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This thesis analyzes the effects of unemployment on first-term attrition for U. You are free! Free as a bird! They wouldn't. Birds are not free. The people you've just evicted would sputter, "With what right do you throw us out? This is our home. We own it. We have lived here for years. We're calling the police, you scoundrel. Animals are territorial. That is the key to their minds.

Only a familiar territory will allow them to fulfill the two relentless imperatives of the wild: the avoidance of enemies and the getting of food and water. A biologically sound zoo enclosure-whether cage, pit, moated island, corral, terrarium, aviary or aquarium-is just another territory, peculiar only in its size and in its proximity to human territory. That it is so much smaller than what it would be in nature stands to reason. Territories in the wild are large not as a matter of taste but of necessity. In a zoo, we do for animals what we have done for ourselves with houses: we bring together in a small space what in the wild is spread out.

Whereas before for us the cave was here, the river over there, the hunting grounds a mile that way, the lookout next to it, the berries somewhere else-all of them infested with lions, snakes, ants, leeches and poison ivy-now the river flows through taps at hand's reach and we can wash next to where we sleep, we can eat where we have cooked, and we can surround the whole with a protective wall and keep it clean and warm. A house is a compressed territory where our basic needs can be fulfilled close by and safely. A sound zoo enclosure is the equivalent for an animal with the noteworthy absence of a fireplace or the like, present in every human habitation.

Finding within it all the places it needs-a lookout, a place for resting, for eating and drinking, for bathing, for grooming, etc. Once this moving-in ritual is done and the animal has settled, it will not feel like a nervous tenant, and even less like a prisoner, but rather like a landholder, and it will behave in the same way within its enclosure as it would in its territory in the wild, including defending it tooth and nail should it be invaded. Such an enclosure is subjectively neither better nor worse for an animal than its condition in the wild; so long as it fulfills the animal's needs, a territory, natural or constructed, simply is, without judgment, a given, like the spots on a leopard.

One might even argue that if an animal could choose with intelligence, it would opt for living in a zoo, since the major difference between a zoo and the wild is the absence of parasites and enemies and the abundance of food in the first, and their respective abundance and scarcity in the second. Think about it yourself. Would you rather be put up at the Ritz with free room service and unlimited access to a doctor or be homeless without a soul to care for you? But animals are incapable of such discernment.

Within the limits of their nature, they make do with what they have. A good zoo is a place of carefully worked-out coincidence: exactly where an animal says to us, "Stay out! Under such conditions of diplomatic peace, all animals are content and we can relax and have a look at each other. In the literature can be found legions of examples of animals that could escape but did not, or did and returned. There is the case of the chimpanzee whose cage door was left unlocked and had swung open. Increasingly anxious, the chimp began to shriek and to slam the door shut repeatedly-with a deafening clang each time-until the keeper, notified by a visitor, hurried over to remedy the situation.

A herd of roe-deer in a European zoo stepped out of their corral when the gate was left open. Frightened by visitors, the deer bolted for the nearby forest, which had its own herd of wild roe-deer and could support more. Nonetheless, the zoo roe-deer quickly returned to their corral. In another zoo a worker was walking to his work site at an early hour, carrying planks of wood, when, to his horror, a bear emerged from the morning mist, heading straight for him at a confident pace. The man dropped the planks and ran for his life.

The zoo staff immediately started searching for the escaped bear. They found it back in its enclosure, having climbed down into its pit the way it had climbed out, by way of a tree that had fallen over. It was thought that the noise of the planks of wood falling to the ground had frightened it. But I don't insist. 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 is 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.

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I explore it now in the only place left for it, my memory. Chapter 5 My name isn't the end of the story about my name. When your name is Bob no one asks you, "How do you spell that? Some thought it was P. Singh and that I was a Sikh, and they wondered why I wasn't wearing a turban. In my university days I visited Montreal once with some friends. It fell to me to order pizzas one night. I couldn't bear to have yet another French speaker guffawing at my name, so when the man on the phone asked, "Can I 'ave your name? My Roman soldier stood in the schoolyard one morning when I was twelve.

I had just arrived. He saw me and a flash of evil genius lit up his dull mind. He raised his arm, pointed at me and shouted, "It's Pissing Patel! It fell away as we filed into the class. I walked in last, wearing my crown of thorns. The cruelty of children comes as news to no one. The words would waft across the yard to my ears, unprovoked, uncalled for: "Where's Pissing?

