HT-Westland the Wonderful World of Gerald Durrell contest winners | india | Hindustan Times
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HT-Westland the Wonderful World of Gerald Durrell contest winners

india Updated: Aug 07, 2010 00:54 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

We thank you for an overwhelming response. Out of the thousands of correct entries, we have picked 5 lucky winners. Congratulations! Here are their names along with their answers:
Q1) What is the name of Gerald Durrell's animal trust in the Channel Islands?
A) The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Q2) Who did Durrell teach how to dance the conga?
A) The Fon, King of Bafut, and his councillors
Q3) Who was the equally famous writer and brother of Gerald Durrell?
A) Lawrence Durrell

Winner
Giselle D'Sa (Mumbai)
MY UP-AGAIN DOWN-AGAIN FISH
I'm in Class 10. It's summertime outside, but I'm stuck inside my tutor's home. The room's old and dull. There's a window in the far corner. Sitting on the sofa, I try to process the steady drone of his voice. Beside me there's a hexagonal fish-tank. Murky green. A single black suckerfish, with a puffed-up diseased eye, pressed up against the fish-tank wall. I want to soothe that eye. I place my finger against the tank and imagine the glass wall dissolving. My finger starts trailing up the wall and down the wall. It follows inside its watery world. Strange communication. Our relationship grew steadily over the summer, in just that one oscillating motion: up the wall and down the wall. Him lonely, me bored. It was the only way to get through the hours. Up again, down again.

Second prize
Roshni Devi (Mumbai)
MIDNIGHT GAMES WITH A CRICKET
Our new house was a stone's throw from the National Park, inviting all kinds of insects in. The nights were filled with their calls. One night, the chirping was so loud that I decided to nab the culprit. Crawling on all fours, I examined my room only to find a little brown cricket. My presence didn't bother the little Elvis who kept calling out to his female fans. From then on, each night was filled with his loud singing. I would be working till late, and he would be there to keep me company. Come summer and the music will be back!

first runner-up
Chirantan Mukherji (Mumbai)
A Herculean feat
Hercules was maybe a few days old, or so it looked when I caught a glimpse of the pup behind a street vendor's paani puri stall. Shades of black and white with streaks of brown made for a cute sight. How long was it there for was hard to tell but it wasn't difficult to guess that it had little choice. With an injured leg, it could hardly take on the wrath of dogs double his size. Back home, I made him a kennel in a shoebox. Blankets kept it comfortable and warm milk quenched its thirst. After I cleaned and nursed the wound, it slept soundly. Days passed by nursing. Today, a month after I met him first, Hercules walks out a confident pup. Looking ahead, I see him walk many a mile.

Second runner-up
Rheea Rao (Mumbai)
A biting friendship
I had my heart in my mouth and a large loop on a stick in my sweaty hands. She had a
rather evil smile, which reflected in her sewage green eyes. This smile was her last attempt to win this game, since we'd chased away the last of her peers who sat with my death sentence. She looked at me, probably felt sympathetic watching me shiver, had a change of heart and surrendered. I was the star of the day. I had managed to catch a crocodile without much effort (part of the volunteer work at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust). The most adventurous thing I had done till then was climbing a three-foot ladder. But now this crocodile made me look like an action hero. Then again, (if they could find her among her identical kin), she must have been bribed with a cow for forging a strange friendship with a scared teenager.

Third runner-up
Julia Simlai (Lucknow)
Hector the magpie
Hector is a Magpie who came into our lives at a juncture when we had lost our golden retriever to sarcoma. He has a penchant for pistachios and cashew nuts. Since last winter he and I used to sit together in the verandah and savour nuts. Since then, not a day went by without a visit from him. Last month he did not respond to my calls. Upon following him, I discovered his nest with his mate and two eggs. Hector proved to be an indulgent husband and a conscientious father who fiercely prevented invasions on his family and, needless to say, is bringing it up on pistachios and cashews. Today our front lawn has a host of doves, parrots, bulbuls, crows, mynahs, barbets, squirrels sparrows, etc. All look up to my family as protectors and providers. Our front lawn is a stage where we are privy to their love, hunger, frolic, war preening, courtships and a variety of other emotions. Hector has unravelled a whole new world we did not know existed.

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