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Book Review: Cricket for the Crocodile by Ruskin Bond

Cricket for the Crocodile by Ruskin Bond is a humorous tale. Beside a park where city boys and village boys gather to play cricket matches in acute rivalry, is a river in which dwells Nakoo, the lazy crocodile. Whenever boys come around the river bank to find a lost ball or for just splashing in water, Nakoo feels insecure, nervous and thus angrily swims across to the other side of the bank. On one hand, he doesn’t like human beings disturbing his dwelling place, while on the other hand he wishes to devour their limbs that seem promisingly juicy flesh; moreover, Nakoo is fed up of eating fish and birds.

Nakoo loves basking in the sun. He often comes out in the park and his best place to rest is the cricket pitch since he also loves the smooth touch of soil on his underneath belly. He lazes around there for days. His presence on the pitch rankle the boys. To add to their misery, they find it tough to have him go, they throw pebbles and stones at him, but he seems immovable.

One day a cricket match is being played between the city boys and the village boys. As a custom, some elder men, like father and uncles, too play in the city team since they brought biscuits, cold drinks and other eatable items. The village team does not follow this custom as elder people from the village consider playing games or sport a cumbersome and burdensome task. For this reason, the village team has always had young and energetic players, thus they often win.

In the match, a gentleman called banker, since he works in a bank, goes straight to the shade of the peepal tree after getting out. There he lay on the cot. Soon he falls asleep and others were busy attending the match. Secretly, Nakoo creeps under the bed and falls asleep too. When the ball strikes him, Nakoo wakes up in a flurry of hastiness and first chews the ball and then begins crawling like a stray zebu. In hustle-bustle, he destroys the wickets and pads and the banker asleep on the cot is also moving on the back of the crocodile since the cot is attached to the back of the crocodile. Upon waking up and realizing the grave danger lurking beneath him, he begins screaming for the help at the top of his voice, people around him run after him but to no avail and the crocodile gone out of control finally leaps into the river: that is the time when the banker jumps off the cot and swims out for his life and runs away like a rabbit being chased by dogs. The crocodile goes into the river with the bed. The cot remains attached to his back for several months.

It is a humorous tale that tells a very important message that why humans and wild beasts can’t be on the same platform. The preferences and desires of both can never be fulfilled on the same ground. One or the other way they will feel disturbed by one another’s presence: occupying too much nature by human is an alarm to the wild animals. They would fight to reclaim their shares.

Also read the character sketch of Nakoo


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