God was very tired. For billions of years, he had kept awake, working ceaselessly to keep Earth in mint condition. He had spent years patiently designing animals, birds, and fish. Even worms, snakes, tadpoles, and human beings.
God lived all by himself in a huge mansion made from visiolite, a rare sky blue crystal found only on a small planet more than seven billion miles beyond the Sun. In fact, God had a monopoly in mining visiolite because no one else wanted it anyway!
The grounds around God’s house were larger than our entire Universe put together. There were storehouses covering almost the entire western wing, where he stocked models of baby animals, species of flowers, grass, and all other inhabitants of Earth. There were millions and millions of spare parts and components which God manufactured in his fully automated factory at the northern end of his domain.
The factory itself was not very large. About the size of Africa. But it was truly a miracle. A one-God-show. Press a button here, a switch there, and the components comprising various species inhabiting Earth rolled out to be assembled automatically, with unbelievable precision, into the finished product. A liquid dispenser mixed the red and white corpuscles in their exact proportions. A small dose of this concoction, on which God too had a patent, was injected into the merchandise. On Earth, we know this as “blood”. It was a non-profitable venture. God was justifiably proud that there were no manufacturing defects in the products fabricated in his unit. The defects which occurred in some of his items, he emphatically told his critics, were because of improper handling at the Earth end and for which he could not be held responsible.
After fabrication, these parts now fused into single units were transported to the eighteen storehouses by remote-controlled trolleys. Each trolley was about the size of Sri Lanka. After the pieces were stacked properly, God would breathe life into them. Like everything else in God’s universe, the basic raw material used to mould these strange creatures, the Earthlings, was the indispensable visiolite.
For a few brief years, these creatures made by God would be dispatched to Earth, before they were again called for rest and recoupment. God would alter designs, if need be, and recharge them with more energy, before returning them to earth again. It was an endless process. God was a bachelor. He lived by himself, all alone.
“Oh, I really am very tired!” yawned God, one day. “Must be finally getting old! This business of managing the Earth is boring and tiresome. I think I ought to resign!” he mused. He stretched himself out and promptly fell asleep.
As God slept, his neighbour, the Devil, was passing by. The Devil lived on an estate much larger than God’s. He was enormous. Taller than Mount Everest and greener than grass. He had sparkling white teeth made from diamonds. The Devil’s eyes were ruby red. Although he was much older than God, the Devil had retained his boyish looks because as a baby, his mother made him drink the elixir of eternal youth as a health tonic. His parents had passed away eons ago. Being a Devil was a hereditary business. The title went with the job. He was an only child, as his father had been before him. The Devil was a truly naughty chap. Always playing pranks, especially on his neighbour, God, who had no sense of humour at all.
Devil peeped into God’s house and found him fast asleep, snoring away. So he quietly crept inside. He removed God’s keys, dashed across, and opened the first storehouse. In he went and mischievously replaced the head and tail of a visiolite monkey with the head and tail of a dog. Giggling with delight at the confusion this would cause, the Devil replaced the bunch of keys in God’s cupboard and tip-toed out of God’s abode in Heaven to join his family in Hell. The Devil had an ever-expanding crowd of friends and admirers many of whom were his guests from Earth, where the Devil had major business interests. The Devil was an extrovert. He wielded considerable influence and power not only on Earth but on other planets as well.
“I feel so rested!” mumbled God, when he woke up. “Yes. I do need sleep at least once every million years or so. I feel like a brand new Almighty already”
God was handsome unconventionally. He had a whitish complexion and was even taller than the Devil by a small mountain at least. But he had no hair! God was so bald that he did not even have eyebrows! He had kindly but tired brown eyes with dark rims around them from lack of sleep. He looked much older than his seven billion years. Although, as a matter of habit, God, whose job was hereditary as well, worried all the time, he truly loved Earth and all the creatures in it.
God shuffled to his first storeroom, as was his custom. He took a deep breath and breathed life into the models of animals and birds stocked there. Lo-and-behold! They all sprang to life.
“Now, wait a moment!” said God. “What have we here?”
He took a closer, myopic look at the strange animal with a dog’s head and tail but a monkey’s body. “Well, it looks like my old friend, Devil, has been up to his tricks again,” he sighed. “But there is nothing I can do, poor fellow. This consignment is already overdue. I have to send you down to Earth. Cannot disturb the balance, can we? We will call you MOG – a cross between a monkey and a dog.”
God set Mog down gently in a dense forest near Gadchiroli in India, next to a family of monkeys. When Mog opened his eyes, he saw a female monkey feeding her baby.
“That must be my mother,” he thought. “I shall go to her. I am so hungry!”
As soon as the monkey saw Mog, she let out a scream at the top of her voice. “Help! Help! A monster is attacking my baby!” She fled up a tall tree, with her child holding on hard. The rest of the monkey family also ran for their lives. They too took shelter in the treetops, from where they pelted Mog with rotten fruit. Mog, who had hands and feet like a monkey, also climbed after the mother monkey. He wanted only love. But, frightened out of their wits, the monkeys fled deeper into the jungle as fast as they could. Mog was left alone; hungry and sad. He wept like the baby that he was.
“Maybe a dog family will take care of me,” thought Mog, after he could shed no more tears. Off he went in search of a mother. He ate berries and wild fruit from the trees, like a monkey. But he was hungry for love.
