Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Turtle hunter

I had a part in saving a turtle's life this past weekend but like the crocodiles that the late Steve "Croc Hunter" Irwin had committed himself to saving, it didn't seem too pleased about my timely intervention. It is so tough to gain appreciation these days; be it from man or animal. It may have something to do with the fact that we put it back to the same side of the road from which it was plodding its way across to the other side. But there was no definite way of telling of whether it was headed from the wetlands on the right of the road to the waters of Lake Nippenicket on the road's left or vice versa and we had to make a judgement call. What was for sure though was that if it stayed in the middle of the road where it was when I saw it, it was going to be meat paste very soon.

The sun had peeked out for the first time in the weekend on Sunday afternoon and we had seized this opportunity to kill time outside of home than inside it. Route 104 is a scenic drive thanks to the little ponds that occasionally pop alongside apart from the fanatically up-kept houses basking in the fall afternoon light. When we arrived at Lake Nippenicket, a grandmom and her toddler granddaughter were already standing hand over hips with a large turtle chilling out in the middle of the road. The creature did not seem inclined to respond to the grandmom's gentle prods with her umbrella. And this thing was huge!

It was time for the men to step in. I grabbed one of those foldable chairs wrapped in a round bundle and gave my hard shelled friend a shove with its tip. I was to find out that turtles turn around real quick and hiss real loud when they snap at perceived aggressors. Thankfully I was just out of range of its reputedly finger snapping teeth. The vibes of my good intentions were apparently not strong enough. A very short-lived idea of lifting it by its shell crossed my mind before I saw the razor sharp claws that it had on its flippered feet. I had clear memories of how abrasive the claws of our tiny little pet turtles felt like when I had to move them around. With a turtle at least 10 times their size I wasn't taking any chances. The "men" decided to hang back putting bravado aside. A crowd of couch potato animal lovers had gathered around the creature by this time, each as indecisive about the future course of action as the other.

A senior citizen in his early 70s appeared out of thin air, shovel in hand, scooped up our armoured soldier in one smooth motion and poured him over on the side of the road away from the lake. He was positive that it was the wetlands that the turtle was headed to not the lake, how I cannot tell. But when the turtle did not show up on the road again for a couple of minutes (after such brusque handling, not surprising at all), we had to assume that experience does count when reading the mind of a giant lazy turtle. Everyone else just patted themselves on the back for the moral support provided in this rescue mission and carried on. The Discovery Channel it seemed could only teach you so much.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Clear cut

Today seems like a good day to make this argument. 36 years old and as superhuman as ever, the little genius from Bombay worked his magic again in the most artistic and epic sport that human beings have ever thought up. The blade twirled, the boundary boards got smacked and one man did his job of playing exhilirating cricket with a casual air only a few blessed cricketers of his level can. It was the turn of the Sri Lankans to feel the heat this time but they ought to feel special at being chosen for this particular extempore. That is the primary basis of my claim that India is better than the US. It's just two reasons and they are reason enough for me.

Number one is that the US does not appreciate cricket and number two is that it is unaware of who Sachin Tendulkar is! Even in the world of ignorance, this is the most unforgivable of crimes. What kind of a country worships the Tom Bradys and Kobe Bryants while living a life bereft of the most engaging sport in the world (especially when India is winning) and of the marvels of nature that play this game with such fluid authority. Maybe the US will catch up eventually but right now it sure has a long way to go!