There is this green parakeet that was raised by my neighbor, Sihu, who lives two doors away from me. Sihu gained the nickname ‘Dhunya (bird) Appa (Father)’ because, of the obvious reason.
There was actually two parakeets at the beginning. They lived in a bucket, warmed by wooden shavings and by their small bird bodies that were almost inseparable. They were featherless when they arrived to the island and were fed using medicine drops. Their sweet little cries were so cute that I don’t get annoyed even when they start crying in the middle of the night. They grew up and they grew up fast. Their feathers started growing too and the two brown skinny chicks transformed into colorful parakeets; one is blue and the other is green with a hint of yellow on its neck. They learned how to fly and they started to chirp louder.
But then the blue one died a sudden death when it fell from a wall and forgot to flap its wings and fly.
Dhunya Appa was sad. The green parakeet, lonely.
The green parakeet is very friendly to humans because it was raised by a human. It responds to whistles and it flies towards the person making the sound and sits on their head or shoulder.
I like animals. But I only like to look at them from afar. I don’t like them approaching me and I even hate it when they start playing with me. It freaks me out. No matter how small they are. No matter how harmless they are.
There was one humid afternoon when I kept my door open and this parakeet flew in front of my door. It entered my room and stepped into the floor. I shooed it out and closed my door. I waited for some time and opened the door a bit to check if it was still there. I peeped into this thin slice of an opening and this parakeet was there peeping through the opening as well. I shouted at the people outside to take the bird away from my door.
And then there’s one time I was coming back from my swim, all wet, holding my mask and fins and just trying to quietly walk to my room so as this bird won’t notice me. But it flew on me. I screamed and ran away. It searched for me. It was flying to my head and I protected myself with my fins. I was waving my fins on the air so it won’t come close as I screamed for help. A few boys came to my rescue. Laughing.
I saw Dhunya Appa today and I told him, the bird kept flying to me. If I accidentally hit it I am sorry. (I actually wanted to tell him that if killed it accidentally because it kept flying to me, I am sorry but it’s not my fault).
He smiled and said it’s harmless.
The company hired a new person and she just arrived to the island a few days ago. When she was introduced to the team, she was also informed that I am the one of the two last female staff left on the island (as if we are endangered species) so we have to mingle. Someone also asked me to take her for snorkeling when she can’t even swim. She started asking me about what I do in the evenings and what sports do I like and what time do I come for meals. She asked me all those things the first time we met. Someone also told me to take care of her and when I asked why, its because we are the only ladies on the island. With this, I felt like a responsibility was being imposed to me and I am quite apprehensive about it.
Some people might think I am stupid for running away from a harmless, friendly, little bird. Some might think that I am rude for not being friendly with the newbie.
But nobody understands me. I have these little fears.
In life we have big fears and little fears.
Big fears are those that scare us because if it happens, it can lead to disaster or to life and death situations. Like fear of getting a deadly disease or getting trapped inside a cage with a grizzly bear or a lion or a hungry crocodile or receiving death threats or losing your job when you have a family of four to feed, loans and tuition fees to pay.
And then there are these little fears that is not as horrible as big fears but somehow affects our daily lives too. Like fear of the dark or heights or flying cockroach or horror movies or public speaking or the truth or confrontations or your mother in-law.
These little fears can all add up and suddenly become one of your biggest fears too. But sometimes these little fears can be overcome in a matter of time.
One of my little fears at the moment is this parakeet that keeps flying to me. I don’t think it meant any harm. It’s just over-friendly. If I could only speak to it and say we can be friends only if it can keep at least half a meter distance then we are cool. Unfortunately I don’t understand bird language and I am sure it doesn’t understand human language.
Another little fear is the new person who is instantly over-friendly. She kept asking questions. She is like an intruder to my personal space.
Both of them make me uneasy. Both of them make me want to runaway and hide in my room as fast as I could.
Sometimes, we fear things that aren’t scary for others and they don’t understand how it feels. Those guys who laugh at me when I runaway from the parakeet don’t understand that I feel uneasy to be so close to animals.
The person who kept forcing me to be friends with the newly-hired-girl don’t understand that I take time to warm up to people and I feel uneasy when someone forces me to be friendly to people I just met.
This tough looking woman from the outside has a shy little girl hiding inside her that has a lot of little fears. But she tries to overcome them. Believe me she tries.
But she cannot be brave all the time. And when that happens, she hides under her blanket at night. For inside that blanket, she feels safe. Away from all her big and little fears, all the monsters that hide under the bed and inside her head.