We all associate the zoo with our childhood. But I, and my group of friends aged 20-21 decided to visit the zoo and it was the most fun we’d had in ages!
We started our day off early in the morning and reached the zoo at 10 A.M. The zoo is located very centrally with easy access via the underground metro system. The passes to the zoo were very affordable (read: cheap) being only Rs. 20 each.
We entered and the first thing we saw was the deer. So many different kinds of deer! There were black-bucks, spotted deer, and antelopes. It was impossible to remember all the names but they were all so graceful, grazing around and eating grass. We saw some crows piggyback riding on their backs and they did not seem to mind at all, being the peaceful creatures that they are. Various pictures were clicked, obviously since we were all super excited and the deer seemed very exotic at that time.
Next things took a very wild turn, literally as we took the path that forked left and landed at the bear enclosure! We saw the Sloth bear who did not look all that interested in us spectators and was busy cleaning himself. He looked peaceful enough from afar and then we read the sign saying that he is indeed insectivorous. So, it wasn’t as wild an encounter as we thought!
We went back to our peaceful path and we saw some monkeys and the Chimpanzee. Just a few stages of evolution before us really, as we marveled their human-like abilities. Next we went on to the bird section. And this was the highlight of the trip, surprising as that may be. We saw some peacock. We saw one of the majestic birds flare out his tail (again, a dozen pictures).
Then we reached the Hill Mayna, and this was where we spent half an hour. There was one particular Mayna who was closer to the edge of the cage and I was clicking pictures of it. We suddenly realized that even after I was done clicking, the camera noise was coming from somewhere. The sound of the lens focusing, and then the click. There weren’t people around us so we were naturally confused. And then the Mayna flew to the edge of the cage and perched on the wire and made the noise again! It was the exact same noise that my camera makes! We were absolutely amazed. We whistled some tunes and the Mayna copied it effortlessly. We tried meowing, thinking it was futile. After all how can a bird make a cat’s noise? It listened carefully tilting his head back but didn’t make any sounds. He whistled a few times so after a while we gave up and were about to move on when suddenly, Meow! We all turned back shocked. Was it one of us who made that sound? After all it couldn’t be the Mayna! But it was. And that’s when we decided that this bird was our new best friend. We said Hello, which it repeated; same with Hey. We think it might have known these words previously as it took no time. He also learnt how to say my surname which was amazing! “Ray” was the name he learnt and repeated a lot of times much to my joy. All of the others were not as lucky as their names aren’t one syllable. But nevertheless it was amazing and we were all stunned. Every time we said Hello, he said it back. Whatever tune we whistled, he copied it to perfection. When it was finally time to move on, we said Bye to him and yes, he said it back. Bye bye! It was the icing on the cake. He definitely took a fancy to us as we came back once after after touring the entire zoo and he immediately flew to the wire of the cage when he saw us. We were greeted with Hello’s and some Bye’s as well. After another exchange of words, we definitely decided that he was by far the coolest bird we’d ever met. We all wanted to take him home with us as our pet though I’m not sure my cat, Billie would be particularly thrilled. But he was a pleasure to meet! If you can, definitely visit a bird enclosure and talk to a Mayna because they will literally talk back to you!
Then we went on to see the Royal Bengal tiger. He was majestic. And lazy. Lying around in his very large enclosure and lazily looking around at us. He reminded me of a much bigger version of my cat at home. They have the same movements, the same head scratching and the huge yawn. My cat is very lazy as well. We saw some other tigers in another enclosure but they were very active. They were prowling up and down and pretty much posing for pictures. They were the showstoppers and they were enjoying the attention. One of them roared which almost deafened us but was also very exciting. We saw the white tiger after this, which was sleeping. We got a good look at him though since he was sleeping facing the crowd. As majestic as the Royal Bengal tiger was, this was pretty. The white coat with the stripes really stood out! We saw leopards as well, who were considerably smaller than their Royal (Bengal tiger) feline counterparts. We even saw the King of the Jungle – The Lion – sleeping. Lions are lazy, so the Lionesses make up. The Lioness was happy to pose for pictures and was sitting peacefully looking elegant. While the lion slept, hidden in his huge mane!
We saw giraffes, the gentle giants and got some selfies with them in the background. It was very hard to make the tall animals fit in the frame! We saw crocodiles, who didn’t move an inch, we saw the Rhino who really looked like a warrior who had some armor on, we saw a Hippo so was relaxing in the water.
We even visited the reptile room which reminded me of the Harry Potter books. And there too was a python, except the glass didn’t vanish; thankfully! We saw many snakes, cobras and rattlesnakes. Spotting them was a task since the smaller ones are really easy to miss.
Overall, the zoo was an incredibly fun experience which had all of us reminiscing about our childhood and it brought out the inner child in us. We had ice cream, cotton candy, sweets; everything that a child would have. And we, the grown up adults had the time of our lives!