The tiger pulled on the shepherd’s cloak,
And took care to quieten his angry roar,
He stood at the river bank and said,
“Come you creatures, young and small,
I extend my hand to you all,
Deer and rabbits, you belong here,
Walk on wildly without fear.
For now, I am a tiger no more,
I have abandoned my family’s ways
Of thirsting on lesser lives,
As I believe we share this place
Equally,
Tiger or fox or mouse,
There’s enough room for all of us.”

And all the animals who heard the tiger
Followed the young leader on his path
No doubts, and no questions asked,
About the rookie’s change of heart,
For they wanted a leader too
As they walked on through the gloom.
So they meekly trailed the striped one
Who promised them a brand new sun
In a land of equality,
And freedom for everyone.

But halfway through the long journey,
The tiger realised he was famished,
He looked around the trailing herd,
And all his virtues soon vanished,
Pounced on one humble mule,
“Hey you there, you ain’t one of us,
You’re from the north, you look too plain,
Whoever let you in our midst?”
Growling, he tore away his ribs.

Then at another deer, he sneered,
“You, your accent is too weird,
Why, you’re from Bihar, that’s a crime,
Can’t let you stay and spoil our land,
So there you go, do understand,
We need to keep our jungle free
From all of you refugees.”
And he struck down the poor beast,
Then spoke aloud to the rest,
“Brothers, we need to clean our soil
From these would-be foreign tyrants,
Their fucking tongues spew dirty words
Diluting our refined native verse,
Throw them out, we need them no more.”
And he again let out the tiger’s roar,
That so far he had restrained.

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A meeting across time

In his book The Bridge Across Forever, Richard Bach talks about meeting himself in the future. What a fantastic concept, meeting the person I will be 5, 10, whatever number of years from now.

So how would the conversation between the present me and this future version go?

Probably I would ask him:
What do I make out of these years that lie between you and me?
How did you get through all this time?
Was it harder than it is right now?
Was it adventurous?
Did the years fly past in a hurry?

 

What would he say?
Perhaps – Can’t tell you buddy, you’ve got to find out for yourself.
Or – Harder, adventurous, hurried, these are all tags you give, I just lived as I should.
Or perhaps this – The last five years were just great. Thank you.

 

 

Survival

In the warm waters of the Arabian Sea
Andy, the whale, swam alone and free
Running around, chasing smaller fry
Making them run for their lives.
Goldfish, tuna and even salmon
He always had them on the run
When at night they all slept
He’d walk through their little nest
Dispersing their freshly laid spawn
Probable fishlings of a new morn.

This went on for several years
And the fish had wept many tears.
With all their offspring unborn,
Soon their species would be gone
If they didn’t check the aquatic giant
The thought at once made them defiant
They held a meeting to stop the onslaught
Of Andy’s antics on their humble lot
First spoke Shiney, the goldfish
“Friends, indeed how we all wish
To get rid of this huge menace
And propagate our own race.”

Then Rimba, the restless trout
Who in every summer, feared drought,
Spoke amidst the chaotic din
Intending to confuse the assorted fins:
“But Shiney, what can be done?
The fellow weighs more than a ton
And all of us taken together
Would seem to him, light as a feather.”

And so the fish folk considered
The well being of the threatened herd
While they raved in wild tones
Starry, the seahorse stood like stone
Then with a drumming voice he spoke
Silencing every cry and croak
“My friends, we can’t beat the whale
Physically he’s just too hale
But I think we have another option,”
He paused for his words to sink in,
“Looks like Andy needs a mate
Who’d entice him with her gait
Love softens the stoniest soul
And when Andy’s no longer alone
He might leave us all in peace
To prosper in the Arabian Sea.”

Now Starry was an esteemed creature
Respected by all for his wise nature
They all agreed with his plan
To make Andy a family man
Teams of strong swimmers were made
To net him a beautiful mate
Some fervently scoured the Pacific,
Others the Arctic and Atlantic,
The bleak truth they soon encountered
The whale’s future was globally endangered
Few whales left in the wild
Of which many were old and senile
Not one female for Andy they found
While he still kicked them around
But Starry wasn’t done yet
A witch, he said, was their best bet
She lived in the trench of Mariana
And answered to the name of Joanna
She heard their troubles with attentive silence
About Andy’s rampaging turbulence
When Starry had finished his tale
She stood still, unmoved and pale
“Oh dear woman,” did Starry pray,
“Don’t you know an easy way
To help us find Andy a wife
And put an end to our strife.”

“Of course, I do, but it’s not easy,
Why, you may even think it’s queasy
The story my friend, goes this way
Eons away from this day
In an era we call prehistoric
What’s now Sahara was then aquatic
And several thousands of Andy’s class
Swam around Africa’s submerged mass
Till one day a meteor crashed in
And destroyed Sahara’s vast ocean
The whales aplenty, were all wiped
Only fossils remain of their type
Scattered, hidden in the desert sands
They’re the remnants of a robust clan
Now, if you get me one of those
I’ll recreate a beauty for your tyrannical host
For in this twenty first century
Nothing can withstand my wizarderry.

When Joanna had given them her word
The amphibians among them formed a herd
To the East African coast they powered
Then marched towards Sahara untired
Recruiting others in their quest
To find the lost fossil nests
The team began wide excavations
In the hope of finding their salvation.
Eight days and two months had passed
When in Algeria they found a cast
Of the creature they all wanted
Soon their worries were supplanted
By a joy that had been latent
Swallowed by their discontent.
Now back to base the jamboree continued,
Leaving behind the desert’s retinue
Of lizards, snakes and locust swarms
Who’d guided them through the desert storms.

To Joanna they shipped the frame
Who was prepared with her game
Treated the bones with her culture
Not in sync with the laws of nature
Next morn when Andy awoke
Touched by a feminine stroke
He was amazed to see another whale
For her he fell, head, heart and tail
Together they wandered off from the Arabian,
Across the Arctic and the Indian
Settled off the seas of Finland
And made it their new homeland,
While back home in the Arabian Sea
The marine folks couldn’t hide their glee.
Nemesis gone, their species safe
The fishermen too had better days.