Frog in a well

P.Venugopala Rao

I have always asked myself this question many times -- why I am I confined to this place full of water, weeds, worms and what not. I confronted every other one whom I have met, with this question, but no one seems to know the exact answer. These vertical walls surrounding me sometimes scare me. I remember the little one that tried to climb along the walls, hanging desperately with its legs and hands holding on to the slipper surface.

The old green frog spoke to me one day and told me an interesting story. I still think it is a story, but the old frog thinks that it is the truth and what really happened. "In the beginning it was all water pure and distilled, surrounded by smooth vertical walls of infinite height. Then a disturbance appeared mysteriously in the waters. Its source is a tiny speck. The speck grew immensely in size, for how long we do not know. After a long time it became a huge thing. As it lay motionless in the waters it began to think and dream. It decided to divide into smaller parts, each small part becoming a different kind of thing, of different size and color. We are all descendants of that great one. We call it Frog, because it gave us the life we have. It sacrificed itself by dismemberment so that we can all 'become' and 'be.'. Its spirit lives in us. We live and think because of its existence that exists in us. There are no frogs here that are not part of that primordial Frog. We are like that great frog except we do not dismember ourselves to multiply. One of our ancestors made a great discovery. it showed us that all we have to do to multiply is to lay eggs and let the eggs become frogs. It was a moment of great excitement in our frog world. That discoverer is the one whom we remember whenever floods come. We call him creator. We save as many eggs as possible in the nooks and corners, here and there."

I interrupted the old frog and asked him why we have floods and how often they come. It got annoyed a little bit. It did not want to answer that question. It simply mumbled-"they come now and then". As an after thought it added, " may be the great frog knew". It appeared to me that the old frog is afraid of the flood.

One of the frogs that spends most of its time in a hole in the wall above the water line told me about a flood it had witnessed. "There was a sudden rush of waters pouring down from all sides. Before anyone realized, the waters rose so high that many of our frogs began to be washed away. Only the few that were able to hang on to the walls survived. After that flood I found it safer to live in this hole."

I never liked the frogs who live in their holes. I am young. I jump up and down a lot. I spend most of my time above the water surface. Several seasons ago, a tiny frog fell among us from up above. It must have jumped or flew in from some place. Nobody understood what it said. It could not survive. The waters were too much for it. The old frog who was there when it happened thought that the tiny frog was trying to tell something to the effect that there are a lots of frogs like it out there. The old frog, of course, dismissed the idea that there is anything called 'out there'.

The old frog is a good friend of mine. But I do not like its attitude. I am scared by the way it talks sometimes. If there is no where else, we are trapped for ever in this place. But why do I get the feeling that we can leave this place. The images of that tiny frog that fell in our place haunt me. If only I can jump out!

The old frog says, " This is our universe. We have everything we need here". I do not think so. Certainly this place did not have everything I want, because I feel that I want something more. Why do I fee like wanting something else? I cannot explain this feeling.

There must be other universes. I call this place a "well". I joke about it a lot. I tell all my friends - " we are frogs in one well''. There may be many more wells in a big universe. The old frog one day overheard this joke, got angry and shouted at me, " prove it, if you think so". But how can I, if I cannot get out of this place? May be one day somebody will discover how to fly away or may be a great flood will come and carry me away into the universe out there. I pray for a flood.

All the other creatures that live among us seem to have no sense of feeling. No intelligence. They lead a dull and routine life. I think a superfrog will be born among us to create a new sense of being and connect us to the rest of the universe.

I think that is what the old frog secretly wishes too. It meditates a lot. Only the great frog knows what it does or think. But I keep praying for a flood. Isn't it wonderful to think that we live in a well, inside a well, inside a a big universe. Awesome!