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Monday, 27 October 2008

Unforgiving Africa

Wild Africa has never ceased to amaze me. The first time I came across the word ‘Serengeti ’, I was a fifth standard student- on a visit to Science City, Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta). There has been no looking back since. I guess I have watched all related documentaries broadcasted by NGC/Discovery thus far! J 




The sun was beating down… The land was parched and vegetation was scarce. It was one of those horrid African summers in the Serengeti. And a typical day in the lives of those who inhabited the land- long, searing and unforgiving. Long- for, that’s how it would seem. Searing- for obvious reasons, the relentless sun. Enfin, unforgiving- because if you cannot survive, you won’t. Simple. Period. This held true irrespective of the hunter and the hunted.

Didja Laddé was old. She needed her rest, and was desperate for some shade- the only respite from, what would otherwise be a cauldron. Her name translates to ‘Lady of the Jungle’. And she was a paradigm of the great feline- for she had been bestowed with such features. Awe, beauty, care and strength morphed into her with such enviable ease. She was indeed a phenomenon in that brute of a land she was born into. She was the Lady of the Serengeti…

In her prime, she had no competitor among her sisters. She had won many a battle. Wildebeests, zebras et al could testify. Just that, cadavers cannot render any testimony. And her mate was no less in splendor. He was one of the finest males the land had seen. But he was lazy… It was her responsibility, along with her sisters, to feed the pride. And he would help in bringing down the odd buffalo. Of course, biological compatibility was always there. Didja Laddé mothered many a cub and the pride swelled in number.

Ah, the glorious past… Her mate had succumbed to age. And now, she was alone. Well past her prime, she had taken violently ill. The pride had abandoned her. Didja Laddé found some cessation in the form of an old, lone tree. She rested, periodically shaking her head to drive away those tormenting flies… She looked up. The moon was a faint disc. Very faint. It was early afternoon… The giggle of hyenas could be heard in the distance as they ate into an unfortunate wildebeest. Ugh! She loathed them hyenas. Those snarling, snickering thieves… What do they know about pugilism? Hyenas and lions never get along. May be Lion King was a momentary exception… But of course Didja Laddé would never accept that, leave alone knowing about it!

She had survived thus far… However cruel the ambiance was. She had been a fighter all her life. She matched whatever Nature had to throw… It was not for nothing that she was named Didja Laddé by those who had been following her life in Africa’s ecosystem that is known to play host to the world’s largest and longest overland migration.

It was evening. Soon enough, another clan of hyenas closed in on where she was… May be they were old enemies. Familiar, rather. Didja Laddé could sense an odd familiarity about them. She had been successful in protecting her kill from them on earlier occasions. But that evening, there was no kill she was protecting. But then, why were they there..? The foursome… Surrounding her… Snarling… Eerie giggles filling up the environment.

The old lady roared from where she was resting… But it was no longer the authoritative roar of a queen. It was more of a warning to ward off those foul-mouthed interlopers. She could sense the imminent danger. Escapism, however, was not known to her. She would fight to the very end. The retractable claws were ready… The Clan could smell weakness. They could smell blood. Royal blood… Revelling in royal blood was no mean feat to them. The hunter was soon to be the hunted.

The quartet closed in… Teeth gnarling, mouths salivating. You could see all the eyes glimmering in the darkness that was setting in. Didja Laddé was ready… With a leap mighty enough for her age, she took out one of her attackers. Her jaws had not betrayed her. Her canines buried into her smaller adversary’s spine…

But her overall agility was nowhere as efficient as it had been before. Indeed, age does have a lot to say. She failed to swerve away from her other assailants. Her strength was suddenly failing her. Illness was having a say too. Nature is cruel. Even the mighty have to fall, and in the end- she went; her weak growls drowned in the moonlit darkness amidst ghoulish laughs. Hyenas are known to eat away at live prey… Jaws that can crack bone as if it were a twig…



---
Am back after a hiatus. And well, am off again. I tell you- training is such a pain in the posterior! Sorry for not having visited any blog page for the past two weeks. I will do so, very very soon. A couple of certification examinations are around the corner and loads of assessments (to add to the 80-odd I have already given since August 21st). Well, I guess that’s a rant for later. Au revoir…

My family and I extend our hearty Diwali greetings to all of you. Peace, take care and blessed be.

44 comments:

preeti said...

brilliant. Nice classic read after so a very long, but well deserved hiatus. all the best :)

preeti said...

ok now let me tell you what I learnt from it and liked about it :
1. not many ppl write about the five sensed, you have done it, with elegance.

2.Didja Ladde rocked. She symbolifies dignity and attitude, in a perfect homogenous mixture.

3.Time changes everything. LIfe, the way once lived and the present sometimes slaps you hard on the face. Well said.

4.many of us turn hyenas (not by choice, not by accord) at times, or some turn eventually. Either way, that is life. Face it.

Loved it!!
Cheers:)

verbivorehere said...

Im just back from a trip to mysore. Ofcourse i visted the zoo - and lions and tigers pique my interest most! so Didja Laddé's story actually had a picture in my mind!! I could visualize it and really felt sorry Didja Laddé!!

