Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Kuttan the wildcat _ Tales from Gods own country
I did not eat for the last four days. It is not that they did not give me any, I could not eat. Having lived in forest for so many years, hunger is nothing new. 
I was born in the Range officer's official quarters years back. We were four. My siblings, all females, were in great demand and were taken to good houses when we started playing hide and seek. I being a male had no takers. My larger size and grayish black color was another factor that deterred many. So the decision to to throw me out was spontaneous . It was the Ranger's daughter who delayed it. She loved me, we used to play for hours together. To her I was Kuttan ( a pet name for all small boys). When She left for the boarding school my good days came to an end.
In a large Black bag, the jeep took me into the reserve forest. I could not find my way back home. For many days I wandered through the forest without food or shelter. I had almost lost hope when the attack of a dog like creature changed my life. I ran for my life and climbed a tree to escape.
There was a bird's nest on the tree. The eggs in the nest was my first meal in the wild. Food is not difficult in forest if one is watchful. But survival depended on one's skill and luck.
Life was OK till the fifty acres of forest land was cleared for the car park near the pilgrimage centre. I ventured out to rubber plantations near by when food became scarce.
In the plantations birds and mice were rare. Big rats from thattu kada who feed on chicken waste, that too hormone treated... yikes. So I had to steal a few chickens once in a while from the near by houses. I knew it was wrong but how else to survive ?
Two children who got hurt while playing saw me on the road through the plantation. It seems they told their parents, they were chased by a strange creature and got hurt, to escape punishment for playing after school. The news spread so fast that they say the mobile network got jammed for some time . The boys talked to the News paper reporters and became heroes over night.
The news paper reports prompted local heroes to go on night hunts with Chinese torches. They are so cheap that most  households have one for each member. But I could manage my food and safety easily with the training I had in the forest.
The night patrol had its benefits. Mid night thefts declined. Some said the thieves were afraid to venture out, others said they joined the search party not to loose the chance to identify the future possible targets. Any how the dogs, though not friendly, did not take part in the hunting seriously. Had they been serious they could have made my life difficult. But to them I was just another domestic cat, not an intruder.
In the following days the number of people, who saw me, increased, along with it my size reported in newspapers. I was just 2 and a half feet when the dailies started reporting. (in fact I am a little less than two feet in length) . I Grew to five / six feet in the ten days that followed, in news paper reports.
I acquired VIP status and photos of my shadow and tail appeared in a leading daily. Experts wrote on different types of cats in Africa to whom I looked related. Another expert who had been to Australia for ten days to visit his daughter  wrote that I am a distant cousin ( eighth or ninth he was not sure)  of a mini tiger abundant there.
The lady of the house where I rested during day, read aloud from the Malayalam news paper that claimed a readership of five times the Malayalam knowing population in the country, amidst protest from her husband . To him it was a waste of money that published only obituaries & advertisements. I was glad she did not heed the protests and went on reading. I enjoyed every word they wrote about me..There was even a sketch by an artist based on the reports on me and his imagination.
Then it took a bad turn, the religious took over. A pastor who claimed to have seen me 200 meters away during the day said that my presence indicated the nearing apocalypse. Revelation and  Oracles mentioned such an animal.
To yet another I was the god's vehicle, expressly sent to protest against the commercialization of religious places. To avoid further possible conflicts I decided to surrender to the boys who saw me first. I just walked in to the box trap they had made two weeks back and later discarded.
My posing for photo with the children was a great moment for them. I allowed them to bind my legs and arms and gag my mouth.  All the dailies in GOC  had that photo next day. That put an end to my celebrity status.
Then came the forest officers. They too took photos and videos. The Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Wild Life rushed in from the state capital to see me. To my surprise he was non other than ranger Soman in whose house I was born. ( I remembered the small kid from the next quarters who referred to him as 'the Danger')
He was a nice man.
The Ranger, I mean the APCC WL Soman, recognized me , I could tell it from his body language. But to my dismay, he said he had never seen an animal like me before and required more studies with permission from higher ups. A meeting of the high ups was scheduled for the next day. But The meeting was delayed by two days for the minister's convenience.  I did not rise to his expectations. So he left the meeting authorizing APCCWL to take a decision about my future.

The Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Wild Life finally decided that I belong to a threatened wild canine species not likely to harm human beings!. I was to be deported to the forest again.
That means I am free and  now no one can kill me officially.

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