger’ approach. Let us evolve with time – after all, change is the only constant!

Neeti Parti