Sunday, October 12, 2008

Menagerie City - 6

Once upon a time, Chennai was typical of the stereotyped notion of an Indian city. Visitors from faraway lands felt cheated if they were not shown a sequence of cows on the roads, holding up traffic because they were holy and no one dared tell them to move on. After a while the cows were replaced by buffaloes - probably because they were low-maintenance and cheaper, I guess. And then, slowly, the buffaloes too have disappeared. Now, the city buffaloes make their presence only in stories about folks raising them on terraces of their 4-storied apartment.

The buffaloes may have gone, but an even earlier resident of the city is going strong. The chital / sarang herds of the forest in Guindy have been going strong. Driving late at night on the Velachery Road, it is common to see a herd nosing in the trash dump near the aptly named 'Alsa Deer Park' apartments. About 18 months ago, the problem of motorists crashing into deer around the Guindy / Velachery area became so acute that a herd of about 15 deer was relocated to the grounds of the Poultry Research Station in Nandanam.

Here's part of that herd - now about 20 strong - resting in the shade; on a lucky day, I can see the whole herd from my balcony!

PS: If you'd like to see the earlier 'Menagerie City' posts, here they are: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

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