The story of Kushbu

This is a story of the magic of a name.

There is a beautiful woman and her given name is Khushbu. She did not favor the name as it sounded harsh and ugly to her. What she did not know nor understand was the magic of the name.

Here is the story of how that name came to be:

Long ago, in another lifetime, there was a flock of birds that each had a ruby feather and an indigo feather atop feathers with the translucence of pearls. Light would play upon their quills like the sun on a shimmering ocean, casting hues of ever changing colors, the brilliant ruby and indigo plumes constant accents. But while other birds had songs to sing in many choruses, these had just one call. It seemed that the rarity of their beautiful plumage was offset by the limit of only one call. That call was the sound Khushbu.

Since they only had the one call, they learned to use it for any situation. They screamed the sound loudly to signal a warning. They chortled it as a giggle when sharing amusing moments. They sang it softly as a hug when expressing love. They let it ring roundly and joyfully when gliding on a wave of wind in the warm sun. It became a call that could express any mood, deliver any message depending upon the fluctuation of the tempo, the accent, the tone in which it was presented.

This beautiful community of birds lived in only a small region that had not been inhabited by people–until the day a hunting party stumbled into their vicinity. The men had been sent by their king to find treasure to increase the king’s wealth. When the party saw this flock of birds, the likes of which they had never seen before, they set about trying to design a way to take a breeding pair back to their king. Surely, such rare beauty was worth more than the gold found in rocks so many other places!

The party began to lunge at the birds trying to snatch one from a branch. Each time, they would hear another bird squawk a loud, warning Khushbu and the bird they had nearly caught would fly away to its flockmate. The hunters, however, thought it the mating call and so tried to imitate the sound. Expecting to lure the rare birds to them, they in fact sent their prey to safety. Next, traps were tried, but still the birds eluded the party. Running low on supplies and getting close to the time they were required to report to the king, the frustrated exploration party left. Knowing the king would be furious to hear of such beautiful birds and yet not have any for himself, the group conspired never to speak of what they had seen. Instead, they agreed that to recall that secret part their trip, they would simply utter “Khushbu”.

What they did not realize was that when they began making the birds’ cry, it relayed the true emotion of the speaker. The magic of the call of the birds had been transferred to the people without them even realizing it. Hearing the varied tones and tempos of the strange sound, others in the kingdom asked the hunters what it meant. To keep their secret, the party declared it was merely the name of the fragrance from flowers they had come across. Such was the aroma, they explained, that it had a different smell to different individuals and thus the word, too, had a different sound from the different individual making it. This is how the word Khushbu became first a word and then a name that others know to mean fragrance. But the truth of its origin remains: in the speaker’s speaking of the name, the attuned listener hears the inner feelings, an emotional expression, from the sayer of Khushbu.

Thus, to the woman born to this name, birthed at a tumultuous time for those raising her, the name sounded harsh, frightening; for that was the prevailing emotion of those voicing it. In her early hearing was reflected, not the ugliness of the name, but rather the unpleasantness of the elders’ situation and emotion. If she takes the time now to listen to how others voice the name, she will hear the love from those that address her with an open heart, the skepticism from those who would challenge her, the fear from those who would want to control her, the joy of those who wish to share in her greatness. She will learn to distinguish when the emotion relayed in her spoken name reveals that of the speaker or that of the spoken to. She will feel within herself the joy, the sympathy, the ferocity, the freedom, the playfulness, the courage, the love–the many and mixed emotions conveyed when her name is uttered.

The name “Khushbu” is a name of great magic that belongs only to those who are keen observers, those who can feel deeply, who can decipher what – even the speaker – may not know is being relayed. There may not be a more beautiful name–or a more sensitive soul who holds the power to interpret the magic of Khushbu.



A special Thank you to Nancy for the edit provided on this story.

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