Bird over the waterfall

From where he sat on the edge of a cliff, a panoramic view of the Gocta waterfall was in front of him. This was one of the highest waterfalls in the world–plunging from a height of 771-m deep into the forest below. Outside world didn’t know about this waterfall until 2005 because locals feared the curse of a beautiful blond mermaid living in the waterfalls if they revealed its whereabouts. From distance, the leaping waterfall appeared as if the long white hair of the mermaid fell from her shoulders hanging all the way to her feet.

Beneath was a thick cloud forest; hot and humid. Gentle morning breeze caressed his sweaty skin as though blowing air on his wounds. The air smelled like a mix of vegetation, moisture, and soil. Other than the occasional chirping of birds in the forest and buzzing of mosquitoes, all he could hear was the soft white noise of the waterfall.

Big birds glided elegantly in the valley below without flapping wings– much like a tightrope walker walking on a rope by straightening and locking arms with ever-so-slight arm movement.

“Why do birds fly high above in circles?” he asked his mother. “May you also reach a high point one day in your life where people can look up to you!” she replied.

Decades later, sitting on top of a hill looking over the amazon cloud forest, he was still pondering upon it. Where did he stand in life right now? What happened to–all those degrees which took him years in a foreign country to achieve–the jobs he worked so hard to get–and the talent which some believed he possessed? Did he let his mom and dad down?

He was not even sure if he had a dream. What exactly was he looking for? Was he just being a wanderer? Was it his destiny calling him or a delusion? These thoughts were not new to him. He had been living with them since the beginning of his journey, and they always filled his heart with incredible emptiness.
After a while, he stood up, took out the camera and tripod from his rucksack and set them up right at the edge of the cliff to take a picture. He did this very slowly. Looking through the camera viewfinder, he noticed the lens was smudgy. He stepped in front of the camera to clean it. With his mind still full of thoughts, he was not mindful of how close he was from the cliff edge. His right foot landed on the plants at the edge and slipped. He stumbled, lost balance but in the end managed to avoid hundreds of meters of vertical fall into the thick forest. His heart came into his mouth. He left the camera on the tripod, sat on the rock and held his head in the hands. He had narrowly escaped experiencing death.

Late in the night, he turned and changed sides in the bed. As the night grew darker, his eyes began to close but the intensity of his fears grew upon him–falling hundreds of meters from above; life flashing before his eyes; his body twisting and turning like a scene from a slow-motion silent film.
When his eyes opened, he found himself in the lap of his mother. It was a sunny winter afternoon on the roof of his old house. She had given him a bath and made him wear blue Shalwar Kameez. She placed kohl on his big eyes, like every Friday. She gently combed his hair and whispered to him, “Meray Khawaabon Ki Tabeer (you are the realisation of my dreams)!”

In a flash, his spirit left the cage of his body and soared high–much higher than any waterfall in the world–making circles in the sky!

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