Sunday, May 30, 2010

Survival of the fittest?

In a summer afternoon, when their mothers and elder sisters were taking a nap and their fathers and elder brothers were out for work, seven children from the neighborhood came out of their homes and gathered around the sand heap collected to make a building nearby. They were all in the age range of six to nine and would generally get together to spend their afternoon in the summer vacations.

Uday, the eight years old and the fattest amongst all said, “listen! Today, let’s make a house out of the sand.”

Everyone agreed and took their positions. Uday ran to push Rishabh who was standing near the area where the sand was a little moist and could hold for longer. “Hey move some place else,” he called out. Rishabh looked at him and slowly moved away to scout for another location.

They all put their one foot into the sand and started piling up on it. With each repetition, they would settle the sand with their both hands. Once they would be sure that it was set and they could move their foot out, they would slowly drag it out. For some it would stand, for others it would fall. For those it fell they would start all over again.

Subodh, the six years old kid with a thin face and even thinner body was sitting in an extreme corner. Every other kid thought that would be the most inappropriate place to work. He tried several times but the sand was so dry that it would fall every time. He looked around to find some water to moisten the sand but there was none. He scratched his head and wiped the sweat with his neatly folded handkerchief. With a repeat of this activity, his hanky was pretty much wet. An idea suddenly stuck him. He drenched his hanky to pour down his sweat into the sand. Only two-three drops came out. Then with his thumb, he wiped his forehead to get some more drops. From this another idea erupted. He spitted in the sand. And that was it. He mixed his saliva properly in the sand he wished to use. Then he placed his foot again and started piling up the moistened sand. He was sure it would hold now. Then he constructed small pillars out of the remained moist sand and placed them carefully on the sides of his foot that would make the opening for the gate. Then carefully, he took his foot out. Woila! The foot cave stood still. He then took some dry sand on his palm and gently patted on the roof and walls of the cave from inside. Then he made some designs on the roof with dry sand available around. Finally he spitted some more to make walls around his cave. Then he picked up a waste piece of paper lying around and took out his small pencil to write on it. He wrote, “For my maa and papa. From your dear son, Subodh.” and placed on the gates of the cave near the pillars. When he got up, there was a satisfied look on his face.

Till then everyone was done, few successful and other unsuccessful and given up. They were all going around what others had made. Rocky, the seven years old with spiky hairs, ran to see what Subodh had made when he saw him standing. When he first looked at creation he gasped and shouted aloud, “Oh my god! This is so beautiful!!!” With this all other children ran towards him.

“Wow! This is really good yaar!”

“How could you make it on this side? It was so dry!!”

“Subodh is a genius!”

Uday pulled every one out to see the cave closely. Once studied properly, he said to all kids, “All right! This is good. And good things should belong to everyone. Hence Subodh can’t make it for his parents only. Our parents also deserve good caves.”

Rishabh started to speak, “But this is made by Subodh and…”

“Do you want me to break your head?” asked Uday, and then as if he was the king and others his subjects he addressed all, “See, I can prove it’s not Subodh’s property.” Then he turned to Subodh and asked, “Tell me Subodh, does the sand you used belong to you?”

Subodh nodded his head from left to right in a ‘no’.

“How did you moisten the sand?”

“With my saliva.”

Rishabh thought, “Now that is purely his.”

“Al right. Do you know how the saliva is formed?” asked Uday and paused for a while. On seeing that Rishabh was about to answer him he answered himself in a louder voice to stop him from speaking anything. “It is formed from the water that we drink. This water comes in our taps for free. So it belongs to no one. Hence the spit you used does not belong to you. And the labor? That too is a result of the energy that you get from the food you eat that is grown by farmers in the ground which belongs to on one.”

He was interrupted by Rishabh again, “but his parents must have paid for that food and hence it belongs…”

Uday once again cut Rishabh’s point and announced to all, “We are not to bring the matters of money ever. My mother says it’s the root of all evils. And only evil people talk about evil things. Hence Rishabh is an evil. And all evil must be destroyed.” And with this he ran towards Rishabh who had already started running to save himself. All other children were very confused on what was happening. To avoid any stress on their mind, they assumed following the runner and the chaser as the most apt thing to do.

After he had chased Rishabh away, Uday stopped, took a deep breath and turned back. He looked at all those who were following him and smiled, “it’s good when people follow you.” He then raised his hand as a signal to stop and said once again, “every good thing belongs to everyone no matter who built it. So let’s go and claim our right on that cave. When they all returned to the original place, they found no cave there. When they looked around, they could see Subodh, walking slowly, his feet full of sand, his hand carrying a piece of paper, his body language angry and confused, talking to himself, was going away.