The Brown Beast - contd
by Sreya Sarkar
(Buffalo Grove, USA)
Back to Page 1 of the story
Ever since the hare had died, Bagchi had avoided talking to him properly. He wondered why. He had also lost interest in caring for his garden.
Bagchi continued walking past him without responding to his question. **
“What is going on with Colonel?” asked Bahadur when he saw Ashwini.
“No idea. He seems to be brooding over something but he does not want to talk about it?” said Ashwini sipping her morning tea noisily.
“Ever since that confounded hare died on his door step, he seems depressed,” said Bahadur.
“Oh…that is the reason why he said he does not want to eat tomato…”
“I offered to make him tomato soup and he just… ran.”
“Did he?” said Bahadur after a long pause, contemplating on something profoundly deep, beyond Ashwini’s understanding.
Bahadur knew that in spite of how unpredictable the Colonel seemed, he was a kind soul. He had a tough shell with a soft interior, which he did not like to admit.
“I will keep something in his study on his table. Tell him to take a look at it when he comes back, okay?” he said in a hurry and left Ashwini to finish her tea alone.
Colonel Bagchi came back from his morning walk, sweaty and exhausted. Ashwini had made an omelet for him again. “Do you want to kill me with cholesterol?” he snapped at her. Ashwini took a deep breath and bland facedly told him to take a look at his study table, just the way Bahadur had asked her to.
“What now?” he muttered storming into his study. There on the table stood a bottle of unopened rabbit poison. Below it was Bahadur’s handwritten note in Hindi. “I did not kill it. See, the bottle is still sealed. It died of old age.” Colonel Bagchi re-read the note several times and threw the bottle in the garbage bin.
Next morning as he made himself a cup of tea and stood out in the balcony, he saw a basket covered in a blanket. He uncovered the basket to find two white baby rabbits inside a cage. A note was attached to the latch. We could not find a wild hare so we got these instead. Bahadur and Ashwini had scribbled their names under it. Colonel Bagchi let out a ragged breath and looked at the baby rabbits again, a small smile forming on his puckered lips. ***