Nandu enjoyed his morning walks with Anitha aunty. She told him about the trees,the plants and often asked him some tricky questions. ‘So, what is that?”Hibiscus’ , ‘What is it used for?’ ‘ Making oils you said last time’. Anitha sighed, ‘there’s more to Hibiscus or the shoe flower, Nandu, I really need to brush up my knowledge before I start to teach you anything.’ Nandu chuckled at this and Anitha pulled his ear playfully.
At the lake though, Anitha aunty talked less. It seemed as if she was simply observing or lostin thoughts. Nandu never minded this, he loved his own company and ran off to nearby bushes and trees. He patted a tree here, a tree there and came running to sit down by Anitha’s side.
One day while he was running near the lake, he heard a sudden splash and looked at the waters. Must be a toad or ….did someone throw a pebble, he looked around. He saw shiny scales of a fish diving deep into the waters. He felt curious and started moving closer. By the edge of the lake, he walked slowly and smiled to himself when he saw the shiny scales keeping pace with him. Must be on his morning walk, no morning swim, eh? He thought.
He sensed that the Shiny scales was actually trying to befriend him. He sat down and the fish made small circular movements in front of him, as if it was his personal entertainer. Nandu was surprised at this because he never knew that even fish would like to have friends. He has a cat at home, not his home, the neighbour’s home. How does it matter? Chinchu spent most of her time at Nandu’s home and he enjoyed playing hide and seek with her.
Anitha came strolling to Nandu and sat next to him. Together they watched the fish, she looked beautiful, Anitha thought. He or she, who knows.
Meenu, the meemi was excited at the sight of the boy. ‘Must be the human, mom always told her to be wary of, but how come he looked so cute and innocent?’
Once, while narrating her harrowing experiences with the humans, and recounting the sudden abduction of her father, mom said that if there was an animal that cut and made tasty dishes of a man, oh! then he would know the pain!
Meenu,the meemi was surprised at her mom’s rancour. She had never heard her mom talk so badly about anyone. Then, she must be true, this human must be dangerous too.
Maybe she should not come out so much. Ok, so maybe she can just take a peek at him from far. ‘Never go near him’, Meenu reminded herself, after all looks can be deceptive. Besides, the struggles of living are not just a handful of humans, the cranes, the crows, the dirt in the water, the growing weeds. Everything seemed to bent on putting an end to her life and that of her dear ones.
Meenu dived deep into the waters. ‘Mother, mother, where are you?’. She heard a faint breath beside her, ‘mom’, she exclaimed happily. But her mom did look so tired and weak. Hmm….