Journey called life

Are we better than Chimpanzees ?

It seems like a silly question at first and you may think about stupidity of this brainless question. But, it’s a legitimate question considering the degeneration of what we call human values.

A thinking Chimpanzee

Few days back, I saw a video (online) where a Brown bear falls off a cliff near Drass in Kargil district of Jammu & Kashmir. You can ask , so what ? How does a bear falling off a cliff is surprising ? Bears are normally fat and stupid animal and many other wild animals also fall off cliffs in natural course of their life and die ?

It’s plain and simple – survival of the fittest theory.

But, in this case , bear gets pelted by a stone in it’s head and tumbles off the cliff. Stone-pelters are heard cheering and laughing on this macabre sight. I feel sorry for humans who did this.

Animal -humans conflict are increasing in all parts of India especially in vicinity of forests or mountains or in plains where we are encroaching their territory. At least, we can behave like humans and show some sympathy to our ancestors.

Yes, our ancestors ! Because, we have forgotten them ! Ancestors of Chimpanzees and humans are same. Nearly, 04 million to 08 million years ago, we diverged and became a little bit different from each other.

In fact, even today around 98 % of our DNA is same.

Hard to believe , but yes it means Chimpanzees and humans are more or less similar. See, theory of 98 % genome by me in earlier paragraph.Don’t look for it in Google.

It will only prove that you are better than others and may even have 100 % similarity with Chimpanzees.

It is like percentage of marks obtained by our youngsters in class 10th & 12th Board exams. But, unlike fake marks, genome of Chimpanzees are real. I call percentage of marks fake because, how can you get 100 marks in a Social Science subject or in Language papers ? If students are getting 100 % marks in subjective answers , it only proves that either their teachers or Board officials are acting like Chimpanzees. You have to decide the answer for yourself.

I always had this doubt that some humans behave like apes and now I know that why they do . Again , don’t look for difference between apes and Chimpanzees , they both belong to our family and therefore you must pay them proper salutation wherever they happen to cross your path.

But, Chimpanzees are only found in some parts of Africa being their natural habitat, so for us Indians, going to nearby zoo will help immensely.

Now, coming to the question of humans being better than Chimpanzees.

Like those noble souls in Drass, Chimpanzees can also throw stones. They can use a variety of tools for inspecting dangerous things. They even drink water by using leaves and wipe their body. So, the concept of toilet paper has been taught to us by Chimpanzees. They are also intelligent and can solve many puzzles if trained properly. In this respect, they are better than humans, as a trained human mind is a dangerous thing.

Apes showing human-like behaviour

They also have a social life but unlike humans they don’t have a social media life. They normally walk on all fours but have the ability to stand erect and walk on 02 legs. Here also , I find fascinating resemblance between some people and Chimpanzees. Though, people can walk on 02 legs but some of us prefer to bend and use all fours to interact with superior humans. I am not talking about some Indian or US media persons or what we call paid media houses, to please their masters.

But, there is one difference, Chimpanzees haven’t still learnt about the WhatsApp phenomenon. Nearly , 01 billion people i.e. almost 1/6th of human population is using Facebook-driven social media applications.

So, in the course of this blog , I have found the most vital difference between Chimpanzees and humans.

We are connected and they are not !

But, I have a doubt ! Are they happy without being connected ? What will happen if they get connected and bridge the 02 % difference between us ?

Answer was given in 1963 by a french novelist namely Pierre Boulle in a science fiction book aptly named “Planet of the Apes”. He visualized a futuristic scenario and I believe the future as described by him has already arrived. Because, nowadays humans are behaving like apes.

Wars, terrorism and self-destuction are symptoms of a decaying civilization. See all around the globe, where is the good news ? Monkeys are running around everywhere and doomsday is not very far.

But, that is the topic for a different blog.

Don’t again think about difference between monkeys and apes ? Remember the logic given in preceding paragraphs and stay happy.

A smart Ape

But, still the question remains……. Are we better than Chimpanzees ? If you know the answer then let me know. We will spread the happiness all around.

A Dog’s Birthday

Birthdays are special day for human beings.

But, what about dogs ? Do they deserve a celebration ?

They do , if you ask a dog lover and don’t if you ask a dog-hater. Some people always hate dogs no matter whatever the circumstances.

Should I eat cake now ?

But, dogs are a man’s/woman’s best friend. I have purposefully added woman because dog’s don’t recognize the difference between genders. They believe in feminism since time immemorial and doesn’t need a particular day to celebrate womanhood like us humans.

