Hmmm.. so the context was wildlife week and a range of issues from Conservation, to hunting and the children found an animation film especially hilarious. A second film was repeated probably 6 times during the programme and each time the laughte was louder than the last! I couldn't follow a lot of the discussions as they were in Mizo but I was all alert when the arms of little boys shot up in response to a query? Some stood up and the others followed.
|Count me in|
I was a tad puzzled but i felt I had an inkling too of what this might have been and my doubts were soon confirmed. Post the programme in Cheural, we were sipping some piping hot tea at our hosts home, when I heard the all too familiar ( we have a group in Saiha , that anounces their arrival in this manner)thudding of children's footsteps. They paused at the door, hesitated for a bit , trickled into the room in twos and threes, plonked their catapults on the table giggled and ...poof ....vanished. Some others shook hands with the elders around and were patted on their back for their good deed.
For those of you who haven't understood let me elaborate. The marksmanship required for some methods of hunting is acquired at an early age. A catapult is a preferred and accessible tool. Easy to make at home with a well sculpted piece of wood and a taut rubber strap, one finds that this little weapon is a prized possession of most boys. Birds , geckos and the like are easy game.
Post the discussion with the children , many had volunteered to surrender their catapults and stop chasing after these birds and animals. I was most surprised. Yes it is easy for them to make another , but how many times have I impulsively decided to curb a passtime/sport/entertainment just because I attended a discussion at school? I cannot remember any instance.
We felt the need to talk to some of these boys in whatever limited (is it really? I wonder now) conversation was possible. So while clicking images of the catapults or what would have been catapults (some of them were still in the assembling stages, i.e we got fresh sculpted pieces of wood and the strips of fresh unused rubber intended for it) , we chatted.
They shared how mud bullets were made and provided their assessments on the catapults surrendered. Good , Not good and aaaaaaaaah Baby's catapult!!!
|...and how did he get this big without|
learning to hold a catapult straight???
Turns out one of them was the expert in making these while the other seemed to be quite a shot. While frowning at Nimesh's attempts to take aim , he picked up one said "that "and before we tuned in he hit the electricity pole over 50 feet away. Bullseye!
Nimesh made no further attempts apart from this last one below.
|Destroy the evidence!!|
But I lived to tell the tale.