The Sunderban Tides – The third tide

Where everybody is a somebody

On our first afternoon after a heavy lunch, a few of us braved a walk in the hot sun around the island of Phakirali. When I look back now I realise that we barely walked a kilometer. But with the afternoon sun boring right through our being it seemed like a fairly long time.

We were only too grateful when we stopped for a water melon break.  Mowgli got to the task of  selecting a ripe melon and chatting up the shop keeper in Bangala. Not being entirely productive by staring at the melons, the rest of wandered around. We passed a narrow lane and walked on to a jetty. What a picture perfect place. Between us we could have easily clicked about fifty pictures of the water.

Shortly Mowgli called out to us and under the shade of the shop we hungrily ate our melons. I sure was a sloppy eater. Had  I not stopped to wipe the juice that dripped down on to my new tee I would not have noticed what happened next and maybe not felt ashamed.

Mowgli walked to the narrow path leading to the jetty with a slice of watermelon  in hand. He bent down as if he  kneeling in front of some thing. The object of his genuflection  was out of my line of vision. When he returned there was no water melon in hand.I assumed it was some island god to whom he had made an offering.

I gobbled my remaining melon taking care to let the juice run free of my tee. To my right Elizabeth was still eating hers and she was doing it very cleanly. How in the world did she manage it?   While I waited for the rest to finish I took my camera and walked down the narrow path to the jetty. I knew it would be a good shot to capture the water melon offering in front of the island Goddess. Frankly I did not take Mowgli to be the religious types.

No sooner had I reached the place of the offering, I closed my camera lens and  quietly walked back to my place in the shade.

Four of us had walked down the path to the jetty. Yet we four missed a skinny  elderly man with  tattered clothes and unkept hair  who camouflaged into the surroundings.  The only thing that gave him away when I walked the path again was the water melon in his hand.

Well this is the Sunderbans, here everybody is a somebody.

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