Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Shepherd and The Wolf: Sheep Rising

Once upon a time, there was a Shepherd. He knew no other living thing than his thirty sheep he owned and no other land than the grazing land he took them to graze. He was the man who could spend his entire life looking at the face of a sheep and not regret while dying. Not sure if a sheep would like to spend his/her entire life looking at the face of a man who has a nose longer than an elephant and teeth of a rodent.
Nevertheless, there was only one lamb with an actual name: Nattu. Others sheep had identification marks replacing their need of having a real name. The-little-one. The-big-one. The-one-with-squinty-eyes. The-one-with-the-long-tail. The-one-with-the-short-tail. The-one-with-a-bald-head. The-one-with-the-lame-walk, etcetera, etcetera.
It was very hard for Nattu, being the only one with a name. He had a cut in his tail. Why not the shepherd called him trimmed tail then? Why Nattu? He felt alone. Many female sheep would avoid him. Many sheep of his age would tease him all the time. “You must be a human in your last life. Otherwise, why would they give you a name?” The-one-with-white-nose once told him in front of trimmed-ear. It would not feel so bad to Nattu if trimmed-ear wasn’t a female sheep. The embarrassment tripled when she also joined White-nose and they kept intoning “Nattu is a human, Nattu is a human” from behind as he walked away.
Cruel world. Isn’t it?
Nevertheless, it changed and Nattu grew up to be one of the most intelligent sheep ever walked on planet earth. If sheep had an Olympiad, Nattu would have won it at least five times by now. His respect grew largely when he solved some everyday problems of a sheep’s life.
Once, some sheep complained that they felt heavy when they passed through the smaller pond below the mountain. Nattu was the first sheep to tell them that it was because of their fleece being dense, it absorbs water and the sheep feel heavy afterward. He told them to avoid water as much as possible, if can’t then the sheep must let the water drain out before making the run.
He was thoroughly enjoying the popularity. The stardom was overwhelming. His life took a turn. He used to be the most despicable of the sheep. Now he was the most revered one. The happiness did not last long though. Before the winter, Nattu had enough wool on his body. For more than a year, the shepherd invested in him. Now it was time to take something back.
The flock was set to be sheared for wool that evening.
Nattu felt naked afterward. Some older sheep tried to console him. “We are sheep, my son,” The old sheep said in his quivering voice. “It is the whole purpose of feeding us. You will be fine in a month or two.”
But sometimes, wrath doesn’t wait for a month. Sometimes, calculations are right but there is no constant to base it on. Sometimes, one is proactive but still late. Sometimes, the world is just cruel and there is no way to avoid the imminent destruction.
The night was the darkest the village had ever seen. No moon in the sky to lighten it. No lights in homes to compensate it. It was darkness accompanied by heavy rainfall. In the late October, it did not take much for the temperature to drop to the bare minimum. The night grew cold against their bare skin. They had no wool to defend themselves. They had donated it to men. Men who would not appreciate it. Men who would keep treating those sheep like a sheep while the sheep graciously donated their clothes so that men could protect their skin.
The act of compassion is not to be boasted but to be appreciated by the receiver. However, when it is not appreciated and if it requires boasting, it loses its grace.
This is not fair!
Next morning, there was a big hole in the clouds of the east and sun was yet to shine through it. The trees were still relenting themselves and excess water leaked through their leaves. The air was still cold but now soft and soothing. The streets were slowly coming back to life. But the sheep wasn’t concerned about the morning. They had felt cold. They were still shivering. They were the ones who had paid the cost of this beautiful morning.
They all stood in a circular formation around Nattu. He slowly opened his eyes. Shivering, he looked at everyone. His eyes red. Face feigned rage towards the atrocities of men. No other sheep had felt it before. Pain. Loathing. Grief. Fury. All at the same time.
He raised his neck and faced whoever sheep that stood before him. "The shepherd has to die!" He said in a voice as deep as the Batman.
                                                                                    …To be continued on 4th  August 2017

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