Monday, 9 January 2012

A 'Happy' Birthday

A new year is also literally the start of a personal new year for me as my birthday comes almost as soon as the new year rolls in.This would be my first birthday in Nairobi and I decided to celebrate by paying a visit to the Nairobi National Park,something my husband had been urging us to do for ages!We finally succeeded in waking the children up around ten o'clock,(a formidable task since they were in the middle of their school vacation) and by eleven o'clock we were on the road.
This is the only time of the year when Nairobi roads are virtually empty with most folks being away on holiday and hence there was mercifully no scope of being caught in one of our notorious traffic jams.A thirty minute drive later we were at the entrance of the National Park.We made a quick stop at the entrance to purchase the tickets and then we were in,with the gate staff telling us that they hoped we would see plenty of lions!
I had heard from friends that one does not get to see too many animals in this particular park and so we were not really optimistic on that score.We had slightly more than a quarter tank of fuel in our car and we thought that would be more than sufficient for our 'safari'.A few hours later,we would realize how wrong we had been on both counts!
I was impressed by the neat,well maintained dirt roads and clear sign posts at every cross road which had names like 'Lone Tree',Cheetah Gate',Lion Valley' along with the number of kilometers for each destination.We decided to choose the most interesting sounding name every time and were soon deep inside the game park.
It seemed to be our day to spot babies!I have not seen as many baby animals as I saw that day in six years of traversing through all of Tanzania's prominent game reserves.May be the fact that I had been a new born myself on that particular day many years ago had something to do with it!
Babies everywhere in the world,both human and animal,look adorable!Maybe it is the innocence,maybe it is the guileless gaze that just brings adults to their knees!But a baby zebra ranks  higher than most on the cuteness quotient and imagine out delight when we came face to face with one!As we stopped the car and began clicking pictures,we could see panic in it's eyes and it pricked up it's ears to listen to the new sounds-the click of the camera,the children's squeals about how sweet it looked and the car engine.But the Mummy zebra stood stolidly there and placidly continued munching grass.She did not even glance our way.I suppose she was used to strangers gawking at her and would soon pass on the lesson to the little one!The minute we drove off,the baby zebra snuggled up to Mummy as if to reassure itself that people may come and people may go but his mother would go on forever....
We saw a whole flock of baby ostriches striving to keep abreast with the hens,lanky baby giraffes,baby impalas prancing around their mothers without a care in the world and even a minute,angelic looking baby wart hog!Now wart hogs will never win any prizes for looks(they resemble wild boar) but if I was judging the baby animals,the hog would have surely won a medal!
One message was loud and clear.Everywhere we looked we saw the babies sticking close to their mothers.We saw that Mother Nature has given the role of nourishing and nurturing only to the female of the species,namely the mother!The new generation is one where many of the children are being cared for by maids,care givers in creches or day cares,or by grandmothers.The impact will be seen a few years down the line and I have my fingers crossed when I think of the long term implications.The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world and what kind of rulers we produce remains to be seen.
We had been so engrossed in searching for animals and spotting them that we had lost track of time!After a quick trip to the Hippo Pool(we just missed seeing a lion that had been spotted there ten minutes earlier)  and the lake where the Maharabou Storks rule,we realized that our fuel gauge was almost empty and the danger light was flashing!Then began a race against time to exit the park before we were stranded in the bush without fuel!We raced towards a gate that our driver knew to be an exit only to find that it had been permanently closed a few years ago!We had wasted ten precious kilometers worth of petrol.We turned around and went back to the Hippo Pool where we met an armed ranger.He told us the closest exit was around twenty kilometers away and we set off again.I was praying that we would get safely out!Since it was my birthday,I hoped my wish would be granted.Much as we loved animals,none of us fancied spending the night with just them for company!
We did it!We came out in the nick of time and rushed to the nearest fuel station to tank up.Finally I began breathing normally again!My husband teased me saying that if that day was a portend of things to come, I was in for a tough year!I was so relieved at having got out of the park safe and sound that ,for once,I had nothing to say!
A dear friend of Dar days had invited us for tea and we enjoyed the delicious Ragda Pattice and Masala Chai that she had made.I even got a lovely unexpected gift from her.I guess a birthday is all about surprises,some super ones like my friend's party for me and some avoidable ones like an empty fuel tank right in the middle of the East African Savanna!


  1. Interesting observation for the "Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world..what kind of rulers are we going to witness in the future generations !"

  2. Hi Priya!Thanks for reading the blog!The future generations are going to find things tougher than ever!

  3. The beginning of the end ....even if it's the fuel tank or the Mayan calender or good old mother Earth!!!!!

  4. Hoping that things will not get as tough as we think because it will be so hard on our off-springs. Wishing you a happy Birthday.
    Visiting you from World Bloggers Community.

  5. Thank you so much Nekky!I am enjoying yr blog as well!Yes,we can pray for the future generations and try to rectify some of the damage done by the past generations!


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