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The Good Mother

Short story By: penpallavi
Romance



Affection is universal. It is something more than the action of the brain neurons, thus it can unpredictably be showered upon anyone and everyone but it is so strong that it conditions existence, even goes against the laws of Nature as we know it and forces us to see the world around us in a completely different way. This is an account of the puzzles of affection and how it attached two unusual entities in a bond for life. I hope the readers will find it comforting.


Submitted:Feb 6, 2014    Reads: 21    Comments: 4    Likes: 0   


The Good Mother

"O Ali Bhai, Ali Bhai where are you, come along we have to go O Ali Bhai." Ali answered from his hut, "Coming ho bhai wait", he was still in his deep sleep, immersed in his dream of wallowing in money. Ali like every one else of his village in Gosaba and the rest of the villages in Sunderbans only dreamt of money but never had enough even to feed themselves and their families everyday, yet they dreamt on and pushed themselves to be alive for the next day.

Ali replied, "Ahmed Bhai it is only dusk look at the sky there still is daylight…..". "Listen bhai you are talking as if we've never done this before, earlier we used to hunt even in broad daylight". "Those times were different, back then no one was bothered now everyone wants a share. The bloody forest department puts a bloody guard everywhere. They think they are being more vigilant but their own guards eat our priceless hunts like crocodiles. If one of those catch us doing it Ahmed, whatever money we will get from the hunt, the moron will devour all of it to keep his mouth shut as happened the last time when we killed a couple of deer. They even have cameras these days, if the local police catch us no one will come to save us not even your regular customers from all over the world Ahmed !". "True, poor Rafiq had been caught in such a mess now he is rotting in jail. Ok we will wait until dark" Ahmed agreed, "Ahmed how many people have you gathered?" Ali inquired "Not much bhai just four" "Well that's too less, never mind. Did Abdul come"? Ali sounded tense "No bhai he is still sad, his daughter was pulled into the water by a crocodile, he thinks she is going to swim back…she used to be a good swimmer". "Oh! Stupid fool the river does not give anything back, and that happened four days ago. Tell him his dead daughter will not feed his rest of the three kids, I lost my brother to the tiger and my son to the crocodile last year. Did I stop eating and feeding my family. Bloody fool!" Ali cursed and went inside the hut, Ahmed blinked for a few seconds and went to join the small group "Strange man" he whispered lest Ali hears him.

