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The Tyranny of Tsunami
by Ramendra Kumar

 Run!” yelled the dog.

“Disappear!” screamed the hen.

“Vanish! Tsunami is coming,” shouted the cow.

Wait! This is not a story about the Tsunami the killer wave that killed thousands and made millions homeless. This is a tale about Tsunami the terror – a pig who lorded over a farmhouse.

Bhola, the owner of the farmhouse, was a mild mannered man who was reasonably prosperous. In his farm lived Jim the mongrel, Pyaari, the hen, Vivek the cock, Khushi the cow and of course their undisputed leader Tsunami the Pig.

Bhola was very fond of Tsunami. She reminded him of his wife Sumanti . She (Tsunami) had the same thick, leathery skin, the dull eyes, the snout of a nose and the same enchanting waddle. When Sumanti (or Tsunami) walked it looked as if a dung heap had suddenly woken up and decided to take a stroll. And what made the similarity between Tsunami and Sumanti even more uncanny was that the former had been born the same day, hour and minute when the latter had breathed her last.

It had happened like this:

There was a competition organized by the local ladies club – it was called the ‘Pani Puri Marathon’. The lady who could eat the maximum pani puri’s would be crowned the Pani Puri Pari and would be supplied free pani puri’s by Chawanni Chatwala for three years on the trot. Sumanti had gobbled up 111 pani puris leaving her closest rival Sweety Chaddha (67 pani puris) far, far behind. As she introduced the 112th Pani Puri into her gaping mouth she had a huge coughing fit and collapsed on the floor. By the time the doctor was summoned it was already too late. The verdict was terse – she had choked on a pani puri and died – the first human being in the history of human civilisation to do so.

While Sumanti was choking and taking her last breath little Tsunami was taking her first. Naturally Bhola, who had been desperately in love with Sumanti felt Tsunami was the reincarnation of his beloved wife.

As Tsunami gathered years and bulk Bhola’s belief was confirmed. Not only in physical appearance, even in demeanor and habits Tsunami seemed a Xerox copy of his wife. Like Summit Tsunami too was a bully - arrogant, selfish and totally preoccupied with herself.

The other farm animals were totally terrified of her. She lorded over them and no one dared to disobey her. Tsunami’s mornings began with an elaborate breakfast in which all the animals contributed their share. Even though Bhola gave her whatever she wanted she was never satisfied unless the other animals chipped in with their contribution. As a result Pyaari, as she liked to be called, gave two of her best eggs, Jim scraps of the juiciest meat and Khushi a jug full of the creamiest milk. Since Vivek didn’t have anything to give he sang for her. He had the best voice in town and he sang to the accompaniment of subtle musical notes such as licks, gurgles, gobbles and slurps produced by Tsunami as she demolished the morning offering.

In the afternoon, after a heavy lunch, Tsunami would take a siesta while the other animals stood on guard lest someone or something disturbed her tiddly-winks. Between lunch and dinner she would have a few snacks followed by a heavy meal and heavier sleep.

While Tsunami lived a life of royalty the other animals suffered. They could get neither enough sleep nor food. They also couldn’t complaint to anyone. Their master Bhola was too besotted with Tsunami to notice her tyranny. And confronting Tsunami directly was out of the question. She was big and fat and exuded an aura of power, which no one could match. Once while she was sleeping Jim had dug his teeth in her tail. Without even opening an eye she had merely slammed one leg into his face sending him flying. He had been air borne for more than thirty seconds and finally landed in the neighbor’s pigsty. He had smelled of pig for the next thirteen days and even his faithful girl friend Lucy had refused to come anywhere close to him.

One-day Bhola’s sixteen-year-old nephew came visiting from the city. His name was Harshvardhan but he called himself Hash. A short and sturdy dog accompanied him. When Jim saw the dog he trotted forward growling ominously. The dog answered him back growl for growl. As they neared each other Jim stood stock still in amazement. What he seemed to be seeing was a mirror image of himself.

“Wh…who are you?” Jim asked.

“I am Tim,” replied the intruder his eyes too widening in surprise.

“D… do you have a black spot shaped like a bone behind your left ear?”

“Y…yes, b…but how do you know?”

“Our mother told me?”

“Our mother!”

