FASTER PHENECHA RANARANG
Author : Bha. Ra. Bhagwat
Translation : Baal Urdhwareshe, Shanta Puranik
FASTER PHENE AND SWAMIJI
The snowcapped mountain peaks are clearly visible when you are wandering in NEFA. The footpaths running by the side of the thickly wooded green mountains look white. Even before this scene lies the meadows known as Taras.
Look there! Do you see a boy coming out of the woods and running over the footpath? Why say a boy? We know him very well; he is our childhood friend Banesh alias Faster Phene.
But he is not running ‘faster’ as he is known to, for he is carrying two heavy guns in both the hands, and a bag containing eatables is hanging on his back; moreover the wound on his ankle is bleeding too.
I think you have read the description of the furious-violent encounter at G Seven camp to the south of Tawang. Faster Phene himself had fought in there. Our Jawans fought very bravely yet unfortunately they had to face the defeat and retreat leaving the post. Only Banya was left behind by chance, and again by chance, he had been successful in his encounter with two enemy soldiers; he actually broke their bones and left them screaming in pain, after snatching their guns.
He had deliberately entered the village in order to dodge the enemy. He had run for a mile or so and then only he stopped. He believed that there would be no more following for there were very few Chinese soldiers at the station and whoever was left might have been engaged in looking after the wounded colleagues. They did not have bothered about this brat.
Banya felt a bit fresh now. His ankle was still bleeding, so he sat under a tree by the side of the mountain. He saw a bush near him. He knew that the fluid of the leaves of such a bush could be applied to a wound; so he did the same. He squeezed the leaves and applied the fluid to his wound and sat there pressing his leg- as there was a burning sensation. After a few minutes he felt better. Then he began to think about his future plan.
There was complete darkness around him and he was worried as to where he should spend the night. He was thirsty but there was no water nearby. He would have to walk to the lower side of the mountain to find it; but the land was marshy so it was dangerous to walk over it in such darkness. He looked up and saw that there was a thick forest of tall trees above. He suspected the danger of wild animals and snakes in there. He thought it better to go forward in the hope of finding some village.
Nature was in the prime of beauty at this time as the rainy season was just over. Both the sides of the road were looking beautiful as overgrown with the colourful flowers. He could distinguish some of the varieties as he had seen some of them in Khandala and Lonawala. He saw the roses –colourful beautiful and delicate too; but they had a pugnacious name. He had read it in the Empress Garden- yes, - he remembered it now-Rhododendron.
Faster Phene always thought that it was a funny name- so he laughed at them. Just then something fell on his head. He looked up – a little squirrel was standing on its hind legs and looking at him. As soon as Banya looked at her she ran swiftly towards the top. Banya smiled and threw a pebble at her. It could not reach its target for the squirrel had already disappeared among the leaves. Banya missed this aim but again hit another creature on another tree; the creature screamed and Banya was hit on his head with a big hard fruit.
‘Oye’ Banya cried and slipped that fruit into his pocket. A big black monkey was looking at him through the green branches.
‘Sorry, Mr. Monkey!’ Banya saluted him and went on his way. He took the fruit out of his pocket and examined it. It was some new variety- he had not seen it before. He went around the mountain and he saw a small village to his delight. It was at a very short distance.
In spite of the pain in his leg, Banya started limping towards it...