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Goodbye

Nothing Beastly About It is going on a beastly break for about a year and will be back at some point this century with a whole horde of monstrous new stories, which will curl your blood, wobble your knees and twist the happy cells in your heart.  Till then, a big shout out thank you to folks in over 64 countries for reading and writing-in to tell me how much you loved these little stories of mine.  If you are new to this site, do trawl through the 100 odd beastly tales. Their wicked wisdom may be just what you need on a day when the universe feels a bit iffy.

Hope all you creatures out there have a superbly beastly 2016.

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So Long And Thanks For All The

dolphin01

 

The dolphins had decided to leave earth. Finally. It was the honking that got to them. Bowriders, Pontoons, Trawlers, Cruisers, Deck Boats and even dinghies had horns. Loud, piercing, ocean-peace shattering monsters carved out of gaudy-coloured plastic. Biology was of no help, as the dolphins could hear a rather impressively huge range of frequencies from 20 HZ to 20 Khz. The misery of having a ear 7 times more sensitive than a human one was acutely and unhappily felt by them.

Their plan was simple, relocate to another planet where there were no human beings. They had found a vast number of such beautiful land masses and were quite spoilt for choice. Finally, they decided on Kepler 22B because the blue of its ocean mirrored the drifting cerulean waters of the earth. Yes, they were going to miss home but their spacebubble, Absolute Darkness, the only thing in the universe faster than light was ready.

Before they left as a parting gift they gobbled every single squid in the ocean. Why you may ask? Why did the most intelligent, articulate, altruistic creature on earth devour every single cellaphod of the order Teuthida. A whim? Perhaps not considering what followed.

After the squid disappeared with the dolphins, the whales and the seals died of starvation. This led to the balance of the oceans being disturbed.  There weren’t valiums large enough to placate such a humungous volume of agitation and the oceans poured their angry frustration into creating crests higher than skyscrapers, which tornadoed into the nearby land  gobbling up everything that stood on terra firma with mountains of water.

The flooding killed all the small creatures on earth including the bees, which performed 80% of the pollination in the world. To give you an idea on how busy the bees actually are, a single bee can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. However, when the waters came, the bees went without a buzz. They didn’t even get customary watches to commemorate so many years of faithful service.

The death of the bees was the beginning of decline for mankind. A paucity of food led to wars between a population of many. Unfortunately, some of these fighters had nukes at their fingertips, which first they dangled as a warning, then dropped as a lesson.

Everybody who died, if given a chance, would have agreed on one thing. The end was a magnificent sight, an intense bright flash, followed by a glowing fireball whose heat burnt the skin of bodies and silenced minds engineered to escape.

When that time wrap of intense suffering paused, all that was left on earth were a few, bright, red plastic horns, glinting obscenely in the sun, amidst the blackness of absolute destruction.  Luckily, there was nobody to press them.

Moral: Everything comes to an End.

The dolphin is drawn by the fabulous Bijoy Venugopal. You can find more of his wonderful stuff here bijoyvenugopal.com

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How To Bite Back Fate

turkey001

 

Gallopavo shivered and his 6000 feathers created a gentle rustle in the air. The still, icy cold, blue-black sky spilled around, an ominous highway on which death rode. He knew in his heart what he had heard was true. In 7 days he was going to be turkey or more precisely stuffed Christmas turkey (He was already turkey, in fact, born turkey) (How many turkeys can you use in a sentence?)

Seven days to death. He slumped down and rubbed his snood on the frozen snow. Brrr cold. Before the first bout of depression hit him, he perked up, gobble-gobbled a bit and a goofy smile surged into his eyes with the hope of life. Deaths scratched his head, puzzled.

The first thing Gallopavo did was find a cookbook. He quickly turned the page to ‘Turkey’ and began to read with a serious fog of concentration, which even the clucking hens couldn’t penetrate. The fruits that went best with turkey were oranges, lemon, cranberries, apricots, prunes and grapes. The herbs were celery, rosemary, thyme, garlic and sage.

