Life in the Cage

By Mozhgan Mahjoob

She had a strange and suffocated feeling. It seemed that there was not enough oxygen for her in the air. If she had the power she would have released all the birds that were condemned to live in the cages just like her. She was kept inside a dark and small room. She could hear other birds’ screams on the other side of the wall. Whenever a new bird cried she knew that it was captured and must be living in her own cage. Life in a cage was meaningless for her. She got tired of hiding when the man came to feed her. She missed the days when she was free, when she could fly in the white and blue sky, when she could sit on green trees and sing in the high mountains, crossing the rivers and living with other birds.

It was spring and she went to sing on a branch of a tree in the garden. She did not know that there was someone chasing her when she flew from one branch to the other on the pine tree. She was the most beautiful parrot with blue, green, yellow and golden feathers who was suddenly captured with a bird net and whatever she tried could not release herself. She was forcefully put in an iron cage that had small windows.

The man fed her daily and she shouted at him to let her go but he did not understand her language. The man always thought that the parrot was happy and that the noises she made were singing. He even tried to teach her his own language but all the time the parrot tried to escape from him. The parrot did not like him and whenever the door of the room opened and the parrot could see the light outside, there was the man who came to feed or teach her his own language. But the parrot always tried to hide from him. The man was happy and thought that finally the parrot would have learnt his language and would have called him by his name.

Days passed, but the parrot did not talk. She missed her own land. She wished to go out of that cage and have a room on a tall tree in the forest far from all humans, especially from that man. She wished to hug the sky and the shining stars. She wished to once again drink water from that limpid stream then fall asleep under the silver moonlight. Those days the world was beautiful for her. She missed sitting with amaravalli flowers and talking to them. She was tired of the iron cell of that cage. She wished the blue sky was her room’s ceiling where she could be free to fly endlessly. Now, although her feathers were wide open, she could not fly.

Years passed. She did not see the beautiful flowers in spring and the fall of leaves in the autumn. She hit that cage with her thin wings to break it and all her golden feathers fell down. But the cage did not break. She shouted many times and begged for her freedom but the man did not release her. The parrot was desperate and moved from side to side. She struggled to find a way out and the man thought that the parrot was dancing from happiness.

One day she stopped eating and drinking. She stopped screaming and beating, too. The man thought that maybe the parrot wanted to eat a different food and he brought her different dishes, but she neither ate the food nor drank the water. The next day when the man looked at her, she didn’t move.

The man opened the cage door and the parrot fell down inside it. He shook her to wake her but she did not wake, and he saw that she was dead. The man wondered why she died when she was so happy living there. He wondered why she died when she could have food and water and be safe from all the hardships outside the cage. He was sad and thought about his goal of teaching her his own language. He did not succeed in teaching his own language and the parrot who was now dead never succeeded in escaping the cage.

He buried the parrot and said under his breath,

“I gave you everything except
what you wanted from me,
Your wish was freedom
But I didn’t let you be free.”

It was then that the man realized that life in a cage hurts for a human or a bird.

23 November, 2022