Shardool – Part 2

This is Part – 2 of the story titled Shardool. For those who missed Part – 1 here is the link: Shardool-1

Shardool was growing stronger by the day and Venkatesh understood that the farmhouse, though spread over a large area, was too small a playground for him. He needed the open air; he was the son of the wild.

Shardool was now 6 months old and it had been 20 days since he had learned to climb a tree. Leopards are natural climbers and feel more at home on a tree than on ground, in fact they prefer to have their meals while perched up on their watch tower. They can climb even smooth barked trees with ease. Venkatesh had built a separate shed for Shardool, though most of the nights, he preferred to sleep on the branches.  Venkatesh had had his fence redone to prevent Shardool from being the party pooper at night.

It had been 4 months since Shardool was having red meat, roughly around 5% of his body weight, 5 days a week. He was usually fed at night. Things were going on fine. Venkatesh heard a noise at around 2 A.M. and went to investigate.

“Shardool? Is that you?”

A grunt came along with a cracking sound. Venkatesh pointed his torch in the direction of the voice. Shardool’s green eyes gleamed. His face was covered with blood and the remnants of a bird were lying on the ground. It was his first kill and he seemed to be feeling proud of himself.

Venkatesh was feeling a bit uneasy now. He had grown fond of his spotted feline but he knew that the time to say goodbye will come soon. Moreover, the villagers would not be happy having a leopard living with them.

A leopard though smaller than a lion and a tiger is still more deadly and more feared than the two of his larger cousins. Because it is fiercer, braver, more intelligent, has far keener senses, body is designed to kill and it can survive on almost every terrain; from deserts to rain forests, from rocky mountains to plains. It is a master sleuth and can see quite easily in pitch darkness thanks to its extra long and over sensitive whiskers. Pound for pound leopard is the strongest cat in the world, capable of hoisting a carcass more than its own body weight up a tree.  It is an excellent swimmer and can leap over 3m high rocks without breaking a sweat. Its deadly arsenal of weapons and strengths make it the ultimate assassin of the cat family and is also the most successful amongst the big cats of the world.

A week had passed since Shardool made his first kill. Venkatesh had taken further precautions to prevent him from going on a hunting spree in the village. But, Shardool was a wild animal and dead meat was not fulfilling his appetite for the hunt. He needed live mutton. This time it was a rabbit.

The only saving grace was that he had been hunting small animals; rodents and birds were the only items on his list. Most of the day was spent wandering around exploring his surroundings. Shardool was naturally curious and had to investigate everything. He had taken a liking to eating flies for snack while Venkatesh had his cup of coffee in the evening. He snapped frequently at the fast flying food, though his kill rate here was nothing to boast of.

He was in now 11 months old. Life in the backyard of the farmhouse had never been so exciting. Venkatesh made sure that Shardool’s stomach was full, and Shardool roamed in his private paradise, trying to make sense of the bird songs.

The peace was broken by a loud growl from inside the house. Venkatesh went inside to look. It was Shardool, he was staring at something threateningly. He let out another roar, his long tail swaying from side to side indicating his space had been threatened and he wanted it back, his hind legs were bent, back arched, eyes fixed on target, all his senses were active, his body shivering with rage. Venkatesh crept steadily and was shocked, it was another leopard, and then he smiled.

“You sweet fool, it is just a mirror. You have been hurtling abuses at your own image.”

He covered the mirror with a curtain.

“See! The invader has gone”

Shardool spent some time sniffing the area behind the mirror, trying to fathom the mystery of the sudden appearance and disappearance of his challenger.

To be continued……

5 Responses to “Shardool – Part 2”
  1. Sapna says:

    Your knowledge about the big cats is amazing 🙂

  2. Sapna says:

    And yes nice story 🙂

  3. Prateek says:

    Thank You 🙂

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] – Part 4 This is the fourth and the final part. Previously: Shardool 1, Shardool 2, Shardool […]

  2. […] Posted by snowleopard on March 20, 2010 · 1 Comment  Previously: Shardool – Part 2 […]

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