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Vulturine Vision

Dr.Muhammad Ismail Wali

As usual, Chumchuqut was in the dreaming mood. In the dream, he found himself near a bolder in a rocky area. On the bolder was sitting Jonathan Swift. Swift told the following story to Chumchuqut.

A bald vulture convened a meeting to discuss strategies for engaging lions in fights so that the great kills might be shared by the vultures. There are about 500 vultures. Some of them were wise based upon experience and observation. Some others were young but intelligent. A few female vultures were also thought to be professional experts in matters of creating conflicts in familial structures of other animals. The presiding vulture was sitting on a white rock picking its beak on the rock to get rid of the chips of meat and sinews recently eaten from the carcass of a big buffalo. The two young calves of the buffalo were picking grass near the muddy stream flowing by the white rock.

A green plain, strewn with boulders here and there, surrounded the white rock on three sides. All the vultures made duck-like walks on the green to discuss their 50 years plan, how to trick lions into killing a big animal and leaving the carcass uneaten to hunt deer and other small animals. First, there was heart-storming to activate the inner components for envisioning the events to occur in the above stretch of time. The heart-storming session was followed by a brain-washing one to create a space for new and fresh ideas to flow unblocked by the past.

Five core committees were constituted for exploring the potentials of implementing the plan in an effective and efficient manner. The committees were responsible for surveying the forest and its populations and communities to come up with statistical figures and graphic pictures of their findings.

The name of the presiding vulture was Pure Baldhead. Baldhead recommended names for heading each committee. The heads of the committees held secret meetings with Baldhead for settling their ToRs before taking the respective members into confidence for the tasks ahead. In the secret meeting, the project was named Lion Freedom Strategy (LFS). LFS had many branches to work in close collaboration with other carnivorous birds, insects, and animals, especially hyenas.

A few years after the meeting, a vulture appeared in the land of wolves. Her name was Miss Actress. To the king of wolves, Actress introduced herself as a diplomat from Vultureland. The king of wolves always remained worried about the survival of its species in the face of ever-decreasing food supply. Though some experienced wolves were reluctant to agree, Actress, after many meetings with the king, succeeded in persuading him to sign a contract to the following effect:

The experts of Vultureland would devise plans to regulate the channels of food supply chain to the wolves under the king’s domain. The young wolves, especially she-wolves, would be trained how to trick stray and pet dogs of the nearby villages into their area. The king would not hunt himself. He will be provided with fresh meat of pet bitches, not stray bitches, as he will busy working day and night on strategic depths. Vultures of medical profession would also visit the area for exploring potentials for training young wolves , both male and female, how to cross-breed with other animals including omnivores. In return for the services, the king would make certain Minor changes in the lupine constitution.

A feast was held in the honour of the pseudo-aquiline diplomat. The diplomat was pleased to see a few foxes in the lupine assembly. In her farewell address, Actress paid high tributes to the generosity, broad-mindedness, and prone-to-change attitude of the kind before saying some throaty words on the presence of some individuals from the vulpine family.

Besides Actress, other vulturine diplomats were also engaged in intensive talks with the kings of all carnivore families of animals except lions and tigers. Mr. Tang-pa-Tang, a hybrid vulture trained in ursine art of catching fish went to the land of brown bears to sensitize them to the old issue of how their polar cousins preserved the white coat, which went against the basic rights of other ursine families. Mrs. Pit-pat-pot-pool, known in vultures as four P’s, was sent to the king of snow leopards with the message that fresh human flesh would be supplied to him but subject to the condition that the leopard would not hunt wild mice, which were required by the scientist vultures for experimenting to wipe out humans, the worst enemy of all wild animals. Mr. Crow was an old but shrewd vulture. His mission was to hold talks with wild dogs in the name of teaching them efficiently new tactics how not to live in a joint family system and how to enjoy freedom of hunting individually but in the company of just one soul partner.

Vulturine diplomatic missions visited all strategic zones and regions but no known attempt was made to work out plans for entering into some direct contacts with lions. Lions kept on their conventional ways of grooming, resting, stalking, and hunting. The females were expert hunters. They lived in prides. Each pride had its territory with markings to defend by the male (s). They did not object to the vultures’ behavior of eating the remains of the kill.