Shruti said...

Well, honestly, I didn't know who Didja Ladde was...so thanks for the info u gave me...

all in all...I have read this kinda post for the first time...

Kartz said...

@Preeti
Gratias... And my take? Ummm... I ll wait. :)

Kartz said...

@verbivorehere
Thanks for reading... :)

Kartz said...

@Shruti
Hmmm... Didja Laddé- the name took time. Lot of "research" went into it... Afrikaans, Mara, Swahili...

Thanks for reading... I wrote this a few yrs back, actually.

Diva said...

I like the one true fact of life that has been portrayed here so amazingly well- 'What goes up, must come down'... Didja Laddé was past her prime,as u said, at this juncture and so she had to see the downfall too-"Even the Mighty have to fall'... Life doesn't spare anyone I guess.. :)
A wonderful heroine she made... loved the way the story was put together...
Great piece of writing :D...
Welcome bac!!!!

WarmSunshine said...

Africa... you portrayed the Wild Africa so well... It was like a small sequel to that all time classic Lion King! Got me completely hooked, especially the last two paragraphs :)

As for your training, I wish you all the luck.

Happy festivities!

Kartz said...

@diva
:) Muchas gracias señorita...

Kartz said...

@Mehreen
Glad you liked it... :)

And thank you so much... I need all the luck I can get! :D Dimaagh ka falooda ho raha hai..!

Happy festivities to you too! Diwali mubarak! :)

Peace.

AV said...

wow! tat was awsome! n nature is cruel!!

cheers!

Kartz said...

@av
Yeah, nature has her own ways... :) Thanks!

Priya Joyce said...

brilliant this was classic...piece by u karthik
loved it

Ani said...

the protrayl off the wild africa.. was too good.. really nice..

well happy diwali to u too..

Heart'n'Soul said...

hey best of luck for ur training!!!

so many ppl have already said everythin i wnted to say - so all i can say now is that i loved every bit of it... it was a real good read n i enjoyed it!!!

Richa said...

Nothing more than...

I juz loved it :)

Happy Diwali to u too and all the best for ur training sessions..

come back soon :)

Karthik said...

Xcelent post kartz!!!

Karthik said...

And all the best fr ur training!!!

Kartz said...

@Priya Joyce
Thanks; glad you liked it...

Kartz said...

@Ani
:) Merci beaucoup madamoiselle...

Kartz said...

@heart 'n soul
:) Thanks a ton!

Kartz said...

@Richa
:) Glad you liked it... Thanks!

Kartz said...

@karthik
Thank you, and a warm welcome to Contorted Reality.

Peace.

CяŷştąŁ said...

You potrayed wild Africa so well..
One of my cousins lives in Tanzania..even the description tht she gives of some parts of Africa scares me..sounds so damn morbid..but anyway..lets move from that..
Well done

Priya Joyce said...

kartz I've ritten abt u in my 50th post


ps:) I have named u kartz..coz There's another karthik around..

Priya said...

After a long time I am hearing to this song. My favorite indeed.

Kartz said...

@ cяŷştął
Thank you for those kind words... And welcome to Contorted Reality.

Keep visiting. Peace.

Kartz said...

@PJ
Gratias. Am touched.

Kartz said...

@Priya
Thanks for the read:)

And welcome back! Hope all is well with you...

Sandeep Balan said...

that was captured so beautifully...i remember watching a documentary on national geographic where they tracked the life of a lioness right from her cub days...your post reminded me of that...you have the power to create the scene in the readers mind with your descriptions...too good man!

Ayushi said...

I loved your descriptions,aura,style...it was certainly different and a new adaptation to lion king, in a new skin!

You did it excellently...*claps*
*encore*!!! what a performance!
:-o

Kartz said...

@Sandeep Balan
Thank you for those kind words. And a warm welcome to Contorted Reality.

Peace.

Kartz said...

@A-u-c :P ;)
*bows to the applause* An encore ll ve to wait, though. :)

priyaa iyer said...

well written!

Gauri Mathur said...

So here goes my 'precious' comment..
hehehe..
jus kidding!Hope ul not mind:)
It was a nice post,different from usual. I didn know so much about Africa,this post helped me to have more knowledge about it...It was too good...:):)

Sometimes i feel that ur posts are so perfect that my words inflow just finishes:D:)

Thanx,keep doing the good work..:)

take care...

Matangi Mawley said...

:) a nice welcome back gift i must say! :) :)
bravo!

Kartz said...

@Priyaa Iyer
Thanks, and welcome back!

Kartz said...

@Gauri
Dhanya ho aapka... :P :P :P

Kartz said...

@Mats
:) Glad you liked it...

jayu said...

Kartz!
A truly wonderful story.Beautifully crafted,evocative imagery,a marvelous protagonist,Didja Ladde.

Bravo!

I am now a certified fan of yours,

Jay.

P.S.I think I relate to her,and maybe,I, too, am-the Lady of Serengati :)

Kartz said...

Thanks so much Aunty! :)

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Very well narrated :)

Belated Diwali wishes!Hope the exams went well.

Kartz said...

:) Gratias... Yeah, I guess they went well *fingers crossed!* :D

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