Chander and His Dragonfly

by Jawtin Meetei

                                               Chander and his Dragonfly

In a village of Eastern part of Uttar Pradesh in Ancient India, there once lived a farmer whose name was Chander. He was a good farmer of its kind. He would dwell in the field from morn till dusk to find a living for his family. An ailing mother, a hardworking wife and two little children complete his family. His father was once an intellectual in the kings durbar. Those were the days when everyone in the kingdom talked about them with great esteem. People would think twice before they cross their courtyard. But, time had brought a big change in their living after the death of the head of the family. His mother had been fallen to deadly illness for many a time. Hope was little enough for further living as prognosticated by the village Hakim that she could pass away time. They were living the hardest life of their a span of 40 to 45 years, a big wave of change had swept in and around the village. Monarchy, which once had a rooted-footage in the region, had lost all of its existence and socialism took the reign thereafter. Few people that were once well to do only shined with glory and power in the region, others became unnoticed. People became busy finding and mending their livelihoods rather defining each other on their daily pages of life. Chander, like the other villagers found himself most of his time on the fields. His field, being located on the fertile basin of a river that flowed near the village, was suitable for all kinds of crops and legumes and he always grew wheat in summer and peas in winter. To his satisfaction, he always had a good harvest. He sold the harvest and earned good money, which he further spent on his family. Thus he made his once happened in a late winter season when the peas were ready for harvest, he noticed something was destroying his peas everyday. He thought of somebody to do the destruction in the beginning and he started visiting the field every morning and evening to check but he could find no traces of human intervention there. Then, he thought of an animal that would come at night and eat up the peas. He got confused and felt upset with the daily activity of the kind. Moreover, he dared not visit his field after dusk, as he was aware of bigger animals movement during night in and around the village. Like every year, he was expecting a good harvest too; but it was vividly seen that he had to be contended with a lesser one. Moreover, the rate of destruction was increasing day by day and he knew that it should be taken care of. It so happened a day that he asked his wife to pack his lunch in the morning and went to the field. He reached early and began searching for a clue in and around the field for confirming the one who was destroying his peas everyday. Again, he ended up clueless like other days. He felt tired and thought of retiring in a shade after lunch and he did. In no time, he came one with the stillness around. Had not he decided for a daytime watching the field, he would have never known the kind behind the destruction! Just after he had fallen asleep, a huge dragonfly huge enough to fly off with 15 people came flying and landed on his field. The large two compound eyed-head of the dragonfly resembled the Helicopter cockpit. A smaller nerve prominent neck connected the head and the thoracic section. Two pairs of transparent, three-meter long, lively and fleshy wingspans were fitted on the body and it resembled that of an aircraft. Further, a five-meter long abdomen continued from the body. The two forelegs resembled that of a kangaroo that was used while eating and the two pairs of hind legs for gripping. The flattering sound produced by the creature woke up Chander and brought him to consciousness. He made a look towards the field and to his surprise; he saw the huge dragonfly standing out in the field. Surprise amidst helplessness was the condition; he came nearer and hid himself behind the peas to have a closer look. Wow! Damn on me! He said to himself. For an instance, he felt very much lucky within to see such a huge dragonfly that came from nowhere to eat his peas. But in the next moment, he felt angry and thought of teaching the dragonfly an unforgettable lesson. He made some noises to show his presence, but the dragonfly kept no ears to his gesture instead, was chewing the peas tastefully. Chanders anger had crossed its limit and decided to catch the dragonfly at the tail and he did. Now, the dragonfly got disturbed and was about to leave for the day. Chander kept on holding at the tail, but the dragonfly was ready to fly off along with him. It cleaned its mouth with its forelegs, stretched out its wings and flattered. In a few seconds, the dragonfly was above the ground. Chander, with all his might, kept on holding and in few minutes the dragonfly flew high above the ground and it became impossible to leave his hold and jump down. He became worried and frightened enough as the dragonfly flew higher and higher with each flapping. Had not he tried to catch the dragonfly, he would have never been in that situation! He started thinking about his family again and again. He started thinking of his ailing mother, his wife and his two little children. Moreover he was tired of the long hanging that he wished the dragonfly stop for a while, rested somewhere, as he was not known of the destination. By and by, they had crossed two layers of cloud and suddenly it started flying straight instead of flying higher. Chander knew that the destination would come soon. The dragonfly flew nearby an enchantingly beautiful place above the clouds. He assumed it Heaven and indeed it was not less than Heaven. The dragonfly flew at the back of the abode and entered a big hollow to rest there. Finally, the long flight came to a halt and he was left exhausted near the nest of the dragonfly and in no time he fallen to fast asleep.The new place was much far away from human existence. It happened to be a home to the Gods besides Heaven. Only Gods and Gods could be seen there and they communicated through a different language there. They were always seen busy discussing something. They were all well dressed from head to toe. Chander woke up and was surprised to see surrounded by many well-dressed people. He had once seen people dressed like them in a village drama performed by various artists coming from a very far land. For an instance, he assumed if they were those peoples. The Gods gathered there since quite a few hours waiting for him to wake up. They were murmuring and guessing how he