Purposeless Aim

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

It was around in 1975, when I was in the interregnum of my Law Course and success in UPSC’s IAS etc.Exams and was based in Etah. Besides preparing for the exams to have career with Government, I was virtually a free-bird and used to take a break in the District Judge’s Bungalow’s sylvan surroundings. In fact Etah was an important centre for Indigo (Neel in Hindi) plantations during Company days and there were three Bungalows, known as Neel Kothis, which with advent of British Govt’s rule were given to top District functionaries, The District Officer in DM, SSP and the District Judge. A large tract of land was attached to these Bungalows and with various Officers’ effort, land was brought under the till and various vegetables and wheat crops were taken from it over the years and water was drawn from a branch of the canal passing by the boundary of the Bungalow. A huge Eucalyptus tree adorned the fields and the greenery around in the bungalow gave reprieve from grey/black letters of the books I used to pour over those days. The water in the fields was used to be taken in drains made of mud banks and the flow of water made such sound which was music to the soul. Besides the anxiety, the life was passing by just like water through the mud-drains.

Be as it may, and in course of time, my father acquired a Czech made Brno .22 rifle with few attendant cartridges. For the start-up we (with my younger brother) did some target shooting after initial training of holding and handling the weapon. Surprisingly, my aim was found to be quiet good. As it happens, it became a rallying point in my being made into an ace- shooter amongst friend circle of my brother in the Civil Club, Etah. Once I even went for bird shooting with a local Shikari with my prized possession tucked behind my shoulder but the local Shikari laughed out loudly and told that in Bird shooting, such rifles are of no use. He told that bullets with small pellets in 12 bore are the most useful in bird shooting and the budding shooter in me took to dormancy for some time.*

After this experience, my brother’s friend (A muslim- name withheld) suggested a picnic cum shooting spree to an area where birds abound and with my good aim and the .22 rifle with me to have some good hunting experience. When we reached near the area, he pointed towards the birds on a transmission line and I downed it in one shot. Then he pointed one in a lake and I shot it perfectly. My (brother’s) friend waded in water to recover the prized piece and then pointed at another and another and … so on. I am a practicing vegetarian and still not even once I flinched in shooting the birds. I think that, that day I might have downed some 14 birds. Back home we rejoiced and a lot of discussion amongst us and friends took place and much was made out of my exploits with the gun. I even enquired from the friend who took the birds as to what he did with them and he told me, regretfully that some of the fowl was rendered useless by the time it was taken to his home and had to be buried. Something struck me with a force. The thinking in me started.

Photo by Mehdi Sepehri on Unsplash

I realized that youth is literally vainglorious. I was taking pride in my good aim and killing innocent birds when I am a vegetarian and was not using my skills to feed me. I also realized that out of so many birds killed that day not all were consumed and were wasted. It was what we call exactly a wanton killing. I also realized that I had purposeless aim used just to please my ego. Even in wildlife also, only that much is preyed as required for feeding. This honorable code of conduct is followed even in wildlife or nature where preying is the norm. I almost cried out loud, lamenting the loss of those beautiful and innocent birds. And it dawned upon me during my lifetime only that I have sinned. And to absolve myself, I have to do something to save some lives.

Long after, in service and during all the travails of a living a Policeman’s life, I had those birds in my dream asking me as to why they were killed? However redemption came. It came a big way and was to some extent rewarding enough to assuage my feeling of guilt. It came when, during curfew I sent a Police vehicle to take a lady in labour pains to hospital and she could have a safe delivery and the baby was named Pankaj. It came when an engineer in a factory had ghastly accident and the frontal bone of the forehead was broken and he was in spasms when I could provide Police help and arrange vehicle to reach him to Nagpur in time where, I came to know later, he was successfully operated and survived. It also came when I rushed to a district headquarter when in its jungle a young SP’s convoy suffered a landmine blast, knowing full well that Naxalite attack the second party also which is coming to provide succor. I could, similarly airlift injured policemen from the site of encounter and later they could survive after the operation. The extensive operations against Naxalites saved not only many a villagers life but also, we could resettle the surrendered Naxalites by introducing and implementing the surrender scheme. These were not only my Police duties but somewhere my offerings to That Ultimate being who is Omnipotent and Omnipresent with a fond hope that He will see that I tried to absolve myself of the sins committed by an ignorant being. I also hope that on the Judgment Day I will be treated a little lightly.

A tale of Gautam Budhha still pierces my conscience till date. On a dispute between two Princes as to whom the shot bird belonged, the shooter or the savior. Gautam Budhha, in a Glorious Declaration, decided that

Saviour is Greater Than The Killer

E-231 So be it As Garuda Riding Vishnu

Windsor Park Peacock Riding Saraswati

14.12.2016 Desires Pankaj Gupta



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Pankaj Gupta

A retired Police officer, he enjoys creative writing based on his experience of interacting with people. Why pankajgupta.tk? Dedicated to his three kids (tk)