Tipp… Tipp, the sound of water leaking from the worn out roof, kept prodding Kishore’s already bleeding heart. Not a wink! Kishore had spent the night staring at the enlarging hole and listening to the angry sky spewing off his tantrums on the Earthlings. Kishore’s thatched shanty, his rescue island, was fast giving in to the might of the surging sea encircling him from all the ends.
Is it morning already? Wondered Kishore. Pregnant with black water laden clouds, the dark sky seemed to have conquered the Sun. The monotonous grays outside, mirrored Kishore’s state of mind. Life suddenly lost all purpose!
Why have I even woken up? I should rather die in my sleep? Depression was fast poisoning Kishore.
The incessant monsoon rains had claimed his coastal village at the Southwestern Sundarbans in Bangladesh. Though flooding was not unknown to Kishore, however, this time, the overpowering salty sea water had reached his farmland. The baby saplings standing on tiptoes, arched their necks above water, struggling to breathe. Kishore knew that the salt would soon eat away their delicate roots.
What would we eat? How will we stay alive? The unanswered questions kept pulling Kishore farther down the black hole.
Ten days passed. The village looked haunted! Most villagers moved to higher areas as the inundating brackish water made their land barren. No crop could grow in that soil.
Perched on a wall, Kishore sat staring at the infinite expanse of water. His mind was numb! He could not even recognize his farm! The uniform water had blurred all divisions and boundaries. The grain stock had dried and his family of five already survived on just a meal a day. He worried about his children.
Should I also go to the city and pull a rickshaw? Thought Kishore.
Staring blankly, Kishore spotted a black ant, drifting through the water, clinging onto a piece of straw. Hope gleamed in Kishore’s eyes. He followed the ant as it braved through the water. That God sent black ant taught an important lesson to Kishore.
When you fall into a pit, you either die or get out.
Kishore was determined to get out.
If God gave me brackish water, then I will use that for my living. If not crops, then I will cultivate what grows best in salty water, resolved Kishore.
A small loan, an orientation by the Panchayat head and loads of pluck, that is all that Kishore needed to start his own mud crab cultivation. Baby crabs caught in the wild, fed some waste fish, changed their weight and size miraculously in just a fortnight. Full size crabs with intact claws fetched a handsome price with the wholesale exporters.
Six months down, Kishore swelled with pride as he paid the fees for his elder son’s college education. He smiled and thanked the lone black ant for being so strong.
Very strong indeed!
Single-handedly, he had pulled Kishore out of the black hole!
Panchayat: Village head.
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!