Advay shares his English school project from last year, when he was in Standard V. The piece was a revelation for to his family, who didn’t know they had a budding writer in their midst. Advay joined Shishuvan in Standard V and this project was one of the first ones that he did in school.
I was running for my life. I was being chased by a lion…..I woke up with a start. I
was in an aeroplane going to Indonesia. A few months ago, my parents and Meena
and Harsh’s parents had decided to go on a trip to Indonesia. The day after that I
had read a newspaper article about the rare ‘black orchid of Kalimantan’. I was
excited and told Meena and Harsh about it. Meena shrieked excitedly, “ Lets find
it! Let’s find it!” “Awesome!” said Harsh, who looked calm and composed but I
could tell he was eager to find it too. Now here we were, en route to finding our
Kalimantan orchid. Meena and I are of the same age though she is a few months
older than me. Harsh is eleven years old and tall for his age. He is a joker and
makes us laugh with his jokes and comments. Meena shrieks like a banshee and
doesn’t seem ten years old. I am a bit like both of them but I don’t shriek like
Meena but joke a lot like Harsh. After a few more hours we landed in Indonesia.
Indonesia was beautiful and green. We drove to our lodge. It was a nice, small villa
called the Kalimantan Jungle Lodge. We were so tired that we immediately slept
off in our rooms in the villa.
I was awakened by the chirping of birds. As we walked into the lobby for our
breakfast, a man of medium height came towards us and said “ Selamat Datang
(‘Welcome’ in Indonesian). I am your guide. My name is Asar”. After a delicious
breakfast of oats, coconut, fruits molasses and yoghurt (called ‘dadiah campur’) we
went into the forest with Asar. We saw many beautiful flowers and colourful birds
but did not see the orchid. We saw some hairy orangutans on the trees. Soon it
became dark and Asar said we should go back.
On the second day we went on another trail in the jungle. We saw a baby viper
and some unusual bugs and butterflies. We looked for the orchid but could not find
it. Meena, Harsh and I got a little frustrated though we enjoyed the forest. By the
end of the second day the adults were tired. They said that they were too tired to
come with us the next day.
On the third day, instead of going on the trail, we went down a steep slope. Even
Asar had not gone there in a long time. There was a waterfall which ended as a
lake. Meena wanted to explore the lake, but Harsh said, “We have to find the
orchid, remember?” “The orchid might be in the water”, replied Meena. “The book
does not say it is under water and any way do you have your diving gear?” I asked
Meena. She retorted, “ No”. So we went on tiptoe on the rocks in the lake.
Suddenly the monkeys started chattering loudly and the birds were chirping and
creating a racket. Asar put his hand to his ear and listened. Then we heard a
resounding roar! All of us were terrified. After sometime the chirping and the
chattering became faint. After a few minutes Asar said, “I don’t think the lion is
here. But I think we should be quiet.” We continued walking quietly. Once or twice
we thought we found the Black Orchid but no, it was another pretty flower and
not the flower we wanted. We took photos of it. Then we stopped for lunch. After
lunch, we resumed walking.
Around four o’clock, the forest became dark and Asar said, “We should go back
now.” We were unhappy and disappointed because we did not see the Black orchid.
On the way back everyone was tired. Once we stopped because Meena was too
tired. So, all of us sat down to catch our breath. Suddenly, we saw some
movement in the grass. We heard some piercing shrieks. We went forward
cautiously to take a look. It turned out to be a large bird with its young. As the
adult bird came towards us, Meena shrieked. The bird shrieked back!
It was a curious-looking bird, three feet tall and white in colour. It had a big beak.
Meanwhile, Asar had opened his bird handbook. He flipped page after page and
finally stopped on the last page. He gasped and then whispered, “A dodo!”. We
were surprised and did not believe it. Meena said, “How can it be a dodo?” I
whispered, “Photos! Photos!” We took some photos of them and hurried back to
the lodge. After we were inside our room, Meena said, “We should tell people about
the dodo- we will be famous.”I said, ”Yes, we will be famous.” But Harsh said,
“Yes, it is true- we will be famous. But what about the dodos? People from all over
the world will come here to see the dodos and they might really become extinct!” I
said “Yes, Harsh is right.” Meena too agreed saying, “People will come and disturb
the dodos. Instead, let them live peacefully.” So we all agreed to not tell anyone
except our parents about the dodos and told Asar not to tell anyone about the
Long Live the Dodos!