Daniel, a man in his early 30’s had a juvenile streak to his nature. To the world he was a tough nut but his insides were like molten chocolate, tender and starved of affection. Daniel had a special place in his heart for birds. He had a beautiful garden which housed more than 5000 varieties. Some had feathers of the colors of rainbow, many who danced in the rain and some who filled the air with music. Although the birds provided Daniel temporary solace he felt something gnawing him from within, a lack of genuine affection.
One fine afternoon, while Daniel sat in his garden watching the birds, a tune caught his ears. It seemed to be from a faraway land, but something about it struck the right chord in his heart. He followed the tune till he reached a garden, commonly known as the Garden of Happiness. There he saw, perched on a tree, a bird, her red feathers fluffed up, singing with all her heart. Daniel stared at her as though she was magic. Her music was like poetry which soothed his soul. He was mesmerized to an extent that he failed to realize how time had passed.
His trance was broken with the words, ‘Hello! What brings you here? Are we acquainted?’ The bird could talk! Daniel could not believe his ears. He replied, ‘I was lost. Your music showed me the way. What’s your name, little bird?’. ‘Paradise’, she replied. ‘Would you mind if I touched you, Paradise?’, Daniel asked her with hope in his eyes. She blushed a little and hopped on his palm. Very carefully Daniel fondled her feathers while she dug her head on his skin. For the first time ever Paradise felt emotions she never knew existed. She almost felt human. Along with the warmth of love, she felt pangs of fear, the fear of separation. Leaving the thoughts aside, she dwelt in that moment.
Ever since that fateful afternoon, Daniel walked to the Garden of Happiness every day. Paradise welcomed him with her songs- of love, life, victories and failures. On some days she narrated stories of valiant Knights and on other days she would pluck a feather from her wings and soothe his skin till he peacefully drifted off to the land of dreams. Paradise thrived on love and Daniel was tender with her. The more he loved, the melodious she sang.
One day as Daniel sat in the Garden of Happiness, fondling the flaming feathers of Paradise he popped the question, “Be mine, will you? Stay with me in my garden. I promise to take care of you, love you with my body, mind and soul, ensure your happiness and good health.”
Paradise hummed a tune in reply. “Ah! Moonlight Sonata!”, he sighed, “Should I take that as a Yes?” “My dear Daniel!” She chirped, “My soul is married to yours. You have made me feel love with an intensity I have never known before. My body, mind and soul belong to no one else but you”.
Soon enough Daniel returned to his garden, Paradise perched on his shoulder. Daniel made sure Paradise lived comfortably, away from the rest of his world. He would visit her and she would sing for him. He would fondle her feathers and she would blossom in his affection.
Paradise was a magical bird, but like most magic, hers came with a small catch. Her magic was subject to love, affection and happiness. The more loved she felt, the happier she was, the sweeter her voice would sing, and the brighter her feathers would bloom.
As days passed, Daniel’s busy life took over. He started visiting Paradise less and focused more on the other birds. Paradise could see a few newer varieties flying into his garden and her beloved taking greater interest in them. She tried to stay upbeat and happy lest her magic would be lost. But soon enough disappointment overpowered her magic. She could feel her voice getting hoarse, her feathers getting scarce. Daniel would visit her rarely and her sorry state made him spend more time with the other birds outside.
Paradise lost her feathers, lost her voice and was almost about to die. She hopped on to the window sill and stared outside. The skies were dark and it looked like it would rain. She looked at the trees, the distant hills and wondered, “Why did I stop appreciating the beauty of the universe?” A drop of rain fell on her; she felt a quick rush of joy. She tried to sing, her voice was hoarse but there was music. Suddenly she noticed a tiny feather coming out. And as it poured heavily, Paradise began to sing. The happier she felt, the quicker her feathers grew. Soon her wings were strong enough to carry her across the skies. She took a flight after months flying from one tree to another, taking the breeze on her tiny face.
Few days after her fateful escape, Daniel heard a song. He was in his garden of birds and that song gave him a Déjà vu. As he followed the song, he was startled to find Paradise, her feathers like he has never seen before, a voice like he has never heard before. He called out to her, and she stopped. He smiled and said, “Let’s go home”.
Paradise gave him the warmest smile and said, “My life depends on Magic, Love and Affection. For the first time I am receiving it in abundance from my own self. Never parting with it again”.