I had a fable book “When animals could talk” with lovely short stories. After reading it, I wished animals could still talk. The squirrel in the garden would tell me where it was always hurrying, the birds would narrate stories about the faraway clouds, and the roadside puppy would confide if it wants to visit my home. But none of them ever answered though I never gave up trying to talk to them. Oh, the dreams of childhood!
Nihar Pradhan’s novel Voice of nature reminded me of those days. However, then I had never thought that animals or plants might be unhappy. I wasn’t old enough to understand the trauma, we humans have dealt to nature. In this novel, a little kid named Haiku can communicate with the trees, the animals. He is a little bewildered at first. Later, he realises it’s a responsibility. Would plants, animals, and humans live in harmony if they understood each other? Is communication the key?
It is in the Nandankanan Zoo, that Haiku first hears the voice of nature in the form of a white tiger. Nandankanan Zoo is set amidst lush green surroundings, but a zoo after all, is a fancy prison. Mogli, the white tiger is its prize exhibit. Do you remember Mowgli from the Jungle Book? The Mowgli, in Rudyard Kipling’s book is a human child, loved and raised by animals. Here, Mogli is an animal separated from his family, and his home – the forest, all in the name of caring. It’s such an irony.
Bani uncle, the wise Banyan tree laments the egoistic attitude of humans. Kuki, a little bird is still free, but she has to witness the misery of her friends – the trees – cut mercilessly to make way for humans. Haiku learns about the nature, and gains a new perspective about this world.
Nihar Pradhan has beautifully described the sanctuary leaving a vivid imagery in the minds of the readers. Voice of nature imparts a mine of information to the readers about wildlife, and nature. At the same time, it speaks about serious topics like endangered species, and conservation of nature. The story leaves a tinge of hope; there is still time to change our attitude, to hope for harmony between man and nature.
Weaved in a fable like way, Voice of nature is a wake up call. Will we listen to this voice, and stop the destruction? Or an unnatural world is a forgone conclusion?
Download, and read Voice of Nature at Freeditorial.
Some wonderful lines from the book:
“The constant conversation between the members of human community has been the bedrock of creativity. We need to bridge this gap and establish the conversation between man and animal.”
You might also want to read how man has disrupted the course of nature at Shankhnaad.
How would our future be if we don’t listen to the voice of nature: A visit to the museum – An environmental horror. #FlashFiction