Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mysore: The Zoo

I decided to become a bona fide tour-bus tourist (as opposed to an independent tourist, sorry: traveller) for a day and took a guided day tour of the city. Some of the stops I would have bypassed had I been travelling on my own, such as the zoo and the Brindaban Gardens, while others I wouldn't have wanted to miss. Taken altogether, it would have taken me a couple of days at double the cost to explore all of them independently, so it would have been silly not to take the tour.

The first stop (as I remember) was the local zoo. It is large and clean and located in a lovely park, but it was downright disgusting to see how the local visitors acted around the animals: grown people shouting and banging on the glass or rattling the cage bars, even throwing twigs at the animals to get them to react. Whereas such behaviour is the exception rather than the rule in those zoos I have visited in Europe and the USA, it seemed to be the other way around here. I felt in full sympathy with the chimpanzee who adamantly turned his back on the viewers and refused to look at them. I did see groups of well-behaved school kids who were just looking at the animals and not behaving like idiots, and I hope they retain this respectful attitude towards the animals when they grow up. Rant over.

India is the last place I would have expected to come face to face with an African elephant, but there he was:

The bull elephant was receiving what sounded like a scolding from the keeper when I approached, but the man stopped shouting when he saw me and with an order made the elephant pose for a picture.

1 comment:

Rajan P. Parrikar said...

Playing the public boor comes naturally to Indians (*). Civic responsibility and public conduct aren't matters that are taught at home or in school, and so when they grow up... The sort of behavior you observed does not surprise me at all. I could write a tome on the subject.

(*) Any generalization of Indians is tricky, given the cultural variations by region, class etc. The group that the above would most apply to is the Indian middle-class, especially the recently upwardly mobile, people who have come into disposable income in the past 20 years or so - also the kind you are most likely to meet in the West.

r - waiting in Önundarfjörður for the weather to 'improve' (i.e. for the blue skies to go away and for the clouds to arrive).