Sit and enjoy the conference during these rare days of the lockdown. Here we go:
Pained by human atrocities some likeminded animals who even happened to be old friends, prominent among them, being a cat, cow, dog, donkey, horse and monkey decided to meet somewhere, to discuss the burning issue, and chalk out a way forward, as human lunacy was troubling them big time. But, tiger the king of the jungle excused himself, as his species, was already under threat, from human beings and he didn’t want to take an adverse position against them any further.
The scheming cat who happened to be a relative of, the king of the jungle opened the conversation by saying, ‘Friends! To us, all human beings look the same but they are divided by something called the religion, and unlike us, who don’t follow any religion but only follow our heart, human beings are guided by their religion. And if we could only exploit their religion, we could divert their attention from us to save ourselves.’
‘But what is religion? Asked, the donkey.
‘Arrey yaar! You don’t know religion? No wonder you’re called a donkey. You must have often seen human beings walking into differently looking buildings to pray. That is called religion.’ Clarified the cat.
‘But what is religion supposed to do?’ Enquired, the donkey again, exposing his ignorance further.
‘Well, it is supposed to divide human beings. And it is doing that quite effectively. For you might have noticed, human beings fight tooth and nail for anything and everything. And since I keep gallivanting most of the times. I see that with my own eyes. They might be our enemies but they are the biggest enemies of themselves’ Said the relaxing horse.
Thereafter, the animals decided to go for a long walk just to graze and relax since they were old friends and had met after a long-long time, to have a heart-to-heart conversation with each other. And they all were leisurely walking side by side, along the river, while the monkey was happily sitting atop the donkey’s back is when the donkey asked the horse,
‘Arrey boss, the government is planning a lot, for the employment of human beings but what about us? In the present scenario I neither have a job nor a peaceful place to stand, nor even an assured morsel of food. Every day, I need to walk quite a distance and that too across the road to feed myself where, you only get some dry grass and pesticides laden dry leaves to munch. A few years back I used to get the same food, in fact much better in quality, right here, where we are walking, but today because of these multi-storeyed buildings there is nothing left for us. The horse felt sad for the donkey, and while maintaining his pace he softly said,
‘I know, it’s very sad, but yaar, you’re a donkey, at least you know the art of survival and no one expects wonders from you. But look at my plight. A bright talented horse that used to participate in derbies and equestrian shows. But with age catching up I was thrown out of my job. I was then bought by a tangewalla and he used me mercilessly in Chandini Chowk for some time, but when tongas went out of circulation, he kept me for a month thinking he’ll be able to sell me off, but when he couldn’t he just left me here one day and never came back. And today a skilled guy like me is not only unemployed but even harassed on the roads by moving vehicles and the traffic police.
‘My dear horse, that’s indeed sad. Such a skilled personality like you, meeting up with such a fate.’ Donkey consoled the horse.
‘My dear dog, how are things with you?’ asked the cow.
‘Not too good. These Indians could never get out of their colonial mindset. They still keep foreign breeds as their pets, and that leaves we—the Indian mongrels on the lurch, and it really takes a humongous effort to fend for ourselves. And how about you?’ the dog asked the cat. The cat beamed and stretched itself while lazing atop the horse’s back.
‘Well … well, surviving somehow, only because we cats are of no use to a man. Neither, they require our skin, nor bones, nor our flesh. And that makes things somewhat easier for us; otherwise you can see how they have massacred the tigers of our family. But I guess in today’s time cows are the real VIPs’
‘But why do you say so?’ asked the cow meekly.
‘Boss because, you are hitting the headlines practically every day.’ Replied the cat.
‘But for political reasons,’ was the doleful moo of the cow.
‘So then, what should we do to survive, and improve our lives? Let’s ask the monkey who is very quiet.’ Suggested the dog.
Monkey, who was sitting merrily, on the donkey’s back, with his eyes closed, enjoying the spring sun and the sprawling boulevard of India Gate on account of Covid lockdown was a bit amused at the melancholic conversation that was going around. He preferred to remain quiet even when the dog had asked a pertinent question. After a few moments when the monkey didn’t answer, the cow repeated the question and coaxed the monkey for an answer.
Clever monkey kept quiet for a while and then blinked his eyes and said,
‘Well … Man might change. Let’s wait for the Corona Virus to get over.’
But … will man ever change? Well I would like to believe the monkey.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE
(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)
ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY
(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)
AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES
(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)
REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD
(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)
TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN
(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
RHYTHM … in poems
(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)
(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)
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