Strange things would happen today and what a fool I am. I could not follow the advanced information of it as told by Modhu Dada or from the chirping of the Morning birds.
It hit my mind as our school bus instead of crossing the bridge on the river took U turn and moved towards the bumpy meandering road of the reserve forest.
Except me, all other schoolmates in the bus panicked and screamed “Has the Driver become crazy?”
“The steering, brake nothing is working. The bus has become crazy.” The driver and cleaner ran out from the cabin and shouted at us to jump out from the slow moving bus. They did not wait for us and slid from the bus one by one.
Our school bus continued its slow but steady movement in the forest road. By then all my school mates stopped panicking and got the smell of funny things ahead.
We saw the fat bus driver skidded and fell on the ground. His tummy appeared like a live hairy hillock heaving up and down.
The baboons from the trees on either side of the forest road giggled and roars of laughter from us encouraged them to continue further.
Our bus also joined us in the laughter and then broke the long silence to me.
Normally we greet each other everyday as I ride on the bus but today we both forgot. He frequently used to tell me that he got bored in plying from going and coming from the school daily and want to get rid of it. We also feel none the less but dared to do anything.
Believe me, all objects around us talk in their language and they understand and talk our language. With few days’ effort, all of you can understand their languages easily.
Our school bus said “Rohan, are you afraid or enjoying my actions”
“We all are enjoying buddy but what are your plans?
“Soon I am going to stop just near the bank of the river. Your fun world is just there and waiting for you.”
The bus stopped on a flat ground just near the bank of the river. Some of my school mates were scared to spot few bears hiding in the bush.
We saw a big black bear came out from the bush with two leaf cones in his hand,
“Hey friends, Welcome to our forest. Come out! The bees sent these two leafy cones full with fresh honey to all of you.’
My friends saw me to embrace the senior bear and they all came out from the school bus and snatched the Leaf-cones from my hand.
I was surprised to hear the fluent but with a different accent Hindi that the entire Beer family can speak. However, we all could follow their Hindi nicely.
The family of bears ushered us to a big banyan tree and we all sat comfortably under the cool shed.
The senior bear told “We are glad to have you on our festival day. Soon our king shall arrive to inaugurate the day long sports and carnival. Although he is visible to those who love and believe him but for today all can see him”
One of my friend said in a trembling voice “Shall all the animals of forest take part in the sports? Are there any ferocious and dangerous animal?”
The senior bear frowned and said “Not animal, better call friend instead. This is King Modhusudan’s area and nobody can be dangerous or ferocious. Due to his blessings, all our friends understand and speak each other’s language including yours also. For your kind information, our big cat friend’s family lives on milk donated by Bison friends.”
One of us said in a hushed voice,
“Big cat means Tiger.”
Everyone forbade “Shhhh! Shhhh!”
My heart thumped and hair’s raised on hearing the name of King Modhusudan. My Modhu Dada is also not visible to all.
Once I missed my way from the tutor’s residence to my house. It was getting dark and soon I started weeping. Someone, a little elder to me and with a flute in his hand wiped my tears and showed the path to house. He told me “I am your friend. Call me whenever you want me to help you.”
I looked at him, his honey colored complexion, a friendly ever smiling sweet face with thick jet black curly hairs on his head was very soothing to look at.
I said “Your voice is so sweet and may I call you Modhu Dada?”
Since then, he meets me whenever and wherever I call him or need his help and nobody can object to his presence because none can see him or hear our talks, not even the whispers between us.
Our friends of the forest started arriving. The Members of Monkey and bear family were the volunteers of the carnival and they arranged everything for the guests as well as the participants of the sports.
Various types of birds started landing from the sky followed by squirrels and monkeys through their tree route and the herds of Bison, impala and Jackal from various parts of the forest.
A snob Tiger family arrived with fresh creamy milk smeared on their face but it appeared that other friends of the forest might take more time to accept them.
The Elephants were the last to come and we heard from the whispers of our new friends of the forest that this time the Elephants got the chance to become the official carrier of King Modhusudan.