The darkness in the Sunderbans was a special one, the sky there could be separated from the land only by the crowd of million billion and zillion stars. It seems all the revolting stars had gathered there stubbornly trying to lessen the darkness of the land, but to no effect. It's as if the Almighty just for the fun of contrasting colored the Sunderbans with several layers of tar like a whimsical artist. Nevertheless He discriminates willfully, playfully, cruelly who will question him. But our night riders seemed to be comfortable even in this pitch black darkness. They were approaching stealthily yet steadfastly very much sure of where they were going, headed by Ali. One of them in the group was a newbie; he was kept in the middle his name Gopal he was young and curious "O Ahmed chacha this Ali bhai lives alone then why was he shouting about his family" "You fool! He is living alone only for a few months he used to have a family, after his son was killed by the crocodile his wife left with his daughter before that his young brother also used to hunt with us, he was a good hunter but no one can fight fate, his wife quarreled with him trying to convince him to give up hunting and find a lucrative job in Kolkata but he wont listen so she left. On a night like this a tiger pounced on Ali's brother and bit him right in the middle of his body, Gopal we saw it with our own eyes the boy was so brave even when he had been halfed by the beast he fought, he poked its left eye with spear. Gopal the roar shook the heavens above and then our brave Ali jumped on the beast he put his hand in the beast's mouth to free his brother and he did but only half of him and then you know what he did…he stood in the path of the fleeting tiger and pushed the spear right in the beast's brain in between its eyes. What a fight! He is so brave. We then skinned the tiger there only could not carry it back in the village since the strongest man in our group was dead…." Gopal's jaw dropped. He suddenly slipped and fell creating a commotion in the bushes. "Why don't you be quiet morons? You are going to wake the whole neighbourhood!" Ali blurted angrily "Neighbors! In the jungle!" Gopal was taken aback. "Be quiet boy!" somebody whispered. They walked silently, so stealthy was their walk that not even the dead leaves could scream of their presence. They walked on for an hour into the very depths of the jungle. Gopal being younger was naturally impatient "Oh! Chacha how long" Ahmed replied "We have to reach the trap be quiet". Suddenly a low but an intense grunt could be heard, it sounded mechanical yet it had a rhythm in it, it did not disturb the quiet of the night but rather enhanced it. Ali quickly laid flat on the ground "Now what is he doing, he is mad" someone shushed Gopal, one of their team members replied "Ali can feel the heart beat of animals through the ground". "Its coming from that side" pointing his hand towards the east Ali said "But Ali bhai our trap is yet far in the west deeper into the jungle" Ahmed said, but by that time Ali started walking towards the sound "Its big, a big beast!" "But Ali bhai the forest ends there, the guards of forest department has put barbed wire separating the jungle from locality we'll be caught" but Ali did not stop, its as if he was walking in a trance. Soon the small team reached a clearing and was stunned by what they saw. A huge tiger was caught in the barbwire and was grunting very low, a smiling Ali stood near its head "Told you fellows" "Ya Allah!" one of them exclaimed "You see this is a female one she has been caught here for a very long time probably three days, she struggled and was caught up more. She is huge and beautiful. She is as good as dead. So let's get to work fellows". "But Ali it is near the border". "We will kill it and take it quickly". Gopal was very happy, "I am going to kill it", he said as he raised his spear. "No fool!" Ali roared "It will damage the skin we'll strangle it" silence engulfed the team for a moment which was shattered by Ali himself "Jamal give me your gamcha" Ali then walked right behind the animal she was amazingly still, she looked tired. The rest of the men pressed their lathis on her head so that she could not make any sudden moves while Ali tightly tied her jaws shut he put his hand under her chin and felt the throb of the pulse in her throat and he tightened his grip, her foul breath slowed, she gave in very easily. Suddenly Ali caught her eyes, they were staring right into his, her eyeballs were moving, its as if she was desperately trying to say something, Ali was gripped with fear when he realized her forelegs were free although his friends tied them yet she could easily attack him and one strike of her paw can slice Ali, he further tightened his grip in terror but she did not try to attack him she remained motionless, Ali could feel the throbbing of the pulse getting slower, slower until it was very slow "Why are you so passive why did you not attack me?' he whispered in its ears she blinked, her eyes were still staring at his. The throbbing stopped but Ali did not loosen his grip. "Ali Ali" Ahmed whispered "I think its dead "O yes" Ali sat there confused "She could have easily attacked me" Ali said to himself, "What did you say brother?" "Nothing" "That was a nice job Ali bhai, it just took you seven minutes to finish the beast, seven minutes!" Gopal was all excitement. All of them were busy tying the beast on a strong bamboo stick Ali walked towards the rear of the dead tiger and as they turned the body a slight movement of yellow caught his eye. It was a tiger cub! She had delivered while in distress. Ali quickly hid it with leaves. Nobody saw anything. They lifted the dead body and walked towards the jungle, all of them were very happy "Ali bhai its heavy won't you give a hand" one of them said. "You go ahead I am coming", Ali quickly removed the leaves and found there were three cubs delivered probably on the very day of distress, two are dead only one was moving, only one made way to its mothers milk and suckled itself fat. It was still suckling when Ali was killing its mother as Ali lifted it milk trickled form its little whiskers. "So you are the little devil your mother was worried about, look at you little fellow! You are blind, fat and useless but you are brave, you survived. I cant leave you here I promised her but you are going to give me a hell lot of trouble" the baby squeaked loudly "No quiet you fool don't make so much noise". "Ho Ali!" "I am coming" "Alright little fellow, its going to be bumpy ride home just stay alive". Ali quickly gathered some foliage and made a rope of them tied the cub to his body under his shirt"

"O you startled me!" Ahmed was totally shocked when he found Ali beside him; he was so quiet "What took you so long?" "Nature calls" the cub purred, it was not comfortable and seemed to revolt "What is that?" Ahmed asked, Ali replied "My stomach, its not doing very well". Ahmed stared at him "I can say that you smell awful" Ali smiled, totally embarrassed.

"Alright you devil I know you are full and you are not hungry because all you've been doing is suckle suckle suckle…" the cub emitted a loud snort "O you don't like me well in that case Sir I don't care!" Ali picked up the little cub no larger than the palm of his hand and gathered some of his old torn clothes made a cozy little bed. Ali then sat staring at the little cub in the light of a dying candle. Its light snores declared the soundness of its sleep. Ali gulped some rice and dal his usual dinner making sure no noise is made. It curled itself to a ball "Look at you, you've lost the most precious thing, yet you are so quiet, so indifferent you fool!" The very next moment Ali was also sleeping soundly.

