Pick Of The Week- Doe, The Female Deer

Long long ago, in an enchanted forest in Satpuda, was born a cute & cuddly deer. Her parents were ecstatic, for she was a dear little thing. But while her parents were loving, caring, brave, good-looking, swift etc. etc., no one could accuse them of being imaginative, for they named their baby daughter Doe, which I am sure you all know, means….a female deer. Imagine being called Man or Woman throughout your life, dear readers, and you’ll understand poor Doe’s plight to some extent.

But as we all know, problems always come in pairs. Not only did Doe have the most generic name in the world, she was also cursed with a strange OCD. Whenever someone called out her name, she HAD to start singing the legendary Sound of Music song which started with her name. You know the song, right? No? Then please stop reading immediately, go to Google/YouTube, and listen to Doe, a deer, a female deer. Then do come back and continue reading please, leaving a story midway brings seven years of bad luck. Actually, it doesn’t, but I have too few readers as it is, don’t want to reduce that tiny number even further.

So as I was saying, Doe suffered from this OCD right from childhood, but those around her suffered even more. For Doe was cute as a button, but she couldn’t sing to save her life. Actually, her singing did end up saving her life, but let us not jump the gun here. We’ll get there soon, I promise.

Doe’s mother called her to come home for lunch, Doe burst into her theme song. Her teacher called out her name while taking attendance, she blasted out her theme song. And her friends shouted her name from outside her home to come and play, Doe shouted out her theme song right back at them. Slowly but quite steadily, everyone around Doe knew that to use her name was to invite disaster, so they stopped calling her by name altogether.

But this had a very strange impact on Doe. For you see, names do not just give you your identity, they have great powers, and every time someone calls out your name, they add to that power a little bit. But now, since nobody was calling out her name, Doe became increasingly listless, and it seemed that she was withering away day by day, and there was nothing anyone was able to do about it, for they are not smart and all-knowing like me, and so didn’t know these strange-sounding but entirely true claims that I just made up…I mean made.

Anyways, let’s cut to the chase, and talk about the chase. For one evening, as Doe was lying down despondently next to a great oak tree, which, by the way is a deciduous tree, which gives a nice alliterative ring to the sentence- Doe…despondent…deciduous- see? Sorry sorry, I digress again. Where was I? Yes, lying down despondently. Not me, silly, Doe.

Suddenly, Doe heard the cries of her mother. She sat up hurriedly, (that is to say, taking almost a minute, for she was listless and despondent, remember) and saw a shocking sight (In Hindi, we call it a ‘dil dehla dene waala nazaara’, loosely translated as: A sight that makes one’s heart tremble with terror). Her mother came rushing into the grove, and then tripped and fell. She tried to get up, but one of her legs had fractured due to the fall, so she couldn’t get up. She turned around whimpering, and it was then that Doe saw the raw terror in her mother’s eyes.

Doe too turned around and when she saw what her mother was seeing, she too was petrified out of her wits. It was a hunter who had been chasing her mother, and now, because of her fall, he had finally caught up with her. And Doe was too little to take on the hunter by herself. Her eyes welled up with tears at her own helplessness, and she banged her head against the tree in frustration, which caused her to cry out in pain and look up….and she suddenly knew what she could do to save her mother’s life.

But timing was critical for this plan to succeed, and so was placement. No no no no, I am not talking about a cricket shot, we are still with Doe, her mother and the hunter, don’t worry.

Doe inched up soundlessly towards her mother’s line of vision. Thankfully, neither the hunter, nor her mother had seen her yet. The hunter was moving slowly towards her mother. He was just ten meters away now. Doe didn’t move a muscle.

Seven meters. Doe was stiff as a statue.

And as soon as the hunter was exactly five meters away from her mother, Doe made her move. In a flash, she went and stood directly in front of her mother, who saw her and cried out in horror, “DOE!”

And Doe started off:

Do, a deer, a female deer,

Re, a drop of golden sun

Mi, a name I call myself, 

Far, a long long way to run

So, a needle pulling thread,

La, a note to follow So,

Ti, a drink with jam and bread, 

that will bring us back to Do…Do….Do….

And as Doe recited, or should I say, brayed out her theme song, two things happened in quick succession:

  1. The hunter dropped his rifle and closed his ears to try and shut out the excruciating pain that was the standard outcome of Doe’s singing, and
  2. Ajgar Jurraat, the python who was happily asleep on a branch of the oak tree under which all this was happening, woke up in terror upon hearing the song, and losing his balance, fell right on top of the hunter.

The hunter forgot all about deer, or rifles, upon seeing Ajgar Jurraat, and ran helter-skelter away from the forest, swearing never to look at

  1. A rifle
  2. A forest
  3. A python
  4. A deer

again.

Doe now went up to her mother, and helped her get up. Her mother looked at her in contrition, and said, “I am sorry I had stopped using your name. It will never happen again….Doe.”

And right on cue, little Doe let go of her hobbling mother, who promptly fell and broke a second leg as a result, and started singing her theme song:

Do, a deer, a female deer…

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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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