I usually misplace things and then end up turning the house upside down looking for it. During one search recently I stumbled upon a old photograph that immediately rewinded me to the past.
This post is about an incident that occurred in the 1980s. What looks like a perfectly serene shot with a man taking aim and a eager kid watching on had a bit of anticlimactic end .
And for once my curiosity got the better of me and landed my father in trouble in quite unforeseen ways
Back in the early eighties, my father had a licensed air rifle, which he often took during our family outings in our Fiat 1100d (MYJ2141) . Come to think of it now, it was more out of a necessity to keep the gun in smoking condition rather than any penchant for shooting or wild games.
I barely recollect the reason why he said he’d bought it. In the early seventies while constructing our house in what was then the outskirts of Belgaum city, wild animals frequented the area in the night and maybe found it handy for self defense .
My father was a good marksman and he loved hunting, a game that he had picked up from my grandfather in the pre-independence days, when hunting as a sport was not banned in India. But by the 1970s, the ban was in effect and my father had to be content with targeting birds & fowls after switching over to a spring loaded air rifle.
Our favorite spot was a sprawling mangrove farm of a family friend outside of Khanapur town, bordering a thickly wooded area near the border of Goa which we used to frequent.
On this occasion my Dad took a few shots and was successful in getting hold of a partridge. And while he was loading the rifle for another shot , I began pestering him for my turn.
The air rifle needed to be cocked and loaded by giving the barrel a rap near the muzzle which would bend it down. This would break open the action of the gun which could be reset back after inserting the pellet . Just as my father had coiled up the gun and was about to load another pellet in the barrel, I somehow managed to wriggle between his arms in and pulled the trigger. The powerful spring in the air rifle uncoiled and it snapped quite violently in his hands.
Before I could realize what happened, my father was staring at a broken rifle and bloodied hands due to its violent uncoiling which left him with cut wounds. Luckily he did not sustain any serious injuries and neither did I from the sound thrashings that rained upon me.