The next morning Ali woke up at the usual time of ten in the morning. He stared at the small piece of sky seen through his hay stacked ceiling. He felt warm at the left side of his chest. He turned his head to find out that the cub has crawled to his mattress pressing hard against his body and snoring. Ali jumped up "God! You devil. I made you a bed but you have to sleep on mine you you…" Ali was speechless with anger. The little commotion woke the cub, it turned its wobbling head as if searching then crawled towards Ali's folded knee again pressed hard and started snoring. After a long pause Ali understood what it needed "You need to keep warm" he said Ali took off his T-shirt turned it inside out and wrapped the cub with it and covered the whole mass with another blanket "Here that should do it. Now be a good boy I am going to go get some milk for you since Your Highness is toothless. God! How something so little like you grow to such a monster!" Ali looked around grabbed a torn shirt wore it. "You are wearing my only good T-shirt".

"Abdul ho…are you home O Abdul" Ali yelled "Yes yes Ali bhai Abdul hurried out of the hut" "How are you now. You fool why did not you come with us? Your daughter will not come back" "Don't say this Ali bhai…" tears trickled down his cheeks Ali stared at his face, the big hollow in his chest throbbed "Abdul do you still have that cow? Does she still give milk?" Ali asked softly "Yes Ali bhai my little girl was very fond of it she took good care of it. In fact it gives more milk…Do you need some?" "Yes yes" "Ok" Abdul brought a bowl made of bamboo skin. After half an hour he returned with it filled with milk to the brim "Here Ali bhai is it enough?" "Yes it is enough thank you thank you very much Abdul" Ali stood up looking into Abdul's eyes "Abdul come to work, even if your daughter returns tell me what will you feed her and I am sure she will not be happy to see her thin brothers and sisters "Yes Ali bhai you are right" Abdul wept like a child Ali touched his shoulder and whispered "Everything will be alright".

"This is not working why don't you drink you fool!" an irritated Ali yelled at the little cub for over an hour he was trying to feed the cub by dipping the end of his gamcha and holding it to its mouth but the cub was unable to suckle. Ali stared at it for a minute, it had been quite some time since the baby fed Ali said "May be it is not hungry do you want to excrete do you know to pee I guess not….O you little devil!" Ali thought for a moment "What would your mother have done? She would lick you…her warm drool would stimulate you …drool! Water! Yes" Ali ran outside his hut, gathered some dry leaves and branches and set fire in his unoon and put a handi filled with water. He stared at the little cub. Its head wobbled, it was searching for something "I am coming" Ali said. He put the handi down after a minute and dipped his gamcha in the luke warm water and started rubbing the hind portion of the cub. He lifted the little cub only by its tail. The cub made a lot of noise it growled loudly "Quiet you fool this is for your good quiet…Oh stay still" after five minutes of this ridiculous exercise, warm liquid trickled on Ali's hands "You fool you peed on my hand Oh! Finally. Do it yourself after that!" Ali then rubbed the cub's face also with warm water which irritated him more and the protests grew louder "Quiet you fool Quiet!"

Ali then set the cub down; he wrapped it like before and stared at the little piece of sky. "O Ali bhai!" Ali rushed out of his hut lest they enter into his hut, it was Ahmed and Gopal "You did not come to collect your share. We got a good deal. Here hold this" Ali counted the money it was three thousand bucks three thousand for risking his own life and ending the life of a young mother. "You call this a good deal, never mind, I will go to the market today in fact now." Ali went inside his hut. He whispered to the cub "Be a good boy I will be back soon". He locked his door. He was stunned by the surprise gaze Abdul and Gopal. "You want to come?" Ali asked casually "Why did you lock the door? What do you have in there?" Abdul asked "Oh jackals vandalize the hut come on" Ahmed stared at Ali's house.

The market was dirty smelly and crowded like every other Indian market. This was the only market for over twenty villages and populace of every village seemed to gather there. There was noise everywhere Ali had to pay twenty bucks alone to the dingy that brought him here after two hours of rowing.

Ali bought a new gamcha and three T-shirts. He yet hadn't found what he was looking for. He roamed about. Suddenly he spotted the man sitting on the ground with used household materials. "Come along come along see the magic of urban science get these city things without having to go to the city come along before everything gets sold".

