Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Grasslands War

The lethal predators watch hungrily from their lay-by as their prey arrive, unaware of the impending danger. One foolhardy young soul from the herd notices the movement in the grasses and sets out to investigate. He draws closer...and closer...but then he suddenly realizes what he's walking into and bolts, raising the alarm. The predators have no choice but to show themselves in pursuit of their quarry. Their lithe bodies move swiftly and silently as they inexorably bear down with unerring precision on their fleeing target -- a young buffalo calf that has not been able to escape quick enough to safety. With one agile leap, the lioness takes the calf down with it into the water-hole and clamps down on its neck in the kiss of death, while the others skid in to join the feast. The calf thrashes around and fights back for all it is worth, but the overwhelming attack from all sides subdues it quickly. All it can do now is wait to die, bug-eyed, while the lioness does her deadly task.

Or so it seems. Because, suddenly, the predators have another problem on their paws. A huge mouth filled with jagged, serrated teeth lurches out of the water and grabs the calf's hindquarters and tries to drag it -- and the lions holding fast on to it -- into the murky depths. All of a sudden, we have a twisted tug of war where a pride of hungry lions does battle against two hungrier crocodiles...with a very much alive and kicking buffalo as the prize, while the rest of the herd watches in agitated helplessness as their newest member faces what seems to be certain death. After a protracted battle with much grunting and growling, the lions manage to win this one and yank the calf out of the water.

And then, another twist in the tale. Almost as if responding to some telepathic clarion call, the whole herd suddenly moves together as one huge juggernaut to free their youngest member. The hunters have become the hopelessly outnumbered hunted. The defiant lions have no choice but to leave their prey relatively unharmed and back off as the enraged buffalos storm the pride and threaten to crush them underfoot. Then again, defiance is not an option, as one unfortunate lion finds out -- he's still lingering near the calf when a huge male buffalo charges at full speed and very nearly skewers him on its horn and tosses him -- splash! -- into the water. Meanwhile, the object of this ordeal -- the little calf -- manages to find its feet and shakily rushes off into the safety of its herd. The two lions that remain are surrounded by angry half-ton beasts with lethal horns, but they still stand their ground, growling fiercely...until a cheeky fellow charges and scares them both into the water as well. The once majestic lions are reduced to a trio of disappointed, bedraggled, wet, not to mention hungry...cats, while the buffalos move off with the same leisurely pace that they arrived. Three brave warriors, however, stay back to chase the ex-predators off and eliminate any possibility of a second attempt at an attack.

Miracles do happen. As they say, the meek shall inherit the Earth. All hail the King Buffalo....


mayank said...

Reminds me of a hindi story i had read in my 8th standard book where a buffalo and a lion have a duel and the buffalo ends up winning. Completely different plot that was though.
Awesome description of the scope here. An endearing style of writing. This is how descriptive writing is supposed to be, with emphasis on detail.
Good use of appropriate vocabulary at the right places as well.

Vinayak said...

BUffalo soldier !