He is approaching late fifties and becoming a dotard by the each passing day. He laughs empty laughs and is plagued by formalities; though he is cunning like a fox but that fox has swaddled himself in the body of a bear. He virtually quacks in front of his seniors and rages on the juniors when there is no stress. His food slips through his hands when he is late even a minute for the office lest his boss bang him in front of the colleagues. But he terrorizes his juniors, demands goodies from them in return for easy and trouble free duties. The remote location and nature of their duty makes them weak and they submit to his whims. It is like hugging the bear.
Food occupies a central place in his psyche and his greatest weakness; his eyes continue to ogle the food and he is an ogre. His digestion is legendary. Sweets, fried food, chicken, mutton become humble before his digestive system. Sometimes we were arguing that he can eat stones and drink the food made in crude oil instead of normal vegetable oils. He relishes his food and have no modern day diseases like blood pressure and diabetes or heart conditions. He is as tough as nails. All these characteristics might have been acquired during his struggle for survival in the younger days when he has to leave his country and with his parents tread though jungles. After arriving to get a foothold at a place which was completely alien to him.
Struggle for survival must have made him like that. When the life became easy, he took some liberties with his colleagues. He constructed a big multistory house at his new location with taking any aid from the company. He also bought some land adjacent to his house where he has cultivated some high value trees for selling them at a later date. He grew plenty of vegetables and has a pond dug in his land where he raised the fish for daily consumptions.
The story is set in the Sivasagar district of Assam. I was working there after a transfer from India’s most advanced city of Mumbai. This was transfer after long stay in Mumbai so it took some time to adjust in these surroundings. There is a big colony of our company and has given us quarters to live. My family did not accompany me. The place is abysmal if you are alone as the area lags behind rest of India in progress and it is very difficult to spend the time. The place is full of natural beauty because of lack of progress in industries. In fact the place can boast of being few places free of pollution in India.
It was a holiday and as usual I was sitting in the Verandah. I saw a pair of mynah sitting on the fence of the opposite building boundary. Male warbled continuously; spread his feathers from time to time and moved his neck up and down as if beckoning someone. Was he calling to some another female even as his wife was sitting with him? Was he polygamous or a philanderer?
Female, on the contrary was very reticent and sat peacefully presenting a complete contrast to us humans where all the talking after the marriage is done by females and males only listens. Whenever, female jumped away a few steps, the male kept the distance constant and hopped too. He preened his feathers intermittently to look a toff.
There were squirrels frolicking and jumping from one branch to another branch of the trees; they nibbled at the gnarled surface of the tree to scoop the gums oozed by the tree. These squirrels are blacker and more agile in comparison to their cousins in the North India; they can as long as six to seven feet without any need to taxi before take off. They are a nightmare of betel nut growers as they nibble at fruit; eat some and throw away the rest.