A huge number of different types of goodies were heaped up. People rummaged through those goods and pulled out whatever they liked. Ali felt irritated "Allah! how can I find the thing of my use in this trash. Help me" "Hello bhai" Ali greeted the seller "Yes" "Do you have those milk bottles, feeding bottles for babies" the man stared at him "For your baby" "Yes sir for my baby" he pondered in his thoughts for a couple of minutes Ali felt anger running through his veins "Bloody fool!" he cursed. "I'll check", for another three minutes the man rummaged through the trash. "Nope its not here" Ali nervously said "Sir please see if you have it I am in urgent need of that thing" "Really alright I'll check my bags, the seller then started rummaging through a huge sack "I found it". It was a small bottle with a plastic nipple at its mouth "That's it" Ali felt his head will burst with anger "You wanted it don't you" "Yes yes" "You have to pay double" "How much?" "A hundred bucks".

"I lost hundred bucks for you, you bloody idiot now drink…drink you fool" but the baby refused to put the nipple in its mouth. Ali threw the bottle in frustration and sat on his mattress. Anger throbbed through his veins but the baby wobbled its head searching for something. It took half an hour for him to calm down. He then picked up the bottle made a bigger hole at the end of the nipple with his teeth and held the bottle upside down near the mouth of the cub. Milk trickled on his mouth, whiskers, paws for a minute. Finally it put the nipple in its mouth and suckled. "Good boy", Ali smiled he could feel the warmth of the smile touching his heart after a long long time.

That was the beginning of their journey of growing up. With patience Ali was able to teach the baby everything. Now its four months old and started developing teeth. Ali hid the little monster from everybody all those months. But he never went on tiger hunt again instead he hunted deers, rabbits and other small rodents. His companions always complained of his foul smell. His family did not return and even he did not want them to return instead every once in a week he went to meet his kids in his wife's maternal house.

As days went by the little cub started growing to the size of a monster. It was already three feet long from its nose to the tip of its tail at ten months and milk did not suffice its diet, it looked unusually thin. Ali one day decided to teach the hunter of all hunters, hunting. On the very first day the tiger killed a rabbit but instead of eating it, it brought the kill to Ali, playing with it "No you fool you eat it, eat" the cub stared at Ali. "Oh my God! How come you are so stupid!" Ali cut the guts out of the belly of the rabbit and held the bloody mess towards the cub's face. It smelled it and seemed to like it yet it was confused of what to do with it. Ali sighed, after a second he cut a piece of flesh and started chewing the raw flesh, the cub rubbed his face against Ali's face Ali then took out the softened flesh from his mouth and put it into the tigers mouth. It ate the flesh and seemed to enjoy it, "Now finish the whole of it you fool!" The taste of raw flesh bittered Ali's mouth.

As the days went by Ali's worries increased. It was getting harder for him to hide the beast. The tiger was no longer a cub; he seemed to increase by an inch almost everyday. Although sharp teeth appeared and were fairly used for killing and eating small rodents yet the cub was fond of milk. Ali had to buy milk from the market every three days. And when he was away from home he would take the beast into the deepest depth of the jungle marking the place and leave it there with trepidation in his heart, praying to God to keep the beast alive. He could hardly stay away from the beast for more than an hour. However every time he came back from work or market he never had to go back in the jungle to fetch him back, he found his disobedient son right at the door of his hut to his irritating surprise. He would yell at him "One day people are going to see you and then both of us will rot in jail…..do you understand that you fool!" the tiger stared at him.

One day Ali's fear came true. It was a hot afternoon and to find some relief Ali wandered along with his oversized son in the shades of jungle. He was spotted by his own team mates who were out on hunting a tiger "Ali bhai be careful there's a tiger behind you" Ali recognized the voice as Abdul's, he wheeled his head "No no!" spreading his arms he signaled a 'No' he then ran towards the tiger and pushed him on his left side just slightly avoiding the metal trap that was hidden under the foliage. The animal was so startled that it rolled over with huge roar. Ali lied down beside the tiger trying to calm him down. The huge animal stared at him, the animal reminded Ali the night when he met his mother, "Don't be afraid my dear boy, come hear….come on" Ali softly caressed the head of the beast and it cuddled its huge head in Ali's arms and purred. Ali was completely oblivious to the surprise stare and the ceaseless queries of his friends.

