Conversations from a peepul tree
Owl: Oh my! A flying kabootar in the dead of the night… I thought I would never see this in my lifetime. You seem a traveller, dear pigeon. Who are you?
Pigeon: Adaab dear owl. Yes I flew over the barbed wire separating our two forests, and had to do that in the darkness of the night. You see, these border patrols wolves who have night vision don’t think of looking up at the sky. (Giggle) So I flew into your forest, to see for myself what Avinashpura is all about? I have heard so much about your land.
Owl: Smart thinking! Your Rangers need to look up, that is where future assaults are going to be. And our Border Patrol Force needs to look at those who sneak in. I don’t mean you, of course. Don’t be offended.
Pigeon: No offence taken. I don’t get offended at all, in fact. That is my nature, though we are a prickly bunch out there in Vinashpura. We still haven’t got our act together. But what about you guys? I heard somewhere that there is talk of ‘Kakayuga’ coming up in your forest. Seriously? You think crows stand a chance to rule now?
Owl: You heard right my friend. The raucous, audacious and cunning crows are all over the place, making noise, offering no solutions to our problems other than raising anxiety and a sense of hopelessness. But who is to blame for their rise? When misrule and misconduct is the order of the day in each section of the forest, then scavengers like crows and hyenas have a field day.
Pigeon: But why did things come to such a pass? I heard that the lioness had things in control and her regent, the tiger was ruling on her behalf? Back in Vinashpura, we covet the order of your set up, though it does seem baffling how your king and empress don’t try to wrest control from each other. Back in Vinashpura, our generals are forever toppling our kings. But it is to be expected as we choose foxes and lemmings. Typically they are cunning and suicidal, or both. We did try to have your tiger king visit us, you know. But it seems his team of cats in the foreign office is deeply suspicious of our motives.
Owl: Where did you hear that? Oh must be from the tweeting birds. Ah the mass media, I tell you! Don’t you believe them. They just need a story to chitchat about all day and all night long! ‘The Forest Needs To Know’ is the favourite line! It is good entertainment for our forest animals, so mundane and dull is their existence you know. Everybody is emulating the sloth bear here. No coups, no wars, no riots, just the shenanigans of our elected leaders, to keep us all seemingly busy. The lioness is unwell we hear, but she still commands and her team obeys. The King too. The cub is unsure when he wants to come out of her shadow so till then the King is secure. Rumours keep surfacing that he is tired and all he wants to do now is make sure that the foxes around him do not besmirch his legacy. But enough about Avinashpura. I have always been curious, why did you people name your forest Vinashpura? Is it not an invitation to destruction?
Pigeon: Good question, oh wise Owl! When we chose that name, we thought we would destroy (vinash) evil and be pure. But some of our racoons, monkeys and skunks have become suicide bombers, demolishing all institutions that we had hoped would make us like you. Moreover, we are in the habit of doing all that is opposite of what you do, due to the secret envy that we have of you.
Owl: Oh dear! What a mess. Nothing good comes out of Vinash. Though many in our forest also predict that we too are heading for sarvnash (total destruction) and there is only one animal that can save our forest.
Pigeon: Really? And who is that?
Owl: He is a horse. He is racing right now, but racing with other horses. First he needs to win that race, and then only he can hope to win against other animals.
Pigeon: Interesting. Hmm... But wonder if the old stable horses will let him be?
Smita Prakash is Editor, News at Asian News International. You can follow her on twitter @smitaprakash