Commended Entry: "Rani Speaks" by Aadhyaa Aravind Shankar from India
This article was submitted in the Kids World Travel Guide Essay Competition 2023 in the Junior Category 8 - 11 years.
I was rudely awakened from my mid-morning nap by the sound of an approaching jeep. I yawned exasperatedly! I have been here for six months and one would think that I am used to this by now, but alas!
That jeep had a dozen humans. They all had cameras in their hands and wonder on their faces. The moment the jeep halted, the "click click" of the cameras started.
I like this part. I stood up and posed for all those people who were excited to see me. I am Rani, a six month old female Royal Bengal tiger cub. My mother tells me that we are the most ferocious apex predators. I don’t know what being a predator means.
My parents were brought to this place called Wildlife Sanctuary and I was born here. Humans around here are good. They come at the same time every day and feed us. If any of us fall ill, they take us to the hospital and treat us. I like them. There are other humans who come in jeeps and buses and take our photos. Some of them are very noisy and throw things at us. I don’t like them much.
At bed time, my parents tell me stories of the wild. They tell me their memories of hunting, of roaming in the big jungles, of swimming in the big lakes and of the freedom that they enjoyed. I feel sad to have never experienced any of these. Although I am well cared for here, I wish to live in the wild. I often ask my parents if we can go back to the forest. They tell me that we are an endangered species and that some good humans are trying to protect and save us at all costs and hence we have been brought here. I yearn for the freedom that my parents once enjoyed and regret that I don’t know my natural way of life.
My family tells me that we live by the motto of "Vasudaiva Kutumbakam" meaning the world is my family. Oh humans, I am told that you believe in the same too. In that case, aren’t we animals a part of your family too? Please treat us the same way you treat your family. Please let us live in the way nature intended us to. Would you not feel sad if your homes were forcibly taken away from you?
While I am made to understand that many humans are working tirelessly for our welfare, may I please request everyone else also to be kind and good to us?
I often dream of a world where humans have respect for us and our homes, where we all co-exist without harming and hurting each other. With every passing day, I feel that my dream will become a reality soon.
Would you please help me and many other animals like me fulfill this dream by doing your part towards Mother Nature?
Congratulations on your essay "Rani speaks", Aadhyaa. Such an inspiring essay! Thank you!
Note: Vasudaiva Kutumbakam is Sanskrit and means in the Hindu language "The world is one family".
Aadhyaa Aravind Shankar attends Vidyaniketan School in Bangalore/ India. English as First Language - Other home language is Kannada.
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