Friday, July 31, 2009

on animals

All of us who knew Gowri Sukanya remember her paasion about animals- here is just a sample of what they meant for her. samller print in brackets indicates that it is an insertion or correction I'm making or suggesting.

January 19th 2005
I was writing all this (about her boredom and loneliness) when Maami, our cook, was about to take leave. I offered to drop her home because it was dark and cold. On the way we saw Subramani (or some such name), Maami’s dog sitting outside someone’s house. After I dropped Maami he was wagging his tail because he recognised me. So I stopped and konjified (petted) him. Now I feel so much better. The amount of affection dogs can give and the amount of affection you can give dogs (or cats or other animals ) is truly, breathtakingly, amazing. Gosh! Animals especially those which are not human are truly amazing.

23rd January 2005
I got real pissed off and shut myself up and sat alone crying. Then I made myself think about how I’d woken up a sleeping stray dog this afternoon (which was sleeping near the steps where anyone could step on it ) and made it go away so it would be safe and how many people I’d impressed by doing this .Then I felt considerably better and came out.

February 26th
Yesterday I behaved HORRIBLY in French class. I showed off so much I tried to dominate the class screamed ,SCERAMED ,SCREAMED,SCREAMED. It was a debate. But that is still no justification. Madhavi ma’m tried to induce (provoke?) me. But that is still NO JUSTIFICATION. To all those newcomers I must seem so OBNOXIOUS, such a SHOWOFF , SUCH A FIGHTER COCK. But somehow I had fun!
I felt proud of myself. Only when I realised I can no longer be the ‘baby of the class’, ‘the innocent one’, ‘the cute one’ did I feel bad. Because there are so many advantages in that . You’re forgiven. You’re not taken seriously, you’re just cute, a joke. That’s more convenient. It’s ok no matter what you do. It’s safe. That’s what I miss. Also I’m not sure that I want to be taken seriously. It’s such a responsibility.
But she couldn’t say “Animals can’t think” and get away with it COULD SHE?

Feb 28th (this was written in French)
In the last French class there was a debate in class on the theme “ should we adopt animals”. Madame Madhavi was absolutely against the theme and tried to force her ideas. She said that animals are not intelligent and that human beings are superior to animals. She said that because of certain fools who buried their animals there was no space to bury the humans somewhere in the west. She also said that there were certain people who usually insisted that we say “he” or “she” and not “it” with reference to animals.
Obviously I didn’t stay quiet. I spoke a lot –perhaps too much and it became more or less a debate between Madame Madhavi and me. Finally she had head ache. I argued that what humans do and what they say that’s not the truth. The truth is clearly visible in the face and in the actions of animals. I was quite proud of my words because I spoke quite fast and with emotion in my voice. And it was quite something that some people in the class clapped.
And when she declared that animals are needed only for those with handicaps I declared that everybody is handicapped in some way. She couldn’t respond.
Akku said that it was foolish contest, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. When Madame said that animals were not intelligent I explained how Rumpy (her old pet dog) understood what we said in Tamizh. When she declared that he had understood only because of the constant repetition, I retorted that human babies learn in the same way. Just felt rather proud of this, though it is also kind of embarrassing.


  1. I remember those days in madhavi's class...she was one of our least favorite french teacher.....suku used to be pretty good at french...she worked pretty hard in class to be modest.

  2. I wish I knew Suku more! Sound like we would have got along very well!