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The flying birds

This story by Munir Badini has been translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch.

 

Whenever I step into the bathroom, I think of flying birds. While brushing my teeth, shaving or taking a bath, all the time I whistle and twitter like those birds. As water trickles down my body, I feel like flying in the sky along with the flock of beautiful tiny birds, filling my ears with their melodious chirping.

I have never tried to analyze the psychological reasons of thinking about flying birds in the bathroom? I never felt the need for that as thinking of birds never bothered me. One may wish to get rid of worrying thoughts glued to one’s mind and refuse to go away. Why should one should try to stop thinking about birds?

My mind is so practiced that as I open the door of the bathroom, images of birds spring up in my mind without any trying.

As I step out of the bathroom, after having taken a bath, images of blue, green, yellow and grey birds, with their beautiful feathers, fly off the cage of my mind and I switch to my daily routine.
One day, I was wandering outside without a single penny in my pocket to buy myself a meal. Suddenly, I thought of a friend and walked towards his home. When he came out, I asked him for money without any thinking.

My friend lent me some money from which I had my meal and made it back home.

The next morning, when I entered the bathroom, I was surprised that instead of flying birds, my mind was occupied with the thoughts of the money I had borrowed from my friend the other day. I tried to bring back the images of the birds and replace the recurring thoughts of the borrowed money with them, but I couldn’t.

I was grappled with the thoughts of the debt. As I poured water on me, I felt that I had fallen in the bottom of a deep well and somebody was pouring cold water on me from the edge of the well. I was shivering with cold.

How different and frightening this image was from that of flying birds. I needed the images of chirping birds, not that of falling in the bottom of a well. I whistled in an effort to bring back the image of birds, but to no avail.

I decided not to take bath any more. I feared the thoughts of the borrowed money. I deemed it better to stay away from the bathroom.

It was a week since I hadn’t taken bath. I felt a disgusting layer of grime on my skin. I asked myself for how long I could live in the shadow of fear? I shouldn’t worry about the thoughts of the borrowed money. But the images of birds were refreshing while the thoughts of the debt were heavy on my mind. I wanted to avoid that heaviness.

I sold off my watch and paid back the debt. The next day, when I entered the bathroom, once again, birds were flying in the ever expanding cage of my mind.

About Fazal Baloch

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Fazal Baloch teaches Urdu at Atta Shad Degree College, Turbat. He is the first regular translator of Balochi literature into English.

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