The Reward

The cloudless blue sky reflected in Raju’s anxious brown eyes. An occasional breeze from the dying winter provided a welcome respite from the scorching heat of the sunny afternoon. January had already started sending hints of yet another early summer in Telangana. The parched black, drought hit fields stretched till the horizon and tried hard to match with a serene blue sky; but the combination did not evoke a friendly emotion. The season of Rabi saw nothing green spouting from the chest of the earth. The water level in the lakes did not give any hope of a greener Kharif too. The village only had dried up canals, thirsty fields, unemployed bullocks, empty carts and depressed farmers.

These heart-wrenching scenes did not deter Raju’s resolve. Standing barefooted on his ancestral piece of land, his teenage heart was brewing a storm. Time and again, he drenched his cracked lips with his tongue, which was now almost going dry. He thought of returning back home, but the fiery intentions in his mind pumped in a heavy dose of adrenaline into his blood bringing it to a boil. Daring the blinding sun, he gazed relentlessly into the sky, watching vigilantly. He was engaged into a complex mathematical equation of time and distance, he was keenly watching the direction of the wind, its speed and its intensity. A little trigonometry that he knew was also being put to the best of its use. An invisible perimeter he drew along the fields. He was so ready…

In a minute of intense activity, he clenched his fist with vengeance and prepared himself as if for a pursuit.

‘KATI !!!’ screams of jubilation erupted from the terrace of a pukka house. Raju shot out like a hummer from the drum. His agility was put to a stringent test as many other children from their respective fields too joined the chase. Their eyes were fixed on the colorful Kite that was snapped by an opponent at the kite contest during The Pongal festival. It danced with the wind as it fell from the sky. Some children chased as a team, but Raju was all alone, a few of them carried thorny branches from the dry trees to get hold of the dangling ‘Manja’ (thread) but nothing stopped Raju from winning. His math worked, his agility was better than the others, the conditions favored and the wait in the hot sun finally paid off.

With a bright spark of achievement on his tanned face, he walked back home proudly flanking his reward, the Sarpanch’s pricey Kite.

HAPPY PONGAL TO ALL!! πŸ™‚ Enjoy

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