The Bull Frog Who Roars Like A Hippo
By Brig®Mehboob Qadir
Tadpoles are interesting Aquarian contraptions who are born in their larval innocence with a long oar like tail and a body like a fish. They have a small pouting mouth and an awkwardly large head and like to swim around in schools just as fish do. From their appearance it is difficult to make out about their lineage but a strong racial affinity like touchy wasps and identity in their startled flutters exists. Like Ooriyas they have a shiny dark complexion mixed with pale mouse grey tone. They munch algae, lichen and weeds. However if need be they can gobble up their own fellow tadpoles too. Ooriyas (Balasore bearers) were the hardy but a muscular stocky people who specialized in trotting long distances with loaded palanquins balanced over their shoulders on dusty and potted roads in AP/CP in Mughal and early British India.These sturdy people were inevitably replaced by the railways and cahars from Bengal and with that a colourful historic chapter of travel like riverine transport in not so ancient an Indian Sub continental past disappeared. Their peculiar skin tan was a result of generations of back breaking toil and centuries of upper torso exposure to relentless sun and elements. There was a parallel in Arabian Peninsula in the Sudanese palanquin runners for the old and sick pilgrims in Kaaba who seem to have vanished less than a decade ago. Both had one more trait in common; their impatience with those in their way and a threatening posture to overrun anyway.
A tadpole is the larval stage in the life cycle of an amphibian particularly that of a toad or frog only that the two appear to exist in two different plains. While a toad is the equivalent of an aquatic jack rabbit, a tadpole is a swimming reptile; limbless, slender and slimy. Tadpole’s comparatively larger tail amplifies its ungainly appearance. However as they grow in their murky environment limbs begin to appear like short forelegs and long powerful hind legs which let them leap a surprising distance up or above obstacles. Unlike their cousins across the biological border tadpoles retract their tails as they reach adolescence and their eyes balls pop out .That his bulbous eyes give him view beyond his compass therefore he is so jumpy. More remarkably as the tadpole reaches adolescence its pouting mouth enlarges into a whopping loud hailer equal to the size of its massive head. No wonder it can croak disproportionately louder and cause such a rumpus in the neighborhood. That is also the reason none can hope to win from these ceaselessly chattering creatures in a verbal shooting match.
Back to our terrestrial ‘Indarani- Paradox’ tadpole variety (as they are called in scientific language) a forerunner of the mighty bullfrog, of this geographically dispersed species. Its wanderings over remote accesses of land forcing a mortal struggle to survive against predators, trampling human feet, animal hooves and powered wheels, forces them to grow in a rather unfriendly surroundings. It must of necessity fill them with bitterness and a sharp combative instinct to smell danger and survive or react belligerently. It can be reasonably inferred that they must have sharper reflexes and adaptability compared to the rest of their Aquarian kin. They always seem to congregate on the sunny side of the common pool to create an illusion of being invincible.
Having gone on to become a bull frog he acquires an even more interesting biological name called ‘Rana’. It becomes ‘Rana Paradox’s’ egoistic compulsion to perch on a place of prominence, say a jutting rock, fallen tree trunk or high far bank and then croak full throated to aggressively assert his sway over waterfront territory. The rest must listen in terrified silence or squat in bonded awe, when the regal Rana decides to unleash his ridiculously scratchy rhythms and hypnotic sermons. That also is his undoing as a bullfrog can only croak but it cannot roar like a hippo nor match his physical size even though both may be amphibians. His hoarse croaks in a usually late night groggy delirium invariably drown cricket singing and watery chirps by the nightly shrub’s less privileged denizens around. It also attracts the undue attention of tiger cats and inquisitive predators like belted King Fisher on the prowl. When he is shooed away t o dive into the pond, under the safety of White Water Lilly’s big floating leaves (British variety), his gravelly vocal performance which none really wants comes to a forced end.
So much for Rana Paradox’s personal preferences befitting an amphibian potentate, there are equally amazing sides to his collective responses. His Aquarian colleagues consider him as an invasive character capable of seriously destabilizing host ecological balance and out- compete less endowed native amphibians. Not only that but also being immune to a deadly virus could jeopardize community health and environment that he intends to draw from. Bull frogs are essentially ungrateful creatures, can be cultured in controlled environment but make for unreliable pets. They aggregate in choruses and constantly form and deform their groups through high mobility and preference to retain pre-eminence.
Despite his remarkable voice control apparent from mastery over croaks, harangues, scratchy singing and screaming ,the bull frog continues to suffer from a dreadfully destructive personality deficiency shown through bouts of deep depressions, occasional reclusiveness, tendency to distance and to seek repeated approvals from listeners .There is a compulsively erratic trait which leads him to needlessly cross swords with other powerful competitors and then back out repeatedly leaving the community in a badly skewed balance. His antics to overcome these inadequacies tend to not only terribly undermine his community’s joint Aquarian wisdom but also compels him to rule through a remote controlled coercive mechanism. Decades of autocratic grip has unfortunately alienated his tribe from the rest stifling their natural evolution among fellow aquatic communities. The bullfrog will do well to use his croaks to rally and rouse his subjects to walk out of a state of collective self-pity and crippling neurosis assiduously drilled into them, rather than trying to ape a hippo.
(Note. This is an imaginary toad story, any similarities if found are incidental. Biological terms and notions used and reference to Ooryas are factual).