The suburban area that I live in is flooded all around. Everywhere I go, any road I take is now a few feet underwater. The streets that I used to fly through in high speeds on bikes are now filled with boats. If water levels rose a little more, the ground floor of my house will be all under. Still, I'm enjoying life.
I have mentioned in my previous posts that I love hunting. The gun laws being so strict here has denied me from the pleasure of owning a gun. So I resort to more primitive techniques. As a kid, I used slingshots and airguns for hunting. I know, I know. It’s a bit cringe to call myself a hunting enthusiast when Ive never even used a proper gun in a live and very much real scenario, but my blood still does not lie. What people see in goose, duck, and deer is beauty and nature, while all I see is something to be hunted. An inherently darker line of thinking, yet it is all genuine and honest.
As a 10-year-old kid, I started my first business. A business where the product was hunted preys, and I sold them for marbles and steel ball bearings : V. It began in a fashion that is quite a bit opportunistic yet funny.
So, I was ten years old. Almost every day I went out to hunt birds and squirrels. Whenever I went on such trips tgat took 4-5 hours, I had at least two of my friends or my cousin with me at all times. A few kilometers away from my home is a big forest filled with bamboo, mahogany, and so many other big trees names of which I do not know. It was filled with beautiful little creatures, and I was their doom. All those shenanigans seem silly nowadays. But my golden memories lie in there, in those days of future past.
The priest/preacher/imam of our mosque then was a tediously short and fat little guy who dabbled in natural medicines. His specialty was producing potions for pregnant women. Something that induced labor, or helped with a belly ache and all that. Almost like a native Indian shaman, and he had taken me as an apprentice. Because most of his potion needed one essential ingredient to be effective. And that element was the head of a tiny little bird called Sparrow. A bird very cute and fluffy but so small that my projectiles were even bigger than their heads.
The Imam had offered me around 10 cents in USD per head, which was a considerable amount for a kid from a developing country. But I agreed only on one condition. That he had to buy all of them, no matter how many I bring, he had to buy them all. And he agreed.
So a bit of context here is necessary. Most of the countries situated in equatorial regions and that are closer to the sea, are prone to tropical storms. Storms hit them mostly in summer times due to the formation of low-pressure depression zones in the warm sea waters. Bangladesh is also such a country. So, every year, we get hit by countless hurricanes of category 2-4 from April to June.
The thing is, morning is the best time to hunt almost anything from fishing to big games. So, my twelve-year-old cousin, after we got our first order, went out with our slingshots just before daybreak. Two to three hundred marbles in our pockets, a swiss army knife and some cookies . The making of an adventure of a lifetime.
I didn’t have a watch, but the clock might have been hitting five when we reached there, to The Forrest. Sky was cloudy, and so the visibility was a little less. Kids do have better vision and hearing, so we could hear all the birds and see the bird nests. Countless squirrels, other birds, and small animals, but no sparrows could be seen. We had taken some rice grains to bait the birds; still, no sparrows seem to come out. The thing is, I didn’t remember back then that sparrows live closer to humans than in the trees, like in the ventilation systems of buildings and such. But that one mistake of messing up the method almost cost us our lives that day.
Within 15 munites of waiting, the sky got even darker. It started to feel like nightfall as it got even more cloudy, and then the winds began. Two kids, alone in a forest when a storm is ramming the trees almost like if the Trojan War between the greek gods had broke loose. I can remember nothing this scary if I look back now.
We took shelter under a big tree log, still got drenched, and was cold, shivering. Thunder striking all around, the sound of big trees getting uprooted in the wind almost giving us heart attacks, but we didn’t get injured by any of it. I knew if we didn’t get warm as fast as possible, we would catch pneumonia.
I had this bag with me to carry all the dead birds, and just before the rain had started, my subconscious forced me to fill it with dry leaves and branches. As the storm blew over, using the flint that came along with the Swiss knife, we got a little fire going.
As everything got more quieter as the water droplets falling from leaves too had stopped, we got out of there. And then the true extent of the devastation the storm had caused revealed itself in front of us. So many trees that stood high just moments ago were now on the ground. Countless birds and small animals dead or gravely wounded. For the next hour or so, we got out as many of them as we could from under trees branches, in a way that resembles the UN humanitarian missions a little too much.
We both got the beating of a lifetime after we came back to our home, empty-handed. Later on, I hunted so many sparrows and sold them to the Imam, but that day had taught me to respect nature. Only take what you need and leave the rest for who or what comes next. But in the end, it was one hell of an experience, something to hold on to for an eternity.