After the agreement, many consultancy firms started working in the land of the wolves. The king wolf was happy with getting fresh meat of pet bitches; his hunting instinct was gradually losing the drives for ferocity in terms of intensity. He was gaining weight as well, making his biological organs less active and aggressive. Young female wolves were beyond themselves in the company of their trainers whose tactful communication kept them mesmerized for the new Ideas to flow into their ferocious minds. They were happy with mock demonstrations of how to trick stray and pet dogs into their area. Through mock demonstrations, they were trained what, how, and when to seduce dogs. The focus was on the heat period when the male dogs were driven by the wild drive for mating without bothering about food for many days. Another tactic was to make friends with some fierce dogs and to instigate them for claiming for their basic rights from their masters. During the demonstrations, some female wolves turned to the fantasy of mating with their near cousins.

The king of leopards was also pleased with eating human flesh. It was not so easy for the vulturine professionals and politicians to arrange for fresh human flesh. To achieve their objective, their consultants used a serpentine way of seducing human children into pardine territory. First, they made contracts with crickets, through crickets with shrikes, through shrikes with sparrows, through sparrows with larks, and larks were persuaded to play tricks with the strings of kites in such a way as to misguide children out of their safe zones. In return for the service, the larks would be protected against predators. The plan worked well. Each week, the king would eat human fresh. The consultants in the pardine territory were engaged in many interventions including seminars and workshops how to change their outdated modes of behavior, shyness and elusiveness. Young leopards were trained how to minimize their hunting of deer and hares. Here, again, the consultants chalked out a labyrinthine way of approaching domestic cats through the network of engaging bats, owls, kites, and swallows in the project.

The working environment in the territory of brown bears turned out to be fraught with ideological challenges. Bears are thought to be non-territorial; the first challenge was to make them territory-conscious. The second challenge was to activate a conflict between Brown and Black bears for preserving the national interests of vultures. Their vulturine consultants worked for many years with white bears to sensitize them to the superiority of their whiteness and high habitat. The consultants working with Brown and Black bears focused on making them reactive to the evolutionary strategists of the white bear. A basic part of the vulturine diplomacy was to train young bears, both brown and black, how not to engage in omnivorous activities, which were not good for their psychological health, making them non-territorial.

On a hot day, Baldhead called an emergency meeting of his Strategic Depth Committee (SDC) to discuss the turns and twists of the roadmap. In the meeting, it was decided to take on board some creeping creatures as well. The point that was repeatedly stressed in the meeting was no part of the plan would be leaked to the rival family of birds, eagles.

A few years after this meeting, a domestic cat appeared in the forest with a lark hovering over it. The king of a pride was resting under a tree. His eyes and tail were actively engaged in alerting him to the ticklish scratches of different insects. His multi-tasked tongue was performing its pre-determined function inside the mouth, opening to yawn at given intervals. A flick on the ground turned his eyes to the shadow of the lark flying over the cat. Near the shadow, he saw his diminutive cousin domesticated by humans as a pet and mouse-hunter. This thought caused a grin on his face. What fools humans were! The leonine behavior is romanticized as a symbol of bravery and confidence.

The lark sat down near a tuft of grass on the ground simmering with heat. The tiny creature was un-noticeably guarded by two vultures wallowing nearby to be watched and monitored by three vultures in the sky. The cat was indoctrinated to invoke the pride of the leonine king for gaining his favour. The cat was intensively educated what, how, when, where, and why to communicate with the king.

The cat disappeared into the tuft of grass where the lark was. The king noted with wonder what centuries of slavery had done to the feline behavior of his diminutive cousin. Curiosity gripped his focus of thinking. He decided to search for the reasons responsible for making the cat so tamed and innocent. In leonine terminology, both innocence and submission were signs of physical extinction.

The thought exhausted his mind and he went to sleep. During the sleep, he saw a dream. In the dream, he met an old fox which once had guided him to a domestic bull pasturing in his territory. However, now, the fox was heading a local team of shrewd experts working on the vulturine project. On being asked about the innocent behavior of the cat, the fox told him that the king should be kind enough to talk to the cat and make friends with him for learning the science of climbing trees to the farthest height.

The king awoke with the dream in his mind. Now the cat was in the open again. The king rose, shook off his body and mane before treading toward the cat. The cat licked his mouth and purred. The king said, “My diminutive cousin, how did you reach here?” The cat said, “O king, I managed to escape from the lap of my child master playing in the garden. On the way to your kingdom, I learned a lot and it took many years to make my way to this kingdom. On the way, I learned how to make friends with enemies and how to create new enemies for survival. Now, this lark, now sitting on a flat stone at the distance of some forty feet, and I are friends. I live on milk. Milk, humans say, has all the nutrients necessary for our fitness. Milk is white and meat is red. Red meat, particularly beef, is not good for paws and legs, making them less dexterous in climbing.” The final statement struck the head of the king but he did not comment on it.

