IN FEBRUARY this year (2010), my elder son Rutajeet was given an English project in school. All the students in his class (III) were asked to write a story/poem/essay/whatever at home. The following story, based on the temporary escape of a Royal Bengal tigress and her cub from the Guwahati Zoo on January 30, was what he came up with. The concept is his; so is the writing (it required some brushing up).
RAJU WAS very brave. He claimed so.
“I have fought many dragons. I have also killed half a dozen tigers,” he often said.
His friends believed him. After all, he was the only 12-year-old among a group of boys who never saw a live dragon or a tiger.
Raju and his friends lived in a village 50 km from (Assam capital) Guwahati.
On January 30, Raju and his parents left for Guwahati to visit the Assam State Zoo.
It was a Saturday, and as usual, all his friends gathered at the house of the gaonburah (village chief) to watch TV. During a break in the film they were watching, the gaonburah switched to a news channel.
“Panic strikes as tigers stroll out of Zoo cage,” the news channel flashed. The villagers watched in shock as the TV showed two tigers roaming around the zoo. Suddenly, the camera swung to show a young boy lying unconscious on the ground. “This boy fainted when he saw a tiger coming near,” the TV reporter said.
“Arrey, isn’t that Raju?” asked Mohan, one of Raju’s friends.
The villagers tried to get a better view of the boy lying on the ground, on TV. It indeed was Raju.
They laughed. For, the tigers on the loose had tested Raju’s bravery.