On Man-Animal conflict

Two elephants, set ablaze by a mob, cross the road to fleeI came across the news report of this award winning photograph today and it pained me immensely to see that conflict between these gentle giants and humans continue in India. Just look at the little calf being burnt, clearly he is shouting. How can one’s heart not cry? We adore the elephant to such an extent that we worship them, heck, one of our beloved Gods has an elephant head and yet these values don’t seem to come forth when survival with the pachyderms is in question.

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Humanity on the road

155As I was awaiting to enter the airport the other day, I saw two burly security guards checking our passports to let us in. Ahead of me was an elderly lady, perhaps coming to the airport for the first time. The guard asked her in as rude a manner as possible in a language she was not familiar with, to display her identity. The lady smiled at them and asked in her rustic language where she could find her flight. The guard simply shouted at her for her ‘ignorance’. The smile vanished from the lady’s face as she fumbled hurriedly for her passport in her bag as the man continued to press her to be quick. She did manage to show her passport and enter the airport perhaps more overwhelmed by the sophistication in an airport than was needed, especially at her age. The scene is imprinted in my mind. Here was a wonderful opportunity for the man to be simply nice to a lady perhaps old enough to be his grandmother. All he required was a little patience and a smile. He chose simply to do just his ‘job’ instead.

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