"Now Ali tell us everything, this beast is the reason you are staying away from us, isn't it?" Ahmed asked coldly. The five men gathered round a small fire among who Gopal was also there. "Yes bhai I found him the day we killed the female tiger, he was so little so helpless I simply couldn't…besides his mother…" a lump in his throat choked Ali "Are you totally mad!" Gopal hissed impatiently "Look at the size of him only one year he is five feet at about two and two and a half years I think he'll be nine…". "What do you mean Gopal…he is my son I've raised him with my own hands he has no one in this vast world except me, I love him and he loves me and trusts me…" "But the Forest Department won't listen to it Ali bhai" Ali was quickly interrupted by Gopal "You are not supposed to keep wild animals as pets…" "He is not my pet…" Ali shouted just like a tiger. For a moment silence engulfed the small group. "Ali calm down brother, you have done something that few people can do, you have reared a beast and won its trust but a beast is a beast it cannot be trusted. Think about it, one day it will grow bigger, hungrier and stronger than this may be it wont hurt you but then it'll hurt other people and moreover jungle is its home…" "Do you think I don't know that Ahmed, every time I look at him I think about his safer future which is some where away from me….I…just…." the lump in his throat trickled down as tears from his eyes, "Please my brothers don't tell anyone, everybody will be after his life, poachers will skin him alive I….I….will do something about him he is just still too young to stay away from me…." Gopal twitched his lips "This is too much of a drama" he whispered. All this time the tiger remained oblivious of the seriousness of the drama centering his existence, he kept playing with a piece rope that the hunters brought with them.

However Ali's secret could not remain a secret for too long. Ali found strangers thronging around his residence. Even at night Ali could feel movement in the foliage and it was not his beloved tiger. Somehow he managed to keep his tiger in the jungle. It took him days to construct a huge cage with bamboo sticks that he made in the heart of the jungle. He worked diligently and fearlessly since the strongest predator was his bodyguard. He kept a ration of few days and left his tiger in the cage.

This went on for a few months until one day the tiger broke the cage and in broad daylight came back to his human mother. Many villagers spotted him and gathered to attack him. The tiger was chased and beaten. He was hit with stones and spears that left gaping wounds on his body but Ali came to his rescue. He yelled a "STOP!" loud enough to deafen old folks. He stood in between the small crowd and the tiger. The tiger panted heavily, he was shocked and tired. He never really learnt to defend himself from humans.

"Don't hit him….please….I beg you." Ali cried "The poor thing was coming to me…he belongs to me….If you really want to hit someone hit me please don't hit him please….please" Ali wept like a child. The small crowd was stunned "Please go away!" "Ali what is this?" an sturdy man demanded angrily "Let us get rid of him…he can turn out to be a man eater" another man demanded "No no please stop I will….get rid of him" Ali stood on their way, almost wrestled with the men "I promise I'll get rid of him…"

A sharp pain pierced through his heart as Ali nursed the wounds of his tiger. The big cat remained still and purred as Ali caressed him. Even tears dried to stains on Ali's face. "Listen son", Ali touched the chin and turned the tiger's face to his face looking right into its eyes, "You cannot be here you must not come back….my dear child my heart breaks when they hurt you", the tiger purred again, it freed its chin and rubbed its head against Ali's face. It was totally unaware of the turbulence in Ali's mind. "Oh dear boy grow up, grow up quickly" Ali whispered.

A couple of days later khaki uniformed men gathered near Ali's house. Two men went inside the hut and dragged Ali out. He was totally baffled, he found men in trousers and with guns everywhere. He ran his eyes to find a familiar face and he spotted Ahmed "What is going on Ahmed?" "Ali bhai these are forest department people I told you to get rid of the beast now they'll take him away from you" "No no please don't….he is still too young please…" Ali wriggled restlessly to free himself. "Please don't he is my son….no…no…" "Stop the bloody drama you moron you are a poacher you killed animals even tigers now you end up as a tiger's nurse" an irritated Officer yelled "You probably planned to kill this one also…..we could never arrest you because we never had any proof now we would have one….where is he?" "He is my son officer he'll never come out until and unless I want him to. Now tell me what are you going to do with him?" Ali's voice was suddenly calm yet there was firmness in it. The Officer stared at him for a while and replied politely "We are going to transport him to a place far from human locality where he will stay peacefully." Ali remained quiet and finally said "Alright but then you'll have to follow my plan or you may never be able to catch him."

