The rickety window creaked. The door opened and she stepped out – barely recognizable in her new avatar. Dry leaves drifted in the air and landed at her feet. It felt like nature was applauding her transformation. She surreptitiously cast a glance at everyone. Their hateful gazes made her take a step backward.
“Come one, Maa. Everything will be okay,” assured Tara and pulled Bhavani closer.
“She looks weird. She has transformed into a hideous monster,” the snide remarks propelled the tears to leave their territory and find their course.
Bhavani tried to conceal her golden feathers and robust beak but in vain. Those sheeny add-ons were in no mood to give up.
“Give up those appalling feathers and the beak. Or else we will banish you and Tara from our community,” announced Raja, their leader.
“Our children are feeling queasy,” scoffed an elderly bird.
The children hid behind their parents and closed their eyes. Bhavani collapsed on the twigs. How could she explain that they were irremovable? She didn’t want to leave her haven. She has been living in that enchanting forest for years now. She didn’t want to deprive Tara of the comforts. She closed her eyes in an attempt to find the right words when a shriek shook the forest.
An eagle flew downwards and seized a baby in its curved beak. The baby’s father tried to follow the eagle but failed. Dejected, he crashed to the ground and sobbed. Out of nowhere, Bhavani took wing. She flew higher and during the ascent glimpses from two weeks back flashed before her.
Gasping for breath, she lay in a pool of blood by the pond. Images of Tara played before her. The fear of leaving her alone throttled her soul.
“Oh God, please save me,” she muttered. Time flew by. Hope almost abandoned her when a fairy appeared. She carried Bhavani in her arms and waved a magic wand. She restored the wings to health and relieved Bhavani of the pain.
“Dear dove, I’m amazed by your undying faith. I’m gifting you golden feathers, a robust beak, and the power to fly to greater heights. You will remember this boon when you need it the most,” the fairy blessed her and disappeared.
Bhavani smiled and flew with renewed energy. She fought against the eagle and freed the baby. Holding the baby, Bhavani landed on her nest.
“Thank you so much. I’m indebted to you,” cried the father.
Bhavani nodded and choked, “Let’s find another place to live, Tara.”
“Please don’t go. We need you. You are special,” the leader danced to a different tune.
“You are our hero. Please take us under your wing,” they pleaded in unison.
Bhavani agreed and Tara fluttered her wings in happiness.
‘Everything happens for a reason,’ mused Bhavani and thanked the fairy one more time. Flowers landed on her. Tara climbed onto her back and they took a tour of the colossal world.
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