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 circus_elephant

“Hey Titu, what on earth are you doing here?” asked Aunt Fox. “Do you know how far you are from the place where your mother Titu is?”

Aunt Fox did not seem happy with Titu, as she knew that Titu is a carefree child of her friend Pomi.

Titu was puzzled and scared too. He told Aunt Fox that he had lost his way.

Titu’s eyes were cast down on the ground out of shame. Then he asked Aunt Fox pointing towards the black stripes. “Aunt is it anaconda lying here? Will it swallow me up?”

Aunt Fox looked at the black iron stripes and laughed at Titu’s foolishness

“It is not anaconda Titu. It’s the rail track for the trains to run on it?”

“Track for trains?” “What is a train?”

Aunt Fox was about to explain when a small squeak was heard. It was Chuchu the rat wishing aunt fox.

Aunt Fox introduced Titu and Chuchu with each other.

“Where are you coming from or going to Chuchu?”

Chuchu: “Oh Aunt! What to say, I had high time in train. Last week I went to city with some of my friends in train. We ate lots of delicious things. Some children had cheese pizza, garlic bread and peanut biscuits in their basket. Luckily it was my birthday too that day so we friends enjoyed the feast. The children found the next morning that their food was nibbled and munched.”  “We enjoyed their anger and hunger.”

Titu was listening to Chuchu’s talk with keen interest. He asked Chuchu and Aunt Fox about the train. Aunt Fox briefly told him about the train.

Titu: “Chuchu have you really traveled in a train?”

Chuchu nodded his small head proudly.

Chuchu: “I very often moved in trains sometimes alone at times with my friends. When I miss my family, I come back home. The journey in train is very exciting and thrilling. I have seen many places and eaten variety of eatables in the train.”

Titu requested Chuchu to take him too next time when he goes in a train.

Chuchu: “you—- and train—-“he looked at Aunt Fox that was also smiling at Titu’s request. Chuchu laughed sarcastically.

Titu felt insulted and asked the reason for their laugh. “What have I said so funny that both of you are laughing at me?”

Chuchu said that he only laughed at his innocence. “You are so huge in size Titu dear that you can’t get on train unnoticed or unseen”

Aunt Fox: “Chuchu is right Titu. “I also got on train sneakily, though Chuchu had warned me. I felt so excited to see hens, birds, ducks, pigeons, sparrows and quails in webbed crates with strings and cords.” I got my mouth watery to see them.”

Aunt Fox stopped and breathing deeply stared in the space.

Titu gazed aunt in waiting to know the details.

After a pause aunt fox said gloomily that she was just thinking to ask Chuchu to bite the cords so she may do justice and eat some birds. But then guessing the gestures of Aunt Fox, the ducks quacked, birds twittered, pigeons fussed, hens clucked and sparrows chirped loudly drawing the attention of the keepers.

“Before I could hide myself anywhere, the keeper hit me hard with a shaft on my back.  Though it has been years now but the pain reminds me of the incidence every year in winter. It hurts badly in winter.”

Titu: “my dear Aunt Fox you are so small in size and posture that could not stand one thrash of the stick. I am so huge and strong an elephant. So what if I am a baby elephant. Will you take me for a train ride Chuchu please?”

Titu’s constant requests compelled Chuchu to take him for a train ride.

One day a cargo train stopped far from the station.

Chuchu, his friends and Titu rushed to the spot.

Titu s somehow managed to get on the train.

Chuchu and his friends hid themselves in holes and arcs.

Fortunately Titu escaped onlookers’ eyes too.

The shrill of the honk frightened Titu but Chuchu consoled. Chuchu told Titu that honk is the signal that train is going to be in motion.

 

As the train started to run, Titu enjoyed the cool breeze, speedily passing by human beings, trees, mountains and lakes. He felt in high spirits watching everything, which he had never dreamt of.

It was new experience for him.

They heard a honk again. Chuchu told Titu that the train would slow down to be stationed. Titu felt strange why everyone looked at him in wonder. After short while people started gathering near their section. Titu felt proud and overwhelmed to see so many watching him. He thought that as he is the first elephant ever traveled in train so he’s been looked at.

Within no time the crowd scattered and uniformed men came with heavy strong ropes, chains, net and a crane. Titu did not know what was to come next when he was grabbed, tied with ropes, chained and loaded in a gigantic truck. The truck moved to one direction leaving the onlookers amused and confused at the same time.

 

It was the third day of Titu’s disappearance. His mother Pomi had searched everywhere but failed to find him. It made her very sad and heartbroken. One day, she was weeping silently in a thicket of trees when she heard a familiar voice. Aunt Fox was asking Sardar Trumpet the head of elephants, about Titu’s mother, Pomi.

