The Great Plains

It was just another normal day. Normal in everyway. Except, I didn’t know that it was the day the truth was going to drop like a bomb on my head.


I got up a little later than usual. Perhaps because I was up late last night enthralled like always, by the legendary stories Maa told us. She always narrated with rich imagery and brought everything to life. No wonder I had such mesmerizing dreams! The beautiful scene from my dream seemed to blend with the scene that I woke up to. There was Maa at the rock, there was the distant conversations of my brothers and sister, the green wild plains in the background.


My siblings were already at the pond, playing in the shallow, dirty water. Maa objected every time they’d get dirty for we did not have access to a steady supply of clean water. So, when we got dirty, we’d have to wait until Mondays or Thursdays for clean up.


Today though, Maa sat at her favorite rock under the barren tree. It has always been leafless since the time I was born. I don’t even know whether it qualifies to be called a tree if it has never borne a leaf. Maa was looking into the distant plains. Her eyes were misty but expressionless. I walked to her and sat down by the rock, quietly gazing at the plains that stood as still as a wall.


I heard her sigh and wondered if perhaps I should break into her train of thoughts or let her be. My sister and brothers were still having fun at the pond and called out to me. I slowly got up to join them but I could not stop thinking about Maa’s misty eyes and her tired sigh.


I did not like playing in the dirty pool. My brothers teased me saying I was so different from them that I was not even one of their kind. They told me I was found by chance and was forced into Maa’s care. I chose to not believe them. I liked the plains. Just like Maa. The green plains seemed to talk to me. Perhaps if I listened closer, I’d be able to hear them.


It will soon be time. We would all just lie around the front yard trying to be as normal as we could and hide behind the sparse tall green grass to avoid getting our eyes blinded from all the crazy lights.
Maa suddenly came down to us and said she wanted to talk before the hullabaloo began.


We were all puzzled but walked in a line after her to the old rock. She sat down on it once more and started speaking in a strong voice. She said we were not to interrupt and we were to take her word as final. She gazed in the direction of the great plains and did not once look away. Then she broke all hell loose.


She said I was indeed not born to her but I was still her favorite. She said that all those stories she said about the plains were not stories. They were true. The grain plains existed and there were bountiful supplies of greens and plenty of clean flowing waters, the sky there was blue and creamy clouds adorned them.


From this side of the glass pane, we never thought there was anything else to the world but the painted plains on the wall, the little sparkling blue stream that flowed through it, the white light that never varied because of rainy days or overcast skies. We learned of rainy days and overcast skies from all the lovely tales Maa told us.


Turns out, we belong to the great plains. But the two legged things keep us popular and we are destined to stay here indefinitely. Maa’s voice took on a grave tone and continued. She said she could feel she was at the end of her journey but we must continue to carry the tales forward. For one day, a few generations later perhaps, a young Nyala will run carefree in the great wild plains once again.


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