could be there in their abode. It was actually the murmuring sound that woke him up. He joined his hands, saluted to them introducing him to the small crowd. The Gods nodded their heads, welcomed and took him to an isolated place, somewhat like a guest room. The beauty of the place amazed Chander. He had never seen such a beauty on earth before. It is quite obvious to be amazed for a village bumpkin like him seeing the beauty. The long flight had exhausted him enough and he was feeling hungry at the moment. He asked for some food to them at which the Gods turned faces to each other asking what he was saying. Chander came to know that they didnt understand him and before being mistaken, he asked again showing some hand movements. One of the Gods caught his gesture and some fruits had been brought within a few minutes. His mouth watered seeing the big apple like fruit, which he had never seen before. He took one and started to eat. The fruit was big enough to kill his hunger and soon he felt contended. The Gods started to leave one by one and within a few minutes he was left alone again with some fruits. Two days passed, three days passed and he became bored eating the same fruit again and moreover he was not allowed movement inside the abode. Back home on earth, he was reported missing for many days. No trace of Chander was seen for many days. Rumors of his death moved around like wild fire. Villagers assumed him to be killed by animals. The family members became worried and kept crying the whole day mourning his death. Villagers and his relatives kept on visiting hearing the outcry of death. And back on Heaven, he too was very much worried about his family. On the fifth day, a God came to him asked what he was good in. He listened and looked at the God interestingly and he could know what the God was asking about. He came to know that the Gods hair had become long enough to be trimmed. He touched the Gods hair and told him that he could cut his hair. Interestingly, the God nodded his head. The God brought a scissor and a comb and gave it to him. Chander took the scissor and the comb and cut the Gods hair. The God was so pleased with the new haircut that he gave Chander a big lump of gold. Seeing the reward, Chander got excited and thought of resizing more heads. Seeing the Gods new hairdo, other Gods came on enquiring and soon Chander was surrounded by a number of Gods. His excitement got its virtue more and more and he finished up cutting ten Gods hair. Each of them gave him a lump of gold like the first one. He became wealthier day by day. He thought of cutting the entire Gods hair and returned home with good fortune. Thus, he continued his new job for a few days. He was overwhelmed by the amount of gold he had earned. The Gods gave him a bag to put the lumps of gold. But, in the next moment he became worried again thinking about his family back on earth and sat silently at a corner. Seeing his dismount, Gods came enquiring his condition and he told them that he wanted to go home and see his family by pointing his finger towards home. Now, one of the Gods held his hands and took him near the dragonflys nest. He was asked to stay there for the night, got hold of dragonflys tail in the morning and he would be on earth in few hours. He thanked the God returning him with a great smile.He slept there for the night and hid near the nest waiting for the dragonfly to come out of its nest. In an hour, the dragonfly came out its nest and was ready again for the next visit on earth. Chander came nearer and got hold of the tail. The dragonfly as usual, with no differences, flattered its wings to fly and they went straight towards earth. All his worries seemed came to an end and his excitement to see his family grew more and more. And, within a few hours, the dragonfly took him directly to his pea-field and landed there. His joy knew no bounds at the moment he landed on his field. With his best fortune ever, he ran towards home. It was noon and most of villagers were at home resting. Stealing the stillness of the moment, he ran towards home and stood still at the courtyard smiling and a big bag was hanging across his chest. Everyone at home went blank for a moment seeing the living Chander. Without uttering a word, his wife came running to perform a small welcoming-ritual before he stepped inside the house. Happiness amidst surprisal was the moment at the site. He went inside asking his wife to come inside. Tears, in no time, rolled down on her cheeks; she too went inside to see her husband. She hugged him at behest, enquiring his long absence from home. Chander, who was silent, could no longer control his tears seeing his beloved. He returned her a feel of gratitude with a great hug. He then began to explain the whole story showing the bag of gold at the end. Seeing the bag of gold, his wife was nearly fainted and she remained stunned for a longer moment and was brought to consciousness by her husbands touch on her shoulder. Chander asked her not to disclose to anyone and she nodded her head. Chander consoled his wife saying; those days of worry and sorrow would end at the moment and a new happier and merrier life would start from the moment. They all had the best sleep of their life that night. The next day, Chander visited a nearby town to cash a lump of gold, and with the money he did his best shopping of his life on that day. He felt like a king that day and picked up every item available in the market. Chander became popular and his return with good fortune became the hot topic in the village. Every villager started admiring him and he was attended with respect in and out the village. Villagers would stop him anywhere to hear the story of his good fortune and he always replied that he became lucky that time. Women folks of the village would also did the same with his wife. How long women keep a secret within? She told her younger brother, Arjun, the whole story that kept on asking her every minute. At first, he didnt believe her sister but he had to believe after seeing a lump of gold. She asked Arjun not to disclose the secret to anyone otherwise Chander would kill her. Arjun went home excited and told his wife the whole story and his wife told her brother and so on, a chain of nine families came to know about the story. In a few days, they all learned the art of hair cutting and came up before Chander and asked for his help. Chander became helpless rather than staring at his wife, but was ready for the next Heavenly venture. They decided for the next visit and fixed a day: good and suitable for all of them. Life became meaningful for