The Pumpkin Bheeshma
Pumpkin is a popular edible in our native. No feast is complete without this glorious saffron coloured cultivar.
But this story is not about Pumpkin, the food. Neither is the story about Pumpkin of the Halloween of the west. This story is about the horrific incident, the innocent member of squash family suffered through the hands of two notorious kids.
In 90s, the most popular TV serials of India, Ramayan and Mahabharata, inspired us to make bows and arrows, during our summer visit to our native village. Inspired by the fancy Bows, I and my younger brother made two marvelous bows, using bamboo sticks, laced out by beautiful borders of my grand mother's old sarees. They were great, but nothing without arrows. In junk section of our large house, we found the blind made of slim bamboo stick. It took no time for two of us to convert the sticks to dozens of arrows and completely destroy the "state of art" blind. Now that we have bows and arrows, we needed a target.
There were couple of pumpkins, freshly plucked from the garden, kept at one of the open racks, just outside my grand mother's room. We picked the large one. It was about to get the treatment, a horrific one.
My grandmother's, room was really large. At one corner of the room was her heightened bed, which has mosquito net on 24X7X365. And funny thing was, she used to leave the bed early morning only to return during late evening. The room thou had other frequent visitors, like maid or any other family member. Thou no one was supposed to go at the corner, where bed was located, except we two monkeys 🐒 🐒.
We placed our target, the pumpkin on the bed, hiding it under the mosquito net. Now we needed a name for this pumpkin, so that we can warn it by name, before hitting, a moral rule, borrowed from the great series, Mahabharata.
We named it Bheeshma, given the size and treatment, we were about to do with it. We started hitting this target by arrows, and used to hide it with the mosquito net, in case we have unwanted visitors in the room.
During evening, Bheeshma was put under the bed. We followed the process for three or four days, without getting caught. Bheeshma, by now had got wounded by several dozens of arrows.
It was quite a sight, when the poor pumpkin was discovered. The emotions of the ladies of the family was not of confusion but fusion of laughter and anger. Anger for lost vegetable and laughter for the state it was in. We both innocently explained our project, and got away with little scolding by my mother. I heard laughter on the topic later during the discussion of ladies of the house.
The half of the pumpkin was still good and probably had better fate than the other half. Thou, I am not sure it was still edible.
Our precious bows were kept as souvenirs in my grandmother's room for years, until she left the place. As mentioned in Mahabharata, there can be no other Bheeshma, there were no other Pumpkin Bheeshma as well.