He spent the next seven days eating these ingredients, which made his body the yummiest dish on the dining table. He chewed with the dedication of a fanatic. Slowly his flesh, blood and bones began to acquire the flavour of a traditional christmas turkey.

When they wrung his neck he was chewing a piece of ginger and sucking on a broken bit of honey comb for added flavour. The man in the farm made Gallopavo the way his mother always did. The recipe had come down in their family for 200 years.

He served it on a silver carving tray. The family said their prayers and he got to work. As he carved the first piece of meat, the aroma, which gently wafted into the room announced to the hungry guests what they were about to taste was something spectacular.

In complete silence, all of them chewed on one unbelievable mouthful after another. After the tray was wiped clean and the bones were sucked spotless they found their voices. ‘This is the best turkey, I have had in 94 years’, ‘What’s the recipe, you must share?’, ‘I am vegetarian and I couldn’t resist a bite’, ‘My son, you are a better cook than me’.

The man smiled a vague, shaky bourbon smile, unsure about why the compliments were pouring in. He had made the turkey the usual way. Of course, nobody in their wildest imagination would have thought the best chef in this cook was the bird they just gorged on.

He never made a roast like that ever again. As for Gallopavo, though nobody knew his name, nobody forgot his taste as long as they lived.

Moral: When you get a bad hand of cards, play for fun.

Gallopavo is drawn by the fabulous Bijoy Venugopal. You can find more of his wonderful stuff here bijoyvenugopal.com

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How To Work Towards Laziness

 

Sloth

The ciliate, moth, beetle, fungus and algae held on to dear life. They were moving again. This was too much. When they had found a warm sloth slumped on a tree they quickly assumed his body would be their immovable planet for the rest of their lives. Dream on creatures.

Bradypod didn’t know it but he was mirroring the exact irritation the lifeforms snuggled in his fur were feeling. When he was a baby he was on a sprawling Cercopia tree in the National Park of Paraguay. There, he turned a year old and was getting used to a life of sloth, eating little, defecating once a week and generally not moving much when they put him in a cage and shifted him 3552 kilometres away to the National Park of Columbia.

Though it was highly uncomfortable and caused him a great deal of inconvenience, he found another umbrella-shaped Cercopia tree and settled down thinking he would live out his years here in relative inactivity. Hah! At the end of the year, he heard the leaf picker at the park tell the rock polisher, the sloth was now going to be shifted 1534 kilometres away to the National Park of Peru.

Deeply resenting this constant movement he entered Peru determined to stay here for the rest of his life. He knew his natural laziness couldn’t accommodate another journey. The trouble in each place, which turned his life upside down seemed to be the same – a lack of funds. Logically, he came to the conclusion once the funds moved in, he could stay put.

He wondered how to be a part of the booming Peruvian economy. He had to have something that sells. One evening from the elevated perch of his branch he saw some school kids laughing at the antics of a monkey. Eureka! When a monkey perfroms monkey tricks, it’s entertaining but what happens when a sloth does the same?

The next day Bradypod waited for the first visitors to arrive at the park. Once he made sure they spotted him he began his show. He scratched his armpit with his three-toed, four-inch claws, peeled a banana delicately, scratched his nose, made monkey faces, pulled out a beetle from his fur and ate it with slurping nosies.

The visitors were thrilled, charmed and blown away by his range of unslothful activities. Phones were flashed and recordings were made. Youtube, Twitter, Facebook celebrated the birth of a new star. The citizens of the world poured into the National Park of Peru to see with their own eyes a sloth who behaved like a monkey.

In three months he was called a national treasure. In six he was the highest earning entertainer in the entire country. After a year, when he stopped his antics, impulsively overnight, nobody minded. They claimed he had grown old and let him retire with the full honours of a national hero. Needless to say, he spent the rest of his life setting new standards to being slothful.

Moral: You have to do some monkey tricks to get a good retirement

Bradypod is drawn by the fabulous Bijoy Venugopal. You can find more of his wonderful stuff here bijoyvenugopal.com

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A Killer Aphrodisiac

SwiftLee

The old man lost his 134th girlfriend to a whim (Hers not his). Till now he had drunk 154 bird nest soups and was firmly convinced this was the reason why in his 67th year he was still considered the most dangerous casanova around the seven-hill region. Legend had it he just needed to look you in the eye and you would follow him home. Women were warned to flee when they saw the jaunty bobbing of his pigtail approaching them.

