Thursday, September 25, 2014

Who killed the Boy. . .???

Picture Source: Google Images

It was a warm Tuesday morning and the Monday Blues had now started to fade away with the mind and soul slowly but steadily adapting to the routine weekly chores. The day was half gone when I just saw flash news of a 20-22 year old youth killed by a white tiger in a zoo in Delhi (India). I, initially, dismissed the news as one of those unfortunate accidents that do happen at times. However, I was obnoxiously wrong at my stand; how mean and un-responsiveness we tend to become at those incidents and accidents which doesn’t directly impact us. Taking respite that we are not the aggrieved party, shedding few thoughts and sparing few moments criticizing at the coffee table, we feel that’s all we are meant to do. How unconventional we unknowingly act at times forgetting that today it’s someone else but tomorrow it can be us.

I resumed my daily work at my desk trying to sideline the thought of the incident that kept on obstructing my work. Ever since I saw that flash news my heart was disturbed thinking about the incident as to how and what could have happened. I strongly believe that there are two types of people in this world – one whose heart rules over their head and other whose head rules over their heart. I often find myself inching towards the former and that day too when the efforts failed yielding the desired result, I was left with no option but to surrender to heart & follow the story.

The unfortunate incident has happened in National Zoological Park, Delhi where a 20-22 year old fell into tiger’s enclosure (there are various versions going around as to how he actually fell therein, ranging from ‘he himself jumped in there’ to ‘he tumbled into the enclosure while leaning’ to ‘he accidently landed there being a mentally ill soul’ etc.). As soon as the youth fell into the enclosure the tiger approached him and watched him closely for 10 to 15 minutes before finally pouncing on him & killing him. It was dreadful read for sure and more dreadful was watching the video coverage of the whole incident (thanks to whatsapp social messaging, the video was viral in next couple of hours). 

The instant fact as connoted everywhere in various news coverage was that A White Tiger killed the boy.

The incident was unfortunate indeed and the moment I read the news article detailing the whole incident I was stirred from inside thinking about the family, the parents & near and dear ones of the deceased. My heart really felt sad for them, who would have thought that a casual visit to zoo would be his last one in this world; his mother must have been waiting for him at lunch when the catastrophe struck, his father must have been planning some surprise for him in the evening…the list of ‘must have been’ can go on like this. How his kins and parents must have taken the tragic news and how they will fill that void caused in their lives – howsoever careful and cautious we become with regard to our lives but when the end actually arrives, we all are completely helpless and surrender.

Another thing that stroke me then was the fact that the tiger watched him for 10-15 minutes before eventually killing him. It was disturbing to see that even after 10-15 minutes of the accident (boy falling in the enclosure) there was no contingency plan available in the zoo. The national zoological park should have some basic disaster recovery mechanism to tackle such sudden happenings (remember reading somewhere that in foreign countries they have multiple plans to tackle any mishaps at zoos like readily available tranquilizer guns that can be shot at the animal to intoxicate him instantly or a high pressure water pipeline to thrash him away from the trapped person etc.). But surprising in the instant case, there was no arrangement to take care of this mishap. Even after the guy actually fell into the enclosure and panic alarm was raised no visible act was done to save the person except shouting or pelting stuff at the tiger.

This left me pondering as to who actually is the killer of the boy – The Tiger or The Zoo Authorities?

