Prelude to D’Landers

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

Lost

Diti Dita and Dito had come to that part of the jungle where they were not supposed to. Not because they were naughty, they were lost. The only relief was that there was light. Ample light, to find our way back home, thought Diti, the eldest of them. They were not siblings but in their village D’land, everybody’s name started with D.

Diti was 10 yrs old and was a smart chap. It so happened that after school, Dita (8) and Dito (7), who lived in the same housing complex as that of Diti requested him to take them home by a detour he had quite often spoken off.

The detour was a small one, hardly a couple of fathoms more than the usual way home. It was bordered by a line of very tall trees and thick bushes and no one knew what lay beyond. At least the children of Diti’s age didn’t. He never asked his parents as he knew the answer he would get, “There is a time for everything”.

So it was first two lefts then a right and a slight right and a left again to reach home by this detour. Diti knew it as good as the table of 5. And yet it happened. He got lost and with him Dita and Dito too.

“Must have taken a turn we should not have.” Dita said aloud. True it is, but which one? thought Diti.

Dito spotted a lamb and showed it to the others. Diti gestured to keep quiet and follow it. The lamb was happily jumping around and showed no signs of leading the way out of the little clearing they found themselves in.

Found

A sharp hooting call woke the kids. They stood up hastily to find themselves on haystacks. Some people were moving around. This was definitely not D’land, thought Diti. He turned to find Dita and Dito sitting up too.

Someone came to them and said something but Diti didn’t understand at first. His head was groggy and it also hurt. The man who was standing near them was stocky and presently he sat down beside him and repeated slowly what he had said earlier.

“Ghow gare gyou? Gfeeling gbetter?” the man said. Diti tilted his head to indicate a “Yes”. Another man brought some fruits and broth for the kids.

Having been refreshed it was time for answers, both sides had many questions.

Apparently, the kids fell through a pit. The children falling from D’land to G’land did mean a lot of trouble on a global scale. The Scientists were called for and even they were baffled.

Diti Dita and Dito stayed on in G’land for a couple of days. Their parents were intimated to mitigate the worry. G’land was a desert biome and where they came from, it was all about dense vegetation. The two worlds were so dissimilar that they seemed like different realms.

The Mystery

The three wandered about trying to make sense of what they saw and learn the fascinating new things which they had never heard of.

One afternoon Diti and Dita were talking about the Dama gazelle. Dita said, “Did you notice that there are no females, all these antelopes have horns.” “No Dita,” said Diti in a knowing tone, “These are gazelle. Both male and female have horns. There is a rather interesting theory given by the scientists about female horns. The horns are not used in defence by either the male or the female cause they would rather run than confront a predator. And yet the horns are required to show supremacy over other males of the same community.”

“Okay, but why do the females have horns?” asked a puzzled Dita. “Because the young males who still need protection from the herd can be hidden in disguise of a young female. Otherwise the older males will shoo them away,” said Diti as if unravelling a great mystery.

“That is so complicated,” gasped a wide eyed Dita.

Dito suddenly came running and panting. “Those people there are digging up,” said an exasperated Dito, “They must be the same people who made the pit we fell through”. “How do you know that?” asked Dita getting up to go and take a look.

Around 20 odd people clad in some sort of suit were actually digging up the ground. They saw the kids and waved. Diti went forward inquisitively. “What is happening here?” asked Diti. “We are replacing the water pipes. It has to be done every 20 – 25 yrs to keep any contamination at bay,” said one of the masked personnel slowly opening the headgear.

He was the supervisor of this operation and he looked very worried when he got to know their story.

Back Home

Soon it was time to go home and the three kids felt happy. The pit was closed all the way up to D’land. There were official routes to traverse between the Lands which the scientists used.

Diti Dita and Dito were taken to a building with beautiful gardens around it. They were thoroughly examined, decontaminated and then taken to a room which had a couple of vertical cylindrical metallic boxes.

They were given a small drink and asked to sit for a while. The light music and ambiance made them feel sleepy and they slept off.

Dito was thrilled to see her mom as she woke up. “Mamma, I had such weird dreams. I fell somewhere, where there was a lot of sand. Dita and Diti were also with me,” she wanted to say everything at once. “That was not a dream darling,” Dito’s mom said lovingly shuffling her hands through Dito’s hair.

The three little D’landers met their friends at lunch and spoke about their adventure at length. But there were too many unanswered questions and the gang resolved to find them out. Who dug the pit? What other lands are there? Why are they so different? Was the world coming to an end?

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