Upheaval in Fruit Park (Part 2)

Let's find out what Din Din, Delma and Dazel are up to this week.
Published May 25, 2024

It was a Sunday but there was nothing relaxing about it. It was the day for re-election in Fruit Park. All the elders were to gather at the Orange Orchard early in the morning.

“I want to come too,” declared Din Din at the breakfast table.

“I don’t think any of you should come,” said Mrs. Dee as the elders prepared to leave to vote. “It’s not going to be a celebratory event like last time. Tempers will be flying high and it may very well get violent.”

“Let him come; Din Din is old enough to understand politics. The other three — Derek, Dave and Don can stay home” said Mr. D.

The family’s four adults and Din Din set off towards Fruit Park. On the way, they were joined by many other adults. The Orange Orchard was called so because of the border of sweet-scented orange trees. It was a pleasant clearing and large enough to accommodate the enormous dinosaurs, so all their major meetings and events were held here.

One side of the clearing housed an enormous cave where Old Rex, the ex-leader of the dinosaurs, lived. Outside his cave was a large stone table with benches where the dinosaur leaders sat to discuss and debate. The front of the table faced the grassy field where other dinosaurs could stand to listen to the debate and give their comments and suggestions.

Din Din could feel the air filled with tension and tempers as soon as he entered the clearing. Even though he was not old enough to cast his vote, he was curious to see how Tyro and Dr. Trish would fair. Tyro had been elected leader of the dinosaurs merely a year ago but he was being blamed for being selfish and vicious.

Dr. Trish who had been a runner-up at the election was now gaining steady popularity. The doctor was addressing the gathering when Din Din and his family walked closer.

“I am a successful doctor; I have a thriving practice. I don’t have time for politics. But I stood in the elections last year because I thought I could make a difference in the lives of the dinosaurs of D’Land,” she said in her no-nonsense, clipped voice.

“When Tazzo won in the elections I accepted it gracefully even though I did not agree with his aggressive methods. Yet, he has not delivered what he promised,” she continued. “As Old Rex has suggested a re-election, I hope this time you will vote for me so that I may show you all what responsible leadership is.”

Tazzo snarled, “Responsible leadership does not mean negotiation and compromise. We compromised with the jackals and they took over half of Fruit Park. We should have fought them and driven them out. We negotiated in the fruit trade with the other creatures of D’Land. We should have had a monopoly over the fruit that grows here. I want to change all that. Be fair! It’s only been a year since I took over. These things take time.” He was panting with rage as he addressed the gathering.

Old Rex looked at the two candidates. Then he gazed at the congregation of dinosaurs. “Voting will begin immediately. I just want to say: please choose with responsibility.”

The dinosaurs murmured their consent and began to line up to cast their votes. There were tables set up with big wooden boxes and they had to write the initials of the candidate they were supporting on slips made from banana leaves.

“How long will the voting last?” Din Din asked Grandmamma.

“Three hours and then the counting will begin. Your father has been asked to be one of the volunteers to help count. They want neutral dinosaurs to count the votes and this time the counting will be carried out in Old Rex’s cave. The old dinosaur will personally supervise the counting to ensure that there is no cheating.”

When the casting of votes was over Old Rex announced to the assembly, “The counting will take two hours. Please return after lunch.”

The crowd thinned and even Din Din’s grandparents returned home but Din Din decided to stay at the Orchard. The hours seemed to crawl by. Din Din napped under the shade of a fragrant orange tree.

By early evening the Orchard had begun to fill up again. It was nearly sunset when Old Rex walked out of his cave. Without any delay he began, “The counting is done and Dr. Trish has won by securing 470 votes. Tazzo follows at 440 votes. It was a close contest but now we must all respect the outcome. I invite Dr Trish to come up and take oath.”

Everyone was glancing at Tazzo to see how he would react. But the reaction came from another quarter. “I object,” said a loud, angry voice. It was Tyro, Tazzo’s son. He was

Din Din’s classmate and an obnoxious creature. He had become even more pompous after his father had won the elections.

“My father is the rightful leader of the dinosaurs. This re-election was unjust. And overthrowing him just because of a mere 30 votes is not acceptable,” he stormed. “Who is with me?

The dinosaurs all began to look at each other. But before Tyro could raise any more dissent, Old Rex’s trembling, yet booming voice rang out. “We all pledged to accept the outcome of the elections. Now accept defeat gracefully, my son!”

“No, I won’t,” Tyro snapped. A gasp was audible from the crowd. No one dared to speak to Old Rex like that. But Tyro was unstoppable, “I will oppose. Who is with me?”

No one answered. “Very well, you bunch of cowards,” Tyro hollered. “My father and I can raise our own army to battle the lot of you. There are many who wish to rise against the dinosaurs.”

There was a murmur of alarm in the gathering. Old Rex motioned to a few dinosaurs. Before Tyro could blink, he and his father, Tazzo, were grabbed by a few burly dinosaurs.

“You are under arrest for treason,” commanded Old Rex. “Take them to the underground caves and make sure they don’t escape until further instructions.”

Din Din saw Tazzo and Tyro being dragged away. He shook his head in remorse. “This is the punishment for revolt,” Old Rex said. There was pin-drop silence in the orchard. “You all may return home. Dr Trish has officially taken over as our leader. But I will keep the right to veto.”

“Your veto is very precious to us all,” Dr Trish said respectfully.

That night as Din Din and his family sat around the dinner table for a late meal, there was relief on everyone’s faces.

“Fruit Park is finally in the right hands. Old Rex took the right decision,” said Grandfather.

“It was a hard decision but needed to be taken for the welfare of the creatures of Fruit Park,” agreed Din Din’s father.

“Hard decisions need to be taken by leaders,” said Din Din solemnly. “It’s the quality of a good leader.”

“Seems like Din Din learnt a valuable lesson about politics today,” smiled Mrs. Dee.

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