The faint whistle of the robin

Last week our balcony was playing host to a very special kind of opera. A small female robin bird had somehow landed in our balcony and for some reason couldn’t fly away. Since it had rained the previous day, we presumed that the bird could have come from a nest on the roof and is either a grown up chick still in the process of learning how to fly or an injured victim from the neighbourhood cat. Anyway, every three hour or so, the bird would produce a very peculiar call, like a faint whistle. Soon one could see a male robin appearing and on inspection of the balcony, would land and feed the female robin. This happened for nearly a week. We tried providing bird food and water but it didn’t touch anything. It drank from the collected rainwater and ate only what the male bird was bringing. We were away for the weekend and had decided that if the bird is still there the following week, its better that we call some organisation to guide us with the situation. Luckily, at least for the bird, it had flown away on the weekend. On Tuesday morning I heard that Robin Williams had died.

I did not know Robin Williams. I didn’t even think anything special of his movies. Sure he was a good actor and a comedian. But I had once watched his stand-up and had laughed. I had laughed a lot. When I heard that he died, I felt that someone special that I knew had died and I felt sad. These days it’s rare that one feels personally sad for some rich and famous guy’s death. But actually what made it so affective is the fact that he had most likely committed suicide.

Robin Williams was not just some rich dude Hollywood had spawned. He was a very talented actor, comedian, a philanthropist and a friend. He had everything: Friends, family, fame, respect, money, accomplishments and you name it. It was difficult but not impossible to believe that he was battling with depression. I don’t know the reasons of his sadness, it was his sadness and they were his reasons and at one point they grew very strong.

He is gone. We are still here. There is an old Indian saying that death is the ultimate truth. I think this saying is bullshit. I think both life and death are the ultimate truth. If there was no life, there cannot be any death. Its our life that gives meaning to death and that’s why Robin’s death has a big meaning. He had a big life.

There are still many people who are a bit to quick to judge as to why someone would take their own life. “Why? That’s just dumb. We should have strength and we should not give up so easily, blah blah blah.” Every time someone tries to share their opinion regarding how dumb it is to take that decision, I find myself wondering which rock have they been living under until now. Sure there is hardly any glory in ending ones life. Some people may even find it dumb. But can we learn from such event first rather than pass our unnecessary judgements over it?

There is something that I learnt from Robin’s life. There is no such thing as a measure or balance of how successful one is. While some may think Robin had everything, he might have disagreed. That’s because he might have been looking for something else.


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