It had never before
occurred to Ajay that he was not the best in the whole world, but
the Himalayan College of Falconiforme Flight and Fishing was a far
cry from his home pathasala. To the College came birds from all over
northern India, as well as from Nepal, from Afghanistan, from
Kashmir, from Burma, from Tibet, and even from China. Most were
champions in their homelands, and they all displayed a dazzling
virtuosity such as Ajay had never dreamed o He wanted to return home
before he was sent home in shame.
Ajay spent the
first days at the College in exhaustion from the long flight, and in
deep despair. He found a large uninhabited deodar and roosted in it,
his head turned back and buried in the hollow between his shoulders.
It was not until the second morning after his arrival that a novice
master discovered him in the heart of the tree.
there, the young instructor said cheerily. Would
you happen to be Ajay of Bengal?
Innate good manners
forced Ajay to bring his head around. Facing him on the branch stood
a handsome osprey not much older than himself, but infinitely more
self assured, more masterful.
he said. I am Ajay.
My name is Sanyal. You are one of my charges. Come along, your class
doesn't roost in this tree. We were looking for you.
Ajay said, gazing over Sanyal's head into the sky, where a young
falcon was performing spectacular pinwheels, I
do not belong here; I am going home. If you will excuse me, it is
better that I leave at once.