Of Zennish Crocodiles and Spirited Books

Till a couple of weeks ago, Sundays were all about churning out stories at work. A bit mindlessly, to confess. 😉 Now that I am off from work, and starting a new, easier job in a couple of days, the sloths of the world must be thinking that I am lazier than them. And, that’s really not saying something. Hence, I decided to say hello to the sun today. I am glad I did, for it was one of the most entertaining, yet fulfilling Sundays ever.

One of my best friends has started to volunteer at The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology. So, I went to the reptile zoo to cheer him up. Although I am not a big fan of crawlies, I thought I must try to love them, give them a fair chance, and despite that, if they don’t reach my imaginary green planet, where all my favourite animals live, then I can be reassured that I tried being just. 🙂

While the zoo houses myriad species of crocodiles, for some reason, Marsh Crocodiles rule the place. I could see hundreds and hundreds of them. To my eyes that are so used to seeing dogs and cats, the crocodiles looked like calm dogs, lying on their bellies.

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Marsh Crocodiles at The Madras Crocodile Bank

My first dog Calvin always, always sleeps on his abdomen, stretching all the four legs. Hence, I often call him ‘Calvodile’. 🙂

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Meet the Calvodile!

The crocodiles were incredibly Zennish. If there were no wailing babies, and adults who forgot they were adults, perhaps I would have spent more time seeing the fascinating creatures. While I was around, some crocodiles kept their mouths open for a long time, some moved to throw themselves on their neighbours, and some left the land to slip into the tiny ponds. I loved the way they swam. Their swimming seemed graceful and effortless!

The Gharial was the main attraction, and the zoo claims that they were the first to present “underwater exhibit” of the beautiful crocodile in the country. When I was in the small room, where the Gharial was seen behind a tough glass, the voices of wailing babies and obnoxious adults faded. The crocodile looked stunning, with a turtle resting beside its tail and loads of fish devouring the algae on its body. It stayed still. Calm. Zennish. Just like the other crocodiles. But, the view was memorable. Perhaps, the underwater-view created an illusion. It was as though I dove into its pond to have a chinwag with him. 🙂

The Gharial at The Madras Crocodile Bank.
The Gharial at The Madras Crocodile Bank.

I smiled at more crocodiles, who were busy battling the harsh summer heat. I grinned wider when I read some of the signboards at the zoo. Like these:

Some illustration this!
Some illustration this!
Nice trivia.
Nice trivia.
Sense of humour is not a thing of the past. :)
Sense of humour is not a thing of the past. Not yet. 🙂 Guess what was behind the doors.

And, that was all from the crocodile bank. 🙂

In several blogs, I mentioned that 2015 has been brilliant books-wise. I have been reading quite a lot, and I have also been buying dozens and dozens of them. However, I was still dissatisfied about not joining a library. Not that I have begun to think that I can’t keep affording new books, but I want to start frequenting a library, to get myself out more often, and… to touch and feel old books. Books with yellow, weak papers between their jackets. Books that let several readers escape into their worlds. Books that could be older than me. 🙂 So, I visited the only library in my area: Bookmark Lending Library.

I jumped for joy when I saw a signboard at the entrance. “Clearance sale – Each book costs between Rs. 10 and Rs. 30!” More than 10 shelves were filled with aged, wise, abandoned books that were waiting to be taken home by considerate readers. In some ways, they looked sad, yet spirited like the animals at shelters, who often meet potential adopters, and who might hope that somebody would call them theirs. Of course, the books didn’t have their longing eyes. But, I was filled with the desire and responsibility to give them another chance. So, I did this.

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All of it costed… Rs. 140. Just Rs. 140. I would like to mention again. Rs. 140. 😀

The oldest of the lot is Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms. It was printed in 1977. That’s the oldest in my collection too.

The librarian added that a few more carton boxes are not opened yet, and that I should visit in a couple of weeks again.

Just when I was about to leave, a kid who must be about seven or eight, became a member, and borrowed a couple of books. As she stuffed the books in her bag, she asked the librarian, “Ma’am, do you have a bookmark?” The librarian uttered a feeble no, but offered a bright smile.

I couldn’t stop laughing at the irony. If you had forgotten the library’s name… Bookmark Lending Library. 😀

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5 thoughts on “Of Zennish Crocodiles and Spirited Books

  1. Rs 140 for 10 books – rs 14/- apiece, that’s a bargain!
    I’m yet to read “A Flight of Pigeons”, Terry Pratchett, “A Farewell to Arms” and “Crime and Punishment.

    PS: “The most dangerous animal” – was there a mirror inside? #Guessing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful post, Deepika! Loved your description of the crocodiles. I remember reading Willard Price’s adventure books as a child – it was a series of books about two brothers and their scientist parents who travel the world and have adventures. I remember in one of the books, a crocodile gets hatched out of an egg and sees one of her heroes first and thinks that he is its mom and follows him everywhere 🙂 I still remember that – that is what made me like crocodiles.

    Loved your new book acquisitions. You have some wonderful books there. I want to read ‘The Amazing Maurice…’ one day. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Vishy! And, what a lovely story that is. I wish I could read Price’s books. My friend, who volunteers at the zoo, tells me a lot of intriguing stories about crocodiles. They seem to be adorable too. 🙂

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