FEATHERS OF JUNGLE FOWL
PRADIP KUMAR BISWAS
Smith whispered, “Look at that silhouette figure we just saw few minutes ago. He is now sitting on the ground and is pulling something.”
Arup hid his smile “This is the time for the birds to return to their nest. He has placed a trap long before. He is now pulling the cord of the trap to catch the birds live.”
In this guest house foreigners are very frequent. Masood can speak English by connecting fragments of words but he can understand very quickly. The eyes of this neck less plump man rotate like radar and can read a face quickly. As he was pouring tea, Smith asked
Smith quipped, “No Chicken, I want Jungle Fowl”
He threw a five hundred rupee and signaled him to go. Masood halted suddenly “ he may ask for a bottle along with money”
Arup was silent he stood up and started for leaving the room “I am leaving for the drilling site, possibly you want to stay back”
Masood shouted “Wrong or right, you only have pulled the cord and my two guests recorded that in their video camera. But if I serve the roasts of these fowls for their dinner they cannot show your photograph to Ranger Sahib. But if you release these fowls this evening or tomorrow morning they may fly in sky but you shall be in trouble. Ranger saheb after seeing your clippings shall put you behind the bar.”
Masood sat on the walls of the culvert before the portico of the guesthouse. Moping the beads of sweats from his forehead, he touched the feel of Rs. 500 note and the remaining bottle inside his loose dress.
There was one more half filled liquor bottle lying hidden here. He saw Sombari and Manglu waiting for him for the daily wages. Sombari is the cook of the guesthouse and his husband Manglu is the gardener.
He yelled for Manglu, “Manglu, take these birds, Dress one big and one small bird for roast. Sombari shall do the rest. Smith saheb is very happy with you and he has left that bottle and this fifty rupee for your tip.”
Draining the last drop of whiskey that Masood gave him Budhia was boiling with anger. He should have checked the bottle. Masood is an usual cheater. This time also he must have mixed either water or Mahua flower wine with this whiskey.
The herb medicine mixed with fresh honey did excellent job. The hearty meal and clear breathing made his father sleepy and he put him in the cot covering his body with a small blanket.
The room requires mending, the cold wind enters the room through many holes in the walls but he cannot help. The fireplace was empty; Massod’s men took away the firewood making false promises to his father. He could find some, hidden in one corner and an earthen pot. He selected some herb and mixing them with the rest of firewood in the earthen pot made it a fire-pot.
The tall trees, shrubs and medicinal herbs growing underneath, birds, jackals are his friends. He picks up the medicinal herbs and the roots and sells them in the weekly market. The locals call him as Vaidyaji (herbal doctor). Budhia enjoys the recognition.
The full moon of the midnight has flooded the backyard. There were two big heaps and a single heap of firewood. Some one as if decorated the single heap with piles of feathers peeled fresh from the flesh of Jungle fowl.