Book 1: Page 46

Our journey mutated in to a misadventure and nurtured our friendship in to a lifelong bond. I understood whom I could trust and whom I should have not cared for.

I was all patched up but something was just not right. I could feel a lot of pain in my abdomen, a little to the right, the exact place where that bear had punctured. It was necessary to visit a doctor, a sense of discomfort lingered in my walk. Being a small town my uncle knew almost all the good doctors. A visit would have proved terminal for our covenant. So I decided to bear the pain and apply the ointment instead.

Book 1: Page 45

Akshay: You are right. We have exploited all the resources available to us. You suffer because of us. We are responsible and now you must share our responsibility. Shower us with your compassion. You are the captain; you are the machismo of Dehradoon. This is your exploitation and our ‘Spoilt Brats Exploitation Program’.

Their persuasion was futile. I had made my decision not on vague arguments put forward by the group. I signed the covenant because Akshay wanted me to sign it. This was to be my last covenant. I promised myself that I would never get myself into such a situation in the future. No lies for my family anymore. The last covenant signed and christened   “Spoilt Brats Exploitation Program” (SBxP).

Book 1: Page 41, Para 1

I pushed an iron rod into the bear’s mouth. The beast couldn’t withstand my power and backtracked. The jeep jolted to a start and these two were probably going to run away (he gave Keshav and Sahib a disenchanted glance) without you. It could have been unintentional also. Perhaps, Keshav pressed the gas incidentally with his trembling foot. I was going to pounce at him from the trunk itself but somehow you managed to hold on to the hind bar of the boot and he (Akshay pointed at Keshav) dragged you along for some distance. In fact he dragged you till you actually became unconscious and let go off the jeep. He stopped only when I screamed at him from the last bunk.

Book 1: Page 37, Para 2

Though it seemed to be a simple cast iron rod but it had the strength of true friendship. Both of its ends were fixed. The one nearer to my face was thrusting into the bear’s jaw, while the other was held into place by a knight. A knight with his broad shoulders and tensed brows stood upright between me and my decease. Akshay hadn’t given up on me. He looked me in the eyes and then again at the bear. With all the force that he could summon he pushed towards the bear and jumped out of the jeep. As the bear moved back, its claws withdrew from my abdomen

.bearattackAaahh…!”  I bled like a slaughtered bore. The exit of those paws was even more painful than their entry. If you ask me whether it was bear’s right hand that came out first or the left, I would not be able to recall. But I do remember that a pound of flesh from below my right lung was in its grip. Not only did he move away with an iron rod in his mouth but also a part of me. A muscle that I think ended up as a fertilizer for the forest or food for the ants or a memento for the bear. Akshay’s face was red and then it turned maroon and then an even darker shade of… till it finally became a black spot. My senses could make out a metal piece a handle perhaps. And I gripped my hand around it, although my arms were too eager to break off from the rest of the body. This was my last conscious decision before I fainted.

Book 1: Page 37, Para 1

Ah…hmmm… Err…” the pain was in my arms. I don’t know what part of its body pierced mine. Each drop of blood that leaked from my wounds anguished my entire circulatory system. “Ahh… God…!” my face had become wet by then. It smelt like the bear, tasted like tears and dripped like sweat. It was an awful time to realize the origin of the term ‘Bear hug’. An expression of love and affection had turned into slow poison. The affliction should have shunned my senses by then but it lasted a minute too long and a view of the beast from the inside was on offer. Before my last breaths were to leave my body I thought I might as well see what God had to offer in the name of death? So I paid attention to what was in front of my eyes. The bear was not enormous. He was just mad. And there was something in his mouth.

Book 1: Page 36, Para 1

Akshay had found his way right behind me. He had also managed to drag in the tent (although not as neatly as I would have liked.) He was just behind me (always watching my back). Akshay could sense that Keshav was shaking. He would have never gotten us out of there. So Akshay zipped to the front seat and levered the hand brake. In the commotion it slipped my mind that Akshay wasn’t watching my back anymore. So as I leaned forward with my lower abdomen outstretched to get Sahib into the jeep something happened. Something I could have never imagined Sahib doing. He… he stepped on my face. I could not maintain my balance and fell face first on the ground. All my worst fears had come alive. Everyone was on the jeep except me. Keshav was ready to press the accelerator any moment. Akshay was sitting next to the driver’s seat and reassuring him that we would make it; we…this ‘we’ did not include me. I was down on the ground betrayed by Sahib.

Book 1: Page 35

Even if I would have taken the driving wheel my hands wouldn’t have moved. I could have never pressed the accelerator or guided the car out of the forest. So it was safer and wiser for me to take a spot on the rear seat. At that moment of bravery I was not to be seen or heard. I just wished that all of them would make it in time. Keshav started the engine and my hopes were at an all time high. I could see that god was on our side.


It was Sahib not to my surprise. He was crying. He chose to scream. Very few would have done something else in his shoes. I hopped to the bunk of the car. My hands reached for Sahib’s shoulders. I was going to try and pull him into the jeep. He wasn’t listening to my cries.

Come on Sahib! Give a push. This is it. Go for it. I am here. I won’t let you go.

I expected him to jump into the open back of our jeep. He could easily have done it, for he was the tallest among us all. I wanted him to make it, he had to make it.

Book 1: Page 34, Para 2

We had not got a chance to unwind and most of our time had been spent on erecting the tent, therefore our luggage was still packed. Keshav and I quickly picked all four bags and tossed them onto the back of the jeep. It is amusing to look back at our actions, how even in the jaws of death I wouldn’t part with my clothes. The jerseys, the gloves, the jackets, the mufflers (the most beautiful part of any ensemble), counting all these exclusive clothes which I had collected over the years it never occurred to me that my shoes were still in the tent. A heartache ripped me apart at the bereavement.

You never liked them in the first place.”

More importantly my shoe size would have definitely increased one day and risking my life for the pair of shoes would have been dumb.

Book 1: Page 34, Para 1

Why are you still standing? Someone start the car damn it!!”

There are some particular times in a person’s life when the mind goes numb and that was one such moment. I very vividly remember that my first confrontation with an animal in the wild was not at all encouraging. Sorry brother I actually peed on the same tree where it was looking for food!!” this was the most dim-witted reason to be attacked by a wild animal. Then again it struck me that animals are hyper sensitive to odours of body fluids which they often use to mark their territory. It appeared that our dear Sahib had just crossed it’s territory. Prior to that incident, I believed the bear to be a benign creature that never attacked a human, but I was wrong. Neither a tiger nor a lion, not even a wolf but a bear came for us.

Book 1: Page 33 para 1

Ah… run…it is coming…” those words were enough to trigger a sense of panic in the forest. I turned to see in the direction of the shriek. Sahib was running as hard as he could towards us. For a moment I thought it was a hoax to scare me. Perhaps, it was an attempt to check my wit and grit. But on closer observation I could also make out something else in the background. I could hear something else.

What is that?

No one cared to answer and the land under my feet froze. “A mammal of the family Ursidae having a massive body, coarse fur, relatively short limbs, and an almost rudimentary tail.” this is the description you will find in the tenth edition of the Concise English Dictionary. However in the forest this definition does not hold good. What was visible was a pair of canines bigger than my forearms. The shadow was a dark clumsy cloud of vengeance. I had never heard of any tale in which such a fierce animal attacked a man. Perhaps no one ever survived to tell the city dwellers that even a peaceful vegetarian creature can attack a bunch of school kids.

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