A squad of tough and spirited children walked all the way from their habitat to the mountain hoping they would reach what they learnt as ‘the path of sun’. With mountain on one side and the river on the other , this anonymous tribe were living in dark conditions with their numbers decreasing day after day. The tribe was so primitive that the population count dropped by a third before the people of the tribe could barely understand it. They were fighting the toughest of the battles and almost lost it. The men of the tribe who held medical expertise were all dead. Men who led the tribe were all long gone. The men who took a vow to protect the tribe were now on their death-bed. The peculiar thing was that everyone lost their speech before they died. The only destitute left were the innocent children who carried the vow of the men lying almost dead. Vebooni laid inside a cavern she made for herself. She sat without a fire for the first time in her life. 43 twigs laid beside her each for a day. She now knew there was only 17 left and she had a task ahead after that. She was the younger sister of the twins Weboo and Eboo. She recalled what happened 3 months back when she went sick while swimming past the river.
3 months back, she challenged Mabu, a 20 year old who led the village along with Weboo, another 20 year old. The fathers of Mabu and Weboo were inturn brothers who led the tribe previously before they mysteriously died. Vebooni was observant and was a fighter by heart. She carried the blood of her father who had the courage to face whatever came in his way and to go whatever extent needed for his loved ones. But she never knew her parents. Only thing she had was her brothers, Weboo and Eboo who gave her all possible things .For them, her safety was paramount and both of them risked their lives to protect her. Also,Vebooni had a pet frog by the name of boo which was pitch black. No one except Vebooni liked it. While both her brothers went to master the rock climbing, she played with her frog which took her to the waters. When she dived into the water for the first time ,she almost drowned when later Mabu saved her. That wasn’t the only time she drowned .Mabu warned her against swimming as he thought women were weak but that was in vain. She was desperate about playing with her frog. While all the tribe learnt in the same approach and swum the most common way, the girl played different. She learnt how to swim observing boo. She experimented with boo dropping him straight into containers very deep and saw how he came out. She even experimented with the currents and drowned almost a dozen times. The duel which she made with Mabu soon earned a lot of excitement and entries came in eagerly to participate. Therefore, what was actually a duel soon turned into a race and everyone made their preparations to win it. Everyone seemed determined to win over Mabu who was considered their swimming champion. Vebooni and her frog trained hard for the day and it soon came.
Weboo and Eboo were called for as referees of what looked like the most exciting contest. There were absolutely no rules except to play fair and safe. All the participants can make a tool to carry with them incase of an emergency. Only tool which everyone knew was a hollow reed to breath underwater incase they drowned. But everyone knew about the dangers of drowning as no one who drowned came back. Vebooni carried her frog barring the reed for her luck. The target was a merwinia , flower of an underwater plant , which was around 1000m across the river . Merwinia was one of the beautiful flowers ,orange in colour ,which the tribe knew. The swimmers had to complete a loop across the river collecting the merwinia at the target and return to the land and the rest was obvious .Everyone looked excited about the start except one. Weboo was deeply worried about the target area and the flower. He was worried about the young swimmers including his sister who were not completely aware of the river currents. He was worried about the death spot ,the andask which was close to the target area where Merwinia grew. Men who went near Andask and returned lost their sight, speech and had terrible deaths. Men who reached it were eaten by it. Weboo was relieved by the fact which eliminated the possibility of rains. The swimmers who were participating climbed to the highest point on the land from where they dived. All the swimmers including Vebooni dived at once.
And the race began.
The twin brothers and the other spectators of the race were startled seeing Vebooni. While the entire tribe including the champion Mabu swum the most common butterfly stroke of swimming which had the arms moving in complete circles while the feet performed the kick, the girl’s act filled people with amazement. She swum in the water like a frog with her torso stiff. Both her hands were in coherence and made semi circular moments under-water while the legs folded performing a whip kick. She had the advantage of having her head out for large amounts of time which came at the cost of slower speeds. But her experiments with the currents helped her comprehend the physics of the it and she knew the direction for higher speeds. But all her moments where she planned her win, all her experiments with boo ,all the physics she learnt soon vanished once she dived. She lost all the ideas and was left only with 2 emotions ,
’HER APPETITE FOR VICTORY and HER ABHORRENCE OF DEFEAT’.
Eboo looked at the confused face of his brother and asked,“Our sister is doing well, what troubles you?” He did not respond. Eboo asked repeatedly. After few moments, Weboo hesitatingly replied, “ Nothing.” but there was some bad news coming all along. He did not anticipate his prediction going miserably wrong. The possibility of heavy downpour with windstorms was undeniable. It started raining.
Only thing Vebooni never knew was this duel she made would change her life once and for all.
To be contd…