The beginnings of the day were ordinary, forgettable, the median between pleasant and unpleasant that the brain does not register because of its sheer frequency.
The visitors charged their cameras and dressed up in their pseudo ethnic clothes, The kinds that locals have never worn, the kinds that only the easily excitable and impressioned firang would wear. Moleskines were stuffed into hip messenger bags, librarian glasses perched on sculpted noses and much moaning done about the lack of a Starbucks in the city of New Delhi.
Seelampur, one of the vast tracts of land that the city of Delhi swallowed as it grew and then forgot about. Its only seeming purpose was to house the poor working classes of Delhi. The rest of Delhi would rarely, if ever, hear the name leave alone being able to place it on a map.
7 excited New Yorkers, In the city of New Delhi. Barring the New in the name there was little common in the place where they came from and the place where they now stood. No one had ever used the words Williamsburg and seelampur in the same breath, ever before. They were interviewing people, for a state sponsored project. Apparently the easiest way of making the american populace feel better about their own pathetic conditions post the financial apocalypse was to highlight how badly people lived on the other side of the world, in particular. They were the ones who stole all the jobs from america, didn’t they?
The case in point today was a small locality on the outer extremities of Seelampur, a group of people who had never heard of america, or seen a white man, the gaggle of visitors was almost like a traveling circus, with their colorful clothing, far removed from the traditional indian attire.
Little did they know
The poor milkman talked, as they huddled around him. Some taking notes, recording audio, snapping up pieces of his life and trying to reason with fate. They could have been in his place, it was only a matter of some thousand miles, they wondered, sitting in the warm winter sun on his rooftop. Separated from the cows below by 2 stories.
It was an unfamiliar sound, the movies have nothing like it. No amount of Jurassic park will prepare one for the pissing the pants feeling brought upon when one hears it. The fear, some say, is built in. Its logical, it is warranted, it is very, very, real.
their hearts weighed down by this unfamiliar sound they all turned to find its source, they did not know what it was but what it brought out was sheer, primeval fear! The cows bellowed and the birds beat a quick escape.
The tiger lunged at one of the cows, bringing it down with a mixture of strength and fear. It uttered deep,frequent sounds as it held the neck of the cow in its jaws. Almost re-assuring the cow. The everlasting stillness of death was here.
Time stood at a standstill for the feral beast,the locals hid inside their houses and the visitors watched from their perch, in fear, in awe, as the tiger feasted on his prey.
He turned his head around, the last of his kinds, the king of the kings, and made eye contact with the visitors. A deep voiced roar announced that they were in his territory. As the rest of his body followed suit to re-orient itself with the head, he made his presence known. And then he disappeared from the scene, with the grace and urgency of royalty, disappearing like a shadow on a moon less night.
They had just met, the tiger of Seelampur
(To be continued)