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    Volume 11 |Issue 25| June 22, 2012 |


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Tall Tiger Talk


Habitations in Bangladesh are safe havens for almost anyone, as obvious from the capture of not one, not two, but three bagher bachchas (it does not proffer quite the same connotation when you say tiger cubs). In a remarkably well-planned integrated move involving all the agencies, including (I heard) helicopters, the janagan also proved fearless in capturing the dangerous but toothless animals. Perhaps the only downside of this surely award-winning Operation Milk is the elusive slip mama or papa tiger (or both) gave despite the foolproof net. There will be no further attempt to search for the 'real' tigers, as the maneuver is considered too dangerous, as their whereabouts and retaliatory capacity are unknown, and as they have promised to pay on a regular basis for the upkeep of the cub now in custody.

Real life is not any different; only we are dealing with 'real' animals in the garb of a human being. Our agencies (admitted though they do not always have the services of a helicopter) almost never ever manage to nab the real culprit, the kingpin, the ringleader; instead they parade handcuffed cubs of the crime at hyped press briefings. The honcho at worst lightens his pocket and from the comfort of his (or her) armchair in collusion with the beneficiaries of the handouts starts recruiting new babes for the underworld. Sadly, our tiger papa and mama cannot do the same.

One great possibility why the tiger/s staged the drama to submit their cubs to human heroics is to save them amidst the growing lack of basic amenities in the jungles. Hunting is not allowed, water is difficult to access if not saline and dirty, food is always short, unfriendly neighbours, and there are simply more animals than the jungle can hold. Fortunately, electricity is not a priority. Transportation is fully pedestrian. Generally, it is Green in the newest definition of green.

Human life is not much different. Food prices are at the mercy of gluttonous syndicates, neighbours are unknown, water is scarce, electricity is promising, transportation depends on the education level of (un)licensed drivers, and there are simply too more people than the cities and the towns can hold. Green to man is still the colour green.

Big animals do not tread around the same waterhole. They do not cross each other's path. They are not friendly, and never pretend to be so. Animals when friendly are so only for their selfish interest.

Real life is not at all different. In not too distant a place Mamata Banerjee has come out with flying colours in her exhibition of Bangalee prudence, which always begins with a lot of roaring but ends in a whimper or incoherrent statements. Despite the fact that she has maintained family level relationship with Pranab Mukherjee for decades, after suddenly realising that it is not befitting for a Bangalee president (when at all) and a Bangalee Chief Minister to drink from the same waterhole, and lest the president is adulated more as the No. 1 West Bangalee, she tried to garner support for a former president as the future president, which in itself can be appreciated as a very Bangalee mindset.

The folded arms lady is also an epitome of a person too long in opposition. Corridor to Bangladeshis? No! Water sharing with Bangladesh? No! Bangalee as president? No!

It is hard not to believe that the way around her is to demand in the negative. We don't want the water from Teesta. She will tighten her arms and say, 'No! You must take the water!' We want Bangladeshis to rot in their cheet mahal. Unfolded, she will declare, 'No! They must travel to and from Bangladesh!' Loosen up, lady!

While the jungle tiger remains royal till burial, the status of the political tiger fluctuates with the power it enjoys. That can bring us to the story of one tiger lying on the middle of a road, when a fox was passing by. Seeing the fallen tiger, the fox asked most politely from a respectable distance, head bowed, 'Bagh Mama, why are you lying on the road?' The tiger looked up hopefully and said meekly, almost inaudibly in a throated voice, 'What can I do? A poisonous thorn has pierced my foot, and I am afraid I am down for good, unable to move.' Hearing this, the fox went a couple of steps nearer, and looking the tiger in the eyes, said insolently, 'Does that mean that you will sit in the middle of the road?'

Real life is like that.


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