Chapter 3: Incidents
“Cute,” Megha smiled, “Pea will love to meet her.”
Megha was looking at the little bird in the cage. Her blue feathers shined in the light, and she looked at Megha with her sparkling eyes.
“Hi Megha, I’m Blue.”
“Whoa!” Megha stepped back in shock, almost losing balance and falling down.
It was a few more moments before Megha could say anything.
“You can… talk?”
The bird, however, seemed completely unshaken and sighed. “It’s a relief that you didn’t become unconscious. I thought you would.”
“Well, I do know a peacock who can talk, so I wouldn’t be that much shocked.”
“All the birds can talk,” the bird informed Megha, “It’s a shame that not a lot of people understand us.”
“All the birds?” Megha was surprised, “You mean everyone? That’s strange. I don’t think I heard any birds to talk before Pea. He was the one and only bird to speak human language – at least that’s what I knew before you came.”
“Maybe you didn’t open your ears,” the bird continued, “To be able to understand, to be able to perceive, you must have that eagerness – that enthusiasm – which you have for Pea, and for me. You never paid attention to any other birds before, so you didn’t know.”
Megha listened closely as the little bird spoke on.
“Every one of us – birds – we can speak. Ever noticed our voices when we sing? Each time, there can be a different emotion to express. Next time, listen closely, like you are doing right now.”
Megha smiled. “You are so sweet.”
“Thank you,” the bird smiled as well.
At that moment, a head peeked in from a window in the room. “Megha!”
Megha turned towards the window. “Pea?”
“Can I enter?”
“Of course, just don’t leave this room or we’ll be in trouble,” Megha whispered, and brought the peacock inside her room.
“Look Pea, my uncle brought me this bird as a gift.”
Pea was already staring at the bird in the cage. She was tiny, but beautiful. Her big wings (well, big for her body) were covered with blue and white feathers. Cray had not lied, Pea became sure; that new bird was surely good looking. But would Megha forget about Pea? No, that wouldn’t happen, Pea hoped, “Of course she won’t abandon me. I’m her best friend, and this is just a new bird her uncle brought. Ugh, why am I so nervous?”
Pea looked at his own wings. He glanced at his long green tail once; the eye-like-designs were shining brightly in the sunlight. “I’m beautiful, smart and bigger in size. I’m the better one, so she won’t leave me.”
“I must introduce myself,” the bird in the cage said, “I’m Blue.”
“I’m Megha,” Megha said, smiling. “And this is Pea. He is the peacock I was talking about. He can talk human language.”
Pea was leering at Blue.
“Eh, this was quite a plain introduction,” Blue sighed, “Allow me to do this – in Blue’s original style!”
“Um, okay?” Megha said slowly.
“Just open the cage,” Blue requested, “I promise I won’t fly away.”
Megha looked at Pea once. Pea didn’t respond; he stared back at Megha. Megha nodded and opened the door of the cage.
“The name is Blue / but I guess you/ know that already!”
Blue said the words musically, flying out of the open door.
“She can fly,” Pea murmured, “Still, nothing like me.”
“I’m a bird as you see/caught by a hunter / and given to your uncle,” Blue was floating. She headed towards Megha and flew. When she was only around five inches away from Megha, she stopped and sang.
“But I’m sure – I’m quite lucky to be here/ and I know you all are great/ I’ll have a great time here!”
Pea looked at Megha and shock filled his face. “She’s enjoying this bird’s company!”
He looked away in disgust.
“I’m sure you will,” Megha was saying.
Blue continued his song, now flying all around the room, “I used to live in a forest / Never found my parents / But I had sisters and brothers / and lots of
“Who never were enough for me to have fun together,” she brought her high pitched voice to a lower tone and almost whispered.
Then her voice went up again, “But I’m sure – I’m quite lucky to be here!”
“The name is Blue / but I guess you/ know that already!”
Pea rolled his eyes, “Just how boring can this get? Megha, we…”
But unfortunately, Megha paid no attention to Pea and said, “Blue! That is so adorable!”
“Thank you, thank you!” Blue encored and did a backflip in the open air.
Pea was shocked, “You can do… that?”
“Oh, that trick? We used to do that all the time in the forest,” Blue smiled.
Blue sat on the table, in front of the cage. Then, she said in her musical voice, “So, my new mistress / Hope I’m not a distress / Will you be my friend?”
“Of course, Blue,” Megha was beaming, “How can I even refuse you? You are the cutest bird I’ve ever met!”
“But, I wonder, what will your peacock think?” Blue said in a worried tone,
“He’s already disliking me.”
