When you’ve suffered a great deal in life, each additional pain is both unbearable and trifling.
Richard Parker has stayed with me. I’ve never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. The pain is like an axe that chops my heart.
I don’t mean to defend zoos. Close them all down if you want (and let us hope that what wildlife remains can survive in what’s left of the natural world). I know zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.
The Pondicherry Zoo doesn’t exist any more. Its pits are filled in, the cages torn down. I explore it now in the only place left for it, my memory.
And so, in that Greek letter that looks like a shack with a corrugated tin roof, in that elusive, irrational number with which scientists try to understand the universe, I found refuge.
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