Save as much as you can


Its one of those days.. when you feel why was it not a morning where you’d lay lounging in bed, closing one eye and wondering how you could magically shut that blind from spearing that sun ray. Or perhaps why does the bedding feel softer when the alarm clocking is trilling? Or perhaps what will your boss say if you just need to call in sick?

Oh why was today not a Sunday?

Today morning begged to be savoured…. The sky was lovely, the sun—brilliant, fierce but not piercingly hot. Of course the infernal Delhi traffic made up for it but I tried to not let it bother me too much.

And on that tangential note.. I finished reading A Zoo In My Luggage yesterday and if Gerald Durrell were alive, I would bundle him and hide him away! Was he good or was he good huh!

It’s a very unusual premise that the book is based on. He, along with his entourage, goes to Cameroon and with the help of the locals, collects a variety of mammals, reptiles and birds, for his own personal zoo.

And what a zoo! Most of these collected animals are names I could not possibly pronounce. But despite reading about the iffy meals(rats, snails, eggs, beetles, maggots in all sizes.. eww.. but its put beautifully with all his wish to protect these creatures, that such mentions are ..well.. tolerated.

I wish everyone who kicks a dogs or smacks a cat.. reads this book. Tolerance for your fellow living being is such a must, especially in this day and age of rapid globalisation of every single thing. We are losing natural habits way too quickly. But then again  I am, at least as of now, a non vegetarian so.. can I still want to conserve animals?
Here is something I had written a while ago on the first Durrell book I read…

Gerald Durell’s “My Family and Other Animals”

In one word this book is superb! Brilliantly written, just the right length and teeming with personal experiences, anecdotes and beautiful imagery. Gerald Durrell’s book is a fabulous first book of this author to begin.

Spring had arrived and the island was sparkling with flowers. Lambs with flapping tails gambolled under the olives, crushing the yellow crocuses under their tiny hooves. Baby donkeys with bulbous and uncertain legs munched among the asphodels. The ponds and streams and ditches were tangled in chains of spotted toads’ spawn, the tortoises were heaving aside their winter bedclothes of leaves and earth, and the first butterflies, winter-faded and frayed, were flitting wanly among the flowers.

A simple tale well told – well one can never have enough of it. Gerry, at ten years old, along with his entire family (though the father is, of course, absent) move to the sun soaked glory of Corfu. What then unfolds is an adventure interspersed with lessons from zoology, botany, ornithology and all other -ogies from various fields of science. Of course I have not had any such memorable lessons in science.

Gerry (though I have to say, I am astonished as his retentive power, to be able to write this book later on in life, for events he experienced when he was ten), his various animals all from Geronimo the gecko to Roger the biggest of them all dog, all aboard Bootle-Bumtrincket ( I kid you not!). His various teachers and the other myriad people who enter his life… its a delicious read.

Another excerpt (a particular favourite two lines of mine):
…the time had come, he thought, for me to go to somewhere like England or Switzerland to finish my education. In desparatation I argued against any such idea; I said i liked being half educated; you were so much more suprised at everything when you were ignorant.

There are moments in the book when you chuckle out loud and look around guitily, sure that people will write you off as a nutter but many a incident in the book are vivid and delightfully entertaining. Though more than once, whenever Gerry picked out a youngling from his nest and took it home, it would bother me. Why would he want to separate the little one from his mother, just so that his collection would prosper, I did not quite follow.

Another aspect of the book which is handled very well is the death of pets. It can often be a traumatic experience for a child and is it imbued with a lot of sensitivity and can easily be related to.



3 responses »

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed “My Family and Other Animals” when I read it, but unfortunately did not pick up Durrell’s other books. May be I will take a cue from you and read this one, or “Birds Beasts and Relatives”! The title sounds great!

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