After walking for three days, late in the evening, Mog came across a small cottage at the edge of the forest. He was so happy when he saw a large black-and-white she-dog suckling six little newborn puppies. “That’s my mother!” Mog beamed. He ran off to join the other pups drinking their mother’s milk. The she-dog looked down. She leaped up when she saw Mog. Baring her teeth, she barked angrily:” Go away. Little creep! How dare you steal my puppies’ milk! I shall tear you to shreds if I ever see you again!” she snarled.
“Go away! Go away, little creep!” chanted the puppies from behind their mother’s back, mocking Mog.
Dejected, Mog turned and crept behind a bush near the gate of the cottage. He cried his heart out.
“Why are you crying, little one?” asked a kindly voice. Mog looked up. He saw a young girl in pigtails. She just returned from school. “Because nobody loves or wants me!” sobbed Mog.
“Wipe your tears, little one. I care for you. Come with me. This is my home. I shall be your mother,” she said. Mog’s face lit up with joy.
Preeti lived in the cottage with her younger brother and their parents. Her father was a farmer. She and her brother, Raja, went to the local school, which was some distance from their school. They walked to and from school every day. Except on holidays, of course.
Preeti’s parents barely paid any attention to Mog as they were far too busy running their farm. But Raja was downright mean to him. He teased Mog all the time.” An uglier creature I have never seen!” Raja would declare, pulling Mog’s bushy tail.
Preeti was quick to come to Mog’s defence. Once, she even slapped her brother for plucking out one of Mog’s whiskers.
“He is my baby. If you or anyone else should ever harm Mog again, be warned Raja, I shall make you pay!” she fumed. “Come, son. Do not let these people upset you. Just because you look different from them, they are jealous of you. You are my child, Mog. You must be brave!” she crooned, holding Mog tenderly in her arms, kissing away his tears.
For Mog, his mother Preeti was his entire world. He doted on her and waited patiently each day for her to return from school. During the holidays, Preeti spent all her time with her adopted son, Mog, whom she loved dearly. Mog had no other friends. The dog family shunned him.
In that jungle, there lived a fierce tiger by the name of Rajabahadur. He was dreaded by all the animals. Even Pratap, the mighty elephant, feared him. Rajabahadur had gone off for a short vacation, visiting his wife’s relatives who lived in the next forest. He had just returned from his holiday. The animals trembled when he roared. Every day, Rajabahadur killed at least one animal which he and his family gobbled up. They especially loved to devour the flesh of baby animals. So soft and tender. Rajabahadur was strong and merciless.
One afternoon, while Preeti was at school, Mog strayed off into the jungle. Soon he found he was lost. Mog climbed a tree to find his way home. Just then Shanoo the peacock sounded the jungle alarm. “Run! Run! Rajabahadur is hunting!” he screeched.
The deer family gathered their fawns and ran like the wind to save themselves from the marauding tiger. But one little fawn, who could not run fast enough, straggled behind the herd. She was petrified, screaming for help. But who would risk his life for her?
Mog watched as Rajabahadur stealthily crept up to the unfortunate fawn. He was right beneath Mog, poised for the kill. Just as the tiger was about to pounce on the fawn and plunge his big teeth into her soft neck, the branch to which Mog clung gave way.
Down he plummeted onto Rajabahadur’s back. The tiger, furious that his hunt had been disturbed, turned to deal with the intruder. Seizing the God-sent opportunity, the fawn dashed off to the security of her mother.
“Eek!” yelped Rajabahadur.” What on earth is that? “He was so shocked at seeing this strange creature that, for a moment, the black stripes on his tawny body vanished in fright. He tucked his tail between his legs and bounded off as if the devil and all his mates were after him.
Rajabahadur ran to his in-laws’ cave in the adjoining forest twenty miles away, stopping enroute only to instruct his wife to pack their four cubs and follow him since a dangerous alien was trying to murder them all. Rajabahadur and his family never again returned to the jungle. Like his in-laws, he too became a vegetarian. They ate fruits with a great relish. Only on Sundays, as a special treat, if they had been good all week, the cubs were given fish for lunch.
The animals were all grateful to Mog for saving them from the bully, Rajabahadur, his vain wife, and their simpering cubs.
“I shall be your mother!” The female monkey declared. “No!” countered the black and white she-dog. Mog lives in our cottage. He looks like his paternal grandfather, who was brutally killed by Rajabahadur last year. In fact, he is a replica. Especially his nose and eyes. Come, Mog, and come to your Mother!” she commanded.
Now that he was a hero, everyone wanted Mog.
“My friends,” said Mog, “thank you all for being so kind to me now. I belong to the jungle, like all of you. But my Mother is Preeti. She gave me love and security when I needed it most. A Mother’s love is selfless. I am Preeti’s child!” he declared with great pride and emotion.
Mog grew up to be brave and intelligent. He could bark like a dog and also swing from trees like a monkey. When Preeti returned from school, Mog welcomed her, wagging his tail delightedly. Raja began respecting Mog for his finer qualities and accepted him as his nephew. Some years later, when after graduating from college, Preeti married a young engineer from Delhi, Mog went to stay with them.
Preeti had three daughters. Mog was her eldest child and her favourite. In the end, all that really matters is love.
Author: AMIT KUMAR BHOWMIK
Amit Kumar Bhowmik is a lawyer based in Pune. He has his practice including in the Bombay High court as also other High courts as well as he appears as Counsel in the Supreme court. Although essentially having his practise on the criminal side he is an all-rounder having taken up matters in the matrimonial courts as well. He is a prolific writer and an unabashed champion of women rights.