A Leap of Faith – a Saras Story

arun pandit photography, story by Soma Bose, Soma Tales

Saras cranes fly low, gliding gracefully over the Dhanauri grasslands. Vivid rays of sunshine come down on their salmon-pink bodies. From afar, I see them flapping their wings, enjoying life, their rattling cry a call to dance.

When I was living in the Dhanauri grasslands, two Saras cranes came at the lake outside my house every day. Their rusty wash and slate grey colour highlighted their supple bodies among the verdant greens. The female crane, who I called Saraswati, loved taking dips in the lake.  She would dash over the still water, much like the breeze that winnows across the pond and whistles through the woods. The male crane, who was much larger than Saraswati, followed her and splashed water on her with his elongated wings. Dev, the name I gave to the male crane, and Saraswati had been together for as long as I could remember. 

One morning, I was awakened at dawn by stirring shrill cries. One of them was flying around the field as if in search of the other. There was urgency in the calling: a sound that I only ever hear when they try to find something, or “someone” in this case. I rubbed my eyes to take a better look. It was Saraswati, wild with despair. Her eyes had the fear of loss; her voice trembled with fear. Minutes elapsed, hours passed, and eventually her screeching voice faded out. Saraswati stood in the middle of the fields, craning her slender neck in all directions. She was waiting for Dev to come back. She looked up into the sky and howled as her tired legs curled up, and she settled in wait for Dev.

As I saw the spark in Saraswati’s eye drown in her agony, I realised how mankind and animals are similar emotionally. Her sense of loss was communicated by her long neck drooping with sorrow. The ever-glowing shine on her face was dimmed by the sudden disappearance of Dev.

Saraswati jittered and fiddled with her feathers constantly, showing that she was losing hope with every passing second. However, there came a moment—a moment that comes to all of us; a moment inspired by the elements of nature that surround us, a moment when the unknown entities of our universe shine on us a ray of hope. In that moment, the memories of our loved ones flood our minds, compelling us to go to any extent to get them back. Saraswati needed just such a moment. She had her moment that night.

Sarus Cranes, Dhanauri grasslands story by Soma Bose, Photography by Arun Pandit

The next morning Saraswati’s wings sprang with positivity; her neck looked up and ahead, almost as if she had seen Dev. The upliftment brought her voice back and she loudly called for Dev with all the might she could muster. With each passing call, her voice got higher with confidence and hope. She flew around the field and suddenly, just like Dev, disappeared in the thick early-morning mist, leaving her imprints in the skies of the Dhanauri grasslands. She was the faithful crane, forever in search of the one that she missed. With only hope in her heart, she went on with her journey to find the one that she yearned for. Afterwards, for as long as I was there, I never saw them again in those parts of the Dhanauri grasslands.

Photography by Arun Pandit

Shot at : Dhanauri Grasslands, UP, India

Instagram: @arunpanditphotography

A Leap of Faith is a story by Soma Bose in collaboration with photographer Arun Pandit

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