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Tiger, tiger

It was a quiet Sunday morning. Rahul and Ramya were out on their balcony, sipping hot coffee and reading the newspaper. The couple loved the cosy feeling of being home. They looked forward to the lazy hours when they could just relax in their own space without having to rush anywhere. It was their favourite part of the week.

“Look at this!” Rahul said, pointing at a certain section of the newspaper.

Ramya leant over and squinted at the article. “Villagers spear wandering man-eater,” she read out loud. “Huh!”

“What is happening to the world?” Rahul said. “Tigers wandering the streets where our kids play? No wonder the village folks killed the beast. Can you imagine how terrified they must have been?”

Ramya frowned, thinking. “Yeah,” she said. “But don’t you think something about the whole thing is very unfair?”

“What do you mean?” he asked her.

“I mean,” she said, pausing to organise her thoughts. “We humans have gone on expanding our cities and towns. Apartment complexes and office buildings stand where forests once stood. Where are the animals supposed to go then?”

Rahul thought about it for a moment. “I see what you mean. But what would you do if a wild animal strolled into your living room? What if we let a few of these attacks slide and the tigers develop a taste for human flesh?” he asked.

Ramya bit her lip. “No, we don’t want them coming back for more,” she agreed.

A few minutes of silence ensued.

“But then,” she started, “where are the deers and the goats and other animals that the tigers are used to preying upon? Apart from the ones locked up in farms and zoos, I mean. Hasn’t urbanisation endangered them as well? The tigers are, after all, wandering into our settlements in search of food.”

Rahul said nothing. A few moments passed before the silence was interrupted by a feeble buzz. A honey bee zoomed towards them and settled down on a rose on the potted plant on the banister.

“Shoo!” said Rahul, speedily rolling up the newspaper and swatting at it. The insect circled the plant a couple of times, buzzing in alarm, before flying away.

“See?” he said, looking at Ramya. “We do what we must to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. It’s our home. I think it’s only fair,” he said.

“What if,” Ramya asked, running her finger around the picture of the tiger in the news article, “we are the wild animals who’ve settled down in the tigers’ home?”


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