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Review: Wild City: Nature Wonders Next Door

books Updated: Oct 31, 2008 20:35 IST
Girija Duggal
Girija Duggal
Hindustan Times
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Wild City: Nature Wonders Next Door


: Ranjit Lal


: Penguin


: Rs 275


: ****

This book is an ode to nature’s ability to survive — and even thrive — in the tough world of the city. Through a simple and delightful narrative, Lal takes the reader on a journey through his Delhi — a Delhi where mynas and red-whiskered bulbuls create a ‘racket’ outside his window every morning; rose-ringed parakeets breakfast and make raucous conversation at Buddha Jayanti Park; a five-horned rhinoceros beetle refuses to budge from his screen door; and a black kite swoops down for a neat kill near a butcher’s shop in Old Delhi. In short, Lal stops and notices what most other Delhiites pass by without a glance.

Lal begins by describing how he developed an interest in the world of nature. He then takes readers through three sections — one each on birds, animals and insects that share the urban space with us. He periodically draws attention to the need to preserve and take better care of our non-human neighbours.

A major achievement of this book is that its narrative never tires you. Lal keeps the pace fast and intersperses each chapter with interesting, often funny, anecdotes.

Wild City promises to be an eye-opener for jaded dilliwalas, and a wonderful way to discover a unique side of the city. When combined with the simplicity of its narrative, it becomes a choice pick for both adults and children.