Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Explorer

He looked ahead through the trees
Then he checked his right and left.
He nervously looked behind him. Nothing.
Slowly, uncertainly, he shuffled forward through the twigs and leaves. There had to be something somewhere...He had been hungry for two days, surely he would find something today? He'd done his best till now to be the tiger he was at heart, but if today again he was disappointed, well...who knew how much longer he could hold out ? But then again, who cared except him ?
He travelled slowly through the tree, stopping every now and then to ensure he was not being watched and followed. His life was precious, but full of dangers. Sheer primal instinct gave him hope and where there was hope, there would be life. And his life would give others hope too.
Life in the jungle was difficult. It was new to him, but he thought of it as his home. He knew it as his lifeblood, the only reason he survived and thrived. He was brought here by his mother and she would teach him how to live. The dangers of the forest, the pleasure of the hunt, the rewards of success...these were the lessons he shared with his older brother. But these memories...what were they now? Merely instruments to remind him of his present wretchedness. No, he must focus on the present, which was vast and threatening. Noise, breeze, footfalls. What was happening ?
He retreated into the shade of the trees and waited. Every sense on the alert, he considered his options. Bolting for safety would give away his position. Attacking was dangerous as there seemed to be more than one. It was best to creep softly into some sheltered nook and wait.
As he treaded softly on the leaves, he listened. There were many different sounds, but none of them were intelligible. Clicks, bangs, rustling...They seemed alien, but strangely familiar. He was sure he had heard them before and not too long ago.
As he crept along, he suddenly jumped. There were new noises, talking, and they sounded close. His hair stood on end as he realised that the strange two-footed creatures were not far away. As he moved a little faster, he kept listening. They seemed to have stopped and were making their clicking sounds again. Suddenly, there was a bang and he felt extreme pain in his left leg and chest. Blood was seeping out fast and he didn't know what to do. He felt weak, unable to stand and collapsed. The world seemed to be going black and the pain seemed unendurable. Somehow he knew he was dying.
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"Well that was easy come, easy go. He'll fetch a handsome price I'm sure. The claws are good, but the pelt will make a wonderful bag. Those strips are one in a million"

Steve Irwin holding a pure-bred Sumatran tiger cub at Mogo Zoo, south of sydney 2004. Photo: REUTERS

7 comments:

nil said...

Charu,
first of all, THANK YOU for writing this post. The last para will make people realize that it's not just pain, but sadness that'll engulf the world soon enough if the stripes of the tiger are price tagged.
Well written,my darling. Very well written :)

Thank you,so much. Again!
And lady,
YOU need to keep writing!!!! You're a star!
Lots of love,
N. :)

Remya said...

Wow...The descriptions are so amazing Charu.
Your vocab is flawlesss :)
Put more emotions into it, make the reader connect withthe story, write as if you're the one experiencing it
:)

Charu said...

@Nil: Am so happy you liked it! You're welcome for my writing the post, but if we two came down to thanks yous, there would be too many on either side for us to go on with our lives! And hope star doesn't mean I have a blown up head ;)
Love your comment "if the stripes of the tiger are price-tagged". It's soooooooo true.
As for making people realize, that depends on how many read our posts, right?

@Remya: Glad you liked it! You're right, even I thought it needed some more emotion. Oh well, for one of my first few pieces of complete fiction, I guess it wasn't bad.

@Nil and Remya: Really, compliments from seasoned writers like you guys make my day. Thanks so much for FINALLY commenting.

parijata said...

Beautiful and sad, just like our striped friends. What more can we do except blog and feel sad about it?

Charu said...

@Parijata: Believing that doom is coming will just make us feel worse when it finally does come. Even humans have to go someday right? Does that stop us from trying to improve our lives ? At least, even if it is too late to save tigers now, we should try because it is a moral duty .
I'm glad you like the story. Hopefully, it won't be long before we all will find their own ways to help tigers. And by blogging, maybe we will be able to get the news to the people who can really do something important, right ?

The West Wind said...

Totally amazing.. no doubt ur a great writer with beautiful vocabulary and splendid flow. And I am glad that an amazing writer like you has taken up a cause and turned it into such a sweet and sad read.. I hope our voices reach as many ears as possible. I completely agree with you in what you said in your last comment, althought we know that human lives will end one day, we still make an effort to improve them. Then why should we refrain from making an effort to save the lives of tigers or any other animals for that matter.

Best wishes,
Annyesha

Charu said...

@The West Wind: Thanks! I'm really honoured by your compliments. Indeed, there is no reason to give up before our time. In fact, I read an excellent quote yesterday which just sums up the situation :

"You're not obligated to win. You are obligated to keep trying to do the best you can everyday" - Marian Wright Edelman (child activist)