I must have ‘ask me anything’ written all over my face. Here is a text message I received a few weeks ago. “Hey, where can I take Arnab to show animals?”. Hmm… I hadn’t thought of that. I figured with the indigenous wildlife at home (we have two resident felines) and the occasional crow, sparrow, pigeon on the ledge and the dogs being walked in the neighbourhood, I was doing okay. If we needed exotica, there was always Animal Planet. But real animals? In Bombay? Tricky.
I didn’t fancy taking Re to a zoo where the sole habitants are near-dead or too hot-and-bothered, or underfed or under-mated , just to tick a “Has seen more than three animals” off my list. Not my scene.
A friend to whom such a tick is evidently important suggested the Natural History section of the Prince of Wales museum. When I shuddered at the thought of showing death in such larger-than-lifeness to a 16-month old, her logic was, “It is the only option when you want them to see real animals in close proximity in an almost-nice environment. So what if they are dead? They don’t look it!”
I am still thinking about it, since it creeps me out. And I don’t see how not seeing a real kangaroo or zebra is going to mar him for life.
In the meantime, we always have monkeys. And here is one who took a shine to the boy while we were driving through Borivili National Park. Must add here, that the Lion Safari where we spotted three tigers and one lion was not of much interest to the boy as he slept through it. Too much work peering out of a bus to spot a tiger or a lion far far away.