Dear Vijay Kumar Devji,
This morning, I overheard two two-legged friends at Sukhna Lake talking about the Chandigarh administration’s recent decision to set up a memorial to my feathered friends who were mercilessly culled on December 18 last year after reports of a bird flu scare.
The decision to construct the memorial on Lake Island, where the geese were killed, has left me both appalled and amused and I decided to take the help of a wingless guest to share my views.
I am aware that the Chandigarh administration planned the memorial following the demand of certain “wildlife lovers”. A member of the Animal Welfare Board of India even went to the extent of saying that the memorial would “add to the attraction of the lake and would be a remembrance to the fowls”.
I don’t think any other Sukhna goose, barring me, survived the ‘holocaust’ to care for a memorial. And no, the rest of our species are certainly not as bird-brained as humans to believe that memorials will assuage the hurt with an annual ritual of tribute. Some mistakes are best forgotten.
But if you really want to bring back the good old memories of the lake, how about reintroducing geese at Sukhna and allowing us to live free in our natural habitat. Only, ensure that we are not fed by visitors. Is that asking for too much?
See, the point is that my migratory friends, who have flown over many a human country, have told me that India is a nation of memorials, which are remembered only when an anniversary approaches. That’s not our idea of tribute. Geese live on in hearts. And why waste the poor tax-payer’s money on a goose statue on which other birds can poop while flying. At least that’s what happens to the statues of most of your leaders. I would suggest you use the money meant for the memorial to maintain Sukhna’s stinking toilets and the littered Garden of Silence.
Before I close this communication, I have a niggling doubt. I hope this memorial is not aimed at ridding the guilt with which your kind lives post-December 18?
The lone surviving goose