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Not all wings are made of feathers

Last Updated : 18 August 2022, 18:58 IST

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A tryst with adversity taught me that even the best of us struggle with ourselves and the world at one point or another and to censure someone without knowing and understanding the part they are traversing in their arduous journey is warped and cruel.

The flightless ostrich, the world’s largest bird, has three stomachs, and its eggs are the largest of any living bird. Deprived of teeth, ostriches swallow pebbles to grind their food and at any given point an adult ostrich could carry about a kilogram of stones in its mouth!

This wondrous bird has the largest eye of any land animal known and is known to have inspired cultures and civilisations for thousands of years in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Yet, they are most quoted and known for sticking their head in the sand at the first sign of trouble. A marvellously misjudged bird!

Firstly, ostriches do not really bury their heads in the sand: in the face of a predicament, the bird takes cover by placing their necks close to the ground in an attempt to become less conspicuous. Their feathers fuse well with sandy soil and, and it might appear, from a distance that they have buried their heads in the sand.

Secondly, even if ostriches did bury their heads in the sand, what do we know of what this amazing, gigantic, and unique bird sees in the sand? American comedian Lenny Bruce says, “Faith is to the human what sand is to the ostrich”. And this is no laughing matter.

Who knows what hidden gems, what solace, what wisdom this astounding creature finds in the sand?

Perhaps, after its interaction with the sand, the ostrich comes out better poised, wiser and more in equilibrium with itself and its surroundings? The less we know of the ostrich the more we define it with what we consider its weakest moment.

No single act defines the ostrich and no single act defines us. We are complex, magnificent and unique beings trying to navigate our journey. o judge someone without understanding the trajectory, the rationale, the flight is to pluck the feathers of a bird as it attempts to fly. It dims the light that fills the sky.

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Published 18 August 2022, 17:20 IST

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