It was a hot summer day, when we went to the zoo. Our school was taking us to an excursion, to the zoo. And we were all very happy. We were studying 7th standard, so we were all pretty excited to see the animals over there.
This was the 90s, when India was just entering into a period where it could be called a developing economy in another 10 years.
So, during that phase, going to a zoo was such an achievement and so much enjoyment that we were all extremely elated.
So, we reached there in a bus arranged by the school. And there were teachers who took us along to each area and showed the animals to us.
“Hey, look there. It’s a deer.” someone said.
“Hey, look there. It’s a peacock.” the other said.
Everyone was so excited to see the animals. I was pretty excited too. But I would always miss the excitement of a big group of friends. I was always a misfit to any group, so I was alone mostly.
One good thing that happened because of that is I got a lot of time to think, and I would observe others, observe nature, observe how others talk, others behave and everything.
So on that day, I observed a group of my friends. I shouldn’t call them friends, they never accepted my friendship, when I initially wanted to be part of that group. I would try to mingle in the group, but they wouldn’t allow me. Instead they would bully me and sideline me. And they did to others too, they were a gang. Later on, I realized that they were all bullies, feeding off innocent people, who couldn’t defend themselves.
Whatever they did was either funny, or crazy or downright irritating. So, I observed them while I was not looking at the animals, as to what they were upto.
Then, they began to tease the animals, tease like they would a normal human being.
“Hey, look at it’s head. It’s like someone had kept a hot iron on it. Hahaha.” one of them said.
They would tell some nonsense inside jokes and would laugh at them, so loudly and if someone questions them, they will bully him/her.
While I was observing, it started becoming worse. We went and passed by an area which had one baby monkey on the branch of the tree. These guys started teasing it and started throwing stones at it.
I becameangry. I wanted to speak against them and tell them that whatever they were doing was wrong. But I was afraid.
Because, once they were teasing me and when another guy tried to interrupt, they slapped him. So they were the worst kind and I was afraid that they might hurt me.
But near me, I saw a young girl, who would be of age 6-7, watching all these. Seemed that she had come to the zoo, along with her parents. While her parents were looking somewhere else, she was watching this gang’s behavior.
And she was watching them continuously, that she wasn’t even listening to what her parents were saying to her.
Then, all of a sudden, she walked towards the gang.
I was shocked. What was she going to do? I thought. And I was curious to see what she was upto.
She went near those folks and asked “What’s your teacher’s name?”
They were surprised that some young girl had asked for their teacher’s name. One of them replied “Shanti miss.”
“Shanthi miss. Shanthi miss.” she shouted.
The teacher was some 50 meters away from them, so she came running.
“What happened? Who are you?” she asked.
“Shanthi miss. Do you teach animals too inside your school? I need admission for a dog?” that little girl said.
“What? What are you saying, dear?” the teacher said.
“I am talking about these animals, miss. They are throwing stones at the poor baby monkey. Since these animals are studying in your school, I thought I would get admission for my dog. My dog is usually well behaved than these animals.” she told her, pointing her hands at them.
I was stunned by the guts with which she talked. I secretly wished that I could also do something like this.
“What’s this folks? Is she saying the truth?” she said.
In response, they hanged their heads in shame.
“Shame on you guys. Are you not educated people?” she said.
“Miss. I feel that those animals inside the cage, need to be outside and these guys needs to be inside the cage in the zoo.” she said and walked off.
We all were left stunned by the guts she had and the truth she spoke.
Dear readers, please feel free to comment/critique my stories. It would be of immense help. In case you already don’t know, I am writing this as part of the A to Z short story challenge
Here are the other stories that I have written as part of this challenge :
Please do take your time to read and drop in your comments. Thanks.