Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: PHOTOS and/or SOUVENIR(S) (vacation) (07/16/15)
TITLE: The Other Side of the bush
By Rachel Varghese
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It was a cold wintery night and I was at home sitting in front of the fireplace. I was going through an old photo album and when I turned to the last page I stared at two pictures for a long time. My mind went back to the good old days of childhood. At the same time I thanked God for His mercy.
My parents, two younger brothers and I had gone on vacation with two other families. We all stayed in the same lodge which was hidden in a beautiful mountain next to a big waterfall in the southern part of India. There was a live-in watchman and family who took care of the cooking, cleaning and knew all about the area. He had two kids who were at home because it was summer vacation for them too. So we got some new friends to add to our brood of kids.
There were a lot of monkeys in the hills and we were told that there were tigers too. We were not allowed to roam the forest area without the watchman who always carried his gun with him when he went out. We hung out with the watchman’s kids because they had a lot of stories to tell us about the animals in the forest. The older one told us that he had seen tigers even near this lodge. We all got excited and planned what we should do if we happened to meet a tiger in the woods. The kids joined us for meals and prayer in the evenings. The adults met in the dining room, and we kids had separate worship in another room conducted by the mothers who took turns in doing so.
One morning the boys came running into the dining room, all excited and said, “We want to show you something. Do not say anything to the adults, the little kids and most of all to our father, just come quietly.” Three of us older kids ran out with them and they said, “Now we have to tip-toe.” My heart was beating fast with excitement not knowing where we were going or what was going to happen. We were talking to each other and the boys put their fingers on their lips to hush us and we did so. We silently followed the boys into the woods not expecting to see a bird’s nest with eggs or chicks.S They stopped in front of a big lantana bush covered with orange flowers. They then knelt down and pointed to foot prints on the sand and we three also knelt down and whispered, “Tiger”. We got up shivering and heard a movement in the other side of the bush. Elvin, the oldest boy in our group parted the branches of the bush and peaked inside and screamed, “Tiger.” All of us screamed, “Tiger. Tiger,” at the top of our voices and ran as fast as our feet could carry us. We heard a few gun shots and by the time we reached the lodge everybody was outside. Our parents and siblings were crying and hugging us and asked us so many questions which we could not answer.
The watchman came and gave the explanation – the forest ranger sent a messenger saying that they had sighted a tiger in that area. He told him to alert the tourists and watch out for any commotion around that area. When he heard us screaming he fired in the air to frighten the animal. He asked his children where they had seen the footprints and they told him the location. He took our fathers and some more men with him to check out the place. When they went there they checked out the foot prints and my father took several photographs of it. When they came back they made us all stand together and took pictures of us. Everybody got two copies – the foot prints and the children who were right in front of the face of a tiger.
It was a great lesson to all of us. You never know where danger lurks, and not to go to places where you are not supposed to. We read Psalms 91 and had prayer right in front of the lodge holding hands and thanking God
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