An obstinate old man and an obstinate old tiger (Part-IV)[Continued from An obstinate old man and an obstinate old tiger (Part-III)]
Next morning. The old man and Mongru were moving through the forest.
Mongru: Burha-Baba, have you gone crazy? What are you planning to do with your rifle?
Old man: Whmm….
Mongru: Why are you so silent? Are you going to kill that tiger?
Old man: Let me see.
Mongru: Don't you know it came last night near your tent? That is not a tiger. It is the representative of Jungle-God Mowli. Nobody can kill it.
Old man: Mongru, you talk too much. Be silent in the forest. Now go back. I have kept a letter in my tent. When someone visits from Raipur, hand it over to him.
Mongru: And what about you? When will you return? I will wait for you.
Old man: No, don't wait for me. The world never waits. Life never waits. Live your life. Live your life in this beautiful land. Don't leave this beautiful country.
Mongru: I don't understand what you say. I will wait for you in your tent.
Old man: Mongru, go back. Life is calling you. Don't wait.
In the lovely winter morning, the old man moved through the forest. The sun was shining brightly. The fog disappeared. The forest was now relatively silent. Harhad river was flowing merrily. It seemed that the river was merrily dancing like the beautiful Gond girls dancing during their 'parab'. The old man was feeling good. After long last, he got rid of his boredom. After long last, he was going to complete his final task. He was going to meet a real tiger-not a feeble, domesticated tiger in the zoo.
No, what was he thinking? Because of this tiger, he could not save his beloved wife. He could not take her to the hospital. He had to take revenge. He kept his rifle in ready position.
The old man came out of the jungle. As soon as he came out and stood in front of the small hillock, the tiger noticed him. He felt good. The tiger was also suffering from boredom. Every man was afraid of him. Every animal was afraid of him. Even other tigers avoided him. But now, in this fine morning, a real man was coming to meet him.
No, what was he thinking? How could a weak, two-legged animal dare to come near his den? His muscles stiffened. He slowly started coming down.
The man started moving upwards very carefully. He took special care near the big boulders. He felt good. But the morning breeze smelt death. It could be felt by the old hunter-it could be felt by the big tiger.
The birds were silent. The monkeys and the langoors became silent. They were waiting for the encounter with bated breath.
The big boulder was lying on the path. The man reached just below it. Life and death started playing hide and seek.
The man carefully moved. Immediately the tiger pounced upon him. The old man could not completely move away. He moved sideways. He could fire only one round. The bullet reached its destination. His last shot found its mark.
The big tiger landed on him. The wounded tiger struck the man with his powerful paw. His last strike.
Birds started chirping. Monkeys started chirping. A real man and a real tiger were lying side by side like friends on the ground of this beautiful land.