Chander and his family. The changeover he brought in himself made him set an example in the village. He dreamed of an even bigger fortune in the next venture, so, he kept on checking if the dragonfly had been visiting or not and he was happy to see the dragonfly every time he dropped down. His dream became bigger and bigger as the day of next visit drew nearer. Finally, the day came and all the nine men including his brother-in-law came up and met him at his courtyard. The nine people did not sleep the whole night dreaming of the gold lumps. Each of them had promised good fortune to their family when returned. Chander made up his mind and was ready too for the second visit. He asked his wife to take care of his family in his absence and not to disclose anymore to others for the mission should be carried out far from the knowledge of other villagers. The ten people started walking towards the pea field talking about their heavenly voyage. Chander and his team reached the pea field much ahead of time. Eagerness of good fortune brought them on the field much early and they had to wait long in the sun, making their positions. Chander warned them to hide properly so that they might not come under the eye of the huge creature. They stayed still at their respective positions and waited for the dragonfly to come. After a long wait of two hours, they could see a big thing in the sky coming towards them. The big thing in the sky was the huge dragonfly. What a dignity it possessed? It became bigger and bigger and finally landed on the pea-field as usual. The dragonfly turned its head sideways with its two compound eyes checking the place; seeing no threats around it began chewing the peas tastily. Perhaps, the creature might have seen them hiding: yet, the peas were very tempting. Chander as usual was feeling happy seeing the dragonfly and passed superlative smiles to his mates. The nine people other than Chander went stunned for a moment seeing the huge creature. Chander asked them to maintain silence and let the creature eat some more peas. Chander furthermore instructed that he would catch the tail first and others would follow one by one making a chain. All of them nodded and waited for a signal from Chander. They were looking at each other and at the creature. It was about 15 minutes since the dragonfly had been eating the peas, and Chander signaled them to get ready, as he was ready for the catch. Then, Chander ran and caught the tail of the creature very hard; followed by his brother-in-law and by and by, all the ten were tailing behind the creature. The dragonfly got disturbed and was ready to leave. It stretched out its wings and flattered to fly back its nest. Chander asked his mates to get hold of each other carefully and they all did as directed. It was a bit difficult for the dragonfly to fly away with ten peoples hanging, but flapping its wings hard the creature was successful taking off from the ground and in a few moments they all are up the sky. The dragonfly was flying up and up, whilst the person at the bottom asked the one just above him how much gold a person would get if he cuts thirty Gods hairs. The man above him passed on the question to the person above him and he also did the same. And finally, the query reached Chander. They all were eager for the answer. Chander thought for a while and replied that a person would get this much of gold, by sizing with his hands in the air leaving the hold. What a mistake! The moment Chander left the hold at the tail, all of them fell down from the sky with great velocity and hit a hard rock lying on a hillock situated two kilometers from the village. The dragonfly flew away happily getting rid of the burden he was flying with. The impact was powerful enough to bring them to dead at the moment itself. A farmer working nearby the hillock heard the last cry they made before the impact, and came running towards the sound. He reached at the spot and saw the accident that happened a few minutes ago. Their faces and heads were totally smashed; blood spread all over the places on the hillock. The scene was deadly and horrible for a human being to watch. He called for more farmers working nearby to come at the spot and to see the things themselves. Nothing could be done; moreover none of the face was recognizable. Only the family members would be able to recognize them seeing their clothes. The farmers gathered there sent a person to convey the news in the village. In no time, all the villagers came running at the spot. Chanders wife was the first to reach the spot. She checked the bodies one after another and sat down near a body with a loud cry. And there came the other women too at the place; seeing Chanders wife crying there, the other nine women came running near the dead bodies, identified their husbands. The outburst of cries was loud enough to bring more villagers to the spot and in a few minutes, the hillock became crowded with the villagers. The sound of cries curled in the village atmosphere. The villagers helped to bring the deaths to the respective homes and to do the rituals. The bigger dream of getting better fortune that Chander and his team made burnt along with the bodies on the pyres and turned into ashes. The villagers were still clueless about the cause of the death. The death of the ten was a big mystery, which no villagers came to know about. Many composed stories of the death were doing the rounds in the village, but none of them was realistic and impressive. Moreover, the wives of the deaths decided to bury the truth with the dept and severity of the accident. Chanders wife couldnt forgive herself for she disclosed to her younger brother, which he forbade to disclose. Had not she disclosed to her brother, Arjun, he wouldnt have told his friends: and wouldnt have gone again; and the accident could have been avoided. What would she do with the lumps of gold, which Chander had earned in the first visit? She could only repent for the loss of her husband. But, it was not a full stop with the loss; she had to become stronger for her two little children. For a few days, the stories of the death remained on every lip of the villagers, but slowly the wind that passed through the village swept away the stories of the death from the mind of the villagers. Even the families of the deaths had to subside their loss under the realms of day-to-day duties. The dragonfly finished up eating the pea and was visible no more on the soil. It might had searched and found a new pea-field somewhere.-------------x------------x-----------------

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