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It was early hours of 21st October ' 09 my mother had served me a hot-cup of tea. Even before I could have the first sip of it, our attendee informed me that there was an un-invited guest at the outer-gate. When I went to see, it was a tortoise. I was overwhelmed at the sight of it. I went ahead to lift it, with my both hands saying “kecho kecho”. The moment I touched it, it withdrew its head inside its hard-shell.
For months together there were no rains. The place where it had taken shelter since birth had dried. For days together perhaps it had not had a drop of water. It had come out in search of new wet-land to survive on this hostile planet. I wondered, how did it escape from the wheels of the bulk-container trucks while it crossed the state highway.
For a while I played with it. But soon the fun turned into doubts and fear. The immediate question that raised in my mind was about its re-habilitation. I thought of Tikarpara the nearest breeding center for Gharials (crocodiles) that was 200 kms off in central Orissa in the deep jungles . But I could not afford neither time nor money. The next best option I thought was to surrender this natures wealth to God himself. I thought of Gahir Bandh ( pond ) and the Siva temple on its bank at Nuapada.
Me and Mr.Kecho in my hands went on a outing. On the way Fadu the young man intercepted. When he saw Kecho in my hands he asked, “ How about the idea of kecho-soup tonight for dinner ?“. I was horrified on this thought. Though I know restaurants serve tomato-soup, vegetable-soup and mushroom-soup, but never heard of kecho-soup. We both made a quick escape from this food-connoisseur. The second person was Sunil. He wanted to have it in his well at his backyard. I said "NO". I wanted it to grow in its life-time. I did not want it to be confined in a diameter of six-feet’s for the rest of its life.
For the first time in its life Kecho traveled a distance of 200 meters, that too in just 15 minutes. I took him to the temple pond. On seeing the pool of water, it moved its small legs as if wanted to jump. The moment I released it in water, it took a dip and returned back to surface of the water to see me off. With its twinkling eyes, perhaps it had said "Thanks”. Soon it went back to the depth of the water and never returned back to the surface of this cruel planet.