A Fish for Dinner

Once upon a time in a small village called Nimati lived the family of a man named Giri. Giri used to work in the forest department and was usually away from the family for many days in a week. There house was located inside the woods and the jungle was a home for elephants, tigers, deers, wild boars, rhinoceros and many other animals and birds. Just after two years of their marriage, Giri and Gita had their first child, a boy named Birju and three years later a girl named Lata.

Giri and his family

While Giri was out on duty, Gita would do the household chores and take care of her two kids. Lata being very young and not older than 3 years of age, Gita would mostly be occupied in running after her. This gave Birju a lot of freedom to roam around freely in and around the jungle. One such morning, Birju quietly slipped out of the house and went on his daily exploration of the jungle.

Birju slipping out from the house

It was a beautiful morning, a slow breeze was blowing from the East and light showers were expected by afternoon. The sun was playing hide and seek from behind the white clouds, spread all across the sky like cotton candy. Birju was having the time of his life in this nature’s play. Suddenly he heard some sound coming from the outskirts of the jungle. He realised it was the river Ridya that locals call the lifeline of Nimati.

Birju checking Ridya river’s sound

Birju who was both mischievous and loving, thought of exploring the river and fishing some catfish for the dinner. He imagined his mother to be so proud of him.

Birju followed the sound, crossing the bushes. He picked up wild flowers and fruits on his way, and reached the river. It was a beautiful sight. There were big boulders spread randomly over the riverbed. When sunlight would hit their surface, they would shine bright like the sun and stars. And when the clouds would cover the sun, the rocks would look grey and dark like the clouds themselves. The red flowers growing all along the riverbank looked like the chilly flakes his mother would sprinkle over his soup. The riverbasin where water would only rise during heavy rains were so white that it reminded Birju of the salt and curd with which his mother would marinate dishes. The sight made Birju happy as well as hungry.

The scenic beauty and the excitement of little Birju crossed the brim and in a haste he opened his clothes and was soon draped only in his underwear. After placing his clothes below a tree which he thought to be safest, Birju ran towards the river and jumped in it.

Birju jumping into the River

“Oooooooo it is so cold” shouted Birju. But soon his body got adjusted with the chilling water. He could see the bottom of the clean river. The riverbed was draped in stones of varied colors and looked like a clear night sky wrapped in a blanket full of stars. There were fishes of different shades and sizes swimming in the river. Birju too joined them and forgot about his dinner plans. He would splash some water here and there, would dip his face in water, hold his breath and then quickly pull himself out. Oh what a sight it was! After much of frolicking and giggling by himself, he was exhausted and finally decided to come out of the water. The gentle cold breeze had now picked up pace and was striking against his bare body. He felt shivers running down his spine. Birju judged it to be best to lay down on the stones right next to the river to get some warmth and soon fell into deep sleep.

Birju grabbing a quick nap over the warm rocks

Unaware of the duration of his slumber, Birju suddenly woke up to splashes of gigantic water drops all over his face and body. Startled Birju opened his eyes, only to see that the sky had grown dark, the cotton candy like clouds had now spread like dark cobwebs all over the sky. The sun was nowhere to be seen, and the clouds had clearly won the hide and seek game. The river had swelled and was lengthening its arms outwards to reach it’s salt like white banks. It was a scary sight. Little Birju started running towards the riverbank. He could not find his clothes under the tree anymore. But clothes were certainly not his priority as well now.

What on Earth happened!!

When Birju had only ran for some metres from the river, he remembered of the dinner plans and the catfish that would make his mother proud. He said to himself, “Already I am late for home and mother would be worried and furious. So it will be best to take something for her and blame my being late on the dinner I caught for her”. So he ran again, but this time towards the river and into it.

Little Birju looked like a baby bear trying to catch a fish. He could see them, but could not hold on to their slippery body. Water now started to rise but Birju was indifferent to it. Just then he grabbed a big catfish. It was huge and he could barely manage to hold it. The little boy was filled with joy.

Swim like a fish

And then out of nowhere did he hear someone anxiously and furiously calling out his name. Birju managed to turn around while holding the fish by its tail. It was his mother, her face as red as the Sun was some hours back. She was incessantly howling at Birju to come out. Birju was horrified. He gave one last look to his catch who gave an expression that Birju thought of nothing other than a smirk full of contempt and jumped from Birju’s hand towards the endless river of freedom. Poor Birju came out of the river empty handed, with no clothes other than the flimsy underwear hanging around his buttocks and greeted by his worried and angry mother who held him from his ears and was dragged towards their home with an uncertain dinner plan but a certain thrashing. Thus ended another adventurous day of Birju.

Lighting finally struck Birju

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