Nature documentaries and the holidays

December is coming to a close and life is almost back to normal. Lakshmi is back from her trips and I am once again on babysitting duties. I tried to get her to sleep at her usual bedtime on Friday. She was still wide awake, and in no mood to call it a day. The excitement from her trips haven’t worn off yet. I took her back downstairs and tried again a couple of hours later. This time she went out like a light. 

Saturday and it is almost eleven before she wakes up. It gives me ample time to catch up on my reading. She woke up three times during the night crying but promptly went back to sleep. Night terrors and nightmares I presume. 

Another dreary day and she has a nasty cough. Shall we have adventures at home or go out I wondered. In the end we stayed at home. She needs to spend time with all her dollies and make sure they are all okay. She has learnt some new mannerisms. “Mmhum, mmhum” she would reply like an adult to most queries. “I don’t know”, which used to be her favourite phrase has been replaced by “where did that come from!”.

The day passes without event and we settle down to watch some nature documentaries. David Attenborough’s ‘Dynasties’ is on catch up TV and I still have a couple of episodes left to see. It has been a fascinating series. Animal dynasties which are slowly becoming extinct and their fight for survival. Humans it seem are the worst threat. I find the ways the animals interact, forge their friendships, partnerships, leaderships all quite enthralling. A reality TV played out like a soap opera as these animal ‘Dynasties’ are followed by the crews over a two year period.

The main characters are all named. Names lovingly bestowed by the conservationists who have been following their plights over the years. I watch the psychological games played by, David, the leader of the Chimp group. Even when wounded and left for dead David comes back, exerts and regains his authority purely by playing mind games. He changes his strategies over the period when one plan doesn’t quite work out and finds another approach to maintain his dominance. He achieves all this without the help of a management manual or the need to attend a course but purely by instinct and dominates the group for years through pure brilliance.

The tiger documentary was equally captivating. Today we watch the Lions of Kenya, the numbers of which are dwindling fast. Lakshmi laughed when she heard them mention ‘family’. Maybe a word she didn’t associate with lions. “Cheeky rascal” she said as, Charm, the main lioness of the Marsh pride and today’s heroine comes on to the scene. A word she has learnt from watching episodes of Peppa Pig. Normally it is the males who look after the pride while the females tend to the cubs, but the males have abandoned the Marsh pride. It was an extraordinary story where the lioness has to take control and do both jobs to make sure that her clan survives and she does it through sheer determination. The family dynamics, once again, prove to be fascinating. At one point when Charm is defending her family, Lakshmi remarks “she needs to look after them”. How does a two year old know these things. 

There is a scene where Charm has no choice but to abandon and walk away from her poisoned and weak son who was dying, so that she could look after the rest of her family. She kept stopping, turning back and looking at him unable to move forward till the rest of her cubs come and encourage her to move on. Once she was out of the picture the conservationists and vet tried to save him but it was to no avail. A needless death which they are trying to prevent by educating the population. These animals are pretty resilient even when it looks like all is lost but cannot fight against humanity and their cowardly acts.

While this was going on Lakshmi hugs me and whispers “I missed you” in my ears, showering me with kisses. “I missed you too”, I reply. Mind games from my little one. She knows how to keep me happy. Just the cheeky smile is more than enough but the words make it extra special. It is time for her bath and bedtime. We make our way upstairs. 

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