For the next three hours she would not leave that cage. She gave him tea, lemonade, cakes, ice-cream and what not. Then ‘closing time’ came and we had to leave. My wife cried bitterly; Baba cried bitterly; even the hardened curator and the keepers felt depressed. As for me, I had reconciled myself to what I knew was going to happen next.
“Oh please, sir,” she asked the curator, “may I have my Baba back”? Hesitantly, he answered, “Madam, he belongs to the zoo and is Government property now. I cannot give away Government property. But if my boss, the superintendent Bangalore agrees, certainly you may have him back.”
There followed the return journey to Bangalore and a visit to the superintendent’s bungalow. A tearful pleading: “Baba and I are both fretting for each other. Will you please give him back to me?” He was a kind-hearted man and consented. Not only that, but he wrote to the curator telling For the next three hours she would not leave that cage …him to lend us a cage for transporting the bear to Bangalore.
The narrator, who witnesses all these scenes, explains that he knew what was in stock for him. He knew his wife well enough to know that his wife would not have the mindset to go back home after this emotional reunion. His wife asks the curator if she could take her bear back with her. The curator who was already in a depressed mood, after witnessing her plight, understands her situation. He tells her that since the bear was in a zoo, which was a government property, he did not have the rights to do so. But he gives her a relief as he says he might help her if the superintendent who resides in Bangalore agrees to her request.
They immediately return to Bangalore, in a hope to convince the curator's boss, the superintendent, to give the bear back to them. She pleaded with him with tearful eyes, as she could not bear to lose her beloved bear again. She appealed to him to give him back to her as both the animal and herself were worried and depressed by the separation. The superintendent understands that the bear shares a special bond with her, as she was the one who had taken care of him as a cub. He did not want to carry the guilt of separating the meek animal from his caretaker. He also realizes that the bear was tamed and there was no visible threat to anyone in letting him go. He was kind hearted and sent a letter to the curator asking him to allow her to spend around three hours next to his cage, to shower him with all the love he had missed in the days of separation. He also orders for a cage to transport him from the zoo to the narrator's house.
Woman pleading to the superintendent
Meaning of difficult words:
|Hesitantly||Slow to act|
|Superintendent||An official who oversees things|
|Urged||To make someone do a thing either by force or love|
|In stock||Readily available|
|Reconciled||To restore one's friendly relationship|
|Depressed||Being sad; It also refers to a medical condition where one needs immediate help|
|Meek||Silent and not harmful|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Bond of Love - Kenneth Anderson (pp.113-118). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.