The team composed of khaki as well as non khaki men and our good old Ali. He led the team deep into the jungle he called his tiger "Come on son, come out come out dear come on". He walked through the undergrowth making as much noise as he can "Come on son". Suddenly a rustle in the nearest bush alerted the whole team, "Who is that? Is it my dear boy…..come along come along" Ali said playfully. A huge yellow head emerged from the bush. Ali embraced the animal as it stood on its hind legs, "Don't shoot please don't shoot!" Ali cried since each of the men were aiming their guns at the tiger. The tiger seemed to be surprised and restless because he never saw so many people at a time and at the same time his encounter with people had not been peaceful. He jumped around like a playful child every now and then trying to inquire about the nearest person. This scared the whole team; the Officer demanded "Keep him away! Hey get away!" But the playful animal would not listen. Ali dragged him by his ears towards a cage camouflaged with leaves and branches. The tiger expressed its irritation emitting strange sounds. Ali entered the cage urging the tiger to enter. The animal playfully entered the cage and started devouring the chicken kept there as bait. Ali slowly walked out of the cage. The door shut down with a rattling noise. This startled the tiger only for a second then he went back to his snack.

The real trouble began when the cage had to be moved. It took ten strong men to lift the cage and carry it to the nearby boat. In his two years of existence the tiger had never faced a commotion of this magnitude for the first the time the earth below his feet swung like a branch, for the first time he had to take tour on men's shoulders, for the first time he was surrendered to an ugly looking water monster that roared grotesquely. To his bigger surprise these two leggeds are not afraid of this monster rather they are jumping on it and changing its direction. But in the midst of this commotion his eyes kept searching for his beloved mother Ali and there he was, he jumped on the sea monster and came close to the cage. Ali put his hands forward through the cage bars, the tiger rubbed his face against his extended hands, Ali caressed his head for the very last time, the tiger purred as usual. Tears trickled on the tiger's paw as he stared at Ali's face a bit confused then licked his face.

It was a full three hours of journey through the water. Ali sat leaning on the cage all this time. He was in a trance he still found it difficult to believe that he had to separate from his son so soon. Through his half sleep state he could hear that the men were talking about some Tiger Island where his son was being taken. Ali declined every request of food. Finally at dusk they reached an island, a voice said "Alright Ali its time. Please move we have to open the cage door." Ali did not stand up but slowly crawled aside as if he was suffering from great pain. The rusted cage door opened with a loud noise. The tiger was startled again, it looked confused. Slowly it stepped out and stood beside Ali, all the guns pointed at him. He rubbed his head against Ali's face. Ali pushed him away rudely; this behaviour further confused the tiger. Ali shooed him as he used to do to tell him to go. The tiger looked at the unfamiliar jungle; he hesitated for a while then jumped in the water and reached the bank he stood there waiting for Ali. About three minutes passed Ali did not budge; his head was hanging low as if in shame. The tiger looked confused. He sat at the bank still waiting. After a minute Ali blurted the word "GO!" loudly, "I said go I am not coming with you", the young tiger sat there. He then jumped back in the water "NO! I said GO" this time Ali grabbed a rifle and shot in the water very near to the tiger. The tiger emitted a blood curdling roar, he was confused, scared and at the same time angry. He swam back to the bank and stood there staring at Ali. Ali did not miss the glitter of sadness in his son's eyes. "GO!" he fired another shot in the air. The tiger looked at the strange dark jungle then again at Ali, pain spoke through his eyes. Then it disappeared into the jungle.

"I am sorry my dear please forgive me…." Ali did not, rather could not speak a word on the way back. He still seemed to be in a trance. The Officer of the forest department stood near him and said "You loved him a lot didn't you"? "Everybody loves their children. I am worried about him Sir. He is still too young" "Well if you don't let him go he will never grow up" the Officer justified "Still Sir there is no end of worrying for children, you know he is still following us". "Then tell him not to Ali, these waters have huge crocodiles". "No Sir, he is not much fond of water unlike other tigers he is following us by land, could not follow much longer. It's so dark and he is totally alone God knows and I know how scared he is now…." The Officer giggled "Ali stop worrying he is the beast of darkness even darkness is scared of him. He'll be fine". Ali stared at the jungle and saw a pair of bright yellow spots through the foliage staring at their boat, they disappeared. For the first time Ali felt a cold fear in his heart "Yes you are rather the terror in darkness. Still be a good boy my dear son, take care of him O Lord Almighty". The whispered prayer of the mother of an unusual son echoed through the pitch black darkness that smudged the border of earth, sky and water, only a pair of bright yellow seemed to revolt against that darkness.

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