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A Dangerous Game

by Ajit Tripathi

    The ship rolled on the placid waters of the Devils Strait. It was growing dark. The rosy, post glow of the sunset had long since disappeared. The ship guided by a mysterious light was steering cautiously. Then suddenly, there was a deafening sound, as if all hell broke lose. A rocky under water reef had ripped open the frigate that disappeared into the Davy’s Locker. Seething and hissing foam was all that remained behind. No one had survived except for a weather beaten, rugged faced sailor.  He was aghast at what had occurred. His immediate worry was survival as he held on to some flotsam for dear life.

    He tried to peer into the darkness but failed to find his bearings but on a hunch swam in the direction to his right. He didn’t know how long he had been in water but was washed ashore tired, almost in a state of delirium. When, dawn broke. Jason (the shipwrecked sailor) woke up rubbing his eyes. Slowly, he recalled the incident and looked in the direction of the vanished ship. He felt a small pack on his back. Opening it he saw a small bottle of water and some victuals. Almost famished he lost no time in gobbling up whatever there was and thereafter took to exploring what appeared to be a small island.

    Apart from the incessant chattering of birds, scared looks of some scurrying rabbits and a passing mongoose there was very little wild life. Suddenly he stopped in his tracks. Right in a glade ahead, there stood a quaint little villa. He ventured in and was greeted by a liveried servitor who lost no time in taking him to his master.

    The master: “So you have come!”

    Jason: “Have you been expecting me?”

    The Master:  “As a matter of fact, yes. That eerie light you saw from the ship was simply to lure you chaps. I am sorry about that small liner or frigate as you call it. By the way I am Sir Drax.”

    Jason: “You mean the famous big game hunter who disappeared from the scene a few years ago.”

    The Master:  “I am flattered that you recognized me. But I would have wished under happier circumstances.”

    Jason: “Why is that?”

    The Master: “Years ago I had realized that animal is no match for a man’s intelligence. I decided that I would rather hunt man and so I devised a game. I will give my quarry provisions for twelve hours and give him a start of two hours in which to hide in the island. I will start the hunt with my dogs. In case I fail to hunt him down within twelve hours he becomes the master of the island.”

     Jason: “That is not fair. You have your dogs, the island is known to you.”

    The Master:  “But do you not see the prize that awaits you at the end of it should you win.”

    Jason: “How many have won?”

    The Master: ”None or else I wouldn’t be here. Now without wasting time I will ask you to start playing the hunted.” He nodded towards the servant who immediately brought the provisions.

     Jason: “But I will need a few more things-a small knife, a bed sheet for making a comfortable bed and a bottle of whisky that serves me both as an antiseptic and refreshing drink.”

    The Master thought for a moment and replied: “Take whatever you need, but the time for the hunt will not change” Jason was handed the things he wanted.

     Jason was soon on his way and after having covered a hundred yards or so he completely undressed himself and improvised an overall from the bed sheet. His own clothes he threw across the trails in different directions. He collected wild lichens, bitter fruits and some chilly looking fruits. After grinding them he threw them further down the trail in different directions to throw the dogs off the scent. Then he made use of the knife by whittling down dry twigs and small branches to fashion out a Malay Trap of sorts.

    The hunt was now on. Sir Drax started off with his dogs on leash and two double-barrelled rifles. With plenty of ammunition in his hunting jacket, that he had once worn, while hunting wild games in Africa. The dogs hit the false scent planted by Jason. One was snared partly by the Trap. The hunt wore on. Sir Drax was looking worried. His bravado and arrogance appeared to be ebbing.

     Another dawn was unfolding. Jason was making a hearty breakfast of bananas, wild fruits and coconut. The hunt was over.

    Jason had not slept in a more comfortable bed in the last fifteen days.


    Moral: even when the chips are down and situation is entirely hopeless one should have his wits about him like Jason did.


Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi




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By Kamlesh Tripathi


    Pained by human atrocities, some like minded animals who even happened to be old friends, prominent among them being 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 animals big time. The king of the jungle however 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.

    Scheming cat who happened to be a relative of the king of the jungle started the conversation by saying, ‘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 going to differently looking buildings to pray. That is called religion.’ Clarified the cat.

    ‘But what is religion suppose to do?’ Enquired donkey again, exposing his ignorance further.

    ‘Well, it is supposed to divide human beings. And it is doing that quite efficiently.  For 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, they 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 on the donkey’s back is when the donkey asked the horse,

    ‘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 for 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. About two years back I used to get the same food, in fact better, here only, 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 as and 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 some humongous efforts to fend for ourselves. And how about you?’ the dog asked the cat. The cat stretched itself while walking and said,

    ‘Well … well, somehow surviving, 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 from 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 every day.’ Replied the cat.

    ‘But for religious 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 donkey’s back, with his eyes closed, enjoying the winter sun 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, cow repeated the question and requested monkey for an answer.

    Clever monkey kept quiet for a while and then blinked his eyes and said,

   ‘Stop being useful to the man like cat and me.’