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SaPAth AnANd

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The Honey Hunter
By SaPAth AnANd
Sunday, September 17, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Our country is bogged by ongoing political crisis.Since our first freedom from the autocratic rule,we had our democracy but this democracy meant nothing and did not really relate to the needs of the Nepalese people.The country is not stable.Peace is like a pendulum of a coockoo clock.And the poor citizens are in despair by the out dated visions of some inept and corrupt leaders.

PART -1

Fire was burning in those eyes.His father was shot dead.It only took few bullets for a policeman who killed him while he was midway trying to prove his innocence.He was called Man Bahadur.Man Bahadur was a simple village farmer,who did not even had a piece of land to sow his dreams.He collectively worked hard with his wife Lal Kumari.The officials later found out about their mistake.'A blunder on Intelligence' they announced.But for a snot faced seven year old Buddhi Bahadur it was all tears.It pained him to see the dignity of his poor life invaded and trampled upon.It pained him to see his poor mother pulled by the hair.He could not bear all those abuses coming towards them like some monsoon flood.He felt as if his little heart was pierced by a burning spear several times.
All the people gathered around Lal Kumari to give her some sympathy and support.They assured her that the justice will be met and that she will be compenseted for her loss.Weeks went by since they first pleaded for justice.The Chief Official told them: "We are very sorry,but,it is in our interests to bring peace,so mistakes like this may occur"."Come on thats not fair,today it happened to one innocent and tomorrow it is likely to happen to one of us,what are you trying to say?"The villagers in unison shouted: "Are we like stray dogs that you pick up and shoot anytime and anywhere you like?"One man out of the crowd jumped up and shouted while his spit flew into the air.The Chief Official positioned his hat firmly and ordered everyone to leave."If you take this matter any futher you will all be arrested for being uncoperative" he added.Like just hatched chickens the people left.
For several nights Lal Kumari did not sleep.She hated the broken hopes of her unjust life.She could not stand the gloomy face of her own hut.It was nice of her neighbours to have come and help her on her grief.They all helped her with whatever they can.Buddhi Bahadur also did whatever he could manage to help his mother bring a pinch and a spoon.An year had passed.The emptiness and pain still remained in her bruised heart.It was not just the emptiness from the loss of her husband,it was a fully stretched frustrations that sprouted out of all injustices and opressions that had left her befogged and fragile.
One evening as they were eating spinach and rice Lal Kumari was contemplating.Some crickets were doing their last waltz.Few stars were leering down.The buffaloes and goats were shuffling in their sheds.The fickle light of the tuki lamp glowed in the dark.Buddhi Bahadur saw a moist glint in his mothers' eyes."Whats wrong Aama?" asked Buddhi Bahadur."No! No! I am fine, be a good boy now and finish your rice,you know if you waste your food,you will get no food in your next life" clearing away the dishes,she said.She always used to put on the bold face no matter how weak she felt inside and how to the depth she was concerned about everything.She did not wanted her son to be a gutless and helpless man.Buddhi Bahadur scraped his hand over the plate and licked his fist.Outside two dogs were barking and Buddhi Bahadur definately wanted plenty of food in his next life.
Buddhi Bahadur did not go to a school.Neither he had time nor his mother had any money to put him to one. The schools were literally deserted anyway.No teachers stayed long enough nor did they take any real interest to educate these poor kids.Most were just busy corresponding to the department of education with the mightiest of hope to get posted to a better place with bigger salaries.Some of them got married to the local girls and changed their course of life.And some hit the bottle to soothe their hopeless fate."Government don't give a damn!"hollered Shyam a village head teacher who wore his hat mostly tilted.Though he looked feeble in his physical being, he was really sharp and strong in his mental capacities. He wrote a complain letter to the regional chief of education hoping to draw immediate attention,but,received a glowing transfer letter instead.Now only the moss gather to stare upon the damp and empty blackboards.Goats and cows come to play hide and seek in the afternoon.
Most villagers are natural hunters.They all hunt from the very young age.Hunting is one of their way s of survival in the expanse of the thick forests.Buddhi Bahadur and his friend Sapan had been trying for a big catch since many days.
They finally caught a big mountain buck.All the villagers celebrated their luck with a very lively feast.Buddhi Bahadur was now lookin afer his own goats.And he kept himself busy all day tending his herd.On the following day the village was bathed in warm sunshine.The golden field of mustard swayed against the soft breeze and the cattles were roaming free.The villagers had just finished building a wall along the stream with their unceasing enthusiasm and brotherly communion.
Three months had passed since the wall was built and a month since the last barley harvest.One fine saturday morning Lal Kumari was packing her bags to go for a visit to her brother Dil Bahadur who lived in another village."Now lets get going" she siad to Buddhi Bahadur,picking up her bundle.They walked continously for hours.They crossed rivers and they climbed hills.It was slowly getting dark as they reached the village.Dil Bahadur and his wife were at the door waiting."Oh! my God, you've grown tall said Dil Bahadur's wife as Buddhi Bahadur came forward to greet her a Namaste."You two look very tired,first come in and have a sit"said Dil Bahadur and asked his wife to get the food ready."We shall eat now,you two must be very hungry"asked Dil Bahadur while his wife Thum Maya started serving the dishes."How are your goats?"asked Dil Bahadur directing his attention to Buddhi Bahadur."Yes,they are all good!we now have five promising ones due very soon"mentioned Buddhi Bahadur after a good swallow of a fingerfull of rice."He is doing a good job looking after them"added Lal Kumari glancing at her boy.They continued talking about goats and the news from the village after the supper.Dil Bahadur picked up a burning coal with a pincer to light his cigarette."You know these days young ones can get dumb useless and a real menace,you see what happened to,whats his name...Karne's son?"He has become a disgrace to not only his family but to the whole village"said Thum Maya preparing beds for their guests.Lal Kumari shook her head sideways and drummed her tongue inside her mouth making a pitying sound."It is the grown ups who should bear responsibility for good guidance,young ones can do anything with their unkempt and overflowing whim"said Lal Kumari.The coals died out and they decided to go to bed,all agreeing to what Lal Kumari had just said.
During their stay Buddhi Bahadur made some friends.Kamal who was three years older than him was one.Kamal was a very strong boy and the other boys trembled just by the mention of his name."Don't mess up with him,he will break your bones and smash it like a tobacco tin,they all feared.Kamal was expecting to join the Honey Hunters this year.Only the strong and the brave go Honey Hunting.The hunters solely rely on their experiences with minimum of safety gears.A long chain of rope and bamboowood ladder hangs from the cliff top and the hunters ascend on their bare feet with a knife and a honey bin.The method is team work.Reaching the honey dome is one battle and to actually take the honey out is another.