Pea turned away from Megha and Blue. “I can’t stand that bird,” he murmured.
Megha didn’t notice that, but Blue did, and she stared at Pea.
“Blue, you are so amazing!”
At this, Pea flied up to the window’s height and went out the way he came. “I need to go – I was going to meet someone – bye.”
“All right, Pea, see you tomorrow!”
Once Pea was out of sight, Blue burst into laughter.
“Oh, Megha, Pea is kind of cute, and he seems cuter when he is angry!” Blue spoke, “I couldn’t help but annoy him a little.”
“Do you think he is annoyed because of us?” Megha asked Blue, now seriously thinking about the situation.
“Well, I believe he is,” Blue said, “Don’t worry, he’ll be fine.”
Megha remained silent. Then, slowly, she spoke, “He’s really nice once you get to know him.”
“I hope I get to know him then,” Blue said, still joyous about her little mischief.
“I hope he isn’t heartbroken, Blue!”
Blue flew up to Megha and sat on her shoulder, while Megha intently stared out of the window and looked towards the tall trees swaying in the breeze.
The next morning, Megha went to school as usual. “Bye, Blue, see you after school!”
“Have fun in school, Megha!” Blue said.
Megha left the house. Blue flew and sat on a branch of a tree, watching her. After a while, she noticed a big blue bird hiding behind some bushes. It was Pea. Megha didn’t notice Pea, and went on.
“Pea…” Blue sighed, “Looks like I did too much.”
“Why, hello there, Pea!” Blue flew near him, “Why are you hiding here?”
The reaction was harsher than Blue thought it would be. “Who said I was hiding? I was just having some me-time. And it’s pretty cool, so don’t you dare to comment. What are you doing here anyway? Go, go to Megha and talk to her. Have fun.”
“Well, Megha left for school quite a while ago,” Blue informed.
“You could’ve just gone out of these bushes and greeted her!” Blue said, “I bet she was worried about you. She hasn’t been…”
“I do what I like to do, okay?” Pea snapped at Blue, “Don’t disturb me!”
Blue noticed that there was a flower in front of Pea. “What is this? What are you doing anyway?”
Pea hurriedly picked up the flower. “Why does it matter to you?”
“Well, because, I’m your friend – aren’t we?”
Pea didn’t respond. He stared at the flower. “It was a gift I received from Megha, as a token of our friendship.” He sighed.
“What’s wrong, Pea? You appear upset. If there is anything I can do, please say!”
Not even lifting his head, Pea quietly said, “She isn’t talking to me.”
“Megha?” Blue asked, almost smiling. “Silly bird,” she thought. Then, she replied, “Oh, Pea, you two did talk yesterday, didn’t you?”
“She is talking only with you,” Pea said, sulking, “since morning.”
“That’s because I live in her house!”
“She didn’t wish me a ‘Good morning’; she didn’t even look for me!”
“She did talk about you, Pea,” Blue was trying to console Pea, “Also, she is late for school, and it is situated far away from her house, so she had to leave as soon as she could!”
“Just saying two words wouldn’t make her any more late, Blue,” Pea sighed.
There were a few moments of silence before Pea spoke again. “She is forgetting me.”
“Don’t stress, Pea,” Blue said, “She’ll talk to you again. Just wait until the school is over.”
But, in Pea’s mind, there was nothing but the negative conversation he had with Cray. He wondered what would happen if it what Cray said was true.
“What if she really forgets me? Oh no, no, it can’t, it can’t happen, no!”
“Afraid, little peacock?”
Pea looked up. He didn’t know if it was a co-incidence or if they were actually being watched at that moment, but, Cray was now flying in front of him. His face was filled with a sly smirk.
“Did you see that new bird? She’s totally amazing. She is the one whom Megha deserves, not you, chick!”
“So, you are the one,” now Pea heard Blue’s voice from the other side, “You have been secretly…”
Pea was surprised that Blue hadn’t left his side all the while he sat gloomily. Then, he said, sighing, “Cray is right though – Blue, you have got a lot of qualities, but I have none.”
“Pea, just snap out of it, will you?” Blue said, quite annoyed. Then she said calmly, “In friendship, qualities do not matter!”
Pea stared at Blue, surprised.
Blue continued, “What truly matters is the love you have for your friend, and the understanding between the friends.”
Cray started to laugh. Blue looked at him angrily.
Cray said, his voice filled with sarcasm, “Ahh, what a lovely scene,” he clapped, “I’m so proud that I got to see this! The so-called enemy is advising the hero about friendship! How touchy.”
“What do you mean, Cray?” Pea shouted angrily, “Blue isn’t an enemy.”