A family of Parrots opted to look for us and in fluent Hindi they were telling us the various events of sports. The participants may take part in any game but it must be out of their comfort zone. Impalas can not take part in long jump or race, they and elephants may compete with each other in swimming.
Our class monitor laughed and pointing towards the chubbiest boy in our class said, “Include his name in the Swimming.”. There was a roar of laughter but the head parrot cautioned us.
“The yellow birds spotted the Tusker carrying Our King. Today the King is visible to all, he wishes so.”
Within minutes, Yellow colored birds came down at bush height and a sweet melody from flute filled the entire big field. All said in their hushed tone “He is coming, the King is coming”
A Tusker appeared at a long distance flanked by baby elephants on either side. The flute player was on the Tusker back.
The Tusker stopped in front of us, the King of Forest got down and all my schoolmates saw him clearly.
In his royal dress; a light yellow royal gown with gold embossing and a gold headgear with Peacock feather on the top, he was looking little different but the smile on his honey colored face with flute in his hand, he was none but the same Modhu dada.
The volunteers were about to usher him towards the small hillock type podium but looking at us he shook his head and said
“I shall better be with my new friends”. The monkeys immediately tied few cane sticks with the hanging roots of the banyan tree and made a cradle for him.
The bear and Monkey heads approached him to inaugurate the sports and Carnival. Modhu Dada said
“We shall begin with the dance item. Tell everybody to prepare for the community dance.”
Modhu Dada looked at us and said “I shall play few dance tunes but how many of you can accompany me with supporting music”
Nitish Said “We shall manage. but right here….”
Modhu Dada said “Tell me what you need”
“We need dholok, big drums, bongo, guitars and accordion”
“And here they are, just pick them up, possibly they are tuned also. Anyway have a look.”
He played a tune and we quickly tuned up our musical instruments. It was quite a team,
As soon as we started, the peacocks hopped in and started a Chhou with a loud applause from the entire audience.
The squirrels could not sit anymore on the tree tops but joined the peacocks with jumping up and down matching with the tune.
The chain reaction started first in the group of impalas followed by the bison and the tiger family leaving their respective places and joining the dance arena. Finally, the Herd of Elephants standing at the outermost of the ellipsoid gathering, joined and the tremors were none the less than earthquakes.
Now the entire community started dancing raising their limbs up and down and continuously chanting “Hey Modhusudan! Modhusudan!”
Modhu Dada from the beginning remained at the center playing his flute with tunes after tunes.
The pleasure we got erased our all nagging, boring and ruthless monotonous daily routines and the immense joy filled our mind and we did not know when we also like others started dancing and chanting raising our hands.
We heard heavy shouting from a crowd approaching us. We recognized these anxious voices calling us are from our Parents, Teachers and also our Principal madam. So much of human voice scared our friends of forest. Modhu dada raised his hand and with a smile forbade them to worry.
Pointing to us he told them “Let these kids go back to their worried teachers and parents. We shall continue here but shall be invisible to all of them.”
Our school bus stared weeping and said” Hey Modhusudan! Save me from them. My owner shall tow me to garage and there the mechanics shall torture me for today’s behavior.”
Our parents and teachers located and hurriedly reached to us. Most of Our Guardians, our Principal Madam, some of our teachers along with the school bus staff came.
Seeing us unhurt, they were relieved. Our Principal Madam said “From a long distance, we were hearing the calls of many wild animals. Thank god all of you were safe.” Raising her voice she rebuked the Bus staff,
“You people better replace that bus. I don’t want that bus again.”
“Yes Mam. But that bus disappeared, we are trying to locate it. Perhaps, it has gone down the gorge.”
“That’s your headache, we are leaving right now.’
We checked our smiles as we knew where the Bus is. Our guardians ushered us to a brand new bus. We were both sad and happy.We were sad because we won’t be able to see our Bus friend and happy because Modhu Dada has allotted a new location for him. From now onward, down the gorge, our Monkey friends shall have a good place to play hide and seek game. This bus has many places to hide, no one else knows better than us.