Black Gold

Author: Nirvana Laha


As I stepped out of my house to go to the market, I spotted it just outside the gate of my garden. It was lying there forlorn, a thing of great beauty. Even from a distance, you could see the perfection of its rounded shape and its rich black-brown colour.

You could almost feel its soft, spongy, cake-like texture. Its fresh, earthy aroma wafted to my nose. To the uninitiated, the aroma might have felt too strong, but to the trained nose of the connoisseur, it smelled just right.

“Bless this neighbourhood”, I thought to myself. It’s almost as if nobody else gives a hoot about such a precious thing as this. In any sensible neighbourhood, this wouldn’t be lying unclaimed for more than a few minutes”.

I hurried back to my house to drop the shopping bags I was carrying. I needed the use of both my hands. Walking back, my strides lengthened in anticipation of the prized possession I was about to gain. As I squatted down beside it, I finally saw it in all its glory – a large, exquisitely shaped piece of cow dung, freshly deposited by a cow. Looking at the exquisite piece of dung, I could only imagine the splendour of the cow itself.

“Black gold”, I murmured smiling, as I breathed in a lungful of the strong, earthy aroma of the freshly lain dung. I found myself looking at it lovingly, just as a poet would look at his muse or a young girl would look at a kitten.

I realised I had to be extremely gentle and careful while scooping it up in order to not defile its beautiful form in any way. One close look at it and I already knew which mould in my prized collection it was going to be placed it. In all my years of collecting and preserving cow dung cakes, this was one of my greatest finds. As I scooped it up with my hands – carefully ensuring that no piece of the cake was left sticking on the ground – I could feel how warm it still was. Walking back with it like a tightrope walker walking the rope, I placed it upside down on its designated mould in my trophy room.

The trophy room was a large hall, 20ft by 20ft in size, full of glass covered steel moulds which held the finest specimens of cow dung cakes that I had collected over the years. Each container was hermetically sealed to prevent the specimens from decaying. I got to work curating my latest find. Three hours later I was done – all traces of dust, dirt and pollution had been removed from it and it was looking as lustrous and beautiful as it deserved to. I wore a content smile on my face as I admired my labour of love.

“I can’t wait for the folks from the club to come see this. This must surely be one of the finest specimens any club member has ever collected”, I satisfactorily chuckled to myself.

I looked at my watch, “Only half-past three. Still, one and a half hours until they come”. I closed the door behind me as I proceeded to occupy myself with something until the clock struck five.


Topic: Reverse Flash – Pick an object that is ugly and create a character who finds it very beautiful. Have the character describe the object in a way that convinces the reader of its beauty

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