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Posted at: Aug 14, 2019, 6:39 AM; last updated: Aug 14, 2019, 6:39 AM (IST)

Common man vs the urban wild

Common man vs the urban wild

Komal Randhawa

I was pleasantly surprised to find out about PM Modi featuring in ‘Man vs Wild’ on Discovery, with acclaimed adventurer Bear Grylls, scurrying through the length and breadth of the tough terrain and environs of the Jim Corbett National Park, and, of course, surviving to tell the tale. 

But go all the way to the national park? They could have paid a visit to any city in the country and face the same life-threatening scenario that would give them that adrenaline rush they desperately crave. We have our own version of the wild in India. In the space of the past 10 days, my family and I have been in two accidents with stray cattle. Once, a poor cow being shooed away by nearby farmers to save their months of toil, banged into our car on a highway. Another time, a cow basking in the moonlight in the middle of a road was cause for a mishap. We, too, did survive to tell the tale, as do thousands of lucky citizens faced with similar peril. Bear Grylls fittingly said survival can be summed up in three words — never give up. A plethora of such incidents are reported and witnessed on a daily basis, and I am proud to say that we, the unsung heroes, who will not feature in any international show, too, never give up in this created wild.

If stray cows come with their share of despair and havoc, our urban wolf packs, aka our not-so-friendly neighbourhood stray dogs, are not far behind. We got ourselves a pet last year, and my daughter wanted to experience the simple joy of taking it for a walk. But this elementary wish is difficult to fulfil, rather it is rather a dangerous desire, all thanks to the mongrels who rule the streets. Despite being ‘armed’, one is sure to fall prey to their sheer numbers. According to the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, India has over 30 million stray dogs and more than 20,000 people die of rabies every year. 

How many people are killed in the so-called wild of the Jim Corbett park annually? It may not even be close to the 20,000 mark of the infamous stray dogs.

In one clip, PM Modi is shown riding a dinghy in a river. Why go for an ‘unoriginal’ river row when you can face the real deal in Assam and Odisha floods? Our country has so much excitement to offer day in and day out that we are holding on to patience with our fingernails! 

A quote keeps appearing on social media, saying fill your life with adventures, not things and have stories to tell, not stuff to show. I have had my share of adventure on the streets of the urban wild and plenty of anecdotes to narrate, too. However, this soiree of adventure has overstayed its welcome and I yearn that the created wild stays where it can be nurtured and cherished.

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