Have you heard?” shouted Dugo, the donkey, rushing into the clearing where his friends Golali, the hippo, and Otatu, the orangutan, were sitting and chatting.
The three were childhood friends and residents of Hijambo jungle.
“Heard what?” Otatu asked.
“That there is going to be a Jungle Idols contest to select the best band?”
“But we already have a band — the Kool Kats?” said Golali. The Kool Kats was the hottest band of the region with a tiger, a panther and a jaguar as its members.
“The Kool Kats isn’t really our band. It lives in the neighbouring jungle and is invited whenever we have a celebration. And right now King Hambaa is very angry with the Kool Kats.”
Hambaa was a ferocious lion who ruled Hijambo with an iron hand, rather an iron paw.
“Why?” wondered Otatu.
“The King wanted them to sing at his son’s birthday party to be held on the next full moon night. But the Kool Kats said they were busy and could come only on the next new moon night. They even doubled their fee.”
“That’s why the King wants a competition — to select the best band from our jungle and for our jungle.”
“Wow! I’m sure it’ll be an exciting contest,” Otatu said, holding his tail and trying to tie a knot.
“Why don’t we form a band of our own,” suggested Dugo.
“What? Have you gone crazy?” Otatu almost shouted.
“Please hear me out first. Remember how the two of you organised a surprise party for me on my birthday?”
Otatu and Golali nodded.
“Well, Golali danced beautifully while Otatu played the drums. I think you guys put up a great show.”
Otatu clapped his hands and jumped up. “Yes, and you sang like a rock star, Dugo. I take back my words. We should form a band.”
The two friends looked at Golali who nodded her head rather slowly. “What should we call the band?” she asked.
“What about The Junglees?” suggested Dugo.
“Sounds cool,” yelled Otatu and Golali flipped her fat little tail in agreement.
The Junglees started practising in earnest. The competition was tough with more than 30 bands registering for it. King Hambaa had ordered for instruments and other stuff from the neighbouring towns for the contestants to pick and choose from.
Dugo got himself a guitar, Golali a fancy skirt and a pair of designer shoes, and Otatu a pair of big drums.
When the other animals came to know that the three were participating in the contest, most of them laughed themselves sick.
“Guys, imagine Golali dancing. There’s sure to be a mirth quake!” sniggered Haula, the hyena, doubling up with laughter.
“And what about Dugo singing? I pity the judges,” cackled Vodoo, the vulture.
As the days progressed, it became clear which was the most popular group: The Wild Sounds, comprising the cheetah, the giraffe and the cuckoo. Wherever The Wild Sounds practised, others would flock to listen to them. The band was now being considered even better than the Kool Kats.
To be continued