“Indeed, the real enemy is you, Mr Crow!” Blue said, flying towards Cray. She stopped inches away from the crow and narrowed her eyes, “Just. Leave.”
“Oh? I see, I see, I see, Pea,” Cray was smirking, “This is what I’m getting after helping you so much!”
“You’re just jealous of the friendship between Megha and Pea,” Blue said, “So you are trying to misguide him!”
“If you truly helped me, I’d be happy to meet Blue yesterday. But you didn’t, you made me feel so horrible. I doubted Megha,” Pea’s voice was shaking with emotions, “Megha – the same Megha who put me inside when there was such a cold winter, the one who was been caring about me so much. My best friend.”
“Looks like Cray the Mischief-Maker is caught again!” Cray said, “Cray should leave!”
Cray flapped his wings and flew away. Blue gazed at him until he was out of sight.
“Thank you, Blue, you are so nice.”
“I’m sorry, Blue,” Pea was looking down, embarrassed, “It was my mistake to believe Cray.”
“It’s all right, Pea,” Blue smiled, “In fact, I came to you for an apology as well.”
“Yesterday, I paid no attention to you and continued laughing and enjoying with Megha. The truth is that, I wanted to annoy you a little. You see, I kind of find pleasure in that. But it always ends with a humour, with everything happy. It never went so far like this time.”
“So I took jokes seriously?” Pea asked.
“Why in the world am I so stupid?”
“I’m sorry for this, Pea,” Blue sincerely said, “Will you forgive me?”
“Only on one condition,” Pea said, beaming.
“We have to be friends.”
Blue stared at Pea and smiled. “He is really silly,” she thought. Then, she said, “I thought that we were already good friends.”
Both of them burst into laughter.
Blue smiled, but then her face was filled with concern. “I’m glad that everything is all right between us, but, Megha – she seemed a bit worried.”
“About what?” Pea asked at once, straightening his body, “Does she need anything? I’ll do it at once.”
“Pea, it’s not like that,” Blue sighed, “I don’t even know what is bothering her. She just seemed a bit distant. It felt like, she was… hiding something.”
“Today morning, she talked with her uncle. But when she returned, she seemed really sad and worried.”
“Why didn’t you ask her the reason, Blue?”
“Of course, I did, Pea, but it seemed like she didn’t want to talk about it. All she said was, ‘Oh, it’s nothing, really.’”
“Maybe it’s her familial problems,” Pea suggested, “We wouldn’t understand those things quite much, maybe that’s why she didn’t tell us anything at all.”
“That could be it.”
There was a bit pause, until Blue asked Pea, “Pea, I was wondering, can Megha understand Cray’s words? Even a little?”
“I have never asked that, but I think she can,” Pea said. He recalled, “Once Cray was calling me names in front of her, she was so angry at him.”
“She didn’t say anything like that yesterday,” Blue recalled, “All she said was that she only understood you, before meeting me, of course.”
“Eh, you don’t quite know her, Blue. She forgets almost everything.”
Pea paused a little, then continued, “It’s kind of strange. Not a single person except Megha can understand me. Neither her friends, nor her family – no one
Blue thought for a while. “Hunter Dipayan was able to understand my words a little. I guess that’s because he spends a lot of time catching birds and watching their reactions.”
“You’ve been there too?” Pea asked, surprised.
“Hunter Dipayan? Oh yes. Not for too long, though. I was purchased by Megha’s uncle and brought to Megha.”
“Hunter Dipayan is such a cruel person. He hurt me a lot when I was captive. I’m glad that I was able to escape.”
“It’s nice that you could do that.”
“Yeah, some other birds helped me. They were so kind,” Pea recalled, “The little moment I had with them – it feels good when I think about it. I hope they are all right.”
Blue remained silent.
“So, Blue, only Megha understands your words properly. And Hunter Dipayan – it can’t be said if he actually can do it, right?”
“Apparently, yes. But I have a feeling that,” Blue whispered, “Something is going to happen. Definitely a big incident.”
“I get those feelings all the time, Blue, don’t take it so seriously,” Pea said, smiling, “Megha can be a bit glum at times, but she’ll be back to normal in no
Blue sighed. “I hope our questions are answered soon, Pea. But right now, all we have to do is wait.”
“Yeah, sure, we can wait. Not right now, though! Come on, Blue, let’s enjoy the time. Come with me, I’ll show you the village.”
Meanwhile, in school, Megha sat in her usual seat, her hands on her head. She was murmuring, anxiety clearly audible in her voice.
