During my recent trip to Darjeeling, I had the chance to visit the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park. And within it, a museum.
The zoo was wonderful, of course. With so many different animals basking within their “open cages,” monkeys chattering with each other from their enclosures, and parakeets of hundreds of kinds chirping notes too varied to comprehend.
Th kids in our group enjoyed every inch of that vast expanse of animal reserve, but to me, it was just a bigger cage than the usual ones. And yes, photography enthusiasts had a field day with all kinds of experiments. From point and shoot, the lighting, the macros, and zoom ins, to the last resort, auto focus — because all experiments headed downhill.
I always prefer odd-shaped rocks over humans, and flowers over wilder animals. But most other tourists preferred to point their cameras and thoughts at the big blue sheep. Which isn’t a bad way to spend a vacation. The animals were mesmerising, of course. I had never known that so many animals existed among the lesser ones.
I tried my hand at it photography too. I should have looked like a weird lunatic to all those pointing their cameras in the opposite direction — at a majestic tigress.
I was more keen on the little things that grew unknown, and uncared for. There’s so much beauty in crisp white petals striking through the dusty, brown leaves on the ground. So is the plump red fruit handing from what appeared to be a dying tree. The mysteries within those round and thin skins, the tiny, almost invisible, seeds, and the plush flesh of the fruit. Whatever is that fruit called? What if it just appeared irresistible, but would resist blood to your veins once you eat them? After all, poisonous berries do co-exist with the sweet ones. Not unlike us human folk.
One good thing about the park visit: It tempted my muse.