Vivek Pradhan



Vivek Pradhan


Beautiful Bond

Beautiful Bond

3 mins

After retirement, life wasn’t the same for Jonny. He missed the adrenaline rush – the thrill of facing fear head-on. He tried multiple hats and finally settled with one.

Jonny was a commando in the military unit. Acing challenges was his forte. He was often nicknamed - dynamite - by the team, for obvious reasons. Once on a military ambush, an explosion damaged his eyes – right completely and left partially. He had to retire prematurely.

He wasn’t a man to sip whiskey and watch movies all the time. He needed action to survive. He served odd jobs like guards, trekking, exploring but none satisfied him, and until one day he faced a soul as brave as his. He pounced on the chance.

An August night, the lightning gave way to loud thunder, as Jonny stepped calmly out of the vehicle. He had a straight posture, grave look, and commanding walk. He walked towards the tiger in the rain with ease, suited up with a brown hat.

The man wore dark shades. He divided the metal rings equally in two hands; ordered an uninterested girl, munching on a carrot, to have the crows placed and to call the guard. “It’s showtime”, he smirked.

A filthy man appeared jingling the keys and tossed them towards Jonny. Jonny opened the cage, entered, and locked it behind him. It was just two of them locked in the cage – the man and the tiger. The tiger roared and jogged towards the man. He swirled the rings on both hands in unison. The tiger sat in his hind limbs just inches before him. He said, “Hello Raja! Today is our last show together.”

He had been in the circus since the day he laid eyes on Raja; he loved every part of it and Raja the most. Past memory flashed as he fed a piece of reward to the tiger. They walked towards the stage through the tunnel on the other side of the cage.

The crowd exploded; they cheered,” Raja! Raja…,” as the man pretended blind and guided Raja through the fire. The man threw the rings towards a special cage. The appliance burst open and released the crow. The man roared, “Go, Raja!” Raja jumped through the ring of fire and caught the crow unharmed.

The crowd gave a standing ovation. Someone in the crowd said, “What a trick! Once more…!”

Raja released the bird and sat as the man swirled the rings. The man looked at the tiger and smiled. Then faced the audience and bowed in pride.

That night he couldn’t sleep well. Early morning he went to the circus tent, a truck was parked outside. He went to meet his friend, inside the cage. He massaged Raja and hugged him; he was happy for him – he was to be shifted to a national park as per the new policy.

“Goodbye my friend,” he said, with moistened eyes, “Thank you for the beautiful days.” He handed a letter to the girl addressed to the manager and left.

Later that day, the manager opened the letter, it read: you lost two tigers today.

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