Shardool – Part 1

Venkatesh was an introvert person and he hardly talked to anyone. His social circle was nothing to brag about and he lived alone in a large farmhouse in a village on the outskirts of Kozhikode city near the suburb Kuttiyilthazham, in Kerela. It was night time, the fires were lit and men in groups patrolled the city with sticks and spears in hand. Since the last couple of weeks, a number of goats and a few dogs had disappeared and pug marks of a feline were spotted in the area.

Animal attacks are rare in the  northern part of the state, which was another reason why everyone was tense. A loud shout and a roar broke the dead silence of the night. The leopard had been spotted.

Venkatesh grabbed his gun and rushed to the site. Three men with sticks and torches tried to corner the beast but it slipped through them and tried to run away. Venkatesh and another villager rushed after it. Venkatesh aimed and fired his gun, bringing the beast down in a single shot.

They went towards its lifeless body. The animal looked beautiful, its yellow/orange fur and clouded spots displayed the artistic skills of its creator. They inspected the carcass, it was a female leopard and she was a nursing mother. Her body was still warm.

A small voice called from a bush nearby. The men went there to inspect. It was the leopard’s family and it consisted of a 16 day old male cub and he still had his eyes closed. He called out to his mother again. Without her he wouldn’t survive a day. Venkatesh deeply regretted his action. He had never felt so much guilt before. He didn’t want to kill the leopard, his intentions were to scare her away but due to fear and in the heat of the moment he had committed a murder.

He once owned a dog, a female German shepherd, who had fallen ill and he had had to put her to sleep. The pain was too hard for him to bear and he had vowed that he would never get another pet. But the cub was too much for him to resist. He picked up the little quivering body and brought him along to his farmhouse.

Venkatesh boiled some milk, added an egg and mixed it thoroughly. He poured the concoction in a bowl. He took a clean piece of cloth, dipped it in and then held the dripping cloth in front of the cub. The kid was hungry and sucked on it greedily.

“You have a voracious appetite little guy.” Venkatesh smiled, “you will grow up to be one of the strongest kings of the jungle. I shall call you Shardool which means lion.”

Shardool sneezed and little droplets of milk covered Venkatesh’s face. He laughed out loudly, and Shardool seemed to smile in glee, as if proud of himself on playing a successful prank. He looked at the cub and realised that he hadn’t felt this happy since the day his dog had died.

After Shardool had burped, Venkatesh cleaned his mouth.  He wrapped the cub in his arms. After a few minutes, Shardool was sleeping contently, without a care. Venkatesh didn’t move a muscle, lest he would wake up the little guy.

Shardool was fed this way for the next 1 month. Venkatesh fed him about 8-9 times a day. Shardool had begin using his teeth and had a lot of fun gnawing on almost everything. His little canines were sharper than a needle and he needed the exercise to develop the strength in his jaws.

“SHARDOOL!”,  Venkatesh came in waving a half eaten pair of slippers, “This is my 3rd pair of slippers you have destroyed in 2 days. I am going to teach you a lesson you will never forget.”

Shardool left the leg of the dining chair and  tilted his head towards right, like he always used to and stared at Venkatesh with his large moist eyes. His face was covered with little bits of wood. His expression conveyed that he was sorry for the damage, but he was helpless, the soft rubber was too big a temptation to resist.

“You little devil. I can never remain angry with you for long, not when you have that expression which can melt a rock.”

Shardool let out a short purr and continued chewing the leg.

4 Responses to “Shardool – Part 1”
  1. Mayur says:

    Prateek, the story writer… is it?

  2. Sapna says:

    It is said that every story contains a part of the author. Now I know how…

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Shardool – Part 2 This is Part – 2 of the story titled Shardool. For those who missed Part – 1 here is the link: Shardool-1 […]

  2. […] – Part 4 This is the fourth and the final part. Previously: Shardool 1, Shardool 2, Shardool […]

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