Finally, there came the hour of victory.The monster creature was killed.
We shouted and screamed like hooligans and tied the animal to a long stick and conducted a ceremonial display. Other students, enjoying the show encircled us to see the monster animal, with the momentous merriment.
It was a Frog...
The weapons were stocks which resembled them in shape. We killed the poor creature as if it were a tiger, and garmented ourselves a sense of pride for saving the whole school.We mocked a true life hunting there, even though we never had any idea how it would be.
The whole day was sullen rainy and misty. Later, on way back to home, while walking through the road that laid like a snake in the middle of the paddy fields, Jaseena told me softly
“you should not have killed that frog…”
“why” I frowned my eye brows.
“No… but... “ she began to stammer.
“tell me what it is” I became restless.
“you killed it and your ears are going to have very very bad days ahead” She replied.
“what do you mean by that” I raised my voice almost in anguish, with pounding heart.
“yes…if one kills a frog, he will have a rotten ear, or ear infection. Ears will decay, with foul smell, maggots will feed and finally there will be no more ears for you…”
all the mirth I gathered from hunting melted away with in a split of a second. Terror like a python began to crawl into my blood, and I turned blue. I envisaged a dreaded picture of myself, walking with a rotten body without ears and children running away from me screaming aloud... I could hear a thousand frogs croaking around me…
With in one week, I had severe infection in my ears. Pain was insufferable. Pus with bad odour started flowing out of my ears. The sweet smell of success at the time of hunting fainted, and Unable to attend school, I rested in my bed looking and listening to the rain outside . Mother took me to an ENT. Each and everyday, medication was applied into my ears. What Jaseena told me was reverberating inside my brain like the resonance of a bell, without ceasing, pricking my consciousness.
One night when it was raining outside, covering myself with a blanket I asked my mother in a feeble voice,
“ Amma… Do you know why I had this infection.?”
With perplexed eyes, she looked at me. “hm…. Why…?”
“its because… I killed a frog…”
Shameful and bitter response awaited me there after. All the members in my family laughed at me. I was numb to their laughs and that was the only thing I could do. In spite of all the humiliations, I believed that the frog had cursed me. But I never bothered to enquire about my accomplices, whether they had any ear trouble or not. After that ,I never tried to kill a frog.
We never belonged to the “ Sir Thomas Gradgrind “ School of thought, who always cried “ in this life we want nothing but FACTS sir, nothing but FACTS”, who is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Hard Times. If we ever happened to be his wards, he would have gone out of wits like the Prince Hamlet or evaporated into air leaving nothing. Ours was a world of imagination and Facts blended mysteriously like water and milk.
Animals and Birds were also our subjects of interest. There was a kind of bird with ash colour, which moved around only in groups.We watched them with keen eyes, for there was a specific reason. These birds were another special creation of nature which were copy cats of children, Especially school children. Never at rest and always chirping, they engaged all the time in picking and searching inside heaps of fallen dry leaves as if they had a plough. We were never idle, and loved to talk and be noisy always. Along with that we had a habit of searching the waste bins and heaps of waste for cigar packs, card board boxes colourful rags, broken glass bangles and so on.
At times we used to wish, we were those birds… no one to control, no teachers, no lessons, no class rooms, only games and games…. But unfortunately god made us into human beings, the souls which wanted to fly high were destined to be bound on earth to mess up in the piles of miseries thrown away by the life…
We believed that these birds and another bird uppan were searching for a diamond which their ancestor had lost and we thought, we could find the diamond or a nugget if we search the place where these birds visited. We told ourselves and to the birds as a whole that even if these birds get it, they have nothing to do with it, and they don’t have a secure place to keep it and they were not careful enough, so that there were chances that they might lose it again. And we waited for these birds to locate a place and start searching. As soon as they scattered the leaves, we jumped into the field like gold hunters, and shooed away the birds, and began searching for the diamond vigorously. The poor birds then exiled to somewhere else, in search of food.
We had a verbal treaty signed duly by all, which stated like, while in search of the diamond, and if anyone get it, all those who were part of the search (here after will be denoted by the term ‘members’) would be having equal share of it or it would be a property whose ownership shall be common to all, and no one shall exercise soul authority on it for selling or, any other transactions unless and until all the members have consensus on the matter.
What we had intended to do was, to exchange the diamond to the shop owner near by the school,(with whom we used to exchange other stolen items) and this time we were steadfast enough to bargain for at least 50 candies
(will be continued...)