To the zoo!
What do you do when you are missing home-made Christmas cake, when your camera after 6 months of purchase is still spanking new and you don’t want to come within 100 ft of a church – you make plans to drag a colleague(recuperating from a hangover and Saturday laziness) to the zoo, for apparently no fault of his. But before that, you call him at 7 am to check if he’s up. If he’s up, you have pity on his tired soul and postpone the plan to 3 pm the same day.
Now, you have a scapegoat if the pictures don’t turn out well. “There was hardly any friggin light, all thanks to that sleepy moose!”
And now, some things to keep in mind if you don’t have such a scapegoat.
1. Plan in advance when hitting the zoo, especially if its winter. By 4.30 pm all the majestic beasts would have retired to their enclosures. At least, that’s what the zoo authorities would say to pacify you.
2. The Bannerghatta National Park has the last safari at 4.30 pm(irrespective of the season, as on 24 Dec 2011). The zoo remains open till 5.30pm. For a fortune that we paid for the safari, we saw three tigers and a black boar. All of them had their heads down except for one Royal Bengal tiger and a Indian tiger, who were at war(Room mate’s explanation: The white one must have called the other one a ‘nigger’. Man!).
And, and, no lions! There are supposedly six of lions alone. Now, re-read point 1.
3. The safari van driver gave me the best seat in the entourage. Front row, center. Right on the engine hood on which I was frying my ass for the next 45 minutes. So, carry a big camera and a damp bed-sheet.
4. Expect nothing. If for a hundred and fifty bucks, you could have the time of your life, people wouldn’t be flying around to Africa for the sightings.
5. The above said zoo or national park, whichever way you may want it, has the most sad animals ever. Tired, heads-drooping, unpaired, lonely animals walking around in the same patterns in their enclosures over and over again. Except the zebra and the ostriches. The Delhi zoo at-least has excited, acrobatic monkeys(circa 1993).
To make the best of the remaining light, I sauntered into the wafer thin compound of the zoo clinic and then as close as I could to the ostriches. The 550D’s rather loud shutter window attracted one to the railing. It did all it could to observe the noise making object carefully. The spunky hair and its cock expression had me going when it gave one of the signature mocking expressions – here. I guffawed at this and then the zoo doctor came around with a curt, “Excuse me, you are not allowed to.”.
Truth be told, that bird made my day. Merry Christmas to it!