WTF Just Happened?

To start off on a tangent, wildlife conservationist Dr Samir Kumar Sinha learned that the Sarus crane was under threat in parts of Uttar Pradesh, and began working with local farmers to help revive the bird population. Worth noting here that it was an individual — not a government organization — who saw the problem and set out to solve it. This is his story.

Fast forward to last week, when the story of Amethi resident Mohammed Arif went viral on the internet. With good reason — heartwarming stories are hard to find in these dark days and when one comes along, it is worth celebrating. Many celebrated, including Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who went to meet Arif and his friend. Here is the story:

Now for the sequel: Arif has been booked under provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act. Irony wept bitter tears, because Arif’s original sin was protecting wildlife, to wit, a bird (the state bird of Uttar Pradesh) in distress. As for the bird — it is now in a cage in where there is barely enough room to stand, and none at all to spread its now-healed wings and fly free.

This feels like a metaphor for something that cuts to the heart of who, and what, we are as a country, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it.

PS: It is Sunday. And since morning, I have been racing through work — both housework and the other kind that pays my rent — for one reason: To totally free up my time so I can watch the final of the Women’s Premier League, between Meg Lanning’s Delhi Capitals and Harmanpreet Kaur’s Mumbai Indians.

I’ve only missed two games in the entire league; I must prefer watching the women’s version of cricket, for multiple reasons: The standard of play is high, the skills on display are excellent, and it comes without the inevitable hype that is a component of the men’s game. There is passion on display, without the testosterone-riddled theatrics the men indulge in. And, glory be, the commentary is excellent — if you tune out the men who call the play and listen to the likes of Natalie Germanos, Anjum Chopra, Mel Jones and Kate Cross analyzing the play and providing the sort of nuance and insight you don’t get when the BCCI’s cheerleaders call the men’s game.

Tune in. It’s really worth your while.