Aakash Arasu

Shikari Shambu and Shikari Bambu (First Draft)

Shikari Shambu woke up suddenly. That smell could mean only one thing! He slowly brought his right leg over his left and rolled off the hammock, to land on all fours. He floated towards the kitchen in a daze. He could almost feel the texture of the meat and taste the juices in his mouth as he followed the smell. He entered the kitchen drooling like a hungry dog.
“Biriya- WOAH”
“You stay right there mister,” said Shanti, brandishing a hot ladle like a cross to a vampire.
“Bu-but chicken biryani,” pleaded the half asleep Shambu.
“The VEG biryani is not done yet,” said Shanti, “We need to watch our weight and if you hadn’t slept while I was talking. . .”
But Shikari Shambu had stopped listening at “veg”. 

‘What was it?’ He thought, ‘what was my sin? Why am I being punished? Is it something I did? Wait, there was an anthill under my hammock! Maybe I had crushed an ant when I fell off of it! That’s it! Oh God almighty please forgive this stupid little man. I didn’t mean to sin. I can only be saved by your divine sav-‘
“Shambu! O Shambu!!!”

“Hey isn’t that the zoo keeper, Manju?” Shanti asked, looking out the window. “Wonder if it’s some emergency. . .”

“Emergency” mumbled Shambu.
“What?!! Speak louder or don’t open your mouth,” Shanti chided, “now pull yourself together here’s Manju. Hi!”

The zookeeper had walked up to the window.
“Hi there Shanti! That smells grea-“
“EMERGENCY!!!” Shambu screamed, leaping out of the window at Manju. He grabbed her by the hand and started briskly jogging towards the gate, “ESCAPED TIGERS! BABOON ATTACKS! WOLF PACKS! GRIZZLY BEARS!!”
“Wait! shambu!! What about the biryani?! Shanti shouted after Shambu.

“You eat it!” Shambu shouted over his shoulder, “but don’t eat all of it, you need to watch your weight. Leave my portion near the anthill under the hammock. And remember, every life is important, no matter how small!”. He disappeared out the gate dragging Manju along.

“Wait, what?” Shanti stood baffled, staring at the place Shambu was standing a moment. “Did working with all those crazy animals finally get to him?” she sighed.

Outside the gate Manju snatched her hand out of Shambu’s hands grip. 

“What was that all about?! There’s no emergency and I wanted a taste of that delicious smelling biryani”

“That was the emergency Manju, that was the emergency.” Shambu sighed in relief.

“Whatever!”Manju threw her hands up in exasperation. “Now that we are already here, let’s go to the zoo. It’s not far and there’s someone I want you to meet.”

Shambu was too busy muttering about curses and veg biryanis to pay Manju any attention.

They reached the zoo in a couple of minutes. Suddenly Shambu realised they were in the zoo and he didn’t know why

“Umm, why are we at the zoo again?”

“Weren’t you listening? I want you to meet one Shikari Bambu, he’s here to oversee the import of our zoo’s newest member!”

“Another fan?” scoffed Shambu “let me guess he’s named after m-” 


“Boo yes, bamboo! He is named after his love for bamboo” exclaimed Manju, turning around to look at the sharp hunter. “Oh my god you and your quirky sense of humour!! You could have just said bamboo! Didn’t have to trip and fall over one. Probably what they mean by eccentricities of geniuses!”

“Hehe, yes that’s, uh, what I meant to do. . .hehehe”

“Anyways, the bamboo thickets you see around you have been specially planted for our new guest; and here is the man of the hour, Shikari Bambu himself!”

In a clearing among the bamboo thickets stood a man completely identical to Shikari Shambu, barring his build. He was lean like a marathoner where Shambu was round like a beach ball. Other than that they were identical from their boots to the squiggly moustache.

“Hey you must be Shikari Shambu,” he said extending his hand, “I’ve heard a lot about you from Manju.”

“And I have heard about you,”said Shambu, taking Bambu’s hand. His mind of course was elsewhere. ‘Hmm, not bad,’ he thought, ‘Maybe I should follow that diet Shanti was suggesting after all.’

“OK then I will leave you two to it, gotta get back to welcoming the new guest” said Manju, backing off around a huge thicket of bamboo next to them.

“Yep, you do that, I’ll uh. . . . Show him around” replied Bambu leaning around the thicket, watching her leave, “Aaaand she’s gone. Come on, Shambu, I’ll show you something.”

‘I hope it’s not more bamboo’ thought Shambu, ‘I feel like I’ve seen enough for this lifetime.’

Shikari Bambu led Shikari Shambu away from where Manju was headed, to a smaller clearing.

“I’ve heard you’re a great food connoisseur. I’m one myself!” Exclaimed Bambu, turning around abruptly. “I have requested you to come here today to show you one of my favourite dishes!”

“Wait a second! That smell!!”Shambu said, putting his nose in the air like a dog.

“Yes, I present to you Moongil Biryani”

“Moon gills what?” Asked a perplexed Shambu.

Moongil Biryani, moongil is bamboo in Tamil-“

“Wait what? Not you too!” cried Shambu in distress, “why does everyone want to feed me vegetarian biryani? I’m NOT eating any bamboo!!”

“Haha, its ok, I’m not trying to feed you any. Here, I’ll show you.” Bambu moved aside to show a section of wide bamboo, with only one side open, sitting on burning coals. There were leaves stuffed into the opening. Bambu bent down to blow on the coals a bit, then turned to Shambu again. “It’s called Bamboo Biryani because the biryani is cooked inside a bamboo. Come on, I’ll show you how while it cooks.”

He started walking towards a thicket of particularly thick bamboo, and Shambu followed reluctantly.

Bambu launched into a detailed recipe, “What you need is a really thick bamboo but you have to make sure the walls are not too thick because. . . ” 

‘Oh God why? It was only one ant! Why do I have to suffer so before I get my hands on some nice Biryani. Why-‘


“Hey! Hey Bambu!! Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“The rustling noise!!”

“No. Probably just the wind anyway. Getting back to what I was sayin-“

Grrrrrrrr. . .

Both Shambu and Bambu froze. They slowly turned and looked at each other. Both gulped and turned around to face the source of the growling and screamed, “IT’S A MONSTEERRRR.” 

Bambu jumped into Shambu’s hands, but unfortunately for both of them, Shambu had decided to carry out a similar manoeuvre at the exact same time. They collided midair and fell onto the ground, in a sprawling heap, at the panda’s feet.

“Oh my! Thank God you’re safe,” Manju has just arrived at the scene with a couple of zoo officials, “See, I told you they were both genius Shikaris. The panda had just escaped and these two already laid a trap of cooking spices to entice the curious animal.”

“In a bamboo at that, talk about improvising,” said the first zoo official, extending a hand to Shikari Shambu.

“Not only that, they added their body masses together and made loud noises to show they’re the bigger animal,” praised the second official, extending a hand to Shikari Bambu.

“But they stayed low, on the ground to prevent the panda from getting agitated,” said Manju, petting the panda who was now happily playing with Manju’s hat. “True geniuses, I tell you.”

Neither Shambu nor Bambu were paying attention to any of the praise showered upon them. They had eyes for but one thing. With expressions that can only be described as heart broken, they were staring at the ‘trap’ that the panda had spilled on the ground.



The End


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