Sardar Trumpet advised her not to disturb Pomi, as she is below worried due to her lost son Titu.

When Pomi heard Titu’s name she could not resist so she moved forward to know what Aunt Fox knew about Titu.

Aunt Fox said that she knows where Titu is, that is why she is looking for Pomi.

Pomi was so fearful that she almost jolted Aunt Fox.

Pomi: “Aunt Fox, please tell me, where is my dear son. What do you know about him?” Where did you see him?  “How is he?”  “How can I get to him?”

Aunt Fox gasping deeply warned Pomi to move away as she crushed her ribs.

Aunt Fox told Pomi that her son Titu is hundreds of miles far away from the place where they were now. Moreover Titu is in custody of human beings.

Pomi was shocked. “He is a prisoner of humans?”  “How did Titu get into their custody?”

Aunt fox got annoyed of Pomi for asking so many questions all at the same time.

Aunt Fox said: “if you really want to know about him then have patience and let me explain.”

Aunt Fox related the whole story of how she met Titu and how Titu went in a train with the Rat Chuchu.  She warned Titu not to board the train. Even Chuchu asked Titu not to, but Titu did not pay any heed to it.

continued

On the other hand the passengers were curious to know the reason of this redundant stoppage of the train. Some popped out their necks from their windows to see the reason. But it was pitch dark and foggy so none could understand. Some thought burglars broke into the train. Loads of rumors spread among the passengers. One of the passengers who were looking out of the window saw Sadiq Hussein with a torch so he thinking it was the guard asked him, “What’s wrong Sir?” Why is the train not moving? Aren’t we getting late?  Moreover we can’t see any station close by or any reason of this halt.”  Sadiq Hussein was already troubled so he in firm and sternly voice asked the passenger to better shut his window. The passenger felt something weird in his tone so instantly he closed his window. Within no time Sadiq Hussein got on board and accelerating the speed of the train covered time lost. Hence was able to reach station on exact time. The moment the train came to a halt, Ashraf Ahmed got down the train shivering with freezing cold. The train stopped there for ten minutes.  Ashraf desperately wanted to sip a hot cup of tea. So he hurried towards the tea stall. After Ashraf descended the tomcat also jumped down.  But the tomcat did not land on the platform. He vanished. And a tall strong sturdy man wrapped in a blanket was seen walking on the platform. Some of the passengers also went to tea stall to kill the chill. Some opted for peanuts and chips etc.  That strange man looked aimlessly here and there. He saw a compartment which was open. He and got into it. It seemed as if    he was looking for that particular compartment.  He looked around then he sat on the floor with his face hidden in the blanket. Some part of his face and nose was visible only. He seemed to a labor from his appearance so no passenger took any notice of him. The compartment next to the one he tomcat sat in was reserved for a group of people going for a wedding ceremony.  Number of people tried to get into that compartment but they were all held back as it was reserved. The people in that bogie were divided into groups of friends. Each group enjoyed chatting singing and playing indoor games. It was decided that no one will sleep that night. And whoever tried to sleep was compelled to be awake and enjoy the company and party. Girls played the drums   so the drum beats didn’t let anyone sleep peacefully. They were having great fun together. A boy was on duty to check if anyone was sleeping and report. The elder and aged members like bride groom’s uncles and aunts were in a separate section of that compartment. Tales and life stories and experiences were shared among them. One of them suggested sharing any mind-boggling experience with any mystic being or jinn. Furqan Mamu was the first to share not one only but two genuine incidents.  He said he is the eye witness of those events. Akbar the groom overheard their talk. He was very fond of such stories. So when he heard that elders were sharing stories of jinns he left the young world and sat with elders. He asked Furqan Mamu, “Mamu have you seen jinns?” Furqan Mamu told Akbar that he has not seen them but heard their voices too. Furqan Mamu started, “I was in Aligarh and was about fourteen years of age. There was a pious old man named Sufi Amjad Hussein in our locality. He used to wake up people for morning prayers. He knocked every door with his staff calling the owner by name loudly asking him to wake up. He didn’t move forward unless someone answered back to him that they are all awake. He was well aware of those who prayed regularly. Those who were not practicing Muslims got irritated but out of respect didn’t mind and covering their heads inside their quilts slept again. . Sufi Amjad Hussein faced trouble in waking up Dr.Tariq for Dr. Tariq loved sleeping where ever and whenever he got a chance to sleep. He could easily go to sleep while sitting, while checking the pulse rate of his patients. Patient thought that doctor is too concerned about his health. He didn’t realize that Dr.Tariq felt snoozing. It was only known when his hands dropped from the patient’s pulse and when he started snoring. His snoring echoed in the street. to be continued


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