You probably don’t know that I have another blog where I spew braindroppings in Bangla. (Actually, I have more than one blog, but that is another story). At my Bangla blog, I’ve been experimenting with comics that mainly focus on wordplay. As these are not easily translatable, I’ve never thought of an English version. With the most recent one, I did decide to try out a loosely-translated version in English, which I’m posting here.
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Making a birdcage is an arduous task. You need wire, but good wire is expensive. So, cage-makers routinely use wire stripped out of worn tires which have been discarded after running over miles of rough roads scattered with sharp pebbles, broken glass, and gritty sand. These tires must be peeled of rubbery flesh to extract the running steel beads which form the backbone. Burning the rubber encasing the steel wires releases foul-smelling chemicals that cause eyes to burn and lungs to wheeze. On the other hand, cutting rubber and ripping out the steel beads requires strong hands. Slipping up carelessly with a knife can cause deep gashes, since cage-maker do not have the money to afford proper gloves or tools.
Not many people know how to build a birdcage by hand anymore, but a well-constructed one will outlast many generations of its inhabitants. Once the steel wires have painstakingly been extracted, they are washed and straightened. Sometimes the wires are painted black. After they have been dried, they are expertly crisscrossed at right-angles and welded together with a blowtorch. There are patterns that must be followed. Angles must be negotiated.
We raise birds in captivity to watch them flit within confines as restricted as our minds. We fatten them on unnatural diets to create monstrosities that whet our appetites for flesh. We force them to parrot our bawdy speech for burlesque. We affix razors to tiny feet to watch them shred themselves to pieces to quench our bloodlust.
I have seen villagers crouch in the shade of dark forests to trap wild birds in order to feed an insatiable demand in faraway markets. Some soft-bodied creatures die as they are clenched by tight-fisted hands. Sometimes, wings are clipped so that survivors cannot fly away. Nearly all die entrapped.
I have no inclination of keeping birds as pets. I would rather hang an empty birdcage in my living room. I know the perfect spot to put it.