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The Bandicoot and the Specs

by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore)

I wear specs- bifocal and photo chromatic. I wear it all the time except in bed and in bathroom.


I have a small 8 feet by 40 feet strip of garden in front of my house where we have a ‘Parijatha’ tree. ‘Parijatha’ is a mythologically famous tree. This is the tree that Lord Krishna fought over with Lord Indra, the lord of Heaven. This divine tree was brought to earth and gifted by Krishna to his favorite wife Satyabhama to the great envy of his other wives.

The ‘Parijatha’, a short tree, has willow like branchlets hanging down outward. The leaves are coarse and furry and so act like Velcro sometimes. The flowers are the most beautiful part of the tree, white in colour with deep orange red stalks and a pleasant smell. The fact that we have a decorative creeper trained up its trunk has made the tree look full and beautiful. When the stem and the thick branches are shook, the flowers are showered on the ground from where they are picked up.

The other plants in the garden, which used to be lush and green at one time, are now dying one by one _probably due to white ants and bandicoots.

One of the bandicoots who probably found the mortality rate rather high for gutter residents crossing the roads, started living in a burrow made under our compound wall quite close to the ‘Parijatha’ tree. Looking at the number of holes in the compound made by him, I guess the catacombs under the ground are quite spacious with the luxury of a separate exit for every compartment.

The bandicoot which would venture out only in the nights had become more daring. Incredibly enough, one day I saw the fellow coming out boldly, diving into my garbage bin (an open bucket) and carrying away a full plastic bag and disappearing into his hole. Probably he intended to enjoy the contents of the bag at leisure. Thus with home, food and safety guaranteed, I wouldn’t be surprised if he even ventured into the next aesthetic stage of collecting art pieces (Pyramid of needs? Must be),like the bird magpie which collects shiny beads to decorate its nest.

In the morning, I would be doing my exercises or on lazy days reading a book with my specs on, while waiting for the milk man. Once I heard his horn, I would come out and pick the ‘ Parijatha’ flowers till he arrived at my gate.

That particular day, as I was bending down and picking up the flowers from the ground, my neighbor who had borrowed my book COLORS, called out to me, wanting to return the book. As soon as I heard her voice, I straightened myself suddenly and stood up. But my head got entangled in the branchlets of ‘Parijatha’. I somehow, freed myself, collected the book and the milk satchets and went in.

Later, I realized that my favorite pair of specs was missing. I did remember having it on while reading the book and where could it have disappeared now? I gave a cursory look at the garden and returned to make a thorough search in all the usual places. When I could not find it, I put on my second pair and carried on.

When my house maid went to sweep the front yard, she found the specs thrown near the garbage bin. Before putting it into the bin, she fortunately thought of asking me whether I really wanted to dispose it off. I was so happy and relieved to see it! Obviously it must have fallen from my face when my head got entangled in the ‘Parijatha’ branches. How did it go from the branches to the garbage bin?

Just imagine; the specs was lying close to the bandicoot’s hole. He could have easily come out and taken it inside, I being none the wiser. Or perhaps, as Ramu remarked, “The power of the specs perhaps did not suit him!” Well, for whatever reason, it was lying unclaimed by my underground rodent resident and I thankfully took it back.

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Nov 10, 2012
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happy
by: vimala ramu

Happy,Pushpa, to see that my blog are still being read after so many days.My daughter, while pregnant had an experience similar to your maid's. Thank God, no damage was done to the baby inside.

Sep 25, 2012
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The Bandicoot
by: pushpa Raghuram

Enjoyed reading your writing. My right hand i.e.my household helper had a similar experience. While emptying our wet waste in to the plastic bucket kept outside for that purpose, a Bandicoot jumped out of it and fell on her feet, as if it was surrendering totally to her. Since it happened to her suddenly, she jumped too and shouted so loudly, that I came out running and asked her what happened. She could narrate her experience only after a while.
She could never attend to her duties that entire week,since she was busy narrating the entire neighborhood, what happened to her that day.

Jan 10, 2012
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New friend
by: vimala ramu

Hi Lakshmi,
I don't think I have interacted you till now. Thanks a lot for visiting and sharing my experiences.

Jan 10, 2012
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Nice
by: Lakshmi M Bhat

That is a nice experience. We also have a parijatha tree. Every morning we see those beautiful flowers lying on the ground. Those flowers are so simple and beautiful, aren't they? We have a lot of squirrels ,they come to eat the chapati pieces we put out.
Thanks
Lakshmi

Jan 06, 2012
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Thanks
by: vimala ramu

Hi Smita, thanks for the morale boosting words.

Jan 06, 2012
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Hi
by: vimala ramu

Hi Bharath,
Nice to hear from you.Glad you liked my writing.

Jan 05, 2012
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Charming
by: Smita Luthra

As always I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. You make even the simple things in life seem so interesting with your witty and charming writing. Do keep writing and I promise to keep reading. :)

Jan 05, 2012
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Want more
by: Bharath

Good narration. I had not read your posts for a long time. Wish to read more from you through the year. Say hi to ramu uncle.

Jan 05, 2012
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Thanks
by: vimala ramu

Dear Eva and Geeta, thanks for enjoying my writing.

Jan 05, 2012
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The Bandicoot and the Specs
by: Eva Bell

Hi Vimala.
As always,the article tickled me pink. The bandicoot must have had double vision with it and decided it wasn't for him.

Jan 05, 2012
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On the contrary...
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

I think its your imagination, witticism and approach towards life that keep you young ...evergreen...Vimala write on....!

Jan 05, 2012
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Eloquent
by: vimala ramu

My dear Isabel, if you can be so eloquent after missing sleep, how much better will you be when you are fully awake!

Jan 04, 2012
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an enjoyable...
by: isabel

Such an enjoyable story to read even in my dazed and hazy state due to sleeplessness for almost 24 hrs... So please pardon my criss-crossing thoughts and jumbled used of words.

As I was reading it, the other side of my brain was in a suspended like state. Trying to imagine that magnificent furry tree in your garden and could almost see in slow motion as those fragrant white flowers falls down on the ground and some still floating in the air...

Such a wonderful picture you have painted in our mind/head through your powerful and magical way of telling a story. That's why I could imagine and compare myself to an AMORSECO that tends to cling on stubbornly____, just like my predilection to almost all of your creations.

Thank you for you and your brilliant mind despite the physical maturity. My great-aunt used to say... "It's only our outer shell that deteriorates in the passing of time but if our hearts and spirits will forever remain childlike and cheerful, then you have found the real fountain of youth!


(Mabuhay ka Vimala!)

Jan 04, 2012
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!
by: Sneha

Yes, Vimala...What a guess!

Jan 04, 2012
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Thanks
by: vimala

This time I think the one who has forgotten to put her name down must be Sneha. Thanks for seeing my blogs as moral fables of yore !

Jan 04, 2012
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thanks
by: vimala ramu

Dear Geeta,
Thanks a lot for your prompt comments. Don't you think I have even crossed senility?!!!

Jan 04, 2012
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The Bandicoot and the Specs
by: Anonymous

Myriad, myriad shades, Vimala. How fortunate I feel to know you - - I have so much to learn from you... Your figment of imagination is beyond any other form of entertainment for me.
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Jan 03, 2012
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Enjoyed!
by: Geetashree Chatterjee

Beautiful description of the Parijatha tree. I am sure your "friendly" neighbour is looking for a more fashionable pair - the latest in vogue with diamond encrusted frame. I won't be surprised if one day you find him sitting next to you on the verandah reading a book. Gives me a lot of ideas for my next short story. Haa! Haa! Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post as usual!

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