Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Mridula Chaudhari
When we talk about the celebrated writers of literature, what amazes me is their quality of being relevant today even after having written hundreds of years ago. How can a person think through the human psychology to the extent where he is never defunct or his thoughts are pertinent after several hundred years later?

Today let’s browse through the pages of ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ written by Richard Bach. The story revolves around a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles and life, of merely working to eat two meals a day and with meaningless materialism. He wants to do something bigger and not live a confined life. He was done with screeching and fighting with the flock around the piers and fishing boats and diving on scraps of fish and bread.

He wanted to fly high. He wanted to learn to fly higher in the sky and learn new skills. Isn’t this what everyone of us feel from inside? We long for many things, however seldom taking the right steps to achieve them. In this pursuit, Bach’s Seagull is outcast by his own breed. His parents and other fellow seagulls completely disapprove of this bold step taken by Jonathan. This too is how typical of us always condemning someone who behaves differently and does not take the oft trodden path.

Bach’s Jonathan experiments with his flying and reaches a flock who takes him in their wings. Now they teach him new tricks of flying at an even higher speed. These gulls are a class apart and offer to teach these traits to Jonatahn. Jonathan is ecstatic and he works hard and learns to fly with immense speed thereby making best of the opportunity he stumbles upon. He makes sure to bring finesse in his pursuit.

However, once an expert at flying he thinks about his flock back home and wishes to go back to them. He wants to go back, not to show off his prowess but to make them realize the importance of better things in life. He wants to reassure them that merely catching a prey and eating it is not life, it has many facets to it.

And to my mind this was the most difficult challenge for Jonathan. Learning is one thing but teaching the thoughts that are against the common belief is the most difficult task. Jonathan needed first to forgive those who outcaste him, teach them the new tricks and ensure their progress.

This is what is called giving back to the society. All great men try to give back to the society and make it a better place to live for everyone. Life is about learning, earning and returning back.

We all have a duty towards our society to make it a better place to live for ourselves, others and for generations to come. So much has been written by the masters for us to mull on. We only have to take a step forward and make living life an extraordinary experience.

Let’s take a leaf out of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, chew over it and work on it!!!