The PM’s sleek and spotted 72nd ‘budday’ present was a showstopper worthy of India’s own 75th. So, rather than the usual caterwauling let us wish Oban, Tbilisi, Siyaya, Sasha & Co a quick recovery from their designer-jet lag. Asha, who arrived nameless, was christened by Modiji himself. Hopefully the rest will be spared lowlier Kuno handlers calling them by the more manageable and asli Indian Rani, Raja etc. God and Dr Laurie Marker forbid, it won’t come down to Babloo, Dabloo, Taploo, or, most insulting of all, Tiger.
The nifty giftee has said that these magnificent beasts are ‘our honoured guests’ and we must ‘give them time to settle down.’ Means, plied with the buffalo-leg-meat version of garma-garam chai. More to the point, they should literally heed every host’s cliché of ‘Treat this as your own home only,’ and not check out return flights to Windhoek at the first lapse of hospitality. That electrified fence must keep in as much as keep out.
The cheetahs will lord over an expanse originally marked for the king of the jungle, that too from the PM’s own Gir, and symbol of his prized Make in India. Ah well, maybe aatmanirbhar doesn’t apply to animal-centric vanity projects. So, instead, what I’ve been thinking of is a similar urban situation. Isn’t all this much like the gentrification of depressed areas such as my former mill-area neighbourhood?
The Namibian newbies’ super-deluxe, ‘gated’ housing has pushed out the less privileged old-timers aka leopards. The only original inhabitants welcome are those who can ‘service’ the posh newcomers, prey-deer being the equivalent of our bartan-jhadoo-pochha brigade. ‘Encroachment’ is Contentious Issue No 1 in both scenarios. So, I couldn’t help cheering for Kuno’s native leopards. For weeks, they defied all efforts to squeeze them out and ‘sanitise’ their age-old home for these private-jet setters with fancier spots and souped-up engines. Human-human conflict, animal-animal conflict – same to same. Shame to shame.
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Alec Smart said: “With planning aborted, Bengaluru had its own Row vs Wade.”
This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.