And It Rained
Croaka was pensive as he sat down on the slimy stone near a puddle formed by a steady stream at a corner of Mughal Gardens;
the garden adjacent to the Rastrapati Bhavan, the President of India's residence. It is a cozy corner; a corner of glory in frog
circle of the country.
A frog has to earn its place to reach this prestigious abode and Croaka did this. He secured access here by dint of his knowledge,
smartness and tenacity. Not only so, he is considered the Premiere Frog among the select group over here. And that is the precise
reason he looked pensive. Requests kept pouring in from all corners of India for him to get married. Not that the human race, or the
other races for that matter, were particularly intrigued by moments of his personal bliss; all they wanted was rain in abundance.
The month of May has seen the worst of droughts this year, especially in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan states where water
beds have become parched and singed. Humans are the most suffered lot; at least they make a lot of hue and cry over the issue to let
the world know. Birds and animals have suffered silently. Humans are a queer race, thought Croaka. They consider them a slice ahead
of other animals. Their behaviour to frogs in particular has been reproachful. They consider themselves to be pragmatic and conduct
all sorts of experiments on frogs. At the same time when they come to their wits end they get frogs married to bring the rain-God
down. The same human kids hurl stones at frogs 'just for fun' when the ponds are full of water! And there are some hypocrites who
talk tall of preservation of near-extinct frogs! Getting frogs married to bring rain down might be mythical, but Croaka knows it
used to work in the past when these humans didn't destroy the forests. Well, it might work these days as well!
Arguments aside, Croaka doesn't consider the idea of getting married that bad. As a Premiere of the frogs his marriage has got every
possibility of showers all over the country; yet the truth is he wants to get married desperately for his own sake. There is a
problem though; he can't just marry any female-frog in the vicinity. He deserves the best; his wife has to be graceful enough to be
a public figure! He has set his mind on Flashica. Such elegant limbs with languid eyes! Last rains he had croaked himself hoarse
ballooning his vocal sac to entice Flashica; and the outcome? Not even lukewarm! Actually, Flashica nurtures quite a bit of vanity
for her lurid looks. In spite of the poor response, Croaka ventured to call her 'Flishu' in a quasi-close moment last season. In
addition, he had put up a marriage proposal as well, ignoring all odds. "Don't Flishu me," she had said indignantly, "and talking of
marriage, I don't believe in a flimsy institution like this."
Flashica likes to be flashy with her modern thoughts. But the thing she doesn't realize is that a permanent bond is required for the
union of two decent frogs. The subsequent tadpoles need to be given to play-schools; later on to be imparted hire educations in
insect catching, advanced croaking, higher leaping and so on. Both the parents feature socially for such activities. Most of all,
biennial frog meets are to be addressed with a wife; not just a fiancée. Yet, Croaka is hopeful. At that point, he was going through
a tumultuous array of thoughts sitting on the stone of the Mughal Gardens.
'Love just happens,' they say. Well, it didn't actually happen, but a chance knocked at Croaka's door; quite out of the blue, one
must say. Dusk had pervaded in and Croaka alighted from his spot on the rock in search of a prey. He had spotted an anthill below
the hibiscus in the morning and moved towards it cautiously. As he neared the anthill he spotted Flashica, transfixed. She was
trembling silently, forgetting all her erstwhile eloquence; faced by the gaping jaws of a mid-size snake with its fangs shining
bright. A moment later the snake would've devoured poor Flashica but for the deft tongue job of Croaka. Croaka, like a cool customer
he has ever been, flung a bunch of fire-ants dug from the anthill on the snake's open mouth. It not only caused a diversion, the
ants attacked the buccal cavity of the serpent viciously. Croaka took no chance. He carried Flashica on his back in a jiffy and
retreated to a safe dugout.
The snake showed no signs of returning. Flashica got back her composure to an extent and relaxed. She sported a smile which seemed
patronising; even submissive!
"Ahem, Flashica, ---" Croaka cleared his throat.
"It's Flishu for you, forever." She lowered her head with a broad, indulgent grin.
It's now or never. Croaka is intelligent enough.
"Will you mind coming up on the garden with me?" he asked, followed by a hesitant, "Sweetheart!"
She complied and they came up. "Wait till I'm back," Croaka said. A bouquet of pink roses was arranged.
"Will you marry me?" Croaka knelt in front of Flashica with the bouquet in hand. He resembled a knight.
"Of course I will, love," said Flashica. Even if Croaka guessed the outcome, he was sure now.
The nuptial knot was tied, with all pomp and royalty; and it rained, cats and dogs, all over the country.
"Cats and dogs!" wondered a beleaguered Croaka. "We take all the pain and they get the credit! Why can't it be 'frogs and fishes',
for example? I'll bring the issue up in the forthcoming National frog meet." He put his arms fondly round Flashica's neck.