September 29, 2016 1 Comment
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September 17, 2016 5 Comments
As the sun dipped out of sight below the horizon, the feathered folks were finding their way back home..
The Wise One saw a forlorn Kaga and knew at once not everything was right with the latter.
‘Kaga, you don’t look your usual self.’
‘Yes, my friend, you guessed right. These days when I go out, I’m not sure if I would be back in the evening with hair and hide in place.’
‘Well, you know I love those berries on the lone tall tree behind the mirasdar’s house.’
‘Yes, I’ve seen you stuffing yourself nonstop with those little things I don’t particularly care for. Am not surprised you’ve problems taking off after your fill.’
‘You with your evil eyes – it isn’t going to happen anymore.’
‘Why? Has the tree stopped producing berries? Has some one hacked it down?’
‘All this time, no one paid any attention to those trees in and around – they were on no-man’s land. Suddenly the mirasdar is now claiming the trees are his.’
‘Still there’s no way he can fence them off to keep you away from the berries high up on the tree. Can he?’
‘An evil mind is devil’s workshop. He has a dog and a man to keep watch. Whenever I alight on the tree and take the first bite – mind you, I do it absolutely noiselessly that would not awaken an insomniac – the blessed dog somehow catches sight of me and starts howling his head off. This gets the man to the spot from wherever he is and whatever he is doing to launch a fusillade of stones and pebbles with his slingshot. He’s quite good with it – he almost brought me down earlier today… frightened the blazing daylights out of me. So, my friend, my favorite feeding ground is now out of bounds for me. Don’t know where the next meal is coming from.’
The Wise One commiserated: ‘So sorry to hear. It’s cruel to snatch the food off someone’s mouth.’
There was silence with either having little to say.
‘I’ve a suggestion to make, if you care to listen and do as I say,’ spoke the Mango Tree so far passively listening in on Kaga’s sad story.
‘Anything for those juicy berries, dear sir, as long as I live to see the sun set.’
‘Tomorrow, when you alight on the tree, don’t be sneaky. Make a show.’
‘Yes, no cawing – that’s not what I meant. As soon the dog begins to announce your arrival, tell him you’re not amused, display your temper by vigorously shaking the (tree) limb you’re perched…jump up and down on it like you were on a hot brick, push with your beak like you’re fighting off a vulture…whatever to show your annoyance. Keep at it for a minute and you’ll have a peaceful meal. After a while your friend on the ground may open his loud mouth once again. At which instant you repeat your act. If it ever gets hot at anytime like today with pebbles and stones beginning to fly around you, make an immediate exit without losing a moment. Go back if you must not before allowing an hour or two for matters to cool down.’
‘Well, sounds quite doable…no harm in trying it out. Anyway things can’t get any worse from here.’
Once Kaga moved away for the night, the Wise One threw a quizzical glance at the Tree saying ‘Man, have you gone senile?‘ and received a signal in response to wait and watch.
The following day was like any other day – the birds lodged in the leafy Mango Tree headed out early in the morning seeking food and adventure, and returned in the evening flapping their tired wings looking to a night of repose.
And there was Kaga gliding in gracefully. The glow on his face said it all. He thanked the Tree profusely: ’You know, after a few rounds, strangely the dog appeared to be amused by my act more than anything else. I almost got a feeling he opened his mouth now on purpose to get me going and entertain himself. In the afternoon he even went so far as to wag his tail a few times! Thanks very much, sir, for restoring my lifeline.’
‘Just as I expected. Keep the show on and note all that jumping and pushing helps your digestion too.’
After Kagha took leave on this happy note the Wise One turned to the Mango Tree:
‘Just as you expected? All this song and dance – mind telling me what’s all this hooey?’
‘Nothing out of the ordinary…it always good to share…’
‘Soon Kaga will figure out for himself why it works for him. They are a team now – the dog is hooked on the berries that Kaga shakes down!’
September 11, 2016 3 Comments
One day, a distraught man turned up at the court of Rayar (Krishna Deva Raya) seeking justice.
His story came out haltingly amidst a lot of sniveling:
‘We are four sons to our father. On his death, we divided his property, cash, jewels…everything into four equal parts, one for each of us.’
Rayar sought: ‘Excellent. That’s how families need to be. So, what is the problem?’
‘You know it is this blessed cat that was dear to my father.’
‘Don’t tell me you divided…I don’t see the cat.’
‘No, no, we didn’t harm the poor thing. And it isn’t here. We claimed one leg of the cat for each of us.I got the right foreleg. So it was all settled…’
‘Young man, get hold of yourself. No one goes away from the court of Vijayanagaram Empire without getting due justice. Proceed.’
‘Everything was fine, my Lord, until the day this creature had a fall and broke my leg.’
‘Broke your leg…a cat did that?’
‘No, my Lord, I mean it broke its leg that was mine.’
‘Man, come to senses – its leg is your leg?’
‘Yes, my Lord, if you recall its right foreleg belonged to me.’
‘Oh, yes, you did mention…the strange arrangement.’
‘My brothers said since it was the right foreleg, it was on me to attend to it. So I had the leg swathed in an oil-soaked cloth as prescribed by a vaidya.’
‘You did the right thing by the poor animal.’
‘Yesterday evening there was a bit of chill in the air. The dumb cat laid itself near a lamp for warmth.’
‘Can’t blame – it was a bit nippy even here for us, I remember.’
‘Unfortunately a spark flew from the fire and landed on the oil cloth setting it ablaze.’
There was a collective gasp in the court.
‘The cat panicked, ran helter-skelter before jumping into a water tub.’
Rayar saw it for what it was: ‘Under the circumstances, most sensible thing to do, I say.’
‘But, my Lord, that’s when my troubles began.’
‘Don’t see how…’
‘The mutt got into the tub not before running wild through a couple of neighbors’ houses setting them on fire.’
Rayar saw the underdog’s point of view: ‘Well you would do more if it was your leg on fire.’
Ignoring Rayar’s levity, the woebegone man carried on: ‘Now the neighbors are holding the cat responsible for the damages. And my brothers are laying it squarely outside my door since the houses were torched by the cat’s right foreleg.’
‘Well, looks reasonable to…’
‘My Lord, you’ve got to help me out of this mess.’
‘It’s certainly an improbable sequence of events. But I can’t see how…’
Tenali Raman stood up: ‘My Lord, I’ve a thought. If we can call his brothers and the neighbors to the court…’
Beleaguered Rayar glanced at Raman with gratitude; he knew enough to take Raman’s suggestion seriously. Instructions were issued to round them up and produce them in the court.
When the court reassembled after a while with all the stakeholders present, Raman summed up the matter based on what the man had told the court earlier. Everyone agreed those were the facts. The neighbors stood their ground demanding compensation; and the brothers holding the injured right foreleg and hence the complainant responsible.
Raman addressed the King and the court: ‘My Lord, unfortunate but undeniable is the damage wrought by the hapless creature. The claims of the affected neighbors cannot be disputed a whit. But to hold this man responsible…that’s a different matter. In fact the shoe is on the other leg. Let me explain – pause for a moment and think who carried the cat to its incendiary activities?’
Frowns on faces. The man had not said anything about anyone making a torch of a cat on fire.
Raman dispelled the fog that had momentarily enveloped the court: ‘It’s those three healthy legs that set the cat on the binge.’
A mild flutter at what was hinted.
‘It’s my submission the owners of those legs be called to account instead.’
The ensuing commotion took a while to die out.
Source: Seeded from shortstoriesshort.com and images from daily motion.com and topyaps.com