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Dooderonomy (42)

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I was recently in the bush (Kafue National Park) with my close friends. We travelled there for a change of scenery and to relax before getting back to work on Monday. We crammed our days with a lot of activities, stargazed with one friend’s advanced telescope and consumed a generous amount of alcohol.

There was a slight problem though, I am extremely accident prone. I have broken my left ankle twice, right ankle three times, fractured ribs multiple times, broken both hands (different parts) over four times each and have also had innumerable hairline fractures, bruises, burns, stitches and small surgeries. I am no daredevil, nor do I live my life on the edge. I just regularly hurt myself in ways that make no sense and defy the laws of physics.

To give you an idea of my bad luck, as I always call it, back in India I once was attacked by a stray dog as I bent down to tie my shoe laces. I ducked and fell trying to get away; the dog bit me multiple times. I went from having undone shoelaces to missing a shoe and getting many injections.

So, back to the bush, within five minutes of our first game drive word got around to all the tsetse flies that I was back and I was being bitten like crazy. I am such an irrestistable delicacy to them that I have given up trying to work against it. I used to try all sorts of clothing, creams, sprays, taking specific medication, etc., but nothing has ever helped. What I do now is to go and get bitten so much that I go totally numb. Alcohol already present in my system, I popped a couple of antihistamines and started to enjoy the itch.

After the drive one friend wanted to go fishing and he somehow convinced me to join him. Two things I have never done in my life are fishing and playing golf. Both require time and patience and I have negative stocks of the two. Though my friend spends a lot of time fishing, it is his wife who is very good at it and he always poses with her catch and hypes himself up. His kind wife just lets him have his moment.

I reluctantly agreed and we went to the jetty to do some fishing. I had made it very clear that I will not get out on a boat. He was delighted and wanted to show his skills and started giving me a quick lesson on all the fishing jargon he knew. Someone from the lodge brought us a packet of ground beef to use as bait. I wasn’t happy with this as I am a strict vegetarian but I was amused that a small fish will end up eating such a large animal. My friend fixed the bait for me (I refused to touch the beef) and then taught me how to cast a line.

He said I would have to throw the line with a lot of force so that it goes a long distance. I played cricket growing up and have always had a good throwing arm so I didn’t think this would be a big challenge. Listening to my friend’s instructions I got ready on the wide-open jetty and went for it. I threw so hard that while mentally following instructions of letting loose of the reel, I ended up letting go of the entire rod.

Before we started to fish, I had enquired with my friend about the rods. He has mentioned that they belonged to the lodge and were pricey. I asked him what would happen if it fell in the water. I had mentally registered that if I lost the rod I would pay and I hate paying for things that will not be in my possession.

Back to my line throwing, my momentum was so much that as soon as I threw the whole rod out, I took a full 360-degree spin on the jetty. When I came back to the start position, I saw that the rod had hit the surface of the river at a distance. My instant, Indian, money saving reaction was to somehow save the rod and not be fined for it. I ran to the edge of the jetty and launched myself into the water. This was a quick run up and dive from a fat man who was already drunk and was convinced that somehow, he can jump the entire distance between himself and the sinking rod (nobody could have).

Though my jump felt like an Olympic award-winning distance, in reality I had only maybe managed a couple of metres at best. Instead of landing like a dolphin breaching, all that I did was crash myself straight onto the very shallow side or the river near the jetty and into an area filled with hundreds of boulders and stones. It all happened in slow motion for me and I was badly hurt. I was bruised all over and thought I was slowly dying. Every part of my body was in pain body parts. Even body parts I didn’t know I had were in pain.

All this happened with some people watching this from the restaurant deck and being absolutely horrified. People hurriedly got me out of the water and laid me down on the jetty. I was panting and blinded by the pain. When my vision was slowly getting back to normal all I could see was my friend on the jetty, lying down and laughing his lungs out. We are not friends anymore.

The sensational story got around to everyone at the lodge and thankfully I was not asked to pay for the rod. I must have freaked them out. I am however looking for a new friend who will help me out of water next time.

Dooderonomy will resume later, until then goodbye.

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