The Fire

This happened at the height of the drought (Varun’s diary entry is for 25 March), and it still gives me the heebie-jeebies to think about it; but here is Varun’s Stream-of-Consciousness:

Varun's "The Fire"

I was in the Hippo Rock. I thought I saw smoke on the south-east corner of the bore-well tier.
I went down and told Appa.We went up. He said that they must just be burning stuff in the next kaad. Appa went back.
I noticed that it was on our land. A fire had started.
We went to the bore-well tier.

We went down into Doriswumi’s well tier. Ananda was starting the pump in Parman’s well. Appa started talking to him. Ananda said Shanti was burning the field where the well is and it must have spread.
I saw someone walking in the path in between the fields. He said something to Appa.
You couldn’t go straight from where we were standing to our land because there were too many plants in the way. We went to Doriswumis well, and then to another field and then in to our land. I noticed that there was diesel on my legs and on the slippers that I was wearing which were Appa’s.
The strap of one of my slippers broke. Appa was wearing them.

Appa told Ananda to get a knife. After some time he told me to get a knife. I think he said it because Ananda was taking too long.
I ran up and asked S’na for a knife. While she was getting it I quickly washed off the diesel from my legs.
I went down. Ananda had brought a knife and Appa was beating the fire down with a stick.
I said, “Should we get water?” We were wondering.

Appa said, “Just hang on to these,” and gave me two sticks which he had used to beat down the fire, and our knife and went away.I didn’t know where he went. I didn’t know where he went. I heard him shouting at someone and she was saying something. The fire had spread to one place were I thought I could put it out. I put it out. I thought I could put it out a little more. I did. That kept happening until the whole south-east corner was put out. While I was putting it out, Ananda came from a path that the fire had made. He said something to me and went.
The fire was spreading north. I had been using a stick to put out the fire. I was wondering whether to start cutting with the knife. I didn’t because it looked quite difficult, so I just kept beating it if it started coming west. I throw a few stones at it and it went off a little bit, and I was putting out fire on the east of the path to go down. When I was throwing stones, then I had to aim properly. The fire on the tier east of the bore-well tier had become big.
Someone came from the same path as Ananda had come. I wasn’t sure who it was, but I thought I had seen her before. She came with a “jarmenybon”¬† (eupatorium) stick so I thought she must be coming to put out the fire. She was. She put out the fire in the south-east corner of the bore-well tier which was spreading north. She had to go underneath some plants to put it out. There was a small fire on one of the leaves above her wile she was putting it out. I was just going to tell her, but she came out of the plants and it went off. She started putting out the fire on the edge of the tier below the bore-well tier. It kept suddenly becoming big even if it was small because it was quite dry.

There was one place which I thought I could put it out. She told me to check if everything was put out up. Maybe she wasn’t sure if I could put it out.
She put out the fire down.
We were looking at the fire which was spreading east. I heard Appa call me. I guessed that he was coming from Parman’s kaad. I told him him that we were putting out the fire. He said, “Who’s we? Thenan’s wife?”. I said, “I’m not sure who. Maybe” He told me that he had gone to Parman’s kaad to get water but when he reached he had noticed that there wasn’t much fire on the bore-well tier.
Appa told me that he had shouted at Thenan’s wife, Shanti. That’s who I must have heard him shouting at.

We went to the bore-well tier. She was Shanti. She was wondering what to do about the fire that was spreading east. Appa said you won’t be able to put it out. I heard him telling her that if it happens again it’ll be better if she tells him as soon as it happens.
I put on my t-shirt. I had kept it on top of the bore-well while putting out the fire. There were a lot of sacks and one of my old sleevelesses on it to cover the pipe, so that it was camouflaged.

I went to the Hippo rock after lunch. The fire had stopped. But I could see burnt stuff on the patch south-east of the one next to the road and Potti’s kaad.

We saw a plane flying very high in the evening.You could only see it because of its smoke trail.


6 Responses to “The Fire”

  1. Suseela Kumaravel Says:

    I am so proud of Varun and yet shudder to think what if…

  2. Godfrey Says:

    symbolic of the eternal mission





  5. JD Says:

    Scary yes, but I loved the details by Varun.

  6. Ravi Says:

    Varun’s description was amazing! All is well that ends well:)

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