“I’ve to tell them, they can help me. But how should I start? How can I just say that my best friends are birds, and they are, they are…”
Megha looked up. It was Sumita, a classmate of Megha. Sumita was physically very weak (once she was absent in school for around three months due to her sickness), but she was popular as she was excellent in studies. She got full marks in Maths every year, and was rewarded for academic excellence more than three times.
Sumita adjusted her round glasses and asked in her quite, delicate voice. “Megha, what’s wrong?”
“Yes, Megha?” Sumita asked. She pulled a chair beside Megha and sat down. “You are… crying. Tell me what’s wrong. Let me know if I can help you.”
Megha wiped her tears. She looked down at her hands, which were shaking in fear.
“Do you want me to call others? Just, don’t cry, Megha.”
Megha whispered, “I… I want to tell you something, Sumita.”
“What is it?”
Megha inhaled deeply, looking towards Sumita, making a direct eye contact.
“You asked me about my best friends. I lied, saying I don’t have one. But the truth is, my best friends are non-human beings. They are birds, and…”
Sumita’s gasp cut Megha off. “Birds, as best friends? That sounds so cool, Megha!”
“But, Sumita, we have to do something. They are in danger!”
There was a little silence. Sumita said calmly, “Don’t worry, Megha. Let’s call others and see what we can do.”
“I don’t think calling everyone will help, Sumita,” Megha said, her voice cracking.
“Crying here alone won’t help either, Megha!”
“I feel so helpless.”
“That’s why, in times like this, we need everyone. Megha, we are your friends, right? We’ll see what we can do.”
After a minute, a few girls can back with Sumita, each one of them a classmate of Megha.
“Tell us everything.”
“My best friends are Pea – a peacock, and Blue – a bird my uncle brought me.”
There were murmurs, but they stopped as soon as Megha started talking about the incident that happened that morning.
“Did you call me, uncle?”
“Yes, my dear. You see, I’ve been facing quite some trouble in my work. I’m so sorry, but I’ve got no choice. I need some money.”
“Money? But, what can I do about it? Our financial state is neither good, nor do I know an extra source of income.”
“But, Megha, only you can help me. Tell me, dear, for all the good gifts I brought you, for all the smiles I brought in your face, shouldn’t I ask you to give me something in return?”
“But – uncle…”
“Your uncle needs something; won’t Megha give it to him?” Megha’s uncle continued, “It’s so simple, you have to answer with a simple yes or no.”
Megha remained silent and thought. Then she said, “Okay, uncle, tell me, I’ll help you.”
“I don’t know if you remember it, but I’m sure that I told you that everything comes with a price.”
“I do remember it, uncle.”
“This bird I brought you comes with a price. I need you to pay it.”
“What?” Megha was surprised, “Isn’t Blue my gift? You can’t take money for a gift, uncle!”
“I’m in a bad situation. But, don’t worry about money. There is something else that I need. Instead of money, just give me your peacock.”
“Listen Megha, if you want to keep Blue, give me your peacock. Else, I will take away the new bird.”
“But we are best friends, uncle! I can’t do this! Besides, what will I get if I lose one of my best friends? Nothing!”
“Megha, your father is suffering from a great loss in farming. Give me the peacock. Once my work is settled, I’ll pay you a lot of money – the amount you have never seen.”
“Megha, you should understand. A peacock costs a lot more than an ordinary bird. Giving me the peacock will help you in the future, but if you return the bird, you will get nothing.”
“I can’t sell my best friends!”
Megha’s uncle continued, “You don’t have a choice. Your parents should matter to you a lot more than those birds, Megha. They would definitely want to sell the peacock. You can’t do anything else. No one is going to support you.”
Megha remained silent.
“You’ll be starving if you can’t choose.”
“What will you do with Pea or Blue?”
“That’s none of your business, but I’ll give a small hint. They’ll go back to where they came from.”
“No, the hunter.”
“What?” Megha was shocked. “But, they won’t be safe there!”
“Megha, take your time. Let me know your decision tomorrow. Have a nice day!”
After Megha finished talking about the incident, Sumita was the first one to react. “Whoa, that’s a lot. Your uncle is so rude, Megha.”
“Is his problem true, or is he making it up to get the peacock?”
“I don’t know. I don’t even have time to think about it,” Megha said in her cracking voice, “What should I do? Help me, please.”
There was a little pause. Sumita discussed something with the other girls. Finally, she turned towards Megha and said, “I have an idea that might not work. It is heart-breaking, but we have no choice.”
Megha nodded determinedly. Sumita whispered something in her ear.
“This is the only thing you can do to save both of the birds. Will you attempt it, despite knowing the fact that it might not work?”
“Yes, I will.”