Differentiation and integration

Differentiation and integration

All the grey pigeons in my locality began heckling the white one, as it was different.

One day, a pigeon came and perched on my window sill. It was all white with just a few slivers of black on its tail feathers which showed when it spread its wings.

Soon, it became a regular at my place. It would bask in the morning sun on my sill, its white glistening as the sun rays reflected off it, and would fly away when it became too hot. 

It was beautiful. I fell in love with it. On keen observation, I noticed that a “normal” grey pigeon would land next to it and start pecking at it aggressively.

 Soon, all the grey pigeons in my locality began heckling it, not letting it sit peacefully at one place. For them, it was different and, therefore, not acceptable.This is what we call in human parlance, discrimination. It’s a very natural instinct.

 We are suspicious of all things that we perceive as strange or different from us. Our survival instincts warn us to be wary of them. A mother teaches her child not to talk to strangers. Our family, our well-wishers, tell us to be cautious of people who are “not like us,” be it on the basis of caste, colour, religious faith, economic status etc. 

After all, there is so much variety in our species. Even identical twins are not alike! That’s all right at the outset. As long as we are not intolerant to the differences.

As long as we are ready to come out of the cosy cubbyholes we have created for ourselves and consciously try to understand, appreciate and celebrate those differences. After all, we, humans, are more evolved than those humble pigeons. 

We live in a society made up of people of different shapes and hues, where we constitute the varied shades of threads elementary to weave the colour-spangled fabric we call society. Where every individual is unique. Where this “uniqueness” can add spice to our social mores and make life a better experience. Where every person has a specific role to play for the smooth functioning of the society we live in. So, we need to coexist peacefully.  And if we look closely, we are not that different, after all.  

As Hindi poet Kumar Vikal says in a verse, translated to English by Bhisham Sahni thus: Can you tell me the nationality/ Of those blood-stained clothes/ Worn-out shoes, broken cycles/ Books and toys?/ Can you tell me the creed/ Of those tears/ In the eyes of the mother/ Waiting for her daughter/ Who will never return from school? 

Meanwhile, our pigeon friend’s story has ended on a happy note. It has found a mate, a grey one. I have seen the two canoodling. Perhaps, we could learn a lesson or two from them.

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