It wasn’t just humans who considered this lover of extraordinary mettle a cad better destroyed. Fuciphagus hated him with the violence of the oppressed. He was a birdie who could fly 169 km/hr and there was no need for him to fear humans. However, his two eggs were stationary. Pale, white, non-glossy they would sit in their nests made of his saliva, waiting for that perfect biological moment to hatch. His mate would be looking at him with one adoring eye (The other firmly kept on her precious to-be offsprings) when that pigtail bandit would make an appearance.

With the shameless authority of the unworthy he would snatch the nest, not even registering the heartbreak of the squawking, circling parents and march towards his home. Once, Fuciphagus had followed him to see where he was taking the blood of his bones.

As soon as he reached home, pigtail threw the eggs into the bin, callously, not even registering his cruelty and very deftly dropped the nest into boiling water. Now, Fuciphagus had made this nest with a lot of hard work. His own saliva had been spun into a white, translucent 6cm by 1.5 cm nest, which weighed 14 grams. To see this labour of love dissolve into a white, viscous liquid was devastating.

Pigtail drank the soup, left home and returned with a girl. This murderous pattern was played in loop. The girls would never stay more than two days. Fuciphagus, who was monogamous, didn’t get the fuss behind having a different sweetheart every second day and that too, a new mate at the cost of his lineage. He had so far lost 154 nests to this man’s lascivious nature and 308 of his babies had been murdered even before they hatched.

His agonised mate laid her 155th batch of eggs and told him in a whisper choked with defeat, fear and exhaustion she wouldn’t be able to go on this way. He nodded. His heart had exploded in his body into a million pieces and was piercing him with the sadness of loss. He had to do something.

He began weaving a new nest with strands of saliva. Half-way through, he paused, shut his eyes tight, turned his head and with his beak pulled out two-three fine feathers. Ouch! Thank god birds don’t have to wax. Dexterously, the fine hair was woven into the saliva nest.

As soon as the eggs were laid pigtail appeared, his eyes glittering with the promise of lust. He snatched the nest, marched home and dropped it into a cauldron of boiling water. Soup made from the swift’s nest was considered the most powerful aphrodaisiac known to man. He smacked his lips for there was a new lady in town he wanted to try his magic on. She had the pale beauty of the untouched.

Once the soup was ready he greedily slurped it down. Midway through the bowl, two very fine feathers got stuck in his throat and choked him to death. 23 days later, the lady continued on her virtuous path, never straying and Mrs and Mr Swift welcomed their first set of babies. Raah, raah, raah!

Moral: To hurt is not the prerogative of the strong.

Fuciphagus is drawn by the fabulous Bijoy Venugopal. You can find more of his wonderful stuff here bijoyvenugopal.com

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The Friend Who Never Left

Wolf

Mama licked the fetal sac off Lupus’s head and he saw the world for the first time. Or more precisely he saw Mr Moon. With a calmness born of many deliveries she gnawed at the placenta till it was dangling free of Lupus’s body and wolfed it down. She wouldn’t be able to hunt for some time and nutrients were a must to survive.

Lupus didn’t even notice his mom snacking on parts of himself. He was still staring at the beautiful, yellow orb shining down on him with a doubt-dispelling radiance. Nothing else he would see in the world would ever compare to that first sighting.

In twelve weeks he began hunting with the pack. He had already forgotten the 63 days of darkness in his mother’s body where he slowly formed. It felt as if he had been only in this world. The new experiences of life hit him with a dizzying force. At times, he felt the knowledge the world had to offer was limitless and he would never be able to know even as much as his big brother.

In this time of insecurity and aloneness, the only friend he had was the one he spotted first – Mr Moon. When he would run with the pack at night, Mr Moon would anxiously peer outside a cloud, uncovering a neatly laid trap. How proud Lupus felt when he pointed out to his Papa, the yawning jaws of a snare whose brutal metal teeth lay in wait to maim the appendages essential for freedom.