Growing Tigers in a Terrarium: The Importance of Martial Arts in an Unraveling Society

I've got to go. Are you Pissing? I would freeze or, the contrary, pursue my activity, pretending not to have heard. The sound would disappear, but the hurt would linger, like the smell of piss long after it has evaporated. Teachers started doing it too. It was the heat. As the day wore on, the geography lesson, which in the morning had been as compact as an oasis, started to stretch out like the Thar Desert; the history lesson, so alive when the day was young, became parched and dusty; the mathematics lesson, so precise at first, became muddled.

In their afternoon fatigue, as they wiped their foreheads and the backs of their necks with their handkerchiefs, without meaning to offend or get a laugh, even teachers forgot the fresh aquatic promise of my name and distorted it in a shameful way. By nearly imperceptible modulations I could hear the change. It was as if their tongues were charioteers driving wild horses. They could manage well enough the first syllable, the Pea , but eventually the heat was too much and they lost control of their frothy-mouthed steeds and could no longer rein them in for the climb to the second syllable, the seen.

Instead they plunged hell-bent into sing , and next time round, all was lost. My hand would be up to give an answer and it would be acknowledged with a "Yes, Pissing Often the teacher wouldn't realize what he had just called me. He would look at me wearily after a moment, wondering why I wasn't coming out with the answer. And sometimes the class, as beaten down by the heat as he was, wouldn't react either.

Not a snicker or a smile. But I always heard the slur. I spent my last year at St. Joseph's School feeling like the persecuted prophet Muhammad in Mecca, peace be upon him. But just as he planned his flight to Medina, the Hejira that would mark the beginning of Muslim time, I planned my escape and the beginning of a new time for me.

After St. Joseph's, I went to Petit Seminaire, the best private English-medium secondary school in Pondicherry. Ravi was already there, and like all younger brothers, I would suffer from following in the footsteps of a popular older sibling. He was the athlete of his generation at Petit Seminaire, a fearsome bowler and a Powerful batter, the captain of the town's best cricket team, our very own Kapil Dev.

That I was a swimmer made no waves; it seems to be a law of human nature that those who live by the sea are suspicious of swimmers, just as those who live in the mountains are suspicious of mountain climbers. But following in someone's shadow wasn't my escape, though I would have taken any name over "Pissing," even "Ravi's brother. I put it to execution on the very first day of school, in the very first class.

Around me were other alumni of St. The class started the way all new classes start, with the stating of names. We called them out from our desks in the order in which we happened to be sitting. Each name elicited a tick on a list and a brief mnemonic stare from the teacher.

I was terribly nervous. It was my turn. Time to put down Satan. Medina, here I come. I got up from my desk and hurried to the blackboard. There was silence. The teacher was staring at the board. I was holding my breath. Then he said, "Very well, Pi. Sit down. Next time you will ask permission before leaving your desk. And looked at the next boy. I was saved. I could breathe. Anew beginning. I repeated the stunt with every teacher. Repetition is important in the training not only of animals but also of humans.

Between one commonly named boy and the next, I rushed forward and emblazoned, sometimes with a terrible screech, the details of my rebirth. It got to be that after a few times the boys sang along with me, a crescendo that climaxed, after a quick intake of air while I underlined the proper note, with such a rousing rendition of my new name that it would have been the delight of any choirmaster.

A few boys followed up with a whispered, urgent "Three! When I put my hand up that day, which I did every chance I had, teachers granted me the right to speak with a single syllable that was music to my ears. Students followed suit. Even the St. Joseph's devils. In fact, the name caught on. Truly we are a nation of aspiring engineers: shortly after, there was a boy named Omprakash who was calling himself Omega, and another who was passing himself off as Upsilon, and for a while there was a Gamma, a Lambda and a Delta.

But I was the first and the most enduring of the Greeks at Petit Seminaire. Even my brother, the captain of the cricket team, that local god, approved. He took me aside the next week. I kept silent. Because whatever mocking was to come, it was to come.

There was no avoiding it. I looked around. No one must hear what he was about to say, especially not one of his lackeys. Anything's better than 'Pissing'. Even 'Lemon Pie'. 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. Chapter 6 He's an excellent cook.

