The Peacock Who Rocked…And Rolled!

by Owaiz

Once upon a time a peacock hatched. An ugly little mass. The sparrows flew by, the lions and the cheetahs ran around chasing prey, the animal kingdom continued on its way, and so did the nature. No one gave a shit about the peacock. But isn’t that how it is? Who gives a shit about the ugly little peacocks? No one. No one cares, no one stands or stares, and no one stops.

But the peacock grew. And it grew up to be the most beautiful peacock ever. The birds would fly a little slower when passing him by, the lions would run a little less fast around him, and everyone would stop and stare when it unfurled its tail, for it had the longest, most vibrant, and the most beautiful feathers. And when the peacock danced, everyone loved it. The peacock was proud and arrogant, and rightfully so. But the peacock was also oblivious to the others. It was so vain that sometimes it felt like it had nothing inside of him, it felt empty inside. There were times when the peacock felt it was filled with beauty inside, but mostly it felt empty. It wasn’t a good feeling. When its tail wasn’t unfurled, no one cared. Sometimes people and animals would stop by, waiting, hoping it’d unfurl it’s tail. When it did, they cheered; when it didn’t, they didn’t care.

So the peacock knew it was beautiful and it was obsessed with itself. The peacock rocked! It knew it wouldn’t be able to accept itself or live if something changed or fell short. The peacock was also painfully aware of its ugly feet. When the tail was unfurled, no one looked at the feet, so no one cared; when the tail wasn’t unfurled, people weren’t around to see the feet, so, again, they didn’t care. But the peacock cared! It mattered to him.

On a beautiful spring day when soft breeze ran through the jungle, the entire animal kingdom sang. The peacock went on a walk and something unfortunate happened. A rusty knife that had been lodged in a tree for ages, suddenly fell. The peacock jumped in fright, but the knife chopped off its foot. So the peacock bled and bled and hopped back home. It was now the peacock with one foot. It knew it was the peacock with one foot, but nobody cared because it still had a beautiful tail, and they still liked it when it unfurled it. They liked it more when the peacock danced now, because it had one foot and it hopped and its dance had become different and unique.

A year later, the peacock with one foot met another accident and lost its other foot. Now it was the peacock without feet. Now people could see it was a peacock without feet, but they still didn’t care. The latter wound got infected and started spreading. It was painful and there was no help around. The infection spread to its entire body, and now it could feel something else inside. It wasn’t beauty inside of him, it was just pain. The sick, festering, painful, miserable, agonizing pain! And there was nothing that could be done. Everyone still wanted to see it unfurl its tail, but the peacock was wounded and sick, and so it would unfurl its tail no more.

One day, a hawk landed beside him. The peacock asked the hawk to carry him to a great height and then drop him so he could experience proper flight once in its life. The hawk declined. It was an ordinary hawk, and it told the peacock it wasn’t meant to fly. The hawk didn’t realize why the peacock had asked it and what it meant for the peacock. The hawk told the peacock to just unfurl its tail and do its things, like all other birds do. They do their thing. But the peacock wasn’t quite a bird. It was a flightless bird, really.

Another day, the peacock asked the fox to take it to the river so it could see its beauty itself. The fox, unlike the hawk, was smart. She knew what the peacock wanted and what it meant, and so the fox declined. It was against the laws of the animal kingdom, said the fox, and left.

In the months that followed, the peacock sought help from a few other animals. It was either told to unfurl its tail and do its thing like all animals do, or it was refused flatly. The peacock was dying a slow and painful death from the infection, and yet all that the people and the animals cared about was its tail. No one understood its pain and its misery.

So, on a beautiful summer day, the peacock decided to roll. The peacock rolled in the mud, and it rolled in the swamp, and it rolled through the thorns and the trash, its tail and feathers now dirty with bald patches, and it finally reached the river. And the peacock unfurled its tail and dirty feathers one last time, and rolled into the river.

The peacock went with the water. The water washed its dirty feathers, its tail, and it washed away his pain and the sorrows. The peacock somehow ended up on a clean patch of grass in the end. Its feathers were clean now, and brighter than they had ever been in its entire life. The peacock was at peace in its entirety now, more than it had ever been in its entire life. And all that the people and the animals now saw was the dead peacock.

“What a shame!” they said.

No one said how beautiful its tail and feathers were, or how vibrant. No one said how peaceful it looked with its eyes closed. No one said…no one did…no one could.