Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Of life and death, literally

He fluttered his tiny eyelids, looking here and there. He sprang up on his feet, confused, calling out to his mom and dad. He panicked, taking wobbly little steps, searching for them. He wobbled on, his shaky feet giving up every now and then. He was hungry, he was scared. He was angry, too. He looked on and on, but there were no traces of them. It was beginning to get dark, but mom and dad, they were still missing. Suddenly, from his corner of his eye, he spotted her. “Oh, there she is,” the little one thought, happy, very happy, that he finally found his mom. He inched closer, calling out to her, telling her oh-so-proudly that he’d won this game of hide and seek. “Look maa, I found you...tomorrow, I’ll win again,” he said. If only. He stumbled upon her, lying in a pool of blood. He was horrified. He began looking for his daddy, and he didn’t have to go too far. He was lying close to his wife, his neck, slid wide open.

The little one shut his eyes, unable to open them and see the gory sight that was laid in front of him. Then his button-like eyes sprang open; he was trembling. His parents were gone; killed, mercilessly. He was robbed of his life, his family. Who would take care of him now? What would he eat? Who would he snuggle up against? He was so tiny; he couldn’t even take steady steps. How would he fend for himself, in the big bad world?

He didn’t go to any school. Life, it taught him; it caned him; it took tests. He toiled for his meals, ate whatever he could, whenever he could. It taught him not to trust anyone, that danger is not too far away; it is, maybe, lurking somewhere right behind his back. Life taught him to be careful, never to venture out in treacherous waters. Someone, somewhere is watching him, ready to pounce and rob him of all the treasures he possesses. Afterall, it was for these treasures that his parents had to lose their lives; it was because these so-called treasures, that he had been orphaned. These treasures had cost him a happy life, a life that could have been scripted with a happy pen; a life, that might not have been stained with the blood of his parents; a life, that would have been lovely, his mother feeding him, his father, protecting him; a life, that would been a life, in the truest sense of the term.

Instead, he lived in fear. He died, every single moment, recalling the mercilessly mutilated bodies of his parents. He lived every moment, knowing his death could around the corner. He never fell in love. He was scared he’d lose her, too; he was scared that if he had little ones, maybe they would also end up living a life like his. And then one day, he fell prey too. He died, just like his parents. His skin was peeled off, decorating some filthily rich dude’s fancy living room. His eyes were scooped out, curing some guy, who had been diagnosed with malaria. His teeth were knocked off, because someone’s child, somewhere, was suffering from fever. His claws were clipped off with precision, because the fat lady couldn’t sleep at night.

When we claim to be a species that has a scientific solution to every bloody problem, they why snatch lives from a beautiful living thing to make sure that we live our lives to the fullest? Why chop a breathtaking creature into parts to use it as a status symbol? Isn’t there anything better for us to flaunt? Why are we so selfish? Are we prepared to let them all die?

Of life and death, literally. He died for them to live. And even in death, he served humanity, the selfish lot. But then, is this what this creature is destined for?

However, there is hope. Not every tiger has to die, not every tiger needs to suffer. There are scientists who care, who are developing alternatives. Let’s help them, cooperate to make sure that our future generations get to see this striped beauty.