Dec 18th, 2019
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  1. Mr. Anees Khan- a lone, wealthy merchant in the village always found love in his pets. He was tall, long bearded, muscly man who often dressed in white. He lived in a big mansion surrounded by a beautiful garden and an artificial lake with a small arched bridge. His garden was home to many parrots, pigeons, rabbits, squirrels and swans- his favorite creatures… Among the swans, there was a black swan- a special and most loved pet. The swan was center of attraction to all the villagers and children. Mr. Khan personally took care of the swan. He had named it ‘Blackie.’ Blackie was a pen and she was famous among children, so we visited his mansion every day to watch the beautiful movements she did. After all, black swans are almost impossible to be spotted in India. Many times we tried to hug Blackie but she would get aggressive if anyone tried to touch her. Only Mr. Khan was able to touch her, hug her, feed her... He would become just like a swan while playing with her! She would wrap her wings around him and bugle a sweet sound. Then he would caress her very slender neck saying, ‘black swans have the longest necks in their species.’ Then he would feed her and we would witness her red bill open. Her flight used to be the greatest amusement to all of us. It was relaxing to watch the dimensions of her body and the gracefulness of her lithe movements. While flying she looked like a divine creation of a painter.
  2. Once, while we were watching Blackie’s movements, I saw Mr. Khan feeding other swans on the opposite side of the lake. I went to him and asked, ‘you have lot of pets but why are you so fascinated with swans?’ On which, he said, ‘Swans are elegant, loving and loyal creatures. I’ve heard that swans mate only one partner for the lifetime and when one of the partners dies, the other one dies of heart break… isn’t that pure love? I don’t know whether it’s a myth or reality but it drives me towards them.’ He smiled and continued feeding the swans.
  3. Mr. Khan lived alone in his mansion. He was an old widower, cursed by love and blessed by ancestral property. He had lost his wife at very young age and now, the sad demise of his mother had made him lonelier. His father had gone missing when he was about twenty-five. Some people said that he died and some said that he had gone to Mecca and worked in the mosques. Mr. Khan had a step mother and step brothers but they lived somewhere else due to their differences with each other. He regarded himself as a worthless child to his parents. He always failed in exams and never got a respectable job due to his poor qualification. He did charity to the orphanages as he had no child. His pets were the only source of happiness with whose support he tried to build memories…good memories…
  4. One evening when we were watching the stunts of Blackie, we heard some noise. A group of people was abusing Mr. Khan who was standing in his doorway. Mr. Khan too abused them. ‘Get lost from here and never show me your faces! Where were you rascals when I dealt alone with my problems?’ Mr. Khan went forward and threatened them to leave. For the first time we heard these type of words from him. The people left looking at the lake, where we were enjoying Blackie’s company. Mr. Khan stood watching them till they disappeared, and closed the gates. Sweating and panting, he sat in the armchair in his garden. We did not dare to ask Mr. Khan about the matter but something we came to know from the villagers was that, the people were his relatives, maybe the step brothers who claimed to have an equal share in his property and Mr. Khan denied the claim… The day passed and we kept thinking about the matter…
  5. The next day Blackie was found dead! She was lying in the garden with an arrow crossed through her neck and Mr. Khan was sitting helplessly beside her with a mixed expression of grief and anger. It all looked like a damaged painting.
  6. ‘What is it? Get lost and study well. Don’t be another Anees Khan.’ He yelled at us and frightened by his horrible look, we left the place. Villagers thronged outside his mansion but Mr. Khan didn’t show up. For one more time he had to suffer and relive a loss…
  7. After few days, when we thought that it was a suitable time to visit him, we entered the gates of his mansion. After all, it was our duty to cheer him up. Mr. Khan didn’t open the door. It had been fifteen minutes…there was no sound from inside. We tried to peep through the windows but the curtains were closed. We looked at each other and suspected something… I picked up a stone and aimed it at one of the windows. The glass shattered and we slid the curtains. There was no movement…everything seemed lifeless. Rotten smell came through the window... Under the golden chandelier, Mr. Khan lay still on the shiny marble floor...
  8. “ Swans die of heart break,” was not a myth.
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