Secret Agent Champu

Secret Agent Champu

He was no bigger than your forearm and was the colour of…….well you never know it kept changing! But the other animals in the forest disliked Champu and isolated him from others because they considered him ugly in comparison to any other animal.

Poor Champu, thus, had no friends in the forest, except the flies that he admired and spoke with, before eating them... Too bad they didn’t last for long. Whenever he tried to talk with any animal, he only got back scowls, insults or disapproving looks. The squirrels even threw acorns at him! So, these days, Champu stayed away from animals as much as possible and came out from his branch only to catch flies, exercise or to use the toilet.

News had spread far and wide that the year’s Beauty Pageant would be held that night. How Champu got to know, well the Bigmouth Parrot (she was called that because she spoke a LOT) told Champu out of sheer excitement. He even heard the monkeys chattering about it continuously. So he headed towards the ticket counter(or ticket cave) manned by the stag Prongs, to purchase a ticket with his allowance which consisted of three beans, that he had been saving for one whole year. But even before he could speak a word, Prongs held up a board with Champu’s picture on it and which read “UGLIES PROHIBITED”.

Crestfallen, Champu rested himself behind the Big Bush (a super dense bush) and allowed himself to turn leaf green. After some time the Beauty Pageant began. Everyone in the forest, even the moths, had managed to get a ticket, but not Champu. Finally, the winner was announced. It was Madame Moar, the self-proclaimed Beauty Queen. “Well good for her”, thought Champu, “She’s got everything-good looks, respect and friends.”

It was that time in the evening when friends gathered to chat with each other, but since Champu had none, he decided to loiter around for some time. When he was busy doing so (can you be busy while loitering?) he heard a strange rustle of leaves which he knew was not caused by any animal.

To his utter horror, he saw a group of five humans dressed in black, with black masks over their faces who were placing weird objects all over the path leading to the watering hole. They covered these with dry leaves and spoke to each other in whisper. Champu, now awesomely camouflaged, inched closer towards the men and heard – “……perfect spot. Animals MUST use this path to reach the watering hole…….sure to catch some tuskers, antelopes………”

Champu did NOT want to know any more. “Traps”, he thought. He decided to go and inform the lion king about this. Wondering how fast his little feet would take him, he looked at them and realized that as he was listening to the dirty scheme of the humans, he had turned pale yellow!!

Gathering all the courage that he could muster and picking up those pieces of courage which had fallen down due to fright, he took off to the Great Den (the cave of Raja Back in the Great Den, Raja Simha was feasting on hisluxurious dinner of meat and fresh coconut water. He was blind tothe distress of Champu, but soon got to know when a flyingChampu landed in his meat.

Well Champu had been running hisfastest, knowing that this was going to be the riskiest day of hisentire chameleon life and blindly ran into the Den from betweenthe legs of a bear guard, tripped over a piece of log and landed inRaja Simha’s meat. The Lion King stared astonished at Champu,who was panting beyond control, with his tongue stuck out of hismouth. “What a sight!”, thought Raja Simha.

After a few secondsRaja Simha recovered from his astonish-ment and only when heconfirmed to himself that Champu’s tongue had returned to itsoriginal place did Raja Simha asked Champu in a puzzledtone, “Champu, when did you learn to fly?”

Champu ignoring theking’s question (you may think it was a dangerous move doingso, but the king was just and knew that Champu had come herefor a good reason) saved his breath to tell the king everything thathad happened by the watering hole. While listening, the king’s eyes seemed to grow bigger and bigger and there was a moment when Champu thought Raja Simha’s eyes may fall out of their sockets.

Then, Raja Simha, abandoning his half eaten food, hollered instructions to the Aerial Forces consisting of eagles, vultures, rooks and ravens to survey the area near the watering hole. They returned a short while later confirming Champu’s report. The Lion King beamed at Champu and patted him on his head which resulted in Champu sinking in the mud a few centimeters deep.

Raja Simha pulled him out and said, “You’ve done well” before he arranged for the Emergency Extraordinary General Meeting of Sundarvan (EEGMS) immediately and told all the animals to avoid the path to the watering hole and use the alternative route, which the humans were not familiar with. He told the animals to wail, roar, screech, trumpet, roar, chatter, squeak and in short send distress signals in the direction of the Forest Department quarters in Sundarvan.

In about a week’s time, people from the Forest Department came to take out the traps and provide extra protection to Sundarvan. Raja Simha’s idea had worked! Also Bigmouth Parrot read from an official’s newspaper that the poachers had been arrested.

There was a grand celebration that evening full of dancing peacocks, acrobatic squirrels, monkey performers and loads of other fun things the animals loved to do in a celebration like this one! Satisfied, Champu did not join the party but sat on his beloved branch, his only true friend and continued to seem as insignificant in this world as possible.

Then, two eagles from the Aerial Force lifted Champu in the air, flew him into the party and made him stand right next to a smiling Raja Simha. He addressed the animals, “It is because of Champu and his, what is that word you youngsters say these days-AWESOME ability of camouflaging that we all have survived.

So what if he isn’t good  looking? (The animals looked at each other guiltily)He has the courage and will power and that is what matters. From this moment no animal in Sundarvan will be discriminated like this……Now, let us toast on Champu’s name.

Dumbstruck, the little chameleon watched as every animal raised their coconuts and cried “TO CHAMPU!” together. The monkeys on the flowering trees started throwing flowers in Champu’s direction.

Raja Simha shushed the cheering people with a raise of one paw and said, “That could have been saved for the last because the party isn’t over. I have an announcement to make.” After every animal quieted down, he continued, “As I see no better way to reward Champu, I have decided to appoint Champu as Agent 008 under my command. What do you think?” , he asked Champu who stared open mouthed at him and replied by giving a thumbs up.

The rain of flowers and the cheering started again. But nobody could express how Champu felt. It was a feeling he had never experienced ever before– HAPPINESS!!! And he finally had friends! People always spoke with him whenever they saw him and for the first few days some even hollered, HAIL CHAMPU! when-ever he passed by.

Thus, beauty isn’t everything. It is what is inside you that matters the most. Now look at Champu, he does not leave his branch only to catch flies, exercise and use the toilet, but also to meet with his new friends and to do his job as AGENT 008, under Raja Simha’s command who punishes law-breakers, hooligans, convicts, etc. So…………………….BEWARE!!!

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