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His overheated house is always smelling of something delicious. His spice rack looks like an apothecary's shop. When he opens his refrigerator or his cupboards, there are many brand names I don't recognize; in fact, I can't even tell what language they're in. We are in India. But he handles Western dishes equally well. He makes me the most zesty yet subtle macaroni and cheese I've ever had. And his vegetarian tacos would be the envy of all Mexico. I notice something else: his cupboards are jam-packed. Behind every door, on every shelf, stand mountains of neatly stacked cans and packages.

A reserve of food to last the siege of Leningrad. Chapter 7 It was my luck to have a few good teachers in my youth, men and women who came into my dark head and lit a match. One of these was Mr. Satish Kumar, my biology teacher at Petit Seminaire and an active Communist who was always hoping Tamil Nadu would stop electing movie stars and go the way of Kerala. He had a most peculiar appearance.

The top of his head was bald and pointy, yet he had the most impressive jowls I have ever seen, and his narrow shoulders gave way to a massive stomach that looked like the base of a mountain, except that the mountain stood in thin air, for it stopped abruptly and disappeared horizontally into his pants. It's a mystery to me how his stick-like legs supported the weight above them, but they did, though they moved in surprising ways at times, as if his knees could bend in any direction.

His construction was geometric: he looked like two triangles, a small one and a larger one, balanced on two parallel lines. But organic, quite warty actually, and with sprigs of black hair sticking out of his ears. And friendly. His smile seemed to take up the whole base of his triangular head. Kumar was the first avowed atheist I ever met. I discovered this not in the classroom but at the zoo. He was a regular visitor who read the labels and descriptive notices in their entirety and approved of every animal he saw.

Each to him was a triumph of logic and mechanics, and nature as a whole was an exceptionally fine illustration of science. To his ears, when an animal felt the urge to mate, it said "Gregor Mendel," recalling the father of genetics, and when it was time to show its mettle, "Charles Darwin," the father of natural selection, and what we took to be bleating, grunting, hissing, snorting, roaring, growling, howling, chirping and screeching were but the thick accents of foreigners.

When Mr. Kumar visited the zoo, it was to take the pulse of the universe, and his stethoscopic mind always I confirmed to him that everything was in order, that everything was order. He left the zoo feeling scientifically refreshed. The first time I saw his triangular form teetering and tottering about the zoo, I was shy to approach him. As much as I liked him as a teacher, he was a figure of authority, and I, a subject.

I was a little afraid of him.

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I observed him at a distance. He had just come to the rhinoceros pit. The two Indian rhinos were great attractions at the zoo because of the goats. Rhinos are social animals, and when we got Peak, a young wild male, he was showing signs of suffering from isolation and he was eating less and less.

As a stopgap measure, while he searched for a female, Father thought of seeing if Peak couldn't be accustomed to living with goats. If it worked, it would save a valuable animal. If it didn't, it would only cost a few goats. It worked marvellously. Peak and the herd of goats became inseparable, even when Summit arrived. Now, when the rhinos bathed, the goats stood around the muddy pool, and when the goats ate in their corner, Peak and Summit stood next to them like guards.

The living arrangement was very popular with the public. Kumar looked up and saw me. He smiled and, one hand holding onto the railing, the other waving, signalled me to come over. It's good of you to come to the zoo. One might say it's my temple.


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This is interesting. Unfortunately we have a prime minister who has the armour plating of a rhinoceros without any of its good sense. Father and Mother complained regularly about Mrs. Gandhi, but it meant little to me. She lived far away in the north, not at the zoo and not in Pondicherry. But I felt I had to say something. Since when I could remember, religion had been very close to my heart. Kumar grinned broadly. Religion is darkness.

I was puzzled. I thought, Darkness is the last thing that religion is. Religion is light. Was he testing me? Was he saying, "Religion is darkness," the way he sometimes said in class things like "Mammals lay eggs," to see if someone would correct him? A clear intellect, close attention to detail and a little scientific knowledge will expose religion as superstitious bosh.

God does not exist. Or am I remembering the lines of later atheists? At any rate, it was something of the sort. I had never heard such words. Everything is here and clear, if only we look carefully. Now though I had great admiration for Peak, I had never thought of a rhinoceros as a light bulb. He spoke again. He may have died in during the war. Or he may have died yesterday here in Pondicherry in an orphanage.

