Stories Of Jivavarta: Freedom

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Jivavarta is the fictional world where the novel "The Timingila" by Shon Mehta is set. © 2018 Sheetal Mehata



Rudhata, the Tapasi monk, was on his way from Vakshi to Vanpore. As he passed by a house on the way, he saw a large cage with several birds inside.

A compassionate man, he was troubled at the sight, and decided to do something about it. He immediately knocked on the door.

The owner stepped out, surprised. It was not often that a monk came knocking at his door.

“Why have you kept these sweet birds in this cage?" demanded Rudhata, as soon as the owner came out.

"Because I love watching them.” answered the owner. "They are rare birds. I have paid a hefty price for them."

"If I pay you, will you free them?" asked Rudhata.

The owner pondered for a moment. He did not want to argue with a monk.

"Sure," said the owner, "I will free them for ten copper karshikas."

Rudhata went to the village square, and asked for donations. Once he had collected ten copper karshikas, he went back, and gave the money to the owner. The owner bowed to Rudhata, and opened the door of the cage. One by one, the birds flew away.

Rudhata was proud of himself. He thanked the owner, and resumed his journey.

After a few days, on his way back, Rudhata again passed by the same house. He saw the cage. There were birds inside.

Rudhata felt cheated. He knocked at the door in anger.

"Why did you cage the birds again?" said Rudhata angily, as the owner came out. "You took money from me to release these poor birds. But you trapped them again and caged them."

"I freed them." said the owner. "But the next day, they came back to the cage. As you can see, the door of the cage is still open."

Rudhata looked at the cage again. The door was indeed unlocked.

He was very confused. Smiling sheepishly, he apologised for his outburst earlier.

"But why did they came back to the cage?" Rudhata pondered aloud. "Don't they want their freedom?"

The owner was a worldly man. He smiled.

"Monk, you are a wise man." he said. "You understand the importance of being free."

Rudhata nodded.

"But what if freedom for these birds isn't about flying in the open sky?" asked the owner. "What if, for them, living in this cage is their freedom?"

"I don't understand." said Rudhata.

"You want to see them free, but what if they don't want to be free?" explained the owner. “Here, I take care of their shelter and food, and the cage protects them from predators. Outside, they need to fend for themselves. Perhaps they see the cage as their freedom from the struggle for survival."

Rudhata smiled. It all made sense now. He thanked the kind owner, and moved on.

He had learned a valuable lesson that day.





Submitted: February 10, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Shon Mehta. All rights reserved.

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