Dogs have been known to humans since ages and they are the first domesticated animals. But, number of pet dogs in today’s world is minuscule. Nearly, 80 % of dogs in world are stray or community dogs in developing or poor countries. Private ownership of dogs is a luxury in India except some tribal or rural families where dogs help in giving economic safety to families.

However, concept of wild dogs is still prevalent in many countries. In Botswana(a country approximately the size of France), there are nearly 7000 wild dogs who live in Jungles and hunt in packs. They fight with even leopards, snatch their food and force leopards to run away. But dogs can fight only in groups as leopards and wolves hate them and kill them at will if opportunity arises.

Dogs are mirror images of their owners. They have an inherent tendency to follow the footsteps of their masters.

Some people takes this habit of dogs seriously and they falsely believe that fellow human beings shall follow them like dogs.

Moreover, in living with humans , they have adapted well and I don’t have any hesitation in saying that some dogs possess more empathy than humans. They have not learnt to deceive. Dog’s behave like human infants during their whole life-span of 10-12 years. We become adult and leave childish traits while a dog always behaves like a child.

Few months back, I saw Sully, a service dog. He was grieving near the coffin of George Bush(Senior) and behaved in a more mature manner than some humans in United States of America.

However, times are changing. A city council in USA is trying to limit barking minutes of dogs.

20 minutes during day time and 15 minutes during night time !

If they bark for longer period , there will be penalty and punishment for owners. We are living in strange times where humans can bark without brakes and dogs can not.

Barking Dog

So, coming back to birthday.

Today morning, I had a talk with my dog.

Dog – Do you know the significance of the day

Me – Yes, it’s a Sunday.

He became edgy and barked angrily. I tried to pacify him but he was determined not to obey my commands. A dog can remember few hundred commands. But, he was adamant and annoyed with me.

Dog – I knew it. You have an uncanny habit of forgetting important days in my life.You can not be trusted. I have given my whole life of 02 years to you and you don’t even remember my birthday. Nowadays, people are celebrating monthly/quarterly/half-yearly birthday of children and you have forgotten my yearly birthday ? I have brought happiness in your life. I have returned your balls a million times even when I know that you will again throw it and give me the task of bringing it back. I have never questioned your wisdom of throwing balls and you are treating me like a dog. Behave like a human and celebrate my birthday because I don’t have anyone except you.

Me – Okay, Thank you for lecturing me. It is election season and every dog has a right to give lectures.

So, I decided to celebrate his birthday. I switched off my phone as dogs don’t believe in talking on phones and it is big distraction for dogs. They want your undivided attention.

We hiked to a nearby mountain and I ran with him for few kilometres. Thereafter, we went for a swim in nearby river and gave him fresh water to drink. I made a mutton dish and pupcake and he ate peacefully and thanked me.

Dogs are easy to please and he wagged his tail profusely and slept in the lawn like only a dog can. It was truly a dog’s day out in the sun.

A poor dog

It was fun , seeing the world through the eyes of a dog. Life of a dog is uncomplicated as they don’t have to think about anything beyond their visual range. They believe in present and don’t worry about future.

If we learn to live life like a dog , happiness will never leave our side.

Handi Tea of Bakhtiyarpur

Bihar is famous for many things but it obviously doesn’t include tea in any form.River plains of Ganga & it’s tributaries as well as weather system are unsuitable for tea plantation. Therefore, we get to drink cheap -quality dust tea brought mostly from large tea estates of North-East. Some connoiseurs may prefer export -quality Darjelling Tea but cheap tea brands of Tata Tea or Brooke Bond are most popular brands in North India . I personally prefer Wagh -Bakri Tea(Tiger- Goat Tea), not because of the aroma or flavour but for the sole reason that this brand name sounds exotic or should I say out of this world.

Imagine that Tiger & Goat cohabiting in Tea Plantation of Assam !

However, it is a great idea and it gives the impetus to the brand because may be manufacturers of this brand are saints and they believe in equal co-existence of all living beings on the earth.

Nevertheless,tea is a crucial morning drink meant specifically for starting the day by stimulating your senses. It helps you in morning chitchat with family members and neighbours. Some people get addicted to this morning routine and realize that their morning rituals depends upon potency of this milky brown-coloured brew. In Bihar, people also add a dash of some form of tobacco after gulping down few cups of tea to speed up the process in lavatory.

And when it comes to tea, one cup is never enough.