Another startling revelation in the video was that initially the tiger was actually curious of the new visitor inside his enclosure. Presumably, he was born in the zoo only and has seen humans from the distance above the enclosure peeping and yelling at him. Seeing an alternative form of life in such a terror state must have been a curious experience for him, which perhaps prompted him to observe and see the youth for 10-15 minutes. Simultaneously, there was panic amongst the fellow zoo visitors and zoo guards who started yelling, making noises and pelting stones at the tiger to distract him from the boy. It was when a stone or some material finally hit him; he actually got tempestuous and attacked the boy. I don’t have the slightest incertitude about the intention of the people in shouting and throwing stones & materials at the tiger to distract him in an attempt that might save the boy’s life. But actually, it did the opposite and prompted the tiger to attack and kill the youth. This might be an exceptional case, but I have read innumerable times about how irresponsible and unaccountable people behave at zoos. There are many instances of visitors misbehaving, hooting, harassing and disturbing animals and even hurling stones / articles at them provoking them to react. There are no stringent rules to deal with them except some signboard prohibiting such kind of behavior and these “Literate & Polished” section of people comfortably ignore such instructions and keep on irritating the animal with such nuisance. The wilds in the zoo doesn’t harm as they are used to the human interventions by way of guards or zoo officials but guess it’s the harassment and pestering that awakes the wilder part of them to cause such incidents. Further distressing to see some of the fellow visitors busying themselves in shooting the video coverage of the same from their phones, no really concerned to save the poor soul. Have we become so indifferent to the sufferings around this the society we intend to present to our next generation.

While I was reading about the whole instance, my mind wandered at an anecdote which I read last week in Go Air’s in-flight magazine which further affirmed the above notion.

Picture Source: Go Getter (Go Air's Exclusive Inflight Magazine - Sep 14 Edition)

It was shared by a part time wild life photographer – Pawan Menon, along with a picture which showed a tiger in playful mood with a fawn amidst forest shrubs (refer pic above). As narrated by the author, while clicking pictures in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra – India), he saw a fawn playing joyfully in the shrubs un-aware of a large tigress approaching him. The author’s heart came into his mouth when he saw the tigress approaching little fawn and he was almost certain that these moments are the final one for the little child and he would surely be killed and eaten by her. However, to the utter surprise, the tigress actually started cuddling & playing with the fawn and gently picked him up by the neck and took him to the clearing & finally released him. This whole scene did appear as a fantasy but it re-affirmed the rule of the jungle that wild animals kill only when they are hungry. And this does seem to be mathematical fact with a slight addendum (of course), wild animals kill either when they are hungry or when they feel threatened. The above incident of tigress and fawn does appear away from the reality in common parlance but it’s actually a fact witnessed by the people (and not an older fact for sure).

How mirror contrast scenario the above two incidents represent – one depicting the tiger as an annihilator and the other as a saviour. It’s worthwhile to note here that the tiger in first incident is not actually a man eater as he has been actually born in the captivity only. Also he was not hungry at that time as he is regularly fed with 10 to 15 kgs of meat loaf along-with glucose.

This again left me pondering as to who actually is the killer of the boy – The Tiger or The Zoo authorities or We the so called responsible citizens of the country?

What’s further furious is that we have become so used to all these that it doesn’t really make a difference to us until & unless it’s we or someone our known who is in the soup. The incident naturally spread like a fire in the jungle and people out of sheer curiosity and inquisitiveness flocked to visit the zoo where the mishap happened. I saw on one of the news channel that many of the people actually made the last minute plan to visit the zoo and see the tiger that killed the youth (they were actually shown shouting the name of the tiger) or to see the place where the incident actually happened. How unfortunate it sounds.

Anyhow…the debate and blame game can go on with ball being thrown at one end or the other. The people say it’s the authority which lacked the basic prevention measures & barricading / fencing or the contingency plans required for the accidents of this gravity; the authority says it’s the people who actually behave in obnoxious fashion with wild animals which is bound to instigate them. Whosoever and whatsoever the case may be, one thing is certain that there is an urgent need for introspection by all - the law makers, the authorities as well by We, the people as the fact remains that something was certainly wrong which has cost someone his life. And I am sure it’s not the only life which is affected by the incident cause when someone goes away he takes a part of the soul of his kins and mates along-with leaving behind the lives so changed, the souls so altered.

~Shubh Life . . . Om Sai Ram

© 2014 Manish Purohit (Reserved)

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