Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Man over tiger

I remember way back around 1998, there was a hut near my house. A guy who lived there worked as a grass cutter at the Mysore zoo.

One unfortunate day, the gates to a tiger enclosure were accidentally left open when he was cutting grass on the open area meant for tiger. The tiger ventured out into the open and saw an unfamiliar scene of two numbnuts cutting grass in it's space. Predictably, it attacked this guy while his colleague climbed up a tree safely.

 A Garuda jeep passing through the area was alerted and immediately, the officers rushed in and opened fire on the tiger, killed it, thus saving the man. He would recover from his injures soon, so that he could return to being a wife-beating drunk.

Less than a year later, one night, while returning home drunk, he fell into a drain, smashed his head and died out of excessive bleeding. His wife Manjula, a 10th standard drop out, was given a job, her first, at the zoo as a clerk. She would go on to write SSLC which made her eligible to earn various promotions.

I couldn't help but feel that Manjula's financial stability, independence and a more peaceful existence was denied for an extra year by heroics of some Garuda officers who just like most of us, valued the life of just one of the billions of humans on earth, over that of the tiger, a species that barely number in thousands.  Waste of an innocent life of a magnificient animal, the tiger, that acted on natural instinct and also perhaps of a few government bullets.

A white tiger cools off in the water at a Zoological garden in New Delhi