Tuesday 20 February 2024

The Way of Home - Ati Pema

PC- Ati Pema

The Way of Home

"A leopard never changes its spots."
- Anonymous

Far beyond the distant chains of ice, stone and snow in the land of the icey plateau lies my dwelling, enveloped by the stone and dust that gives me my livelihood. I have to hunt those devilishly quick prey that leaps away on cliffs and claws away on the ridges (Even when they have none!). 

Fearless they are so I too have to become such, though they are swift, they lack much awareness and are lost in their petty fights. I can creep up on them quickly, and with my colour, they rarely see me! But a lot has changed since my solitude; there are more mouths to feed than my own.

My hunting days are longer and more gruelling, and hunting itself has become more complicated than it once was. My prey left their grazing ground and now lives on the planes in numbers more prominent than I had ever seen. It would be good if those two-legged skin changers did not look over them. They, too, live in herds of hundreds in their own lands, where they carve the plateau to their liking. 

I would not be much concerned, but lately, the snow on the hill, which once shone white, has been painted grey with dust. I can no longer hide under my camouflage! 

I take my cubs wherever I go as now my own kind threatens them in these difficult times. 

What had changed in the time I grew? Where is the land I knew? The snow, the ice and those green pastures. What could be the cause? 

Yet there is no time to complain as even those two-legged beasts are now hunting us! Will my cubs ever see the world I saw? Will they never hear the silent breath they take as they go for their first hunt? I shan't throw away my hope. As times have gone and become such, it will change once more. 

Ati Pema
St. Thomas College

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