A gentrified jungle for chic cats in fancy furs and hot wheels

Bashi Karkaria

Bachi Karkaria’s Erratica and its cheeky signature character, Alec Smart, have had a growing league of followers since 1994, when the column began in the metropolis on Saturday. LESS MORE

The sleek and spotty 72nd Prime Minister’s Gift was a sight worthy of India’s 75th. So, rather than the usual moans, wish Oban, Tbilisi, Siyaya, Sasha & Co a speedy recovery from their jet lag. Asha, who arrived unnamed, was baptized by Modiji himself. Hopefully the others will be spared by the lowest Kuno masters who call them by the more manageable Indians and asli Rani, Raja, etc. God and Dr. Laurie Marker forbid, it won’t come down to Babloo, Dabloo, Taploo or, most insultingly of all, Tiger.

The crafty giveaway said these magnificent beasts are “our honored guests” and we need to “give them time to settle in”. Means, devious with the buffalo-leg-meat version of garma-garam chai. Specifically, they should literally heed every host’s cliché of ‘treat this like your own home only’ and not check flights back to Windhoek at the first lack of hospitality. This electrified fence must keep inside as much as prevent outside.

The Cheetahs will rule over an expanse originally marked for the King of the Jungle, that too of the Prime Minister’s own Gir, and symbol of his treasured mark in India. Well, aatmanirbhar might not apply to animal-centric vanity projects. So instead I thought of a similar urban situation. Doesn’t all this sound like the gentrification of underprivileged neighborhoods like my old neighborhood of mills?

The super-luxury and ‘gated’ accommodations of Namibian newbies drove out the less privileged elders, the leopards. The only welcome natives are those who can “serve” the posh newcomers, the deer of prey being the equivalent of our bartan-jhadoo-pochha brigade. “Encroachment” is contentious issue #1 in both scenarios. So, I couldn’t help cheering on Kuno’s native leopards. For weeks they have defied all efforts to oust them and “sanitize” their centuries-old home for those private jet posers with fancier spots and bloated engines. Human-human conflict, animal-animal conflict – same thing. Shame on shame.

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Alec Smart said, “With the planning aborted, Bengaluru had its own Row vs Wade.”



This article is meant to make you smile. Any connection to real life events and characters is coincidental.


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