That's what some people say, Pi. When I was your age, I lived in bed, racked with polio. I asked myself every day, 'Where is God? Where is God? It wasn't God who saved me-it was medicine. Reason is my prophet and it tells me that as a watch stops, so we die. It's the end. If the watch doesn't work properly, it must be fixed here and now by us. One day we will take hold of the means of production and there will be justice on earth. The tone was right- loving and brave -but the details seemed bleak.

I said nothing. It wasn't for fear of angering Mr. I was more afraid that in a few words thrown out he might destroy something that I loved. What if his words had the effect of polio on me? What a terrible disease that must be if it could kill God in a man. He walked off, pitching and rolling in the wild sea that was the steady ground. Study hard, 3.

I felt a kinship with him It was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them-and then they leap. I'll be honest about it. It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics.

Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation. Chapter 8 We commonly say in the trade that the most dangerous animal in a zoo is Man. In a general way we mean how our species' excessive predatoriness has made the entire planet our prey More specifically, we have in mind the people who feed fishhooks to the otters, razors to the bears, apples with small nails in them to the elephants and hardware variations on the theme: ballpoint pens, paper clips, safety pins, rubber bands, combs, coffee spoons, horseshoes, pieces of broken glass, rings, brooches and other jewellery and not just cheap plastic bangles: gold wedding bands, too , drinking straws, plastic cutlery, ping-pong balls, tennis balls and so on.

The obituary of zoo animals that have died from being fed foreign bodies would include gorillas, bison, storks, rheas, ostriches, seals, sea lions, big cats, bears, camels, elephants, monkeys, and most every variety of deer, ruminant and songbird. Among zookeepers, Goliath's death is famous; he was a bull elephant seal, a great big venerable beast of two tons, star of his European zoo, loved by all visitors. He died of internal bleeding after someone fed him a broken beer bottle. The cruelty is often more active and direct. The literature contains reports on the many torments inflicted upon zoo animals: a shoebill dying of shock after having its beak smashed with a hammer; a moose stag losing its beard, along with a strip of flesh the size of an index finger, to a visitor's knife this same moose was poisoned six months later ; a monkey's arm broken after reaching out for proffered nuts; a deer's antlers attacked with a hacksaw; a zebra stabbed with a sword; and other assaults on other animals, with walking sticks, umbrellas, hairpins, knitting needles, scissors and whatnot, often with an aim to taking an eye out or to injuring sexual parts.

Animals are also poisoned. And there are indecencies even more bizarre: onanists breaking a sweat on monkeys, ponies, birds; a religious freak who cut a snake's head off; a deranged man who took to urinating in an elk's mouth. At Pondicherry we were relatively fortunate. We were spared the sadists who plied European and American zoos. Nonetheless, our golden agouti vanished, stolen by someone who ate it, Father suspected. Various birds-pheasants, peacocks, macaws- lost feathers to people greedy for their beauty.

We caught a man with a knife climbing into the pen for mouse deer; he said he was going to punish evil Ravana who in the Ramayana took the form of a deer when he kidnapped Sita, Rama's consort. Another man was nabbed in the process of stealing a cobra. He was a snake charmer whose own snake had died. Both were saved: the cobra from a life of servitude and bad music, and the man from a possible death bite. We had to deal on occasion with stone throwers, who found the animals too placid and wanted a reaction.

And we had the lady whose sari was caught by a lion. She spun like a yo-yo, choosing mortal embarrassment over mortal end. The thing was, it wasn't even an accident. She had leaned over, thrust her hand in the cage and waved the end of her sari in the lion's face, with what intent we never figured out. She was not injured; there were many fascinated men who came to her assistance.

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Her flustered explanation to Father was, "Whoever heard of a lion eating a cotton sari? I thought lions were carnivores.

Despite our vigilance, Dr. Atal, the zoo veterinarian, could tell by the number of animals with digestive disturbances which had been the busy days at the zoo. He called "tidbit-itis" the cases of enteritis or gastritis due to too many carbohydrates, especially sugar. Sometimes we wished people had stuck to sweets. People have a notion that animals can eat anything without the least consequence to their health.