It was a fine morning.Few blotches of mists were floating on some treetops.The rays of the sun was slowly evading the morning blur.Kamal had invited Buddhi Bahadur to see them honey hunt the other day.It took the hunters a good three hours to get all the preparation ready and steady.Buddhi Bahadur was excited as he had never seen a honey hunting before.And he wished Kamal good luck.The Honey Hunters looked engaged,as if they were tending a massive wound in the cliff.They dug and chopped the honey combe and filled their baskets with flowing honey.A swarm of wild bees swarmed around.Buddhi Bahadur looked,his jaw dropped down in disbelief.Deep inside his heart he grew a desire to Honey Hunt someday soon.The whole village buzzed with the sounds of drumbeats and ceremony under the mellowing sun.Only just an hour ago the place was in chaotic confusions.They all triumphantly walked back home where a feast awaited them.They all agreed in between the sips of their rice beer,how it had been a better hunting this time in every way.
Later that night Buddhi Bahadur had a chat with his Uncle about that day."I can't believe my eyes!how they did the hunting"said Buddhi Bahadur blinking his chinky eyes.And then Dil Bahadur talked in graphic details about his Honey Hunting experiences."It is all about time and tune with anticipation of oneself to the conciousness of ones environment"said Dil Bahadur and dragged a lungfull of smoke feeling amused.Buddhi Bahadur in his mind knew that he will grow to Honey Hunt one day.
Buddhi Bahadur did not slept well that night.He got up with a sensation of a giant bee in his head.And he did not do much on his final day either.Alive in his head was the flashbacks of his dying father.His father who died from the bullets of a mad constitution.
Lal Kumari thanked her brother and his wife for everything and wished them well for the days ahead.It was nearly mid-day and they began their journey back home."Keep your dreams!my son,you'll grow to Honey Hunt someday soon"said Dil Bahadur waving his hand in the air.

