Puffy gray clouds crowded over the summer sky for an important meeting. Not even an inch of the vast blue sky was left unoccupied. The clouds were not just messing around. They were all pretty gloomy. Some were already starting to grumble. A few of those loud rumbles actually had my blood run cold, down my spine. I can tell you, truthfully, that it was not a good feeling.
Even, though it was late afternoon, it had grown almost as dark as if it was right before nightfall. I had been out all day. I enjoyed the warm sunny morning. After mid-day, it started to get hot and muggy. But, who knew this was coming?
The cloudy discussions grew worse. One of them thundered at the opponent. The adversary flashed back in rage, cracking up the whole sky. The sound boomed in my ears. I actually did not have a lion’s heart, so I trembled all over. I would admit that I peed a little, at the base of a mature banyan tree, that stood near the farm house. I stopped rambling and waited under the tree, for the inevitable meltdown.
I felt the first cold drops on my face as I ventured to look up at the sky. Pitter Patter. It fell on the big dusty leaves. Pitter patter pitter patter. It fell on the dusty red road, cutting across the field, making dark patches that overlapped as the rain fell stronger. It poured on the green grass on both sides of the road. Washed and hydrated, the green blades looked fresh and lively.
Just then a monkey came down from the tree, he seemed frustrated about the pouring rain. He was soaking wet by the time he climbed down the branches to the very bottom.
‘I was having such a peaceful siesta and enjoying the best dream I ever had. I was in the palace garden of a beautiful princess in the monkey world. What a wonderful feeling it was! The princess smiled at me from the low balcony of her bedroom. But before I could say anything, it started to rain heavily. It woke me up at the critical moment. You can imagine my anguish when I woke up and found myself, totally drenched. Ha! So much for my dreams….I’d rather I was awake all this time and avoided this most uncomfortable situation.’
All this while he was busy trying to brush off all the water from his light brown coat of fur.
The monkey was not really talking to me. He was just blabbering loudly, to himself. My guess was confirmed when he stopped as soon as he caught a glimpse of me. Instead of looking away or even greeting me, he stood like a statue. He kept directly staring at me, in an odd way, for a long time. At least that is what it seemed to me, unbearable and unending.
I looked away after a few seconds. I felt uneasy and wanted him to stop peering at me. I kept counting the seconds and breathing deeply to calm myself down. I had no idea what the monkey was up to. Without a doubt, there was some monkey business going on. From time to time, I tried to steal a glance in his direction. But this made things get worse. The situation became more and more strange. I felt the hot intense gaze as if it was going to burn me. I suspected that I was going numb as if being hypnotized. I thought the earth beneath me was caving in. /What was happening to me ?’ In desperation, I tried to shout. That is when I found that I was incapacitated to the extent that not even a whisper was coming out of my mouth. I was totally dumbstruck.
I was terrified just trying to anticipate what the monkey’s next move was going to be. I could feel my heart beating like a bladder pump almost hurting my rib cage. I knew I would die, any moment. What could save me at this point?
With, all my determination, I decided to look in the opposite direction. I lifted my head to get a better view of the big lake right behind the grassy patch. The rain drops were falling on the still water surface, making lovely round ripples, that grew bigger and bigger till each one faded into the other. The circular waves were happy. They grew, mingled and melted in the vastness of the water body. They had a calming effect on my heart. I forgot my fear.
With a positive turn in my feelings, I remembered my mother, her reassuring smile, the dark eyes, her big snout, and the powerful horns. If only she was here.
I thought of the lovely years when she was always by my side. I remembered how I followed her advice when I grazed with her. Mom had asked me to always think of the grass as being sweet and healthy and to be thankful for every mouthful I got. It really worked like magic for I always made the most of my meals and hardly ever got sick.
It suddenly dawned on me that I had probably grown big over the years. I too had grown strong horns of my own. This sudden insight unlocked some hidden power in me. I turned around, without fear, to face my enemy.
The monkey was huddled near the tree trunk. He looked at me but hid his face in the next instant. I looked at him carefully and realized that he was scared too. I turned my glance at all the lush green grass around me. They were laughing sweetly and drinking the glistening rain drops. I felt relaxed and relieved. With all the courage and goodness in my heart, I looked at the monkey again.
‘Hi there Mr. Monkey!’ My deep voice sounded kind and generous. The monkey lifted up his face and revealed a playful, almost mischievous smile. ‘And all this time you thought I was scared. Didn’t you ?’