Pushpa Kurup’s collection of short stories is a first-hand account of how animals see the world
To a baby orang-utan in the rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia, humans are ‘tailless,’ ‘hairless creatures’, who move slowly through the undergrowth wielding ‘sticks’ that kill. For a sturdy, six-month-old Nile hippopotamus too, these “puny” creatures are to be feared – or killed if they step too close for comfort, so to speak. For the cub tiger, a “man-eater in the making” in the Sunderbans, a hoover of baby armadillos in Paraguay, a one-horned rhino and its cub in Kaziranga, or even a flutter of Monarch butterflies migrating to the Sierra Madre, the earth is a fascinating place that, in their perspective, revolves around human whims and fancies.
In her new collection of short stories, Causing a Flutter & Other Tales, for children and young adults, technocrat Pushpa Kurup, managing director of city-based Vitalect Technologies, talks from the perspective of animals, as they describe their daily lives, the misfortunes that befall their species and, most importantly, their understanding of and relationship with humans, who are leading the destruction of their natural habitats.
The idea for the book, says Pushpa, stemmed from an article that she wrote for The Hindu’s ‘Open Page’ back in 2010 and is the continuation of an e-book Donkey’s Dreams and Other Tales, which was released online recently. “I’ve always been interested in writing and I do a lot of it at work, particularly content writing, given that my firm is into e-learning. The article was a first-person account of the plight of wild elephants in India. I got a lot of positive feedback from readers from across the country. Some even called and offered me money for the welfare of elephants thinking that I am an animal rights activist!” says Pushpa. “I realised that one of the keys to wildlife conservation is getting the knowledge out there that there are a lot of creatures that are on the brink of extinction or are endangered. I thought it would be interesting to have the animals explain their predicament themselves,” she adds.
The author has selected 12 animals of various species, inhabiting different ecosystems for the stories, to highlight the global scenario on habitat loss and destruction; several of the animals featured are on the endangered lists of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “There was much research involved for each animal with regards to their habitat, life cycle, their nature and so on. The writing was actually the easy part,” says Pushpa. The stories unfold as a series of conversations between young animals and their parents, siblings or companions. “Not all the animals see man as a threat – for instance, the dolphin and the giraffe, who consider them as playful beings,” adds the author.
The book is being published by Folio Books and will be released on May 13 at Raj Bhavan at 11.30 a.m.