Deeply disturbed by the front page news in TOI today of a man who accidently fell into the moat of a tiger in a Delhi zoo and getting killed by a majestic white tiger. The caption of the picture was ‘shadow of death’!.
The paper says the man has been warned by the guards not to lean against the stand of barrier twice before he fell in when the guard was busy managing other visitors. The image showed a petrified man almost crouching in front the massive and magestic beast who stands taller than him in all his glory. The tiger seems to be looking at the man with curiosity and interest, almost suprised. I guess it was minutes before it sunk his teeth on the mans neck, and dragged his body around to the other end of the enclousure.
It sends a chill down my spine looking at the picture. I guess it does to everyone who saw it. I am trying to think what the mans last thoughts were. It must have been surreal to him, falling in and facing a white tiger eye to eye. I wonder what was his last thought? who was the last person who crossed his mind?his mother or his love if he had any. But noone will ever know that. None knows what we think just before we die. They say our entire life spans in front of us like a movie reel just before we die. But what if there is no time for that?
Once when I was small I almost died(ok a lil exaggerated!) My mothers ancestral home in Vaikom is a traditional nalukettu with 3 ponds in the compound. And one of it was in the far end of the 2 acre property and is 36 ft deep used to water the orchard. It was a dark pond with no lotuses like the other 2. During one Astami (festival in vaikom mahadeva temple), my cousin and I decided to bathe in it in the afternoon without telling anyone as all were sleeping after the sadya and we were forbidden to go to the pond without adult supervision. The other 2 ponds were nearer to the house and we would be heard but this dark one being in the far end had little chance of getting caught. My cousins Asha, and Sriram and me sneaked out through the backdoor and raced to the pond and we 2 girls were in the pond and he sat on the bank and agreed to watch out to signal if anyone came out of the house. Before long she gave me a friendly push and I suddenly felt the earth beneth my feet giving away. And I fell into an endless trench and I dint know to swim. I sank and came up gasping for air and gravity pulled me down and i sank again. I was gasping for a few breaths of air and I could feel water entering my nose and mouth as I tried to breath underwater. The second time I sank I remember thinking how comforatble my cousins bed in the house which I had slept the previous night was and I wanted to sleep there. I was tired. That was the last thing I remembered before I lost conciousness. When I woke up I was laid on the bank of the pond with a lot of people aroubd me. The water still looked calm and still.
So it cant be true what people say about remembering your entire life before you die. But maybe because it was not my time to die or whatever. But the mans crouching posture with folded hands still haunts me. Dark ponds and white tigers are not on my favourite list. I want to forget them fast!
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