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A night in the Jungle

Pearl and her best friend, Ada, embark on a girly trip in the dead of the night to a jungle called Pyakassa, located on the outskirts of their neighborhood. It all begins fine until a stranger shows up and things go entirely awry. Though they are not so far from home, they seem to be far from help.

The book also deals with the challenges young girls face in society today and the need to let them be ALL and SHINE.

Pearl and her best friend, Ada, embark on a girly trip in the dead of the night to a jungle called Pyakassa, on the outskirts of their neighborhood. It all begins fine, until a stranger shows up and things go entirely awry. Though they are not so far from home, they seem far from help

Chapter One – I am Pearl

Chapter Two – Pearly Wait

Chapter Three – This is Pyakassa  

Chapter Four – All gone bad

Chapter Five – Devil in the Jungle

Chapter Six – The Call

Chapter Seven – Botched Escape

Chapter Eight – Going Backwards

Chapter Nine – Not Alone

Chapter Ten – Home Sweet Home

CHAPTER ONE (I am Pearl) 

“Paddy paddy,”

“Maddy maddy,”

“Naddy naddy,”

“Where‟s my laddy laddy?”

The dusk slowly set in, fist shaped clouds littered the sky, immersed in the sun‟s orange glow. A group of kids, of whom I was the eldest, sat triangularly on the floor with dust strewed all over them, and sang merrily. This was the routine every Friday evening and today, 23rd March, was no different.

I stood up and strode the stretch of the fence. The chandelier on the balcony glowed with a charming orange fluorescence, basking the white wall around it in same. I reached the gate—firm and huge, as opposed to my little frail stature—and peeped into the horizon. It was beautiful. Before me, the entire Bellview estate spread out like a piece of expensive embroidery. Lavish houses splashed on all sides of the stretch interrupted by an interlocking road grid. These gave the now familiar thrill, but I was done with all that; I wanted much more.

This had been my home for as long as I could remember, and that would be fourteen years now. I had learnt to walk on this very street, and in turn helped my younger ones to.

Withdrawing my fingers from the hollow space in the gate where I had dug them in, I turned to look at Chika and Ojie, their uncanny semblance of dad striking me. Hovering over them was Degel, my little cousin, completing the little team that was entranced in play with a cluster of plastic blocks splattered all over the floor.

My parents, lovely bunch, had always told us they wanted four kids, but dad couldn’t get mum to have any more after Ojie. So when Degel moved to live with us two years back,
they were excited and you could guess why— we all added up to four now.

This weekend, they had both traveled to the city of Dublin for some impromptu business meeting. I missed their presence, but there was a major amelioration: we had the entire house to ourselves.

“Pearl is a gentle, sweet and homey girl…” My best friend, Ada, had said before the entire class weeks back. It was Tuesday and it was the speech training class. It sounded ludicrous and as I looked at her, she let out a sly grin followed by a mischievous wink while the rest of the class still oblivious to the undercurrents, laughed on in agreement. She knew she had just goofed.

I couldn‟t believe those words then even as I couldn‟t believe them now.

I was gentle, sweet and homey… true! But I had a knack for the wild, the good wild. Immersed deep within my genes, entangled within the nucleic frame up of my DNA was adventure and so far, I had seen very little of it. I craved it like I crave my favorite yummy snack, bread and peanut butter. This weekend, unfortunately, looked to be characteristically dour for me. I needed some action.

Looking at my fingers and attempting to expunge the dirt from beneath my glittered nails, I analyzed my options. There was the cinema for kids but they were on a movie repetition spree and that was a turn off; then there was the estate‟s swimming pool, which I was honestly tired of. Another option was „The Bunnies‟; an all-girls hangout hurriedly fixed by my friends, Loretta, Dobi and Tochi, for the next day at a corner in the mall but I wasn’t interested too. It was going to be the same ole… same ole young girly gossips and petty talk.

Stuck at the third count, I looked at the little team who in a zigzag manner staggered gently towards the front door of the house like little zombies. They were either tired or famished; the latter I supposed. Looking away, it then struck me. Of course, today was Friday and I had planned a secret trip with Ada tonight. There, was my little glimmer of adventure and I had nearly forgotten.

A few days back, on a casual walk around the neighborhood moaning about our little boring lives, an idea hit Ada: what if we snuck out at night, went on a little trip for an hour or two, and then crept right back into bed totally undetected.

Giving it a quick thought, I had exclaimed in excitement, doing the cool doggy feet movement and whirling around in a circle. This promised to be the sought-after break I needed from my shallow world that had dissolved into a boring pattern. We agreed and struck a deal.

The animated voice of the house keeper, Mrs Adams, accompanied by the sharp ring of a bell cut through my reverie startling me into consciousness; it was dinner time. Proceeding to gather the pieces of little plastic blocks that were left scattered on the ground by the others, I beamed once again with excitement. I remembered the suggested trip destination and a tremor shot through my body, making me shudder a bit. Our little freak trip was to the Pyakassa jungle: a closed off area on the outskirts of the estate.

Increasing my strides, I moved to the door, turned the knob and stepped into the house. I was hungry! Eleven pm though only four hours away, seemed extremely far but I was sure the adventure was going to be worth every second of the wait.