Mother5 mins 320 5 mins 320
Moti wandered about the thatched mud hut-hair unkempt, a tattered and dirty vest and shorts covering his 3-year-old body. He lived near the Dalma hills with his father. His mother, having passed away at child birth placed him under the guardianship of his father, who was a Mahout by profession. Hari Lal would give rides to tourists to the nearby forests upon the only elephant he owned.
Hari Lal, an abusive man by nature would often whip the tusker brutally in a fit of rage, return home in an inebriated state and thrash Moti black and blue. He had not been a kind husband either, often hitting his wife, drunken or not, while she was alive and had only become worse after her death. Moti would often cower under the sole cot in the hut for days as soon as he heard the unsteady footsteps of his father approaching and only come out once he heard loud snoring from above.
Hari Lal scarcely cared about his son’s basic necessities often making him go crying for food and usually relying on neighbors who would take pity on the child and lend him leftover rice and dal from their meal. However, Moti had recently found a playmate- his only solace and companion- in the cub that Kaala, his father’s elephant had given birth to 2 months ago. Not just the jolly little cub. But Kaala- so named because of her charcoal black shade- herself too was fond of the boy. She would often take him on rides through the forest when not out on touring trips, bath him along with the cub using her mighty trunk and bring him succulent ripe berries from the forest.
One evening, as Moti played with the cub under the watchful eyes of Kaala, the tottering steps of a drunken Hari Lal approached. Moti, scared out of his wits, quickly fled and hid. Unfortunately, this enraged the man further. With a hurl of threats and abuses, he hauled the child from under the cot and flinging him down to the floor, began kicking him violently. Kaala and the cub began trumpeting with agony. But the father in his drunken stupor had turned relentlessly monstrous. It happened soon.
Kaala rushed forward and lifting the man up high in the air dashed him down hard. Hari Lal groaned for a flit second and then lay still and silent, his eyes bearing a vacant look. Moti stared blankly. He was left dazed with the beating and the incident that had just transpired. No fear could he feel when Kaala lifted him up quietly and placed him upon her back. He could not even remember when he fell asleep but just that he had the most wonderful dream where Kaala, the cub and he frolicked about in a field full of glorious flowers.
When he came to himself, he found Kaala with the cub close behind her standing in front of a huge white building guarded by a black iron gate. A man at the gate ran off inside. He was accompanied by a woman garbed in a white and grey gown, her head covered with a scarf.
She gazed at the strange trio in a surprised but calm manner. “Shiva, inform the staff. The Lord has sent us a child. We must not disobey Him.”- She instructed the guard, who ran off once more into the building more to do his bidding. The woman came forward and stroked Kaala’s trunk gently. Kaala did not resist. This human appeared to be a kind and trustworthy one, so unlike her master.
“Come, little one, let me take you inside.”- The lady beckoned soothingly to Moti. Moti, afraid to leave Kaala’s side hugged her back tightly. But Kaala lowered herself down. “Do not worry child. You will be cared for and loved here.” She smiled at Moti and taking his hand in hers gently, tugged him off Kaala’s back. The cub began trumpeting piteously as the lady carried the boy away while Kaala only watched in silence.
A year passed away thus. Moti had indeed found a new home in Sister Margaret’s orphanage, where he was fed, cared for and taught his alphabets. Kaala and the cub had not paid him any visit ever since the day he was taken in here. He missed them and quite often, would stare out towards the forests in the distance wondering what had become of them.
Sister Margaret pondered from time to time about her conversation with the boy that had occurred the day after she had found him.
“What is your name child?”
“Moti.” The boy had replied timidly.
“Where are your parents?”
“My father is dead. Kaala killed him.”
“My mother.” The boy had replied after thinking for a while.
“Your mother killed your father?”
“Yes, she lifted him up high and threw him down because he had been beating me. It hurts so very much.”
Sister Margaret did notice that the child was covered in bruises. Did the mother really kill the father? Where could she be now? She was shocked at the child’s story but not bewildered. The poor had always been plagued with the most inhumane crimes possible. She did not wish to intrude upon Moti’s painful past any further.
One night as Moti lay fast asleep, he was awakened by agitated voices. A part of the orphanage was on fire. Some passerby had flung a half lit Beedi at the bushes nearby and caused the fire. Moti’s room was in that wing of the building that had caught fire. All around him, flames licked away at things hungrily. Moti was petrified. He could not even scream. Kaala…Kaala…he began moaning.
Sister Margaret shouted out instructions at the other inhabitants wildly. Buckets of water were brought out and splashed at the raging fire. But nothing could calm it down. Suddenly, an elephant’s loud trumpet was heard afar. Soon, a charcoal black elephant accompanied by a cub came running amidst the chaos and spouted out water at the fire. The flames having cowered down a little, the bigger elephant ran towards the building and pulled out the shivering child.
“Kaala!”- Screamed Moti.
Sister Margaret watched as a mother and child were united with a wonder-filled gaze.