Friday, July 22, 2011

Jungle in the Bronx

I blame the Discovery Channel. And National Geographic. For the thoroughly successful brainwashing racket that they jointly run. Leading their viewers to believe that animals are cool. After hours of systemically targeted programming through my formative years, I am a convert and a slave to the concept of 'animal coolness'.
The reason why I find myself driving back down to the city of cities, the metropolis of metropolises, to check out... not the Empire State building, the flocking of human tribes from around the world and Manhattan's touristy madness... but the Bronx zoo. "The zoo?" the question arises "What are you? A kid?" No. But my childhood influences have ruined me. I have seen that New York is amongst the greatest cities in the world through multiple personal experiences and outings but the first thing I still think of when I visualize it is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bursting out of a sewer in midtown closest to a pizza place saying "Cowabunga!!!".
How is a chimpanzee cooler than an I-Pad? I don't know but I have been led to believe so by a certain Miss Jane Goodall []. The African lion might be the king of the Serengeti and may have a tough sounding roar but does he exercise as much influence as the richest man in India? That's not even a logical question. Giant crocodiles lurking in the swampy waters more interesting than the latest Harry Potter movie? Sounds like something which should interest Steve Irwin (God bless his hyperactive soul. The crocs in heaven's rivers must be having a tough time now.) more than me. I seem to have my priorities of importance all messed up.
So I will battle this weekend, against hundreds of pesky excited children to sneak a peek of the above mentioned celebrities. Not to mention the chest thumping mountain gorillas, lumbering grizzlies, the ultra elusive snow leopard, the stalking tigers, the psychedelically coloured birds (I tell you, God for sure must be trying some weird stuff once in a while), the crazy monkeys and everything else that our urban existence keeps us safely/unfortunately isolated from. I daresay every animal 'spotting' would be inducing a mental revision of that Discovery/NGC documentary on it that I had watched a very very long time ago but this would indeed be the kind of studies I like, 'cause it's voluntary. 
There are those who say, quite rightly, that a zoo is not the best place for a wild animal. I agree, wholeheartedly. But what a zoo does, and does really well is to keep the wonder of being on this planet alive. That we do not own the earth even though we may be the primary lease holder by now. There are things of beauty, power, grace and terror that are not of our doing. Despite our best efforts to match up, they will always make our most complicated creations look like a 6 year old's science project. We may have taken the men out of the jungle but the way our heartbeat rates jump when we hear a tiger's growl even from inside a cage show that you can never take the jungle out of the men. It's a humbling experience. Given how easily stuff goes to our head, that's pretty freakin' important.


Kunnu said...

yeah...true...we can not get the jungle out of men.. :)

Long time... ;)

Roy said...

@Kunnu: Was still hungover on the joys of the WC victory. Took me more than 3 months to recover! :)

Bhavik said...

wonderful article... i too love to visit the zoos whenever I get the chance... :)

Kumar Bibek said...

How about visiting the African plains and see the animals in the wild? Up for it? :D

Roy said...

@Bhavik: Thanks, buddy! Yes, zoos rule!

@Psycho: But of course. It is the next step. When I'll have the financial resources, I'll definitely go ahead.