The other day there was neither the cat nor the lark. The king shared the new idea with some of the male members of the pride. The tickled the paws of the male lions for chasing a hunt to the farthest blanch of a tree and frighten it down to be killed by stalking females. The king did not want to share the idea with his queens. The queens never liked to bring changes in their instinctive energy. However, the thought kept the king busy planning to evolve some effective strategy to drink milk and acquire dexterity in climbing trees like a cat.

The diplomat vultures worked day and night to achieve their target however difficult, arduous, challenging, daunting, and uphill task the procedure might me. Their trained agents were engaged in providing data to the diplomatic missions. The missions, in turn, submitted the data to the respective core committees. The core committees analyzed it for primary and secondary findings before making executive summaries for SDC headed by Pure Baldhead.

The new training programmes had moved the foundations of instincts installed in all animals by nature. Hierarchies of power were being challenged in clandestine ways. There was social unrest in every animal population.

The leonine curiosity was forming pressure in the male members for developing their climbing skills. It so happened in the forest that the agent vultures working in monkey community sent a code to their headquarters in the Vultureland. The code read “tripe s hand” (success is at hand). A feast was held in the headquarters in anticipation of the victory and trophies . A delegation of monkeys went to the buffalos for signing an agreement. The agreement related to all mammals in the name of HPF (Healthy and Peaceful Future).

During the talk with the buffalos, it transpired that monkeys were milk relatives of the buffalos. The delegation of the monkeys persuaded the queen of buffalos to revive the old and inactive relationship. On the same day, the king of lions had killed a big buffalo. He and his family were relaxing under the same tree. A herd of buffalos was pasturing nearby. The king lifted his left paw to fly away flies sitting on a wound on the left side of his nose. Suddenly, his eyes turned to never-seen event. A buffalo was breastfeeding two monkeys. The king’s tongue tickled and he licked his mouth. The kingly creativity turned active. He thought of establishing links with the king of monkeys. He held a meeting with the heir-apparent and assigned him the task of using the old fox for achieving the objective.

The old fox was already awaiting a chance to promote the vulture project. He went to the king of monkeys as a lobbyist. In the beginning, the king of monkey was reluctant to accept the proposal of establishing links with lions. The old fox removed his fears through gymnastics. The heir-apparent and the king of monkeys met by a stream to strike a deal. A part of the deal was the buffalos would be suckled by the king of lions.

The king of monkeys and the queen of monkeys discussed the pros and cons of giving milk to the lion. After a long discussion, the queen of buffalos was ready to accept the proposal on the condition that the king of lions would go to the pasturing territory of the buffalos where a wet one would be basking for breastfeeding the king.

The king prepared himself for the strangest activity in his life. First, he ate from the carcass of a giraffe lest his leonine instinct might become active during suckling. The event was to be kept top secret not only from the harem of the king but also from all other animals as well except the old fox and the king of monkeys.

One afternoon, when the pride was relaxing under the tree, the king slipped away and tiptoed to the spot already mentioned earlier. The wet buffalo felt a bit embarrassed in the beginning. The king suckled; it was pleasing beyond measure. The king became an “addict.” The experience was so exhilarating that he turned jealous of allowing the heir-apparent. However, the heir-apparent had started suckling another wet buffalo through another chain of another net spread by the vulture project managers.

A few weeks after the experience, the milk, a product of maternal instinct, worked its way into the blood of the king. With the passage of time, all male members of the pride became addicted to “milk.” They did attack and kill buffalos but for the joy of clawing and killing. The milk had also its effect upon their seminal glands. To cut a long story short, the milk addiction spread in the male members of other prides. With the passage of time, the female lions, through vulturine projects worked by hyenas, also started the same practice.

Baldhead and his SDC members held a feast to celebrate their success as best strategists. After the feast, they discussed the plan of wiping out all predatory birds in an imperceptible fashion.

There had been an old enmity between frogs and vultures. The king of frogs had been planning how to fight vultures, an avian enemy equipped with heavier bodies and strongly sharp beaks. It took centuries to come up with a practicable plan against the enemy.

Some magpies were hired for devising a strategy to destroy the vultures. The magpies had to be fed with the meat of old frogs as compensation. The magpies had their diplomatic links with yellow scorpions, and yellow scorpions had their friendly relations with black cobras. After many days of avian deliberation, the magpies submitted their concept:

The magpie scientists would make a mixture of two poisonous substances, black and yellow. The mixture would not be poisonous for vultures for they are immune to it. In order to make it effective, a rare substance is needed and this rare substance is found in the depths of oceans. Like a pearl, the substance is formed in the stomach of Fangtooth.