One of our sloth bears became seriously ill with severe hemorrhagic enteritis after being given fish that had gone putrid by a man who was convinced he was doing a good deed. An arrow pointed to a small curtain. There were so many eager, curious hands that pulled at the curtain that we had to replace it regularly.

Behind it was a mirror. But I learned at my expense that Father believed there was another animal even more dangerous than us, and one that was extremely common, too, found on every continent, in every habitat: the redoubtable species Animalus anthropomorphicus , the animal as seen through human eyes. We've all met one, perhaps even owned one. It is an animal that is "cute," "friendly," "loving," "devoted," "merry," "understanding. Countless stories are told of them. They are the pendants of those "vicious," "bloodthirsty," "depraved" animals that i nfl ame the ire of the maniacs I have just mentioned, who vent their spite on them with walking sticks and umbrellas.

In both cases we look at an animal and see a mirror. The obsession with putting ourselves at the centre of everything is the bane not only of theologians but also of zoologists. I learned the lesson that an animal is an animal, essentially and practically removed from us, twice: once with Father and once with Richard Parker.

It was on a Sunday morning. I was quietly playing on my own. Father called out. His tone of voice set off a small alarm bell in my head. I quickly reviewed my conscience. It was clear.

Ravi must be in trouble again. I wondered what he had done this time. I walked into the living room. Mother was there. That was unusual. The disciplining of children, like the tending of animals, was generally left to Father. Ravi walked in last, guilt written all over his criminal face. Her face was flushed. I swallowed. If Mother, normally so unruffled, so calm, was worried, even upset, it meant we were in serious trouble.

I exchanged glances with Ravi. It was no longer a small alarm bell that was ringing in my head-they were big bells now, like the ones we heard from Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, not far from the zoo. He's only eight," Mother insisted. He did it! He was looking at Mother. He's at that age when boys run around and poke their noses everywhere. A run-arounder? An everywhere-nose-poker?

Not so, not so! Defend me, Mother, defend me, I implored in my heart. But she only sighed and nodded, a signal that the terrible business could proceed. We set out like prisoners off to their execution. We left the house, went through the gate, entered the zoo. It was early and the zoo hadn't opened yet to the public. Animal keepers and groundskeepers were going about their work.

I noticed Sitaram, who oversaw the orang-utans, my favourite keeper. He paused to watch us go by. We passed birds, bears, apes, monkeys, ungulates, the terrarium house, the rhinos, the elephants, the giraffes. We came to the big cats, our tigers, lions and leopards. Babu, their keeper, was waiting for us. We went round and down the path, and he unlocked the door to the cat house, which was at the centre of a moated island.

We entered. It was a vast and dim cement cavern, circular in shape, warm and humid, and smelling of cat urine. All around were great big cages divided up by thick, green, iron bars. A yellowish light filtered down from the skylights. Through the cage exits we could see the vegetation of the surrounding island, flooded with sunlight. The cages were empty- save one: Mahisha, our Bengal tiger patriarch, a lanky, hulking beast of pounds, had been detained.

As soon as we stepped in, he loped up to the bars of his cage and set off a full- throated snarl, ears flat against his skull and round eyes fixed on Babu. The sound was so loud and fierce it seemed to shake the whole cat house. My knees started quaking. I got close to Mother. She was trembling, too. Even Father seemed to pause and steady himself. Only Babu was indifferent to the outburst and to the searing stare that bored into him like a drill.

He had a tested trust in iron bars. Mahisha started pacing to and fro against the limits of his cage. Father turned to us. Is that clear? He kept his eyes on me. I nodded so hard I'm surprised my neck didn't snap and my head fall to the floor. I would like to say in my own defence that though I may have anthropomorphized the animals till they spoke fluent English, the pheasants complaining in uppity British accents of their tea being cold and the baboons planning their bank robbery getaway in the flat, menacing tones of American gangsters, the fancy was always conscious.

I quite deliberately dressed wild animals in tame costumes of my imagination. But I never deluded myself as to the real nature of my playmates. My poking nose had more sense than that. I don't know where Father got the idea that his youngest son was itching to step into a cage with a ferocious carnivore.

But wherever the strange worry came from- and Father was a worrier-he was clearly determined to rid himself of it that very morning.