Flights of Fantasy

Flights of Fantasy

Dusk descended early on a quaint village, as it was enveloped by dark, wet clouds. 

A loud crack of thunder gave way to the soothing pitter-patter of raindrops. Abandoning work early, villagers rushed to their cosy, warm homes. However, the birds that still dotted the evening sky weren’t prepared for this sudden darkness. 

Many were still scrambling for their last meal of the day, when water droplets collected on their wings, compelling them to find shelter under the nearest shade. 

Spide

One little bird took shelter under a large, leafy tree. With a loud chirp, she announced her presence to her mother, who had taken refuge under a nearby tree. As she shook off rainwater from her wings, a cobweb—large and intricately formed—caught her attention. A brown, gnarly spider sat at the centre of the web. It was devouring an insect that had got entangled in the web. Seeing this, the little bird was filled with pity at her own state of being. 

Spider Story by Soma Bose, photography by Jignesh Minaxi

Every day, all day long, she would fly from one tree to another, looking for fruits and seeds to eat. Her wings would grow tired and heavy from all the effort. In contrast, this spider was as fortunate as to have its food trapped right into its web, without moving even an inch from its place. 

Moreover, the little bird marvelled at the tiny, silver beads that sparkled in the web. She gaped at the mesmerizing beauty of the spider’s home. This only added to the bird’s misery at her own condition.

Spider Story by Soma Bose, photography by Jignesh Minaxi

The bird’s longing gaze interrupted the spider’s enjoyment of its meal. The spider flexed its tentacles in an attempt to frighten the bird away, but it was in vain. The spider felt threatened and helpless before the thumping stoutness of the bird. It wanted to move to another branch but couldn’t detach itself from the web that it had formed with much love and labour. The web would collapse if the spider moved.

Spider Story by Soma Bose, photography by Jignesh Minaxi

The droplets that resembled jewels had accumulated on the web after long hours of stasis. Resembling a queen’s majestic necklace, the glimmering droplets helped the spider attract insects. The crystalline and pearly water droplets formed elaborate details on the cobweb and splendidly reflected the radiant sunlight. However, these shining drops would fall off with the slightest movement. So, the spider decided not to budge. There was too much at stake.

Spider Story by Soma Bose, photography by Jignesh Minaxi

As the bird and the spider were lost in their thoughts, the rain stopped abruptly. The sun shone through gaps in the clouds, bathing a nearby house in its rays. The orange beam of evening sunshine drew the spider’s attention towards the house. The house was bursting with the vitality of evening activities—cooking, eating, walking, enjoying life—but all within the confines of four walls. 

Spider Story by Soma Bose, photography by Jignesh Minaxi

The spider found this very strange. Human beings had the power and the means to move freely, but preferred to remain locked within walls and roofs that they called their homes. They would work hard outdoors, growing their food in fields and gardens, only to bring it and eat it inside their homes.  Some would work hard to earn beautiful and expensive jewels, only to keep them locked and guarded within these homes. 

Spider Story by Soma Bose, photography by Jignesh Minaxi

As the sky cleared further, the tree was washed with bright sunlight. The bird, as if awake from deep slumber, now saw everything clearly. 

She realized that what had seemed like precious jewels threaded into the spider’s cobweb were merely drops of water. They would fall of the web sooner or later, or they might simply evaporate under the warmth of the sun. The bird recognized that the spider was stuck to its web, where it had to wait endlessly to have its food trapped. 

Spider Story by Soma Bose, photography by Jignesh Minaxi

Further, as she drew her attention to the house, she also understood how humans needlessly bound themselves within their homes to protect themselves from nature, whereas the same Mother Nature provided them with everything they needed. 

The bird finally saw how fortunate she was to have wings that helped her fly around, without any attachments or bindings. She realized that, thanks to these wings, she could take her flights of fantasy, soar above the trappings of the world, and experience the freedom that others could only hope for.     

Photographs by: Jignesh Minaxi

LocationKeoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India

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