Now read on please
It is now exactly twenty three days since I returned to my desk.
My vacation is due in another five days and I was on to new training assignments.
My desk was clean and tidy when I arrived, but the table is now occupied with half opened or ear marked books, drawings, and an assortment of pens in different colours.
My mind, half occupied with my job ahead and my hands on the reciever, attending shrilly telephone calls, my drivers pestering me for signatures on the overtime sheets… it’s as busy as a souk now. (meaning market in Arabic)
The rain has done its home work already with the roads becoming rivers during its havoc.
When the rain stops no body knows where the road is, the slushy red coloured sand turning to something like potter’s clay.
Wednesday was my day to be travel to a far location to complete my pending assessments.
It was in to remote wooded area, and the roads were worse in the rain. But the flora and fauna in that area was tempting. I started at 9 A.M. as usual.
I made a mental note while I was driving through the so-called roads slowly, that I have to return early as fiery clouds were gathering momentum for rain and it will be a hell of a rain.
I reached the location at 11 AM and I had a lecture session for the trainees for an hour and a half. Lunch was in the camp with my eversmiling trainees and then the assessments continued until 3.30 PM.
I was tired; the muscles on my legs protesting due to the long stretch of standing & lecturing.
The time was 4 P.M now.
I said good bye to my trainees and looked up to the sky, the clouds were more menacing and I thought it will rain before I am half way.
I drove steadily through the woods, where if it was another occasion, I would have enjoyed the little sights that I very much envy, like the fishing of the large flying ducks, different types of cranes and storks.
After the check point, I wanted go fast but the safety regulator fitted on all cars doesn’t allow speeding the vehicle above 60 kilometers.
That was a recent safety device that is integrated after the accident that took away my Michael and Peter. (my trainees)
Right near the sharp bend that separates the two state boarders; something caught my eyes unaware.
An unusual scene among the swamp area.
My car brakes were on, by reflux action.
Among a good number of trees that surrounded, it was a fruiting tree that caught my attention.
A tree full of unripe, odd looking fruits in the stark rainy season !
A surprise on surprise there; though all the trees looked same, that was the only tree with fruits…that too in hundreds.
There must be reason, I mused loudly.
I looked around in other trees on the opposite side of the road, none had any fruits. I hesitated, taking a moment to assess the impasse.
Two things made me to pause.
If I miss this chance to check it out, I may not be passing this route for another month and by the time the fruits will all be gone.
Secondly, the muddy, slushy undergrowth that was between me and the tree were formidable.
Now I had to tell you that I had so many horrid incidents with swamp localities due to my silly photographic mind. It has put me in numerous slippery encounters that had forced me to cry for help from knee deep slush.
My experience with these situations has taught me a lesson or two about my pride and ego; to forget it and to cry for help so that a passer-by will notice your pathetic situation to give a helping hand.
How ever easy it looks like, you can never get out of the slush with out an external help.
Here my sixth sense was overpowered by my defying nature.
I parked the car as much away from the road, as cars can get trapped in the mud in one second.
I took out my camera case and strapped it in my shoulder and moved closer to the tree very carefully, not taking my eyes from the ground. There was at least 30 feet of swampy area in between the tree and where I was. That was the maximum I could go.
I looked up now at the tree to get a better view of the green coloured fruits.
Now what the hell is that ! (Excuse my language please !)
There was no fruits or seeds there !
Jeez ! Those were not fruits at all !
In place, what I was seeing were hundreds of green coloured, symmetrical, bird’s nests !
It became apparent that it was not seeds or fruits; but bird’s nests that hung from the branches…hundreds, no… more and more came in to my view and something else moving from them… bright yellow coloured birds singing, & shrieking.
Then, a total silence; they stopped gossiping when they saw me.
Unmistakably from the musical sound, and the bright yellows, I recognized the species as weavers. They were either Vittalline masked or Compact weaver with chestnut brown masks and bright yellow in the chest.
Getting very good a shot with my cheap camera from that distance was a formidable task.
As I took the camera out and steadied for focusing, to my dismay, most of the birds were scared and flew away to nearby trees, intently watching me from there.
But that still left a few curious imps, like me.
So here I am with my amateurish, pic of the fruity looking, hanging, green bird nests.
I was smiling when I returned to the car like a journalist with an exclusive scoop.
It was getting dark as I eased the car out to the road and pressed on the gas, not forgetting to insert a rap number in the tape and drumming with the rhythm.
My smile was gone from my face as I looked at the dash board…the red lights were ‘on’ all the dials.
I looked at the gauge for temperature and froze !!
The needle was not where. It has gone hiding somewhere above the maximan range.
OMG ! The radiator ! My smile was replaced by grimness.
I parked aside; cut the engine and opened the bonnet.
What I saw made me to swear.
My poor fan belt lay broken and in shreds
I was helpless as I had not carried my handheld radio, as per protocol.
You can guess the rest; I towed the car and reached the camp at 9 PM.
Morning awaited me with a reprimanding letter from the safety department for floundering standing instructions and disregard of protocols for not traveling in a radio equipped car while on trips, beyond 60 kilometers.
I put it in the easiest place for safe keeping…my shredder.
That is enough for a day’s blah blah
Till next blah blah
Signing off…with a devilish grin and a daring glint in the eyes