Here’s a short story written by Koka of Class X (2018) about how animals would view our world, if they could express themselves:
The past two days have really opened my eyes. The life in the forest which I had taken for granted, is now very dear to me. Deforestation, the effect of which until now seemed to have only been travelling a few miles every day, now seems a lot more real.
Humans have always been a distant shadow for me. Yesterday was the first time I saw a real one.
Yesterday morning I was suddenly jolted out of my sleep due to a lot of commotion in my pack. When I asked what the commotion was all about, my pack members immediately led me to a place which was guarded by six or seven other wolves. When they moved away to give me a view, I saw a hairless and fat creature lying quite helpless on the ground.
“What animal are you?” I asked, not quite sure what this creature was.
“A human of course,” he replied, looking surprised that there was anything on Earth which did not know what is was.
“How did the members of my pack suddenly get their hands upon you?”
“I got lost in the forest and then these wolves caught me.”
“Well, you are very unfortunate, we are going to eat you now.”
“Please, you can ask me to do anything, don’t eat me.” The human pleaded.
“Well, what can you possibly do for us? “
“There is a city nearby, I could take one of you there for a day to enjoy yourselves.”
I had anyway been reluctant to have this poor creature because I prided myself on hunting my own prey. In addition, when I heard the word ‘city’, I became even more interested. The city was a place where the humans lived together. It was the city that had taken the place of the trees which were cut down. I had always wanted to know about the secret of success of the humans. Maybe, visiting the city I would come to know about some of them.
I agreed, thinking that this worthless creature might be a blessing in disguise. Time would tell how wrong I was.
Today morning I left with the human for the city. The city is not very far from the forest any longer. A ten-minute walk from the jungle brought us to its outskirts. The noise that it was emanating was like the buzz of a thousand bees.
I see a man in a white uniform standing and making strange gestures with his hands.
“Why is he wearing such strange clothes?” I ask my guide.
“These clothes show that he is a traffic police, this way everybody will obey his instructions and follow the traffic rules”, he replies.
“You mean just by wearing certain clothes you can have authority among humans? Is there no way to test how good he is at what he does?”
“Of course, he had to pass an exam to even become a traffic police.”
“Exam? What kind of exam?”
“Usually it’s a test where you are given a paper where you have to write answers to questions that will be asked.”
So, all that the humans must do is write something on a piece of paper and then they can shout commands? They don’t test the man’s shouting skills or how much other humans listen to them when he gives an instruction. Strange!
“I want to know more about these exams. Can you take me to a place where I can watch exams taking place?” I ask.
He leads me to a lofty building which was lined with windows.
“This,” He says, “is a school; this is where most of the exams take place. As I am the director of this school, I should be able to get you to watch an examination without much trouble.”
He leads me to one of the hundred rooms of the building. Through a window I could see what was going on inside.
Inside, around 30 students were scribbling on pieces of paper with a ferocity that matched that of the fiercest of tigers. I saw one of them steal a glance at his classmate’s paper and then again resume scribbling.
I ask my guide, “What do you call these people?”
“We call them students.” He replies.
“So, do the students only come to the school to give exams?”
“No, they usually come to school all through a year, during that time we prepare them for these exams.”
Most of the students, had prepared for this exam, they had known what to study to score well. Life is an exam where the syllabus is unknown and question papers are not set. It was the exam of life that they were not prepared for.
Misinterpreting my thoughtful silence for boredom, my guide asked me, “Do you now want to meet some animals now and ask them how their life is in the city?”
I agreed, and we left the school. Soon we were back on the road again.
Crossing the road is quite difficult in a city. Even with the traffic police, the vehicles still move quite fast and recklessly. Walking further I see some people wearing torn shirts and looking hungry, sitting on the side of the pavements. Nudging my guide, I asked him,
“What are these people waiting for?”
“Food” He replies laughing.
“They just wait until other people give them food? Are they cubs waiting for their parents to feed them?”
“No, they are all grown up, but they were not competent enough to get food.”
“So how do they get food?”
“Sometimes people take pity on them and give them food to eat.”
In the forest only the young and the very old could not get their own food. As a result, they were the ones who were preyed upon most frequently. These humans, according to my guide, were middle aged and still unable to get food. However, they still somehow remained alive.
Finally, we reach our destination. I find a shabby and large building in front of me. From within I can hear the snorting of what seems like a thousand pigs. Intrigued and excited that I might meet some animals whom I understand, I enter the building.
Inside, I see a few masked men sitting in front of a moving belt. Pigs were travelling by the belt and were being given various injections by the men behind the masks. I ask my guide, “What is going on in this place? What is it that is happening to these pigs?”
“They are being given injections. The injections,” he replies, “are antibiotics and hormones. The antibiotics keep the pigs safe from various diseases and the hormones make them grow quickly.”
“Why do you need them to grow up fast?”
“So, they can be slaughtered and sold to people who will eat them. There is another conveyor belt behind this one where the pigs are being slaughtered.”
“So, will these pigs be let go for the day after you have given them their injections?”
“Let go?” My guide says laughing, “They will be kept in those boxes.” He pointed at hundreds of small boxes that seemed to be in very shabby conditions.
“So, when will they interact with their parents and other pigs?”
“Interact with their parents? These pigs were separated from their parents days after they were born. They have never interacted with their parents in their whole life.”
“How do these pigs stay alive like this? Any other animal would surely have died.”
“Oh, these people will keep these pigs alive.” Says my guide confidently. “Until they grow fat enough. Then they will be slaughtered.”
Depressed by this brutality of the humans I asked my guide if there was anywhere else he wanted to take me to.
“Of course,” He replies, “I wanted to take you to my home.”
Trudging on for some time longer, my guide brings me to a large house. He takes me inside. As I enter I see a woman opening the door for us. Pointing to her, my guide said, “This is my wife, we have been married for 19 years.” Not understanding what ‘married’ means, I ask him.
“That means, she is the only partner I am supposed to have till we stay married.”
“You mean you did not have another partner for 19 years?” I ask him incredulously.
“I would like to of course,” He replied furtively, “But then everyone else will look down upon me.”
I cannot bear it any longer. I just run out of the house. The city was a place beyond my comprehension. A place where other animals lived lives which were daily punishments, a place where the unfit were just kept alive on the shoulder of others. It was this place from where I had hoped to learn from and improve the forest. With hindsight it seemed the city would be better off if it is modelled after the forest.
I increase my pace, the forest was the place that I understood, a place which did not need the artificial laws created by humans to keep order. The humans have to be stopped at any cost, they have to be stopped from turning this natural place into a wasteland governed by artificial laws.