The Great Race

Narrator’s Note: Remember Julten, the wannabe delinquent who went on to become Student of the Year at St. Nicholas’ School for Model Reindeer? (See: This is another little-known adventure featuring that future superstar.

Julten was in love….once again, and this time, it was with a woman, an Indian one at that. He had been calmly grazing on a hillock just behind the Longyearbyen Church when the lady, and Cupid, had found him.

She was trying to photograph him, and he was doing what had been recommended in countless trashy romance novels that he had been reading ever since he had reached adolescence- playing hard to get.

She climbed the hillock excitedly upon seeing him. This was the first indication, he thought, that she too was reciprocating his love. “He is so cute, ” she said to her companion (Must be her brother, thought Julten in his newly achieved envious state), “I want to get closer to him.”

“Aha,” Julten smirked, “she is reciprocating my feelings.” So he started his ‘playing hard to get routine’ that he had practiced innumerable number of times, but, till now, had never had the occasion to apply in real life.

He started strutting around, scampering from here to there, making her follow him, allowing her to come close, and then suddenly turning away and running rapidly in a different direction. He was having fun!

But then, Alf had to come and spoil everything…as usual.

Alf was Julten’s bête noire, and was everything that Julten was not- Handsome (Cheerleaders in school swooned when he passed them, and many fainted due to his masculine, sweaty smell), confident, charming, and above all, cunning! He saw Julten’s interest in the woman, and decided to have some fun at Julten’s expense.

So he challenged Julten to a race. “Whoever reaches the Church first, ” said Alf, “gets to ask the Indian woman on a date.” And that, put Julten in a real bind, for Alf held the world record for 100-meter sprint, having won one such race in 5 seconds, while Julten was lucky if he could cross a 100 meter grass field in 10 minutes.

So he broke out into a sweat. He tried to make his standard excuses of stomach ache, headache, leg ache etc, but Alf kept mocking him. And it was then that Julten had a brainwave, he knew what he had to do!

So he told Alf, “Let’s go down to the lake for a drink first, and then we’ll race. I don’t want you to get dehydrated and collapse you know, it’s already a one-sided race, so I want to give you a fair chance.” As Julten had expected, Alf’s ego took over his brain, and he agreed to go for a drink.

They reached the lake, and for the next 10 minutes, all one could hear at the lake was the glugging of water at two places. After every few seconds, Alf would stop and raise his head, only to see that Julten was still drinking, so he too got down to continue again. What he didn’t realize was that while Julten was taking in the water in his mouth, he was spitting it out at the same time, and in those ten minutes, while Alf drank around 30 liters of water, Julten had hardly a glassful of it.

And now, Julten finally stood up, burped loudly, and said, “I’m ready!”

Completely unaware that she was the object of the affection of two reindeer, and the ‘grand prize’ of the competition between them, the Indian woman was gazing in the distance when the great race started behind her.



And what a spectacular race it was. Alf took off like a gazelle, but suddenly found himself weighed down by the 30 liters of water that he’d just drunk. This allowed Julten to almost catch up with him, almost.



For even with this newly-discovered handicap, Alf was too strong an athlete for Julten. And as the distance to the Church narrowed, Julten got really worried and scared that his grand plan was not going to work. Try as he might, he could not keep up with the school’s resident stud.

But then, biology kicked in, for what goes in has to come out, and 30-liters of water needs to come out quite urgently. So just 10 meters before the door of the Church, their ending point, Alf could take it no more. His stomach was close to bursting, all he could see was darkness in front of him, but he desperately wanted to date the Indian woman also.


But finally, in this epic battle between heart and kidneys, kidneys won, and Alf stopped for a quick pee, which stretched on, and on, and on, and on….



While Julten, who was 50 meters behind Alf at that time, ambled across the grass, stopping intermittently to eat a green tuft there, a brown one there, and touched the door of the Church with his horns. He had won the race. he looked behind, and saw that oblivious to all this, Alf was still relieving himself, a feeling of joyous relief on his face.

But then Julten realized something else. His prize, the Indian woman, was walking towards the open door of the church, for she had seen something inside which fascinated her much more than a mere reindeer. She had seen a polar bear!



And now, Alf, after creating a waterfall that some unsuspecting tourists below the hill were filling their water bottles with, realized that a trick had been played on him, and so he turned towards Julten menacingly….and Julten ran. He did not realize it at that time, and no records of it exist, but he had just broken Alf’s record of 100 meters in five seconds!





About anuragbakhshi

At the age of 40, I decided to exit the corporate world, and enter the world of stories as a full-time writer. Wish me luck!
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