I’ve never seen a real hippo. My only sightings of the large creatures have always been on tv or in picture books. So that morning when I looked out of my bedroom window and saw a hippo in my garden I thought it was the effect of indulging a tad too much the previous night. I remembered copious amounts of alcohol and even more food floating around at the party. I also had vague recollections of serenading a bougainvillea plant and insisting that it was the most beautiful girl there.
Wiping all thoughts of hippos out of my mind, I went down to the kitchen to make myself some strong coffee. What the heck ! The hippo could be seen from my kitchen window. Did I mention that it was pink in colour? A nice soft pink, but definitely pink. I washed my face at the kitchen sink and rubbed it vigorously with a towel. Now I was sure I wouldn’t see any strange mammals around. No such luck. It was standing solemnly in a corner of the garden and eating bougainvillea flowers. What is it with these flowers? Of late they seem to be featuring quite prominently in my life. My mom would burst a vein if she saw her dear bougainvillea being used as fodder. Thankfully she was not at home.
I valiantly set forth into the inner recesses of the garden, which was largely unknown territory to me. Ok, here I am, standing next to the gaily smiling pot of chrysanthemums and there it was, next to the rapidly diminishing bougainvillea. “Hello” said a soft voice. It seemed to be coming from the pink hippo. I really shouldn’t have imbibed so much last night. Imagine a talking pink hippo !
“Could I have some water please?” came the soft voice again. I was struck speechless and people who know me will tell you how rare that is. “Are you really talking?” I asked haltingly. “Do you see anyone else around?” this time the soft voice was slightly annoyed. Deciding to make things clear I asked cautiously, “Are you a talking hippo?” “ No, I’m a dancing lizard ! Of course I’m talking and I’m a hippo, how else will you hear me and see me?” the hippo sounded decidedly vexed.
I quickly ran to the garden shed and got a bucketful of water for it. Poor thing seemed to be parched, for within seconds the bucket was empty. “What is your name?” I questioned. “Biba” it said. “ Where’re you headed for Biba?” I asked curiously. “ To meet my friend” it replied placidly, all the while decimating the bougainvillea. Getting answers from this pink apparition was proving quite difficult, but I was not willing to let go of this opportunity.
“So Biba, tell me who’s this friend you’re going to visit?” Biba gave me a withering look (if you can imagine that expression on a pink hippo) and said “ I’d promised my friend Theophilus that I’d attend his wedding. I set out at dawn, but the heat has really worn me out. So when I saw this place with my favourite snack in abundance, I made an un-scheduled stop.” The snack in question was now reduced to just the stems and that too was being consumed as we spoke. “How do you travel Biba ?” was my next question. I think it got quite offended by my persistent questions. There was a fluttering sound and suddenly Biba the pink hippo sprouted two tiny wings. I was robbed of all powers of speech.Once again. Any self-respecting crow would sneer at these wings, so how would they support a hippo? As if it read my thoughts, Biba slowly spread her wings and after thanking me in dulcet tones, made a stately exit on her tiny wings. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sight of a pink hippo serenely winging its way upwards.
The sun hit my eyes as I looked up and I shut them for a moment. When I opened them again Biba had disappeared. I was feeling quite shaky by this encounter and the sun’s rays were making me feel dizzy. Somehow I made my way to my room and flopped down on the bed. The next thing I remember is my mother shaking me to wake me up. I had slept through the day and now it was evening. She had got back from visiting my grandparents to see me fast asleep. Muttering about lazy progeny and their wayward ways my mom went to make some coffee for both of us.
All of a sudden I remembered my encounter with Biba. Jumping out of bed I quickly looked out of the window. The garden looked peaceful and beautiful in the mellow evening sunlight with no sign of any member of the animal kingdom anywhere around. Everything looked so normal. A talking pink hippo surely had to be a creature conjured up in my befuddled brain. I shook my head marveling at my wild imagination.It had felt so real. Why couldn’t I have dreamed of that cute girl next door who always smiled at me?
Picking up my mug of coffee from the kitchen I slowly sauntered out inhaling the scent of the roses that were my mother’s pride and joy. Imagine if there really had been a pink hippo eating the bougainvillea? I jerked to a stop. The bougainvillea plant stood stripped of flowers and leaves. The stem looked forlorn and mangled. The image of a pink hippo calmly chomping its way through the flowers and leaves cropped up in my mind. While my mind tried to formulate some form of coherent explanation, I heard the sound of my mother approaching. I could only gaze blankly at the destroyed bougainvillea and wonder how I would explain a pink hippo to her.
(This is part of the A to Z challenge, where the participants have to blog every day in April, excepting Sundays. The titles of the posts should start with different letters of the alphabet, starting with A on April 1st and moving on sequentially. The theme I’ve selected is Stories. Just hope I can keep up with the ‘march of the alphabets’)