"Yippee! A camel ride for free! Raju bhaiyya, you are so kind" said Rinky, thanking the camel guy.
"Aren't camels supposed to be in deserts, their natural habitat?" asked her curious elder brother Sohan.
"Well, I already feel like I am in a desert," chuckled Raju, the camel guy, wiping sweat off his head from the day's hard work.
"Me too. Man sure knows how to convert a perfectly good beach into a desert," thought the camel..
Blue sky reminds me of my affinity towards the blue. In my place all we can see are the blue sky and earth. Once again, I guide my customers from Kunnampara point to the secluded beach.
He has marked them. I see him signal his friends behind the trees. He feeds them drugged peanuts and his friends take them away. He makes money out of this.
Am I guilty? Yes. I do it for the soft hay he feeds me. I do it for him. I believe my bactrian God shall forgive me on the grounds of loyalty.
There he flies in the sky, people sitting on him yelling and screaming, holding tight.
People in parachutes and gliders admiringly looked at him for he was the only Camel who could fly.
"10 minutes. Ride over, kids. 30 Rs per head!" the guy was loud enough to interrupt the Camel's dream.
Still the Camel was happy, as were the kids. They had enjoyed the ride.
But the guy, as usual, was sad after counting the money.
The Camel thought: 'Poor guy is always sad. I wish he could fly like me. I never see him in my dreams.'.
Raman sits on his haunches, looking anxiously for fares on the beach.
It has been two days in a row that he hasn't earned a rupee.
Just then a few children come running, wanting to ride.
The cost puts them off. They stand there, hoping for a free ride. Seeing their expectant faces, he gives them a ride.
Hearing their joyful laughter, he feels happy.
The day ebbs; Raman is walking dejectedly, a car passes him and a plastic bag falls out.
Raman quickly picks it up. There is enough food in it to last three days..
I am tired of this job. The scorching sun, the endless wait, the painstaking walk up and down the sweltering beach, the stink of the sea... enough!! I have heard that the new restaurant in town needs attendants. As I look up to see the bobbing heads atop the gentle beast, I notice a tiny hand waving at me. She is gleefully sucking her thumb, happiness written all over her face. For a brief moment, she takes out her thumb and asks, â€œPapa can I ride tomorrow also?" I look at her say, â€œSure, Meenu. Definitely!".
Many a day, when I walk these scorching sands, I've thought, 'I am a beast of burden. There is no respite for me. How I wish I could fly.' But today, I feel better about myself. Look at that parachute, gliding away. He too has to fall to earth soon, however high he may fly. Better to have your feet firmly on the ground then..
My camel Lakshmi and I are both orphans. We are family to each other. We earn our income by helping each other, providing camelback rides to tourists. Lakshmi becomes the vehicle and I, the guide. We both have a dream; some day we both want to start a family. When we earn and save enough, I will buy a camel for Lakshmi who can be her partner and I myself will start a business so that I can get married and eventually both will have a family, which will set us free from the curse called being orphans..
Nobody could think straight with all the running around in the house. He told his sister-in-law that he'd take the kids to the shore. As promised, he set them on a ride. The ride lasted longer than needed; miles away, another ride was awaited.
Nobody returned home that evening; surprisingly, nobody seemed to care. She dumped the poisoned food after she finished her plate. He'd like tea as always, she thought and turned the gas on. .
"What?! The sand-demon is back again? And the king wants to visit the cursed temple for his fortnightly rituals. Thanks for the heads up. Can't let his highness find out his desert storm is being used for a side business!"
"You heard the man. Ride is over, kids. Time to alight."
Whew! Thank you sand-demon, Darwin thought as he got off.
He could still feel the dread. "Inertia," he muttered.
"What?" she said.
"Drat! Nothing," he said, as he thought the things one did, to woo. He held the back-rest tight and closed his eyes, off to dream another exit..