Bachelor student living in various lodges of Patna city prefer few cuppas of nukkad chai (strong-flavoured tea made on street-side shops) in morning which sets the tone for the study pattern of the day. Students all over India prefer to bond over tea in Canteens throughout the day or mostly night time. I even heard a rumour that some IAS -aspirants of Jiyasarai (a small village ensconced in midst of boundary wall of IIT-Delhi) swear by the magical effects of tea brewed in congested lanes of this suburb which will make them crack civil services exam conducted by UPSC. Therefore, many of them keep drinking this strong tea at unearthly hours in the hope of being a bureaucrat and some become one by the the sheer logic of probability. So, the myth of tea in student’s life persists.

Tea-maker boy with magical touch

But, coming back to the Handi Tea. I must confess that I have never heard the term before yesterday though I count myself among the nosy connoiseur of tea having lived and tasted tea from around the country. I also believe in the institution of bed tea. Whoever discovered this great tradition was an innovator of highest order as drinking tea while sitting under the quilt lazily in winter season is one of the greatest pleasures of life. If you have to move your legs even before gulping hot cup of tea , then the fun of well-deserved night sleep goes out of the window.

I discovered this well – known local variety of tea-making by sheer luck. I was travelling on the newly black-topped four-lane highway connecting Anisabad(Patna) to Bakhtiyapur. This nearly 50 Kms. part of NH-30 is one of the finest examples of development in roadways sector of Bihar. However, the fun of driving on this shiny road flies away when you think about the journey ahead on Bakhtiyarpur – Barh stretch of NH -31 which faces unending hours of traffic snarls and poor quality of road designing. So, you come back to realize that why some parts of India are shining and some live in dark ages. This section remains the same since last 30 years or more while traffic on NH -31 has seen exponential growth as it is one of the most vital links connecting Rest of India to North -Eastern states.

So, I wished to have a break before embarking on the driving on this horrendous stretch of NH -31.

03-04 large tea/snacks shops are situated near the junction of NH -30 & 31 and tourist hotspot of Rajgir/Nalanda are not far away from this place. So, this pit stop of few rustic-looking tea shops sees large number of footfalls of tourists also. All shops look identical and flashes large flex-signboards advertising the Handi tea. I ordered 01 cup and it was delivered to me in Kulhad(handle-less clay tea cup) within seconds. Delivery was so quick that I verbally abused swanky fast food chains or Coffee Shops for their inordinate delay in delivery of items. Sometimes, I wonder that Coffee shop people ask for permissions from Coffee Plantation owners in various parts of India or may be from far corners of South America for delivering a hot Latte/Cappuccino to me.

Now, coming to the taste. My goodness !!! What is this ?

It was the strongest ever tea made in deeply-baked high calorific-milk poured into the Handi(Clay pot) or terracotta- like pot straight from the udders of a a big and bulky jet-black coloured buffalo ! I may have even looked for her but good sense prevailed !

The aroma of deeply-baked tea brewed with generous amount of milk & sugar was overpowering the senses. I must say that this tea is not meant for weak people. You may get heart attack if you prefer the tea in a delicate English manner. The sensuous and erotic mix of clay with brown milky tea can even arouse the senses of a gentleman. I immediately ordered few more cups and gulped 04 cups in succession as Kulhads are normally very stingy in matters of quantity as they contain lesser amount of liquid than their regular counterpart bone china tea cups. Don’t ask me about origins of bone china but these are normally white porcelain cups definitely containing some amount of animal bones. May be now, craftsmanship has improved and we can be using vegetarian cups.

Thereafter, I did a small research and talked to tea boys and owners and they sweared on the record that this is the best tea brewed in Bihar. I agree with their opinion as the taste of pudding lies in eating the cake and I did so. I discovered that they slowly cook the tea on coal-ovens over an extended period of time and their recipe is simple but unique to them.

Fragrance of Handi Tea

When , I was taking photographs, one chirpy young lad suggested to me to put the tea-making boy on the internet and made him famous. I didn’t promised him anything but loved their care-free attitude. A tea-maker boy is more happy than many of us reading this blog. I became happy for him and wished him well. But, now in hindsight, I regret that I forgot to ask their names. May be in my next trip, I will sit with them for longer duration and ask for names.

But, I must recommend that if you wish to be in the vicinity of that location, go and drink the elixir called Handi Tea in their shop. It works like poison on your senses but what is life without a small dose of poison. Hopefully, you will enjoy it.

That’s it for today.

So, if you have anything to say , write it down and let others see what you think of Bakhtiyapur School of Tea.

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