Friday, March 1, 2013

about an out of the ordinary mule

Read this most unusual article. I found it enchanting and deeply reassuring to know that even in this day and age, some people are wise and observant enough to think and feel like this. Do let me know about your reactions.

15 comments:

Sayan Datta said...

Truly, animals have more sense and sensibility than we give them credit for.
Sir, strangely somehow the whole piece reminded me of how you had said that even animals can attain Bodhisattva.

Shilpi said...

That article, I have to admit, is terribly unusual. It even brings this shared quiet warm glow, which is unavoidable, and raises quiet smiles in what it says and how it's written and narrated with little drops of humour, cheekiness, imagination, a sense of mystery... It's like a tale within a tale and from four sides: the writer, the man, his wife, and the mule. One can picture it: the mule with a difference...and one sees Cyrus through the seasons with that piece which is, yes, both a thinking and a feeling piece; fine, delicate and with 'character'. I can't tell you how glad I am that you shared this one...I'd have never gotten around to reading it. It reads like a story...

Also, I'll have to apologise to you and to whimsy blog again! For forgetting the birthday again: I'm awfully sorry for having an addled brain sometimes...I can't believe I I remembered only this week. I'll send lots of love for the nonce and make a few wishes...

Sunup said...

Well, Sir, as you said it's indeed very unusual. Maybe the mule Cyrus had some strange aura around him? Indeed all of God's creations are very unique and mysterious. We humans claim to be the superior among all beings, but then who knows.

As for the elks and the more powerful animals, I feel they are just reflecting a part of our human behaviour. We acknowledge and hold in high esteem the people we love and respect, both when they are around and when they have left this world. As for the haughty and powerful ones, who feel the world revolves around them, they have a nonchalant attitude towards others.

Saikat Chakraborty said...

Dear Sir,

The article is so deeply moving. It is rightly said in the article that- '...there is personality and then there is character, and the one is a pond and the other is a sea.'. There is so much to learn from the mule's character and kudos to the shy man...he was not at all shy to accept how much a simple mule meant to him.

I read the other article 'The Country of Who he used to be' by Brian Doyle too. It is such a heart- warming account of a deceased brother...it made my heart heavy.

With regards,
Saikat.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Thanks, all four who commented. I am delighted and even a little surprised that the comments came in so soon, and you appreciated just what I wanted you to. A lot of people would find such an essay so silly or irrelevant!

Yes, to non-rootless Indians, it would be a matter of proud satisfaction that even some johnny-come-lately Americans can instinctively feel that there are bodhisattvas even among 'lesser' beings...

Debarshi_Saha said...

Respected Sir,

Warm regards.Very unusual article indeed,and a very nice one to read too.Deeply sensitive humans have always connected with animals in their own way,and it just shows that they too have so much to teach us!One who is cruel towards animals,is necessarily cruel towards his fellow-men too-which is why I find it such great torment when little mean kids torture animals willingly,while their parents look on!These demented fools are just paving the way for their little princes to drive them off in their old age,no less........

Beautiful post indeed,Sir.Warms my heart.

With best wishes,
Debarshi.

Subhadip Dutta said...

I am also an animal lover Sir, and I can feel the love that this man had for his mule. Indeed a great story!

Abhishek Anand said...

Respected Sir,

The story is magnificent.

The story lacked thrill, drama, tragic-yet had everything a story can contain and in the most unusual and charming manner.

I wish if I could find, through careful observation, a Cyrus in the animals in my locality or any nearby farm(The chances are low, as with the decreasing number of human saints with time, probably, India has lost the 'great' animals as well!).

This article forces me to think about animals-do they have a Mr. Sherlock Tommy, a Mother Pussy(Mother Teresa) and a Mahatma Vaanar, carrying out their great tasks when most others are only concerned about their hunger?
Do Indian Garden of Fruits(like IIts) exist which are the only sources of aspiration for most Indian monkeys? This list of questions is never ending, but to try and find out is going to be exceptionally exciting.

It is an absolute gem of a story. Thank you for providing this link.

Yours faithfully,
Abhishek Anand


Shilpi said...

There are always animals around us who carry the traits, which mark nobility and/or unusualness of character, Abhishek - in India and elsewhere - they don't have to be "saints". The exceptional mule was very mulish more than saint-like. You just need to look and be with animals for long enough to be able to find the ones which stand out (the process is much like finding exceptions among human beings). I have known a calf, a few birds, more than a few outstanding dogs and cats, and horses. I wish I'd known more animals. So I'll wish you the best in your search.