Few years passed.Though things were getting better and the goats looked good,the justice did not prevail.Forget about the compensatation that they had hoped.Even the hopes were as ashen as the bones of the dead.Buddhi Bahadur would dream of himself making that fearful ascent.He met his friend Kamal on several occasions.He learnt that the Honey Hunting was banned by the Officials.It was one of their move to strengthen the Government Policies.Buddhi Bahadur was utterly disappointed to hear this.The thorns of oppressions and injustices have poked many people in their eyes and left them blind unable even to feel their own feet."Come on Son,do not get put off by this,you are still very young"consoled his Uncle.Buddhi Bahadur could feel his heart wringing and his eyes ablaze looking at a distance where once his innocent eyes had felt the horrors.I shall not rest my fists until I get to Honey Hunt,he said to himself.I shall not cower before those inhuman hands.And then only I shall dance to the songs of freedom.
"Buddhi come,food is ready!'cried his mother."Yes Iam coming!"he replied and entered the house.It was getting dark outside.They ate in silence,listening to the violence of a drunk and his wailing wife.Suddenly there was panic on the street.People were shouting and running madly.Even those who were half asleep got back to their senses and joined the group.Dil Bahadur got up and went out the door."Hey! whats going on?"he asked one of the crowd."Some one got shot!"replied a man whacking a dim torch on his hand."Who, do you know him?"asked Dil Bahadur running his hand into his pocket for a cigarette."We don't know yet,but they say it might be one of the Official to the village"said the same man who after saying that ran ahead.By now, Lal Kumari and Buddhi Bahadur were also out peering thru the darkness to see what was happening.They joined the other people and ran with them to the top.The man still clutching the belt of his gun was lying in a pool of his own blood.It was the same policeman who had shot Man Bahadur.He was not seen in the village for quite many years,but now he was back only to die in the dark yard of this village.Some of the man lifted the dead body to be taken to the post office for the night.The chief declared a meeting for tomorrow.The Officials believed that,it is one of the villager who had done this or, atleast they know who?After the meeting on the following day all the people were interrogated.Again they called up for a big meeting."We have to carry on inspite of these times of great fear,no matter what they do or where they hide,we will trace their tails and bring about justice"told the village chief making it clear of the seriousness of the matter."Its not easy! how can we even start an investigation without any evidence?"one of the Official with a glass on his sharp nose pointed out."We don't need to worry at all about that,just suspicion is enough,if we find any people suspicious,we will hammer them to spit the truth out"the CO reminded lifting his walking stick to make himself understood well.
Since then,the security was tighten to the max.Though the villagers tried to lead on their normal lives.Though the wall gave them protection against the flood and the wild beasts.Deep inside their hearts they were perturbed and very unhappy.It was only two months away for the Honey Hunting season.Buddhi Bahadur wanted to live his dream of Honey Hunting eventhough it was banned by the authority.He believed only then his wings will have freedom and his soul some justice.Buddhi Bahadur grew impatient to hear the songs of freedom,just like the songs that echo in the mountains melodically pouring out from the holes of his bamboo flute.Rise up! Rise up! with your fists against those inhuman hands,he said to his heart.'There will be no sunshine if not dies the darkness until, freedom is only as far as the next hill'.He took a deep breath and ran back home.His heart filled with the sensous Honey that dripped from the cliffs of his imagination.
Buddhi Bahadur wore a tattered shorts,which looked as if he had overgrown in it.A rifle slung on his back,fifteen year old Buddhi Bahadur was running under a quiet moonlight.He was hungry.His heavy breathing was muffled by the sound of the growling river as the sweat burned his eyes and salted his mouth.He crossed the river on a bamboo pole that stretched to the shores.He was very alert and cautious."Iam not to be seen"he said to himself.He hid under a rock to rest and to plan the road ahead.He took a piece of corn bread from his pouch and ate.Every bite pumped his temple and every thought of his existence angered his innocent soul.When he got to the Honey hill his friends were already there ready for action.They set about to honey hunt.All of a sudden they heard loud shootings.And they realized that the government officials were behind them with guns to stop them from honey hunting.One of the shots hit the honey combe and the wild bees swarmed out and bit all the officials.They all died from stinging.The boys continued and gathered all the fresh honey.There was a massive ceromony in celebration of the success.


Copyright,09-17-06,Rohan Tulachan       


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Reviewed by Jackie (Micke) Jinks 10/6/2006
You must write more...we need to know what happens to Buddhi, and the people of the village.

There is so much sadness to this; I'm hopping life turns out good for Buddhi.

Micke
Reviewed by Dove JoAnne Cromp 9/17/2006
Rohan, this is excellent my friend..Keep writing!!

Love,
Dove