Saturday, April 09, 2016

A bird in hand

When I was in 10th standard, we had this exercise for our Tamil class. You were given an English proverb and you had to find its Tamil equivalent or vice versa. The younger me, did not realise that this was also a philosophical exercise. The same things are said in a million different ways in different parts of the world. We all think that our experiences and lifestyles are so different, but in reality, everyone irrespective of who  they are go through similar motions in life.

One of the proverbs we had to translate then was " A bird in hand is worth two in the bush". I forgot the translation now, but it was one of the toughest then.

Younger me wondered why that would be so.  Now I know that this talks about appreciating what you have and not losing it because of dreaming about what you do not. But then, the optimist in me asks, why cant I have the bird in hand and find the ones in the bush? Is it because in my attempt to search, I would let this one go(conflicting ambitions)? Or is it because there might not even be those two birds in the bush in the first place?

Pausing to think makes a simple proverb so complicated. If the bird is going to fly, what gives me the right to hold it? Would what is mine truly want to leave me? Would I actually even let go of it if it felt so right in the first place? Why would I search for the bird in the bush? The fact that I am searching implies that something is missing right?

Lets now think about the bird in the bush. Is it going to be waiting around for me to find it? Or is the bird actually going to take some initiative and find me? Again, this is considering the bird wants to be found and that it wants to be found by me. Would I lose the bird in hand and go search in the bushes and find that what I found is what i already had? Or would I find a brand new bird that I never even knew existed, only to realize that this was enough, I dont have to look further? Or would that brand new bird be so incompatible with who I am that I would not even want it? I mean, I would still be enthralled post the chase, but after a little period of time, it would become the bird in hand and I would start looking in the bush again.

Ambition is a strange thing. A thousand things can be the bird in hand and a million more can be the birds in the bush. Should I actually avoid looking for fear of losing all that is? Or Should I embrace my ambition and continue to look with the conviction that what is mine, can never truly be taken away and what is not mine, was but an illusion in the first place.


The Visitor said...

Wow! Profound questions, and no straight / right answers. I get its vibrations, but, yet I need to read this post again.

PS: The equivalent proverb in Tamil is still bothering me - what is it?

Harini Padmanabhan said...

The tamil one is arasanai nambi purushanai vidathe.I have been thinking about the bird in hand thing for a bit now and I have come to temporarily conclude that I need to decide depending on the situation.

The Visitor said...

Ah! Thanks for shedding light on the Tamil proverb - that's one thing off my mind. :)

Harini Padmanabhan said...

I used to love studying Tamil. I am secretly or rather openly a Tamil language crazy person, so I keep checking out such stuff.