The fawn woke up with drowsy eyes and unclear mind. Suddenly she felt cold. His mother who lay beside her was standing a little away. She seemed tensed, alert and very alarmed. She sniffed the air incessantly. Her ears were pricked and turned in all directions. Her tail was erect and she was frequently stamping one of her forelegs vigorously. The fawn rose up quickly. With unsteady steps, she hurried to the side of her mother. She could feel the thumping of her mother’s heart.
She turned her head in other directions and saw the whole pack was as alarmed and tensed as her mother. Not only the deer that were disturbed but now the fawn could see the whole jungle was unusually restless. She saw the monkeys frenziedly jumping from branch to branch on the top of tall trees. Their alarm calls were peculiar. It was not the usual call when they see a predator. The birds and other small creatures were equally disturbed. Everyone was frightened. The fawn thought she felt continuous rumbling at a distance. Some times a whistling noise that rose to a crescendo ended up with a terrible sound and instantly there would be brightness that lit up the sky behind the mountains. Every time the animals heard those noises, they were more afraid.
Suddenly, a strange object came flying in the sky with tremendous speed and noise and hit a huge old tree at a distance. The effect was terrible. One of the bulky branches of the tree came asunder with a crash. In the next instance, the tree was on fire. The shock was too much on the helpless creatures. They dashed away in the opposite direction with all their might. Even the oldest animal had never experienced such and incident as that. They all ran. The mighty and the weak, the young and the old, the big and the small, that which had legs and that which crawled they all ran for their dear life.
The rumbling noise became louder now. The queer whizzing objects increased in number and flew over them, across them and hit everything in their path with force. When they hit rocks and boulders, the splintered particles spread in all directions with velocity. When they hit trees, the effect varied according to the size and the part of the tree which was hit. If it was a huge tree, the objects entered into the bark with a thud. If it was a slender branch, it invariably broke. When they went through the boughs and leaves, they tore them and bored them. When they hit the ground, dust and earth flew away. Apart from those tiny objects huge and long cylinder-like things fell with deafening noise. The damage would be heavy and there was always fire and smoke where they fell.
The fawn was totally shaken. She kept running closely at the heels of her mother. They jumped over rocks and tree roots; leapt across depressions; dashed through bushes. But the devilish objects followed them. Sometimes there would be utter silence except that the rumbling noises. The pack would then stop a while to regain their breath.
They studied the place carefully. They looked carefully through the bushes and thickets. When they were trying to find out where those destructive objects came from, they saw some two legged creatures. They were moving behind some bushes and trees silently. They held something long in their hands and it was from them the fiery dots came with ear splitting noise. And from somewhere in the other side of the forest the answer would come in the same fashion. The air now smelt unpleasant. The sweet smell of leaves, flowers, shrubs and earth was completely gone. It was suffocating. The fawn could see the air. It was black.
The pack kept running. Once, as they were standing under a tree, there came a tiger crashing through the nearby bush. The pack darted away. But to their astonishment and surprise, the tiger sped past them. He was as frightened as his prey was. The situation now presented an unexpected twist to the law of nature. The predator and the prey ran with one purpose, to save their life. For the first time in his life the tiger realized what it was to run for life. As he was running, one of the whizzing objects hit him at his shoulder. The heavy body flew in the air. With agony, the tiger roared and bit the ground savagely. Soon its twitching body came to a still. The deer family ran again with renewed speed and fear.
They were running up a hill now. The fawn was tired and exhausted and very much longed for a moment’s rest. She thought her heart would burst if she continued to run at that rate. But she managed to run along with her mother. Now the killing objects came unhindered as it was an elevated spot. And then it happened.
Suddenly the fawn’s mother collapsed. She fell on her hind legs and started to roll downhill. The poor little fawn staggered and ran after the rolling body of her dear mother. She rolled and rolled till she reached the level ground. She kicked her legs as she experienced death. Her heart was filled with passion for her poor little daughter. How would she survive in this harsh world? How was she going to protect herself from the foes without her?
Tears ran down her face as she looked into the frightened face of her beloved daughter. The stream of tears was crimson as they merged with her own fresh blood. Moments later, her agony was severe. Her eyes rolled. There was a gurgling noise from her throat where the fiery dot entered. She shivered as if she was caught with a severe ague. Then she became still.
The frightened little fawn moved helplessly around her mother, wagging her small tail rapidly. She sniffed and licked her mother’s blood soaked face and whimpered. The blood-soaked eye of her mother was open wide. It was green blue resembling the sky at dawn when it presented its spectacular refraction. The mother lay motionless. The fawn, moving for hours around her dead mother, was terribly frightened. She hoped that her mother would stand up and take her to a safe place, but it did not happen.
Many animals ran past the fawn and the dead mother. No one stopped. The poor fawn realized at last that her mother would not wake up. The animal instinct told her to move on. Slowly and reluctantly she moved away from her mother. She cast back many a glance at the dead form of her dear mother. She did not know where to go and how to go. She pressed on aimlessly. The Sun fell behind a high mountain peak. The sky looked unusually bloody that day. As darkness enveloped the jungle, the fawn felt weak and feeble. Her heart was heavy. She still heard those devilish noises but less intense now. She moved deep into the forest. On her way she found a small stream. It reflected the red rays of the setting Sun. She drank the water but somehow the water tasted salty and thick. The fawn did not know why.
