Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.
Read a tale of endurance, will & a daring fight against Covid. Click here for "The Stalwarts" by Soni Shalini.

What's In It For Me?

What's In It For Me?

5 mins

The animals of the cheery-merry jungle were perplexed. Due to lack of rain over the past few years the small ponds and water pits that provided access to water within the deep jungle dried out. They had to walk several animiles (one animile ~100 elephant strides) to get to the strong stream of the Vigory river that touched the periphery of the forest and veered away into the impregnable mountains.

The Vigory stream was strong and water gushed throughout the year, but it was also the only source of water for humans inhabiting the other side of the bank and the animals risked exposure. The jungle on this side was dense and quite harsh with thick bushes and huge ecosystem of trees near the bank, but was thinning from within. The animals of cheery-merry created colonies around the small ponds of water within the jungle and the vegetation protected them around these water spots. “If only a few streams from Vigory reached through the jungle and strengthened the whole jungle ecosystem”, they thought, but they never really had to worry or go to Vigory so far. But alas, this year they seemed to have no choice.

Some of the old and wise animals of cheery-merry got together and approached the gushing streams of Vigory seeking help. Vigory was busily flowing with rich minerals & sweet waters it carried from the mountains from where it rose and briskly replied “I don’t change my course, you need to draw me in. Can your forest allow channels into it where my streams can flow through and I will try to push them through the bed all the way in and out?”. The animals were happy, they asked Vigory if it saw any possible paths to come in. “I see two possible places, one towards the outer edge where the forest seems thinning down leaving scope for penetration from outside, this is where I can divert some of my flow and the other slightly upstream, but some animiles of the forest will be exposed”.

The animals were overjoyed. They went to the first location as suggested by Vigory and looked around. The place was at an elevation overlooking Vigory with stubborn rocks, lots of bushes and not so many trees. “My name is Stubborny, I own this piece of the place, what do you want folks?”, spoke the boulder jutting out of the land. “Part of the huge bedrock ecosystem of the place”, the animals observed, “great for Vigory to go through and create a thriving ecosystem around here”. “But why should I care?”, Stubborny replied in a resolute manner. “Yeah I have some good bushes around here and I have these huge trees which look alright to me, I don’t need your vigory-gigory wetting me all up. I clearly don’t see what’s in it for me, to draw the flow inwards. Besides, you can see can’t you? I don’t wanna bend“. The animals tried to explain, that if Vigory had to go over Stubbory, it will have to rise its water level and it may drown everything around. “Can you not move a little bit and allow the stream to go under you, it will then create its own trail!”, pleaded the animals. “And lose my beautiful accumulated rock, sorry I can’t let go of this for a new flow! buzz off!”, said Stubborny and hurled a couple of rocks towards the animals to scare them off.

“That did’t go well, let’s walk upstream and look around the second option given by Vigory”, the animals took a slow trudge towards the second spot. This place was slightly more dense with forest trees and a thick forest bed. “If Stubborny wasn’t willing to let go of its rocks, why would this place be with such rich vegetation”, the animals thought. Not very convenient for Vigory to penetrate though, but then there must be a reason why this was the second spot. As the animals approached the mouth of the area, “…came here to taste some sweet water folks? isn’t it inviting?”, greeted a cheerful voice. “My name is Letgolorn and I am the guardian of this area”, the voice seemed to come from a old oak close to the water, but they quite couldn’t figure if it was the case as the whole place seemed connected. “I am spread through a big patch starting here but reaching deep into the jungle, however my other side is beginning to get weaker for lack of rain!”. The animals found a soft spot and they immediately put forth the proposal from Vigory. “Was it that simple to draw in the flow? jeez if only I asked Vigory before, you guys are just awesome”. As the animals were beginning to get delighted, “but as you can see, I don’t know how easy it would be for Vigory to cut through into a sizeable stream, I need your help to trample through me, and create the channel for the flow. It will be painful, but I wonder ‘What’s in it for me at the end!’“, exclaimed Letgolorn.

Overjoyed by the invitation, the animals trudged through Letgolorn pulling down the branches, throwing away the piled up trees and digging through Letgolorn and gently creating the right channel for the flow from Vigory to stream through. In a few months time, Letgolorn’s ecosystem grew richer and richer and became the new frontier of cheery-merry jungle. Stubborny received some help too as a side-effect of being close, but was largely thinned down for lack of any animals visiting and helping the place. This also became the last frontier for invaders (humans) finally to clear out the bushes, throw away the boulders and establish camp on the other side of Vigory, which they could never do before. The boulder overlooking Vigory that refused help to the animals was used by children as they play-site. As they coloured the boulder and ran around it busily, Stubborny went into a long sad reminiscence “If only I knew not to care so much for ‘what’s in it for me‘, if only I made adjustments to let the flow in, if only I learnt to let go of few things that I have accumulated for the bounty I could have received, if only I realized that I am part of the bigger cheery-merry jungle, if only…“.

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