Also - I hope you'll read Jack London, James Herriot, Gerald Durrell, Konrad Lorenz, T.S.Eliot if you haven't already to see how fine human minds have seen and felt for animals and written about them. And there's Jonathan of course from Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach and Hachiko (Sir reviewed the film based on the marvellous dog in his Bemused blog) - not to mention the Jataka tales and the Panchatantra tales.

Suvro da, apart from Jack London - I don't think I'd have gotten to read any of the other authors! And 'haha' about the rootless Indians. Reinds me of recycling and using cloth bags for grocery shopping as being seen as 'chic' even among Indians here...
...I don't know why they bother having a comment section in that journal though. The writers - no matter what they write - never have the courtesy of acknowledging the comments.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

In a very real sense, Shilpi, modern urban Indian children are very poor, in that they have very little contact with, leave alone direct knowledge and experience of, the animal world. That's one of the very many ways that we have ruined their lives. The fact was brought home forcefully to me when my daughter told me that almost all of her pen-pals in Europe and the US have a variety of animals at home, from birds, dogs and cats to horses, pigs, snakes and what have you. Just another reason why, when
our kids take interest in the sciences, it's always far more commonly in the 'dead' ones that they are interested in, like physics, rather than biology! Think about it...

Abhishek Anand said...

Thank you Shilpi didi(I hope I can call you that)for your kind views on my comment.
By saints, I actually meant people of great character. Human Beings who behave like humans. However, mulish will probably be a better word in this context(I meant this).
I would be exceedingly glad if I could spent time with such animals.You are indeed fortunate to have known some of them.
Thanks for suggesting the books there. I will try to read as many I can.
-Abhishek

Unknown said...

Alas! The number of elks grow by the day. I wonder if we'll be half as well remembered as Cyrus mule was! Yet, while the mule remains, there is hope!

Aakash

Shilpi said...

I've been thinking of this, Suvro da, as bidden...even back in the day, I guess it was more of a stroke of luck to know some animals at least and not to grow entirely disconnected from the animal world, and then there were the books which reminded one or let one know. Your daughter is lucky to have those pen friends. I was reminded of a German pen friend in school who used to go horse riding for her holidays and I would read her letters (snail mail!) with delight not unmixed with a twinge of sadness but I'd go back to imagining. You must have seen how kids here - at least more than a few - get to meet and see animals too and so I wonder what you observed and what those school-kids told you.
I'll write on this a little of what I noticed...maybe soon.

Abhishek, you're welcome. I do hope you get around to reading the books...and maybe you could one day be a conservation scientist (if any country needs some good scientists working on conservation that's India) or be a forest officer - who knows. I hope you get to spend time with animals. Best of luck. And yes, you certainly can address me "Shilpi didi".

Sayan Datta said...

I finished watching a really nice movie - 'We bought a zoo' (starring Matt Damon) and it is in the light of that movie that the contents of the comments, the post and the original piece have become clearer to me. Sir, I think the fact about our kids taking (a warped) interest (only) in the sciences, and that too the 'dead' ones among them, has everything to do with us having become poorer of the knowledge and direct contact of animals.

It's sadly funny that in all my teenage, when I was having all sorts of delusions of grandeur about becoming a scientist, the thought never occurred to me that I could become a zookeeper. Indeed that was the childhood dream and driving force of Gerald Durell, though conventional education he received little. Indeed education is nothing if it doesn't come straight from the deepest depths of the heart. And for that sort of education one doesn't 'need' to go to a school.

It's sad, really sad that something so simple my parents couldn't tell me. And not that this sort of a realization is rocket science (and I am beginning to hate that byword). All it needs is a bit more of a heart. I can also see what afflicts young kids of our country. Their parents entertain the grandest of warped dreams in them, while keeping them oblivious of the simplest of joys and happiness all around them all the while (for which one doesn't need to do much else than to look), and they perforce grow up learning to appreciate nothing concerning matters related to the heart ...and no wonder those dreams shatter sooner or later and these kids grow up to feel inadequate and unhappy. It's so much better to live a simple, satisfied and happy life than to dream (whether or not that dream ultimately becomes reality is really inconsequential) of becoming the next great astrophysicist or a movie star.

Sayan Datta said...

A small addition to my earlier comment - those dreams are not just warped, but narrow, foolish and mostly forced (directly or indirectly)...add to that how allergic to hard-work we Indians are, always looking for the quick and easy way that we do not even bother to look.