The most beautiful place on earth

17 Mar

Dawn. The birds chirp, perhaps unsure of themselves at first, but soon give vent to the full potential of their lungs. The young ones cry out for food, and the mothers hastily leave the nests to look for the daily bread… oops … worm. They say that the early bird catches the worm, but woe unto that early worm.

The sun can barely be seen on the horizon, on which is reflected the whole gamma it contains. It is a sight to behold, one of a lifetime, never to be repeated. The night gently gives way to the light, as if acknowledging the power of a rival, a scene reminiscent of the raising of a theatrical curtain. As the light increases, the faster the bird moves, it has no time for contemplation of the universe. The sunrise finds the bird busy, feeding its young ones.

***

Down in the savanna, the young gazelle runs frantically after its mother, bleating. It can barely see the receding back due to the long brown grass, and the mother is determined to get to the watering hole in no time. Now and then, the mother stops and listens for the child. The young one bleats in reply, trying all the time to keep up with the rest of the herd. Consoled, the mother resumes the journey.

***

It is twelve o’clock in the East African plains. The hot air balloons can be seen in the air. The jeeps on the ground are innumerable. People from far and wide have come to witness what is really a wonder of the world: the wildebeest migration across Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. Why do 1.5 million of animals undertake this feat? They do so in search of pasture, without which they are doomed to extinction. It is truly the planet’s last great epic of life and death.

Heedless of all the attention, river Mau, now brown in colour as a result of the rains, flows downhill. It encounters no obstacle; in fact, its course is now easier to effect. The Mau River has burst its banks.

The crocodiles lie in wait. They are feasting today. The great animals are crossing and it will be no problem hunting, what with so many stuck in the mud and unable to find their way across the torrents of water passing with unquenchable force.

Off the river, at some distance away, the lions are thinking the same thing. Their strategy: the weak, the old and the young. There is no point wasting energy attacking a healthy bull. Besides, there is bound to be some stray animal, separated from the rest. It is just a matter of time. Patience, they all nod in unison.

***

Need I also tell the story of the fishes in the Indian Ocean, and the feasts of the kingfishers and their relatives on the shores of Lake Victoria? Need I go to intricate detail of the dances of the apes on the slopes of Mount Kenya and elsewhere?

They say that seeing is believing, and I sure hope that they are right.

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