Morning found the fawn cuddled inside the crevice of a huge rock. She had found shelter in the crack at night. The hellish noise continued through the night. The sky which was usually pleasant and serene glowed with brightness from time to time. The fawn felt helpless. That was the first night she was ever alone. Every shadow frightened her. Her little heart beat desperately fast. At last weariness put her to sleep.
When she woke up in the morning, the usual happy notes of the birds and the other noises of the jungle were absent. It seemed no animal was in a mood to welcome the day. The blasting noise continued still but less frequently now. The fawn looked into the pale blue sky. It immediately remembered her mother’s wide-open eyes when she died. The lonely fawn stood on its legs. She was very weak. She had not eaten anything since the milk she had had the night before the previous night from her mother. She had not completely stopped sucking at her mother.
Driven by extreme hunger and thirst, the fawn moved slowly away into the jungle. How her heart ached to see her mother. She needed her nearness; her protection and guidance in this dangerous world. It had not started to take leaves and grass. With animal instinct she nibbled some grass and leaves. The sun’s race had not yet penetrated the thick foliage but there was enough brightness to see things around. The sky displayed a range of spectacular colours. Always the fawn loved to see the magic of the morning sky cuddled near her mother’s warm belly. But now the sky presented no happiness to the lonely fawn. With drooping eyes and heavy heart she walked on aimlessly.
On its way, she saw many animals lying dead. They all were bloody. It then saw a wild dog lying with its face on its forepaws. The fawn thought the dog would chase her but the dog did not move it was wounded. It moaned feebly in pain. Agony and helplessness were written on its face. Both the predator and the prey suffered alike.
The fawn went on. She could hear the noises of explosion that came from distance. With her keen sense she could smell the dampness that promised a watercourse somewhere near. She proceeded in that direction. As she was walking on the soft sand that led to a little stream, the fawn noticed some movements behind some bushes. The two legged animals again. Now they were looking through something and talking to each other. One of them pointed his hand at a hill opposite to them. The other looked through a long object and in the next instance, with ear splitting noise, fire come forth from it.
Terrified, the fawn dashed into some scrub and ran as fast as her already weak legs could take her. After a half an hour’s hard run the fawn stopped, panting. The jungle seemed to come alive afresh with the devilish activity for the whole region trembled with noise. The air became thicker and blacker every minute. Fortunately for the fawn there ran a small runnel. She approached it and with burning thirst drank the life saving liquid. But somehow the water did not taste good. It seemed to be thick and salty. If she had not been thirsty she would not have touched it. When her thirst was quenched, she briskly moved into a thicket and lay down. Now she was far away from the madding noise. With her sense of hearing she has moved away from the hellish place. Far at a distance she could hear those noises but they are very faint.
The fawn recollected the happy days she spent with her mother though they were short. How she used to run on the grassy meadows and leap with joy. Her mother would watch her with pride. How warm and assuring was her mother’s love. How protective she was. The green valleys, scented flowers, cool water and the fresh balmy air became the very essence that supported the life of the creatures in the forest. After her play she would go to her mother and suck warm rich milk. Her mother’s presence meant everything to her. With her, the fawn gained the knowledge to identify the foe from the friend; when to run and when to stay perfectly still; when to make noise and when to be absolutely silent. Everyday was filled with surprise and there was something to learn about the jungle they lived
Now everything looked meaningless. This jungle was not promising. The very existence was but a burden. She would have died happily with her mother instead of living a life of loneliness and fear. The fawn’s mind turned towards the new comers into the jungle. Who were those two-legged creatures? Why should they come here and turn a heaven into hell. Why those fire and noise? What did they have with the animals? She could only understand that they were much more superior to the animals in the forest. The animals were of no match to these powerful beings. If it were a tiger or a panther who hunted her mother she would have survived. But the predator and the prey had only known how to keep themselves fit for survival. Now it became clear that the law of nature is at the hands of these mighty two-legged creatures and if they wished they could wipe out the entire animal race in no minute.
The fawn worried about all these things until her mind became numb with pain and fatigue. She could not find an answer that would promise a fear-free future. With a heart full of misery and vexation, the poor little fawn walked on into the deep recesses of the forest. The sun went down. The sky looked redder than before as if all the blood that the sun bleached that day had evaporated and spread there. An early moon rose. Somewhere in the forest an owl who was lucky to be alive on the day hooted from a tree top. The fawn looked in that direction and the hooting sounded more dismal in that lonely heart.
Far away in a city, a boy was preparing hard for his final exams. He had been memorizing a poem. His father was watching the evening news. The news reader was updating with the current progress of the war. An officer from the force replied to the reporter that the war was severe in the forest. The valiant soldiers had been combing the entire jungle. He added that the military would not stop until the last enemy was found and killed. The boy was distracted by the news. In fact he was fascinated by it. His father noticed him and scowled at him to continue his studies. The boy continued to read the poem without the slightest idea of what the poem meant.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.