It was 1970’s- may be late seventies, my home town was Kapista, a small town like village on the bank of river Ajay. It’s natural surroundings were beautiful. The hill ranges were looked like emerging black monsters from our terrace. Actually, Deoghar hill ranges were situated in 94 k.m distance. There was a forest near by the river Ajay. Sandal wood, oak, mihigan and shaal, sehgun- all were beauties of forest. By that time, Govt rules and regulation was not so much strict and hunting a wild animal was not rigidly prohibited. My maternal uncle was fond of hunting, he used to stay in Kolkata. That was the year of 1978. He visited our home and wished for an outing in the forest.

My father’s friend was a forest ranger and we asked for his permission. Some forest guards accompanied him and obviously, I too decided to join him in spite of my parents unwillingness. It was evening time. We built a wooden covered area high above a thick branch of a tree. My maternal uncle asked the guards to leave us. though the guards denied but at last they went little far from us. We carried a hunting gun, a lantern and mosquito mask to avoid bites of mosquitoes. We already made a deep hole type dry grass made trap on the ground. It was evening time, though in day time also, the densely situated trees rarely allowed sun rays to come in but from the high branch we could see the red lights of setting sun and now in evening, the darkness covered the area.

We had a powerful torch with us. My maternal uncle was blowing it very frequently. Since last two hours, there was no sign of any tiger or bear but we still waited eagerly. At last my uncle lost his patience and got down from the wooden shelter and after that what we experienced was really a thrilling. Obviously, he had the big gun holding firmly within his hands, he was looking little bit anxious and started to roam beneath the tree, I was observing him from above the wooden bench fixed tightly with the high branch. Suddenly I heard a sound,”Garr…rr.”

I looked beneath curiously, a black bear appeared in front of my uncle, it happened so suddenly that my uncle fell down and the gun slipped from his hand. A ladder was attached with the wooden bench and I stepped down quickly. Fearfully, I tried to pick up the gun, the bear now turned towards me and my uncle asked me,”Put your fingers on triggers and pull it back.” My fingers were trembling in fear and I lost control. Few days before, I learnt some tips from my uncle how to shoot in air. And now I applied the tips, I shot in air and the bear seemed puzzled. By this time, my uncle stood up and took my hands,” Quick, get up the tree,” he asked.

We were almost within the reach of the bear but as the bear moved forward, it lost its control inside the trap and could not get up. With the sound of gun fire, the guards too rushed towards us, they caught the bear with the help of a big net. But we did not harm him and next day we left the bear free.



~ The Old Memories ~

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Soma Bose
I started writing with Indian Express, Pune (1997-2000), then moved on to specialise in poetry and short stories. In addition, my book "Between The Lips And A Cup of Tea" is available on Amazon.
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