Once when the pack faced the harshest winter of their lives and were close to eating each other’s hearts, Mr Moon urged Lupus to follow his fading light. At the end of night on a road without map Mr Moon showed him the carcass of a gigantic whale who had lost his way in water and crashed into land. How Lupus had howled that night telling his clan he had found food, his voice breaking with exhaustion and the sheer relief of knowing they would all live to see another winter.

When the casanova entered their pack and mated with his lady of interest he slumped down and shed the tears of his aching heart into a nearby lake. After some time he looked up, unhappiness clinging to his fur and he saw Mr Moon nestled on the water, gently eating his tears.

Often Lupus wished Mr Moon lived on earth. It would be great for them to hang out by the rocks, hunt in the woods, be casanovas for one season and finally settle with their mate in one pack. The time on earth Lupus hated most were the new moon nights, when his friend seemed to have completely disappeared.

On those days, Lupus would do nothing but wait on the highest hill for his friend to emerge from the blackness which seemed to have swallowed him. On the first sighting of Mr Moon he would yelp with joy and life would come back to its beautiful normalcy.

Some nights he would do nothing but look at his friend and yowl his love for him. All his tenderness would be poured into a tunnel of sound projected at the sky. The entire forest would listen to this howl of friendship between wolf and moon and feel so alone in their hearts, they would wish and wish for that one friend who would take away the loneliness, which walks hand-in-hand with life.

Moral: Friendship isn’t about physical proximity

Lupus is drawn by the fabulous Bijoy Venugopal. You can find more of his wonderful stuff here bijoyvenugopal.com

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The Green Gangstah

rastahopper

Caelifera loved weed. Not the kind you would pull out of the earth muttering about their asinine stubbornness to not die but the sorts you would pop into a leaf, roll into a fine tube and smoke sweet heaven in slow mouthfuls.

Nobody knew when the habit developed but one day Caelifera was found sprawled on a rock, doing some chill-umm. Since then, every day, you would find him at 11 sharp hitting the hippie lettuce.

He knew where to source the sweetest, headiest, sharpest and most intoxicating of dojas. In this way a year passed and he found himself as the ganja expert of the forest. The other animals began relying on his expertise. If the badger was holding a rave, he would scamper up to Caelifera and ask where the best kief was available to make some yummy hashisha cakes.

Or if a heron was feeling particularly low she would swoop down to Caelifera and enquire where the juciest doobie was floating. Sometimes, when the hunters would come, a line of distraught animals who escaped would make their way towards Caelifera’s rock begging for the oblivion of pain the plant gave.

Caelifera was not greedy about his knowledge and shared it with a generosity of a rasta. All day long he smoked reefers, gave advice on where to procure the best weed and crooned some Bob Marley (Yes, he knew it was outdated but Bob was his brotha). He even stopped having a bath and the hair on his femur slowly matted.

The drug dealers got to know. First they tried to woo him covertly, smoking stuff near him. Seduced by the smell he would often ask for a toke. If it was really good he would tell the addict population of the forest. Sales would treble without paying a penny in advertising.

It came to such a state where no animal would smoke a spliff without checking with Caelifera first. He was the mover and shaker of the forest and could break a dealer by a shake of his head.

One day, two dealers came at the same time. One was a horrible hyena and the other a terrible tapir. Both of them had grown copious amounts of cheeba at the north and south end of the woods and were desperate to sell.

Each had twenty bags to get rid of ASAP. Rumour was the forest was going to be raided by the monkey patrol. Caelifera smoked both of them taking his own sweet time. At the end of the second smoke he pronounced the south one better. Much better

Immediately, the hyena opened his nasty jaws and swallowed the grasshopper. Each dealer started yelling ‘He said mine is the best, he said mine is the best.’ The addicts waited and waited but they didn’t hear Caelifera’s voice. He was done grass-hopping

Moral: If you are powerful you need protection.

Caelifera is drawn by the fabulous Bijoy Venugopal. You can find more of his wonderful stuff here bijoyvenugopal.com