The king of frogs held a meeting how to get the rare substance. The following plan was developed: the project would be implemented by consultants hired from turtle population. Many abortive meetings were held with the king of turtles. Later, some young turtles who had their links with the agents of the vulture project appeared as volunteers to perform the task. They asked for every detail of the project. The news was leaked to agents of the vulture project. Baldhead held a meeting with his SDC and it was decided to attack the frog population.

Thousands of frogs were wolfed down. During this mass destruction, the vultures also ate the frog whose stomach contained the rare substance to which it had developed immunity. Before flying off the marshy ground, the vultures had to vomit out the frogs for lightening their weight in the air.

A few hundred frogs survived after the mass attack. The frogs elected a new king. The old frogs advised the new king never to think of fighting the powerful enemy. They also advised the king to suspend relations with magpies. However, some young frogs who did not speak on the occasion met later to secretly work on the project envisioned by their ancestors. They established an invisibly strong network of relations with those species which shared their vision and mission. The magpies could not come to the new Frogland. However, their consultants trained some swallows how to prepare the mixture if the rare substance was found.

The swallows were not suspected by the new king and his ministers. The trained swallows also glided over the old Frogland for some clues. During a search flight, a female swallow eyed something weird on the ground where the vultures had vomited out the dead bodies of the frogs.

She told her team members and they also swooped over it for ascertaining what had been seen. They reported the experience to the consultant magpies. A well-trained magpie volunteered to visit the ground without being seen by the agents of the vultures. He took an empty shell of a walnut to carry back the substance. His plan worked. The magpie scientists worked some part of it into the desired mixture and many walnut shells were filled with it before blocking the holes with wax taken from the queen of honey bees.

The vultures were nearing the next target. Their agents watched every moment of the frogs. Many prides of lions had perished after losing their ferocious instincts. The next targets were eagles.

Some aquiline ministers had good relations with the queen of magpies. The magpie scientists took the queen into their confidence for implementing the project through the king of eagles. Through the ministers, the queen of magpies sent the message to the king of eagles. The king was very intelligent and wise. After holding many productive meetings with his ministers and general, the eagle king disproved the project but recommended to work on.

The new project proposed by the aquiline king was to prepare a mixture for jamming the vomiting mechanism of the vultures after eating to their fill. If the mechanism was jammed, the vultures would not remain in the air for long; their body weights would bring them down and thousands of vultures would perish.

The antidote mixture was another challenge for the magpie scientists. However, their commitment was beyond question. The lead scientist saw a dream that gave him a clear clue. In the dream he saw a diseased vulture healing after drinking from a mixture of the rare substance and the yellowish part of an eagle egg. The next he shared the dream with his fellow scientists. After consultation with the consultants of Eagleland, the magpie scientists also prepared the antidote.

Baldhead was engaged in finalizing the implementing strategy of the second target. Thousands of eagles had gathered to be informed on their respective tasks for the operation. They had no idea what would be going to happen in a few hours later.

Many dead bodies of buffalos were lying on the grassy ground. Two volunteer eagles flew high with three walnuts in their claws. The walnuts had to be dropped down near the carcasses.

The weapon was designed to produce biological fission and to enter every cell of the carcasses.

The walnuts were dropped before the volt of vultures made their wake. In a few minutes later, the process of tearing, shredding, and devouring started. When nothing eatable piece left, the vultures started to perform the physiological act of vomiting out the load, a biologically installed programme to make their bodies lighter for takeoff. Each bird tried its best to use the relevant muscles but to no effect. In desperation, hundreds of birds took off with the load but to come down and hit the ground to die. This was a deathtrap for all the vultures present there.

Baldhead’s last words to his confidante were, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

A few hundred vultures survived after the holocaust, a vision which they themselves had planned for others to experience. These vultures had left the company of their fellow vultures for living in seclusion somewhere else on earth. It took about one thousand years for all the animals to restore the balance in their biological and physiological processes, so systematically disturbed by the bald vision.

Dr. ismail wali chitral

The Author

Dr. Muhammad Ismail Wali is a Chitrali scholar, whose main field is English Literature. He has done his Ph.D. from the University of Peshawar. He has been teaching English Language and Literature in the colleges of KPK, Pakistan for more than two decades. Now he is a professor at Institute of Management Sciences Peshawar. Besides teaching and research, he has been regularly engaged in creative writing. He writes poems in English, Urdu and Khowar.
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