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Balu - An unsung hero

A young man named Kali, lived in a remote village in India. His home was situated in a heavily wooded area, which was infested with several wild animals, including poisonous snakes. Hence, he decided to adopt a mongoose as a pet. He had heard and read that even a wild mongoose could be raised to be a friendly, loving and domesticated pet. After a few months, Kali and the mongoose developed a good relationship together and started living like a family. He gave his pet mongoose a name “Balu” - which means “love” in a regional Indian language.

Kali was a vegetarian and started to feed the mongoose nuts, fruits and whatever he ate himself. Kali was of course aware that the mongoose could easily wander into the forest and prey on small animals when he was hungry.

Everyday, when Kali returned from work, he would play with Balu. He taught him small games and tricks, like chasing a ball, picking up Kali’s pen and bringing it to him and even “playing dead” - which is a favorite play of a mongoose. Whenever Balu would perform his “playing dead” game, Kali would laugh and tickle him in his stomach, then he would get up gleefully and dance around to make his master happy. Kali had another ritual whenever he performed his morning and evening prayer, he would offer a banana to God as part of his worship. After that, he would cut a little banana and call out - “Balu come and eat a little ‘prasad’ ” Prasad is a Hindi (Indian Language) word for “God’s Grace” Balu would come running and dancing gleefully , take the prasad, wag his tail and want more!

Time went by and 5 years passed. Kali met a young, pretty girl Soma and married her. The day arrived when Soma came to her home and Balu picked a small flower from their garden and went to welcome Soma! She was amused and moved by this gesture. In time, Balu and Soma became friends and they all started living like one happy family. Soma began to treat Balu like a son, just like Kali.

Two more years passed and Kali and Soma were blessed by a little girl. They named her Bela. Balu was happy to have a little “sister” - he would dance around her crib playfully. One day, Soma and Kali had to run an errand for a few hours. Kali told Balu - “Please watch over your little sister while we are gone. We'll be back soon…!” Balu looked at them with very compassionate, obedient eyes as he was promising like a big brother to protect his sister.

Moreover, as has been mentioned before, this house was situated in a deep forest that was infested with snakes and several wild animals.As fate would have it, a cobra came crawling into the house. He sniffed around and went near the crib where little Bela was sleeping peacefully. Balu saw that and could sense the evil intentions of the cobra. Without losing a moment, Balu attacked the cobra. A fierce fight resulted which went over for an hour or so. However, Balu’s brave battle with the cobra ended and the cobra died. During this process, Balu also was severely wounded and was covered with blood himself. Nevertheless, Balu felt satisfied that he had been successful in saving little Bela.

When Kali and Soma came back, Balu while struggling with his own painwent to greet his parents. He felt like a wounded but brave soldier who had won a war! Moreover, as soon as Kali saw Balu, he screamed, “Oh Balu, did you kill your sister, you monster!” Little Balu could not of course explain and tried to direct them to the crib.Moreover, Kali who by now, lost his senses, grabbed a gun and shot little Balu! Within a few minutes, Balu breathed his last. Soma, crying bitterly went to Bela’s crib and was utterly surprised to see little Bela sleeping peacefully. She also noticed the dead cobra near the crib and immediately understood what had happened. Little Balu had saved his little sister Bela from a poisonous, fierce cobra! She dragged her husband to the site and finally he also noticed and understood what had happened. However, it was too late Balu was dead - this time, he was not “playing dead” but was really dead. Kali started to sob bitterly and started muttering - “Oh Balu , my dear Balu….” What did I do! I will never, never forgive myself for the heinous crime I committed. Soma, who was also crying bitterly, tried to comfort Kali.

A dark gloomy shadow of darkness engulfed the entire home. Kali stopped eating and sleeping. Soma, started to pray a lot to God, “Oh God, please heal my husband - Pull him out of this circle of despair. Restore happiness and peace in this home again” Course, God answers prayers from his fervent devotees.

One night Balu appeared in Kali’s dream. He looked at him with his loving eyes and said “My dear Daddy, please stop living like this, whatever happened to me was destined. Life is a game - God’s play! You did whatever you did out of ignorance - Please do not punish yourself anymore. If you want my soul to be in peace…. you need to move on. Take care of my mom, Soma and my little sister - Bela….then only I can be happy. One day, we will meet again in the Lord’s Kingdom…which is our permanent home. Until then you live your life well”

Kali became peaceful after that and he returned to his normal life routine. When little Bela grew up, Kali told her the story of Balu. Bela (who loved to draw), drew a portrait of Balu. She showed it to Soma and Kali. They were both very moved when they saw the drawing and even more when they saw the title. “My Big Brother Balu - An unsung hero”

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