The International Writers Magazine: Stories

Biography of an Ass
Jayantee (Mukherjee) Saha

In one circus troupe there was an ‘ass’. The owner of the circus was a tyrant. For any and every matter he used to beat the ass. There was also a horse in the troupe. It was a source of attraction for the show and was taken extra care by the owner since it earned him profit.

One day the horse came to the ass and says, "Brother, the owner tortures you so much. Why don’t you run away"?
The ass replied, "Do you know that I am waiting for a chance? Our master has a beautiful daughter who is a gymnast in the troupe. Every morning during the practice session I hear our master saying that if you fall down from the rope I will marry you to that ass. Will she never fall? I am waiting for that chance".

Probably, the same chance has come to the Ass’s life. Recently, in Chennai five dozen assess were married off. Though not with beautiful lasses but with entities of their own species.
Report says that hundreds of men and women attended the marriage ceremony, which was organized to satisfy the ‘Rain-God’ and save the state from drought.

Describing an ass Bankim Ch Chatterjee said "when I see you standing under the tree, getting wet in the new drops of rain, with your ears shooting up, face down-to-earth, eyes wide open at times closed at the other, the rain drops falling on your back, shoulders, and face, I recognise you as one of the most beautiful creatures".

Surprisingly, almost everywhere we find that an ‘ass’ is a symbol of ‘foolishness’ and a substance of mockery and ridicule. Its general characteristics have been defined as disgraceful, absent-minded, careless, idle, insensitive, and fool.

In Rig veda the carrier of Aswini Kumar was an ‘ass’. In difficult terrain ‘asses’ have always helped us in carrying goods. To the ‘ass’s’ delight, a few stalwarts have also praised it. It has been portrayed by Shakespeare in ‘Mid summer night’, by Wordsworth in ‘Peter Bell’. Even in the tales of Arabian Nights, it was courtesy those three ‘asses’ of Alibaba that precious materials were carried from those secret caves. One of the authors even described an ass to be quite rational. The size of its head is quite large. It is ever thoughtful, never in a hurry, cool and patient resembling a "Pundit".

Though the speed of an ‘ass’ is pole apart from that of a horse, yet animal researchers claim that if an ‘ass’ is kept with a herd of horses it has the capacity to lead the herd. Therefore, it cannot be stereotyped.
Listening to the "braying" of asses’ one famous author quoted "When I hear them braying I find millions of voices standing on the edge of tolerance protesting against years of suppression and oppression, claiming justice".
Will they ever get it?

© Ms. Jayantee (Mukherjee) Saha November 2006
Faculty Member -HR & OB
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