“Yes. We are twins. When we were little pups we had gone with our mama to the village fair. There you got lost. Mama would always say, “Son, one day you are sure to meet your brother Jim?”

“How will I recognize him mama?” I would ask.

“Like you he too has a birthmark behind his left ear.”

Tim looked at Jim his eye moist. Jim looked at Tim his eyes wet.

“Bhaiyya,” the two lost siblings screamed and hugged and licked each other, their tales wagging away to glory.

All the animals except Tsunami, who was as usual busy taking a nap, witnessed this tender scene of reunion.
***
“Why do all the animals look so sad and depressed?” Tim asked his twin while they were returning after a successful bone hunt.

“It is because of a pig called Tsunami.”

“Don’t tell me you guys are scared of a pig.”

“This is no ordinary pig,” Jim said and recounted the life and times of the terrible Tsunami.

Tim was silent for some time. Finally he snapped his fingers and said, “I have a great idea.”

“What is it?”

“Have you heard of Kung fu?”

“Is it something to eat?”

“No silly. It is a martial art made famous by the legendary Bruce Lee. My young master Hash is an expert at it. When he used to go for his lessons I would accompany him. I have learnt quite a few tricks myself. I’ll teach them to you and using them I am sure you can teach Tsunami a lesson.”

“But you are here only for ten days. Do you think it will be enough.”

“Yes. But we have to get started right away.”

And so Jim’s Kung fu lessons commenced in earnest.

Initially Jim had a lot trouble getting the hang of things but slowly and steadily he progressed.

“In Kung fu you not only fight with your hands and legs but also with your mind. If you have the confidence you can beat your opponent than half the battle is won. You have given Tsunami a larger than life image. You are already convinced that she cannot be beaten. I’ll help you change this mindset,” Tim told his twin. Jim looked at his brother with undisguised admiration and nodded.

Finally the plan was ready.
***
One night Tsunami was sleeping in her sty and dreaming about swimming in a sea of dung and muck.

“Tsunamiji wake up, please wake up,” she heard voices and opened her eyes.

Pyaari and Khushi were standing in front looking scared to death.

“What is it? How dare you disturb my sleep?”

“Tsunamiji we are sorry but we had no choice. There is a ghost in our barn and only you can save us?”

“Ghost! What nonsense?”

“Yes, Tsunamiji. There is a ghost. Jim and Vivek have both run away leaving us ladies to face the wrath of this creature. Please, please help us.”

“Okay, stop wailing like scared chickens. I am coming.”

Tsunami waddled to the gate and opening the barn door entered. She had taken only a step when she heard the door being bolted from outside. For a moment her heart skipped a beat, but she shrugged off her fear and looked around. Right in the middle of the barn was a white shape moving towards her. She saw a movement to the right and turned – another white shape exactly like the first was approaching her. She grunted and went back a few steps getting ready for the charge when the two shapes launched a simultaneous attack. For the next few minutes she felt as if her entire world comprised barks, woofs, bites and scratches as a monster, that was a combination of a dog, cat, wolf and lots more attacked her. At one point she saw what looked like a bigger and a more vicious version of Jim attacking from the front. When she prepared to counter attack she found him launching into her backside. As she turned back he appeared to her left trying to dislodge a ear and the very next second he was to her right attempting to excavate her underbelly. No dog could be in four places at the same time. This definitely had to be a ghost. Probably Jim had died and his ghost had come to take revenge. Tsunami turned and ran towards the door. It was bolted. She was trapped. She cringed in a corner and started praying for mercy.

“Whoever you are please spare me,” she pleaded.

“Promise me you will never trouble the animals again.”

“I…I promise.”
“Promise me you’ll treat them as your equals and help them in their time of need.”

“ I will, forever and ever.”

“And remember if you don’t I’ll come back and this time I won’t leave you Tsunami. I’ll make sure you die and become a ghost like me.”

With these ominous words the two-headed ghost walked towards the door, which automatically opened for it, and walked out.
***
Next day the animals (excluding Tsunami of course) thanked Tim profusely for his brilliant plan.

“Tsunami still does not know that Jim has a twin and you make sure she never comes to know.”

“Why?” asked Pyaari

“Next time she acts smart we will have to resurrect the ghost, won’t we?”

Tim said and everyone laughed.

Image under license with gettyimages.com

17-Feb-2010
 
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